Next week, the Mammoth Community Water District board will meet in closed session to discuss the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power lawsuits that threaten Mammoth’s water rights. Meanwhile, a new out of area judge has been assigned to hear the case in Mono County, Mono’s Assemblywoman has sent out a letter opposing the suits and Water District customers have received a mailer on the lawsuits.
Water District Manager Greg Norby said that Judge Garbolino was assigned to the case and apparently DWP has not objected. The Water District did earlier protest the assignment of Judge Roger Randall since he had also presided over the original Hot Creek lawsuit jury trial against Mammoth and over MLLA’s petition to demand payment of the $43 million lawsuit debt.
Norby said Mono’s Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen has sent a letter to her Assembly colleagues in the Los Angeles area to oppose the lawsuits and reach reasonable settlement. Olsen wrote that DWP’s lawsuits “attack the community’s water rights going back over 60 years, and will force both agencies to spend scarce ratepayer dollars in costly and protracted litigation.”
Olsen also wrote that “LADWP is pursuing a legal strategy that is clearly designed to muscle Mammoth into capitulating to an unreasonable, unjustified, and unaffordable purchase of replacement water.” Manager Norby had earlier said DWP wanted Mammoth Water District to buy and give to LA the same amount of water that Mammoth diverts from Mammoth Creek. That could equal an expense of around $2 million.
Norby also said that Water District customers and property owners have received mailers urging community action to oppose the lawsuits. The Water Board has tentatively scheduled a closed session for next Monday.