Bill Loyko, one of Stockton’s original water watchdogs, is stepping out of the water.
Loyko was a leading force in the Concerned Citizens Coalition lawsuit that successfully challenged privatization of Stockton’s waterworks in the 2000s. The lawsuit also brought a new level of transparency to the city’s Municipal Utilities Department, with the formation of a citizens advisory committee that meets with MUD staff on a regular basis to chew over complex issues, like the big water rate hike approved last summer.
Loyko has been on that committee since the beginning. Today, he announced that he would step down once the City Council finds a replacement.
“We need to expand the knowledge of what we do out to some new people, preferably some people who are younger than me,” Loyko said.
That said, he’s still planning to attend meetings as a citizen.
The Water Advisory Group, as it’s called, is not a widely known committee, but it helped to create a level of transparency that many water agencies outside Stockton, quite frankly, could benefit from.
It’s a way for citizens to have their say before proposals go as far as the City Council level, at which point it may be almost too late to truly influence policy.
I’ve seen Loyko and other members ask knowledgeable and tough questions of city staff. Loyko told me after today’s meeting that he does believe some policies have been made stronger as a result.
Here’s hoping the WAG remains as active as it was under Loyko’s leadership.