Rainbow Municipal Water District voter rights are threatened by a takeover by the Fallbrook Public Utility District.
Voluntary negotiations between the two districts to determine feasibility of a “merger of equals” broke down when FPUD refused to agree to division elections to guarantee equitable representation of Rainbow voters on a new board of directors.
Division elections were critical to Rainbow’s board because Rainbow has a more diversified base of ratepayers compared to Fallbrook’s largely urban customer base; for example, Rainbow’s large agricultural community.
When Rainbow legally withdrew from the negotiation, FPUD filed an application to regional authorities (LAFCO) requesting dissolution of Rainbow and an FPUD takeover of Rainbow. If LAFCO approves FPUD’s application, Rainbow voters could be disenfranchised by FPUD’s “at large” elections and Fallbrook’s much larger voter base. Rainbow voters could also lose their existing ordinance that requires that voter approval of new debt.
A hostile takeover of Rainbow by FPUD should be denied by LAFCO.