Election 2020: Karl Seckel for Municipal Water District of Orange County

John Earl
Surf City Voice

For my small part in the effort to bring sanity to Orange County politics, and to prevent the financialization of our local water boards by Poseidon Resources as it pimps its $1 billion desalination scam from one politician to the next, I wholeheartedly endorse Karl Seckel for a seat on the Board of Directors of the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), representing Div. 4 including Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, and Seal Beach.

Karl Seckel testifying before the State about the Poseidon ocean desalination project for Huntington Beach. Poseidon and other special corporate interests have spent $68,000 so far to elect his opponent, Stacy Taylor.

MWDOC sells imported water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MET) to 28 Orange County water districts.

Seckel is currently the District Engineer and Assistant General Manager at MWDOC, from which he is retiring after 37 years.

Seckel’s opponent, Stacy Lynne Taylor, has worked in public relations under various titles (currently “water policy manager”) for 10 years at Mesa Water in Costa Mesa.

Allan Mansoor

(Technically, Seckel is also running against Allan Mansoor, a barely memorable career politician and the former Minuteman mayor of Costa Mesa. In 2013, as a member of the State Assembly, Mansoor signed a letter of support for the Poseidon ocean desalination project proposal. He has little if any relevant water policy experience at any level. Suffice to say that he has absolutely none of the qualifications that Karl Seckel has for the job of waterboard director. That’s it.)


*Karl Seckel has been a real water policy manager for MWDOC for 37 years as its engineer and assistant general manager.

*Karl Seckel holds a Master of Science Degree from the University of Maryland and is licensed by the state of California as a civil engineer. His opponent, Stacy Taylor, has a Bachelor’s Degree in economics from UCLA where she also took extension classes in marketing and communications.

*Karl Seckel supervised construction and maintenance of major water infrastructure projects, including the Allan McColloch Pipeline (AMP) that runs from Yorba Linda to Mission Viejo to deliver water to 11 agencies. His opponent, Stacy Taylor, has no known water infrastructure experience.

MWDOC Divisions

*Karl Seckel negotiated an $85 million refund form the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MET) for the sale of the $100 million AMP. And he was involved in building, financing, and operations of several AMP expansions. His opponent, Stacy Taylor, has no known similar experience.

*Karl Seckel brought about a consolidation accord between MWDOC and the old Coastal Municipal Water District in the late 1999, improving water management efficiency in the combined areas. Stacy Taylor, his opponent, has no such experience.

*Karl Seckel’s decades of relationship building with the MET, which supplies imported water to the region, gave him unequaled working knowledge of MET policies and operations, allowing him to better serve the needs of MWDOC’s 28 water agencies. His opponent has no such experience.

*Karl Seckel helped conduct reliability studies for emergency water deliveries and general water reliability. His opponent has no such experience.

*From 2004 to 2013 Karl Seckel led research efforts toward possible construction of a subsurface ocean desalination plant on Doheny State Beach. The project would supply up to 15,000 acre-feet of reliable drinking water for south Orange County water districts that have to import most of their water. Subsurface technology is far less damaging to marine life than the surface intake technology that Poseidon would use, which causes mass destruction of marine life. Seckel’s opponent Stacy Taylor, on behalf of her employer Mesa Water, campaigned for and supports the Poseidon project.

Karl Seckel gives a tour of the Doheny pilot subsurface intake ocean desalination plant

*In 2018 Karl Seckel produced the Orange County Water Reliability Study. It examined Orange County’s water supply needs into 2050 and compared various water reliability alternatives to meet those needs, including the proposed $1 billion Poseidon Resources ocean desalination project for Huntington Beach.

The Poseidon project would kill masses of marine life, increase greenhouse gas emissions, and cost ratepayers three times as much for the same amount of cheaper water they already get from the MET. The main beneficiaries would be outside investors, not Orange County ratepayers.

Seckel’s study directly compared eight water reliability supply alternatives for the Orange County basin, including the Poseidon project, which ranked a distant last in every scenario.

From the 2018 Orange County Water Reliability Study

Seckel’s 2018 Water Reliability Study proves that the Poseidon project isn’t needed. In doing so, it also undermines Poseidon’s 20-year-history of trying to spend its way to victory with millions of dollars worth of misleading and false marketing, political campaign contributions and campaign smears, lobbying, push polls used to pressure elected officials, and by co-opting former environmentalists like Barbara Boxer.

From the 2018 Orange County Water Reliability Study

In a concise white paper, Seckel rejects the Poseidon project. “Let me say right up front that I believe the Poseidon Project is NOT a good solution to water availability issues facing our region and not a good project for our area….It will cost the local residents much more than the value we might receive from it.”

Stacy Taylor, Karl’s opponent, has supported the Poseidon project for 10 years as Mesa Water’s public relations specialist–enthusiastically spinning facts to gain public acceptance for the project was part of her job.

In contrast to Karl Seckel’s transparent response to voters’ questions about the Poseidon scam, Stacy Taylor has been evasive and misleading. Do not be fooled by her false claim that MWDOC will not have a vote on the Poseidon project, which is being led by the Orange County Water District (OCWD), the agency that manages our groundwater basin.


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If Poseidon gets its permits from the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Coastal Commission, the OCWD will have to go through MWDOC to sell Poseidon’s water outside of its north-County service area; or if it pumps the water into the groundwater basin, thus forcing unwilling water districts to raise their rates, OCWD could be sued for illegal taxation under Prop 2018.

Also, the OCWD has to go through the MWDOC Board of Directors to get a $399 million public subsidy that Poseidon needs to make its project viable to investors.

To sell its water, Poseidon needs a compliant board of directors at MWDOC. And it would certainly also like to prevent anymore studies that downplay the need for its project.

Right now, Karl Seckel is Poseidon’s biggest single obstacle to its greedy quest for profit for itself and its investors at the ratepayers expense.

Campaign flyer falsely states that Stacy Taylor has “decades” of experience as a nebulously titled “Water Policy Manager”. In fact, she has held that title for less than two years, based on Mesa Water online records and her work throughout her one decade at Mesa Water has been in public relations under a succession of four titles, Communications Manager (2010), Public & Government Affairs Manager (2016), External Affairs Manager (2018) and Water Policy Manger, starting date unknown.

That’s why Poseidon VP, Scott Maloni, and other corporate special interests, picked Taylor as the beneficiary of $68,766 of “independent expenditures” (a legal euphemism for “I own you”). That’s $36,308 from Poseidon and $32,458 from billionaire Kieu Hoang and Behr Paints tycoon John V. Croul.

Close up of Stacy Taylor flyer showing donors of “independent expenditures” that funded it.

In fact, Poseidon is trying to buy off the entire MWDOC board majority as well as seats on the OCWD and Mesa Water by spending $147,792.46 (as of Oct. 19).

Seckel writes in his Poseidon white paper that, “These expenditures are legal…but are they right?”

Of course they’re not right. Vote for Karl Seckel anytime between now and Nov. 3rd.


Election 2020: MWDOC Candidate Stacy Taylor Punted for Mesa Water’s $89 Monthly Desal Tax Proposal

Mesa Water’s Reliability Celebration: Misuse of Public Funds? Looking Back to 2013

Bad Branding: Mesa Water District’s Marketing Scheme Backfires: Looking Back to 2013

Was $290,000 Mesa Water PR Fee Worth It? Looking Back to May 2013

Mesa Water Weeds Out Terrorists and Unwanted Journalists: Looking Back to 2013

Mesa Water Vanity Leads to Questionable Consulting Fees: Looking Back to 2013

Mesa Water: ‘Plz Don’t Circulate this Story!’ Looking Back to 2013

Ratepayers Picked Up the Tab for Mesa Water’s Fiduciary Fumbles: Looking Back to 2013

Does Mesa Water care what you think?: Looking back to 2012 with Afterthoughts


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