In the News

Letter to the Editor

Desal Affects All

Santa Cruz Weekly 9/26/12

Jim Jones’s letter of Sept. 18 about the “Secret of Desal” is certainly as provocative as he suggested it would be.  Letters that reveal secrets—even if those secrets are factually incorrect—usually do get folks excited.

There are many errors in the Jones letter. Most glaring and most troubling is his assertion that the aquifer that is in danger of destruction by saltwater intrusion belongs solely to the Soquel Creek Water District. That aquifer is also under the City of Santa Cruz water service area, and is an important source of water for City water users, too.  We all need to participate in protecting it.

Jones also simply makes some stuff up. For instance, it is just incorrect to say the City Council has said, “Desal is the best answer. Just trust us.” The City Council unanimously voted to put the question of desal to the voters in our community... and the Council did that a few months BEFORE the right to vote on desal signature gatherers qualified their measure for the ballot.

Of course, no provocative letter around here can do without a line like this: “Real estate agents, landscapers, restaurateurs, building contractors, retailers, wealthy people who own large amounts of income and commercial property county-wide: they would all suffer.”  For provocative letters, it is always important to make sure the community “understands” that moneyed interests might get something out of the thing the letter-writer opposes.

Never mind that, in a major drought, pretty much everyone would suffer and many treasured resources would suffer: your gardens and my yard and my neighbor’s hotel job and everyone’s parks would suffer in Santa Cruz and in mid-county if we have a serious multi-year drought. The suggestion that only mid-county has a problem is dead wrong.

I have much respect for many of those in the community who question the need for desal. It is an issue that needs careful scrutiny.  But arguments against desal also require similar scrutiny. It is so important that we get this right—and misleading people will not contribute to that effort.

Don Lane

Mayor, Santa Cruz

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