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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Special District

Water Replenishment District of Southern CaliforniaCandidate for Board of Directors, Division 2

Photo of Jim Kennedy

Jim Kennedy

Water Policy Advisor
72,622 votes (33.88%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Stop corruption. Restore public trust. Bring more transparency and accountability to the water board.
  • End water waste now. Make water our top priority. Reduce our dependency on costly imported water. Keep water rates low. We can do better!
  • Protect and preserve our water. Everyone has a right to clean and affordable water. Stop polluters and make them pay for clean ups.

Experience

Education

College of William & Mary and the London School of Economics and Political Science B.A. and MSc, Economics (1995)

Community Activities

Board member, Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters (2007–current)
Board members, Friends of Ballona Wetlands (2014–current)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • John Chaing, California State Treasure

Organizations (2)

  • Los Angeles County Democratic Party
  • Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters

Elected Officials (7)

  • Hany Fangary, Mayor, Hermosa Beach
  • Mike Bonin, Los Angeles City Councilmember
  • Amy Howorth, Manhattan Beach City Councilmember
  • Stacey Armato, Hermosa Beach City Councilmember
  • Judith Mitchell, Rolling Hills Estates Councilmember
  • Anthony Rendon, Assembly Speaker
  • Joe Buscaino, Los Angeles City Councilmember

Individuals (5)

  • Dency Nelson, Keep Hermosa Hermosa
  • Joe Galliani, South Bay 350.org
  • Lillian Light, Environmental Priorities Network (EPN)
  • Connie Sullivan, former President, Palos Verdes Democratic Club
  • Sheila Mickelson, President, Westchester Playa Democratic Club

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Why I am running

Summary

I am stepping up to take on our water challenges and to restore the public’s trust in this water board. As a Director on the Water Replenishment Board, I will push to make sustainable investments to reduce our dependancy on imported water. I will continue the implementation of proven technology to capture stormwater and use recycled water to increase our local water supplies while reducing water costs. This vision is both environmentally sensible and the most economically sound path forward to secure our water future.

I am stepping up to take on our water challenges and to restore the public’s trust in this water board.

Our community’s trust in the people who represent them on this water board was devastated when the incumbent in this race was indicted for misappropriation of public funds. Unfortunately, although the evidence is clear, the District Attorney could not show that he intended to embezzle the funds. Although he was let off on a technicality, he has many more charges to answer for, including the fact that he fabricated documents to cover his check-writing trail.

All this points to the urgent need for change on the board. I am seeking to bring a responsible and accountable voice to the board.   As our state enters its fifth year of drought, I believe the need for transparency is more critical than ever to preserve and protect our water.

Our actions need to be on ending water waste now and keeping our water rates low.  Our water board does not need to be distracted by inexcusable personal behaviors. This November 8th is the time to elect new, dependable leadership.

I bring a fresh perspective, a strong background in water issues, and the ability to restore the public’s trust.  I will make water our top priority so we can tackle head-on our persistent drought conditions and responsibly steward the water we have.

Imported water has become increasing scarce and expensive. We must continue to reduce our dependency on this unviable option. I will continue the implementation of proven technology to capture stormwater and use recycled water to increase our local water supplies while reducing water costs.      

As a Director on the Water Replenishment Board, I will push to make these sustainable investments. This vision is both environmentally sensible and the most economically sound path forward to secure our water future.

Change starts from the ground up.  From changing how we put water back into our aquifers to reorganizing our leadership on the Board of Directors to make that change happen. My experience working on environmental issues throughout the region, my expertise in economic policy-making, and my years helping government agencies be more proactive, accountable and effective, are critical to the balanced and sustainable decision-making we need now. 

My experience and vision for the WRD

Summary

I am supported by many local elected officials and community leaders who can help us restore the public’s trust in WRD. I ask for your support as well to bring about the change we need to make the WRD Board of Directors work in the public’s interest for clean, safe, and affordable water.

The Water Replenishment District (WRD) is a model for sustainability, reliability, resilience, and protection against raising water costs. Water Independence Now (WIN) and Groundwater Reliability Improvement Program (GRIP) are replacing imported water with recycled water and stormwater capture systems. I want to press forward on the WRD Groundwater Master Plan study so that the region can better make use of our aquifers for recycled and stormwater storage. This is how we are going to manage the new normal of drought conditions.  

I am dedicated to expanding public support for water conservation, reclamation and recycling. I will increase our regional storage capacity to capture rainwater, a critical step towards securing our groundwater reliability and sustainability. I have also been working to protect our aquifers from industrial pollution and other sources of contamination.

My background in bringing together neighbors, environmental groups, businesses, and local elected officials has prepared me to be a leader on urgent water issues. From policy formulation to project advocacy, I am experienced in facilitating dialogue that expands public engagement in creating realistic and sustainable water solutions.

I am experienced in working on environmental solutions in water and energy at each level of government. I have played key roles in several local, state, and national level campaigns. I have also served as a staff member for several local elected officials, which means I understand this region’s economic and environmental priorities.

In building community support for the additional infrastructure investments needed to reach 100 percent local water supply use for the Water Replenishment District’s Groundwater Reliability Improvement Program (GRIP), I helped clarify economic and environmental values for offsetting imported water with recycled water to recharge our aquifers. 

I expanded the “Cool Cities” U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Initiative into a South Bay Regional Partnership to combine 15 cities’ resources to more effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That effort to reduce water and energy consumption continued through the South Bay Cities Green Task Force.  I also lead the effort to stop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal from being built in the Santa Monica Bay, as well as helped organize the opposition to the repowering of the Redondo Beach power plant.

I have been a long-time Board member of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, helping to make the environment a priority at the local elected level. I have also served on the Board of the Friends of Ballona Wetlands, where I am helping to preserve green spaces and revitalizing ecosystems. 

I have also been a part of protecting and restoring the Santa Monica Bay Watershed by serving as an alternate Board member for Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl on the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. I have worked with the City of Los Angeles on Proposition O stormwater infiltration projects and am currently coordinating the City’s approval process for stormwater and wastewater collection systems.

I want to continue to replace imported water with local sustainable sources of recycled water and captured stormwater.  WRD is leading the way but there is much more that can be done to integrate our regional watershed planning with our groundwater master planning.

Currently we get 50 percent of all our water from the WRD aquifer. I want to increase WRD’s groundwater storage capacity, which will give us more water supply  and allow us to be more resilient during leaner precipitation years. More storage capacity will also allow us to use more recycled and rain water.

I want to use my knowledgeable about water issues to address my concerns about environmental justice issues. My belief is that everyone has the right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water. I pledge to use the authority of the water board to go after the polluters who threaten the West Coast and Central Basins. I will be vigilant in monitoring groundwater supplies to prevent contamination and will act urgently to go after those responsible and make them pay for contamination removal.

There is so much more we can do at WRD. Through partnerships, we can work with local cities to increase the permeable surfaces so that rain water can naturally seep back into our aquifers. And with cities that are already making moves to prevent stormwater run-off, WRD needs to make sure its Groundwater Master Plan is in place to make use these water resources to replenish our aquifers.

Because our supply of water is not endless, our elected representatives on the Water Replenishment District need to find new ways to continue to meet the mandate of refilling the aquifers while still ensuring that water rates remain low. We can do this by sourcing local water, embracing new technology, and implemented proven conservation solutions.

We need to stop wasting our local water supply. We need to inject more water into our aquifers rather than pumping it into the ocean. Increasing the supply of groundwater for future use is the better ocean-under-our-feet we should be turning to for practical long-term solutions.

One promising new policy being considered is Net Neutral Water. Any new development would need to produce funding to off-set its increased water demand. For example, the funds could go to fix our old water infrastructure that leak 10-20 percent of our water supply. Or the funds could be used to upgrade infrastructure to increase local water sources. With the right leadership we can be smarter and more realistic about dealing with our water needs.

On November 8th, we need to move the WRD past the criminal indictments that have clouded this agency’s good work. The WRD needs public funding to build the necessary infrastructure to capture rain water and store recycled water. To qualify for these public funds, WRD has to show it is a reliable and responsible agency and that it has the trusted leadership to be good stewards of these funds.

I am supported by many local elected officials and community leaders who can help us restore the public’s trust in WRD. I ask for your support as well to bring about the change we need to make the WRD Board of Directors work in the public’s interest for clean, safe, and affordable water.

 

  

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