Local named to flood board

By From page A1 | February 19, 2014


Michael Villines

Michael Villines, 46, of Placerville has been reappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, where he has served since 2010.

Villines was the California State Assemblyman, 29th Assembly District, from 2004 to 2010 before being termed out. From 1999 to 2004 he was director of public relations and co-owner of Panagraph Marketing Solutions. Prior to that he was chief of staff to California State Assemblyman Chuck Poochigian from 1994 to 1998 and special assistant at the California Department of Fish and Game from 1992 to 1994. He was also an advance representative in Gov. Wilson’s Office from 1991 to 1992. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University, Fresno.

In addition to serving on the flood protection board, which pays $41,889 a year, Villines is owner of a government and public affairs firm called the Villines Group LLC.

Villines said the Central Valley Flood Protection Board was actually started in 1911 and used to be called the Reclamation Board. Encompassing a large area extending from Kern County to above Redding, after Hurricane Katrina the board was renamed and given a larger mission because Katrina demonstrated what a devastating flood can do. Villines said one of the first things the board did was create a Central Valley flood report that lays out what needs to be done to avoid devastating floods in California.

While noting that there are other agencies that deal with different aspects of flood protection, he said the Central Valley Flood Protection Board is the only flood protection board in the state.

“We are the only ones that actually deal specifically with those issues, so when floods come, we are ahead of the curve,” he said.

Asked about current projects, Villines said they are currently working to stop flood risks by preventing building in flood zones. “This will protect people and property,” he said.

“We’re also very interested in the levies in the Central Valley and how to protect and strengthen them. We have all kinds of projects up and down the valley,” he said, adding that they work closely with federal, state and local governmental authorities to maximize resources and protect the flood plains.

“It’s important for people to realize that flood protection is so important for property and people and it’s good to have an awareness of what’s happening and report things when you see it or report things in flood plains that could be made safer,” he said. “We don’t want a Katrina situation here.”

Villines said he was appointed to the board because of his background. “When I was in the Legislature, I worked a lot on water issues,” he said. “I was vice chair of the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, which dealt with flooding and drought, all kinds of issues — you name it. So I have regional experience working on it and that’s the perspective I bring to the board.

“I also have private sector and government experience. It really helps when there are problems to be solved between people who own land and dealing with the government. I can kind of see things from both ways and have been on both sides. Being in corporate affairs and government affairs and my experience actually working in government helps a lot in finding solutions to problems.”

Villines said he has lived in Placerville for two years with his wife and three children.

“We love Placerville. It’s a great community. It’s close to the mountains and reminds us a lot of Fresno,” he said, adding that he still loves Fresno and has family and an office there.

Villines’ appointment to the board requires Senate confirmation.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

Dawn Hodson

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