March 16, 2020
24761 Foresthill Rd,
Foresthill Ca., 95631
Foresthill Public Utility District Board of Directors
and Hank White, General Manager
c/o Clerk of the Board, Foresthill Public Utility District
24540 Main Street, Post Office Box 266,
Foresthill, Ca., 95631 Foresthill Ca., 95631
I, Robert Palmeri, apply to the Foresthill Public Utility District Board of Directors for appointment to fill its vacant seat caused by the resignation of one of its members, for the remaining term of that seat. I am a resident of the FPUD district & have been a resident here since 1980. I own my home & mother-in-law home at 24761 Foresthill Rd. since 1983 with my wife of 41 yrs. We raised successfully raised two daughters: Stephanie is the principal of a bi-lingual school in San Jose & Angela works for Child Protection Services in Auburn. I am a grandfather of 5.
I am a retired career union commercial Drywall/ Lather, metal stud framer, & certified welder. I was the former President of the Sacramento Drywall/Lathers Local Union 109L & a delegate of Carpenters 46 Northern Counties Conference Board.
I have property in Michigan Bluff & was the President of the Michigan Bluff Water Company. I am registered to vote & do vote at Foresthill Memorial Veterans Hall where I was honored to be one of the only 2 residents in Foresthill to participate in the remodeling of the Hall.
My education includes study at East Carolina College, Greenville N. Carolina, Pierce College, Woodland Hills, & L.A. City College, L.A., Ca. At Sierra College I studied computer drafting, blueprint reading & estimating.
I retired 14 yrs. ago from RFJ Meiswinkel as their Lathing Superintendent where I supervised projects worth from 5 to 30 million dollars. At the age of 14, I learned what hard work was all about. My father gave me a nail bag & put a hatchet in my hand & put me to work during my high school summers. In my early 20’s I bought a Cessna 180 & went into the Sky Diving business where I logged over 500 free fall parachute jumps.
I like being outdoors, horseback riding, camping & fishing, & 4 Wheeling. I am a member of the Foresthill 4 Wheel Drive Club. At the last meeting I was nominated to be the next President. From 1998 to 2006 I was a professional Tevis Trail Guide for people from all over the world who were considering entering or had entered the Tevis Cup 100-mile Trail Ride. While that was for pay, I sometimes teach horseback riding to family, friends & people just interested generally, maybe trying to decide if they want a horse. I don’t charge for that, but I do enjoy other people’s company when I just go out to ride. During the school years of about 2000-2003 I helped teach grade school children at the old Foresthill elementary school about the Pony Express by dressing up as a Pony Express Rider & picking up mail that the children wrote from the school staff & delivering it to the children on horseback. I have completed the Tevis Cup 5 times with a 3rd place finish in 2000. Also the Virginia City 100 mile ride in 2010 with a 2nd place finish.
To this Board there likely appears two possible conflicts of interest; but neither are conflicts with FPUD or the legal entity, its Board of Directors. Rather, it is a differing of opinion in the legality of some FPUD operations that are affecting the entire community. The “conflict” if any, is with the persons who presently occupy the positions of trust as FPUD Board Members and their treatment of a very important policy matter arising out of the California Constitution, Art. XIII C and D, known as Proposition 218 and locally known as the Phantom Meter controversy and the Miners Camp lawsuit. I have been billed for years for a phantom meter to my mother-in-law house on my single property which was occupied by my mother-in-law until she passed away two years ago. My opinion on that issue is that the creation of phantom meters violates Prop. 218 while the entire board has expressed the opinion that it does not. But my opinion on that can hardly be called a conflict because it is in line with the Miners Camp Court’s opinion and a growing number of appellate court opinions.
While the phantom meter controversy is important, the entire Board has continuously supported FPUD’s legal right to bill for phantom meters and that has cost FPUD hundreds of thousands of dollars and threatens to cost much more in the future. That is what one sided opinion which admit of no reasonable alternatives do: Sometimes you get away with it, but when you don’t, it costs much more than the onesided opinions were ever worth. The Board needs members with alternative opinions of the legality of its present position and how to solve the problems that its one-sided narrow mindedness has created to fulfill another of FPUD’s important policy missions: That of being open & truthful with the District it serves in its assessment policy & practices, & the legality of those practices under relevant law including proposition 218.
The “conflict” is not just my claim, but many residents have or may have like claims arising out of like basic facts and law. They have not been represented by the past or present makeup of this Board. In effect, instead of a conflict of interest, I represent a substantial minority or even majority when the full measure of facts and law be told, of those who FPUD serves, & given the issue, billing for phantom meters, I represent the many persons who are billed either directly or indirectly, for phantom meters that charge property owners double or more times the lawful rate for water.
The issue of billing for phantom meters has become very complicated, involves apparently very large attorney fees, & it won’t go away. Having a person on the board who has that same problem with the FPUD can give the board insights & a different perspective that can be instrumental to solving the problem, which otherwise might get worse.
The single most important issue in our disagreement is the good faith commitment of each Board Member to the Oath to Support the California Constitution, Article XIII C and D included.
Respectfully submitted this 16th day of March 2020 __________________________
Robert A. Palmeri