Sewer Area 7 Customers favor EOCWD over IRWD 15 to 1!
As the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) decides whether to award the local sewer system to East Orange County Water District (EOCWD) or Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD), the commissioners may want to consider the opinions of the voters in Sewer Area 7 during their deliberative process. And the local residents in North Tustin and East Orange could not be clearer –they overwhelmingly want EOCWD and local control.
EOCWD and IRWD have both guaranteed a rate cut of 50% (from $216 annually to $108 annually). However only EOCWD will maintain the Orange County Sanitation District’s current schedule of cleaning the sewers every year while IRWD has plans to cut the sewer cleanings in half – once every other year. When provided this and other detailed information about the two proposals, local registered voters said they preferred EOCWD to own, operate and service the local sewers by a 15-1 margin over IRWD.
In the late 90’s, wealthy Newport Beach residents combined forces with well-heeled lobbyists and a complicit staff in an effort to build an international airport at El Toro. “LAX-South” was unsafe, unneeded and unwanted and the people who lived in the affected area recognized it and stood up in unity to oppose it. It took an organized effort and several countywide votes, but eventually the people won and the idea of building a 30 million annual passenger airport in central Orange County was defeated for good.
20 years later a similar – albeit smaller – battle is brewing in North Tustin. Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) has a board member and a former IRWD contractor on the LAFCO Commission as well as the support of the LAFCO staff and is attempting to take over the local sewers in North Tustin despite currently serving only 3% of the population. East Orange County Water District (EOCWD) serves 97% of the residents in Sewer Area 7 already and has had an application to obtain the sewers for more than two years. EOCWD does not have any direct representation on the LAFCO Commission like IRWD, but it does have the support of the local cities and community groups in Sewer Area 7 including the Cities of Tustin, Orange and the Foothill Communities Association.
EOCWD was curious what the registered voters of Sewer Area 7 thought, so we conducted a scientific public opinion research survey of 300 randomly-selected registered voters, giving a confidence rating of 95%. North Tustin is known for being fiercely independent so we were not surprised by their support for their local water district, EOCWD. We were surprised however by the intensity of their passion.