In the News


No on P, as measure is anti-desal wolf in transparent clothing

By Sentinel Editorial Board, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 10/20/12

Measure P on the Nov. 6 ballot asks voters in the city of Santa Cruz if they want to have a say on a proposed $123 million desalination plant, which would be shared with the Soquel Creek Water District.

The measure was advanced by opponents to the city's proposal to build the plant to change the city's charter by requiring voters approve the plan before it could be built. The measure requires a simple majority to pass.

The statement made by the measure, if approved, is something of a redundancy, since the Santa Cruz City Council already voted earlier this year to put the question of building a desal plant to voters in June 2014 or after. But the opponents pushed for P over concerns a future council might reverse this decision.

Measure P, if passed, would also bar the city from going into bonded indebtedness to pay for the project without a future vote.

Some desal opponents hope Measure P will enjoy such widespread support that city officials will back away from building a facility, since such a vote would indicate going to voters in the future for approval would be risky at best.

We've made our arguments already about the efficacy of desal in the face of a lack of other alternatives, beyond unrealistically expecting even further conservation from water customers in the two districts who already are highly conservation minded.

We have two other arguments against Measure P. One is that putting it on the ballot cost the city $70,000 -- perhaps a drop in the bucket in terms of the overall cost of a desal plant, but also an added expense in still-tough economic times for Santa Cruz.

More meaningfully, however, is that P essentially is a statement saying voters should not trust their elected leaders to live up to their word.

It's another tactic in the long-running battle to keep Santa Cruz from having enough water to provide for its customers, including UC Santa Cruz, often in the name of slow growth, especially for the campus.

Water users will get their vote on the desal plant. They don't need to get behind this manipulative measure. Vote no on Measure P in Santa Cruz.

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