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San Diego County Water Authority Continues Records Battle With LA

The San Diego County Water Authority today filed a petition alleging the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power failed to release public documents as required by state law.

The case filed in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks a court order asking the DWP to comply with the California Public Records Act.

"LADWP has stonewalled all efforts to obtain public records, leaving the Water Authority no choice but to go to court,'' said attorney Kelly A. Aviles on behalf of the San Diego agency. "The Water Authority tried unsuccessfully for five months to obtain public documents that should have been made available in days.''

LADWP Spokeswoman Joe Ramallo could not be immediately reached.

According to the San Diego agency's court papers, Public Records Act requests were sent on Oct. 28 to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and several of its member agencies, including the LADWP.

The Water Authority wanted to learn more about the meetings of a group of MWD member agency managers believed to be meeting secretly and coordinating votes of the MWD board of directors, according to the petition.

Other MWD member agencies that responded to the Water Authority's request produced tens of thousands of pages of documents, including paperwork indicating such clandestine meetings had been going on since 2009, the petition alleges.

The petition alleges that the records produced by other public agencies "paint a startling portrait of a shadow government with its hands on virtually every major important policy decision to be presented to the MWD board, including the setting of MWD's water rates and charges. Those documents also confirm that employees of LADWP played an especially active role in this MWD Member Agency Managers Working Group.''

The records produced by other agencies also allegedly show that the LADWP spent water ratepayer money to pay consultants and fund a clandestine economic study of the Water Authority's water rates and water transfer agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District, according to the petition.

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