WRM staff had a fa-boo-lous Halloween

For more Halloween fun, watch this short slideshow
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
November 4, 2019
Legislative Recap on Water Issues
In his first year, Governor Gavin Newsom advanced a broad legislative agenda including many issues that are important to Metropolitan and other water agencies.
A full recap will be presented at today’s Communications and Legislation Committee. Here is a link to the presentation.
By the time the legislative session ended in mid-September, the Legislature had passed more than 1,000 bills. Newsom signed 870 of these bills and vetoed 172.
One major success was passage of Senate Bill 200 (Senator Monning, D-Carmel), creating the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to provide clean drinking water in disadvantaged communities. The funds will pay for technical assistance and operations and maintenance while avoiding a statewide water tax, which was opposed by water agencies.
Of course, Sacramento politics demands a defensive game too. One bill, Senate Bill 1 (Senator Atkins, D-San Diego), sought to prevent federal rollbacks of environmental and worker safety standards. But there was also language in the bill that would have threatened important voluntary agreements Metropolitan and many other agencies are negotiating in order to protect endangered species and water deliveries from the Delta. SB 1 passed both houses of the legislature but was vetoed by Governor Newsom .
Other bills of interest to the water community include new notification requirements if PFAS chemicals are found in water supplies and new funding for Salton Sea restoration activities.
Wetlands Project Will Benefit Salmon, Smelt
More than a century after people began building earthen dikes to block off parts of the Suisun Marsh in Northern California for duck hunting clubs and other purposes, the Tule Red Project has re-opened nearly 420 acres of wetlands to daily tides.
Work on the tidal restoration project - which Metropolitan helped fund - was completed last month.  Video produced by the project consultants
Asst. General Manager Roger Patterson spoke at the ceremony dedicating the project that will allow tidal water to flow more naturally through this region of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 
Metropolitan and other State Water Contractors provided $15 million to create new habitat that will harbor wildlife and boost food production for several threatened or endangered fish species including the Delta smelt, Longfin smelt and Chinook salmon.
In addition to habitat, the restoration work will help increase production of the microscopic plants and animals at the base of the food web that nourishes native fish in Grizzly Bay and beyond.
State and federal water agencies collaborated with the California Department of Water Resources and local landowners. The site will now be turned over to California Department of Fish and Wildlife to manage the site with ongoing funding from the State Water Project.
The project advances California EcoRestore , a state program to create at least 30,000 acres of habitat in the Delta and Yolo bypass areas.

It's a Family Affair for this Father & Daughter Team
 Mitch Lahouti recalls a former general manager saying the reason many Metropolitan employees encourage their children to consider working here is because they want what’s best for their kids.

That is true for the civil engineer who has worked on many of the district’s biggest infrastructure projects over his 28-year career. For years, Mitch urged his daughter to apply for jobs. “It took a long time, but I never gave up,” said Zary Lahouti who is now an Administrative Assistant II in Engineering Services.

Even before getting her job, Metropolitan was a big a part of Zary’s life. She tagged along to company picnics, sporting events and elegant Christmas parties that were held many years ago. “We worked all year to raise money for the holiday event,” Mitch recalls. “It was a special evening” and Zary recalls “getting her hair permed and dressing up for the event.”

Mitch was born in Iran and attended college in Texas. After graduating, he returned to Iran for a few years, but came back to the U.S. during the revolution and eventually found his way to California. Since then, he’s earned a master’s degrees in civil engineering, environmental engineering and business management administration - and admiration from his colleagues for his expert skills in design engineering.

Zary worked in sales – selling everything from motorcycle parts to medical equipment – and was an advertising executive for magazines before coming to Met in 2018.

Mitch plans to retire at the end of 2019 and will travel and may teach. “I’m proud that I’ll be living my father’s legacy here at Metropolitan,” Zary says. “It will be hard to watch him retire but it is my turn to carry the torch.” 
New hires, transfers, promotions & retirements are posted here each month.
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