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North Fresno Water District Reverses Course, Rejects Nominee for Vacant Board Seat



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Amanda Castro entered the Pinedale County Water District happy on Monday, perhaps a smile hidden behind her mask. A vote to appoint her to a vacant seat on the board seemed like a formality.

After all, she received a 4-0 vote last week from the board. But, because of a problem with her voter registration, the board had to vote again. Its decision last week was invalid. Although she lives in the district, a requirement to be appointed, her voter registration address did not match her actual residence address.

Amanda Castro

Castro fixed the problem and the board was set to vote again.

But, the board split 2-2 in its latest vote on Monday night regarding Castro’s appointment. It failed as a result, and the board seat remains vacant.

“That was a fault of my own, that I’m willing to acknowledge that I should have been more on top of what was in my control,” Castro said after the meeting. “I was a little shocked and disappointed that it didn’t happen, but overall, it was a good learning experience.”

Two Directors Change Votes

Board directors David Rodriguez and Brad Peranick changed their votes from last week. Both offered no comment when asked why.

Director Tyler Mackey expressed his frustration during his comments.

“The only thing that changed in the room was politics,” Mackey said. He referred to a GV Wire story last week about the vacancy and transparency in the district. “I’m deeply disappointed and troubled that and with no change in the world, something changed in the room.”

Zach Baroni, who won an uncontested election for the seat last November, apologized to his colleagues. Last week, he joyously tweeted that with Castro on board, “progressives” now have a majority. He called it a “rookie mistake.”

“I think I was possibly ill-advised to make the tweet I did. And I apologize if that swayed your guys opinion at all. I don’t have any goal other than good governance,” Baroni said.

Pinedale County Water District board members Brad Peranick (left) and David Rodriguez. (GV Wire/David Taub)

The Turnover Continues

Vacancies on the board are common for the small water agency that serves about 2,500 customers in north Fresno.

In the last five years, the board has seen 10 different directors, with six vacancies filled by appointments. There has not been a competitive election for a board seat since 2007.

The board was considering Castro to replace director Carlos Aguilera, who resigned on Dec. 31.

Castro said she would consider applying again, or run when the seat is up for election in 2022.

One other person previously applied for the vacancy — Robert Bagdasarian, owner of Kings River Winery. He said he was approached last week after Castro’s residency issues arose, but he declined the offer of an appointment.

According to PCWD attorney Neal Costanzo, because the district did not fill the vacancy within a 60 day period, the appointment decision now goes to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Their decision is required within 90 days.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email