This article is in a series of “Election Reality Check” pieces about the election for Las Virgenes Municipal Water District. The statements chosen are based on comments made to Westlake Revelations from the candidates (about what the other candidate has said), as well as reader questions.
Polan says Bowman said “Don’t call me”: Did Bowman really say this?
Reality Check: At best, paraphrased. In reality, possibly incomplete.
In a recent Westlake Revelations interview, Candidate Len Polan said that Incumbent Joe Bowman said “Dont’ call me” when a constituents have questions.
This one is tricky.
During a meeting at the Westlake Reservoir in July 2011 about the construction of the water storage tank, then Mayor Ned Davis was invited by LVMWD to make some comments. Davis went over a long list of issues he was concerned about, and at the end, he suggested that residents reach out to their Director with any questions they had (most people in attendance would be in Director Bowman’s district where the tank is to be built).
After Davis finished his comments, Director Bowman took the mic and said:
“I appreciate the Mayor suggesting you call the Directors. Please do not.”
At that moment, there was an audible gasp and murmuring through much if not most of the audience. Some people at the front of the room, laughed. Once the audience settled, Director Bowman continued:
“If you have any questions that you think is appropriate for the District, please call our district offices.
818-251-2100. If you call *me*, I just in turn will be calling the District. You will get a *much* quicker
response if you call the District directly.”
Bowman continued on, and ultimately concluded with:
“If you got any questions, please go to the Staff.”
As you can see from the above, Bowman did indeed respond to the query with a response similar to “Don’t call me” initially. It’s unclear, however, whether the second part of his statement was as a result of the gasp in the room, or if he was just mid-statement when the gasp happened. That’s open to interpretation of the listener, and in addition, whether it matters anyway.
In support of Bowman’s statement, Director Renger added comments that he (Renger) often doesn’t know the right information and would also defer to staff.
Some might note that until the election period we’re now in, Bowman did not outwardly promote people should call or contact him. And while his phone number was publicly available, it did take some digging to find. His election materials, however, have his phone and email easily displayed.
The video takes time to load (it’s almost two hours long), but if you are interested, you can see the video for yourself at: