Kinsman Named to Water Board

Cheryl Kinsman

Combining business with pleasure, this week Cheryl Kinsman and her teen-age son were traveling in Greece and coping with 107-degree temperatures.

While there, the newly appointed Laguna Beach County Water District commissioner also will attend a professional conference on turf grasses, tagging along with a sister-in-law scientist expert in nematodes, earthworms that aerate soil, said Kinsman’s husband, Michael.

Though the subject may sound esoteric, new grass varieties that can thrive with irrigation of salty reclaimed water keenly interests water experts, Mr. Kinsman pointed out.

Though this season’s rainfall allayed immediate drought concerns, the Laguna water district as well as neighboring districts in recent years has tried to wean its dependency on its wholesale supplier, the Metropolitan Water District. Efforts include developing alternate sources such as reclaimed and desalinated water to supply its 8,600 residential and commercial customers as well as advocating conservation.

Water use declined 9 percent in the year ending June 30, according to spokesman Chris Regan, and the district became one of five financial partners developing a pilot desalination plant in Dana Point.

Ms. Kinsman, an accountant and former City Council member who lost a bid for re-election in 2008, has financial expertise that will be helpful to the district, said her husband. “I am very interested in continuing to investigate water desalination as one means of assuring adequate water supply for Laguna Beach,” her application reads.

Kinsman was one of 10 applicants for two, two-year terms on the commission, including an open seat as a result of the death of 11-year member Susan Trager.

Applicants are screened to ensure that they meet residency requirements in the district, which was established in 1925 and has 40 employees. It serves a 8.5 square mile area that includes Crystal Cove State Park, Emerald Bay and 21 water reservoirs that hold a 10-day emergency supply.

While the Kinsmans’ principal home in Three Arch Bay lies outside the district boundaries at Wesley Street, since 2005 they have owned a residence on Mermaid Street within the district. “It is in their name and they pay the bill,” Regan said.

Commissioners receive $2,760 annually and attend two meetings a month. They act as advisors to the water board, whose members since 2000 have been the elected City Council members. Their pay is the third lowest in the county, according to a recent Grand Jury report examining the pay and benefits of governing boards of the county’s 18 water and sanitation districts.

Members Kelly Boyd, Jane Egly and Elizabeth Pearson endorsed Kinsman as well as incumbent commissioner Mark Lewis, who also received Mayor Toni Iseman’s support, according to unapproved agenda minutes.

The commission’s other members, whose terms expire next June 30, are Marv Johnson, Debbie Neev and Bruce R. Scherer (ck?).

Other applicants for the appointment included retired consultant Ganka Brown, former Laguna Niguel council member Paul Merritt Christiansen, retired management  consultant Mark A. Fields, sustainable building advisor Gustavo Grad, 46-year resident John Hanby, architect Wes Litzinger, mechanical engineer Steve Manahan and law school professor Frank Visca.

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