In the News

Letter to the Editor

Happy About ‘Hood’ Coverage

Good Times, 1/4/12

Thanks for the “Water in the Hood” cover story, which was a pretty good factual discussion of a complex and controversial topic. Gary Patton’s letter in your Dec. 22, 2011 issue adds to the controversy, but plays fast and loose with the facts.

Desal opponents like Mr. Patton treat UC Santa Cruz as though it was a cadre of alien invaders who have come to rape our city of its water resources, instead of being part of the Santa Cruz community to whom we are obliged to provide city services along with the rest of us. Have we collectively forgotten that Santa Cruz—us—not only invited but fought to get UC to locate a campus here, and promised to provide for its needs as part of our community? Wasn’t UCSC’s growth always part of the deal we made?

Our water department lays out a different factual picture to explain the need for desal than that portrayed by Mr. Patton. We need the desal plant so we will have enough water in drought years. Even if we didn’t have UCSC here, we would still need the desal plant in drought years. In non-drought years, we should have enough water for our community (including UCSC) and anticipated growth without desal. But drought years do happen, and we have to be prepared to survive them.

Mr. Patton claims that the City Council isn’t listening to the community. He is wrong. The city council listens to all the different points of view, including not only those who oppose desal, but those who recognize that we need desal, as much as we might prefer that we did not. Mr. Patton makes the mistake of thinking that because the City Council does not agree with desal opponents, it must not be listening.

The City Council knows it is responsible for making sure we have an adequate water supply for our population. In a city (and county) where we are leaders in water conservation already, we can’t rely upon conservation alone to keep the water flowing in drought years. Those of us who plan to live here with our families, children and grandchildren over the generations are well served by a council that recognizes the essential need for increased water supply, and plans carefully and conservatively to make sure that we have enough of this precious resource. I, for one, applaud the Council and the direction it is taking on this important issue.

David Green Baskin

Santa Cruz

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