University of California Berkeley
Regional Oral History Office University of California
The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California
East Bay Municipal Utility District Oral History Series
John B. Reilley
WATER RIGHTS AND LEGAL ISSUES AT THE
EAST BAY MUNICIPAL UTILITY DISTRICT, 1951-1983
With Introductions by
John W. McFarland
Frank E. Howard
Interview Conducted by
in 1995 and 1996
Copyright O 1997 by The Regents of the University of California
Since 1954 the Regional Oral History Office has been interviewing leading
participants in or well-placed witnesses to major events in the development of
Northern California, the West, and the Nation. Oral history is a method of
collecting historical information through tape-recorded interviews between a
narrator with firsthand knowledge of historically significant events and a well-
informed interviewer, with the goal of preserving substantive additions to the
historical record. The tape recording is transcribed, lightly edited for
continuity and clarity, and reviewed by the interviewee. The corrected
manuscript is indexed, bound with photographs and illustrative materials, and
placed in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, and in
other research collections for scholarly use. Because it is primary material,
oral history is not intended to present the final, verified, or complete
narrative of events. It is a spoken account, offered by the interviewee in
response to questioning, and as such it is reflective, partisan, deeply involved,
All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal agreement
between The Regents of the University of California and John B.
Reilley dated March 27, 1996. The manuscript is thereby made
available for research purposes. All literary rights in the
manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to The
Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. No part
of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written
permission of the Director of The Bancroft Library of the University
of California, Berkeley.
Requests for permission to quote for publication should be
addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 486 Library,
University of California, Berkeley 94720, and should include
identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated
use of the passages, and identification of the user. The legal
agreement with John B. Reilley requires that he be notified of the
request and allowed thirty days in which to respond.
It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
John B. Reilley, "Water Rights and Legal
Issues at the East Bay Municipal Utility
District, 1951-1983," an oral history
conducted in 1995 and 1996 by Germaine
LaBerge, Regional Oral History Office, The
Bancroft Library, University of
California, Berkeley, 1997.
John B. Reilley, 1980.
Courtesy of Elson-Alexandre
REILLEY, John B. (b. 1916) EBMUD Attorney
Water Rights and Legal Issues at the East Bay Municipal Utility District,
1951-1983. 1997, viii, 130 pp.
Childhood and education in East Bay; B.A., St. Mary's College, 1938;
J.D., Boalt School of Law, UC Berkeley, 1941; Alameda County Public
Defender's Office under Willard Shea; East Bay Municipal Utility District,
1951-1983: litigation and negotiation for Mokelumne River water, general
counsel's office, contract with U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for American
River water, EOF v. EBMUD, 1977-1990, unionization and affirmative action,
reflections on board members and general managers; California drought of
1976-1977; overview of water law and environmental concerns.
Introduction by John McFarland, General Manager (retired), East Bay
Municipal Utility District, and Frank Howard, Attorney for EBMUD (retired)
Interviewed 1995-1996 by Germaine LaBerge for the East Bay Municipal
District Oral History Series, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft
Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Underwritten by the East Bay Municipal Utility District.
TABLE OF CONTENTS --John B. Reilley
INTRODUCTION by John W. McFarland i
INTRODUCTION by Frank Howard ii
INTERVIEW HISTORY ill
WATER RESOURCES SERIES LIST v
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION viii
I BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION 1
Parents and Grandparents 1
Elementary Schools in Oakland and St. Mary's High School 2
Father Employed by EBMUD 4
Alameda County Public Defender's Office 4
Applying for Work at EBMUD 6
St. Mary's College, 1934-1938 7
Boalt Hall School of Law, 1938-1941 10
II WORLD WAR II, EARLY CAREER, AND FAMILY 12
Naval Duty, 1942-1946 12
Willard Shea and Experiences as a Public Defender 13
Janet Ruggles Reilley and Family 18
The Mokelumne River and the Lodi Decrees 21
Overview of Water Law 22
III LITIGATION FOR EAST BAY MUNICIPAL UTILITY DISTRICT, 1951-1966 25
Interview with Louis Breuner 25
Annexations for Expansion Program, 1955-1965 26
Aesthetics of Water Tanks 28
Hearing Before Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors 29
Recreational Facilities at the Reservoirs 30
Sacramento Representation 31
Fish and Game Negotiations 32
Relocation of Calaveras County Roads 33
Joe Sidas and the Third Mokelumne Aqueduct 36
The Zuckennan Lawsuit 37
Collaboration with Fine EBMUD Engineers 38
Unforeseen Conditions in Contracts 40
IV EBMUD BOARD OF DIRECTORS 42
Before the Brown Act of 1959 42
Louis Breuner as President 44
After the Brown Act 46
Change in Election Procedure and Board's Vision 48
A Sample of Board Meeting Issues 50
Labor and Contract Disputes 50
Various Duties of EBMUD Attorney, 1966-1982 51
Bob Kahn and the "Friendly" Suit 52
The Drought of 1976-1977 54
Relationship with Department of Water Resources 57
More on Board Members 58
Succeeding Hal Raines as General Counsel, 1966 60
Reporting to the Board 62
V AMERICAN RIVER PROJECT, 1968-1990 64
Negotiations with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 66
Trips to Washington 67
Agreement with Other Interested Parties 69
Environmental Defense Fund v. EBMUD, 1977-1980 70
State of California's Involvement 70
Course of the Trial
Personnel of the Bureau and the Contract 76
Source and Quality of the Water
The Washington Presence 79
Issues in the Controversy 81
Consultants in the 1990s 82
Interested Users in the American River 83
Board Support 84
VI VARIOUS ISSUES 86
Hal Raines and the Camanche Project 86
More on Counties of Origin Law and the American River Project 87
Consultant to the District after Retirement 89
General Managers 92
John McFarland 92
Jack Harnett 93
Pricing Structure of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 93
More on Jack Harnett 95
Jerry Gilbert 95
Double Duty as Acting General Manager 97
Federal Regulations 99
Balancing Environmental Guidelines and the District's Needs 101
Land Use Master Plan, 1970 102
Water Management Plan, 1972 104
Water Rights Review Commission, 1977 105
Issues of the 1976-1977 Drought 107
Tax Issues 108
Various Professional Organizations 109
Urban Water Management Planning Act, 1983 112
Change in Water Law over the Years 114
TAPE GUIDE 116
Introductionby John W. McFarland
Jack Reilley joined the legal staff of EBMUD in 1951, after serving
from 1947 as Assistant Public Defender of Alameda County.
He originally worked on acquisition of rights-of-way for Camanche
Reservoir and the Mokelumne aqueducts.
Jack Reilley was appointed EBMUD General Counsel May 1, 1966.
His outstanding contribution was heading up the acquisition of vital
new water rights from the American River. This took a total of seventeen
years, and involved court activity in the California and United States
Supreme Courts as well as superior courts.
Jack Reilley retired in 1983.
The almost endless litigation finally ended in a favorable decision
on January 2, 1990. Implementation of the American River water rights is
now an important EBMUD program.
John W. McFarland
General Manager (retired), EBMUD
Introductionby Frank E. Howard
For more than seventy years the General Counsel of the East Bay
Municipal Utility District has faced issues that have shaped the legal
history of California. The role of EBMUD attorneys in securing and
protecting water rights has added important chapters in the annals of
Wetsern water law. In addition to the accomplishments in water resource
development and protection, the water district's attorneys have been
involved in landmark decisions in many areas of public law, including
eminent domain, taxation, land use planning, public contracts, and
municipal financing. With the creation of the Special District and
construction of wastewater treatment facilities, EBMUD lawyers began to
face new legal issues in areas which subsequently became the environmental
law development of the sixties.
The period from 1953 to 1973 brought major annexations to the EBMUD
service area. This triggered needs for major facility expansions and a
supplemental water supply. The "flip side" of these needs were new legal
challenges as well as increased state and federal regulatory requirements.
The seventies and eighties brought new legal issues in public employment,
municipal financing, and environmental control and challenge.
In 1995, the district asked The Bancroft Library of the University of
California, Berkeley, to conduct an oral history series of the General
Counsel's Office. The Regional Oral History Office proposed to interview
leading lawyers for the district to record and preserve their memories.
The primary sources available for the project, Harold Raines, John B.
Reilley, and Robert Maddow, enjoyed careers which spanned almost the entire
seventy-year history of EBMUD. They were three of only four attorneys who
led the legal department since its formation in 1923. By recording the
personal recollections and anecdotal observations of those directly
involved in the major legal and legislative contests of the district, the
written records will be amplified and strengthened to the benefit of future
managements, historians, and the public in general.
Frank E. Howard
Attorney at Law
Walnut Creek, California
April 11, 1997
Interview History-- John B. Reilley
The Regional Oral History Office has long been interested in California
water issues. In 1991, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) asked
ROHO to interview Walter McLean, a civil engineer who specialized in water
resources engineering. So we were delighted when Frank Howard, representing a
group of retired EBMUD attorneys, engineers, and managers, approached our
office suggesting a project to document the history of water rights litigation
and legislation from the standpoint of EBMUD. The idea was to begin with
interviews of Harold Raines, John B. Reilley, and Robert Maddow, all former
general counsel of the district. The EBMUD Board of Directors accepted a
proposal drafted by Frank Howard of the Friends of Western Water Law and with
the board's funding, we began to document the work of EBMUD 's general
I first met Harold Raines and Jack Reilley in August 1995 for a
preliminary conversation about their background and the goals of the oral
histories. Harold Raines had hired Jack Reilley to be the East Bay MUD's
litigator in 1951, and it was obvious the two attorneys have high and warm
regard for each other and the district they served. Mr. Reilley, a graduate
of St. Mary's College (1938) and of UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law
(1941), was enthusiastic about the project.
Five interviews were recorded on December 19, 1995, January 22, January
30, February 28, and March 27, 1996, in Mr. Reilley 's Rossmoor home. His son
Jim was in and out between classes at law school, as was the companionable
Siamese cat who liked to play with the recording equipment. His tan corduroys
and golf sweater suggested his other great interestgolf . The atmosphere was
relaxed for the tape-recorded conversation, based on an outline developed
jointly. For background material, I consulted various sources at the Water
Resources Center Archives at O'Brien Hall on the Berkeley campus; spoke with
former colleagues; visited the EBMUD Records Office at the Oakland
The nine tapes were transcribed in the Regional Oral History Office,
lightly edited, and sent to Mr. Reilley for his approval. He made very few
changes and returned the transcript promptly. The interviews were corrected
and indexed at our office.
Many thanks to Frank Howard who gave impetus to this project and to the
East Bay Municipal Utility District for financial support. For introductions
to this volume thanks go to John McFarland, retired general manager of the
East Bay Municipal Utility District (1950-1968) and Frank Howard, retired
member of EBMUD 's legal department.
The Regional Oral History Office was established in 1954 to augment
through tape-recorded memoirs the Library's materials on the history of
California and the West. Copies of all interviews are available for research
use in The Bancroft Library and in the UCLA Department of Special Collections,
The office is under the direction of Willa K. Bam, and is an administrative
division of The Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley.
Regional Oral History Office
The Bancroft Library
CALIFORNIA WATER RESOURCES
The following Regional Oral History Office interviews have been completed by
the Regional Oral History Office, a division of The Bancroft Library. The
Office was established to tape record interviews with persons who have
contributed significantly to the development of the West. Transcripts of the
interviews, typed, indexed, and bound, may be purchased at cost for deposit in
Single Interview Volumes
Adams, Frank (1875-1967) Irrigation engineer, economist
Irrigation. Reclamation and Water Administration. 1959, A91 pp.
Banks, Harvey (b. 1910) Director, Department of Water Resources
California Water Prolect. 1955-1961. 1967 82 pp.
Beard, Daniel P. (b. 1943) Staff Director, House Committee on Nat. Res.
Passage of the Central Valley Prolect Improvement Act. 1990-1992: The
Role of George Miller. 1996, 67 pp.
Downey, Stephen W. (1876-1958) Attorney
California Water and Power Attorney. 1957, 316 pp.
Durbow, William (1886-1958) Manager, irrigation district
Irrigation District Leader. 1958, 213 pp.
Gianelli, William R. (b. 1919) Director, Department of Water Resources
The California State Department of Water Resources. 1967-1973.
1985, 86 pp.
Golb, Richard K. (b. 1962) Senator Seymour staff
Passage of the Central Valley Prolect Improvement Act, 199U1992; The
Role of John Seymour, 1997, 136 pp.
Graff, Thomas J.(b. 1944) Environmental Defense Fund attorney
Yardas, David (b. 1956) Water resources analyst
The Passage of the Central Valley Prolect Improvement Act, 1991-1992;
Environmental Defense Fund Perspective. 1996, 133 pp.
Harding, Sidney T. (1883-1969) Professor of Irrigation, UC Berkeley
A Life in Western Water Development. 1967, 524 pp.
Hedgpeth, Joel (b. 1911) Marine biologist
Marine Biologist and Environmentalist; Pycnogonids, Progress, and
Preserving Bays. Salmon, and other Living Things. 1996, 319 pp.
Jones, Herbert (1880-1970) California State Senator
California Government and Public Issues. 1958, 318 pp.
Lambert, Charles F. (1887-1959) Land promoter, irrigation district official
Sacramento Valley Irrigation and Land. 1957, 83 pp.
Leedom, Sam R. (1896-1971) Newspaperman, water project administrator
California Water Development, 1930-1955. 1967, 83 pp.
Leopold, Luna B. (b. 1915) Hydrologist, educator
Hydrology, Geomorphology, and Environmental Policy; U.S. Geological
Survey. 1950-1072. and UC Berkeley, 1972-1987. 1993, 309 pp.
Mason, J. Rupert (1886-1959) Municipal bond broker
J. Rupert Mason on Single Tax. Irrigation Districts, and Municipal
bankruptcy. 1985, 372 pp.
McLean, Walter R. (b. 1903) Water resources engineer
From Pardee to Buckhorn; Water Resources Engineering and Water Policy in
the East Bay Municipal Utility District. 1927-1991. 1993, 330 pp.
Nelson, Barry (b. 1959) Save the Bay director
The Passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, 1991-1992:
Executive Director, Save San Francisco Bay Assocation. 1994, 88 pp.
Peltier, Jason (b. 1955) Manager, Central Valley Project Water Association
The Passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, 1991-1992:
Manager. Central Valley Project Water Association. 1994, 84 pp.
Raines, Harold (b. 1901) EBMUD attorney
Water Rights on the Mokelumne River and Legal Issues at the East Bay
Municipal Utility District. 1927-1966. 1997, 108 pp.
Reilley, John B. (b. 1916) EBMUD attorney
Water Rights and Legal Issues at the East Bay Municipal Utility
District. 1951-1983. 1997, 130 pp.
Robie, Ronald B. (b. 1937) Director, Department of Water Resources
The California State Department of Water Resources. 1975-1983.
1989, 97 pp.
Taylor, Paul S. (1895-1984) Professor of Economics, specialist in reclamation
California Social Scientist. (Three volumes)
Volume I: Education. Field Research, and Family. 1973, 342 pp.
Volumes II and III: California Water and Agricultural Labor. 1975, 519
Multiple Interview Volumes
California Water Issues, 1950-1966. 1981, 458 pp.
(Goodwin Knight/Edmund G. Brown, Sr. Project). Interviews with:
Edmund G. Brown, Sr., "The California Water Project: Personal Interest
and Involvement in the Legislation, Public Support, and Construction,
B. Abbott Goldberg, "Water Policy Issues in the Courts, 1950-1966."
Ralph M. Brody, "Devising Legislation and Building Public Support for
the California Water Project, 1950-1960; Brief History of the Westlands
William E. Warne, "Administration of the Department of Water Resources,
Paul R. Bonderson, "Executive Officer, Regional and State Water
Pollution and Water Quality Control Boards," 1950-1966."
Save San Francisco Bay Association. 1961-1986. 1987, 220 pp.
Barry Bunshoft, Esther Gulick, Catherine Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin.
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, 196A-1973.
Interviews with Joseph E. Bodovitz, Melvin Lane, and E. Clement Shute.
1986, 98 pp.
Interview in Process; Robert Maddow, for the East Bay Municipal Utility
District Series (water rights and legal issues).
For other California water-related interviews see Land-Use Planning and
Sanitary Engineering lists.
Regional Oral History Office
Room 486 The Bancroft Library
University of California
Berkeley, California 94720
(Please write clearly. Use black ink.)
Your full name ^> C fifa %f?At>y
Date of birth ff/Vfr //
Father's full name
Mother's full name M AR\.l A^/Ct
Your spouse *J ANfT *1A*/ R
\.l A^/Ct* f'
J t ftui
Where did you grow up?
.A .). ^
Areas of expertise
Other interests or activities (^. Q<.
Organizations in which you are active
I BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION
[Interview 1: December 19, 1995
Parents and Grandparents
LaBerge: We usually like to start with the beginning of when and where you
were born and your family background, so why don't you tell me
Reilley: Yes, I was born in Oakland, California, on August 16, 1916. My
dad's name was John H. Reilley. He was also a native of
California, of Oakland. His father was a native of San
Francisco. So, we've been residents of the Bay Area for quite a
number of years. My mother was born in San Francisco and she
came to Oakland after the earthquake and fire in San Francisco.
LaBerge: What was her name?
Reilley: Her name was Mary Alice Brady. That's my middle name, Brady.
LaBerge: Oh, a good Irish family [laughter].
Reilley: Yes it was; 100 percent. Her mother and dad were from Ireland.
They came to San Francisco in the early days .
LaBerge: During the potato famine?
Reilley: Well, I'm not sure just the date they got here, but they were
here quite early, of course, much before the earthquake and fire
in San Francisco . My grandfather Brady came across by
train. The story goes that they got separated in Nebraska. My
r This symbol (it) indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has
begun or ended. A guide to the tapes follows the transcript.
grandmother came on by herself with a little baby and then her
husband later caught up with her. He, like a lot of Irish
immigrants, worked on the docks, and ultimately, opened a saloon
and grocery, started to acquire property, and became quite
successful. Unfortunately, he died at a fairly early age.
LaBerge: Did you get to know your grandparents?
Reilley: I knew my dad's father. He was a chief criminal deputy sheriff
in Alameda County.
LaBerge: I wonder if that had any influence on you in what you decided to
Reilley: Probably did, because I lived with my mother and father and my
grandfather when I was six years old for about a year. My dad
LaBerge: What was this grandfather's name?
Reilley: He was also John H. Reilley.
LaBerge: Do you have brothers and sisters?
Reilley: I do not. I'm an only child.
Elementary Schools in Oakland and St. Mary's High School
LaBerge: Well, you grew up in Oakland. Did you go to Oakland schools?
Reilley: Yes, I did. I went to Jefferson Grammar School, Alexander
Hamilton Junior High School, and then I went to Saint Mary's High
School in Albany.
LaBerge: At the same place it is now?
Reilley: Yes, it is.
LaBerge: It was an all boys' school?
Reilley: Then it was.
LaBerge: Only this year has it become co-educational.
Right. It became co-educational this year. Yes, I was born and
raised in East Oakland and lived there, well, I lived there
practically all my life.
Any memorable experiences growing up that you think affected you,
like, for instance, your grandfather being a sheriff, or early
Well, not really. I had a normal growing up of boys,
football in high school.
Did Saint Mary's have a good football team then, too?
They had an excellent football team. They only lost one game in
the last year.
Any particular teacher in high school?
Oh, yeah. Then, almost all the teachers were Christian Brothers
in high school. Being an all boys' school the discipline was a
little bit different than now. If you got too smart they would
rap your ears for you. But, I had a lot of good friends in high
school. It was a very happy experience for me.
Did you always know that you were going to go on to college?
Yes, I did. Actually, I knew I was going to be a lawyer when I
was in junior high school.
Oh really. Now tell me about that.
I don't really know why I did that, but I remember meeting with
the counselors they had a counselor even then, in those days, in
junior high schooland I remember saying that I wanted to be a
lawyer. I think maybe it had to do with my grandfather because
I'd go down and visit him at the courthouse. So, I think maybe
that was it.
Were there particular subjects you liked in school?
Yes. I must say I'm not really much a science fan and I didn't
have very much interest in mathematics, but I liked literature
and reading. Being an only child, I spent a lot of time reading,
so that I have been quite a reader all my life.
Father Employed by EBMUD
LaBerge: Your father worked for the district [East Bay Municipal Utility
District], is that right?
Reilley: Yes, he did. My dad worked for the original water company, the
People's Water Company and the East Bay Water Company, which were
private companies, and then he became a part of the district.
LaBerge: What did he do there?
Reilley: My dad was, what they called then, a chief serviceman, which is
kind of misleading because it gives you the impression that he
did something physicallike connecting services and things, but
that was not what the job entailed. He was kind of a
representative that would go if people wanted to complain about
their water supply, or their meter wasn't functioning properly,
or they had a leak, also to collect delinquent bills and things
of that kind. And he was in charge of that when he retired.
LaBerge: So, he did more personnel-type work then.
Reilley: Well, he was in the field, but it was not physically connected
with connecting up servicesexcept that he would go and collect
closing bills, and maybe somebody wanted their water turned on,
or something of that kind.
LaBerge: Did you ever think that you would also work with the district
Reilley: Never, never. It's amazing but I had never given it a single
LaBerge: That's interesting.
Reilley: No, I had no thought whatever of doing that.
Alameda County Public Defender's Office
LaBerge: How did your father feel when you joined the district?
Reilley: I don't think he was particularly happy about it. I think he
thought that I could do better [laughter]. It's an interesting
side line about how I was hired, too. When I got out of the
navy I was in for four and a half years--! had a brief fling at
a private practice in Berkeley with another attorney. Then I
took an examination for the public defender's office in Oakland.
I passed that. At first they thought there wasn't really going
to be an opening because they had somebody who was already there,
who took the exam, and he was going to get the job, quite
honestly. But it turned out there was an opening, and so Willard
Shea, who was the public defender, offered me a job. I took it
because I really thought I would enjoy trial work. I worked
there, I guess, for about four years, and Willard Shea retired.
So, they gave an examination for the job as public defender,
which I passed with 100 percent they had an outside panelplus
5 percent for being a veteran. So I had a 105 percent, but I
didn't get the job, because old Cliff Wickson, who was on the
[Alameda County] board of supervisors, was retiring from the
board and when he left he wanted to fix up his son, little
Cliffie Wickson. The man who was in the district attorney's
office, George Nye, who came inthere were only two of us that
took the exam- -he had indicated to old Cliff and his son that he
would create a position of investigator for the public defender's
office, which it needed. In any case, old Cliff Wickson--! found
out later by talking to other members of the boardindicated
that, by God, he was going to have that job for his son before he
left, which he did because he bullied the other members of the
board of supervisors in appointing George Nye as public defender.
Briefly thereafter, George created the position of investigator
and appointed Cliffie Wickson.
Well, the members of the employees' association raised such
a fuss that they were not appointing off the civil service list
that they decided to set up an exam. At that time I was still a
member of the staff at the public defender's office and I had an
office right next to George Nye's office. The partitions weren't
very soundproof and I could hear Cliff Wickson and George in
there cooking up what the questions were going to be on the civil
service examination that they were going to give for the
position. So I knew pretty well who was going to get the job,
which is the way it worked out. Needless to say, I was looking
around to go someplace else.
I take it George Nye did not do so well on the exam.
Well, needless to say, he came in second when there were the two
of us. George is dead now. And I don't want to be unkind to
George because he was all right,
figure out how to get the job.
Maybe I wasn't smart enough to
In any case, I was looking around for another job. By that
time I was married and I had a family; I had a little child. I
needed to get some place to work, I had just bought a house and--
Applying for Work at EBMUD
LaBerge: You still had a job, it's just that it wasn't ideal?
Reilley: Well, it was intolerable. Nye wasn't particularly delighted to
have me around either, which was normal. So, I went out to
[University of California at] Berkeley, to the law schoolin
those days law jobs weren't all that plentiful, really. They had
a list of some places. I remember one of them was East Bay
because at that time there was just [Harold] Raines, and he had
one other associate there who passed away.
LaBerge: I remember he said that.
Reilley: Yes, John Deal was his name. He wife, Betty Barry Deal, is a
retired associate justice of the court of appeal, a very charming
person. So, John had passed away unexpectedly. They were
looking for some help, and they wanted somebody who had some
trial experience because I think they were ready to embark on
this expansion program.
LaBerge: You saw the ad when you went over to Boalt [Hall School of Law]?
Reilley: Yes, over there they had, I've forgotten, some kind of a list or
something. I had graduated from Boalt before, just in '41, just
at the outbreak of World War II. They said, what about the East
Bay? So I said, well, I'll go down and find out what it's doing
down there. I remember, John McFarland and Louis Breuner took me
to lunch over at the Athenian Nile Club, which was kind of a nice
place with a view of downtown Oakland.
LaBerge: It's no longer there, is it?
Reilley: No, it isn't. It's been taken over by, I've forgotten who it is,
but the Athenian Nile Club, as such, doesn't exist anymore. I
remember sitting down, having lunch with those two and Louis was
always quite direct at his questions. He asked me a lot of
questions about my background and so on. Then he came to the
point, he said, "You know, your dad works for the district, and
you're going to be on the side of management now, and can you
handle that?" He really ticked me off, because I told him, I
said, "Look, if I'm half the man my father is," I said, "you'll
get a hell of an employee!" He never said another damn word.
Reilley: The next thing I knew, they looked me up, they said they wanted
me to go to work. Fine. I never figured to stay there longer
than about three years because it's just long enough to look
around for something else, to tell you the truth. The problem
was, too, that I had just gone to work for the district. Lloyd
Burke--who also went to Saint Mary's, and who I knew quite well
through the D.A.'s office because he was a deputy D.A., became
the U.S. attorney in San Franciscobecause the Republicans came
in, because [Dwight D.] Eisenhower got elected. Lloyd called me
up and said, Why don't you come over to the U.S. attorney's
office and take charge of the criminal end of the thing? I
thought, Oh, hell, I've given my word to these people that I'm
going to work for them. So, I thought I had to turn him down. I
really was wishing that I was able, but I didn't feel like that
after telling them that I would go to work for them that I could
turn them down. So I gave up on that.
LaBerge: So that was a road not taken.
Reilley: Yeah, right. Lloyd later became a federal judge over there.
He's dead now.
LaBerge: When you went for your interview, did you also interview with Hal
Reilley: Oh yeah, sure, yeah! I talked to Hal. Hal, of course, would
never ask me a question like that.
St. Mary's College. 1934-1938
LaBerge: No! Let's back up to just when you went to college because we
didn't talk about that. You went on to Saint Mary's College.
Had you thought about going any place else, or were you kind of
encouraged to go there after Saint Mary's High?
Reilley: No, I wanted to go to Saint Mary's High School and to Saint
Mary's College because my uncle by marriage had graduated from
Saint Mary's College. My dad's sister's husband, Frank Nugent,
graduated from Saint Mary's and he was trying to encourage me to
go to the college. I had visited the old brick pile where the
college used to be down on Broadway.
LaBerge: Oh, I didn't realize that!
Reilley: Yes. You know where all those used car lots are down below
Reilley: Well, that's where the old brick pile was. They started out in
San Francisco, over on Mission Road and they came over to
Oakland, had the college down there on Broadway, and then they
moved to Moraga.
LaBerge: But when you went there it was on Broadway.
Reilley: No, I didn't. A few years it had been out in Moraga. But, when
my uncle used to encourage me to go, he used to take me down
there to some of the events at the college. I never really
thought of going any place else.
LaBerge: He must have had quite an influence on you.
Reilley: Frank Nugent was quite an interesting man. He was an athlete, he
played baseball, he was a baseball pitcher. He was also quite a
student of literature. He was quite a reader. He was a very
LaBerge: Tell me something about your college experience.
Reilley: Well, I eventually became the vice-president of the student body
and wrote columns in the school paper. Some of these kinds of
LaBerge: Did you play sports there also?
Reilley: No, I didn't because they outgrew me.
Reilley: They became too big and tough.
LaBerge: What was your major?
Reilley: I was an English literature major and a minor in philosophy.
LaBerge: I know you met Joe Alioto there.
Reilley: Joe was ahead of me. He was quite a figure in college. He was
president of the student body. I don't know whether he and Bill
Simon, the fellow that they just named the hall after at Boalt,
Simon Hall? Well, Bill Simon was there. They were classmates,
Alioto and Simon. They were quite, against--
Reilley: Competitors! In fact they ran for the student body against each
other, and Alioto won because Alioto was quite a glib, colorful
guy, where Bill was more of a quiet type person. Of course,
there were a number of Aliotos there. There was an Alioto in our
class. He was also a Joe Alioto. We'd call him Jo- Jo Alioto.
LaBerge: Any memorable teachers from college?
Reilley: Well, yes, Brother Leo, of course, was the star of the campus.
Brother Leo was quite a dramatic type person. Recitations, he
used to hold recitations down at the Oakland Auditorium and in
San Francisco. He would recite poetry and bits of literature- -
quite a Shakespearean scholar. He was kind of the literary star
of the campus. And Professor Hagarty was a philosopher. He was
kind of the resident philosophy professor.
LaBerge: Did you apply for law school straight out of college?
Reilley: Yes, I did. I applied at Boalt, and that's the only school I
applied at, actually.
LaBerge: Did you live on campus at Saint Mary's?
Reilley: No, I didn't. I was a day student. I used to go out on the
Sacramento Northern. They used to have a train that left 40th
and Shafter, and would go directly out to college, and go on the
siding there, and then in the afternoon they would come back into
town. Then it would go on over to San Francisco. At that time,
trains used to run on the San Francisco Bay Bridge, you know.
LaBerge: That's right.
Reilley: The Sacramento Northernthe San Francisco kids would get on the
train over there, and then they would pick us up at AOth and
Shafter, and bring us out, too. In fact, the conductor 'of the
train was a classmate of ours. While the train laid over, he
went to school, and then he would take the train back in. Then
he went out to Cal and took come postgraduate work and became a
member of the staff at the public utilities commission.
LaBerge: What was his name?
Reilley: Lyn Hull.
Boalt Hall School of Law. 1938-1941
LaBerge: Oh, isn't that interesting! Well then, when you went to Boalt,
did you live at home too?
Reilley: I did. Yes, I did.
LaBerge: You spent three years there?
LaBerge: Had you taken any water law classes?
Reilley: No. I had no interest in, or even thought about that a lot. In
fact, see, I graduated from college in 1938, and one year later
the war broke out in Europe. It was very hard for you to think
in terms of what you were going to do immediately after law
school, because most of us were going to go into the service
anyway. But I actually did quite well at law school, as a matter
of fact. I was Order of the Coif, which is the top 10 percent of
law school students in the country. I was associate editor of
the California Law Review.
LaBerge: Do you have any articles published?
Reilley: I have one published in there, but I didn't do as much on there
as I really intended to do.
LaBerge: What professors from law school stand out?
Reilley: Well, we had some pretty notable people. We had McBain, who was
of course the evidence professor.
LaBerge: Is this Turner McBain?
Reilley: He's his father [James Patterson McBain]. I guess everybody in
our class would tell you that the real character was Kidd,
Captain [Alexander] Kidd. He's, of course, well known to
everybody who went there. He was, of course, a criminal law
teacher. He was great in the beginning, when your first year
class was new and he would just absolutely erupt . You'd ask some
question and you'd get this answer which- -
LaBerge: So, Captain Kidd would give an answer.
Reilley: He would just absolutely, just go into paroxysms of exasperation!
It was all part, I'm sure, of a little act that he had, but
everybody was terrorized.
LaBerge: Did you like criminal law, even then?
Reilley: I liked it pretty well, yes. But I really didn't plan on
becoming a criminal lawyer. Actually, criminal lawyers then were
kind of a subculture of the bar. They were not thought of as
being at the level of somebody who represented PG&E [Pacific Gas
and Electric Company], or something like that.
LaBerge: But you didn't have a thought of what you would be doing.
II WORLD WAR II, EARLY CAREER, AND FAMILY
Naval Duty. 1942-1946
LaBerge: Because the war kind of took over?
Reilley: Right. Especially in the last year. Actually I was kind of
riding along on an exemption to finish law school. I finished
law school, took the bar and passed the bar. And that was the
end of any legal practice. I went into the service as a civilian
the day after Pearl Harbor [December 7, 1941], and then I got a
commission in February of '42. I worked in the cable censor's
office in San Francisco. Then they were asking for people who
wanted to volunteer to go for training for sea duty. I
volunteered for that. That is around April of '42. I went back
to Chicago, where they had a school. I went through there
learning the difference between the bow and the stern on a ship.
Then I came out here, went overseas-- joined up with a ship. I
was over there for about fourteen months. Came back--I had
trouble with my lungs. I had pneumonia. So I was at Oak Knoll
[Naval Hospital] . I was sent soon with orders to put a hospital
ship in commission in Long Beach--San Pedro. After commission,
we took that ship out. We were out until after the war was over.
LaBerge: You were just in the Pacific Theater, no definite--
Reilley: Well, I was in the invasions of Leyte Gulf and Okinawa. 'At the
end of the war, of course, we were waiting to invade the home
LaBerge: So you were doing kind of supervisory work in the navy?
Reilley: Well, actually, I was a deck officer and became a seaman. A lot
of people were doing things they never thought they were going to
be doing. I was the first lieutenant on the hospital ship and
then I became the executive officer.
LaBerge: When did you actually get discharged from the navy?
LaBerge: Were you married by this time or not?
Reilley: No. I didn't get married until 1949.
LaBerge: When you got out of the navy, is that when you went into private
Reilley: Yes. I went out, oh, I don't know, not quite a year, maybe,
about a year I guess, in Berkeley, with a man by the name of
LaBerge: And doing just general practice?
Reilley: General practice. I had my one divorce case and I knew I never
wanted to do that again.
Willard Shea and Experiences as a Public Defender
LaBerge: And so, that's when you looked for the job at the Alameda County
Public Defender's Office?
Reilley: Yes. I just saw this circular that came out, maybe it was in the
legal paper or somethingsaid in their ad that they were looking
for people to take this exam. I said, well, why not do it, you
know? So, I did. I took the exam, and passed that. But as I
say, they already had somebody who was there on an interim
appointment and they were going to give him the job. So, I
thought, well, that's just another shot in the dark. Then they
called me up shortly thereafter because one of the other people
in the office had left and they had an opening. Willard Shea
interviewed me--a very interesting man.
LaBerge: How do you spell his last name?
Reilley: S-H-E-A. Willard Shea. Old Willard is now dead, of course. I
remember he interviewed me, and I wasn't married yet at that
time. Willard figured, how old are you, and I said, well, I'm
twenty some-odd, whatever it was then. He thought, how come no
one wants to mess around with this guy--is he going to turn out
to be wearing laced underwear or something? People were a little
less tolerant, I guess, back in those days. I said, no, but I'm
planing on getting married [laugh]
I got through that.
So, I passed muster on that,
LaBerge: Let's go backbefore we turned on the tape we were talking a
little bit more about the Alameda D.A.'s office and Willard Shea.
You were telling a story, first of all, how he defended someone
in the Shipboard Murder Case. Why don't you tell me a little bit
Reilley: Mr. Shea was the first public defender of Alameda County, which I
later worked for. He represented one of the defendants in what
was known then as the Shipboard Murder Case, which was a case
that arose out of a labor dispute in Oakland or in the Bay Area,
I guess. As part of that dispute, a chief engineer of a ship
that was docked in Oakland was killed- -was beaten up and killed.
It was alleged that it was done as part of the union dispute
although I'm not familiar with all of those details. There were
several defendants. The suit was brought by the Alameda County
District Attorney's Office, which was then headed by Earl Warren.
Mr. Shea defended one of the defendants so he was, of course,
well acquainted with Earl Warren. I have to say he had a great
deal of respect and regard for him.
LaBerge: You were telling me also about a young woman you defended when
you were working for Mr. Shea, and Ralph Hoyt.
Reilley: Yes. When Earl Warren was elected to be the attorney general of
the state and left the Alameda County District Attorney's Office,
Ralph Hoyt, who was his chief assistant, was appointed D.A. He
was a very rigid law-and-order man. He later became a judge. I
have an idea that he was appointed by Earl Warren when he became
governor- -I'm not sure about those dates. In any case, he became
a judge and he carried over his point of view from the district
attorney's office to his activities as a judge.
He at one time was sitting as the juvenile court judge in
Alameda County when I was assistant public defender. As I
mentioned, one of the wards of the court, who was brought before
him, was a young woman, who during World War II had been a
resident here in Alameda County. I think she was probably a farm
girl who came out here and got into bad companions and got into
trouble. Because she was under age, she was made a ward of the
court and supposed to be under the supervision of a probation
officer. But she left town and didn't comply with her reporting
requirements. In any case, she went down in the Valley somewhere
and straightened her life out and became married and had
children. This was right after the war, a couple of years, I
guess. So, somehow or other, they located her, brought her all
the way back here to Alameda County and charged her with
violation of her probation.
At the time she was brought before the juvenile court, Judge
Hoyt was sitting and he made it known that he was very outraged
by this and was going to put her in jail, which seemed to be a
rather outrageous result. So, I went back and talked to Willard
Shea. He concurred that he thought Ralph Hoyt would certainly
put her in jail; what we ought to do is see if we could stall the
thing off long enough to get some other judge back there who was
a little bit more compassionate, which turned out to be the case.
Judge Hoyt went back up to the main courthouse and the other
juvenile court judge took over. I'm not sure, but I think it
might have been Judge Shine, who was a very compassionate man and
a very nice man; he took over and we succeeded in having the
young lady continued on probation and she was sent back down to
her family in the Valley. So, that's a rather satisfying result
as far as we were concerned.
LaBerge: I'm glad you told that story because it shows something about
Willard Shea, too.
Reilley: Yes. Willard Shea was a very fine man. Willard Shea was a very
interesting man. He had once been a postal inspector and he was
kind of a self-taught lawyer in a way. He was a very--I wouldn't
say--I'm trying to put it that he was very interested in
conserving money in the interests of the office because he was
appointed as a first public defender--! guess we were one of the
first in the state. He always had the idea that the board of
supervisors was very ambivalent about this and might abolish the
whole thing, you know. He may well have been right. He always
felt that we were existing on borrowed time. We always kind of
had secondhand furniture in the place. I remember he used to sit
in an old office chair but somehow or other the spring was broken
and every now and then he would just kind of flop back and
disappear behind the desk. [laugh] I was always kind of amused
Nonetheless, I must say, I had a lot of respect for Mr.
Shea; he was a very fine man, and very dedicated to his job of
trying to defend people. We only defended people who were
charged with felonies, unlike now when they defend people who are
charged with misdemeanors who can't afford to hire an attorney.
At one time we thought we would have a go at maybe expanding to
take care of people who were charged with misdemeanors, because
they really needed that because they could be sentenced for as
long as a year in county jail. By that time, in Los Angeles they
were representing misdemeanor defendants. Mr. Shea had said, Why
don't you go down to Los Angeles and take a look and see how they
operate down there? So, I did. I went down there and spent a
couple of days with the people in the public defender's office in
Los Angeles and came back and drew up what I thought was quite a
We went downthey had a judge down thereJudge Joseph
Kennedy, a big, old Irishman- -Mr. Shea and myself, we went down
therein those days it was known as the Oakland Police Court.
It wasn't known as the municipal court. This old judge was the
head man of the police court. Frank Coakley, who was then the
D.A., came down, so we all met in this place and Mr. Shea
presented this thing, you know, and this red-faced judge turned
to Frank Coakley and he says, "Frank, we don't want to be doing
this, do we?" Coakley says, "Well, I think we could be defending
just a bunch of old drunks around here," he says, "I don't think
it's a good idea," and that was the end of the meeting! [laugh]
So, we turned around to each other, and we got up, and walked out
and that was it. We never heard another word about it. So, it
was really quite an interesting experience. But, I don't know--
of course since then they have a different view on these things.
LaBerge: Maybe someone found your old paper that you had written and
expanded on it.
Reilley: I don't know. I would doubt that. It certainly was something
that I thought ought to be done, but it was kind of dismissed
LaBerge: Tell me again who Frank Coakley was.
Reilley: Frank Coakley then became the district attorney, and was for many
years, and was actually a good friend of mine. Frank Coakley,
well, I played golf with Frank quite a few times. He was a
bulldog. Frank Coakley was the man who prosecuted the navy
people, the defendants who were charged with mutiny out at the
naval weapons station in Concord during World War II. He was a
commander during the war in the judge advocate's office. Of
course, before that he had been the prosecutor in Alameda County
and was a prosecutor after the war. He prosecuted the sailors
who refused to load the ships after the explosion in Concord.
LaBerge: I knew the name was familiar and now that's coming back to me. I
hadn't realized you were in the public defender's office in its
LaBerge: Mr. Shea has a very short interview in that volume, 1 but he
mentions you and the fact that he expected you to follow him. I
mean, you told me a little bit about that story, that you
expected to get a job also and it was sort of political that you
Reilley: Yes. Well, it was very much so. I don't know whether it still
is, but the public defender's office is a civil service job, or
was, at least, in Alameda Countyalthough they're appointed by
the board of supervisors. They gave an examination when Mr. Shea
was going to retire. He anticipated, and I must say that I did,
too, that I would succeed him. I took the examination; they had
an outside board give it. There were only two of us that took
it: George Nye, who was the deputy D.A., and myself. I had a
score of 100 plus 5 percent for a veteran. I had a score of 105
percent so I felt reasonably confident that I would get the job.
But, Nye was a little bit more astute than I was. He had
arranged with young Cliffie Wickson who got a job up at the
D.A.'s office as an inspectorthey have several people as
inspectors. He told him that if he got the job he would appoint
Cliffie as the chief investigator. The nub of that is, of
course, that Cliffie's father, Cliff Wickson was a mem--.
LaBerge: Okay, Cliff Wickson was a member of the board of supervisors.
Reilley: Yes, he was, and he was retiring from the board. I learned
later, by talking to a man named Jansen, who was also on the
board of supervisors from my district, that Cliff Wickson had
come in before the board members and told them, "Look, I'm going
to have this job," because basically, he was going to fix his son
up before he left. He, in effect, said, well, by God he was
going to have the job, and so the board appointed George Nye to
be the public defender.
Very shortly thereafter the board tried to appoint Cliff to
this new job, which the board also created. The members of the
Civil Service Employees Association raised so much sand over
that, because of the fact that they were going to appoint him
without having a civil service selection process, that then Nye
backed down and fixed up the examination for this job. Part of
that story is that, the office between Nye, who took over the
'Willard W. Shea, "Recollections of Alameda County's First Public
Defender" in Perspectives on the Alameda County District Attorney's Office,
Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, 1972.
public defender's office, and myself, which was ad joining- -the
partitions are very thin, so I could hear him and Cliffie in
there cooking up what questions they were going to ask on the
examination. So, I felt pretty confident that Cliff was going to
pass the examination, which, of course, he did, and was
But, I have to say that creating the job of inspector and
having some inspectors was certainly a desirable one because we
needed them. Up to then we were doing all the investigations
ourselves. But, I felt pretty bad for a while about not getting
that job. A lot of people thought that the reason Nye got the
job over me was because his wife was the daughter of a prominent
writer for the Oakland Tribune, Nancy Bar Mavity.
Can you spell that for me?
Yes, M-A-V-I-T-Y. But, that wasn't the case at all, she had
nothing to do with it. It was actually just a situation where a
member of the board wanted to get his son in a position where he
would be taken care of. That's the way I ended my career as a
Mr. Shea, in about a paragraph, seconds your opinion about that.
So, you'll enjoy seeing that.
Yes, well, I always say I had a great deal of regard for Mr.
Janet Ruggles Reilley and Familyll
LaBerge: Tell me about meeting your wife.
Reilley: Well, she came out here to take a master's degree at the
LaBerge: From where?
Reilley: Where's she from? La Crosse, Wisconsin. She had gone to the
University of Wisconsin, the branch in La Crosse. She was
interested in public health education, the kind of work she was
doing back there, and she wanted to take an advanced degree in
the school out here. I guess it had a good reputation. And so,
she came out here to go to school. We met through mutual
friends. And one thing led to another, right?
LaBerge: And you convinced her to stay in California? [laughs]
Reilley: Well, she liked it in California. She hated cold weather. She
said she had had enough of it. My wife was a terrific golfer. I
don't know how she ever had the patience to put up with me. She
should have been discouraged from marrying me because she used to
entice me to go out and play golf with her and then beat the sox
off me. She was in the finals of the amateurs in golfing, in
LaBerge: Oh, my goodness.
Reilley: --when she was only about sixteen or so. Yes, she was a terrific
golfer, good athlete. Unfortunately, my wife, about five years
after we got married, had polio. That put an end to her golfing
and left her pretty seriously handicapped.
LaBerge: Oh, I guess so. Then you already had four children by then?
Reillfy: No, we had three. She was giving birth to the third child when
she got polio.
LaBerge: What was her name?
Reilley: Janet. Janet Ruggles.
LaBerge: Did you always live in Oakland? Is that where you raised your
Reilley: Yes, well, actually, we lived in Alameda first. When she got
polio we had to sell the place that we had because it had two
stories. We lived for a while in a rented place in Alameda.
Then we eventually built this place up- -you know where Joaquin
Miller Road [in Oakland] is?
LaBerge: Yes. I live quite close to there, in fact.
Reilley: Well, we lived on a place called Buckley Court which is right off
LaBerge: Yes. I know exactly where that is.
Reilley: We lived there for about thirty-nine years. My wife died in
LaBerge: Well, since we're talking about your family, tell me the names of
Reilley: My oldest one is Margaret. My next one is Janet. My son, the
oldest son is John.
LaBerge: John Junior?
Reilley: No, he's John Joseph. And my youngest son is James Anthony.
LaBerge: And he's the one who's in law school now.
LaBerge: I wonder if he's going to follow in your footsteps.
Reilley: I don't know what he's going to do. It's kind of interesting.
We never know. I always ask people how they get into the kinds
of work that they are doing. It's always amazing to me. Very
few people are doing precisely what they thought they were going
to do even though they study to be a doctor or whatever. There's
an awful lot of chance involved in life.
LaBerge: It takes a perspective like yours to realize that.
Reilley: So many young people say, gee, I don't know what I want to be.
You say, what difference does it make? I mean, you just keep
moving ahead, and you'll find something that you really like to
do, then do it, you know.
LaBerge: Did any of your children follow you to Saint Mary's or did your
boys go to Saint Mary's High?
Reilley: Three of them went to Bishop O'Dowd [High School]. My son, Jim,
went there for a year and then he went to Skyline [High School] .
Margaret went to San Jose State [University] and now she is
taking a master's degree at Hayward [State University]. Janet
went to [University of California at] Davis and then went down to
Berkeleygot her bachelor's in English and then went up to
[University of] Oregon and got her master's in journalism. Then
Johnhe's gone to several schools. John went two years to
[University of California at] Santa Barbara and then he went back
to Wisconsin and went to the University of Wisconsin at 'Green
Bay. He met his wife up there. Then he came back here and spent
some time with San Francisco State [University]. Then eventually
he went to Texas, Texas A&M [University], and got a master's
degree in agriculture.
LaBerge: Okay, now he's there in Corpus Christi?
Reilley: Right. Yes. He's got a lot of little Texans down there now,
I expect to see those little guys coming around with
Maybe we'll end there for the day because we've kind of gotten
you to the district, and the next time we can pick up with when
you started working there.
The Mokelumne River and the Lodi Decrees
[Interview 2: January 22, 1996 ]##
LaBerge: We were talking about the district records and how they are still
very pertinent from the days of Pardee.
Reilley: It's interesting how they do come up. In acquiring, for example,
the rights of way for the original aqueducts that came down from
the Mokelumne into the East Baythose days most of it was farm
land, of course- -but they made agreements with the farmers to put
the rights of way through their land. The district required
them. Sometimes to make a satisfactory arrangement with the
farmer, because we're cutting through his property, we'd enter
into some kind of agreement that would let him use part of the
land for various purposes. Later years it would come up as to
what kinds of rights he had to use it.
Also, in acquiring the water rights originally in the
Mokelumne River, the district entered into agreements with PG&E
and also with the city of Lodi and the Woodbridge Irrigation
District. Those agreements, of course, are still very pertinent
because they govern the law of the river. They're consulted even
today, although they're ancient documents as far as age is
LaBerge: Are we talking about the contracts before you came to the
Reilley: Yes. The district had a great struggle to acquire the rights
on the Mokelumne River because PG&E had already developed dam
sites to generate power on the Mokelumne River. And they had
some prior rights. Some rights the district had superior to
theirs. Also, the downstream operators, some of the irrigation
districts, particularly Woodbridge Irrigation District, had old
rights on the river that had to be respected, and the city of
Lodi. So, there was a series of lawsuits that eventually were
resolved or they went up on appeal and came back down to the
trial court. They were settled by a series of agreements that
defined how the district was to operate its facilities and how
the other parties would operate their facilities. They are
collectively known as the Lodi Decrees. The Lodi Decrees are, of
course, very pertinent to this day, although with the changes in
water law they may well be not as critical as they once were, at
least as far as [California Department of] Fish and Gamethe
releases that are required into the river- -are concerned. There
is a development now, what's called public trust in water law,
which seems to override a lot of what's thought to be settled
rights in water law.
Overview of Water Law
LaBerge: Would the settled rights be riparian rights or something else?
Reilley: Well, of course, in California you have a hybrid system of water
law. You have riparian rights which are not as significant as
they may have once been, but they are the rights of the owners
who own land adjacent to the stream. You also have appropriative
rights which you gain by applying for them and getting a license
from thewhat is now known as the State Water Resources Control
Board. Those entitle you to certain rights. There are rights
which were called "ancient rights" which people have had because
of their usage, dating back to before the time when they had
appropriative rights, which are rights that you get from the
State Water Resources Control Board. The question is always how
much of those rights and what's their status and so on. You have
those, really, three sets of people who make claims on the water
I should backup and say that there was a period when
riparian rights could take priority over appropriative rights
regardless of whether there was a comparable use. A
constitutional amendment was passed by the state which said in
effect that there was no right to waste water, but that you had
only a right to the reasonable use of water and reasonable method
of use of it. That constitutional amendment and those provisions
prevailed over all the different types of uses. That places a
restriction on your right. You don't have a right, for example,
to use water just to spray on grape vineyards, for example,
because that compared to some other use, for example, for
municipal use, might be considered a waste of water or an
unreasonable use of water.
Over and beyond that now, we have something which the courts
have developed in fairly recent timesthe public trust in water
--that somehow or other, there is a trust residing in the public
for the beneficial use of the water which overrides any private
right, even those that are acquired by appropriation or riparian
rights, for that matter. In other words, the public has an
interest in the health of the stream; basically, for fish or
perhaps even for recreation.
LaBerge: Would that public trust take precedence over municipal uses?
Reilley: All of these things are still in the process of being unraveled
by the courts. Whether they do take precedence over an existing
public municipal usethere's some doubts about that. You have a
problem too with power generation. If you have a dam or other
facility on the stream to develop use for power purposes, you
have to get a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission, which gives you a forty-year license to utilize the
water of the stream. Overlying all of this is something called
the "waters of the United States."
LaBerge: That's right.
Reilley: They say that when they give you this power license, even though
you might have an appropriative right from the state of
California for the use of water, in order to put up that power
station you have to get a permit from the federal commission.
They put on further conditions as to how you can use them. Also
now, when the forty years is up, as it is in the case of the East
Bay, to get that renewed, they have a lot of new restrictions
which they didn't think of forty years agobasically for the use
of fish and that sort of thing. You have a lot of different
people with their hands in the pie.
LaBerge: So, what East Bay permit is coming up for renewal?
Reilley: That's with the Federal Regulatory Commission for the power
generation which exists at Pardee [Dam] .
LaBerge: At Pardee, okay. Only at Pardee, or anyplace else?
Reilley: Well, the renewal that we're talking about, as far as the East
Bay is concerned, is for Pardee. We also have power generation
at Camanche, but that's more recent.
LaBerge: You really stay up on all these issues.
Reilley: Well, you can't have done something for that length of time
without retaining an interest in it. Of course, I should say
though that it's a general knowledge. You don't have the day- to
day knowledge that you have when you're faced by those problems --
as Bob Helwick, the present general counsel of the district, is
now. He has to sleep with those, you know?
LaBerge: Do you get called as a consultant still?
Reilley: No, not anymore. I did for a few years after I left the
district, for about three years. But after the suit by the
Environmental Defense Fund was settled, I really didn't have much
direct consulting with the district.
LaBerge: I want to remember to come back to that when we talk about your
retirement and what you did, to consultcome back to that suit.
When you were there, were you the one who negotiated, for
instance, what the federal commission, over--
Reilley: At that time we didn't have that particular problem because the
license had not become ready to expire. Actually, it began to
become a problem more when Bob Maddow was there.
LaBerge: It wasn't something you had to negotiate as far as the life of
Reilley: No, the only thing we had to do was get a license for the
facilities at Camanche which had had some low level power
LaBerge: I hadn't realized that the power generating permit or structure
was connected to the federal government. I guess I just assumed
it was run by the state.
Reilley: Right. It's kind of a combined deal because, you see, the rivers
of the United States are not only within the state they're also
considered to be waters of the United States. If you want to
build a dam which is going to have power facilities you have to
get a permit from the Federal Regulatory Commission.
III LITIGATION FOR EAST BAY MUNICIPAL UTILITY DISTRICT, 1951-
Interview with Louis Breuner
LaBerge: In our last interview you told me the story about how you
interviewed for your job with East Bay MUD and how you intended
to stay maybe two years or so until you found something better.
Reilley: Right, exactly. I thought that I would go- -well, let's back up.
When the thing became obvious that I wasn't going to get the job
at the public defender's office, I immediately started to look
around for some other employment. I have to say that, although I
had some prospects, jobs were not as readily available for
lawyers then as they apparently are now. I went out to the
university, to Boalt, where I graduated. I asked them what kind
of prospects they have, any jobs. Well, they gave me a list.
One of them was the East Bay. So, I said, well, I'll go down and
find out what's happening down there. The thing about it is my
dad worked there.
LaBerge: That's right.
Reilley: So, I had this interview that was set up by John McFarland, who
was the general manager, and Louis Breuner, the president of the
board. They took me over to the Athenian Nile Club in downtown
Oakland. We had a very nice lunch and they were probing' me, of
course. Finally, Mr. Breuner got around to trying to broach this
subject as diplomatically as he could. But he, in effect said,
"Well, you know, if you're going to be with the district, you're
going to be a part of management." And he said, "You know, your
dad works for the district; how would you feel about that?"
Well, actually that got me pretty mad, to tell you the truth. So
I told Mr. Breuner, I said, "Well, look, if I'm half as good a
man as my dad is you'll be getting a pretty damn good employee."
Well, that kind of ended the subject there. I left and I
LaBerge: I just blew it? [laugh]
Reilley: [laugh] I'm not sure that's going to work out. But later on,
sure enough, Hal Raines, attorney for the district, called me and
said that I could have the job if I wanted it, you know? So, I
went to work for the district. It was kind of a good time to go
to work for the district, although frankly, as I told you before,
I really didn't intend to stay. I had other ideas. As I
mentioned to you before, my dad wasn't very pleased with me
either. He thought I could do better.
As I say, it was a good time because they were embarking on
a programwhat they called a "ten-year expansion program." That
involved just a lot of construction work, a lot of land
acquisition and a lot of pretty exciting stuff. They were
attempting to acquire further water rights on the Mokelumne
River. Things were interesting and absorbing. And then I just
kind of kept going there.
And then, I guess it was about 1954, my wife got polio and
she was giving birth to my oldest son. We had two other little
children. She was very severely handicapped and was for the rest
of our lives together. So, I wasn't in a position too much to
move, although I don't know that that would have particularly
foreclosed my moving to another job, if my situation in the
district had not been a satisfying one.
As time went on it became obvious at least, I don't know
how obvious it was, but it seemed like it was reasonable to
expect that I would succeed Hal Raines. So that five-year job or
that two-year job, whatever it was, turned into a thirty-year
Annexations for Expansion Program, 1955-1965
LaBerge: When you first came what did you think you were going to be
Reilley: Well, I knew that they were going to need some litigation,
someone who could litigate because they were going to acquire a
lot of land. We were acquiring a lot of land out here in Briones
Reservoir. There was a lot of land being acquired for tanks,
various projects, there were going to be construction contracts,
and things of that kind. Also, the district was expanding,
taking in more territory. That was another problem that pretty
much revolved on me in handling those.
LaBerge: Did that mean negotiating with people?
Reilley: Yes. Actually, what would happen is take an example down below
in San Ramon and Danville. A group of people would want to get
use of the district's water supplies. And then there would be
developers, and then there would be some people who would be
getting the water supply from some other source. They would come
together, come into the district and say, well, how can we go
about doing this? Basically, it would involve a financing
problem, an engineering problem in laying out how to serve them,
a technical problem in how do they organize, how to be annexed.
There are provisions in the act for annexations, but that has to
be spelled out, filled out. Basically, what we would do, we'd
form a district in the area that was the annexed, issue a bond
issue, and then annex that public agency to the district, and
then use that as a means to pay off the bonds of that district
that they had formed. They would, in effect, be a member of two
districts; one for financing purposes and the other for actually
receiving the water supply.
LaBerge: Was San Ramon and Danville one of the earliest ones you did?
Reilley: Well, first of all, I think, would be an area called Cherry Land,
which was out near Hayward. And then we had Hercules and Pinole,
in that area. The Hercules Powder Company owned an area there
where they were pulling their plant out. They had a lot of
company houses there, and they wanted to get out, and they wanted
somebody to take over as far as the utilities were concerned.
And so, we did that. And then we took over down below Danville
and San Ramon.
LaBerge: Was there public outcry the way there is today about developers?
Reilley: No, not as much. Actually, there was virtually none because
housing was an important factor, particularly after the war.
There was a dearth of housing, a lot of people pouring into the
area, and a need for someplace to house them. So, bringing in a
water supply and that sort of thing was thought to be desirable.
Aesthetics of Water Tanks
Reilley: The thing that really came into the picture, as far as the
environmental aspects in those earlier days, was a kind of
antipathy to the tank that was being built to serve them. They
had an ideasome number of peoplethat these were ugly, which
they are. They're a very utilitarian type of an object, you
know? A tank is a round metal or concrete object which holds
water and that's about it. The district tried all different
kinds of ways to get around that by planting trees, painting them
The one thing they did do is they tried to build something
called a "lotus tank." That's out near Lake Chabot, up near the
golf course. This architect came in with this design--it was not
a round tank at all. There were different configurations that
would be architecturally pleasing. The only problem, our
engineers were kind of horrified by this because they had never
heard of such a thing because there's all different kinds of
facing that would have pressure points which turned out to be
exactly right. This architect designed this thing and it really
looked quite attractive, except for the first time we filled it
up, it broke, it burst, and the darn thing shot water all over.
Fortunately, it didn't kill anybody, but it was a fairly good-
sized water tank, and so when it broke, it really caused a lot of
damage to surrounding houses landscaping and whatnot. That
ended the effort to build
LaBerge: To build beautiful tanks?
Reilley: Beautiful tanks! They tried in later years. They devoted
themselves more to landscaping and that sort of thing.
LaBerge: When this particular one near Lake Chabot burst, did they re
build a different kind of a tank or did they fix that?
Reilley: No, they couldn't fix it. It was un-fixable, but they built a
different, but more conventional type.
LaBerge: I know I read about the city of Albany protesting because they
didn't want a reservoir up on the hill, and there was some
controversy over that.
Reilley: Exactly. There was a very strong movement out there in Albany.
There was a woman [Kathy Zahn] , who was on the city council; she
was quite an active person, who was opposed to that tank and all
other kinds of tanks, as far as that's concerned. Yeah, that was
quite a period of controversy over these tanks that were being
built because they say, during this ten-year period, they were
building a lot of tanks and building a lot of other facilities to
expand the system.
Hearing Before Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors
LaBerge: What would your role have been in that when there was
controversy? Were you the one who had to negotiate or
Reilley: Well, not really. Usually that was done by the people in
management, and those PR people and managers. We'd get involved
when we had to go before a planning commission, or something of
that sort. I remember one of the first times I had anything to
do with that; the district owned a lot of property at the
crossroadsyou know where Orinda Crossroads is now? All that
property, north of what is the freeway, was owned, including that
place where the John F. Kennedy University is. That was known as
the Pine Grove.
LaBerge: Okay. I think it has that name for a road now, too; Pine Grove
Flat or something like that.
Reilley: It might, because there were a few scraggly-looking trees up
there. For some reason, people got it into their heads that this
was a really defining landscaping aspect of the whole community.
This district owned all the property and wanted to sell the
property. There was a number of people who wanted to buy it,
some service station operators, and then there was, what was
known as PIE--Pacific Intermountain Express, a big trucking
outfit. They wanted to put a headquarters up there where the
pine grove was. That was kind of like desecrating the Sistine
In any case, there was a great deal of resistance. In order
to sell it we had to get the property rezoned. I remember going
up before the [Contra Costa County] board of supervisors^-they
thought that was a fairly sensible thing to do. But I remember
the first meeting I went to out there. William Penn Mott, who
I'm sure you're familiar with William Penn Mott. William Penn
Mott, who had been the head of the [East Bay] regional park
district, I guess, by that timehe was no friend of the East Bay
MUD. He was out therethat room was filled with people.
William Penn Mott was leading the charge. So, I was up there
this wasn't too long after I came with the district--! was sent
out there to carry out this, presumably, routine function and
appear before the board.
When I got through with my statement, Mott got up and said,
"This project is opposed by people from MORAGA," and a bunch a
people from Moraga would jump up and they'd have signs, "MORAGA."
Then he'd say, "This project is also opposed by the people from
LAFAYETTE." The people from Lafayette would jump up- -these good
ladies and they'd have these signs, "LAFAYETTE." And he went
through the whole litany of everybody that was in twenty miles of
the pine grove. They all crowded there and they had their little
signs, you know. He got through, and I could see the board of
supervisors gradually slumping down in to their seats, you know.
I knew, boy, this thing, this is not going to go.
So, they sloughed it off in some manner. I don't know, it
took us, I don't know how long, but a long time. We had to work
out some kind of a special planning device that would--! think
they called it a "planned unit development," and had to have so
many setbacks and so many parking places and all kinds of
restrictions of one kind or another. Finally, we had meetings
with different movers and shakers of the neighborhood, you know?
Eventually, they came around enough so that we finally got this
"planned unit development" adopted and then sold off the
property. You can see it down there now, everybody goes down
there and shops and never thinks about it--the pine grove is long
since gone, you know? So, it was quite an interesting period.
Recreational Facilities at the Reservoirs
LaBerge: So, those are the kind of things you did. I know that that was a
time the district was selling off a lot of property, wasn't it?
I'm trying to think of what other ones I have read about. What
other places, or were there any other anecdotes about other
properties like that?
Reilley: Well, the district wanted to sell off various parts, had a lot of
excess watershed lands. It got them from the old East Bay Water
Company. Some of it had gone to the regional park district, but
other parts of the district seemed like it would be sensible to
sell it off and take the money and use it for district purposes.
But that ran into quite a buzz saw because people wanted to
retain the hill areas.
So, the district got SRI [Stanford Research Institution],
the Stanford outfit down there, to come up with a kind of a
master plan. The district tried to work with committees of the
local citizenry and develop a master plan for the use of its
facilities; those things which would be used for open space and
some for recreation and so on. I think in the back of their
minds, the management anyway, was the thought that maybe if they
did this they would be able to sell some of it. But that didn't
work out. Actually, it had a moratorium on sales while this plan
was being worked out, and as far as I know it's never been
lifted the district has retained the property, and actually it's
gone into more recreation, as you probably know, they have
recreational facilities at all of their local reservoirs, and
also at the reservoirs up at Pardee and Camanche.
But that was, of course, a long-drawn-out struggle over
fishing in the reservoir. The district engineers are very
conscious of pollution and concerned about the pristine quality
of the water. Resisting that, of course, the district, from a
financial standpoint, wasn't all that interested in opening up
recreational facilities because they're not money makers by any
means. But they had a lot of pressure from local fishermen and
people generally. There was an assemblyman from Richmond, by the
name of [S.C.] Masterson, who was very active in this and went to
the legislature. They had legislation which in fact made it
imperative that the district bow to the wishes of these people
and provide these facilities, which of course, they've done
rather extensively throughout the district.
I have jotted down here that Masterson 1 s bill was in 1959 [A.B.
286]. Does that sound right?
That sounds pretty right.
LaBerge: When that was going on, did either you or Mr. Raines go up to
Sacramento and testify? What was your involvement?
Reilley: Hal Raines did all of that. He worked with the legislature
during the time he was here. Later on, of course, I took on
that, but by that time we had a representative. Well, we
actually had a representative later on when Hal Raines was there,
too. At least initially he was the representative in Sacramento
as well as the attorney. When I took over we had, of course, a
representative in Sacramento full time by that time. Rod Franz
was our representative there. Of course, I took part in a lot of
that. One time I was chairman of the legislative committee for
the California Municipal Utilities Association. So, I did a good
deal of work in Sacramento. The district had, within house, a
legislative committee of the board with the staff which I was a
LaBerge: That would just keep track of legislation coming up?
Reilley: Well, yes. What happened is that Rod Franz would be culling
everything that came up; anything that he thought had any
relationship with the district. It would come down to us. We
would look through it and write up an analysis of it insofar as
its effect on the district.
LaBerge: So, Rob Franz would send you legislation that might affect you
and you'd give it an analysis.
Reilley: Right. Then we would go before the legislative committee. The
district would meet every week or two and we would take a
position on it. Rod then would operate as far as that was
concerned up in Sacramento. Sometimes we would attempt to write
some kind of amendments, or write some new piece of legislation.
LaBerge: If you wrote a new piece of legislation, who would you give it to
to introduce? Did you have certain friends?
Reilley: We'd send it up to Rod. He would then select someone who he
thought would be able to carry it. He would attempt to get
allies, of course, that was desirable. Some other districts and
some other people in the water business were there.
Fish and Game Negotiations
LaBerge: As far as the--I don't know if it's Fish and Gamedoes Fish and
Game have anything to do with developing the recreational
Reilley: Yes. Yes, they do.
LaBerge: What more did you do actually on that?
Reilley: Well, we might for example, in the case of Pardee, we had an
agreement with Fish and Game- -maybe that wasn't Fish and Game,
maybe that was [California] Department of Recreation, I guess it
is. They had a fund with which they would help finance boat
launching. So, we built boat launching facilities up there for
people with boats to use on the lake. Also, we'd have agreements
with Fish and Game for stocking the lake. In fact, we had
agreements to stock upper San Leandro and Lafayette Reservoirs.
But then, over and beyond that, we'd have agreements with Fish
and Game for releases from the Mokelumne and from Camanche, which
date back principally from Camanche which, in order to get those
water rights we had to make agreements with Fish and Game to
release a certain amount of water. I should say they're under
review right now. All of this business about how much we should
release is currently under review- -probably Bob Maddow could give
you a better take on that. But basically, when the district
built Camanche Reservoir it agreed to build some fish hatchery
facilities, fish spawning channels and entered into agreement to
put up the funds for that and also to make certain releases from
the reservoir for downstream fish.
And that was all part of--the getting more water from the
Mokelumne --what Mr. Raines was negotiating?
Relocation of Calaveras County Roads
LaBerge: Did you also go up and negotiate with either the counties or with
the officials from Fish and Game?
Reilley: Well, that wasn't so much--Hal was handling the water rights and
the Fish and Game. I was handling the land acquisitions. Also,
one of the big problems we had up there at Camanche was
relocating the county roads.
LaBerge: Oh, I read something about that. Let's talk about that.
Reilley: Well, you should understand that while the district has the power
of eminent domain and can condemn property, and did, it can't
condemn a county road. So, there were county roads laced through
the site of where the reservoir was to be built. We had' to
negotiate with the counties to build a reservoir. The counties
viewed that as a golden opportunity to get whatever they could,
naturally. So, that was a long-drawn-out negotiation.
Bechtel built the reservoir. I remember they had a fellow
who was supposed to be a trouble-shooter. This little guy came
into my office I was doing all the land acquisitions and
condemnations--! was telling him, "Look, you guys have got a
schedule here but we've got a lot of problems here with these
county roads." So he said, "Don't worry about that, Bechtel can
handle the whole thing." I said, "If you knew those people up
there as well as I do, you're being rather optimistic." So he
said, "Don't worry about a thing, it's all taken care of." I
Well, week after week and month went into month and they're
getting ready to build the reservoir and they still haven't got
the roads. I said, "What happened to that guy that was goin, to
do...." He was gone! Somehow or other I guess they no longer
could sell him on the project of what he was supposed to be
doing. So it fell on us.
I went up there and I remember, one day we were trying to go
f rom--Calaveras County was meeting over at San Andreas on one
side of the river. The board of supervisors of Amador County was
meeting over on the other side of the river, in Jackson. So,
McFarland and I were going between Amador County in Jackson- -we
were trying to mollify these guys, you know. Calaveras County
was fairly well agreeable which they should be because they were
going to build practically a superhighway around the reservoir in
return for these old broken down cow tracks, you know, that the
county had from the miners, I guess, in '49. We got those all
right, so then we went across to Jackson.
I remember there was a big, old guy who was the chairman of
the board of supervisors. He was looking down on us. McFarland,
you know, I don't think he was used to those kinds of
negotiations. This guy looked down on him, "Mr. McFarland," he
says, "Business is business." He said, "We're going to get
what's necessary for the county out of this," you know. So, that
kind of ended that meeting. We were walking out, I remember this
Senator [Edwin] Regan who was a senator from Weaverville up in
Trinity County, I think. He was sitting in the audience and he
was laughing, you know, at McFarland. The senator was appointed
counsel of the north for one of the railroads.
The railroads, at that time, were having competing
negotiations with the Northern Pacific, I think it was, and a
couple of the other roads were trying to annex one or the other;
merge with them. So, which one was going to gobble up the
Northern Pacific. It was kind of important to have somebody go
around to the different boards of supervisors and city councils
and what not, and get them to endorse one railroad or the other.
They'd hired old Senator Regan, who later became an
appellate judge. He was there as their counsel to persuade the
board of supervisors of Amador County to support whatever
railroad he was being hired by, I guess. He later was a judge in
a case involving the East Bay. He was the dissenting judge
against us in a case so I don't think old Senator Regan was one
of our supporters.
But, later on we finally reached agreement with Amador and
Calaveras for the roads. Talk about Fish and Game, one of the
things we agreed on was that we would give the counties the first
right of refusal to develop the recreation at Camanche Reservoir,
which they did. They took that over and had a kind of a joint
powers agreement to run the recreation area, which eventually
turned out to be not very satisfactory, either from their
standpoint, or from the East Bay standpoint because the
facilities were not very first class. So, eventually the East
Bay took over those facilities and developed them.
And does the East Bay still run them?
Yes, they do! Yes, they do.
What agreement did you eventually get about those roads?
your original offer to Calaveras?
Well, we had to sweeten it up a little bit. I think one of the
main things, of course, was this recreational facility. They had
the idea, I think, that it could be quite a money maker for them,
this recreation, which is a mistake because it isn't a money
maker, it's a pain in the neck. They got that right and then, of
course, the district built a very fine freewayor parkway,
around the lake, and of course, at sole cost to the district. I
think they wanted to get the thing built anyway, really. I don't
think they wanted to block it, I think they just wanted to make
the best deal they could. Now, that's just what the chairman
said. "Business is business," you know.
Was that all part of that original ten-year plan that was your
kind of first. . .?
Well, it was basically that because it increased the water
supply. It's between '55 and '65, I guess, around there.- From
then on, from the later part the American River project took
I think we'll save that for another interview.
Sure . Sure .
Joe Sidas and the Third Mokelumne Aqueduct
I'm just going to look and see what else we've got here. This is
another, I think this has to do with the Mokelumne. You were
telling me once a story about Joe Sidas?
Does that have to do with the Mokelumne?
It has to do with the Third Mokelumne aqueduct.
Okay, okay, why don't you tell me that?
off tape before.
You told me a little bit
Yes. Well, the Third Mokelumne aqueduct was, you know, up to
that time- -when they developed Camanche there was the need for
developing an additional third aqueduct to come into the ay
area. To make it clear, there was no water taken out of Camanche
directly to the East Bay at all. The sole purpose of Camanche is
to provide the downstream requirements that the district has
obligations as far as other users. So, the water is all taken
out of Pardee, but because you have Camanche, you're able to
store and take more out of Pardee Reservoir. The Third Mokelumne
aqueduct would also take water out of Pardee.
The Third Mokelumne was formed with a special projects
section. I guess Mac, Walter McLean, had a lot to do with that.
They also hired special projects people to design it and build
it. Unlike Camanche Dam, which was turned over to Bechtel
Engineering to build, the district had a resident engineer there,
Orrin Harder, who was in charge of that.
The Camanche Dam was progressing and then the Third
Mokelumne aqueduct was builtmostly on existing right of way but
there was some additional right of way that had to be acquired.
Particularly, I think I mentioned to you, was the fact that it
was designed to cut through the levees. If you're familiar with
the Sacramento Delta, the San Joaquin Delta, you know that those
islands are all pretty much manmade. There are large levees
which protect them. The district's aqueductsthe first two
aqueducts went over the levees.
But this one was designed by--the third by Joe Sidas, who
was an engineer from a European extraction, a Lithuanian. Joe
was a very extraordinary guy. He was a very able guy. But, he
was somewhat of an interesting personality because he was in
Europe when the Russians, of course, took over Lithuania when
they went into the Baltic. So, when the Germans came and drove
the Russians out, Joe was, of course, pleased to see the Germans
because they were beating up on the Russians, I guess. But then
when the Americans came, why, Joe went to work for the Americans.
He was originally an engineer building railroads.
Reilley: But he was quite a competent designer in all kinds of
construction. So, he was put to work in designing the river
crossings and he designed a method by which they would open up
the levees and put big pilings in to hold back the water and then
put the pipe along the bottom of the channel. This was a
tremendous project because if you went there and looked at it, it
would just scare the life out of you. Because you could see this
huge hole and you'd see this big channel there with ships going
up the darn thing. You'd think, God, I hope this thing works.
The Zuckerman Lawsuit
Reilley: But it did work. We had one really troublesome lawsuit that
arose out of the acquisition of rights there because the road
that was going to go in there went to a warehouse- -there was a
lot of agricultural activity up there. And so this warehouse- -but
it was pretty much abandoned.
It belong to people by the name of Zuckerman. They were
represented by a lawyer from Los Angeles who was one of the most
obstreperous guys I've ever come across in my life. He didn't
really have an interest, I think, in resolving anything. I think
he just liked to file motions and all kinds of legal maneuvers
that had us up in the courthouse, up there in Stockton, about
every other week. Zuckerman 's contention was that by opening up
the levee we were undermining this warehouse and it was slowly
sinking. Actually, the ground up there was always sinking anyway
because it's peat soil and it goes down another few inches every
year, I guess. But, he was claiming that it wrecked the
warehouse. Not only we had to acquire this little piece of ground
which didn't interfere with his warehouse at all but that it was
going to ruin the use of his warehouse forever. I don't know how
many hundreds of thousands of dollars he was asking for. But
mainly, we wanted to keep the construction work going because he
was trying to get all these injunctions and all the rest of it.
So, he finally, I hesitate to say this, that it was fortuitous,
that the old man passed away. So, a lawyer up in Stockton took
over, who happens to be a--
LaBerge: You mean the lawyer passed away.
Reilley: The lawyer passed away.
LaBerge: Oh, not Zuckerman! [Laugh]
Reilley: No, no, he kept going to the bitter end, I'll tell you. The old
lawyer passed away and a man by the name of Daley, D-A-L-E-Y,
took over, who happens to be also a very competent lawyer, a very
good litigator. He did quite a bit of condemnation work. But he
was a lawyer who didn't want to make a career out of trying this
one lawsuit, you know. So we finally got into trial. In the
meantime, I've forgotten how we did it, but we got wind that
Zuckerman had a surveyor that made a survey of the warehouse to
check to see whether it was actually sinking. So, we got hold of
this surveyor, found out that his conclusion was that it wasn't
sinking at all. So, it is a very nice thing to have in your
pocket when Mr. Zuckerman started to moan about how his warehouse
was sinking. It was very fortuitous to be able to ask him,
"Didn't you hire a gentleman by the name of so-and-so as a
surveyor to check this very thing out?" God, you could see the
man's face drop.
Reilley: Daley being a good lawyer, he didn't quit. He tried to devise a
new theory in the middle of the case that while the thing wasn't
sinking it was racking, somehow or another, which the judge
didn't really buy. So, we got Mr. Zuckerman "s little piece of
ground for a relatively modest sum. That old warehouse is there
to this day. That was one of the more interesting bits of lore
from that experience. We did have a very extensive and
longstanding lawsuit involving the contractor on those cases.
They claimed that a different soil conditiona lot of other
claims, so, it took a long time to eventually settle that
Collaboration with Fine EBMUD Engineers
LaBerge: In doing all that, were you constantly talking with your
engineers and getting reports, or, how did you knowyou knew the
law but how did you know what you were talking about as far as
the soil was concerned?
Reilley: Well, that is one of the great advantages of working as a lawyer
for the East Bay. Engineers and other experts are very very
helpful. They work very closely with you. They're very much
part of the team. We not only have the people in the engineering
but the land men, the right-of-way men very helpful. In fact,
when you're trying a condemnation case you always haveone of
the right-of-way agents would be with you throughout the trial
and would be available to go out and get any information
anything you needed. So, you would always have somebody from the
right-of-way people, and then if it involved engineering,
somebody was assigned to help you. They're very good. As a
matter of fact, I should say, about Walter McLean, who just
recently lost his wife--his wife just passed away.
LaBerge: Oh, I didn't realize that.
Reilley: Yes, just within the last week. His wife is his second wife.
She had worked for the district for many years as secretary in
the engineering department, Lila Wagnor.
LaBerge: Oh, I know that name because Mr. Raines talked about her.
Reilley: Ah, yes. She's a very charming woman. And she just passed away.
But the first time I ever came to the district, I had only been
there a short while, and there was a lawsuit involving the
contractors on the sewage disposal, the interceptor lines, which
has just been completed, in which they intercepted all the sewage
from San Leandro and around and up to Richmond --huge project.
And there's some outfit from Los Angeles, Slavonian contractors
by the name of Artuchovich, they were making claims against the
district, I forgot for what. But I had come over from the public
defender's office where all the investigations and anything else
you wanted to do you had to do yourself, you know.
So, I remember Walt McLean was- -that was the first time I
had met Walt- -he was in charge of the project. When I called him
up and said, "Gee, I guess I'm the one that's supposed to do
this, so can I get some information?" God, Walt was up there in
a shot. During the course of that same night, he had graphs, and
maps, and drawings and experiments--he had more stuff going on.
I was flabbergasted because I never realized that people could
get so much help without even asking for it, you know. Mac was a
tremendous helpit was my introduction to the districtand ever
since then I had wonderful assistants.
LaBerge: So, would he, for instance, come with you to the lawsuit, or to
Reilley: Oh, yes. On those contract cases Mac, or whoever was in charge
of the project, they would sit down and they would be with me.
Unforeseen Conditions in Contracts
LaBerge: How was that particular situation resolved, the interceptor
Reilley: Oh, we settled it. You know, the thing about it is, any major
construction case, it's never going to get built precisely the
way it's designed because there's always going to be things that
come up that nobody can foresee. If both sides are rational, you
can always, should always be able to resolve it. Normally, the
contractor, they aren't all so bad either. You read in the paper
that somebody's a contractor that has overruns or he's demanding
additional money. And everybody says, oh, the guy's a crook- -
Reilley: The fact is, as I say, that any large project, just cannot be
built precisely the way it's designed because things are going to
come up that nobody is going to foresee. In the old days, old-
time contractors would basically sit down with engineers who knew
them and they would be able to reach a conclusion pretty easily.
But as years went on, I think, the contractors would be going to
these seminars, you know, to say how to maximize your claims, and
so on. In later years, we used to havethey'd almost have a
lawyer out there on the site, you know, for big jobs, going over
change orders and trying to maximize the amount of the claim.
You got so that the engineers and the contractors were dealing at
arm's length. Instead of sitting down and trying to work out
something rational, they would end up in a lawsuit.
LaBerge: Most of the years you were there, there was more negotiation and
then toward the end--
Reilley: Well, I would turn the other way. Initially, we had a lot of
old-time engineers who would be familiar with the contractors.
We had contractors, like a man named Elmer Friethy, who built a
lot of the tanks for the district. He was an old-time contractor
who was ready to try to work things out. When he'd come across a
problem, the idea wasn't, well, just say, "Well, this is the way
to start to maximize my return," he'd say, "Well, how do we work
this thing out, how do we build this thing?" The main thing is
to get the project completed, and then to try to work out what's
fair. I think too sometimes that, the media and the public, you
know, they think that whenever the contract doesn't go quite the
way it's designed and it costs a little more money that it's
somebody's fault. Maybe it isn't anybody's fault. Maybe it's
just the way things turned out.
LaBerge: That happens building houses. They never work out the same,
Reilley: No. And particularly when you're digging big holes in the earth.
I mean you're going to come across stuff that nobody anticipated.
When the district was building Briones Dam, it had a clause in
the contract that said that the contractor would get so much per
cubic yard of dirt removed. Well, they got into a- -one of the
abutments was a different kind of soil than they anticipated.
They had to take huge amounts of dirt out of that thing. Well,
you know, I mean, somehow or other, they had to make an
adjustment in that contract. That's the way it goes. If the
people want goodwill, they can sit down and they can move on.
LaBerge: Shall we end there for the day?
Reilley: Sure, let's do that.
LaBerge: That's a good end to the story.
IV EBMUD BOARD OF DIRECTORS
[Interview 3: January 30, 1996 ]ii
Before the Brown Act of 1959
LaBerge: Well, we were talking about this oral history process and how it
brings up memories, but it also fills in the blanks of the
written record, and you were telling me your reflections on that.
Reilley: Yes. I think it's often true that even the written record,
behind the formal public record, doesn't truly reflect actually
what happened, because so much of it may have happened before the
public records were made. And, even before correspondence is
sent, people have contact with each other, or have relationships
with each other that are not reflected in the public records. I
would say that was very much true in the earlier days of the
The board was quite a homogenous board in those days, when I
was there. It changed a little bit later, even before I left.
In the critical days that I recall, the Camanche project, and
other large projects that pre-dated the American River project,
the board was closely knit. Of course, when Mr. [Louis] Breuner
was the president of the board, he was the dominant figure.
LaBerge: When Mr. Breuner was the president of the board, that was in the
Reilley: Yes, fifties and sixties. And, he was the dominant figure, and
pretty much what Mr. Breuner said, the other board members went
along with. This was before the Brown Act , which was the
secret meeting law. The board used to meet in what was called
the executive session. When I first came with the district, we
used to meet in a conference roomthe district's main offices
were at 16th Street before they sold the building. They would
meet there, and they would hash out, pretty much, what was going
to be on the agenda, or any other pending matter that they wanted
to discuss, so that when they went out into the formal meeting,
although it was public meeting, and the public could be heard,
the resolutions were already prepared, and they were almost
always unanimously adopted, with not too much discussion, and
certainly not any open disagreements among the members of the
The board members, at that time, were business people, and
they viewed the district as being a business entity rather than a
political entity. Their role was being directors of a public
utility, a business, rather than meeting as a political body and
considering matters that came before them in a political context.
As an aside, I should point out that when I was hired, Mr.
Breuner took the position that I, as Mr. Raines's assistant,
should attend all of the meetings so I would be aware of what we
were talking about, what was really district purposes, so I would
be prepared to act when Mr. Raines, Hal Raines, was not present.
And so I attended all of those meetings, although I was kind of
the fly on the wall. I didn't have very much to say, if
anything, except when Hal Raines was absent, of course, I would
be the attorney that was sitting in on the meetings.
Did you sit at the board table, or did you kind of sit behind?
Well, as I say, we originally met, when the district's office was
on 16th Street, in a small room, and I would sit alongside of Hal
Raines. In the public meeting, I would not sit up there in the
front with the board; Hal would sit up there, but I would sit in
Now, later on, after the district sold its office building
on 16th Street, the district used to have these, what they called
the Committee of the Whole, which was actually the meeting before
the meeting of the board, over at the Athenian Nile Club. We met
there for lunch, and we had lunch there, and then we'd come over
to the district's offices, and then we'd have the regular formal
Was there always, even in that building, a regular board room,
the way there is today?
There was a board room; it was a small room, but it was set aside
as the board's room on 16th Street.
LaBerge: Oh, like today, it's kind of an auditorium. Where did the public
Reilley: As I say, it wasn't very large, but there were seats there for
the public, and the board would be seated at a table that was at
the front of the room, and the general manager would be seated
there, and an attorney would be seated with the board members.
Then there would be a secretary of the board who would read off
the agenda, and the minutes, and that sort of thing.
LaBerge: Is the secretary appointed?
Reilley: The secretary is an appointed job, appointed by the board.
LaBerge: Okay, but is it a staff position? Does that person work for the
district on every other day, just as a regular staff person?
Reilley: Yes. It would not be in the same sense that a member of the
board would be. He or she would be an employee of the district.
LaBerge: So the Committee of the Whole was still not an open meeting.
Reilley: That's right.
Louis Breuner as President
LaBerge: When did that change?
Reilley: Well, it changed when the Brown Act, public meeting law, was
adopted. Then, the board did not meet as a Committee of the
Wholesubsequently to Mr. Breuner 's leaving the district. I
think he died while he was president, I'm not sure of that. 1 But
he was succeeded by Bill McNevin who was a Cadillac dealer in
Richmond, who was on the board for a number of years. He was not
as much of a dominant figure as Mr. Breuner was.
LaBerge: It sounds like Mr. Breuner was dominant the way Governor Pardee
was earlier. Did you know Governor Pardee?
Reilley: No, I did not. Yes, I would say that he was a man who had a
vision for the district and had the drive to carry it out. He
used to spend a considerable amount of time down at the district.
They had a little office set up for him, in the new office
Breuner served on the board of directors from 1950 to 1965.
building down there, and he would meet with John McFarland, who
was the general manager, pretty regularly, and the two of them
were quite close.
LaBerge: What do you think his greatest contributions were, or happened
during his presidency?
Reilley: Well, I think the biggest thing a board can do, is once they make
a decision, as far as policy is concerned, they are consistent in
backing up the staff in carrying out that policy. One of the
worst things that can happento the staffis to be unsure just
what it is that the board wants them to do. Or, if they keep
changing their mind, or they flip-flop on things, it's very
disturbing, and causes a great deal of chaos, as far as the
management of the district is concerned. When Mr. Breuner had
adopted something, or with the board's action when he was there,
you knew that you went ahead, and you got into trouble because of
the policy, not because of your actions. Because people
disagreed with the policy, you knew you weren't going to have the
rug pulled out from under you. He was going to support you.
I would say, he was a man of vigor and of intelligence. He
would listen to what the staff wanted to do. Of course, he
wouldn't always agree with that, but when he was sold on it, then
you knew that that was going to be the policy of the district.
LaBerge: You gave me an example, a while ago, how he backed you up in
Reilley: [chuckle] Yes. We embarked, shortly after I came here, with a
program called the Ten-Year Expansion Program, which entailed a
great many projects. Among them, of course, was the Camanche
project, and the Briones Dam and Reservoir. But it also included
a large number of smaller projects --tanks, water tanks, and that
sort of thing, which entailed the acquisition of quite a bit of
I pretty much was assigned the duty of working with the land
division, and acquiring those properties, and carrying out the
legal aspects of it, including any eminent domain, or
condemnation suits that were required.
One of them was to acquire a filter plant site out in the
Castro Valley. We were in the middle of the trial. We started
out the trial, and the judge, in that case, was so unfair, and in
my view at least, so biased in the way he was handling the case,
that I asked--at the recess, I had a conference with the judge,
and asked him to bring in the court reporter, and I told him that
I was very upset with the way he was handling the case.
LaBerge: Was the issue eminent domain, or what was the issue?
Reilley: Yes. It was acquiring of the property. I told them that I was
so upset, that I thought that he was unfair, and that I would
want to challenge his presidingunless there was a change in it.
I felt that he should excuse himself from the case. Well, he got
very upset by that, to say the least. So at the end of the day,
I went back to the district's office down on Adeline Street.
When I got back, there was a note there from the secretary saying
that Mr. Breuner wanted to see me. I said fine, she called down
to the office where he was, and he said he'd come right up. And
I thought, I'm going to catch it; but he came up, and he said, "I
just got a call from a judge down in...."
I forgot the man's name now, he was an old-time member of
the local establishment, and well known to Mr. Breuner. I guess
he was of a family that had been prominent in town. And Mr.
Breuner asked me, "What happened?" So I told him. He looked at
me, and he said, "Yeah, that SOB never was worth anything
anyway." [chuckles] And he turned around and walked out of the
office. I never heard another word out of him.
I hadn't been at the district all that long, and when I
heard that, of course, that made me feel that I was going to be
backed up if I was in the right.
LaBerge: So did the judge excuse himself?
Reilley: No, he didn't, but he calmed down. His attitude was completely
different throughout the remainder the trial. Kind of, well,
frankly, he was wrong, and he was being unfair.
After the Brown Act
LaBerge: Back to the issue of the board meetings. How did it change once
the Brown Act came into effect? They must have had to organize
themselves somehow before the meeting, or what happenedf
Reilley: Well, I have an idea that Mr. Breuner would contact different
members of the board, and discuss it with them, and they would
have meetings of less than the whole board from time to time, in
which they would discuss things. Of course, I don't know whether
Mr. Breuner contacted them or not because I'm not privy to that,
but I'm sure that he had some contact with them. But they
gradually discussed things more openly in the board, once those
secret meeting laws, so-called, went into effect.
Then in later years, of course, they had [pensive pause]
other views on the board. They had a director by the name of
Helen Burke who was elected from Berkeley, that ward of course, a
member of the Sierra Club, was pretty much away from the main
stream of the board, and, of course, Mr. Breuner was long gone by
that time. We had several changes in the presidency before that.
LaBerge: What other board members were memorable besides Mr. Breuner? I
have a few names down that I just picked up, but I don't know
which ones you'd pick. I have Mr. McNevin, Sanford Skaggs--
Reilley: Yes. Skaggs was the president of the board at the end, when I
left. Skaggs was a young man, an attorney out herewell,
relatively young. But he was another very competent and able
LaBerge: In your opinion, what do you see as the purpose and the function
of a board of directors?
Reilley: Well, it's interesting because the aspects of the board of
directors have changed a lot since I was there. It changed while
I was there, but that was in later years. As I say, initially,
the board viewed itself as a board, somewhat the same as a board
of directors of a business, and its purpose was to achieve
efficiency at a reasonable cost, and deliver a reliable product.
It didn't view itself, the board didn't, as politicians. You
know, as in any business a certain amount of politics enters, but
basically, they viewed themselves as being businessmen, and they
didn't view themselves as being politicians who were running for
Originally the board was elected at large throughout the
district, and not elected from a ward, a geographic territory,
representing a certain number of voters. They were voted on in
the entire district. Originally, when I was there, there were
only five members of the board, later it was increased to seven.
They didn't necessarily have to be political, because voting at
large, it would have been very difficult for anybody to oppose
them. So when any board member died or resigned the existing
board could select a successor, who would then run at the next
election as an incumbent. So to some degree it was a self-
In later years, of course, it's become more and more a
political body, moved by political causes of various kinds, and
the members of the board have become very much more politicized.
In one way, that has been dictated by the people who are on the
board, and it also is, I think, dictated by the reality of what's
going on in the world because people in the world have become
more and more environmentally conscious than they were in years
past. So, issues such as water and growth and that sort of
thing, have become more and more critical to the public at large,
so that they view an entity, such as the district, not just as a
supplier of a product, but as a contributor to the well-being of
the community as a whole. I think, for that reason, as well as
the politicizing of the board member, it's a different type of
entity than it was in the earlier days.
Change in Election Procedures and Board's Vision
LaBerge: Did part of this start when the change came to voting by wards
rather than at large?
Reilley: Yes, I think that had a lot to do with it. There was a
conjunction of two things at once. There was this ward election
thing, and at the same time, a greater interest in the public, or
at least, the environmentally-interested part of the public, in
how the district functioned. So you had a convergence of those
LaBerge: I read that there was one point where both Mr. Breuner and Hal
[Harold] Saunders were opposed in an election, and they handily
won. This was 1958. But it was sort of the first incidence of
politics coming in to the elections.
Reilley: Yes. Of course, there again, the people on the board were
elected by the district as a whole. So it was extremely
difficult for any outsider to run because you had to convince
such a large body of people--voters--of who you were that, as a
practical matter, people tended to vote for the incumbents.
Basically, the idea is, if I haven't heard anything bad about the
thing, and the place seems to be running okay, [chuckle] you
know, I'm going to vote for the person who was in there.
LaBerge: I think that most of the population does that with judges,
whoever ' s the incumbent .
Reilley: Right, sure.
LaBerge: Yes, I think that's probably it. I know that Walter McLean was
on the board later. 1
'Walter McLean served on the board from 1979 to 1990.
I wonder, what is that like, to have a former employee then as a
member of the board? Could you see that as being helpful to the
Well, I think it can be, particularly, if it's someone who has a
background in engineering, for example, or management, it can
I could see, just from the board meeting that I attended, that
supposedly none of those people have engineering backgrounds. I
mean, they really would have to study the issues a lot to know
how to vote, and how to help direct the policy.
As I say, I think that, if you were to judge things on a
spectrum, initially you'd have the board as a group of business
people, and then, who were interested in running a utility, and
then as we got going further and further away from that, to the
present time, I would say, it is more of a political body. And,
when you have that, you have a board which is looking more
towards how is this going to affect votes than how is this going
to affect the operation of this as a public utility. I don't say
that those are always in conflict, but when they are, which side
of the fence does the director come down on? And I think, when
you have more of a political body, he or she is going to come
down on the side of what's going to get me elected.
How does the change in the board affect staff?
through the years, or not?
Did you see that
Yes. You do see it through the years. You see a less risk-
taking group of employees because they're not sure whether
they're going to be supported in what they are doing. They'll
find themselves undercut, not because what they did is faulty or
wrong, but because it has offended a certain group of people in
But you always felt supported. I mean, for instance, I know you
did by Mr. Breuner, but from then on did you feel supported?
Yes, 1 did, because the board had not totally changed. There
were some voices of change on the board. Helen Burke, of course,
as I've mentioned, and there was a director elected from Richmond
area, Jack Hill, who beat Bill Moses who was on the board, who
was a lawyer, who was a good director. Those two were a
minority, and so, they didn't move the district's policies in any
way, and I should add that I--
A Sample of Board Meeting Issues t#
LaBerge: Tell me some of the issues that would come up for you at board
Reilley: Well, they're really quite varied, as you probably knew from your
own experience attending the board meeting, that they cover quite
LaBerge: Oh, they do. Actually, at this one that I went to, the attorney
never had to say anything. But I imagined, it just didn't happen
to come up, they didn't have a question for him.
Reilley: Right. We had a number of issues concerning water rates when I
was there, when I was the attorney. The district, at the time,
had passed its big bond issue, for its water expansion plan, and
committed itself to the public that it would not raise water
rates as a result of that bond issue. At that time, I think, it
was touted to be the largest single bond issue for a water system
in the West. It was $258 million, which apparently is not that
big a sum these days, but then it was. They had committed
themselves not to raise water rates. For ten years they never
raised water rates.
But when I became the attorney of the district, that ten
years was up, and they had to decide how to configure a rate
schedule that would raise revenue, and at the same time to be
fair to the public. So there was a good deal of this wrangling
over that. I had the job of casting the rates schedule into a
form as it would be adopted, so I had a lot of work with that.
Labor and Contract Disputes
Reilley: Then of course, we have labor problems. When Mr. Breuner was
there, of course, the district's employees were not unionized.
Later the unions took over the employees' organization, and
particularly the blue-collar workers so-called blue-collar
workerswere pretty militant, and they went on strike when Bob
Nahas took over was the president of the board at that time. Bob
Nahas was a very active, able president of the board, and later,
of course, was the leading figure in having the Coliseum built in
LaBerge: Oh, I didn't realize that.
Reilley: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. He was the president of that
board, at that time, I believe. He was a developer, and put
together quite a few large projects.
LaBerge: So, was this the first strike? I have a date of 1968 for one of
the first strikes after the local came in.
Reilley: Yes. That sounds fairly right. We had a couple of them there. I
was the attorney in '66. So that sounds about right. And, they
went out on strike then, and then, we had another strike later
ontrying to figure what the date was of that. But we had two
strikes when I was there. Then of course, later, after the first
strike, the so-called white-collar employees formed a union, and
they, of course, were bargaining collectively with the district
as well. That, of course, presented a lot of interesting
problems of how to resolve those things. We hired a firm of
negotiators to negotiate with the strikers in both instances.
LaBerge: Whom did you hire?
Reilley: I'm trying to think of the name. There were two different firms.
One of them was Corbett and Kane.
LaBerge: But they were labor attorneys?
Reilley: Yes. They did the actual negotiating although we had to put
together the formal response of the district.
Various Duties of the EBMUD Attorney. 1966-1982
LaBerge: Are you the one who would write the contract, or did--
Reilley: Yes. We wrote all the contracts for the district. Then, large
projects, of course, we would review the specifications, which
would be put out for bid so that we would review those , and then
in the course of the construction work, we would handle any
disputes that arose. If there was any litigation at the end, we
would need to negotiate the settlement of those, or else actually
try the case.
We, of course, had some large construction disputes that
would arise from time to time. We also handled the Special
District #1, the sewer disposal projects. They had some large
projects that they undertook because it was required under the
Federal Clean Water Act , so that they had to raise the
level of sewage disposal cleanup to meet those standards. The
district passed a bond issue that, I think, was a sixty-million-
dollar bond issue, to cover those projects.
We had an initial project which arose out of that federal
requirement. We were trying to figure out what the project was
because the requirement was fairly general, and how it was to be
met was not entirely clear, but we had to get the bond issue on
the ballot because there was some requirement. I think there was
a provision in the election code that required us to act within a
very short period of time, within a week or two, to get the thing
drawn up, and get on the ballot. We used to, of course, handle
the election procedures as well, although we also had a bond
counsel who would put together the necessary bond papers.
LaBerge: But, you were kind of orchestrating all these people, the bond
counsel, the labor counsel?
Reilley: Right. We had the responsibility of coordinating, let's say.
The Special District was getting prepared to carry out this large
project, and it wasn't exactly clear as to how we would fix it as
to a sum of money. I remember going over with the treasurer to
Treasure Island, and we were sitting down trying to figure out
what it would be, so we kind of estimated it on a piece of paper,
and then we said, well, we'll just add a little, maybe a few
million more. [laughs] We arrived at a number; I think it was
sixty million. Then we had a resolution, an ordinance for the
election which had to be in very general terms because nobody
knew for sure what it was going to be. It might extend over a
period of time; there might have been an incremental project.
So, I remember- -
LaBerge: Who was the treasurer? Do you remember?
Reilley: Oh, let's see now. Well, I'll think of it. Nate Sindelar.
Bob Kahn and the "Friendly" Suit
Reilley: But there was some difficulty because, when we built this first
part of the project, we had a considerable amount of money left
over. Then when we were going to build some further
improvements, which were necessitated--! think it was Bob Kahn--
who was, as I mentioned before, kind of the gadfly of the
districtcame in before the board--
LaBerge: This man is a journalist, is that right?
Well, he's actually, his dad was the Kahn of Kahn's Department
Store. So he's kind of a consultant on merchandizing and
retailing, and has a sideline as a journalist, if you can call
him that, for The Mont clarion, and had a column there which was
quite a problem. The column loved to take on the district, so he
came before the board, and said, "Well, you can't do this because
there was no authorization, you've already used the money for the
initial project, you can't use it for the second project because
it isn't described in the ordinance." So they looked to me, of
course, for the answer to that. I told them I thought Bob Kahn
was totally wrong, and that we could certainly use some money for
that. So Bob Kahn, actually, was going to try to block the
project. Of course, the board was in great furor over that. So,
we arranged a suit where the treasurer would refuse to issue the
money for the election. We would then sue the treasurer to have
him required to release the funds, and--
Is this so you could get a ruling on whether you could--
Right, exactly. It was kind of a friendly suit. So, we hired
another lawyer to represent the treasurer, and then we got a
ruling from the District Court of Appeal that, indeed, we could
use the money for that purpose, and then the project would be
issued money, and use the bonds. But, that was an interesting
Well, in that case, would you be the one defending the district?
Did you present the case, or did you hire someone?
George Harrington of
Actually, we had the bond counsel do it.
the Orrick firm was our bond counsel.
Did Bob Kahn come in and testify?
No, but he cooperated, of course, with the attorney we hired,
Robert Anderson. The interesting part of it was that we hired
this attorney to represent the treasurer, and this attorney
became convinced that the treasurer was right [laughs] and we
were wrong, and he really put up a tremendous opposition to our
case, or our so-called, "friendly" lawsuit.
So you remember about what year this was?
I can't think of it now, but I think it must have been around in
You were talking about Bob Kahn another time, and I don't know if
it had to do with something else, about him writing an article in
The Mont clarion!
Reilley: Oh, yes, he was perpetuallyhe zeroed in on me for quite a bit,
for some reason he used to refer to me as the "Great Jack
Reilley" in his column, so you can gather from that he didn't
have a very warm regard for me.
The Drought of 1976-1977
Reilley: Of course, one of the great events of my time was the drought of
'76, "77. The district had to set a plan to ration water, in
effect. So the district hit upon a scheme of not trying to go
out and police people's water; instead they would have certain
parts of the ordinance: Thou shalt not water your lawn, or let
water run into the gutter, or wash your car, or a lot of other
things like that. But rather than try to police it, they set up
a plan of having higher and higher water rates for excess use of
The scheme was that people would police themselves because
of the, we could almost say, punitive nature of the rates at
higher usage, and then with the maximum amount, that if they went
over that, on the assumption that somebody might not care how
much they had to pay because they wanted to water their orchids
or something, then they would have a possibility of a cut off.
They had, kind of, a fixture they put on the meter that would cut
down the amount, the amount of water that could go through the
So Bob Kahn, in one of his columns, asserted that I had
approved the excessive use of water without a penalty for some
water user out in Contra Costa County.
LaBerge: It sounds a little bit like the problem today with people in
Contra Costa County and higher rates.
Reilley: Yes. That was a tremendous problem- -how to fix a rate that would
do this self -policing that we were talking about. Do yo,u say,
well, everybody that uses 50 percent, for example, more than what
they used last year at this time, will pay X dollars, or
whatever? Or do you say, there is a fixed amount of water that
can be used, and beyond that, you're going to have to pay double
rates, or whatever?
Well now, if you take the Contra Costa people who have, say,
an acre of land, and you say any use of water in excess of what
they used last year, maybe last year they used ten times what a
householder in Oakland, for example, would use. And they might
say, well, we're certainly within our usage, or maybe, we're
using half of what we used last year. Well, that still might be
a great deal more water than the person in Oakland.
So they had public meetings on this thing, and there was a
lot of heated discussions by the people because the people here
in Contra Costa were arguing just like they're arguing now, that
they have these large properties, it's a lot hotter out here, and
they just necessarily need more water. Then we have the people
who were talking about equal right, you know, let's not pamper
the rich. Just because they're able to have these big estates,
why should they have ten times as much water as I'm having here
because I've got to wash diapers, and you know.
Reilley: And so, there was a great tugging and hauling before the board as
to what they would do about this thing. Finally they decided on
a fixed amount of water. This probably still rankles people out
here. They had all kinds of people trying, you know, to work all
kinds of exceptions, and I've got horses, you know, and all the
rest. So they set up a scheme, nonetheless, to have a fixed
amount of water, and then anything over that gradually went up to
this rather exorbitant price for water.
Kahn, for some reason, I don't know how he ever got it in
his head, said that I had cleared it for somebody out here to get
water and not have to pay this excess charge. Well, that was a
total, absolute, falsehood. On the contrary, I had stated, when
asked, that the district had a perfect right to enforce these
LaBerge: Did you even know the name of the person he accused you of
okaying it for?
Reilley: No, I've forgotten now. I'm not sure he did mention it.
Although we had a lawyer in Oakland, who lived out here, who did
refuse to pay, and we took him into court, and collected. Now
that might have been the case, I'm not sure. But in any case, he
wrote this article about the "Great Jack Reilley," in which,
among the things he said was that, not only had I done this, but
this verged on the criminal. Well, of course, he put his foot in
it there because you can make opinions, and public figures you
can malign if you want, but you can't accuse them of being a
crook, you know, unless you're able to prove it.
I wrote, of course, a letter to the publisher of The
Montclarion telling them that they'd better retract it under a
provision of the code, in writing, because it was a reckless
disregard of truth. So interestingly enough, The Montclarion
publisher did retract, published my letter along with it, and Bob
Kahn disappeared as the columnist for The Montclarion. Whether
he quit because he was repudiated, or whether they fired him, I
never knew, but at least, he was out of The Montclarion.
LaBerge: Was this after The New York Times case [New York Times Company v.
Reilley: I think so, yes.
LaBerge: So you had case law to back you up.
Reilley: Right, so that you can make fair comment, but a willful and
malicious disregard of the truth is not a protected journalism.
LaBerge: We aren't really skipping around because things keep leading to
the other. Talking about that drought of '76- '77, one of the
oral histories we have is of Ronald Robie, who was director of
water resources. 1
Reilley: Yes, I know him very well.
LaBerge: Well, he was discussing this. What relationship, for instance,
did you have with the Department of Water Resources, or with him?
And, during that drought, it sounded like the governor got
together a task force just on that issue.
Reilley: Yes, they did. Of course, it was a very serious issue. If it
continued one more year, they would have been in very serious
trouble. There were tentative plans to fill up the water mains
with salt water for fire protection and deliver the drinking
water in by water trucks. That of course, was very tentative,
but it was a very serious thingwe, of course, were a big player
We had relationships with the state, also with the federal
Bureau of Reclamation because we had our American River contract
at that time. So we could take, theoreticallybut the -Bureau of
Reclamation could have held us to the contract because one of the
terms of that contract is that we'll take the water from a place,
Grant Line Road, which is on the Folsom South Canal, although the
contract itself does not specify where the water is going to come
Ronald B. Robie, "The State Department of Water Resources, 1975-
1983," The Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University
of California, Berkeley, 1989.
It says it's to be supplied by the Central Valley Water
Project. But we had a place where we could take the water at
that time, from a pumping plant at what is called Bixler, in the
Delta. And we wanted to negotiate with the bureau so they would
let us take water from Bixler and pump it from there during that
drought, which we eventually, got the agreement to do it.
We also then entered into agreement with Marin [County] , by
which we put a pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
We, in turn, would take water from the state project out at
Hayward. The state would let water come to us, and we would run
it through the system. It was theoretical that water was going
across the bridge to Marin County because, of course, it wasn't,
and the water was coming in from the state and the district was
using that water, and the theory of it was that it replaced other
water that we sent across the bridge to Marin County. So that
pipeline was built in record time to provide water to Marin.
We also provided water to Contra Costa County Water District
and then we took water from the state down at Hayward. All those
agreements had to be worked out. And they had to be done in a
way that, somehow or other, we figured out what we were going to
charge people, and to be sure that it wasn't established as a
permanent thing because you didn't want to be running that kind
of water into your system when you're bringing water down from
the Sierra, and not mixing Delta water with it.
Relationship with Department of Water Resources^
LaBerge: Okay. We were talking about the '76- '77 drought and the various
agreements that you entered into. Is the Department of Water
Resources one of the agencies that you dealt with?
Reilley: Yes, it was.
LaBerge: Tell me about your relationship with Ron Robie.
Reilley: Generally, they were pretty good, up to a point where we had
gotten involved in the American River Project. Robie was very,
very unhelpful to us in that dispute. In fact [tape
The lawsuit was filed by the American River people, and by
EOF [Environmental Defense Fund] . When it went up to the supreme
court, the state supreme court, Robie filed a letter with the
clerk in which he allowed as how the district's taking the water
from the American River was not a reasonable use, and in fact,
was an unreasonable use of water.
I was outraged by that because here was somebody in his
role, as the state water director, filing something, in effect
testifying, before the appellate court, without appearing, and
expecting the court to take cognizance of that, without him being
a witness. If he wanted to testify he should have come into
court and subjected himself to cross-examination. But to use his
position on appeal to expect the court to take cognizance of
that, what in effect was testimony by him, was outrageous.
I wrote a letter to the court saying that, and Robie wrote
to our board of directors protesting my action in the court, and
wanting them, in effect, to censor me. I have never forgiven him
for that to this day. I thought that was a cheap shot from
somebody who I thought was, at least, on friendly terms with me.
The board, of course, didn't censor me. They said, well- -I think
Bill McNevin was the president at that time. He turned the
letter over to me and said, "You write the answer to the letter,"
which I did write. I must say that I exercised considerable
restraint in answering that letter because I really didn't say
what I really felt, which was that this was an outrageous act.
Robie is now a judge up in Sacramento.
That's right. We're going to come back to this whole issue, too,
of the American River next time.
That was, of course, almost two years of negotiation before we
signed that contract. There was also a side agreement which we
had to reach with the people, with the so-called [Central Valley]
East Side [Project] people. They originally were protesting our
taking water from that project because they said, it would in
effect be used, or could be used further down the Valley for the
so-called East Side Project. We eventually worked that out.
And, we had a little dust up, too, with Contra Costa County Water
District. They originally took the view that we might be taking
the water from the Delta, which would be otherwise available to
them. But we worked that out, too. We also had to worlf out an
agreement with the Sacramento River Water Users Association.
More on Board Members
LaBerge: Well, back to the board, where we originally started. Do you
have any anecdotes about other board members, or some of the best
that you've known besides Mr. Breuner, for instance?
Reilley: Well, I thought Sandy Skaggs was a good caretaker. And of
course, Bob Nahas was an excellent president of the board.
We had a president of the board named Hitchcock, who is now
deceased, who was a very volatile man. The only thing I remember
about him particularly was that he would tend to blow up at the
board meeting. But otherwise I think he was a fairly competent
We had another director named [Harold] Saunders. I don't
remember whether I mentioned this or not, but Saunders was an
interesting guy. He was a businessman, and manager of an oxygen
plant, I think, in Emeryville. He was an official in college
football games. He was out atBerkeley, particularly in those
days, was the leading football place. There wasn't any pro-
football, at that time. He was a college football official. My
only real memory of him is that 1 v?as sitting in the Committee of
the Whole meeting- -
LaBerge: Oh, I was going to ask you, you attended those?
Reilley: Yes, I did. And Hal Raines was away. I hadn't been with the
district only a few years, maybe three or four, I guess. But I
remember, we were down on Adeline Street, we moved out of 16th
Street- -and out of the blue, I'm sitting there next to Saunders,
and he turns to me, and he says, "I just want you to know, I
don't like lawyers!" [laughter] You know, I was absolutely
flabbergasted. You know, sitting in there for Raines, I'm a young
lawyer, and here is some member of the board turning to me, and
telling me, "I don't like lawyers." What do you say to that? I
don't think I said anything; my mouth, I guess, just kind of
flopped open. But that was an extraordinary experience, I've
never forgotten that one. This man took that occasion to tell me
he didn't like lawyers. I noticed he didn't say it when Raines
Of course, there were other directors, like Mr. [Thomas S.]
Neilsen, who ran a steel plant down in Albany, I think it was, or
in Berkeley. He was probably one of the nicest men that I've
known. He was a very kind, considerate man. And we had another
director named Howard Robinson, who was also a great gentleman.
He was a very kind man. These men were generally there during
Louis Breuner's reign, and they were not, what I would call
forceful directors, but they were competent people.
And later on we had DeWitt Krueger. His business was tax
analysis of big companies that wanted them to review mostly their
real property taxes, and local and state taxes. His basic
philosophy, I think, was that any public employee was probably
getting money under false pretenses. DeWitt Krueger was a man
who, constitutionally, was opposed to anybody getting a raise in
LaBerge: Has there always been a lot of public comment at the board
Reilley: No, therewell, that's true in recent years, as I say, as the
character of the board, and the character of the public's view of
what a water district ought to be doing has changed. But there
was still- -in my day, there was quite a bit of comment in the
later years. One of the big things that people opposed in that
day was, I think I mentioned it, the location of tanks. There
was kind of an antipathy towards having a tank perched up on a
hillside. Well, of course, gravity being what it is, that's the
way water gets delivered. Tanks, generally, get put up on
hillsides, so that was one of the things that we've had people
come in before the board and protest.
Laberge: I think we'll just wrap this up now, and next time we'll talk
about the American River and management, which we didn't really
talk about, and other things that you did when you were an
Succeeding Hal Raines as General Counsel, 1966
[Interview 4: February 28, 1996 ]||
LaBerge: Okay, last time when we met, we were still talking about what you
did when Mr. Raines was there. But then we launched a little
into what you did as general counsel- -chief counsel- -what was the
Reilley: General counsel.
LaBerge: General counsel- -because I asked you about Ron Robie, and you
told me a few anecdotes about Ron Robie. But let's just start
with how it occurred that you got the job when Mr. Raines left.
Reilley: Well, I had been with the district, you know, since 1951, and I
was Hal's principal assistant. During the Camanche acquisitions,
of course, I was in charge of all of the litigation to acquire
the property. I, basically, was the chief assistant to him, and
I anticipated [chuckle] that I would be appointed upon his
retirement, although I had not heard anything. At some point
before his retirement I talked to Hal and pointed out to him that
I would like to succeed him, and if they had some other ideas,
I'd like to know that because I'd like to go somewhere else. He
assured me, as far as he was concerned, he would recommend that I
succeed him. I think he talked to the management, and they were
amenable to that.
So that upon his retirement, why, I was appointed to be the
--at that time, the job was known as the "attorney for the
district." In the East Bay Municipal Utility District Act it
doesn't speak about a general counsel. There is provided an
attorney for the district, and sets forth in general terms what
his duties shall be, and provides, of course, another section for
the appointments of assistants to the officers of the district,
the attorney being one.
I always thought it was rather awkward to call one of the
other attorneys in the district, an assistant attorney. It gives
the impression that you're kind of a paralegal, or you know, not
quite a lawyer.
LaBerge: Right, "in training." [chuckle]
Reilley: So when I took over the job, it would be appropriate to change
the titles, although the basic title of the general counsel under
the act is attorney, but with the title of general counsel.
Then, the other attorneys would be attorneys, or in one case, the
assistant general counsel. So from that time on, the attorney's
position has been entitled "general counsel."
LaBerge: Did you have to go to the board, or change the by-laws, or
something to get that
Reilley: No, I didn't. They just did that in the resolution of the board
appointing me as attorney. It was described as being the general
LaBerge: That fits more with corporations.
Reilley: Yes, it does. It's more in accord with the way positions are
established within private corporations, and in some public
utilities--publicly-owned utilities. I believe, subsequent to
that, that in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which is
formed under the same act, they followed suit and named their
attorney general counsel, also.
LaBerge: Is this the 1921 act that are talking about?
Reilley: Yes, it's the original act of the district [Municipal Utility
District Act, 1921]. It's never been changed in that regard.
Reporting to the Board
LaBerge: How did your duties change once you became general counsel?
Reilley: Well, of course, I think the attorney, or the general counsel, of
the district has a more intimate role with the board. You are
the advisor to the management, and to the board, so that a good
part of your job becomes more connected with advice, and
administration of the district, so that you become a, kind of,
overall advisor, at least as far as the law is concerned.
Whereas before, I think, I was concerned more with the nuts and
bolts of being a lawyer for the district.
LaBerge: Who do you actually report to?
Reilley: We report, the general counsel reports to the board.
LaBerge: Okay, not to the general manager?
Reilley: No, we do not, and the reason for that is that's been debated--
but the general thought behind that is that you might have to
advise the board in some manner which would be contrary to what
the general manager is recommending, for legal reasons. You
might be constrained to do that because if the general manager
was, in effect, your client, you would have a kind of attorney-
client relationship with the general manager, and you might be
restrained from taking a position adverse to him as far as the
board was concerned, even though, you knew that it was a
LaBerge: That makes sense. So you're actually hired by the board.
Reilley: Yes. Of course, as a practical matter, you have a very x:lose
relationship with the general manager, and it would be pretty
impractical if you were at odds with each other. So that did not
LaBerge: I guess, it would make the working relationship not very
Reilley: No, it would be very difficult to do that.
LaBerge: So, you never had to advise something differently than what the
general manager was--
Reilley: No, I never really had a situation where the general manager was
taking a position, and I had to go to the board, and say that
that was not a legal action. That did not occur.
V AMERICAN RIVER PROJECT, 1968-1990
LaBerge: I know the main thing that you worked on, during that time, was
the American River controversy. So, why don't you tell me how
that come about? The first date I have is 1968, when the board
authorized signing a contract, but I'm sure something happened
Reilley: Yes, there's a lot happened before that. The district's staff,
and engineering from well before that, several years before that,
were in the process of investigating a long-range solution to the
water supplies of the East Bay. They concluded that the
Mokelumne would not satisfy the ultimate needs of the area, that
they had pretty well exhausted the water rights that the district
was going to be able to accomplish from the Mokelumne River. So,
they started to look, almost right after the Camanche project was
finished, to explore possible future water supplies, and they
explored many of them.
Probably, you have heard from Walter McLean, who was, as you
know, an engineer for the district, how they explored those
possibilities. A man named Francis Blanchard was the-- [tape
interruption) --the engineer who was in charge of water resources
planning. He, of course, along with the consultants that were
hired by the districtthey had Harvey Banks who, as you know,
was at one time the predecessor of the Water--
LaBerge: Department of Water Resources?
Reilley: It changed several times, so I was trying to think of the
progression there, but he was in charge, and Bill Gianelli, who
was also with the state, and was a consultant on water matters. 1
He, Bill Gianelli, and a man named [Norm] Murray, who was a
partner of Bill Gianelli. All of them were of assistance to the
district in the sense of helping them with their planning. The
staff and the consultants presented many possibilities. We were
being wooed, at that time, by the State Water Project, who were
looking for customers. This is one of the reasons why the state
always, I think, was opposed to the district's going to the
American River because they viewed the East Bay as one of their
potential customers for the State Water Project.
Of course, the district, ultimately, determined that going
to the American River was the preferable project for the
district. Primarily, I think, well, I know, was because the
American River provided a better quality of water. The State
Water Project contemplated taking water out of the Delta, and the
East Bay felt and believed that to do so would degrade the
quality that the district had because its original purpose in
going to the Mokelumne River was to have a pure mountain, snow-
melt, source of water, and it would provide the highest quality
of water for the East Bay. It felt that the American River was
the closest available project that would provide a water quality
comparable to the Mokelumne supply.
But this did not sit well for the state people and I think
dating back to that time, there was lots of opposition to the
district development. In fact, I know there was.
Who were the people involved with the State Water Project then?
I'm trying to think of a--I think, there was a man named Charlie
McCulloch, if I'm not mistaken, who was one of those who was
quite adamant in his opposition. And Bill Warne who was the
president, the chairman of the water board, I guess, it was the
state water board, at that time.
In fact, we have an oral history with him, and I looked through a
part of it. 2 He said something about that the East Bay didn't
want the State Water Project, both because of the quality, but
also the cost? Was it more costly?
'Both Harvey Banks and William Gianelli held the position of Director,
Department of Water Resources, at different times.
2 William E. Warne, "Administration of the Department of Water
Resources, 1961-1966" in California Water Issues, 1950-1966, The Regional
Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California,
Reilley: I don't think so. If anything, I think it was probably cheaper.
But it was --primarily, I would think, that it's simply a question
of water quality.
Negotiations with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
LaBerge: When did you get involved in the negotiations?
Reilley: Well, it was almost immediately after I took over in 1966. I
participated in those negotiations. We negotiated with the
[United States] Bureau of Reclamation after the district's
engineers and the board made the decision to go to the American
Then the question was, well, you have to start dealing with
the Bureau of Reclamation. Intertwined with that was the
question of building the Auburn Dam. Although the district's
water right, or contract right rather, with the Bureau of
Reclamation is not dependent upon the building of the Auburn Dam,
the availability of the water was [pensive pause] contemplated,
at least, to arise out of the building of the Auburn Dam on the
American River, and which would enhance the supply of water
available to the bureau, to sell.
At that time, the bureau contemplated building Auburn Dam,
constructing a Folsom South Canal, and then hooking on to the end
of the Folsom South Canal, after it got down into San Joaquin
County, to what they call the East Side Project, which would go
down the east side of the great Valley--the Central Valley. And
then also construct what was then known as the hood clay relift,
which would be across from the Sacramento River over to the
Folsom South Canal, to send additional water which would be
available down to the East Side Project.
When we got into that picture of getting water from the
American River, we had a number of different people. The people
on the East Side Project down there, the people on the Sacramento
River, and then, of course, the people of the American River, who
all had conflicting interests, or possible conflicting interests.
They were opposed to the district's getting water from the
American River if it would impinge upon them ultimately getting
the water supply.
So in the meantime, the district was negotiating with the
Bureau of Reclamation to get a contract. At the same time we
were trying to arrive at some conclusion as far as these other
competing parties were concerned. It was complicated by the fact
that the Bureau of Reclamation, at that time, was trying to
arrive at a new pricing structure for its water supply, that had
originally a forty-year program in which they would set a fixed
price, and you would have that water for forty years.
Well, there was a great deal of discussion, not only
locally, but generally in the Congress, I guess, that that was
not a very economical way for the United States to dispose of its
water. As prices and costs went up, they ought to be able to
adjust their price. Their solution to that originally was to
say, well, we will set a price, but then it shall be adjusted as
the secretary of the interior shall decide. Well, you know, if
you're signing something like that, that's like saying, I will
pay Visa X dollars, and then whatever the Bank of America decides
I shall owe in the future. That doesn't--
LaBerge: Right, 20 percent, whatever!
Reilley: Whatever, you know. So that didn't seem to be very satisfactory
from the district's standpoint, but how to do this, plus ^he fact
that we recognized that it was fair that prices should be
adjusted to meet future increases in cost. There were a couple
of components. First was the cost of the production of the water
itself, which wouldn't vary too much because the project would be
built, and that would be fixed. But the operation of the canal
might vary quite a bit, and it would vary dependent on how many
people were available to pay for it.
In other words, how successful was the United States going
to be in marketing the water. And if we were the only ones
taking water from the canal, would we have to pay for the entire
cost of the canal, which didn't seem to be very satisfactory from
our standpoint. So between those two poles, the United States
wanting to assure that the project would be paid for, and our
desire that we didn't pay any more than what we were obligated to
pay because of what we were getting.
Trips to Washington
Reilley: So arriving at a formula for that, based on our use and so on,
took a great deal of struggle. And because the people locally
from the bureau would negotiate with youand we would go up to
Sacramento mostly, occasionally they would come down to Oakland- -
we would arrive at something that we thought to be sensible, and
they would say, "Well, yeah, okay, that's fine, we'll have to
send this back to Washington." Well, maybe two or three months
would go by, and nothing, we wouldn't hear anything, so that
there was a great deal of time lag there because of the inertia,
or whatever it is, that comes with trying to deal with [the
office] three thousand miles away.
Of course, in the meantime, there was a question of getting
the Auburn Dam built, and that was lurking out there. We would
go back to Washington. The general manager at that time was Jack
Harnett, and we would make our little spiel, and rattle our
tambourines for the committee of the Congress that would be
acting on this.
LaBerge: What committee was it? Do you remember?
Reilley: Well, I think it was something connected with Interior. I can't
remember exactly. It would be some subcommittee. Interestingly
enough, we had almost no interest of our own congressmen here;
for some reason, you know, they just assumed you turned on the
tap and water came out, and they were interested in a lot of
other subjects, and they didn't really pay an awful lot of
attention to building water projects up in the Sierra.
LaBerge: Who were the congressmen then?
Reilley: Well, [Jeffrey] Cohelan, at that time, was the congressman. The
one congressman that we got a fairly good hearing from was from
up-county, Bizz Johnson, who was a congressman then from that
part of the world, up in the central part of the state. He, of
course, was interested in the construction of Auburn Dam. So we
got good cooperation from him.
LaBerge: Were you doing this as a friend to the bureau, to talk to the
committee, or on your own?
Reilley: No, because we were interested in getting the water supply too,
because it would firm up the supply, and make it moreand the
wisdom of that now is pretty evident, because the bureau, of
course, is being required to send a great deal more water down
into the Delta for fish and wildlife and recreation and so on.
So they are going to be, themselves, short of water. So we were
interested in the project, we were interested at the same time in
negotiating a contract with the bureau, and at the same time,
trying to arrive at some kind of a cordial agreement with the
East Side people and with the Sacramento people.
Agreement with Other Interested Parties
Now, were any of them also negotiating with the bureau for the
Yes. They were, of course, interested in the supply. None of
those projects were built yet. Of course, a good deal of the
projects, under the appropriations for them, had allocated water
in the studies to these different projects. That was one of the
problems, of course, is that, were we one of those that was
supposed to be a beneficiary of the project or not? Because the
primary purpose of the Bureau of Reclamation's project is to
serve agriculture, whereas we were going to use it for municipal
and industrial purposes. So you don't have a priority, like you
do in the state, for a municipal use.
I didn't realize that. So now from what I understand, you did
come to an agreement with all those groups before--
We did. We did come to an agreement.
You did all the negotiating?
Yes. We hadwell, of course, I had engineering help, Francis
Blanchard, and also from Harvey Banks and Norm Murray, who was
the partner of Bill Gianelli. But as far as the legal part of
it, I was doing that.
That was quite a coup for you to get that agreement !
Well, it got us launched on the project. It was then, after
that, where this "fly in the ointment," so to speak, started to
come into view, was when the bureau was getting its water rights
for the American River from the state water board. This is when
Bill Warne issued his famous edict from the chair, although we
weren't a party to it, that their provision for the East Bay was
a waste of water, an unreasonable use of water. That came right
out of the blue. I think, as I've indicated before, the reason
for that was because they were a rejected suitor for the use of
the state water. In any case, that famous statement caused us a
lot of trouble because that was quoted by everybody that opposed
us. So then, Warne issues that edict without any evidence being
presented before him at all, he just said it. But it was quite
damaging to us.
LaBerge: Was that before you actually had your contract with the bureau?
I'm trying to think of the timing of that,
have been afterwards.
So after 1970?
I think it may well
It might have been, although I'm not certain of the date now.
We might be able to find that.
We had a lot of those things going on at the same time. But we
eventually reached an agreement with the United States. We
reached an agreement with the East Side people, and we reached an
agreement with the Sacramento River- -they had some kind of an
association, which it would not affect them. We made certain
concessions. One of those was that we would actually cut down
the amount of water that we wanted to obtain from the American
River, down to, eventually, to 150,000 acre-feet. I think
originally it was up around 200,000. But we agreed to support
the East Side Project, when and if it ever surfaced. We agreed
to a number of different things that would be helpful to other
parties, and they eventually agreed that we could take that
150,000 acre-feet. Then, it was after that, well after the
contract was signed in, I think it was, 1970, if I recall my
dates correctly, that the people on the Amer--
Environmental Defense Fund v. EBMUD, 1977-198011
State of California's Involvement
LaBerge: Okay, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Save the American River
Reilley: Yes. They filed a suit against us. It was interesting that they
filed it against us to block us from taking water under- the
contract from the American River because we had no water rights
on the American River at all. It was the United States who was
going to take the water from the American River.
But the curious part of that is, at that time, there was
great doubt that the state could sue, and enforce its water
rights restrictions and its procedures on the United States. So
the thought was that, while they couldn't sue the United States,
they could- -we were in there, we were subject to the state
regulations so therefore they could sue us and enforce those
rights against us without even naming the United States as a
party in the action, although we were obligated to the United
States under contract to pay for this water. They were going to
force state restrictions on us that prevent us from getting the
water at all. So we were in kind of the intolerable position
where we'd be obliged under the contract to the United States,
and at the same time prevented under state law from taking the
water. But again, I think it was and the state encouraged that
lawsuit. They eventually jumped into it, and the attorney
general appeared in it.
LaBerge: Oh, really? I didn't realize that.
Reilley: But, I found out later
LaBerge: Who was the attorney general then?
Reilley: The guy from Los Angeles who ran for governor, Evelle Younger.
He's been under criticism because he was getting so many
different kinds of pensions. He was a general in the air force,
and then he was attorney general, and then he was a judge, and
something else, I've forgotten all the things he was.
I remember we went over to his office because we were
astoundedwell, I guess they didn't appear as a party, but they
filed an amicus brief before the appellate court. The first
thing we knew we got served byyou know, in the normal course of
things, you'd expect that when the attorney general is going to
come into something involving a public agency, a fairly
substantial public agency in the state, he might ask you what
your views are, you know, and do you have some reason why we
shouldn't be doing this thing to undercut a service of water to a
million people in the state of California. But that never
LaBerge: It was just a surprise to you.
Reilley: It was absolutely, it came out of the blue. We went over there;
he, of course, he didn't seem to know very much about it. Later
on I found out again that it really wasn't our project at all,
but they wanted to get at the United States to figure out a way
to enforce the state's laws as to water and the use of water
through the back door.
LaBerge: Was the reason they couldn't sue because of immunity from suit of
the federal government?
Reilley: Well, there were a couple of cases that seem to indicate that
when the United States was building a project, they did not have
to subject themselves to the restrictions placed upon them by the
stateindividual states. There was a case called Arizona v.
California, I think, a case that seemed to indicate that way.
But as it turned out, there was another case that was
pending at the time this EOF suit against us, which ultimately
the United States Supreme Court determined that yes, indeed, the
United States was subject to the water rights laws of the
individual states. They determined that, so that the state then
lost interest in our lawsuit because now they could go against
the United States directly, so they didn't have to go through the
Eventually, when it came back from the United States Supreme
Court to be retried before the state supreme court, in our case--
which I'll go into a little bit laterthe state actually filed
an amicus brief on our side!
LaBerge: Oh, really?
Reilley: Because the ultimate result of what they succeeded in doing
tended to disrupt the administrative procedures, which were
established in the state for the issuance of water rights. What
determined our suit was that, even though these matters had gone
before the administrative body of the state set up to handle
water rights, a third party didn't have to pay any attention to
that. He could go in and sue the recipient of the water rights
directly, without going before the State Water Resources Control
Board. The state said, well, that's not such a good idea after
all. And so, they filed a brief which supported us, but
unfortunately, didn't succeed.
LaBerge: This is after all these parties, EOF, etcetera, asked to have it
removed, and have the state board be the referee? Is that what
you're talking about?
LaBerge: We're probably jumping--
Reilley: Well, yes. This thing went on for so long, it has so many
different kinds of trials established, it's a little bit
difficult to follow sometimes. But first of all, EDF filed suit
in a state court, and they sought to block our project, our
contract, altogether on the grounds that it violated the state
constitution of restriction against unreasonable use of water, or
the waste of water for two purposes, two reasons. First of all,
they claimed that we could get water from another source without
doing great harm to the environment by getting it from the Delta.
If we needed water at all we could do it that way. And secondly,
that we didn't explore the availability of water from using waste
water. That waste water thing eventually dropped out of the
picture because they, actually, they didn't have a chance on that
either, anyway, because the district is probably one of the
leaders in the use of waste water.
Reilley: In the state of California. But in any case, that was one of the
issues in that case, which eventually did not become important.
Course of the Trial
Reilley: We succeeded in winning in the trial court. They appealed, and
it was decided that we got sheltered under the United States'
ability to build the project and enter into the contract, and
therefore by federal law, we were immune from this. That then
went up to the state supreme court, and we succeeded there. 1
Then the EDF appealed to the United States Supreme Court. 2
Now, the United States Supreme Court ruled that because it had
just almost, within a period of months, had ruled in favor of the
state of California, that it had the right to enforce its
restrictions on the United States, that therefore, the basis of
our winning was no longer valid, that it should be sent back to
the state court to determine whether the case should go forward.
We went back to the state supreme court, and that's, at this
point, where the state then moved in as an amicus--f iled an
amicus brief in our favor because they said, we argued that a
third party was not appropriate, that it should go before the
1 EDF, Inc v. EBMUD, 20 Cal. 3d 327 (1977).
2 439 U.S. 811 (1978)
State Water Resources Control Board to determine whether there
was a reasonable use of water, and so forth. And the state
supreme court ruled, no, that the case could proceed on the basis
that it was a violation of the state constitution. 1 Then it went
back to the trial court. And subsequently, another issue got
involved in it, in that there had been growing, in the state of
California, another doctrine called the public trust doctrine.
LaBerge: And you know what, you told me about the public trust doctrine
last time, but I didn't realize it was going to come into this.
Reilley: Yes, in effect, that doctrine is that you don't ever give a
permanent right to water at all, that it always can be reviewed
as to whether what you're going to do is consistent with the
public trust of the use of water for fish and wildlife purposes.
LaBerge: Now, in all of these suits, did you appear before the state
supreme court, before the U.S. Supreme Court?
Reilley: I appeared, I handled the case all the way through. When they
filed the appeals to the United States Supreme Court, they did
not provide, the court did not provide for a hearing, they
decided it on the filings.
Reilley: But in all the other cases, all the other instances, I appeared
for the district. The only- -about the time that it went back to
the trial court, which was decided before Judge [Richard] Hodge,
in Alameda County Superior Court, I had, by then, retired. I
actually was there for two years after what would have been my
normal retirement period. I stayed, I was there for two extra
LaBerge: As a consultant.
Reilley: No, actually, it was general counsel.
LaBerge: Oh, were you were working just on this suit, or everything?
Reilley: No, it was--
LaBerge: Just a regular job?
Reilley: Just a regular job. I was working on this suit, but it didn't
actually go to trial until after I had left.
'26 Cal. 3d 183 (1980).
LaBerge: Did you go, though, to the trial, no?
Reilley: No. But I had meetings with Bob Maddow and some of the other
people involved in it.
LaBerge: Is this one that did not go to trial because it was sent to the
state board as a referee?
Reilley: Well, that was after I left, but that happened. Interestingly
enough you can see the different flip-flops that happened in the
course of this case. At the request of the plaintiffs, the
Environmental Defense Fund in Sacramento County, then, they
requested when it went back to the trial court, that it be
referred to the state board, as provided under the water code,
for its findings and recommendations, which then ultimately went
back to the court for its review.
The Hodge decision is a long one but essentially it provides
for when the water can be taken, and under what circumstances.
The core of the decision is that water quality is a legitimate
basis upon which a municipal water supply can obtain the right to
the use of water. It is a factor that can be weighed in
determining whether what you're doing is reasonable under the
LaBerge: Is this still under the public trust doctrine?
Reilley: Well, it would be under either. The public trust doctrine
doesn't absolutely forbid you to use water, but if it has some
interferencethere is a considerable, I think, a considerable
overlap between those twothe constitutional provision about
reasonable use of water and the public trust doctrine are fairly
parallel in impact.
LaBerge: Tell me about after you got these agreements, in 1968, from
Sacramento River and the East Side Project, how then they later,
or not very much later, decided they would come against you with
the Environmental Defense Fund.
Reilley: Well, it's actually the Sacramento County that came against us.
It wasn't this association, although we tried to argue that they
were a party to thatto the association, which entered an
agreement with us, and that their rights, and so on, had been
considered. But it didn't help us very much.
Personnel of the Bureau and the Contract
Who in the Bureau of Reclamation did you deal with?
The director, at that time, was a name named Sullivan, but--
And this was the regional director?
Yes, the regional director. And the man that did a lot of the
negotiating with us was a man named Reggie Howard. And, there
was another man, I can't think of his name, and there was also a
representative of the Regional Solicitor's Office.
And how did those negotiations go?
Were they anxious to have
Yes. They wanted us to be a customer because, as it turned out
we're the only customer outside of the Sacramento Municipal
Utility District who took water for their nuclear power plant.
And now that that's shut down, they don't even have that. Yes,
they were quite anxious to get us as customers, but they were--
wanted to get us as customers under terms as favorable to the
United States as they could. As it turned out, they've been
criticized rather heavily that they didn't drive a hard enough
Criticized by Congress?
Yes, by Congress, and bythere's been, oh, committees, or
commissions that have made studies of the water pricing of the
bureau of reclamation.
What was the contract you agreed on?
You mean the terms of it? I'd be hard pressed to-
Okay. But it was a dollar amount per year, something like that?
Oh no, no, it's a lot more than that. But it's a, I would say,
just off the top of my head, it's somewhere around sixteen
dollars an acre- foot, or something like that. It's a progressive
scale. In other words, it goes up in increments. In other
words, we weren't required to pay the full for a 150,000 acre-
feet the day we signed it. I mean, it went up in increments,
which, I think, now, somebody told me that the total now, up to
now, is somewhere around fifteen million dollars. But
eventually, it's a take or pay. In other words, we have to pay
whether we take water or not. The part of it which, you know,
that rankles a little bit is that a lot of those parties that
were reserved water rights, contractual rights, up in Sacramento,
haven't paid a dime, but the water has been held for them without
them having to pay anything, whereas the district has had to pay
this amount, although it hasn't except for the- -during the
drought it took a small amount, I think, around 40,00 acre-feet,
or something like that. It hasn't had any water taken from
Basically, what it provides, is there are two of them. One
is to pay for the capital costs of the canal and ultimately, for
Auburn Dam, and also for the operational costs. There is a
formula established so that our take, our total take, is related
to the total capacity of the project. Then there are some
deductions from the total cost of the project, which are for
flood control- -which doesn't have anything to do with the water
supply at allthe generation of power, and those expenses and
costs which are deleted. So you arrive at a total figure, and
basically, it's our relation of the amount of water we're taking
to the total amount of water, and the total cost.
Source and Quality of the Water
LaBerge: What was the issue of where you were taking the water from? Some
people objected to the fact that it was at Folsom South Canal
rather than the confluence of the American and the Sacramento, or
Reilley: Right. It's still a point of contention.
LaBerge: Can you tell me something about that issue?
Reilley: Yes. It basically is an issue of water quality. The district
wanted to take water directly from the American River, and not
take it from the Folsom South Canal at all because the highest
purity of the water, of course, would be to get directly from the
American River, which is a rather pristine water source.
There was a feeling of, well of, that it wasn't right that
somebody from the East Bay would be coming up and, as they call
it, "putting their straw" into their river. So, in order to
avoid the feeling, and it was an emotional thing, rather than
take it directly from the river, we agreed to take it from Folsom
We agreed to take it at a specific location called Grant
Line Road. The reason for that is, is that, that take-out point
is above the point of the proposed hood clay relift, which I
already mentioned to you, which would take water from the
Sacramento River and pump it over into the Folsom South Canal so
it would go south. Our idea was to take it from Grant Line Road,
above that confluence of that project, so that the water would
not be contaminated by the water from the Sacramento River.
The Sacramento River is a pretty polluted source of water.
You've got a sewage disposal plant of Sacramento dumping into it.
You've got sewage from up stream, you've got herbicides,
pesticides from farms, you've got about every kind of pollution
that you can think of in that river, and it's certainly not the
kind of water that compares in any way to what we get from the
The idea was to try to get the highest quality that we could
reasonably obtain, and the way that we could do it was to take it
from a point on the Folsom South Canal, which would be free of
the contamination of the Delta or the Sacramento River. Now
those people, you know, it's kind of a curious thing, that the
people like the EOF who are always whining about how polluted
water supplies are, and so on, are those who are insisting that
we take it out of the Delta rather than take it from a supply
which is as pure as we could get it.
Is their reasoningdoes it have something to do with the fish
and wildlife, or is that what is?
Well, it certainly has. It certainly is what the people of the
Save the American River say. Jim Jones and those people, they've
never seen a water supply they ever liked, you know --
Is Jim Jones from the Save the American River?
Yes. He's kind of, or at least he was in my day, one of the
leaders of that association.
Do you remember any of the leaders of EOF?
Yes. Tom Graff is attorney for them. He was--as far as we were
concerned, he was the leader.
In all of this were you also dealing with the Department of Fish
Well, not so much on- -of course, they were appearing, very much
so, in the hearings for the Bureau of Reclamation, to get their
water rights on the Americanit was a kind of a curious thing
because at the same time the bureau was saying, that as the
United States, they didn't have to get water rights from the
state, they nonetheless filed with the state and put on hearings.
That was, of course, a forum in which the Department of Fish and
Game was very prominentas well as the Fish and Wildlife for the
LaBerge: Okay. All of this, you dealt with the Bureau of Reclamation
because the American River was one of the rivers of the United
States, and the other rivers are not, is that--?
Reilley: I'm sorry I didn't
LaBerge: Well, is the American River one of the "rivers of the United
States," as opposed to being a California river? Is that why the
bureau is the one involved?
Reilley: Well, of course the bureau is involved because they are the ones
that are building the projects and of course, the American River
is one of the waters of the United States, one of the navigable
streams, subject to action by the Congress and the United States.
But, you know, the Congress could, if it wanted to, could say
tomorrow that they are going to take over the entire control of
the water, and the only way it can be used or utilized would be
under their direction. Of course, they're not going to do that.
But in the absence of them doing that, the state, of course, has
its requirements and restrictions. [Tape Interruption]
The Washington Presence##
LaBerge: Okay. We're still talking about the American River. Are there
some issues we haven't covered on this? How about the East Side
Project? Did that group ever object after you had you first
Reilley: No, not after we signed the agreement.
LaBerge: No, okay. Who were some of the easiest people to deal with in
all your negotiations?
LaBerge: Or maybe you want to tell me the hardest. They probably stand
Reilley: They all are pretty rugged, you know. I thought that within the
framework of a huge bureaucracy, like the Bureau of Reclamation,
they were fairly reasonable to deal with. They, of course, are
always constrained by the fact that they're on a long tether from
Washington where they can be yanked back from time to time, and
they always have to keep looking over their shoulder to see what
the hell is happening back there. They're also constrained by
politics too, you know. They're always worried about whether the
Congress is going to chastise them. For that reason, I would
say, they have a difficult time, from their standpoint. But
within that framework, I thought, they were pretty decent to deal
LaBerge: When you were dealing with them did you ever talk to the
secretary of the interior, or to the--
Reilley: We went back and talked to the assistant secretary of the
interior several times, and also, of course, with the director of
LaBerge: Who were they?
Reilley: I'm trying to think of his name, I can visualize him, but I can't
think of his name right now.
LaBerge: We can fill it in later. How many trips did you take back to
Reilley: I would say, probably, at least a half a dozen.
LaBerge: Did you also have an EBMUD representative back there, the way you
did in Sacramento?
Reilley: Yes. We had an attorney by the name of Northcutt Ely who
represented the district and other people in his office were
LaBerge: So would he have gotten involved in this project, or--
Reilley: He would get involved sometimes in the Washington end of thing,
but not directly in the local negotiations. Actually, he didn't
have too much to do, except with- -when we'd go back to try to
influence the continued appropriation for the Auburn Dam.
Issues in the Controversy
LaBerge: Who was the hardest to deal with, do you think?
Reilley: Well, of course, the people for EDF wereTom Graff, personally,
is not a difficult man to deal with, he's a decent person, but
certainly not one who is going to budge very much. But I would
say people like Jones, from the Save the American River--he tends
to be somewhat, like some of these people, tends to be somewhat
of a fanatic. You know, they don't disagree with you, they just
think you have to be a bad perr-.n because you disagree with them.
LaBerge: All these negotiations on the American River, was new water law
enunciated, or was it old water law adjusted to your
Reilley: Well, no. Of course, the whole EDF lawsuit was breaking ground
because there wasn't any previous law directly on that point.
The idea that whether a third party could come in and attack a
not directly the validity of the contract, but whether a local
agency could carry out a contract which it legally and validly
entered into with the United States, whether that could be set
aside because of state law. And whether water quality is a prime
factor which can be weighed, and must be weighed in evaluating
whether a municipal water supply can be obtained under the state
LaBerge: When you stayed on as a consultant to the district, after you
retired, was it mainly on this suit?
Reilley: No, not really. Well, some of it was. I was only about three
years let's see, I stayed on two years as general counsel, which
I carried out the normal duties, and then for three years after
that, I was available to Bob Maddow, principally for providing
him with the information- -kind of historical recollections, I
guess, of what happened before to help him in his current
negotiations and litigations.
LaBerge: Well now, since the suit was decided, I guess, in 1990, finally,
do you think the East Bay is going to get that American River
Reilley: Well, a lot of things have happened since that. They still have
vehement opposition by the Save the American River people. I
don't know whether EDF is still involved or not, I haven't heard
of that. But the people in Sacramento, and Sacramento County,
are insisting still that if the East Bay wants to take water they
should take it at the confluence of the American and Sacramento
Rivers. In other words, the water must first flow down the
American River before the East Bay takes it.
The district, of course, now is in the process of trying to
implement the contract. They are proceeding with an
environmental impact report, and at the same time, they're trying
to negotiate with Sacramento to see if they can mollify them some
way, and also with San Joaquin County, who are really quite eager
to get a supplemental water supply because their farm water is--
the ground water is subsiding, and they need a supply. The
district's negotiating with them on the basis of whether it can,
in conjunction with utilizing the American River supply, it can
help the San Joaquin people by using it in conjunction with its
And so God knows whether they're going to be able to get
through it. As it is, the district's contract with the bureau
only has about seventeen more years to run. Unless something
happens in that period of time, I don't know whether the United
States will renew the contract. The basic problem there is that
the United States is being required to release more water into
the Delta, and the question is, how much water are they going to
have available in their river supplies?
Consultants in the 1990s
LaBerge: Aren't you in a group now of retired East Bay people who advises?
Is this one of the issues you're advising on?
Reilley: Well, they've asked us from time to time what our views are.
They get some of us old goats and they ask us about what we
remember about things . There ' s also a committee out here in
Contra Costa County called the American River Utilization
Committee, which includes a number of other people, other than
East Bay people, although some people of the East Bay are in it.
John Nejedly, a former senator from out this way- -state, senator- -
is the chairman of that group, and a man named Chuck Brydon, who
is also active in it. Their object is to try to assist the
district, if it can, to obtain a water supply because they know
that after the year 2000, the district's going to be short of
LaBerge: So are you in that group too?
Reilley: Yes. I attend the meetings.
LaBerge: While all of this was going on, you were also just doing regular
everyday district work, too.
Reilley: Yes. There were strikes, and things of that kind. Labor
problems, discrimination lawsuits.
LaBerge: I don't think we talked about that. Do you want to go on a
little more, or shall we stop here and pick up another subject
Reilley: Well, it's more or less up to you. I figure that whichever, is
convenient for you.
LaBerge: Good, because I certainly think we have enough to have another
whole interview, that we haven't covered everything.
Reilley: So, if you feel you've got enough information-
Interested Users in the American River
LaBerge: Maybe we'll just wrap up the American River. Is there some
question I haven't asked you about the American River that you'd
like to talk about? This is the clearest it's been to me from
other things I've read on the history of what the whole
controversy was, from what you've said.
Reilley: Yes. There were a lot of different people with a lot of
different axes to grind. As I've indicated to you, there was a
considerable amount of pique, originally, from the state because
they wanted us to take from the state water plan.
We had the EOF, who was basically an environmental defense
fundis their name, what it entails, and their interest was
basically to try to get a handle on the United States to force
them to come to terms with the ongoing environmental necessities
of water development.
Then we had the American River people, like Jones, who, as
I've indicated, was an avid fisherman. Basically, I don't think
he'd care if the entire East Bay was to dry up as long as he
could go up there and drop a line in the American River. You
know, that is his bag, and I don't fault him for it if that's
what he [chuckle] wants. But that was where he was coming from.
And then, there were people who were enamored of the
American River Parkway, which is downstream on the American
River, which is developed, it's a nice developed area.
You had the East Side people who were interested in getting
as much water as they could to come down the east side of the
Sacramento Valley or the San Joaquin Valley. Their interest was
in agriculture, and they reallywell, actually, they were pretty
reasonable people to deal with, but you know, they had their
needs. And I would say, you asked me before, who were probably
the more reasonable people, and the more reasonable people I
found were people like those farmers because they know the need
for water, and they know the need to develop it. They respect
that everybody else has a need also, and I would say, you know,
there were exceptions, some people were kind of hardheaded, but
basically, they were pretty reasonable people to talk to.
Then, of course, there were our own people, which were
interested in getting a water supply for the citizens of the East
Bay. We've foreseen that there could be a real shortage, and
there may well be a real shortage of water.
So you had a lot of conflicting interests, and ultimately,
as I said, there was also a desire on the part of the state, and
Robie and his crew, to try to get a handle on the United States,
and they were using us as a lever to do that.
Did you always have the support of your board?
The district board throughout all my time was very supportive.
Within the last few years, we had, whatever you call that, a
minority on the board. We had a director by the name of Helen
Burke who was from Berkeley. She was associated with the Sierra
Club, and she was very much on the other side of water -
development. But she was very much a minority on the board.
Then there was another director, just before I left, who was
elected from out in Richmond, Jack Hill. He defeated a director
named Bill Moses, who had been on the state water board, and who
was very, very supportivewas a lawyer. And those two, this new
one from Richmond and Helen Burke were a minority of the board.
And so, those two were- -that was the result of expanding. To go
back, I don't know whether I've explained this to you, but the
district originally had five directors, and they were elected at
LaBerge: You did talk about that, and how they expanded to seven?
Reilley: They expanded to seven because John Knox, who was the assemblyman
from out in Contra Costa County here, was of course, a Democrat.
He felt that the directors of the district were Republicans and
self -perpetuating, and so on. So he was determined to change the
composition of the board, which eventually, he succeeded. They
originally thought, well, what we'll do is increase the
representation from Contra Costa County, we'll increase the
directors to seven, and that will mollify John Knox. Well, of
course, it didn't because they were still elected at large.
Eventually, he pushed through legislation which provided that
they have to be elected from wards. So from then on, you have
had a politicization of the board, and it became more and more
political, and less people who were business types.
LaBerge: Those were the only people who were, maybe, opposed to your
Reilley: The development, when I was there. Then thereafter, they had a
complete change and eventually, they had a majority who were
against thewho were elected by the Sierra Club, and other no-
growth people, who were against development of the water supply
at all. And that, of course, has caused them to lose a lot of
time which they could--they lost the opportunity, I think, to act
quickly to nail it down- -once they got a favorable decision in
the EDF lawsuit, if they could have moved directly ahead to
develop the project, and if they had moved ahead to build the so-
called Buckhorn project, where they could store the water, they
would have had a much better chance. But when you want to do
anything, when you want to build anything, time is your enemy
because the more time goes by, the more people line up and ally
LaBerge: Why don't we end there for the day, and I would think we could
cover- -maybe cover everything in another interview.
VI VARIOUS ISSUES
[Interview 5: March 27, 1996 ]**
Hal Raines and the Camanche Project
LaBerge: As I said, when we stopped last time we talked off tape about Mr.
Raines, and how he got the Camanche project through, and his talk
with Attorney General Pat Brown. I'd like to hear more of your
reflection on that.
Reilley: Yes, I think that, if it wasn't for Hal Raines's brief that he
provided to the attorney general, who was Pat Brown at that time,
there could not have been a Camanche project because it was
entangled with what is called the county of origin and the area
of origin, which is in the water law of the state that protects
the water rights, the rights to water, in the mountain counties,
or the counties of origin, as it's called.
It kind of hangs over any project because even though you
have gotten a permit from the, what was then, the State Water
Resources Control Boardthe water rights boardthe mountain
counties, if they had a need for that water in the future could
in effect reclaim that water, so that it would be hanging over
your project into the future.
There was a question as to whether those rights could be
assigned or released to someone like the East Bay for a municipal
use outside the area of origin. The attorney for the water
board, Henry Holsinger, already was quite a well-known water
lawyer and had ruled that it could not. And Hal Raines prepared
a brief for the attorney general for his opinion asserting, of
course, that it could be. Eventually the attorney general, Pat
Brown, issued a ruling that it could be assigned to the East Bay
and therefore that cloud, that would otherwise have hung over the
Camanche project, was removed and it enabled the East Bay to move
ahead with that project.
So, it was a remarkable job, and I think that opinion of the
attorney general, I think, is still effective. I know Bob
Maddow, who was succeeding me as the general counsel of the
districtnow is in private practicewas telling me a while back
that he had run across that opinion of the attorney general, and
it was operative in a case that he was acquainted with, or taking
part in. He was unaware of the fact that it was Hal Raines's
work which was at the background of that opinion. So, it was a
remarkable job and Hal deserves a lot of credit for that.
Was the attorney for the water rights board, was that Harvey
No. Harvey was not an attorney, he was an engineer. I'm trying
to think of the name of the man- -he wrote a book on California
water law which was quite an authority.
Did you have anything to do with that whole controversy?
I know you were at the East Bay then.
Well, Hal was handling the water rights aspect of that, and the
legal end of that. My contribution to the Camanche project was
more in the field of litigation. I was spending a lot of time up
in the country. We had to acquire a great deal of property for
that reservoir, and also for the Third Mokelumne Aqueduct which
was being built roughly at the same time- -the aqueduct coming
down into the East Bay. A lot of time I spent up in the country,
Amador and Calaveras and San Joaquin Counties, trying eminent
domain cases. Later on, afterwards, I was handling disputes that
arose out of construction contracts. But I did go along with Hal
in the hearings for the Camanche project. I accompanied him, and
also rendered what help I could that he would need--I packed his
books. But Hal was the one who handled the water rights end of
More on Counties of Origin Law and the American River Project
LaBerge: Did the counties of origin law come into play when you were
negotiating on the American River?
Reilley: Yes, they did in a rather offbeat way. You see the water rights
for the American River were acquired by the United States. So,
our rights on the river are arise out of a contractual right
with the United States Bureau of Reclamation. The problem as far
as our water rights were concerned arose out ofthere were
people on the Sacramento River, water users whom we had to come
to agreement with. There were people of a proposed [Central
Valley] East Side Project [Association] , which was further down
the Valley, which was proposed to take off from the end of Folsom
South Canal, which came from the American River. They raised
objections to our taking water from the bureau because--
[Telephone Rings] --excuse me.
LaBerge: You were talking about people from the East Side Project raising
Reilley: Right. They raised objections because they thought that the East
Bay taking water from the American River might take water which
would otherwise go down the Folsom South Canal and end up in the
proposed East Side Project.
So, we had long negotiations with both the Sacramento
people, and with the East Side people to assure them that we
would not interfere with their project. There were various
agreements which were reached with them to assure them of their
rights. We limited the amount of water which we would otherwise
have proposed to take from the Bureau of Reclamation to satisfy
their fears. That was going along okay. It took us a couple of
years to work all of this out, both with the bureau, and with the
East Side people, and the Sacramento River people.
We thought we had everything all pretty well settled, and
then the people in Contra Costa County Water District raised the
point that they were under the area of origin, which means that
if you are part of the area of origin, or adjacent thereto, you
have a prior right. So, we had to then sit down with them and
work out satisfactory arrangements with them so that they would
So, after we got all of those people in the fold, so to
speak, then we signed the agreement with the United States
thinking that we had resolved most of the difficulties,' which of
course, did not turn out to be the case because later on the
Environmental Defense Fund and the Save the American River people
filed a suit which then went on for thirteen years, or seventeen
years. It went on for thirteen years when I was there, but then
it eventually was resolved, or seemingly resolved.
LaBerge: Right, because we still don't have the American River water.
Reilley: No. They're right now in the process, and they are in some very
interesting negotiations in the East Bay now, involving a lot of
the same cast of characters because they have involved the County
of Sacramento, the City of Sacramento, the Save the American
River people, the people in the Delta, now, have added to that
problem because of the water for the Delta. So there's a host of
problems out there that they are having to work with, as well as
the technical ones of what is the best way to utilize the water.
They also are involved in extensive negotiations with Amador
and Calaveras and San Joaquin Counties as to their needs because
they have a need for water, particularly in San Joaquin County,
they have a difficult problem of a lowering water table which has
caused them a great deal of concern, and they're hoping that they
get to work out a scheme along with the East Bay to alleviate
Consultant to the District after Retirement
LaBerge: When you retired, then you were hired as a consultant to the
Reilley: Yes, I was. For about three years, I continued to have a
relationship with the district. Basically it was just to help
them out with any carryover knowledge that I had from the
litigation, which of course continued. After I left, they
retained a firm of attorneyswater attorneys from down in
southern California to help them out. They, along with Bob
Helwick, who did a lot of the work, and Bob Maddow, who was the
LaBerge: Do you know the name of the firm in southern California, or not?
Reilley: It was Art Littleworth's firm.
LaBerge: Was that what you mainly consulted on, was just that whole issue?
Reilley: Yes, mainly that. Basically, I didn't do too much, except that,
as I say, provide a little institutional memory, I guess you'd
call it, for some of the things they needed to re-visit.
LaBerge: Now, aren't you on some kind of a committee- -maybe not a
committee, but it's a group of retired people from the East Bay
who either give advice or consult? Do you want to tell me about
Reilley: Yes. There is a group of us which is made up of, basically, John
McFarland, a former general manager, and Orrin Harder, a former
chief engineer, and Hal Raines, myself, Francis Blanchard, and
Rich Kolm, who was the engineer who was involved with the
district's water supply.
LaBerge: Do you meet on a regular basis?
Reilley: No, not really. Actually, that group was more active when we had
the group of directors who really were opposed to the American
River development. We felt that the East Bay was really heading
for a water disaster if they didn't develop that source, that
they were pursuing a very shortsighted policy. We endeavored to
write to the board, and bring that to their attention. Then,
there was a change in the board which reversed that course, and
it's now actively trying to develop an additional water supply
source, which we feel will be critical at the turn of the
We have, from time to time, met with the group that John
Lampe, who is in chargebasically, in charge of the water
development projects they 've been kind enough to meet with us.
We have reviewed a good deal of the material, and have offered
whatever assistance we could to them.
There is another group called American River Committee,
which is headed up by retired Senator John Nejedly, and Chuck
Brydon, who was active from out here. Chuck is not a former East
Bay person, but he is out here in the Contra Costa County. He's
interested in water supply development. And, there are a group
of others, and there are some East Bay people who are active
also, including myself, Orrin Harder, and Rich Kolm, and John
LaBerge: So, tell me what that group does.
Reilley: Basically, it's to provide encouragement to the district to
develop additional water supply sources which, the Contra Costa
people feel, and I think rightly, that the future health of the
economy in Contra Costa County is dependent on an adequate and
reliable source of water. And before, like our management that I
referred to, they, I think, came into being when the district's
former board of directors were indicating that they didn't want
to develop additional water sources, really, and that the
endeavor there was to provide more or less of a political group
that would encourage them to change their course.
LaBerge: Do you know about what year the board changed to a new--
Reilley: Yes. It was the last election, whichwhat is that? 1992, I
LaBerge: Probably, yes.
Reilley: See, the board is elected on a staggered basis they' re staggered
for the seven directors, they're not all elected at once.
LaBerge: That's a real tribute that all of you are willing to give your
time to still do that. I mean, that you're looking forward and
you care about the future.
Reilley: Well, of course, when you work at something all your life you
hate to see it decline, and that's particularly in reference to
the American River, and additional water supplies, you can see
that it's critical. The thing about a water supply is that what
you're talking about now is something which will become critical
many years into the future. But, if you don't do it now, it's
not going to happen when it does become critical. Because, for
example, Camanche Reservoir was built and the Third Mokelumne
Aqueduct was built long beforeand the planning for it and the
actual construction of it--was built long before it was actually
needed. These things just take many, many years to bring into
being. If you don't plan ahead, many years ahead, you're going
to be in a very difficult spot when it becomes necessary to have
the project in being.
Sc, I suppose it's people like ourselves who have worked
with this and realized this, that if we don't do it, I don't know
who's going to do it. You know, it's very difficult for people
to understand the problem, because as long as you can turn on the
faucet and something comes out, you know, 99 percent of the
people don't realize even where the water comes from.
LaBerge: That's right, that's right. And it takes someone with your
perspective, I think, to give that kind of advice.
Reilley: Well, it's like everything else, you know, if you're a foot
doctor, why you, everything is wrapped around the person's feet
[chuckles], you know. I guess,
particular line of work.
because that happens to be a
LaBerge: Let's go to another subject. We did talk about different boards,
we didn't talk about all the general managers, and I think, maybe
we could start with John Harnett, because wasn't he the general
manager for most of the time that you were--
Reilley: Actually, a good part of the time, John McFarland was the general
manager, and then he was succeeded by Jack Harnett. Then when I
left, of course, Jerry Gilbert was the general manager. They all
had varying styles and different personalities. They also had
varying strengths and some weaknesses, just as everybody does.
But by and large, they did a good job.
LaBerge: Would you care to comment on what the strengths and weaknesses
Reilley: Well, [pause] as far as I observed them, John McFarland was, of
course, a Stanford graduate. He was an expert on management, and
that was his forte, although he really backed the engineers in
developing the Camanche project. That was under his regime. He,
of course, was supported by a board that was very muchvery
helpful to him, and he was blessed by a strong president of the
board, Louis Breuner, who was a very vigorous man and forceful.
So John McFarland was aided and abetted in his efforts to change
the district around by the fact that he had the support of Mr.
The thing about it is, when John McFarland came, the
district was pretty much run by engineers. They had built the
projects, they built Pardee; they'd taken over the system from
the old East Bay Water Company, which was a private company.
They were builders, and they were not necessarily business types,
and the changing of the district from a construction project to a
public utility, run like a business, was John McFarland 's
contribution to the East Bay. And he did a good job brought a
lot of people in who furthered that objective. And as I say, he
was supported by the board and particularly, the president.
Reilley: Then, after he left, John McFarland went over and became an
executive for a savings and loan--I think it's Golden West, I
believe it was called then. The president of that, which was a
statewide savings and loan, was a man named Stuart Davis, who at
one time, was on our board of directors and who was impressed by
John, offered him a position as an executive of that
organization, so he left. Then Jack Harnett became the general
Jack was, of course, the general manager at the time when we
negotiated the contracts with the Bureau of Reclamation. Jack
Harnett had been in the army. He was a retired colonel from the
Army Corps of Engineers. I think he was acquainted with the
federal bureaucracy from his days with the [United States] Army
Corps of Engineers. And so, he was helpful in dealing with the
Washington scene, which we had to do from time to time. We were
faced with an interesting problem with the Bureau of Reclamation
because, perhaps I mentioned this before, it was at a stage where
they were trying to devise a new pricing structure for their
water supply-- [Tape Interruption]
Pricing Structure of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation##
LaBerge: Okay. I'm not sure if you have talked about that pricing
problem, so why don't you tell me.
Reilley: Well, up to then, you know, the United States had built the
Central Valley Project, a vast project. The pricing was,
basically, a pretty simple thing. They just said, well, they
would give a contract for forty years, and this is what the price
would be, and that's what it would be for forty years.
Somebody began to think back in Washington, I guess, that
that really wasn't such an excellent deal from the standpoint of
the government, and that maybe they ought to have some scheme
that would allow them to increase the cost over the prices that
they had initially set, as the costs went up and inflation took
place, and so forth. The value of the water, of course, would
increase as time went on. So they endeavored to come to grips
with that. Their idea of how to do that was to say, well, the
United States will charge so much for water, and then it will
adjust the price from time to time as the secretary of the
interior shall determine. Well, if you recommended such a
contract to your client you'd have to have a hole in your head
because you had no way at all of determining what the secretary
of the interior was going to charge in the future.
So our thought was to arrive at a price that would be
related to the cost of service to us for the amount of water that
we were taking as compared to the overall project yield. That
seemed to us to be a fairly rational way to do it. Of course,
like anything else, the devil is the details. But the United
States would sit there, and people in Sacramento would haggle
with us, and we'd go up there, and they'd say, "Well, that's
fine, that sounds good, we'll have to check with Washington."
Well, maybe two or three months would go by and nothing. You
wouldn't hear anything.
Then word would come from Washington that changes were
needed, and we'd meet again, and they'd say, Well, but this is
such and such, or they've got to change something. So we'd
haggle away at that. Sometimes they'd come down to Oakland,
every now and then. They had a young woman lawyer who used to
bring down gallon jugs because the water was so lousy up in
Sacramento that she used to like to get jugs of water when she
came down to Oakland to bring back to Sacramento. But, that went
on for quite a while.
Then eventually we arrived at a formula that we could put
into the contract. Now, I understand that the United States says
that's that isn't such a great deal for the United States, and
they want to change it. As I understand it, when they want to
renew the contract, which is due to come up in about seventeen
years, I guess, they want to revise that, and collect for all the
back years that they didn't collect what they think is the fair
price, plus interest, I guess. So, they're talking about
something like a hundred million dollars. That, of course, will
remain to be seen. There's going to be a lot of work for people
to cope with that, I'm sure.
But in any case, we did arrive at what I thought, and I
think most people who took part in it at the time, was a rational
approach. One thing that we were concerned about, and which they
said would never happen, was that we might be the only ones that
were on the canal, Folsom South Canal, which was paying anything.
If we had to pick up the whole price of the canal, we'd be paying
for the whole project, which they had built for many other
people, but who had failed to come up with a contract. Also,
they had failed to complete the Folsom South Canal, it's never
been fully completed. So, if we turned out to be the only ones,
with the exception of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District,
which built a nuclear plant and had a contract to take some water
for the nuclear plant, which is now shut down,
we eventually reached agreement with them.
But, in any case,
By the way, another man who was a part of our group was
Francis Blanchard; he should be included because Francis is a
true water guru. He is an engineer whose life work has been
concerned with water supply.
LaBerge: I know you've mentioned him before,
when you were there?
Reilley: Yes. Yes.
Was he an engineer there
More on Jack Harnett
LaBerge: Was Jack Harnett 's background with the army helpful in these
negotiations, do you think?
Reilley: Well, Jack was familiar with the Washington scene. Jack was a
leader who would, really would tend to avoid controversy, which
is somewhat of an odd thing, being a soldier. He was a type of
negotiator who liked to avoid any rough edges. He tends to
compromise. For that reason, it was generally a better idea to
have him back in Oakland and leave the tough talk to other
people, you know? And I'm not saying that as a criticism of
Jack, but he was a man who really didn't like to see people rock
the boat. He liked to avoid controversy.
LaBerge: What about you? Were you okay with the controversy?
Reilley: Well, that's my line of work, you know. I've spent a good deal
of my life in courtrooms where controversy is the name of the
game, and negotiating contract settlements and land acquisitions
and so on. Sometimes you have to be a little bit tough because
otherwise you might look around and find out you don't have a
shirt anymore. So I would guess that would probably be true.
LaBerge: Once you told me about the board looking for a new general
manager, when they picked Jerry Gilbert. There was some story
about that, of how they decided to get a head-hunter firm, or--
Reilley: Yes, they did. It was interesting because they did get a head-
hunter firm, and you know the old phrase, let's make a national
search, you know, that means that you're going to cover the
entire country. And I guess they did. They hired Korn Ferry
[International], or one of those firms, and they came up with
Basically Ken Simmons, who was a director of the district
and still is, is an African American, and he felt that there were
no African Americans within the group of names, and he thought
that it should be such. So the district board had a great deal
of controversy internally over that, as to how they would select
someone as a--my recollection is that Ken Simmons filed a suit
against the district's board to block the appointment that they
had in mind. I'm trying to think of whether he was just saying
he would bring suit, or whether he actually filed a suit. But
the point is that a minority member--! don't mean minority in an
ethnic sense, but if you're on the losing side of a public body,
you can't sue to block action by the majority because you don't
agree with them. So that became my pleasant duty to have to
bring that to the floor, although Ken Simmons is a fine director
and we get along quite well.
At that point, when there was this turmoil, Jerry Gilbert,
who, of course, is a well-known figure in water matters both
nationally and internationally; actually he's a member of all
kinds of international bodies and the National Science
Foundation, whatever that group is, back in Washington. He was
also the president of the American Water Works Association. He,
I think, through Walter McLean- -I'm not sure, although Walter had
another candidate that he was quite anxious to put forward- -Jerry
Gilbert made it known to the district's board that he might be
interested in being the general manager. So of course, he became
a very attractive candidate.
I think the majority of the board responded favorably to
that. But in order to satisfy Ken Simmons' reservations about
the ethnic composition of the district's management, contracting,
and so on, Jerry Gilbert, in effect, made kind of a little pact
with the board, that he would accomplish certain goals and
timetables as far as ethnic composition of the management and the
percentage of contracts which would be given to minority
businesses. That seemed to calm the situation down and Jerry
Gilbert was appointed as the general manager.
LaBerge: Do you know about what that year that was?
Reilley: I'm trying to think of that. I can't remember exactly.
LaBerge: I was wondering, because you were there when the board adopted an
affirmative action policy. I think it was 1975?
LaBerge: Would that have happened before Jerry Gilbert was hired, or maybe
it was after?
Reilley: Oh, it was before, much before. I stayed on for two additional
years after my normal retirement, and Jerry Gilbert was there
during those two years, and he was there maybe a year before
that, so maybe '80. Around '80 would be closer to it, I think. 1
LaBerge: Did you have any input in picking the general manager? Or was
that not related to your job?
Reilley: Well, no, really not but I would, of course, have attended all
the board meetings and special meetings that they had, personnel
LaBerge: How did the voluntary affirmative action policy affect you? Did
you write any personnel policies, or did you help hire people?
Reilley: Well, of course, we hired people in the district legal
department. But any policy like that we would review for
compliance with the law, and sometimes whether they would be in a
form that would be defensible, you know.
Double Duty as Acting General Manager
LaBerge: I know, one other thing. You were both chief counsel, but then
you were also assistant manager.
Reilley: At one time, I was--
LaBerge: Yes, so let's have that story on tape, how you got that job, and
Reilley: Yes. That was quite an interesting development. That happened
during Jack Harnett's regime. They, at one time, decided that
they needed somebody when Harnett would take off someplace, to
sign documents, you know, as the acting general manager, and they
couldn't wait for him to return. So the board discussed that,
1 Jerry Gilbert was general manger from 1981 to 1991.
and they said, "Well, we'll appoint an assistant general manager
to do that." Howard Robinson, who was a director at that time,
said, "Well, I don't want anybody to be the heir apparent who
would get it into his head that when Harnett goes, he's going to
automatically be the general manger. So we just want to get
somebody who does his job and doesn't really have any desire to
be general manager."
So they looked around and I, of course, was there. They
said, "Well, how about you, Jack, do you want to do that?" And I
said, "Sure, if anybody needs somebody to sign something, I'll be
glad to fill in. And I assure you that I don't have any ideas of
being an heir apparent, or desire to be the heir apparent." So
that went on for a while, and I became the assistant general
manager, and Harnett took off in his various things, and I'd sign
Then at some stage, we had a director by the name of DeWitt
Krueger, who never saw a pay raise for a public employee that he
liked [chuckles], and he was protesting that so many of the
employees at that stage of the game were getting more than twenty
thousand a year. So he said, "What we need to do," by the way,
Krueger 's profession, he was a tax man who would go around to
different corporations and try to figure out how they could lower
their property taxes. So you can imagine where he was coming
from. So he said, "Well, what we need to do is get some outfit,"
somebody, I don't know, some consultants in. I've forgotten who
they were- -"come in here, look at this outfit, and see what the
organization is, and see if we can't get a handle on this thing."
Harnett, of course, said, "Yes, all right, we'll do that." Jack
got a hold of some outfit, and they hired them, and they made
this study, you know how they do, they run around, ask people
what they're doing, and they write up this big report, you know,
and of course, obviously, if they're getting paid for doing this
they have to find someway to say that people are getting too much
money, or to reorganize, or whatever.
So one of the things, lo and behold, was this thing in there
that says, this general counsel is the assistant genera"! manager,
so therefore he shouldn't be filling that role, and because it's
been taken away from him, we can lower his salary! I read that
and I practically went through the roof. So I went charging down
to Harnett 's office and said, "What is the meaning of this?!" So
needless to say, after a certain amount of clamoring, they
changed their recommendation. That was my foray into being
assistant general manager. One time, I was also assistant
secretary, too, because for the same reason, that they needed
somebody to act as secretary when the other secretary was away.
But nobody asked me to lower my salary for that.
LaBerge: Nor did they give you more salary, right? [chuckles]
Reilley: Nor did they give me more salary, either one!
LaBerge: You were just being a nice guy.
Reilley: Well, you know, I said, well sure, but nobody said, well okay,
we'll put a little more in the paycheck.
LaBerge: Well, let's talk about other issues that came up during those
years that you were there, and your reflection on them. There
were several federal regulations. For instance, the EPA was
created in 1970 and then the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
Did any of that impact your work, or were you asked to give
advice, or comments on any--
Reilley: Yes. We had, of course, the sewage disposal project for the main
cities of the East Bay and interceptor lines. Of course, the
district had to upgrade their sewage disposal project to provide
a higher degree of treatment before it discharged in the San
Francisco Bay. So we had a lot of activity arising out of that.
We had to create ordinances that covered users, dischargers into
the sewers, what they could put in, what they could not put in,
methods of enforcement, methods of hearings to determine whether
they should be fined or whatnot, and also to comply with the
federal government's requirements.
We also received grants from the federal government for
those sewage disposal improvements and so we had to help with the
application for them, and then also, when the settlement came up,
there was always some disagreements over what should be paid for,
and what should not be paid for, and how much should be paid, and
so on. A man named Frank Howard, in my office, handled most of
LaBerge: So in the midst of that, did you have to go back to Washington to
talk to people, or how did you handle all that?
Reilley: Well, of course, a lot of it was handled here locally, but some
of it had to be handled by, going back to Washington to talk to
the people there.
LaBerge: I mean, for instance, did you have someone who represented your
interests at Congress?
Reilley: We had an attorney named Northcutt Ely in Washington, and he had
people in his office who represented the district in Washington.
LaBerge: And, when you were interpreting the statutes or whatever, were
you working with your engineers?
Reilley: Yes, we had a very close relationship with the engineering staff,
both on the water side, and in the special district.
LaBerge: I'm trying to see if there are some other federal issues here,
but there are some state issues.
Reilley: I think one of things, that--big change in the district as far as
internal organization, was the fact that unionization came in.
You know, it was, kind of the beginnings of public employee
unionizing which occurred while I was there. The statutes from
Sacramento provided for unionizing public employees.
There are statutes that require the district, among other
public agencies, to meet and confer, as they describe it, in
order to reach agreement with their employees. And, we had, I
think, it was three strikes while I was there, and we entered
into contracts with employees.
LaBerge: So did you both deal with the strikes and the negotiations, or--
Reilley: No. We hired outside people to do the negotiating with the
employees. Our contribution was that, once or twice, our office
went in and got injunctions against the strikers; it didn't
really help all that much because eventually, you have to sit
down and agree. It's just a question of sooner or later.
Balancing Environmental Guidelines and the District's Needs
LaBerge: As far as all the environmental guidelines that really were
coming out while you were there, that was really the force--!
have a broad question for you, what would you see as a good
balance between the environmental concerns, and the beneficial
use of water?
Reilley: Well, it's like anything else, you know, there has to be a trade
off. You can't have the water supply just like it was when
nobody was here but the Indians. Besides, it probably wouldn't
have been a very good idea to have it the same way because the
fact of the matter is, the water supply that comes down the
river, for example, the Mokelumne River, in its unregulated
state, isn't very good either for domestic use or for anything
else, because it comes all at once as the snow meets.
Reilley: But basically, you know, a lot of the regulations are obviously
necessary, particularly when you have the population growing the
way it is. There's no doubt the dumping raw sewage into San
Francisco Bay, which we did up until right after World War II,
when the district started its first interceptor plan, was a
disgrace. Anybody who lived here all his life knew that was
terrible, the stench of the Bay and so forth. So the
environmental restrictions on polluting that Bay, and so on, are
obviously necessary. It's particularly true when you have large
concentrations of population. Obviously though, you have to have
some modification of the demands for fish and recreation because
of the needs of the people who need water for domestic and
municipal uses, and also for industrial uses. People decry the
industrial uses, but on the other hand, they also need jobs.
So there has to be a kind of balancing act, and what really
is upsetting is the people who are fanatics, who won't accept
that fact that you have to make some kind of compromises, and you
can't have it all your own way. The people, for example, on the
American River who say, we've got to have this--fish is the prime
thing. They forget that there wouldn't be a regulated supply, a
year-around supply on the American River, if there weren't dams
upstream, and the water, in effect, was being regulated. So that
would be my only comment.
I think a great deal of the regulations and requirements are
necessary because we've got a lot of people in this state, and we
can't just let people run wild because there's no doubt that
there's a lot of people that would asphalt--that would concrete
over the entire state if they had their way. We have a beautiful
state here, and a beautiful Bay Area. We should try to keep it
that way as long as we can. But on the other hand, there are
some requirements that are necessary to make the place liveable.
One time you let me look at a resolution that the district gave
you when you retired. It mentioned various things you worked on,
so I just wanted to ask you about some of them.
Land Use Master Plan, 1970
One of them is the Land Use Master Plan in 1970.
what that was?
Do you recall
Yes. The district, of course, owns a great deal of property in
the Bay Area in the hills surrounding Upper San Leandro
Reservoir, and Chabot, and the Briones Reservoir, and San Pablo
Reservoirat all of those reservoirs the district owns a great
deal of property. And of course it owned even more, which it
turned over to the regional park district early on. At one time,
when I first came, the idea was that the district should try to
dispose of a good deal of the property which wasn't necessary for
watershed purposes. It acquired the property, a lot of it, when
they took over from the old East Bay Water Company, private water
company. That led to quite an outcry of people. The first real
crunch was in the Orinda area. The district owned a lot of
property at the crossroads there which it had no real need for,
but is kind of upstream from San Pablo Reservoir there. Of
course, it's all developed now. But at that time, there was
hardly anything there and the freeway hadn't been developed the
way it is now. There was something called a pine grove there
which was up on the side of the hill, which is where John F.
Kennedy University is now. The district was going to sell this
property off. I think some big trucking outfit was going to put
a headquarters there. There was a great deal of outcry of the
citizens there. William Penn Mott, I think I've mentioned this
Yes, yes you did.
--was a leader in this. And Frank Newman, lived there, who later
became a member of the state supreme court, was a dean of the law
school, was a classmate of mine.
LaBerge: Oh, was he?
Reilley: Yes. Just recently died.
LaBerge: Yes, he did. We have an oral history with him. 1
Reilley: With Newman?
LaBerge: You would enjoy reading it.
Reilley: Yes, I would. Yes, Newman was a classmate of mine. He was below
me in the class, by the way [chuckles]. You don't have to add
LaBerge: That's good to know.
Reilley: Well, I take a certain amount of pride--! was fifth in the class.
LaBerge: Wow! So Frank Newman was active in this--
Reilley: Yes, he was quite- -Newman lived out there, you know, so he was
one of those that was active. And then there was a great deal of
pressure on the district to allow fishing in the reservoir. The
district had its land closed off. It didn't permit anybody in
there. Of course, that's all changed now. They have hiking
trails, and fishing, and recreation, and you know, the whole
gambit. But in those days they didn't allow anybody on the
property, and the idea was it was going to be used for drinking
water so we kept it as clean as possible. This was, you know,
one of the engineers' basic premises.
There was this pressure from an assemblyman by the name of
Masterson, from Richmond, who later became a superior court
judge, to open up the reservoir for fishing. They had these
people that were decrying the district for going to sell off the
land and spoil the property. The district decided to call in the
Stanford Research Institute, I guess it's called, and make up a
land use master plan for the district of the property inside the
boundaries. Later on it made one for the up-country property up
in Amador and Calaveras Counties, too, but the first one was
related to the property inside the district. So the district
then declared a moratorium on selling any property at all, which
I think basically they held fast to, to this day. I don't think
we're supposed to do anything except maybe exchange, or
'Frank C. Newman, Oral History Interview, Conducted 1989 by Carole
Hicke, Regional Oral History Office, University of California at Berkeley,
for the California State Archives State Government Oral History Program.
something, for a particular operational purpose,
that, I don't think they've sold any property.
But aside from
This master plan came up and they had formed citizens'
committees, and they met with the citizens' committees, and gone
over the plan, and eventually arrived at this plan. This plan
would be for the use of the district property. Eventually they
opened up the reservoirs for fishing, and built hiking trails,
all that. Over the years, of course, they've been more and more
used. Lake Chabot, of course, they leased to the regional park
district. There's Willow Park golf course there. San Pablo, of
course, is open for fishing. Then Lafayette Reservoir is also
used for recreational purposes. [The Willow Park golf course
caused a great deal of problems for the district. Upper San
Leandro Dam discharges into a creek which flows through the
course. When there is heavy rain, the dam discharges into the
creek and the course is flooded. The operator of the course
would then sue the district although the course is supposed to
absolve the district from such liability.] 1
So did you help write the master plan?
Well, the master plan was prepared by Stanford Research, the
basic plan. But of course, then we participated in such
amendments and changes and so on that would take place. We had,
again, Frank Howard in my office, who took kind of a lead in that
and worked with the citizens' committees, and so forth.
Water Management Plan, 1972
LaBerge: Another one they mention was the Water Management Plan in 1972.
Reilley: Yes. Well, that of course grew out of plans for utilizing the
American River water supply, because that was entered into in
1970. We had the contract with the bureau, and then they had to
draw what in effect was a kind of an action plan for how all of
this was to be integrated into the district system.
LaBerge: So it was really just an outgrowth of the American River
Bracketed material was added by Mr. Reilley during the editing
Reilley: Right. It was basically a blueprint for the augmentation of the
district's water supply. It has been upgraded several times
Water Rights Review Commission, 1977
LaBerge: Something else I came across was a Water Rights Review Commission
that Governor Jerry Brown set up in 1977, and Chief Justice
Donald Wright, I guess, who was retired, was the head of that? I
didn't know if you had any input into that.
Reilley: Yes, I do remember that.
LaBerge: Maybe to spark your memory I brought pictures of the other
commissioners. I thought maybe you'd look at them and either
remember if you had to testify or if you had any part in any of
that. [Showing photos].
Reilley: Yes, I remember they came up with this [from Western Water, July-
August 1977, published by Western Water Education Foundation.]
Art [Arthur] Littleworth was the one that was hired by the
Okay. He keeps writing.
California water law.
He's published something in 1994 on
Yes, he's quite a recognized figure, although I guess he's kind
of in semi-retirement now. Yes, I remember this commission and I
remember we had a hearing on it. The Association of California
Water Agencies, I remember, met after this and had a meeting,
discussed some of the findings of these people. I remember I
appeared at that and gave a talk at that, too. I remember I
wasn't happy with some of their findings but I can't remember why
now [chuckles] .
I jotted down a few of their findings,
Harrison Dunning, I guess
I am familiar with Harrison Dunning, from Davis.
It sounded like he directed the commission.
He was a professor at [University of California,] Davis, and he
specialized in water law. I think he was at the law school
there. I remember him because he came down and appeared before
our board on one occasion about something which I didn't agree
with, but yes, I remember that. I remember that meeting too, the
Association of California Water Agencies, and I remember that
Justice [James] Cobey was there and gave a talk. I remember we
didn't agree with each other.
LaBerge: I assume it was kind of an aftermath of the drought, that that's
why the commission was set up?
Reilley: Maybe that's true.
LaBerge: Because it was 1977.
Reilley: That would be true, right.
LaBerge: But they said one of the recommendations was that they'd have a
state local regulatory program designed to reduce ground water
overdraft, and to preserve instream flows to facilitate the
transfer of water, and water rights.
Reilley: Right. Yes. John Bryson, I remember him, too, because John
Bryson, is now, I guess, the chief executive officer of Southern
California Edison. But at that time he was chairman of the State
Water Resources Control Board, and then before that, when I first
ran across him, he was a witness in the hearings that the state
water resources board was having on the Bureau of Reclamation's
application for water rights for the American River project.
Then he was a big environmentalist. And now, of course, he's, I
guess, with the enemy. Yes, I remember him, John Bryson, of
course. And Thomas Zuckerman was a prominent lawyer quite active
up in the Delta, from Stockton. Zuckerman- -the Zuckermans are a
very well-known family up in Stockton, of course. Another
relative of his we came across was a man named Zuckerman who was
LaBerge: I think you told me about Joe Zuckerman?
Reilley: He had a warehouse.
LaBerge: Yes, I wondered if they were related.
Reilley: Yes, the Zuckermans are a well-known family. I don't know the
exact relationship between the two. This Zuckerman here, this
Thomas Zuckerman was quite an active lawyer involved in water
rights matters up in the Stockton Delta area.
Issues of the 1976-1977 Drought
LaBerge: I wondered if they asked for input from you or from other water
Reilley: I don't remember. Of course, I remember the drought. There was
a lot of action with ourselves and the bureau and the state
because of--. We had water, enough- -we had quite a program of
restrictions on water uses during that time. We had ordinances
that we had to draft and restrictions on people's uses of water,
and exactly how much they can use. That was quite a contentious
thing at one time, before it was adopted, because there was a
question as to whether you would base the water use on a
percentage of their previous use, or whether you would fix an
amount of water and say, so many gallons a day can be used in the
Now everybody on the west side of the hill said, "Let's be
fair, everybody will have 250 gallons a day." Everybody out in
Contra Costa County says, "Oh my god, I've got a half -acre of
petunias, and whatever, azaleas, and they're all going to die,
you know, and it's hot out here, you have to take a shower every
couple of hours." So we had a big dispute over that. And
finally they came down on the side of having a fixed amount of
wat? : . They had big public hearings on this down at the Kaiser
Center. People got pretty hot under the collar about this.
But in the meantime, the question was, in some areas like
Marin County it wasn't a question of whether you'd take a shower,
it's whether you'd get a drink of water. They were almost out of
water. So we had water rights available still from, of course,
from the American River. The contract said you had to take from
Grant Line Road, off the Folsom South Canal. But we had the
ability to take water from a place called Bixler which is right
next to our aqueduct in the Delta, which we could pump out of the
Delta if the bureau would release water down the river, we could
pick it up, put it in our aqueduct.
But we had to negotiate with the bureau in order to get them
to let us do that because they could have said, no, the only
place you can take it is at Grant Line Road, which meant you
couldn't take it at all. So we went up there with Harnett and
haggled around with them, and they didn't want to give us--they
only wanted to give us a small percentage of the water. To make
a long story short, we haggled over that and finally got mem to
permit us to take water out of that. So then the statewe got
together with a lot of the other people up in the state and
reached an agreement whereby we would take this water out of the
Delta, put it into our aqueducts.
We would then in turn take water, state water [State Water
Project water], at a connection near Hayward. We would make a
connection there with state water, and theoretically, that water
would come through our system and we'd build a pipeline across
the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and we would sell water to Marin
County and bail them out. Then, we would put a connection out
here in Contra Costa County, and we would deliver some water to
them so that they would tend- -they could take it out of the Delta
of course, but it would be very salty. So we would deliver some
district water to them to clean that up. So we had all of these
kind of deals with the state to take water in Hayward, deliver
water over to Marin and our agreement with Marin, we had a water
deal with Contra Costa County to deliver water to them, and then
we had the bureau to supplement our water supply with water out
in the Delta. During this time we were meeting with all these
people and trying to get by that terrible drought. Bob Maddow,
in our office, negotiated a lot of these agreements.
I'm impressed that the East Bay district was trying to help its
own customers but also trying to help other people who were
Well, you know, it's like you're sitting in the middle of a
parking lot with a lot of starving kids all around you while
you're wolfing down a hot dog. Yeah, you can't really, in good
conscience, just simply sit there and do nothing.
That's right. So then when the drought was finished then you no
longer pumped water to Marin.
No, actually, we took out that pipe and we, of course,
disconnected the different connections for the systems. We also
delivered water--! don't know, maybe they still deliver water
downthis was under Jerry Gilbertdown into, I guess it's
Byron. They were out of water. Public health people condemned
their water supply. They were taking water out of well's.
LaBerge: Well, the other thing I found, after that commission made
recommendations but the legislature didn't act on them, there was
Proposition 13  --not the property tax initiative but it was
a water resources initiative that failed. From what I read about
it the majority of water agencies were against it. Do you have
any recollection of this one?
I really don't have any recollection.
It was sort of when you were ending your job at the East Bay in
any case. Okay. Speaking of the other Proposition 13 ,
what kind of tax issues did you have to deal with?
Reilley: Well, of course, the district used to levy its own tax, you know,
and the district's board would fix a tax rate. But then of
course, after 13, why then the county would allocate a certain
percentage of taxes to the district which, in effect, are for the
purposes of covering bond issuesoutstanding bond issues. But
it's gradually taking less and less from the tax rate.
There is now and was then, too, a movement, by the cities
and counties and probably a good part of the legislature, to
remove the right of outfits like the district to levy any taxes
at all. The pressure, of course, a lot of it was motivated
because of the fact that Proposition 13 had made cities and
counties and school districts pretty desperate for money. So I
don't know how much longer outfits like the district, which are
revenue producing, will be able to levy any taxes at all. It's
become less and less of a factor for the district. Of course, in
the beginning, when they had a lot of construction costs it was
an important factor to be able to issue bonds and pay them off
This is interesting [looking at photograph].
LaBerge: Isn't it? I thought that both you would get a kick out of seeing
the pictures but you probably knew every single person on that
Reilley: Yes, I do know them all. Right. Arliss Ungar was a lady from
out here in Contra Costa and was very active in water matters.
But I think she took off for some place with her husband. I
think he had a job someplace else. She was very active. Ron
Robie here. Thanks, it's very interesting.
Various Professional Organizations
LaBerge: [Looking at another photo] You might know this group, Western
Water Education Foundation. Our office gets this pamphlet
Reilley: I do know them. It's run by a lady who is very active. I think
she was a farmer's daughter or a farmer's wife, or something like
that, I think she was connected with farming. They started up
this water news because of the well, as kind of a counterweight
to the fish and recreation type people, who are environmental
types, who don't want to use water for, basically, for farming I
guess, more than anything. I think that they alone with, say the
Association of California Water Agencies, have been very active
in trying to put their message across.
LaBerge: So I guess it's been going on since
Reilley: Yeah, that's been going on for quite a few years. Yeah, that was
a fairly active group.
LaBerge: Now what other groups did you belong to--you mentioned the
Association of California
Reilley: --Water Agencies. Yes. And I was in the California Municipal
Utilities Association [C.M.U.A.].
LaBerge: Okay, so you were the attorney for
Reilley: California Municipal Utilities Association. I was also chairman
of their legislative committee.
LaBerge: Oh--which would lobby the legislature?
Reilley: Yes. Well, basically, what we didbecause they had an executive
director who did the actual lobbying [with the legislative
committee] --we would meet frequently, once a month I guess,
pretty much, in which we would go over the proposed legislation
which would affect municipally-owned utilities, both water and
electric. And we would thenthere would be a meeting of the
different representatives from the different agencies throughout
the state, and we would decide whether we were going to take a
position on those pieces of the legislation and direct the
executive to either support them or oppose them or seek
LaBerge: Would all the attorneys for the East Bay district have belonged
to this like did Mr. Raines belong to it before you or is this
just something that you were interested in?
Reilley: I'm not sure that Hal participated in that. It may well be that
I was the representative on this when Hal was there. Although it
may be that Hal took part, I can't remember that. But I was
quite active when I was there and when Harnett was there.
LaBerge: Well, the other one was the I.D.A.?
Reilley: Well, the Irrigation District Association turned out to be the
Association of California Water Agencies.
LaBerge: Oh, okay, so it just transformed--
Reilley: It just changed the name because they wanted to have a broader
base. Surprisingly enough that created quite a furor because the
old-time farmers and irrigators and so on, they loved that idea
of that Irrigation District Association. It had a great history,
you know, over years protected their interests, and they viewed
with a certain amount of suspicion people like ourselves who were
municipal water suppliers. In some cases the positions were
somewhat in conflict.
So the idea was they wanted the people who were running,
kind of the executive, wanted to change to broaden it out to get
us in like Los Angeles and East Bay and San Francisco and all the
restall the water suppliers, if for no other reason than we
have a lot of money. They could charge us more dues based on the
amount of water that we were using. And also, to be fair, they
felt that people in the water business ought to speak with one
voice, if they could. So there, after a great deal of turmoil,
they changed the name to Association of California Water
Agencies. They changed the way the representation on the board
were elected and so on, to give the municipal water people a
little more say in the organization because they were getting a
lot of flack from the people who were paying the bill, or a lot
of the bill, and who were not-- they had the feeling that they
weren't getting as much for their money as they should. So, that
was kind of the history of the change from Irrigation District,
to the Association of California Water Agencies.
LaBerge: Was their purpose similar to the California Municipal Utilities
Association? I mean that you were representing water interests--
Reilley: It wasn't directed to water precisely; it was directed more
towards public agencies as they function as public bodies. A lot
of it would have to do with, say, taxation, or rates, or zoning,
or planning, or things of that sort that went beyond simply a
question of water.
Now, some of things would be concerned with water, but then
a lot of them were concerned too with, say, how an electric
utility would operate. And it had to do with how your board was
organized, or labor matters, or things of that type. But of
course, a lot of times they would be in concert together, the two
associations would have a similar position on something, whether
for or against.
Urban Water Management Planning Act. 1983
LaBerge: I read that you helped to write the Urban Water Management
Planning Act, 1983. l Can you tell me about that?
Reilley: Well, as you can see from what you've been reading there about
the commission, there has been a gradual impact on water users--
that they use better planning and that they don't waste water.
It had a relationship with the lawsuit we had on the American
River. There was a great push in the legislature around this
time, that would have a kind of a czar of water to determineto
tell people throughout the state how they should use their water
and how much water they could use, and so forth.
Jerry Gilbert had the thought of having the requirement of
not a water czar, but to each water agency that uses a certain
amount of water, a significant amount, would be required to
provide a management plan that would show that it was utilizing
its water supply and attempting to get a future water supply in a
most effective way. It was kind of like a counterpart to an
environmental impact report. It would show that you weren't just
saying, well, we need a lot of water, let's go out and get it and
start using it, so that you would have to determine alternative
ways to supply your needs, whether by ground water or
conservation, so that when you went out and got additional water
supply it would definitely be demonstrated that there was a need
for it and that it couldn't be supplied in some other fashion.
Jerry had those ideas, and so I put them into a draft form and
drafted it up and we got it through the legislature.
LaBerge: Wow! Who helped you get it through the legislature?
Reilley: We, of course, had a representative in Sacramento for the
district, Rod Franz. Rod's an Old Blue, you know, he's a famous
member of the Hall of Fame, a football player, you know.
'A.B. 797, 1983-1984 Reg. Sess., Cal. Stat., ch. 1009.
LaBerge: Oh, I didn't realize that.
Reilley: Oh yes, Rod's a great man, he's a great fellow. Rod is retired
now, but he was the district's representative in Sacramento for
quite a few years. Of course he worked on it, and of course a
number of different water agencies recognized that we needed
something that would demonstrate that we weren't just a bunch of
dinosaurs out there trying to get water but that we were truly
trying to utilize good planning to do it. So I think we had the
support of most people in the water business.
LaBerge: I was wondering if specific legislators introduced the bill for
you or were more friendly than others?
Reilley: I can't remember who was--I think [Assemblyman Ralph] Klehs. I
have a picture of the governor signing it.
LaBerge: Oh, do you?
LaBerge: Oh good, because I wanted to ask you about photos, if you had a
couple of photos that we could use to put in the volume.
Reilley: Yes, I have a photo of that. [Tape pause to find photo]
LaBerge: About what year was this, just approximately?
Reilley: Well, I would say that probably it's about 1984.
Okay, this is Rod Franz. This is Jim Lattie, who was the
P.R. man in charge of our public relations department. This is
Jerry Gilbert. This is Sandy Skaggs, president of our board.
Here's the governor, and here's Klehs who introduced the
LaBerge: That would be a wonderful picture to have in the volume.
Reilley: That's 1984, that's--
LaBerge: That's after you retired I guess. I'm just going to read this
for the tape. To Jack Reilley, Congratulations on your
retirement and on drafting the first California Water
Conservation Act. Best regards, George Deukmejian, 2-23-84.
Reilley: Right. I graduated-- [laughter] --
LaBerge: You retired your second graduation!
Reilley: I retired in December of '83.
LaBerge: Oh, that's a great photo. Well, that's quite an accomplishment,
also just as you retired to have finished that.
Reilley: Right, right, right.
LaBerge: I just want to glance over this. Are there any issues you think
we have not covered from your time with the district, or about
water law in general?
Reilley: Well, I think we covered most of them. Just trying to think- -no,
I think- -
LaBerge: --covered most of them?
Reilley: --pretty well covered, yes.
Change in Water Law over the Years
LaBerge: What did you see as the major changes in water law in all your
years working in that business?
Reilley: Oh, there's been a great deal of change. When I first started
with the district, basically, water was for use in either
agriculture or municipal supply. The environmental people, fish
people, were kind of on the outside of the issue, and there was
some--I can't say that they were disregarded. But, if it came to
a showdown between uses of water for municipal purposes or for
agriculture, that was going to win out. Of course, when they
built Pardee I'm sure there was hardly any thought about, well,
what's the effect of this on downstream fishery.
Reilley: There were a lot of problems and controversies about uses, other
uses of water for agriculture or for municipal. The City of
Lodi's municipal supply, and the PG&E for the effect of the
district's diversions on their power plants, and that sort of
thing. But, as far as the thought for, is this going to affect
the fishery, I'm sure there was very little thought given to
that. You started to see more of that when we got into Camanche.
Then there started to be more of a formal hearing type process
before the state water board. It wasn't something that you just
went up there and made an application and somebody gave you a
permit. You had to have a public hearing and the fishery people,
and the recreational people as well as the other water users, the
farmer and the irrigation districts, and the rest of them, were
in there fighting it out. But still I have the feeling that as
far as the water board was concerned, if it came to a showdown
between fishery and use for municipal or agricultural purposes,
the agricultural purposes and the municipal people were going to
But then, as we got into the American River thing, it turned
the other way. I mean, I think that, by and large, the
environmental issues weigh heavier than the water use purposes.
They are very, very much into the picture, and very, very
determinative of how the issue is going to come out.
So, you could see a whole spectrum from the days of Pardee
to the days of the American River project, and you could almost
chart the public reaction and the approach to water development
between those two projects. Of course, not only the people in
Sacramento and Washington are concerned, but they're responding
to a public concern. I think the public is really now the moving
force becauseyou know, the old story used to be, "the way water
runs, it runs to where the money is," and I don't think that's
quite true anymore. Of course, to some degree that features into
it but not nearly as much as it once did. The impact of the
environmental movement on water development has been tremendous.
I think, by in large, all to the good.
LaBerge: Well, I'm just going to say, thank you very much and close off
Transcriber: Eric Schwimmer
Final Typist: Shana Chen
TAPE GUIDE- -John B. Reilley
Interview 1: December 19, 1995
Tape 1, Side A
Tape 1, Side B
Insert from Tape 2, Side A [1/22/96]
Tape 2, Side B
Resume Tape 1, Side B
January 22, 1996
Side B not recorded
Tape 3, Side B
January 30, 1996
Tape 5, Side B not recorded
Tape 7, Side B not recorded
Tape 9, Side B
INDEX-- John B. Reilley
affirmative action, 96-97
Alameda County Public Defender's
Office, 4-5, 13-18, 25, 39
Alioto, Joseph, 8-9
Amador County, 34-35, 86-87, 89,
American River Project, 35, 42,
56-58, 64-85, 87-89, 90-91, 104,
106-108, 112, 115
American River Utilization
Committee, 82, 90, 101
Anderson, Robert, 53
Association of California Water
Agencies, 105-106, 110-111
Auburn Dam, 66, 68, 77, 80
Banks, Harvey, 64-65, 69, 87
Bechtel Corporation, 33-34, 36
Blanchard, Francis, 64, 69, 90
Breuner, Louis, 6-7, 25, 42-50,
Briones Reservoir, 26, 41, 45,
Brother Leo, 9
Brown Act (1959), 42, 44, 46-47
Brown, Edmund G., Jr., 105
Brown, Edmund G., Sr., 86-87
Brydon, Chuck, 82, 90
Bryson, John, 106
Buckhorn Project, 85
Burke, Helen, 47, 49, 84
Burke, Lloyd, 7
Calaveras County, 33-35, 86-87,
California Municipal Utilities
Association, 31, 110-112
California State Department of
Fish and Game, 22, 32-33, 35,
California State Department of
California State Department of
Water Resources, 56-58, 64-65,
California State Legislature, 31-
California State Water Project,
56-57, 65-66, 69, 83, 107-108
California State Water Resources
Control Board, 22, 72, 74-75,
86-87, 106, 114-115
Camanche Dam, 23-24, 31, 33-36,
42, 45, 60, 64, 86-87, 91, 92,
Central Valley East Side Project,
57, 58, 66, 68, 70, 75, 79, 84,
Central Valley Water Project, 57,
Chabot Reservoir, 28, 102, 104
Coakley, Frank, 16
Cobey, James, 106
Cohelan, Jeffrey, 68
Contra Costa County Board of
Contra Costa County Water
District, 57, 58, 88, 107-108
Corbett and Kane, 51
Davis, Stuart, 93
Deal, Betty Barry and John, 6
Deukmejian, George, 113
drought, 54-57, 77, 105-108
Dunning, Harrison, 105-106
East Bay Municipal Utility
District, 4, 6-7, 21-115
Board of Directors, 31, 42
64, 66, 84-85, 90-93, 95-
bond issues, 27, 50, 52,
East Bay Municipal Utility
engineering, 27-28, 31, 39-
41, 64-66, 92, 95, 100
Land Use Master Plan, 102-
31-33, 35, 102-104
sales of district property,
Special District #1, 51-52,
Ten-Year Expansion Project,
East Bay Regional Park District,
29, 30, 102, 104
East Bay Water Company, 4, 30,
EDF v. EBMUD, 70-76, 112
Ely, Northcutt, 100
environmental issues and water
supply, 47-48, 83, 99-102, 106,
Environmental Defense Fund, 24,
57-58, 81, 83, 88. See also EDF
Federal Clean Water Act (1970),
Federal Energy Regulatory
flood control, 77
Folsom South Canal, 66-67, 77-78,
88, 94-95, 107
Franz, Rod, 31-32, 112-113
Friethy, Elmer, 40
Gianelli, William, 64-65, 69
Gilbert, Jerry, 92, 95-97, 108,
Graff, Thomas, 78, 81
Harder, Orrin, 36, 89-90
Harnett, Jack, 68, 92-93, 95, 97-
98, 107, 111
Harrington, George, 53
Helwick, Robert, 24, 89
Hercules Powder Company, 27
Hill, Jack, 49, 84
Hitchcock , 59
Hodge, Richard, 74-75
Howard, Frank, 99, 104
Howard, Reggie, 76
Hoyt, Ralph, 14-15
Irrigation District Association.
See Association of California
Johnson, Bizz, 68
Jones, Jim, 78, 81, 83
Kahn, Bob, 52-56
Kennedy, Joseph, 16
Kidd, Alexander "Captain", 10-11
Klehs, Ralph, 113
Knox, John, 85
Kolm, Rich, 90
Korn Ferry International, 96
Krueger, DeWitt, 59-60, 98
labor issues, 50-51, 100
Lafayette Reservoir, 33, 104
Lampe, John, 90
Lattie, Jim, 113
Littleworth, Arthur, 89, 105
Lodi Decrees, 21-22
Maddow, Robert, 24, 32, 75, 81,
87, 89, 108
Marin County, providing water to,
Masterson, S.C., 31, 103
Mavity, Nancy Bar, 18
McBain, James Patterson, 10
McCulloch, Charlie, 65
McFarland, John, 6, 25, 34, 45,
McLean, Walter, 36, 39-40, 48-49,
McNevin, William, 44, 47, 58
Mokelumne River project, 21-22,
26, 33, 64-65, 101
Third Mokelumne Aqueduct,
36-37, 87, 91
Moses, Bill, 49, 84
Mott, William Penn, 29-30, 102
Municipal Utility District Act
Murray, Norm, 65, 69
Nahas, Bob, 50-51, 59
Neilson, Thomas S., 59
Nejedly, John, 82, 90
Newman, Frank, 102-103
Northern Pacific Railroad, 34
Nugent, Frank, 7-8
Nye, George, 5-6, 17-18
Oakland Tribune, IS
Orinda, 29-30, 102
Pacific Gas and Electric Company,
11, 21, 114
Pardee Dam, 23, 31, 32, 36, 92,
Pardee, George, 21, 44
People's Water Company, 4
pollution, 31, 78
Proposition 13 (1978), 109
public trust doctrine, 22-23, 74-
Raines, Harold, 6-7, 26, 31, 33,
39, 43, 59-61, 86-87, 90, 110-
reasonable use doctrine, 22, 57-
58, 69, 73-75
Regan, Edwin, 34-35
Reilley family, 18-20, 26
Reilley, Janet Ruggles, 18-19, 26
Reilley, John H. (father), 1-2,
4, 6-7, 25-26
Reilley, John H. (grandfather),
Reilley, Mary Alice Brady
Robie, Ronald, 56, 57-58, 84, 109
Robinson, Howard, 59
Sacramento County Water District,
Sacramento Municipal Utility
District, 76, 94-95
Sacramento Northern Railroad, 9
Sacramento River, 77-78, 81-82
Sacramento River Water Users
Association, 58, 66, 68, 70,
75, 82, 88
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, 57-
58, 68, 73, 78, 82, 89, 106-108
Saint Mary's College, 7-9
Saint Mary's High School, 2-3, 7
San Joaquin County, 82, 84, 86,
San Leandro Reservoir, 33, 102,
San Pablo Reservoir, 102, 104
Saunders, Harold, 48, 59
Save the American River
Association, 66, 70-71, 78, 81,
sewage disposal, 39-40, 99, 101.
See also East Bay Municipal
Utility District, Special
Shea, Willard, 5, 13-18
Shipboard Murder case, 14
Sidas, Joe, 36-37
Sierra Club, 84-85
Simmons, Ken, 96
Simon, Bill (William), 8-9
Sindelar, Nate, 52
Skaggs, Sanford, 47, 59, 113
Stanford Research Institute, 30,
tax issues, 108-109, 111
Ungar, Arliss, 109
United States Bureau of
Reclamation, 56-57, 66-73, 70-
77, 79-84, 87-88, 93-95, 104-108
United States Congress, 67-68,
76, 79-80, 99-100
United States Department of Fish
and Wildlife, 79
United States Navy, 4, 12-13
University of California,
Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of
Law, 6, 8-12, 25, 102-103
Urban Management Planning Act,
Wright, Donald, 105
Younger, Evelle, 71
Zahn, Kathy, 28
Wagnor, Lila, 39
Warne, William, 65, 69
Warren, Earl, 14
water law, 21-24, 114-115
counties of origin, 81, 86-
See also public trust,
reasonable use, water
water marketing, 65-67
water pricing, 67, 76-77, 93-95
water quality, 31, 64-66, 75, 77-
79, 81, 94, 103, 108
water rights, 26, 33, 64-65, 69-
79, 86-89, 106, 107-108, 114-
ancient rights, 22
appropriative rights, 22-
riparian rights, 22-23.
See also water law
water supply and planning, 64-66,
68-69, 81-82, 84-85, 89-91, 107-
Water Rights Review Commission,
waters of the United States, 23-
Western Water Foundation, 109-110
Wickson, Cliff, 5, 17-18
Woodbridge Irrigation District,
World War II, 6, 10, 12-13, 16
B.A. in European History, 1970, Manhattanville College
Purchase, New York
M.A. in Education, 1971, Marygrove College
Law Office Study, 1974-1978
Member, State Bar of California since 1979 (inactive status)
Elementary School Teacher in Michigan and California, 1971-1975
Legal research and writing, drafting legal documents, 1978-1987
Volunteer in drug education and hunger programs,
Oakland and Berkeley, California
Interviewer/Editor in the Regional Oral History Office in fields
of business, law, social activism, water resources, and
University history, 1987 to present. Project Director, East
Bay Municipal Utilities District Water Rights Project
U. C. BERKELEY LIBRARIES