The show starts at 9AM Wednesday, so don’t miss it. The Municipal Water District of Orange County Board of Directors is trying to select a replacement to fill the Division 3 seat left vacant by the retirement of Director Wayne Osborne back in April.
There were interviews. Didn’t matter. The Board had a special meeting last week regarding the appointment which represents Cypress, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Los Alamitos, Stanton, and Westminster. They couldn’t make up their minds from a field that included Senator Janet Nguyen, Westminister School Board member Khanh Nguyen, former Fountain Valley Mayor, Larry Crandall and six others.
Most of the public comment came from the Vietnamese community in support of Janet Nguyen and was done in front of OC’s strong Vietnamese press pool. In spite of this, only Board President, Brett Barbre backed Nguyen , who at one point lobbied his peers on the board to support Janet because, “It’s clear that we don’t need another old white guy representing this community.”
Director Megan Yoo-Schneider strongly opposed the candidacy of Nguyen, accusing her of using the forum to campaign for a Congressional run (possibly against Alan Lowenthal ass Congressional candidates don’t have to reside in the districts they run for). That meeting ended in a stalemate, with no one getting more than two votes.
The Board met again Monday and it looked like Crandall might have pulled it out with Khanh Nguyen pulling out of the race just before the meeting. Candidate Robert McVicker, an engineer, picked up some support and drew questions from other members of the Board about potential conflicts of interest with some of his water district clients.
The candidate list is now three, with three candidates dropping out, and only Crandall, McVicker and retired Gulf War Veteran and commercial construction VP Mat Forester of Cypress being the only candidates to receive at least two votes.
If the MWDOC Board doesn’t decide on one before June 21, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will be tapped to either make the appointment, or force a special election at a cost of about $1 million. Getting to four votes with only five directors isn’t easy (Director Joan Finnegan has been absent recovering from an illness). McVicker is a Democrat. Getting the nod for the board puts the OC Blue Wave into the world of water elected officials, a realm that’s a long established “old white guy Republican” bastion.
For readers going to the hearing Wednesday morning, please report updates in the comments.