A Saga of Ignored Wells Effects Trees at Mooney Grove Park

A dying tree at Mooney Grove Park. Photo by: Catherine Doe
A dying tree at Mooney Grove Park. Photo by: Catherine Doe

The wells around the county are failing, miserably. And the issue is a lot more complicated than originally imagined. During a meeting with Tulare County Chief of Administration, Jean Rousseau, citizen advocates, Amy Dickinson Campbell and Eric Campbell, attendees learned that a local farmer drilled a new well to the depth of 1,200 feet and struck salt water. That well had to be abandoned and another well dug, not quite as deep.

To add to the complications, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to bypass fair bidding practice laws to declare an emergency at the Bob Wiley Detention Facility and Mooney Grove Park due to well failure.

On June 16, the Board of Supervisors, again, voted unanimously to reaffirm the “emergency” and continue to bypass fair bidding laws. But the vote to bypass fair bidding practices became even murkier as the Tulare County Board of Supervisors tasked their employees to call around for bids. The actual wording can be found in the detailed agenda report dated June 16.

An excerpt stated:

“Since approval, staff has begun the process of contacting well drillers to obtain quotes for the work and will be contracting with an entity shortly. It is unknown how long the repairs will take or the exact project amount will be at this time as a contractor has not been selected.”

Item 16 of Tuesday, June 30, Board of Supervisor’s Meeting states the following:

Declare that the lack of water supply for East Porterville creates an emergency. Declare that constructing a new well will not permit a delay resulting from a competitive solicitation for bids. Declare that constructing a new well is necessary to respond to the emergency. Authorize staff to bypass the bidding requirements as authorized by California Contract Code Section 22050 and hire a contractor construct the well (4/5ths vote required).

Now the wells are failing at the Detention Facility and the concern is that the inmates will not be able to flush toilets or get proper levels of running water, according to Rousseau, and that is why the county leadership called the Detention Facility, along with Mooney Grove, an emergency.

Rousseau stated that, “in his eight years as Chief Administrative Officer, they have never classified anything as an emergency before.”

Rousseau stated that wells are failing all over the county, and it’s only going to get worse. He asked for patience while they work through this debacle.

Amy Dickinson Campbell is a Visalia resident and a member of The Real Mooney Grove Project.

2 thoughts on “A Saga of Ignored Wells Effects Trees at Mooney Grove Park

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  1. Just like “the wells have failed” which is not even properly worded, “wells” don’t fail, it’s either the pump or no water, so incorrect to have County “staff” calling around for bids Someone doesn’t know what the heck their even talking about Having been in the real estate business 11 years and dealing with homes, on properties with wells, it takes someone with expertise to be able to even talk the talk, let alone get an accurate bid from “staff” who don’t know jack about wells I’ll bet the well drillers just love talking with “staff” and trying to figure out what the heck !!And if calling around for bids, what the big show about voting to NOT do exactly THAT Jeez Louise

  2. a Grand Jury report from 2007 addressed the problem of the trees Not being properly watered and cared for Even made “recommendations from” experts, and was sent to the supervisors WHO IGNORED THE ISSUE OF THE TREES NOT BEING WATERED PROPERLY BACK THEN So don’t go to blaming anything other than incompetant County Supervisor,it’s Parks and Rec management, lazy and should be fired groundskeepers, and using MOONEY GROVE as their scapegoat for other projects Let’s start putting the blame where blame is due It’s time Mooney Grove be a higher priority

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