Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 24th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Desal Democracy

altSANTA CRUZ > Former mayors rally for vote on water options

About 40 desalination plant critics gathered on West Cliff Drive on Saturday, April 7 to demand the right to vote on the proposed project. Santa Cruz Water Department officials estimate the plant will cost between $70 and $140 million, which will be largely financed by bonds. Right To Vote On Desalination (RTOVD) spokesperson Paul Gratz says that local residents should have the right to vote any time tax dollars are used to construct or maintain the plant.

If voters approve funding for the construction, however, that could be perceived as a mandate to spend future funds for maintenance and expansion of the plant’s production, which is currently estimated to be 25 million gallons of water per day starting as soon as 2016.

“The right to vote will apply to the financing [of construction] and if the plant is expanded,” Gratz says. “If the voters should pass it, it follows that they have OK’d financing for future operations and maintenance.”

Rick Longinotti, the founder of Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives, was master of ceremonies and introduced five former Santa Cruz mayors and Gary Patton, who served on the County Board Of Supervisors from 1975-1995. They spoke from the cliffs above Mitchell's Cove before the crowd marched to the site of proposed plant. Patton said that residents can not just vote leaders into power and then stop holding them accountable for decisions they make.

“Our democratic society isn't just about electing people to run our lives for us,” Patton said. “It's also about us engaging in the conversations and decisions that lead up to the actions that define what kind of world we are building for the future.”

Patton spoke about a plan by local officials to build a convention center and hotel on Lighthouse Field in 1974. He ran for office on a platform of “slow growth,” largely inspired by his opposition to the hotel plan. During his 20 years as a supervisor this philosophy reigned supreme throughout the county and its four cities.

But since the '90s, the tone of the city council has shifted with more pro-business leaders, former mayor Chris Krohn says. In 2011, streamlining the business permitting process and a study of how to increase retail activity were priorities of the council. Supporters of the desalination plant have said that future economic development could stall without water supply options that guard against droughts and population growth.

Krohn says that a long view should be taken when considering moves to boost growth that could affect the small city feel and natural environment here.

“It's as much about what is not built on the coast that makes us who we are,” he said to the crowd of about 40 people. ”Why it doesn't look like Miami Beach here.”

For the desalination vote to be a truly democratic exercise, Krohn wants to see other options put forward to voters, rather than simply a decision between desalination or water shortages. He says that the city subsidizing water saving appliances for homes and loans for installing drought resistant landscaping should be on the table.

“I think people would turn out in droves for something like that,” says Krohn. “If you are going to talk about $140 million dollars, you should look at what you can do with $10 million.”

He is also concerned that he doesn't see a new generation of conservation-minded candidates rising to the task of holding public office.

“I'd love to see a college student or someone who has recently graduated run [for council],” he says.

No current city councilmembers or county supervisors attended the rally.
 

Comments (4)Add Comment
...
written by Terry Spragg, April 12, 2012
This week the Humboldt Bay MWD annouced that it was seeking proposals to sell up to 40 MGD of water to agencies outside its district. The Marin MWD and interested parties should contact Carol Rische, General Manager for the HBMWD, at (707) 443-5018 ext 204 to learn more about this opportunity. A technology to economically transport this water to Marin has been developed. A television news broadcast of a demonstration of this technology can be seen on YouTube at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TEHp6UZaDI. More information can be seen in a Wikipedia article at: http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible_barge, or at www.waterbag.com.
...
written by Mary Offermann, April 11, 2012
Desalination of water uses lots of energy, and it pollutes the bay with temperature and concentrated brine. It is NOT a rational choice for the present, nor for the future. The time is long past for us to learn to live in balance with our environment.
...
written by Mary Offermann, April 11, 2012
Using additional energy to desalinate water, adding concentrated brine and heat to our bay...these do not make sense in the long run. The time is NOW to begin to live in balance with our environment. Desalination is not a rational choice: it pollutes our bay and our air...
...
written by judy warner, April 10, 2012
We can be conservationists and still support an open planning process for water that includes desalination as a rational choice for our community's future. Get your facts straight, folks.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management