Congresswoman Alleges People Were Paid to Speak Out in Favor of Water District During Meeting About Brown Water in Compton

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Elementary School on June 18, 2018. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-San Pedro), right, tries to calm the concerns of Compton resident Maria Villarreal during a Water Quality Town Hall hosted at George Washington Elementary School on June 18, 2018. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

At a town hall Monday, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán alleged that people were paid to pose as residents to speak out in support of an embattled water district, marking a strange twist in the ongoing controversy over discolored water pouring out of taps in Compton and Willowbrook.

The Sativa Los Angeles County Water District serves about 1,600 ratepayers in a half-mile area of Compton and Willowbrook. Residents have been complaining about brown-colored water with a foul odor.

Last week, local officials began the process of dissolving the water district. But the district and L.A. County officials insist the water is safe to drink.

Before taking questions about water quality at Monday’s meeting, Barragán (D-San Pedro) showed a Craigslist ad offering jobs in political advocacy to African Americans and Latinos, with pay up to $40 and an additional bonus. The ad did not mention posing as residents of the areas served by Sativa.

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