‘This community has provided so much success to me, I feel it my civic duty to give back and get involved.’ — Marcus Miceli
The other qualified candidates are Steve Bronack, a technology design professor of Desert Hot Springs, and Steve Grasha, a director on the Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors.
Desert Water Agency was founded as a groundwater management agency in the western Coachella Valley in 1961 and started providing water service to customers in Palm Springs and Cathedral City in 1968. DWA is one of only 29 state water contractors in California. This gives the agency the ability to import water, which is used to recharge the groundwater basin (the main source of water in the desert). DWA currently has about 23,000 domestic water connections that serve approximately 72,000 people (including seasonal population).
Uken Report (UR) distributed identical questionnaires to all three candidates. Bronack was the only one not to respond.
Following are the questions and Miceli’s responses.
UR; Who or what motivated you to run for the DWA Board of Directors?
Marcus Miceli: I got involved in the race as a concerned citizen, property owner, and business owner. I come from a political family, my grandfather was an elected official, City Manager of Kansas City. So, giving back to my community through civic duty has always been a part of my DNA. I believe it is the responsibility of members of the community to get involved and assist in whatever way you can to ensure the community continues long after our stewardship has ended. Reading countless articles about the drought made my involvement with DWA seem like a perfect place to do so.
UR: If elected, what knowledge, experience and/or expertise would you bring to the role?
Marcus Miceli: My education from prep school through grad school emphasized giving back to my community, the motto being “Men for Others.” This is something that has stayed with me throughout my life. My father, whom I often referred to as the first environmentalist, taught me to respect and care for the planet.
I moved to Southern California in the late 90’s working for a Fortune 500 Company in Cardiac Imaging with General Electric Medical Systems. In 2008 I relocated permanently to Palm Springs and have opened and continue to run two businesses here in the valley, both in the real estate world.
This community has provided so much success to me, I feel it my civic duty to give back and get involved. In my opinion, one of the most critical issues facing our desert village is the continued conservation and circulation of inexpensive water, and I want to be involved. As our climate continues to change, rivers and lakes drying up, it is imperative that we have qualified, informed, and engaged representatives addressing these issues, planning for not only our future, but our children’s and grandchildren’s future. It is my opinion that through conservation measures as well as investment in infrastructure projects, we can continue to enjoy this beautiful community for many years to come!
UR: What makes you a better fit than your opponent for the position?
Marcus Miceli: As someone with extensive experience with working in a Fortune 500 company, compromise and collective accomplishment are paramount to achieving anything in a group decision environment. I’ve been leading in this way for many years and believe my specific skill set will directly apply to and assist in many achievements at DWA. I also believe that my extensive background in real estate and development afford me an understanding of the process of discussing growth without addressing the strain that places on our limited water supply. Having the ability to look at issues from 36,000 feet oftentimes brings results that others might not imagine or consider.
UR: Is the DWA doing enough in the area of conservation? Why or why not? If not, what should be done?
Marcus Miceli: The DWA continues to have a tremendous outreach to our community with regard to conservation and has recently added another $2M to our lawn replacement incentive program. We’ve removed more than 11,000,000 sq ft of sod since it began, and we have cut back our water consumption by 20% since 2013. We are on the right track, but there is always more to do! We’re getting more involved with the HOA’s now and that will substantially reduce water use in our community. 70-80% of water use per household occurs outside of the house.
UR: What is your No. 1priority if elected and how will you achieve it knowing you’re only one vote on the board?
Marcus Miceli: My number one priority if elected is to continue the core mission of the DWA which is conservation, recycling, reclamation, maintenance of our existing infrastructure and for myself personally, I want to explore out of the box thinking to address the fact that we are not in a drought, we are experiencing climate change. We need to start to understand that this isn’t an anomaly that it hasn’t rained or snowed much lately, but rather a new pattern of weather. Our resources need to address the ability to capture large amounts of runoff from more extreme rainstorms whereas in the past, we have captured snow melt and used that to bolster our reservoirs. So, capital infrastructure projects that support water reclamation and recycling will be my focus, and I firmly believe most of the board feels the same.
UR: Do you believe DWA and MSWD should consolidate?
Marcus Miceli: Having never served on either board, and understanding the friction that exists between the boards, that is an interesting question. Now that we have been re-districted for lack of a better term, three seats on the DWA Board will now have interests over folks in DHS. My position is one of community. We are not adversaries, but rather we are neighbors, and we need to start thinking as such. We all live in this same valley and as my campaign says, “It is our water, our future and ours to protect!”
- Marcus Miceli: Marcus Miceli