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Editorial

As We See It: Adrift in regulations

Editorial, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 3/8/12

If you ever wondered -- really wondered -- what's behind the arguments over big government and also why the protests over the high costs of attending a University of California campus, look no further than Santa Cruz.

In what could become a case of death-by-a-thousand-cuts, the Local Agency Formation Commission approved a series of new and more stringent regulations aimed at UC Santa Cruz expansion, while delaying any final go ahead.

After opponents to the water agreement, and UCSC expansion plan, and various regulatory agencies objected to an agreement approved in December, the commission voted 4-3 to support a recommendation by Commissioner and county Supervisor John Leopold, to allow the water expansion to support future growth -- but only when the city reaches agreement with federal and state natural resource agencies on reducing stream and river diversions that could harm fish.

Leopold's approved motion also will lower the threshold of water use above which UCSC would have to pay conservation fees -- a new, additional, wrinkle the university almost certainly want ironed out.

In any case, the matter now goes back to the planners, back to the lawyers, back to ... wherever overregulating regulators go to lay their weary heads at night.

This plan, which would allow UCSC to have city water service, within well-regulated limits, to expand on an undeveloped corner of campus outside city limits, has been under review since 2002 and was part of a groundbreaking, or so everyone thought, agreement between the city and university in 2008.

The delay in and of itself is no big deal, since with budget constraints UC is not going to be shelling out big dollars for new housing and classrooms anytime in the near future.

But our community, indeed the entire state, often seem adrift in a sea of regulations so vast and incomprehensible to make any seasick sailor even more queasy.

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