Why the Water Authority Threatened LAFCO Over a Tweet

Politics

Why the Water Authority Threatened LAFCO Over a Tweet

Tweets sent by the Local Agency Formation Committee
Tweets sent by the Local Agency Formation Committee / Illustration by Megan Wood

This post originally appeared in the May 15 Politics Report. Get the Politics Report delivered to your inbox.

The Local Agency Formation Committee, the agency responsible for determining the jurisdictional boundaries of public agencies, known as LAFCO, posted a series of tweets on Friday that were, well, weird.

“This brief thread responds to concerns raised by the San Diego County Water Authority (@sdcwa) regarding a recent retweet by San Diego LAFCO,” the tweet clarification begins, with a commendable level of deadpan humor, we assume.

Yes, LAFCO tweets. And it apparently is so spicy on Twitter.com that it has to retract its tweets. We were very intrigued. What had the Water Authority said to LAFCO to cause this?

We found out: Earlier this week, we published an op-ed from representatives from the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal District explaining why they want to leave the San Diego County Water Authority to join a different agency in Riverside County.

The LAFCO Twitter account retweeted a link to the article, alongside a seemingly anodyne comment in which it promoted an online video of a discussion of the issue the op-ed was about.

LAFCO is the agency that reviews these sorts of issues — like whether agencies can break apart.

The Water Authority was not pleased: Its lawyers sent an immediate take down demand with an implied threat to sue. “This appears to be a conflict of interest, in which LAFCO appears to be endorsing the position of agencies who have a pending application before LAFCO. Our firm and the Water Authority General Counsel called LAFCO counsel at about 10:00 a.m. today as soon as we saw the Twitter post, and demanded that it be immediately taken down by LAFCO.”

This seems a bit oversensitive. The LAFCO tweet was an awkward promotion of its own discussion on the matter. Probably didn’t need to share the op-ed.

The Water Authority felt that was nefarious and demanded that LAFCO explain its tweet. The lawyers said they believed LAFCO was biased on the matter. They said it had already complained after representatives from Rainbow and Fallbrook bragged about having already “pre-arranged” detachment from the Water Authority with LAFCO.

LAFCO’s mea culpa tweets were meant to diffuse this threat.

“San Diego LAFCO’S action to retweet the article was 100 percent aimed at redirecting a Twitter conversation to the actual work of the Ad Hoc Committee and in doing so meet the intent of constructive social media usage in connecting the public with information,” it continued.

They didn’t agree to stop tweeting though. LAFCO has got a brand to maintain. The agency said it’s going to continue using social media to “connect the community with relevant information and resources that fall within our boundary-making and governance-improving strike zones.”

Let this be a lesson to the Board of Equalization, North County Transit District, the Airport Authority or any other obscure agency that thinks it might want to step to LAFCO: don’t.

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