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By Tammye McDuff
The swearing in ceremony for the Water Replenishment District [WRD] of Robert Katherman as Division 2 Director and the Albert Robles Division 5 Director was held at WRD’s Southern California headquarters on Thursday, January 5.
The meeting began with election of new officers for 2017. Newly sworn in Director Robert Katherman was voted in as President; John Allen, Division 3 as Vice President; Sergio Calderon, Division 4, Secretary; with Director Albert Robles voted in as Treasurer.
WRD of Southern California is the regional groundwater management agency that protects and preserves the quantity and quality of groundwater for two of the most utilized urban basins in the State of California. The service area is home to over four million residents, nearly half of the Los Angeles County, across 43 cities.
Twelve years ago the WRD embarked on a program to make the ground water supply completely and locally sustainable by developing recyclable water resources and capturing more storm water. WRD announced that they are just shy of two years away from making this vision a reality.
Compton City Councilmember Isaac Galvan administered the Oath of Office to Director Katherman with Galvan calling Katherman his good friend, brother and mentor. “Back in 2013, when I first became a Councilmember, it was my first entry into politics. I looked to Robert to give me guidance, advice and help me keep myself out of trouble. If I have a question about the agenda, or a project he is always available to explain things. Katherman has been a major supporter for me. I truly admire his work ethic and his passion for the WRD.”
Robert “Rob” Katherman was elected to the Board in 2004, he has more than 30 years of experience in land use planning, environmental impact analysis and governmental and community relations. He is Chair of the Water Resources Committee and member of the Groundwater Quality Committee. Director Katherman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering, and an M.P.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from Cal State University in Long Beach, California.
“I want to simply note that Director Robles and I have already begun to keep our campaign promises to you by bringing more water to you via the sky,” joked Katherman, “our motto this year at WRD should be Keep the WRD great! My goal is to make sure this happens and to monitor our water supply for the next 20 years, we are coming up on the 50th anniversary for the WRD…stay thirsty my friends!”
California Assemblymember Blanca Rubio, 48th district, gave the oath of office to Albert Robles, “This is Director Robles seventh term. Albert and I have been colleagues for 23 years. I give him credit for my career. I remember I would complain about what was happening in my city. Albert would then ask me – what are you going to do about it. If you are going to complain then you need to take action.” Rubio went on to say,” Albert said the beginning of change comes with putting your own self out there and standing up for the community. He kept after me and finally I registered to become part of the Water District. I would not be an Assemblywoman if it weren’t for encouragement from Albert. ”
Robles was first elected to the WRD in 1992 and served tirelessly for the past 25 years and is the youngest Director ever elected to the WRD Board of Directors. He also bears the distinction of being the most senior member serving on the Board. He is chair of the Finance/Audit and Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Committees. In addition, Director Robles has a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California, where he was a USC Merit Scholarship recipient and presently serves as a mentor for other USC graduate students. He also served as a United States Congressional Fellow in Washington, D.C. and received a Jurist Doctorate Degree at the University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law. Robles concluded saying, “There have been many changes since I was first elected. I care deeply about the water of California and the WRD and am honored to continue to serve this great agency. We are now on schedule and on budget to build the best waste water treatment plant in the world. We will be opening the plant in just about 18 months.”