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Board Members Who Gave Compton Residents Brown Water Are Fighting to Keep Their Jobs

An undated photo shows Compton resident Genoveva Camargo, right, holding water from her tap while activist Maria Estrada displays a sign that reads: "The Sativa Board is corrupt." (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

An undated photo shows Compton resident Genoveva Camargo, right, holding water from her tap while activist Maria Estrada displays a sign that reads: "The Sativa Board is corrupt." (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A Compton water district that could be abolished for delivering brown water is waging an eleventh-hour campaign for its survival.

The push comes after legislation sailed through the state Assembly and Senate last month that would dismantle the Sativa Los Angeles County Water District’s five-member elected board of directors and install a new general manager by year’s end. Lawmakers say the legislation is necessary to ensure Sativa’s 6,800 customers in Compton and Willowbrook quickly receive water free of the manganese that taints the district’s supply.

As the bill awaits a decision from Gov. Jerry Brown before the end of the month, Sativa’s board is launching a bid to save the district — and their jobs — by arguing what’s at stake is not simply water but also democracy.

The leadership of Sativa and other public water systems in California is selected by voters. By ousting Sativa’s leadership, board members say, Assembly Bill 1577 would strip power from voters and deny the elected body its right to a public hearing to plead its case.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.