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HDWD Sarann Graham- “Big Shot” with Public Funds…again!

By   /   March 29, 2014  /   1 Comment

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Yucca Valley, Ca.,- Hi-Desert Water District Director Sarann Graham loves to toss money around especially when it isn’t coming out of her pocket but off the backs of the rate payers.

At the Special Meeting held yesterday, agenda item #8 was a proposal to spend $1,500 to underwrite the 4th annual Desert Wise Garden Tour of Homes that have incorporated attractive low water usage landscaping. Other agencies use grant monies especially earmarked for conservation education recently made available because of this severe drought.

The event is put on by Robin Kobaly’s Summer Tree Institute hosted by the Morongo Basin Conservation Association and Mojave Water Agency. Tour information>LINK

What was NOT presented in the staff report was the figure of $3,500 to produce and advertise the event.  Basically, the request put to the Board of Directors by Public Information /Executive Secretary Jennifer Poland was to finance nearly 50% of this event as a sponsor.

Why did Poland bring this up before the Board?  My guess is that she did not want to spend any of her Public Relations  budget which is currently focused on the waste water project.  Two Directors mentioned they did not want to see anymore requests come to the Board and she should  take it out of her budget in the future, if that is where she wants to spend the budgeted Public Relations funds.

I was always under the impression this was a fund raiser because the self-guided tour costs are $10 per person, however, I was corrected that was only a “donation.”  A Board member from MBCA  stated there were 165 guests at last year’s tour when further queried by the HDWD Board.

Two Board members said they didn’t feel $1,500 was getting the biggest bang for the buck for only 165 attendees.  Another commented that amount would purchase a lot of radio or newspaper advertising.  Director Hough wanted to know if that large sum of funds could be used to target new home buyers in Yucca Valley arriving from Orange or Los Angeles counties who are anxious to put in grass lawns, etc.  This request was not automatically rubber stamped.

Graham rushed in to cut off any further debate by the Board.  She gushed that she had such a wonderful time last year and it doesn’t really matter what the number is that attended.  Oh really?  If only 50 show up or 100…that’s okay with you?  Oh that’s right, it’s not your money. In fact, why don’t YOU pay for this out of your pocket High Roller Graham???

Then Graham said one of the most stupid remarks I’ve heard from her trying to sway the Board, “Often the attendees will share their experience with their neighbors.” She is not a quick thinker on her feet and was not prepared for any push back on this item. It was very obvious this was HER idea but she positioned Jennifer Poland to take the heat.

Everyone, including myself, praised the MBCA for all their work and especially for Robin Kobaly’s Summer Tree Institute, so that was not the issue.  I stated  I am a watchdog for the rate payers therefore presenting my stance against the “gift of public funds” in the amount of $1,500.

Graham feels overly confident because she is  not up for reelection this year.

She arranges for additional travel excursions>LINK, claims $125 for attending the local Public Advisory Committee meetings (President Mayes does not) and championed another “Gift of Public Funds” in the amount of $10,000 for a demonstration garden at the Brehm Sports park.>LINK  She called an illegal “emergency meeting” to meet in closed session to agree not bid against the Brehm family for the golf course, which will cost the ratepayers over $250,000 a year to subsidize the water rights attached to the property. The FBI is cracking down on similar conspiracies>LINK. Graham has a non-profit which is under the umbrella of the Basin Wide (Brehm) Foundation. She was even part of the ground breaking photo-op for the Brehm Golf Course.>LINK

When people hear about her antics, they say…”Let’s recall Sarann Graham!” Thank goodness this is the last term for this director which expires in 2016.  One “flush” of the Yucca Valley’s first toilet connected to the up & running sewer system in 2016 and we’ll be rid of the incompetent HDWD/GM Ed Muzik AND Graham.

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About the author

Margo Sturges

Yucca Valley Editor

Note: Margo Sturges has written many articles for Cactus Thorns and is the founder of Citizens4Change.info. Email contact: MargoSturgesYV(at)aol.com "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."- George Orwell

1 Comment

  1. Scots Slant Scots Slant says:

    “One “flush” of the Yucca Valley’s first toilet connected to the up & running sewer system in 2016 and we’ll be rid of the incompetent HDWD/GM Ed Muzik AND Graham.”

    “”One “flush” of the Yucca Valley’s first toilet connected to the up & running sewer system in 2016.”

    Does this mean Sturges is planning a “Yes” vote on the upcoming Phase 1,2 and 3 sewer assessment district vote?

    Does this mean Sturges is planning on getting behind HDWD for a “Yes” vote by ratepayers on the upcoming Phase 1,2 and 3 sewer assessment district vote?

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