It would be under- standable for a layman to not understand that the maintenance is a labor-intensive task; it is, however, puzzling to read those comments from a former BIMID director. Perhaps this is one of the reasons Mr. Cornfield received so few votes for his last bid for re-election.
I would suggest that instead of complaining that too much is being spent on manpower, a more direct argument that would have more populous support would be: "Do we have the right manpower?" or more directly: "Is the current district manager qualified for that position?"
Rather than addressing that concern directly, Mr. Cornfield suggests that the directors of BIMID "stop listening to the district manager." To whom would Mr. Cornfield recommend the directors listen? I sure hope the suggestion would not be to listen to the handful of malcontents, such as those who attempted to cause a panic this last winter by telling elderly patrons at the Post Office that they were to evacuate the island!
I would suggest that we need to spend more on manpower, but that we need to be sure that we have manpower with the appropriate qualifications.
It is also disturbing that Mr. Cornfield would indicate that the board should stop spending money on lawyers, when it appears that much of the expenditures for lawyers was a result of the actions of Director Goodson, who arguably appears to be Mr. Cornfield's protege.
I too encourage that you attend the BIMID meetings, if you can bring yourself to suffer through the duration, and then you can then decide for yourself if the actions of Mr. Cornfield from the audience and Ms. Goodson from the board are conducive to ensuring our levees are being adequately maintained by the most qualified personnel, or if their actions are just combative just for the sake of being combative.
I am further concerned that the actions of Cornfield, Goodson and their small but vocal group of followers have had the opposite consequences than that of their stated goals.
Unfounded legal challenges direct time and money away from levee maintenance. Further challenges to a single local water company under local control, allowing instead an unlimited supply of water to come from off the island, will result in uncontrolled development.
(Developers cannot build without having adequately sized utilities … Why do you think DUC was so willing to give $2 million for BIMID to relinquish their authority over water supply?)
Opposing BIMID's quest to control out to the middle of the river surrenders local control over to the county. (Do you really want Contra Costa County officials who are unfamiliar with Bethel Island making decisions affecting your waterfront property?)
Mr. Cornfield is correct in that the residents of Bethel Island need to get more involved with their local government, especially with BIMID. If you do not like their choice of district manager, let BIMID know. If you do not want BIMID to be the coordinating entity for municipal services other than levees and ditches, let them know that too.
I also encourage each of you to take each BIMID election seriously and take the time to understand how the actions of each BIMID board member affects the safety and security of our island. It is not enough to vote for a person who claims to have your same goals; you must understand the ramifications of the actions that person intends to take. As we have seen, actions do not always lead to the results that were claimed to be expected.
We need to remove the power from those who take such pleasure in causing conflicts between the residents of "Battle Island" and give power to those who have shown they will take that battle to those outside forces that are trying to take over our island.
Whether it be from developers, outside water companies, the county, the state or the forces of nature, our island and our homes are under constant attack, and we need to have the correct personnel in place to lead those battles on our behalf.