UPDATED: OCWD Board Approves Power Plant Lease

It’s getting close to the midnight, the public comments have wrapped up and now the 10-members of the OCWD Board of Directors are now making their comments and indicating how they’ll vote. [There were dozens and dozens of speakers, all of whom voiced opposition to the plant. Among them were Anaheim councilmembers Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman, Fullerton Councilwoman Jan Flory, and Assemblyman Travis Allen, as well as Assemblyman Tom Daly’s chief of staff.]

Director Phil Anthony urged his colleagues to listen to the community concerns and vote “no” on the power plant lease.

Director Harry Sidhu said he would be voting “no.”

Director Steve Sheldon is speaking and trying to convince the public in attendance that environmental impacts will be mitigated, and that is will be very attractive when it is done. Now he’s telling the audience that their “business leaders” will put a Target on the site. He’s sounding like a “yes” vote, which is expected.

11:46 p.m.: Director Phil Anthony just made a motion to reject the proposed lease, seconded by Sidhu. Now Director Denis Bilodeau has asked to speak, and is attacking the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce’s opposition campaign, accusing it of a “scare campaign” and telling the audience they’ve been duped. He sounds like a “yes” vote – another non-surprise.

11:54 p.m.: Now Director Cathy Green is speaking, She prepared two statements for tonight – a “yes” position and a “no” position. She’s running through a laundry list of recreational venues that are on OCWD land; I’m assuming this is a testament to establish OCWD as a good community citizen before she reveals whether she is voting “yes” or “no.”

11:58 p.m.: Green said she’s voting “yes,” saying more power generation is needed (which no one is disputing). She points out that there’s a power plant near residences in Huntington Beach (which isn’t really relevant here) and then said he charge is to represent her cities, Huntington Beach and part of Fountain Valley — her direct implication being how it impacts Anaheim and the nearby area isn’t her concern. She then made an alternative motion to approve the lease and “see what we can do to mitigate the impacts” (answer – not much). Bilodeau seconded. This motion will be taken up first.

12:02 a.m.: Now Director Vince Sarmiento is speaking. He’s criticizing the opposition to the power plant proposal, and he said he’s disappointed with the City of Anaheim and how they’ve handled the re-zoning of the Ball Road Basin. Now he is seeing the other side of the coin and the remoteness of the state approval process for the power plant. Now he’s seeing another side, i.e. the revenues to the OCWD, but at the same time what price does that money come with, and finally arrives at a “no” vote based on the absence of local control over the process.

12:09 a.m.: Director Bruce Whitaker speaking, comparing it to the El Toro airport fight. He’s saying they aren’t really voting to approve a power plant, but to allow the power plant proposal to go forward [that might be called a distinction without a difference], and also went on about how daunting and difficult the California Energy Commission (CEC) process (a tacit way of saying it is unlikely to be approved by the CEC).

Whitaker is going to vote “yes” on the power plant lease. [Too bad this is a power plant and not a homeless shelter.]

That leaves Directors Roger Yoh and Shawn Dewane. if either of them vote “yes,” then the lease will be approved.

12:16 a.m.: Board president Shawn Dewane has called the vote on Green’s motion.

Interesting: the district counsel answered Director Sheldon’s question about the agreement as if it had already passed.

The Board approved the power plant lease on a 6-4 vote.

Directors Bilodeau, Sheldon, Dewane, Yoh, Green and Whitaker voted to approve – while maintaining they really aren’t voting for a power plant.

Directors Anthony, Sidhu, Sarmiento and Barr voted no.


  1. Backlash

    • Matthew Cunningham

      What does that even mean, Daniel?

      • The Chamber, among others, have earned a reputation for heavy-handed deceptive politics. Unless the leadership forces a change in how they go about their business the Chamber will increasingly be frustrated in all that it hopes to accomplish.

        • Matthew Cunningham

          Daniel, that “reputation” is only “earned” among the small claque of conspiracy theorists who oppose the Chamber in any case.

          • Matt,
            Putting aside the merits of the argument, it appears that the negative perception of the Chamber is becoming more widespread.
            I am probably too hard on the Chamber; I’m sure it does some ioda of good. Nevertheless, I have come to the conclusion that the Chamber can never be taken at face value. As a voter and policy wonk, I am not willing to accept that state of affairs as politics as usual.
            I’m a pretty genuine non-ideological guy, so it’s not like I have some hidden agenda. Sure I may be ambitious, but taking on the Chamber is hardly the best way to get ahead. So trust me, the Chamber has a serious political problem.
            I don’t think anyone in the game in Anaheim is evil. Moreover, I think there is a decent chance y’ll are doing everything by the book. But something is very wrong, and I’m not quite sure what that is. My guess is that the Chamber is arrogantly playing by decades old playbook without the benefits of internal crticism or constructive push-back from allied electeds. And I don’t think the latter will be forthcoming from Brandman, Murray, Eastmen or Kring… (A product of putting obedience before qualifications.)
            Ultimately, I don’t think the Chamber is going away so, on some level, I’m rooting for you guys. Anaheim has much to gain from a reformed Chamber of Commerce.

  2. You’re a trooper for sticking around that long to listen in on the debate. Sad to see a 6-4 vote against common sense. I would hope for better from our electeds.

  3. Did the three members (Sheldon, Bilodea, Yoh) that violated the opening meeting law get to vote on their own punishment?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *