RAW: LADWP seeks change of court venue from Mono County to Fresno, after suing Mammoth's water district

After suing Mammoth Community Water District for access to water rights on Mammoth Creek, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is now trying to change the court venue from Mono County to Fresno, according to district manager Greg Norby. A change of venue hearing will be held in Mammoth at the courthouse on April 12. It is open to the public. Below is Norby's letter regarding this issue:

Mammoth Lakes and Owens Valley Community Leaders,

As most of you are aware, the City of Los Angeles (LA DWP) has recently filed two lawsuits against the Mammoth Community Water District, seeking to invalidate our water rights for surface water supply from Mammoth Creek. The District considers these lawsuits to be without merit, and is taking aggressive actions to defend the community’s water rights. These water rights, properly issued by the State of California, go back nearly 50 years, and have been put to beneficial and well managed use by the community. The consequences of LA prevailing in these lawsuits would be severe and long lasting for our community. LA DWP has recently filed a number of court motions related to these lawsuits in Mono County Superior Court, one of which seeks to change the court venue from Mono County to Fresno County, where LA’s attorneys believe the Fresno area courts will be more sympathetic to their water grab. The District believes strongly that Mono County water issues should be adjudicated in Mono County, where the fullest appreciation of the impacts of any legal decisions can be expected.

The change of venue hearing will be held on Thursday April 12, 9:30 AM, at the courts building in Mammoth Lakes. I urge you to attend the hearing, and/or to ask your friends and neighbors to do so, to demonstrate to the presiding judge and Judicial Council (which decides on the venue change request) that this case is of critical importance to the citizens of Mammoth Lakes and the larger Mono County community, and should rightfully be heard in the local courts.

If you have questions about the lawsuits, the actions the District is taking, or what you can do to help stop LA’s water grab, visit our website at http://www.mcwd.dst.ca.us/CityofLALawsuits.htm for more information. Thanks for your support in resolving this critical challenge to our community’s future.

Greg Norby