Sugarloaf resident and DWP customer Bob Ybarra has been among those campaigning for DWP representation beyond Big Bear Lake. He and Denise Proffer were among those to thank City Council for addressing the issue.

Big Bear Lake, CA — Department of Water and Power customers who live beyond the boundaries of the City of Big Bear Lake may have opportunity to serve on the DWP Board of Commissioners—should voters within Big Bear Lake vote in favor of this amendment to the city’s charter on the November 2, 2010 ballot. Prompted by urgings of those who live beyond city limits and represent roughly 40% of DWP’s customers, in Big Bear Valley areas that include Sugarloaf and Fawnskin (and, essentially, all those who do not receive water from the Big Bear City Community Services District), representatives from the City Council and DWP Board formed a joint sub-committee in September 2009, to look into the possibility of allowing all DWP customers to be eligible to apply for appointment (by City Council) to the DWP Board.
This sub-committee included Councilmember Rick Herrick (once on the DWP Board) and DWP Chairman Steve Foulkes (once on City Council), as well as City Manager Jeff Mathieu and DWP General Manager Joel Dickson. As noted before the full Council at their meeting last night (March 8), Foulkes said, “We discussed a variety of alternatives. We don’t want to limit the availability—if we’ve got three good candidates from Sugarloaf, they should be appointed.” That said, the charter amendment ballot language, as initially drafted by city attorney Stephen Deitsch, does not appropriate representation from specific areas, though does state that elected or appointed governing board members with jurisdictional boundaries that overlap the DWP service area would be ineligible. This language had originally indicated that employees of other agencies would not be eligible for appointment to the DWP Board, though Foulkes and Herrick, as well as the full Council, agreed that employees of other agencies should be considered and, per Herrick, “Conflicts of interest will come up during the appointment interview.”
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Jahn was first to vocally support the idea, saying, “I think the proposal is a good one, and I think this particular amendment should go forward.” The full City Council, including Mayor Liz Harris, ultimately was in unanimous support of putting the charter amendment on the November 2 ballot, for vote by Big Bear Lake residents; an official resolution and ballot language will be voted on by Council in June. There will be no additional cost to the City of Big Bear Lake to place this on the Statewide General Election ballot, as a General Municipal Election will also be taking place, as City Council seats for Herrick, Darrell Mulvihill and Michael Karp will be up for vote on November 2.