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The San Diego Water Authority has a long-running battle with Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water throughout the southern part of the state. The donnybrook goes to court this month.

Riverside County's Eastern Municipal Water District, which belongs to Metropolitan's system, has spent $60,000 using persuasion techniques on San Diego business leaders.

This all came out in discovery for the lawsuit, and the Riverside Press-Enterprise is making a justifiable fuss about the expenditure. The paper wants to know why the county's water district would have shelled out such bucks to seduce San Diegans. Was the Metropolitan Water District secretly behind the effort?

The public relations/lobbying firm that got paid to carry out the persuasion strategy is Sacramento-based California Strategies. It is headed by Bob White, who was chief of staff for Pete Wilson when he was a member of the state Assembly, mayor of San Diego, governor, and United States senator.

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