Steve Kronick, attorney for Mammoth Community Water District confirmed reports that Judge Randall is assigned to the court case in which the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has challenged Mammoth’s water rights.
The official announcement of that judicial assignment is scheduled for a status conference in Mammoth Court Thursday, May 10 at 9:30am. Randall is the judge who sat on the Hot Creek Lawsuit jury trial and on the more recent writ issued to force Mammoth to pay its $43 million debt. His assignment comes as the result of LADWP’s filing of a change of venue motion and then acceptance of an assigned judge.
LADWP lawyers had at first tried to have the case moved to Fresno, but then in front of a packed courtroom the lawyer said DWP would settle for an assigned judge to hear the case in Mono County. Mono Judge Stan Eller agreed.
Attorney Kronick said that “There are opportunities to challenge assigned judges. He said, “We are evaluating the situation.” Kronick said that the status conference on May 10th is on and will be conducted by phone. He said attorneys will discuss the assignment of the judge on this case and another matter.
Kronick said the other issue for the May 10th hearing is a 60-day extension for the Water District to submit a certified administrative record of the Mammoth Creek fishery flow EIR.
Meanwhile, letters have gone to the Los Angeles City Council, the LA Mayor and the LADWP commissioners asking them to reconsider the untimely and burdensome legal attack on Mammoth’s water rights. The Mammoth Town Council, the Mono Supervisors and Mammoth Community Water District President Tom Smith have all sent letters to LA officials.
The Alpine County Board of Supervisors will also send letters to LA officials supporting the water district and Mono County. The Water District has also posted information on its website about how citizens can fight back against LADWP. Check it out at www.mcwd.dst.ca.us.
Local officials contend that LADWP’s lawsuits are not the proper arena for challenging Mammoth’s water rights. The lawsuits attack the EIR on fishery flows in Mammoth Creek and the water district’s Urban Water Management Plan. DWP alleges that Mammoth’s Water District has no standing to develop either document since Mammoth has no water rights in Mammoth Creek.