Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Red Bluff / Ward County
By JON FULBRIGHT
suit: Who gets to vote?
and SMOKEY BRIGGS
Who votes - land owners or residents? That is what the question boils down to in the legal action and controversy surrounding the Red Bluff Water Power Control Board and two Ward County water irrigation districts, which are part of the Red Bluff entity.
The answer will determine the fates of two of seven elected seats on the Red Bluff Board of Directors.
Those two seats might make the difference in what appears to be a political struggle over control of the board.
Tom Nance was elected to represent Ward County Water Irrigation District No. 1 (Ward 1) on the Red Bluff board last month but was not seated at Tuesday morning’s board meeting in Pecos. Neither was the representative for the other district in question - Ward County Water Irrigation District No. 3 (Ward 3).
Last month Red Bluff filed suit against Ward 1 challenging the legal right of the district to have a vote on the Red Bluff Board. That suit is currently before the 143rd District Court.
Most of Tuesday’s meeting was consumed with the issue of whether to seat the elected representatives from the two districts.
Eventually the Board voted to seat an advisory director that would have full privileges but no vote until the lawsuit was settled.
According to Board President for Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 2, Alan Zeman, the conflict comes down to politics.
“I believe Mr. Hartman is dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, resulting in the action (the lawsuit) he has taken. I also believe that Ward One will prevail in court and Mr. Nance will be seated on the Red Bluff Board. Mr. Hartman is playing politics with Red Bluff’s money in the courts,” Zeman said.
Red Bluff Managing Director Randal Hartman and Robert Scogin, an attorney from Kermit whom Red Bluff has retained in the matter, disagree.
According to Hartman and Scogin the problem is one of voter eligibility, which became an issue when the Ward County districts changed their legal format from water improvement districts to water irrigation districts.
In 2001 there was a Ward County Water Improvement District No. 1 and a Ward County Water Improvement District No. 3.
In the past few years both have moved to change their designation to irrigation districts, rather than water improvement districts.
There is some confusion as to whether Ward County Water Improvement District No. 3 actually accomplished this change but there is no doubt that it has attempted to. There was no question regarding the status of the former Ward County Water Improvement District No. 1 - it successfully became an irrigation district in November of 2001.
According to attorney Scogin the designation of a district determines its legal powers along with who can vote to elect the district’s representat
ive to the Red Bluff Board.
“Red Bluff Water Power Control District was created by legislation in 1933 and 1934. Member districts were required to be water improvement districts by the legislation,” Scogin said.
Under that legislation Red Bluff can generate and sell power and sell water to almost any entity.
“When a district converts to an irrigation district you limit yourself to delivering irrigation water and selling non-potable water. That is all you can really do,” Scogin said.
“The residents of a district elect the representative for a water improvement district. But, for an irrigation district, only the land owners in the district have a vote,” Scogin said.
The end result is that five of seven member districts of Red Bluff have representatives elected by the residents of the district while the two Ward County districts have representatives elected by the actual landowners of the district.
The irony of the controversy is that neither of the Ward County district representatives was opposed in their elections. In fact, only one of the seven member districts had a contested election this year.
Whether or not a district must be a water improvement district to be a member of the Red Bluff Board is the central question in the lawsuit filed by Red Bluff against Ward 1.
Red Bluff contends in its petition, filed by Scogin, that the law demands all member districts be water improvement districts. Ward 1 disagrees.
Scogin did not quote any specific legal language in his petition that states such a conversion prohibits a district from being a member district for the purpose of electing a representative to the Red Bluff Board, but referred to the 1933-34 law that created the authority for districts such as Red Bluff.
The law is titled “Government and Control of Water Power Control Districts and Water Improvement Districts” and is also known as Article 7807d.
According to Ward 1’s retained attorney Glen Jarvis of McAllen the law has not been modified or repealed and it still controls the issue.
Scogin agrees in his petition.
Ward 1’s response to the Red Bluff suit is that Article 7807d uses the terms water improvement district and irrigation district in conjunction and specifically provides for the inclusion of both improvement and irrigation districts throughout the language of the law.
Scogin declined to comment on the details of the lawsuit but said, “It’s just a matter for the courts to interpret” the law dealing with voter eligibility for the seven Red Bluff sub-districts.
Tom Nance says the anticipated judicial determination really matters.
“We (Ward 1) converted to an irrigation district so that the actual landowners who are affected by the actions of the Red Bluff Board can have a say in the function of the board,” Nance said.
“When Red Bluff was organized farming activity was considerably greater than it is today and most farmers lived on their farms. Now very few farmers live on their farms and very few if any people actually live in the water districts,” Nance said.
“The situation has been that Ward 3 did not have a single eligible voter so that the representative to the Red Bluff Board had to be appointed.”
“I have been involved with farming with this river water off and on my entire life. Since I did not live in the district where my farm was located I did not have a vote in who would represent my interests to Red Bluff. All I could do is order and pay for water through the district,” he said.
Nance said that he has been dissatisfied with the performance of the Board for years and wants to see some changes.
Specifically he said that the Board’s action or lack of action regarding the Malaga Bend Salt Reduction Project has left him dissatisfied.
“This program should have come to realization years ago. Instead we are just now seeing a benefit and tons of salt have been dumped into the river because of the lack of activity of the Red Bluff Board,” he said.
The suit is pending in Ward County District Court and is named Red Bluff Water Power Control District vs. Ward County Irrigation District No. 1 - 04-05-20749-CVW.
Summer camp offered to youth
The Odessa College Continuing Education Division offers youth an exceptional learning adventure this summer through “The Real World,” an all-day youth enrichment camp. Students entering 4th grade through 12th grade can register for this summer youth leadership and life skills camp. Through numerous activities and community service projects, “The Real World” will teach personal self-assessment, team building, and development of trust and communication skills.
“The Real World” summer camp begins Monday, June 21 and goes through Thursday, July 15, and students may choose to attend camp all-day or half-day. Camp activities will be held at various locations on the OC campus beginning at 8:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday.
Late registration will be possible Monday, June 14 through Wednesday, June 16. Applications to attend camp may be picked up at the Continuing Education office located on OC campus in Deaderick Hall, Office 101.
Scholarships and payment plans are available for students to attend “The Real World” summer camp. Those planning to attend on scholarship must fill out an application for evaluation. Funds for scholarships are dispersed to students wanting to attend on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Funds for scholarships are dispersed to students wanting to attend on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Continuing Education has worked with professional educators, youth program directors and students to determine what area youth need for personal enrichment. An assortment of activities has been prepared to enhance students’ individual and team building skills.
In addition to the curriculum of leadership, service awareness, and community agency activities, students may choose one or two electives.
Electives include “Gooey Science Experiments” for students to learn how to build, create and experiment with anything and everything! In “Beauty Basics 101,” students learn about facials, manicures, hair and pedicures from professional stylists and beauty consultants. Taekwondo is also available and teaches self-defense as well as the history and philosophy of the sport. Additional electives also include Guitar, Art, Spanish, Build Your Own Computer and more
Classes are offered to develop life skills as well as to learn about other cultural traditions and languages. These include “Did you get the job?” which focuses on finding and keeping a job, self-concept and motivation, job interviews and dressing for success.
“Home Repair and Renovation 101” allows students to learn around-the-house tasks such as how to put up sheetrock, mend holes in walls and lay tiles. “Mexican Folklore Dancing” teaches students the traditional, communal dancing that has been passed down through generations in the Mexican culture, and “Level I Spanish Conversation,” is open for students to learn usable Spanish in a short period of time. All of these classes and more will be offered during the camp.
A “Family Day” will be held at Woodson Park the last day of camp. Students will participate in sports and field day activities and enjoy a cook out. Students will also showcase newfound talents and present class projects for parents and family to enjoy that evening at the camp’s closing festivities.
For more information on “The Real World” summer camp, call 335-6305 or 335-6580.
Marriages for April 2004, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Bernabe Garcia Almendarez and Gloria Vasquez Gonzales.
Jorge Orlando Rivero and Elizabeth Barrera Mendoza.
Marriages for May 2004, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
John Randall Cole and Sarai Galindo Garcia.
Paul Esparza and Veronica Parra Rivero.
Divorces for May 2004, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk’s Office.
Daniel Orosco and Guadalupe Orosco.
Ignacio M. Rodriguez and Aurora G. Rodriguez.
Marie Carmen Villanueva Thomas and James David Thomas.
Elma N. Vasquez and Pedro L. Vasquez.
Elodia Cortez Rodriguez and Salvador Roman.
Samir A. Patel and Teresa S. Patel.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff’s Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.
Francisco Salcido Menchaca, 31, was arrested at 4:08 p.m., May 31, for theft and evading arrest.
Angie Salazar, 17, was arrested at 8:03 p.m., May 30, in the 700 block of Oleander, for DUI.
Ramon Salazar, 21, was arrested at 1:48 p.m., May 30, for evading arrest and failure to identify, in the 1300 Block of South Oak Street.
Rudy Renteria, 32, was arrested at 2:16 a.m., on May 29, at the corner of Third and Cedar streets for public intoxication (enhanced).
Rafael Carillo, 19, was arrested 10:44 p.m., on May 28, at the corner of Fourth and Eddy streets, on a Reeves County Sheriff’s Office Warrant for burglary of a motor vehicle.
Belinda Kristy Contreras, 18, was arrested at 12:59 p.m., May 27, at Lamar AEP, .for enticing a child.
Gonzalo Armendariz, 34, was arrested at 11:14 p.m., May 26, at the Adult Probation Office, for a warrant for theft by check.
Michelle Carrera, 18, was arrested at 9:47 a.m., May 25, at the corner of South I-10 Service Road and Kerr Road, on a warrant for contempt of court and on a warrant for minor in possession of alcohol.
Maria Escontrias, 42, was arrested at 9:30 a.m., May 25, on the corner of Highway 17 and Lindsey, on a warrant for speeding in a school zone.
Tracy Coleman, 38, was arrested at 11:28 p.m., May 24, at the Town and Country Convenience Store, 1219 S. Cedar St., on a warrant for no seat belt and a warrant for no liability insurance.
Mariano Rico Jasso, 17, was arrested at 7:44 p.m., May 22, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut streets for public intoxication.
Abelardo V. Marquez, 29, was arrested at 12:22 a.m., May 21, at the 2200 block of Missouri Street, for assault family violence and evading detention.
Rufina Hernandez, 55, and Ormero Hernandez, 46, were arrested at 3:53 p.m., May 21, both for failure to identify. The couple was picked up at La Tienda Thriftway for trying to shoplift.
Rene Quinones, 18, was arrested at 7:51 p.m., May 20, at the corner of Eighth and Martinez streets, on a warrant for possession of drug paraphernalia and a warrant for possession of a controlled substance (marijuana).
Kristy Contreras, 18, was arrested at 5:34 p.m., May 19, in the 1400 block of South Plum Street, for burglary of a habitation.
Fabian Orona, 19, was arrested at 7:17 p.m., May 16, in the 1300 block of South Cypress Street, for evading arrest, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.
Rosa Hernandez, 40, was arrested at 2:11 p.m., May 16, at the corner of Second and Elm streets for DWI, refusal.
Sotero Navarrette, 59, was arrested 11:56 p.m., at La Club on East Second Street, on a warrant for possession of alcohol beverage open container.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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