I attended the Soquel Creek Water District Public Outreach Committee meeting this morning (10:30–11:30 a.m.) at District Offices. During Open Public Comment, I asked Ron Duncan if he had decided to extend the Public Comment period for the Draft PureWater Soquel Project. He said NO, because the delay to the Project would be too costly. He said most of the requests for more time were not from ratepayers, so he felt adding the estimated $14/customer due to delays would not be justified.
I did not quite understand his logic, since the District Board still insists they have not chosen a Project. I pointed out to the Public Outreach Committee that it would help the District’s public image to grant the extra 15 days that CEQA law allows.
I was video recording the meeting until one of the Committee members, Mr. John Dickensen, who is also on the Rate Study Ad Hoc Committee (and was a BIG cheerleader for dramatically increasing customer rates), became suddenly very upset that I was recording and challenged me. Although it was a public meeting, when I asked him if he wanted me to turn off the camera even though the purpose of my recording was to give information to the public who could not attend a morning weekday meeting, he said “yes.” So I did. I will send the YouTube link for what I was able to record soon.
Mr. Dickensen then proceeded to say that it was evident at the July 31 District Draft EIR Meeting that “People who are not technical just don’t understand what’s going on. The biggest myth is water transfers because that won’t work and is a longer term problem.” I really had to bite my tongue.
Tom LaHue then agreed, saying that “Water transfers are risky.” He then went on to tell the group about his presentations working with a fellow teacher (Jenkins) in local schools to help students understand the science behind the District’s water supply options. I wonder if we can contact the school districts and request equal time? It reminds me that when I took a Cabrillo College Extension class on greywater installation, the instructor had Vai Campbell from Soquel Creek Water District come and present the PureWater Soquel Project to the class. She refused to call on me when students were asking her questions.
Well, here are some good opportunities for Water for Santa Cruz County to get out good information to counter this stuff:
1.) This Saturday’s Cabrillo College Farmer’s Market
Vai Campbell, Education Coordinator, said she will be there talking with people about PureWater Soquel.
Can anyone go and just ask poignant questions to help get out information out? We can go in shifts and just be the moles in the crowd.
2.) October 20 – Water Festival
Heart of Soquel Park
Lots of information booths.
I also think our group needs to meet soon to strategize with Gary’s Campaign. Scott, what do you think? I work Thursday–Sunday and Monday mornings are not good.