Alfred Valrie has 17 years of government experience at the Los Angeles Unified School District
The other candidate is Gerald McKenna, a retired civil engineer also from Desert Hot Springs.
Uken Report (UR) reached out to both candidates with a series of questions to help voters get to know them better.
Following are Valrie’s responses.
UR: Who or what motivated you to run for the MSWD Board of Directors?
Alfred Valrie: I decided to run for the DWA board when I saw the opportunity in local media. I figured that with my background in law, government, water, Sustainability, and education that I would have much to contribute. I consider DHS to be “Brigadoon.” DHS is one of the few communities left in SoCal where a family of decent means can buy a clean, comfortable, turn-key home, and I’m proud to be a DHS citizen. When I found that I would be a candidate for the central district known as DWA District 2, I jumped at the opportunity because these are the people I see every day at the grocery store, gas station, bank, and car wash.
UR: If elected, what knowledge, experience and/or expertise would you bring to the role?
Alfred Valrie: My background is 17 years in government at the Los Angeles Unified School District. I project managed water fixture retrofits and rebates through the Metropolitan Water District and Cal Water when I was at LAUSD. Water and electricity became a passion of mine while I was there. I was tasked with keeping LAUSD’s massive $20M LADWP water bill from rising to $25M. I partnered with the MWD, the LADWP, and Cal Water to deliver millions of dollars in water fixture rebates to the LAUSD. I am the former Program Manager of the CA Prop 39 Student Energy Audit Training Program at the Los Angeles Unified School District. I was also the lead accountant for the photovoltaic rebate program at the LAUSD. I am a graduate of Dartmouth College (B.A., 2001)., Cal State LA (M.A., 2014), and Western State College of Law (J.D., 2021). I brought in millions of dollars in water, photovoltaic, and other rebates for the LAUSD in addition to being involved with the following programs:
UR: What makes you a better fit than your opponent for the position?
Alfred Valrie: I’ve built an entire career on translating from “government-speak” and bureaucratic jargon to the everyday language that people can understand. My whole career is built on customer service and people-oriented community liaising. I’m the only candidate in this race who can translate from “engineer-speak” to “community-speak.” I’m the only candidate in this race with a vested interest in seeing that all stakeholders—DHS citizens, DHS government and city council, MSWD, and DWA—reach a common ground of mutual understanding. I’m also proud to announce that I’m the only candidate in my race to receive the endorsement of the Desert Valley Builders Association.
UR: Is the DWA doing enough in the area of conservation? Why or why not? If not, what do you believe should be done?
Alfred Valrie: DWA does a fantastic job of being responsive to water cuts coming from the State of California and the Bureau of Reclamation. If you look at DHS on a map, however, we’re ground-zero in the Coachella Valley for “brown landscaping.” I’m interested in the concerns of District 2 constituents who believe that DHS doesn’t have much “water cutting” to do because we are already skimping on water for landscaping and recreational use. I would seek to ensure that water conservation cuts are balanced between DHS, Palm Springs, and Cathedral City on the basis of existing water use habits.
UR: What is your No.1 priority if elected and how will you achieve it knowing you’re only one vote on the board?
Alfred Valrie: My No. 1 priority on Day 1 is making sure all DWA stakeholders feel heard, listened to, acknowledged, and validated. The future of DHS and the Coachella Valley flows through Sustainability and sustainable-use practices. To that end, I will seek to bridge the “freeway gap” between DHS and Palm Springs by:
- Reaching out to PSUSD and DHS high school to invite small groups of students to occasional student tours of DWA facilities to introduce students to potential future water jobs and Sustainability careers
- Seeking to heal the decades-long rift between DWA and MSWD by ensuring that future agreements are fair to all parties
- Balancing the needs of my District 2 in DHS—which is 50% Hispanic and middle/lower middle class—with the needs of an agency ensconced in one of the wealthiest cities in the United States
UR: Do you believe DWA and MSWD should consolidate?
Alfred Valrie: I do not believe DWA and MSWD should consolidate. Competition is a good thing! MSWD offers the lowest water retail rates perhaps anywhere in CA, and DWA does a fantastic job being responsive to the needs primarily of Palm Springs citizens. Besides, DWA does not treat and process sewerage, so the bifurcation of sewage processing between the City of Palm Springs and MSWD would further confuse people in DHS whose water bills and property tax bills include costs for the building out of citywide sewer services.
- Alfred Valerie: Alfred Valrie