Counter Protest Message: The Democratic Right to Fear the People

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Earlier this week, the Vanguard covered the counter-protest, if you will, those residents of Davis who are opposing the referendum.  Yesterday the Davis Enterprise reported that that group of residents includes Kemble Pope, Alan Pryor, Kari Fry and Tom Cross – and ironically makes little mention of Councilmember Stephen Souza, who at least appears to be spearheading the movement.

As reported earlier in the week, the message is simply: “Think before you sign!  Forcing a vote on the clean water project is a delay which will cost rate payers more money.”

At the bottom it read: “Failing to act now could result in a loss of our water rights.”  It continued: “The state water right is conditioned on the active use of the water.  Delaying could jeopardize that state right.”

The flier concludes, “Don’t kick the can down the road, our children can’t afford it!  No one wants to pay more for water, but delaying the rate increase will only drive our costs higher.”

Davis Enterprise columnist Bob Dunning had a column yesterday, critical, at least somewhat, of Stephen Souza and which probably provoked more thought than it should have.

Wrote Mr. Dunning, “I have received more than a few reports that City Councilman Stephen Souza, one of the chief proponents of the surface water project that will sharply increase our water rates, has been aggressively trying to dissuade citizens from signing petitions that would put the fate of that same water project to a vote of the people.”

Mr. Dunning then defends Mr. Souza’s free speech rights: “I’m not sure which part of ‘free speech’ these folks don’t understand … Souza has as much right to encourage people not to sign a petition as petition circulators have to encourage signatures.”

It is the next part of this that captures the creeping discomfort I have felt over this entire incident.

“I do find it unseemly for a sitting councilman to be spending so much time and energy trying to defeat a proposal that merely gives us commoners the right to vote on a massively expensive project that has the potential to dramatically affect so many of our lives,” Mr. Dunning writes.

He then notes, “A great number of us haven’t made up our minds about the project, but just about all of us would like to have a say in the ultimate decision.”

Mr. Dunning then points out: “No matter where you stand on this issue – and the town is about as divided as divided can be – the sporting thing to do is to at least let the people have a crack at this thing … if the surface water project has as much support as Souza and his council cohorts claim, they have no fear of an election … and if it doesn’t have majority support, it shouldn’t be forced upon an unwilling populace … it’s no more complicated than that.”

I agree with several key points that Mr. Dunning makes.

First, Councilmember Souza has every right to oppose the referendum and to counter-protest, if you will, so long as he does not interfere with the signature-gathering process.  The fact is, that the only complaints I have heard that he has done this come from the campaign committee itself.

However, whether he has the right to do it does not mean he ought to do it.

I thought the council, back in 2005, overstepped the bounds of their role by actively campaigning for Measure X on Covell Village.  Likewise, I agree with Mr. Dunning it is unseemly for Mr. Souza to be spearheading the current effort.

And it’s an odd effort, anyway.  You basically are using the democratic process and free speech principals to undermine the democratic process.

“Undermine?” you ask.

Hear me out for a second.  As Mr. Dunning points out, this community is pretty evenly divided on this issue.  So, normally the right thing to do in such a case is put the matter on the ballot and let the people decide.

The problem is that Mr. Souza and his allies are channeling the founding fathers’ deep-seated distrust of the people.  The people are ignorant here.  The people do not understand the complexities of the water deal.  Therefore, the argument is that Mr. Souza and his cohorts know best.  The effort is one of trying to save us from ourselves.

Proponents of the referendum have a point that we allowed people in Davis to vote on things are minor as opening a Target or choice voting.  Why not the most expensive project that has come before the city?

We are talking about a $155 million project that will impact people’s lives financially for years to come and is irrevocable.

As Bob Dunning told me in a conversation yesterday, “I think letting the whole town vote is the prudent course. If people are uninformed, so be it. The world is full of dictators who don’t trust the will of the people.”

That is the point that resonates for me – why are we fearing the people?  Because they do not understand this water deal?  Educate them.  Let them decide whether to risk fines and the possibility of harmful impacts on the environment, subsidence, and whatever else is keeping people up all night on this issue.

It is a strange thing.  I understand the counterargument that the only reason to put the referendum on the ballot is to kill the project, unless of course you happen to believe in democracy for the sake of democracy.

Every time I am in a courtroom for a trial, it would seem I hear this saying, “If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts.  If the law is on your side pound on the law.  If neither are on your side, pound on the table.”

To me it seems that the proponents of the water project believe that the facts are on their side here – if that is the case, why not let it ride and trust that the people will do the right thing?  Why the fear, unless there is perhaps something looming that they cannot control for.

The last point I will make is that it seems unlikely that the effort by Mr. Souza will succeed in stopping the referendum.  Either they are going to get enough signatures or they won’t.  And that has more to do with public perception, organization and how many people they are paying to canvass for signatures.

That being the case, the effort is really misplaced.  They are fighting the battle in the wrong place and that could actually backfire in the end, especially as it continues to lead to charges of heavy-handedness.

After all, Mr. Dunning claims that Mr. Souza’s involvement is unseemly and I think I get the reason why – it is unseemly for an elected official to, at least tacitly and implicitly, acknowledge that he fears the will of the people.

That is a lack of trust in the wisdom of his own constituents at its fundamental core, and I do not know how Mr. Souza will overcome that perception come his reelection effort in a few months.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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92 Comments

  1. rusty49

    “That is a lack of trust in the wisdom of his own constituents at its fundamental core and I do not know how Mr. Souza will overcome that perception come his reelection effort in a few months.”

    Good point David. I think Mr. Souza is in trouble of getting re-elected.

  2. medwoman

    “that he fears the will of the people”

    I don’t think it is a “fear of the will of the people” that is at stake here. For me, this is just too much of a political “sound bite” .
    I also do not believe that it is the “wisdom of the constituents” that is in question.
    I believe that the underlying principle here is which issues should be decided through representative democracy, and which should be decided by a direct vote.
    I have seen argued here the if the Target was put to a direct vote, why not the vastly more important water project ?
    One very good reason for this is that wisdom aside, many people will vote for what they perceive as being in their immediate best economic interest. Thus, we have some people who oppose all tax increases because of an unwillingness to pay, not an inability to do so or concern for those with true hardship. This is shortsightedness and selfishness, not wisdom, and certainly not strategic thinking about the long term well being of the community. There is clearly a difference of opinion in our community about which form of democracy , representative or direct, should apply in this particular situation. What I feel is that well intentioned people can disagree on this point without it being turned into yet another political football thus further mudding the waters ( so to speak) of an already deeply divisive issue.

  3. Gunrock

    What Davis really needs is a higher percentage of people in this town who actually work for a living and don’t spend all day looking for distractions… perhaps they could try romance novels or jogging?

  4. Observer

    “Fear the People?” So,everytime I walk into Walmart and decline to sign an initiative petition that I think is Kooky, it is because I “fear the people.”

    Wow!

  5. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]To me it seems that the proponents of the water project believe that the facts are on their side here – if that is the case, why not let it ride and trust that the people will do the right thing? Why the fear, unless there is perhaps something looming that they cannot control for.[/quote]

    The problem is the huge amounts of disinformation being put out there by the opponents of this project, e.g. corruption, collusion, cost overruns that will amount to $500 million, the city will be able to get a variance because unnamed experts have told me so, etc. ad nauseum.

    Secondly, the opponents of the project do not seem to have any practical/realistic back-up plan if the water rate increases are not approved. Just a lot of wishful thinking that the SWRCB will somehow take pity on the city of Davis as economically incapable of implementing the surface water project, despite Woodland’s insistence they will go the surface water project alone if necessary. Woodland is economically capable of doing this project, but Davis just cannot manage it? LOL

    Thirdly, even this brief referendum process will cause the water rate increase schedule to be delayed yet again. Ultimately the rates will have to be ramped up at a steeper rate of increase to make up for the lost time. One of the major criticisms of opponents has been “Why didn’t the city increase the water rates long ago?”; yet these same critics are now supporting the very delaying process that will “kick the can down the road” once more. These critics cannot have it both ways…

  6. keithvb

    The importance of a referendum on the clean water project is that all the details and motivators of all the options will become public, assuring us of the best solution.

  7. Michael Harrington

    Keithvb: you got that right. But the real story here is that about 1/3 of Davis simply cannot pay more, again. The next 1/3 dont really want to. The next and top 1/3 socioeconomic group simply does not care, and will spend anyway and expect the bottom 2/3rds to pay for yet another hugely over priced public program or facility.

    Issue for Mayor Joe: how are you and the CC and the DJUSD going to pass those school taxes and the parks tax renewal? I dont think the town has the financial horsepower anymore, after 5 years of financial meltdown. I dont think the surface water plant is going to be seriously in anyone’s calculations; it’s DOA for now.

  8. medwoman

    Michael

    What an interestingly biased comment that ” The… top 1/3 socioeconomic group simply does not care” is hardly objective and does nothing to support any merit of your position. As a member of this group, I can assure you that I care deeply both about the current groups truly facing hardship, the education of today’s children but also about the well being of the generations of my children and grandchildren should they decide to stay here. I cannot justify passing on to them the cost of what I should have paid for today.
    What I emphatically do not care about are spurious soundbites from those who can afford to pay for what we receive, but simply choose not to. Which brings me to a second point.

    In order to decide that a project is “hugely over priced” one should first have an idea of what a project that meets all the same goals should cost. So, what is your estimate of a reasonable price for the surface water project ?

  9. rusty49

    I really don’t see the problem of pushing this back 7 months and letting both sides present their case and letting the voters decide. What are the pro water project people afraid of?

  10. J.R.

    [quote] This is shortsightedness and selfishness, not wisdom, and certainly not strategic thinking about the long term well being of the community [/quote]

    Apparently with medwoman is evil, or close to it, while agreeing with her is wisdom and strategic thinking.

    I am inclined to support the water project on its merits, but seeing the arguments of its proponents is causing me to rethink. On the other hand, the opposition to it is partly centered around the political aspirations of individuals whose judgement I don’t trust and who are jumping on it for other purposes.

  11. medwoman

    JR

    “apparently with medal an is evil or close to it ” ? I must be missing something here. Can you clarify ?

    rusty49

    “What are the pro project people afraid of?”
    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I will address this from my point of view. I dislike the idea of deferring to the next generation what we clearly should be addressing today. I see it as unwise, if not unethical, to defer a known major problem 20-30 years (at which point I am unlikely to be alive) and ignore the economic impacts that this will likely have on today’s youth as they struggle to support not only themselves but their parents and children all at the same time. I see hardworking women struggling with this exact situation daily in my clinic and feel it will only get worse as people continue to live longer. It is unusual that Jeff Boone, Elaine and I line up on the same side of an issue, but here we are. I simply cannot justify passing the cost of this known major problem on to our kids on the hope that the economy will improve enough to somehow make it easier on them than it will be now for us.

  12. alanpryor

    I wonder where the pro-referendum folks were on the $150,000,000 spent/to be spent on the wastewater treatment plant. Doesn’t it seem kind of silly that we would oppose a project that actually brings measureabale benefits to Davis people, (e.g. low TDS and manganese in our drinking water) yet a $150,000,000 wastewater project skates through without a peep of protest when it only benefits downstream impactees of the wastewater. Somehow it seems those priorities are backwards especially since bringing in the surface water alleviates many of our wastewater concerns.

    And if we don’t do the surface water project we will be facing a further minimum $100,000,000 upgrade on the wastewater plant to remove salinity and selenium. Why is it that this half of the spending equation never makes it into the pro-referendum talking points? Do the pro-referendum people actually really believe Sue when she says she has “unnamed sources” that say there is a liklihood that we are going to be able to fairy dance into the Water Board and sweet talk them into a variance or 20-year extension of our Clean Water Act wastewater obligations because poor lil ole Davis is sooo poor? This is even more incongruous and unlikely when Woodland is proceeding with meeting their wastewater obligations through importation of surface water…and doing it alone if they have to! I would like the water project opponents to more fully disclose how they intend to solve the wastewater problem before they kill the surface water project….pretty please!

  13. David Suder

    [quote]Do the pro-referendum people actually really believe Sue when she says she has “unnamed sources” that say there is a liklihood [,em>sic] that we are going to be able to fairy dance into the Water Board and sweet talk them into a variance or 20-year extension of our Clean Water Act wastewater obligations because poor lil ole Davis is sooo poor?[/quote]

    Alan, I don’t know about unnamed sources, but I do know that the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board published in June 2011 the Variance Policy and Interim Salinity Program, Staff Report. The Problem Statement presented in that report includes the following
    [quote]“…a serious issue exists regarding the adoption of final water quality based effluent limits for salts in a number of NPDES permits and effluent limitations in WDRs in the Central Valley. These effluent imits, which are being derived without the benefit of knowing the ultimate CV-SALTS or Bay-Delta standards determinations, may end up being inconsistent with those future outcomes, thereby placing numerous communities in a difficult compliance position. In many instances, the effluent limits are unattainable through any means short of reverse osmosis (membrane) treatment.

    “CV-SALTS is a holistic process that is expected to include regulatory approaches that result in requirements which are commensurate with the water quality benefits that can be achieved through reasonable management actions by Central Valley communities and others. Ultimately, CV-SALTS will determine management strategies for important sources to protect and maintain water quality in the Central Valley. The need exists to set current permit limits at a level that protects water quality but that does not compel the irretrievable commitment of major resources in advance of completion of the CV-SALTS plan.”[/quote]
    This is not opinion; it is the publicly-stated policy of the CVRWQCB.

    In other words, the CVRWQCB recognizes the difficulty that many Central Valley cities are having in meeting the previously-set salinity objectives, and those objectives are currently being reconsidered. In the meantime, they are seeking to develop a process to provide relief to cities that are attempting to meet very stringent objectives that may end up being relaxed.

    The CVRWQCB is not the only agency to propose a variance process to address the foregoing problem. The Staff Report presents examples of three other states who have USEPA-approved variance programs in place.

    With the serious, publicly-stated intent of the CVRWQCB to pursue a variance program specifically to deal with impractically tough salinity objectives in the current basin plans, and the existence of USEPA-approved variance programs in other states, it appears that there is a real chance that the Board will be able to provide relief from strict salinity objectives for NPDES permit holders in positions such as we find ourselves.

    It would seem prudent and responsible for the City of Davis to fully participate in the CV-SALTS process and vigorously seek a variance from the salinity objectives in the current basin plan. If such a variance is granted, it would provide significant breathing room for Davis to redesign a phased water supply/wastewater treatment program that won’t throw the entire price of both project on current ratepayers. Ironically, no other City councilmember was willing to second Sue’s motion to participate in this process.

  14. Don Shor

    3 S’s: salinity, selenium, subsidence. The salinity variances are likely to change the timetable, not the objectives. The objectives are based on protecting species in the Delta. There are stakeholders that will vigorously seek to retain those protections. None of the foregoing addresses selenium or subsidence. Breathing room, as you call it, continues subsidence problems or imperils the deep aquifer. And it just delays the surface water project, increasing costs. You are protecting “current ratepayers” at the expense of future ratepayers.

  15. davisite2

    Let’s not suffer from political amnesia, here. Souza and Saylor were active and aggressive supporters of the Covell Village development during Measure J(now R) campaign in 04-05.. Measure J called for the Council to approve or deny the Covell Village proposal and then, if they approved it(as they did 4-1 with Sue Greenwald dissenting), put it before the voters in a referendum. Not only did Councilperson Saylor and Souza overstep their Councilperson role in an inappropriate and unseemly fashion with their aggressive public advocacy during the measure X campaign but they were caught making clearing false statements in an Enterprise Op-Ed piece they co-authored.
    For those who were not around then, the Davis voters overwhelmingly rejected the 400+ acre Covell Village development in that citizen referendum.

  16. Rifkin

    [i]”the publicly-stated policy of the CVRWQCB …”[/i]

    That is a serious mouthful of consonants strung together. Might I suggest the Central Valley Region Water Quality Control Board instead be refered to as the “CoverWixiBee.”

    You are welcome.

    Rich

  17. Rifkin

    [i]” the Davis voters overwhelmingly rejected the 400+ acre Covell Village development …”[/i]

    383 acres, for the record.

    [img]http://thenflbet.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post.html[/img]

  18. alanpryor

    To David Sudder re: “In many instances, the effluent limits are unattainable through any means short of reverse osmosis (membrane) treatment.”

    True – As in the case of Tracy which relies entirely on well water with no surface water option. Davis, however, has the surface water option so we otherwise do not have to rely on RO. Further, the far less wealthy City of Woodland is proving it is economically viable by proceeding with the surface water project whether the City of Davis joins it or not. This makes Davis’ claim of economic hardship a bit untenable and indefensible.

  19. Barbara King

    Why is there a fully participating but non voting member of the Board of Supervisors on the WDCWA, why is that member Don Saylor, and why was the Supervisor member not put on the WDCWA until after Saylor became a supervisor?

  20. rusty49

    “Further, the far less wealthy City of Woodland is proving it is economically viable by proceeding with the surface water project whether the City of Davis joins it or not.”

    That’s what they say now, but what if their residents have a future 218 protest or referendum?

  21. Frankly

    Rusty49: I respect and agree with your positions and opinions on many issues, but I’m not sure what is driving your opposition to this surface water project. If I thought we could beat back the environmental regulations that are forcing us to have to upgrade our water works, or if another passable option was on the tablem, then I would quickly support the alternative approach. However, everything I read and hear in this great and consistently left-leaning state is that we will have more, not less, regulations. Also, you must know that most economists are not too bully on the economy and for seeing any profound turn-around of government deficit spending. Lastly, I think that surface water access is a net asset to this community that should be considered an investment opportunity. Frankly, I think property values may increase enough as a result of this to offset some or all of the additional expense we would pay. “Davis has crappy water” is an oft-repeated chant in the real estate biz.

    My thinking on this is pretty simple (cause’ I am a simply-minded person):

    1. I think we HAVE to upgrade our water works for all of the reasons provided.

    2. All independent experts and expert staff agree that we should go forward with the project. No experts have come forward to say that we should delay or take another approach.

    3. A delay will result in significant risks of increased costs or a reduction in options. Note what’s going on in the stock market and around the world.

    What drives your opinion to kill or delay this?

  22. Rifkin

    [i]” Further, the far less wealthy City of Woodland is proving it is economically viable by proceeding with the surface water project whether the City of Davis joins it or not. This makes Davis’ claim of economic hardship a bit untenable and indefensible.”[/i]

    This gets to the heart of what Sue Greenwald has been arguing: Woodland is not replacing its wastewater treatment plant and taking on the surface water project. Davis is on course to do both at the same time. So knowing that, your argument is off-base, Alan.

    I am not yet convinced — (1) without the removal of the threat of regulatory fines; (2) without a signed and sealed salinity variance; (3) without a signed and sealed variance on selenium and other chemicals which either enter our municipal water or exist our wastewater and will violate regulatory standards; (4) without a guarantee that we will not lose our appropriative rights on river water; (5) without assurances that we will not have to spend millions of dollars more to dig more deep aquifer wells; and (6) that once we have dug those deep wells we will not cause them to go into overdraft; or (7) cause them to be contaminated by the medium depth wells — that Sue’s proposal is in fact cheaper.

    In other words, I think [b]Rusty49[/b] and Ernie Head and other fiscal conservatives or anti-tax minded voters ought to consider [i]the real possibility that rejecting the surface water project is the more expensive option[/i].

    I am not saying that I know, now, that rejection is more expensive. I am saying that I think it is possible that it is. But, if someone can demonstrate that all 7 of those factors I list above will not come about or cause great harm to Davis once we reject the water project, I will be for it. I favor the option which is best for the people in Davis who have the least money to waste. I am not yet sure which one that is.

  23. Rifkin

    [i]”(3) without a signed and sealed variance on selenium and other chemicals which either enter our municipal water or [b]exist[/b] our wastewater and will violate regulatory standards”[/i]

    Correction: that should be “exit” our wastewater …

  24. Michael Harrington

    David Suder wrote: “It would seem prudent and responsible for the City of Davis to fully participate in the CV-SALTS process and vigorously seek a variance from the salinity objectives in the current basin plan. If such a variance is granted, it would provide significant breathing room for Davis to redesign a phased water supply/wastewater treatment program that won’t throw the entire price of both project on current ratepayers. Ironically, no other City councilmember was willing to second Sue’s motion to participate in this process.”

    WOW WOW WOW. David, did you come through with thoughtful scientific and public policy analysis, or what? This is EXACTLY what Sue has been saying for years from the dais. It’s why she has such widespread public support in our little city.

  25. Michael Harrington

    Rich asked: “I am not yet convinced — (1) without the removal of the threat of regulatory fines; (2) without a signed and sealed salinity variance; (3) without a signed and sealed variance on selenium and other chemicals which either enter our municipal water or exist our wastewater and will violate regulatory standards; (4) without a guarantee that we will not lose our appropriative rights on river water; (5) without assurances that we will not have to spend millions of dollars more to dig more deep aquifer wells; and (6) that once we have dug those deep wells we will not cause them to go into overdraft; or (7) cause them to be contaminated by the medium depth wells — that Sue’s proposal is in fact cheaper.”

    To Rich and all: hopefully, as we soon move out of this “Block-o-Rama” game that Steve and Kemble started to prevent a direct democratic vote on this $500,000,000 project (assuming about 20% cost overrun), and move into serious community wide discussion of fairly stated issues, I would invite the community to begin pooling together the specific questions that need answers, and we can all go to work on them, together.

    Rich, your initial seven are excellent, and a good place to start.

    The goal is to fully and fairly brief the community well before the June ballot.

  26. Michael Harrington

    Medwoman: I am very, very sorry that I was not more clear in my language in the earlier post; i was rushing out for most of the day. I did not mean that the top 1/3 economic category dont care; they do.

    It’s just that as a prorata percentage of their incomes, a water bill that goes from $100 to $400 per month does not have the immediate and negative effects on the family budget in the top 1/3rd as someone who is the lower 1/3. I would suggest that the City pealing an extra $300 a month out of a senior’s monthly budget has got to hurt. It’s not like they can run back to the law office after dinner and bill several more hours to make up for it.

    One more thing: many, many seniors in town are living off investments that have all tanked in value. Got a 401K? Down! Love that SEP-IRA? A disaster! Own some of that precious Davis real estate? Price way down, far below your mortgage! Maybe have a lot of shares of Bank of America? Opppsss! Sunk like the Titanic!

    There are no more cushions; there are no more second home loan lines of credit to help the kid go to college. Got 2 kids in college? Sorry, one has to drop out for awhile.

    So like I said, if someone is looking at the two school parcel taxes, and the city parks tax renewal, and the surface water tax hike, all coming up, I suspect the order of priority is going to be: vote for the school parcel taxes; maybe vote for the parks tax renewal; and sure as heck say NO to the big surface water rate hikes.

    It’s a simple matter of the cash flow in a household, and that there is no longer any reserve or extra.

  27. Michael Harrington

    For the schools, thank the heavens that we are close to qualifying the referendum so it stays those huge water rate hikes until June, or 3 months after the March school parcel tax renewal election.

  28. Michael Harrington

    Rich emphasized: “I favor the option which is best for the people in Davis who have the least money to waste. I am not yet sure which one that is.”

    Well stated! You are always looking out for the best interests of the community, and you do your research to back up your positions.

  29. rusty49

    Jeff, check out David Suder’s post above. That pretty well sums it up. What’s the problem with waiting 7 more months and looking deeper into this and possibly pursuing the variance? There’s a good chance that the restrictions will be relaxed because of the financial impact to the communities involved. Aren’t we going to feel foolish if we go forward with this just to find out later that we didn’t have to, but we’ll still be stuck with the huge water and sewer bills. I was also turned off by the last minute reduction in rates which imo is just smoke and mirrors in order to try and soften the blow to get this passed. I think we can count on getting nailed again in 5 years but we’ll have no recourse then because the plant will already be financed. I’m also not convinced that this isn’t developer driven, they’ll need more water in order to build and will use the higher rates to try and persuade voters to vote yes on new projects in order to spread out the bill amongst more homeowners. Let’s just step back and pursue all of our possibilities and then we can still vote for the current water project in June if we feel that it turns out to be the best alternative. During that time Sue and friends will have to put up or shut up, but I say we give them the chance.

  30. Frankly

    [i]”For the schools, thank the heavens that we are close to qualifying the referendum so it stays those huge water rate hikes until June, or 3 months after the March school parcel tax renewal election.”[/i]

    Mike: There is no guarantee that the parcel tax extension will pass even if you stay the water rate hikes until later. I have to repeat that this tactic and explanation sounds very voter-manipulative. Do you really think there are that many voters that would vote yes rather than no on the parcel tax only because their water rate increase got pushed back by a few months? Or do you think they could be kept ignorant about the water increase just long enough for them to open their hearts and wallets to the schools again.

    Help me understand how you would spin a failed parcel tax measure after the water works project is stayed.

    Also, when would the next parcel tax renewal need to happen? It seems that this is going to be the DUSD’s perpetual need.

    Something about people I’m sure you recognize… they reset their standard of living expectations base on their current economic reality. How do you think all those highly-taxed northern Europeans (the same so admired by US liberal progressives) survive with so much higher taxes and fees and stay so damn happy even when they are not drunk or stoned? They have learned to live with it.

    What voters object to is change that makes them feel like they are moving backwards. Are they moving forward paying a perpetual parcel tax to fund status quo education? They are certainly used to the expense, but do they feel like they are moving forward with it? I think they may be tired of it. The surface water project would be a move forward. It would be paying for something of greater incremental value. It would be preventing greater future pain where there are no other viable alternatives.

    Frankly, I think the mashing of these two issues is irrational. However, if the parcel tax goes down, I expect a lot of finger pointing to ensue and political candidates’ prospects to be altered. Personally, I would want to be on the side that treats them as separate issues.

  31. Frankly

    Hey Rusty: Thanks for that explanation. It moves the needle a bit for me. I certainly don’t want to end up looking like another Gray Davis having jumped to secure all those energy futures right before the rates fell. However, I will repeat what I always say to my more cautious business partner… delaying a decision IS a decision and it comes with its own set of risks. David Suder’s post applys a business-rational perspective to a government agency that has routinely defied all business sense. Consider the probability that they will lessen the affluent discharge limits in the land of environmental wackos and their army of willing attorneys… that is not a rope I would want to dangle from.

    The other issue for me is this… assuming we can get a variance, it is certainly not going to be permanent. At some point the environmental wackos will get their way again and we will be out of compliance. It is your and my household budget against the Delta Smelt and those little fishies are much better represented. Let’s not even consider the yet-to-be-classified-endangered Delta Low-Sodium Weed they exploit to make us pay. Considering this and the lack of alternative solutions on the table, I think we have to get er’ done and I don’t want my kids to be the ones paying for it. We can all move to Texas, but I really don’t like the weather there.

  32. Don Shor

    The variance, should it be approved, does not resolve selenium and subsidence.
    By the way, there are several endangered and threatened fish species in the Delta, including some that are actual sport fish. The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance is one of the active stakeholders in this process.
    http://calsport.org/news/
    I don’t think you’d find most of them to be “environmentalist wackos.” Hunting and fishing groups have always been big supporters of conservation.

  33. davisite2

    …thoughts about the argument that drilling into the deep aquifer risks contamination.

    My understanding is that Davis has a plan to drill into the deep aquifer in any case, with or without the surface water project under discussion, if it needs more water. Isn’t UCD planning to drill into this same deep aquifer?
    What exactly is the value of this pristine deep aquifer to anyone or the environment,other than the subsidence issue which can be closely monitored, if the argument is that drilling into it risks contamination?

  34. Frankly

    [i]”I don’t think you’d find most of them to be “environmentalist wackos.”[/i]

    Not typically.

    They are like Ducks Unlimited… a group that does as much to preserve wetlands in this state than the wackos. They tend to use their own money for conservation projects instead of paying attorneys to force tax-payers to cough it up.

    [i]”When it gets down to the pocketbook, they seem to be fair weather friends of the environment”[/i]

    And here I am one of those free market capitalist libertarians that complains about the environmental wackos but am supporting the surface water project even though my water bill will go up.

    Maybe I should stop generalizing! 😉

  35. Rifkin

    [i]”The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance is one of the active stakeholders in this process.”[/i]

    My sense, based on seeing what it does in action, is that the CSPA is a Berkeley-lefty-lawyers group more than it is a fisherman’s group. I am not saying the lawyers who are CSPA members don’t like to catch fish. But they are lawyers first with a left-leaning agenda.

    The CSPA filed lengthy objections to the SWRCB to give the WDWCA its appropriative water rights. The SWRCB ruled against the CSPA.

    [img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-n4Xze4S-pFY/TpeMxF9FyTI/AAAAAAAAAgg/pip6UAzHaUg/s400/marx.jpg[/img]

  36. davisite2

    “What’s the problem with waiting 7 more months,,,”

    This feels like “deja-vu all over again”. We went through this when the Council Majority attempted to push though the Covell Village development project in 6 months when it usually took several years of planning, community debate and discussion to finalize a Davis residential development project of such magnitude. We were also told that the Covell Village project has been extensively studied and analyzed, with a show and tell demonstration of a pile of binders sitting on the dais beside Councilperson Souza,and that any further debate was useless. The reason was obvious and played out exactly as anticipated when they were unable to carry out their plan. The more time available before the final and irrevocable decision by a citizen refernedum vote, the more “holes” and misinformation were uncovered in the proponent’s “facts”. Threats of serious fines and penalties if the Covell Village project was not approved were also made which turned out to be without foundation or greatly exaggerated.

  37. Rifkin

    [b]Davisite2:[/b] Do you believe that the surface water project is a Trojan Horse, with the soldiers in favor of peripheral growth hiding inside a ruse of “better water”?

    In other words, are Don Shor, Matt Williams, Ed Schroeder, Elaine Musser, et. al, in your view, motivated by real estate development dollars?

  38. Voter2012

    @David Greenwald: “We are talking about a $155 million project …”

    @Michael Harrington: “… this $500,000,000 project …”

    ——————–

    @David Greenwald: “To me it seems that the proponents of the water project believe that the facts are on their side here – if that is the case, why not let it ride and trust that the people will do the right thing? Why the fear, unless there is perhaps something looming that they cannot control for.”

    What we (and by we I mean the electorate, not the proponents) can’t control for is the dishonest manipulation of the debate illustrated by the second quote presented above.

    You saw from the trenches what happened to the Wild Horse Ranch proposal. You and Michael were strong, proactive proponents of that development proposal and it got creamed by the electorate. I’m sure you didn’t invest your time and energy in WHR thinking that it was going to be a long shot at best. My point is that, in Davis, it is relatively easy for activists to mount a political campaign to kill just about anything … no matter how meritorious it is.

    IMO our water infrastructure is too important to put it at the mercy of individuals with political agendas (starve the housing supply beast; get their candidates onto the council; stop all taxes; etc.) that are willing to demagogue the project into oblivion.

  39. Voter2012

    David: I agree with you 100% that Steve should not be involved in this “counter-protest.” In my personal opinion, members of the city council should strictly forgo any and all activities that could in any way be construed as activism while they are representing the city.

    In fact, in one of my first posts I called for the removal of both Steve and Sue (who also uses her council seat to engage in activism) in 2012. As far as I can tell, Joe, Rochelle, and Dan have all conducted themselves well during this difficult debate.

    I strongly believe it’s time to complete the refresh of the city council that was begun in 2010.

  40. DT Businessman

    “The problem is the huge amounts of disinformation being put out there by the opponents of this project.”

    ERM, you didn’t seem unduly concerned by the disinformation being put out there by the opponents of the 3/4/E/F project. You weighed in on both debates. Why the concern now?

    DT Businessman reporting (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez)

  41. Don Shor

    I think that Sue’s participation in this debate on this blog has been extremely useful. I hope we can have a fact-based debate when the referendum qualifies. I would love to have the other council members participate here. I don’t know why a council member should forego activism.
    This is a complicated issue that requires that voters learn jargon, understand risk assessment, and choose between short-term and long-term financial issues and water supply strategies. I am concerned when people have to make informed decisions about things like salinity variances, selenium limits, Delta water quality objectives, subsidence, different aquifers, etc. Rusty keeps asking what I am “afraid of.” I am afraid people will tune out the facts and experts, and just vote their narrow short-term financial interests.
    In response to a comment on another thread, I would think my own interest in this topic would be fairly obvious, but perhaps not. Like many here, I am concerned that Davis acquire a reliable long-term water supply in a manner that is environmentally sound. And to the nursery and landscape industry, water is our lifeblood. The only thing we fear more than a drought is a local government implementing foolish water management policies.

  42. Sue Greenwald

    I hope that everyone reads David Suder’s post on page one. He gives the documentation for the salinity variance process that I have been describing, and the rationale, i.e., that compliance with current standards can be too financially onerous for cities.

    [b]Alan Pryor[/b], again you simply don’t understand the wastewater treatment plant issues. I agree that it would be preferable to defer the wastewater treatment plant, but the constituents whose limits are addressed by the wastewater treatment plant are simply not negotiable at this time, whereas salinity, which is addressed by the river water, is negotiable.

    The state has never forced a city in the valley to go to reverse osmosis. There has always been recourse.

    Please read David Suder’s post on the first page of these comments carefully.

  43. Sue Greenwald

    [b]Don Shor[/b]There is a reason that the WRCB is establishing a variance procedure for salinity and not for ammonia. It is because they don’t feel that salinity from municipal effluent is as large an environmental issue.

  44. Sue Greenwald

    [b]Voter 2012[/b] obviously wants to turn the water issue into a campaign issue for the upcoming council race. Voter 2012, you shouldn’t worry so much. Your candidate will win handily without Karl Rove tactics.

  45. DT Businessman

    By the way, linking to school funding was a tactic also used by the 3/4/E/F project opponents. Birds of a feather flock together.

    DT Businessman reporting (aka Michael Bisch, Davis Commercial Properties, DDBA Co-Prez)

  46. Sue Greenwald

    The WRCB knows that reverse osmosis is financially onerous and doesn’t solve the salinity problem. When determining whether or not there is a feasible alternative, the WRCB can certainly look at financial as well as physical feasibility (See Porter-Cologne). Whether are not they will decide that the cumulative costs of all of our projects is unduly onerous is up to the Board.

    That is why I am suggesting that we work with the variance process. I can’t guarantee that we will succeed, but it is prudent to do so. We don’t even know what the surface water project will cost yet; we don’t have any idea about the cost of the probable new stormwater treatment requirements will be either.

    There are many people in town that can afford the costs, whatever they may be, and who would prefer a mix with more river water. But there are many who can’t afford a blank check approach.

    Prudence would dictate that we give ourselves flexibility.

  47. Don Shor

    Selenium: [url]http://www.c-win.org/selenium-and-california-toxics-rule.html[/url]
    “The new selenium water quality criteria will be based on consideration of bioaccumulation using the Presser/Luoma (USGS) selenium model and the study by USGS funded by USEPA that has undergone peer review. The recently released USGS report shows that the Bay-Delta standard should be lowered from 5 µg/l to 1 µg/l or less, depending on residence time of selenium.”

    I’m not trying to change the subject from salinity. I think your hopes are probably misplaced on that issue. But I do wish to continue to point out that neither ground water source meets these potential selenium standards. The surface water does.

  48. Sue Greenwald

    Don,

    This is what one group recommends; it is not the limit, nor is it likely to be.

    I will make a few calls and find out more about where selenium limits are likely to go, and get back to you.

  49. Don Shor

    As you know, Woodland is already paying fines for violating selenium standards. The deep wells have about half the level of selenium. How long that would be acceptable to the state board is anybody’s guess.

  50. Don Shor

    @ wdf: According to Joe Krovoza, $14,000 per month.
    Wells vary as to selenium content. If you look at the City of Davis report, the range shows measurements slightly higher than the permissible levels now at the highest end, but mostly not by current selenium standards. The deep wells are lower.
    So what is likely to happen is that we would go through a process of attrition. Some wells would be retired due to age or excessive levels of something. They would need to be replaced. Others would require expensive wellhead treatment, as some do right now for manganese in east Davis. That adds a couple of million dollars per well. Subsidence would continue but at slow, steady rates. There would be no predetermined point where we would say, “oh, look, that subsidence is so bad we should go to the surface water system.” There would simply be no specific time when all these accumulating problems would trigger such a decision.
    Most likely the city would go to the deep wells whenever possible. Unfortunately, as noted: “Well testing and water level monitoring have shown that pumping of City of Davis deep aquifer wells would cause additional drawdowns in water levels of UC Davis wells.” But it is very easy to see a large number of deep wells becoming necessary — because of lower selenium standards, even if not as stringent as shown in my link above. Or because the salinity variance isn’t as permissive as we had hoped.
    Given the current opposition, I see no likelihood of anything triggering the move to the surface water project except being forced to it by state requirements. So subsidence would continue, pollution of the delta would continue, wells would continue to deteriorate, intermediate groundwater would degrade, and we would possibly damage the deep aquifers.
    If somebody who proposes delaying this project would give me a set of conditions under which they would support going forward — economic conditions, some specific environmental trigger, a certain number of deep wells — any kind of a metric for deciding, I might see an actual plan that wouldn’t cause too much continued harm from using the current water supply.
    But what I see is a whole series of numbers:
    Brett — 2, 3, or 4 years
    David — 10 years; ok, 5 is ok;
    Mike Harrington — never, as far as I can tell;
    Sue — 20 – 25 years.

  51. Voter2012

    @Sue Greenwald: “Voter 2012 obviously wants to turn the water issue into a campaign issue for the upcoming council race. Voter 2012, you shouldn’t worry so much. Your candidate will win handily without Karl Rove tactics.”

    Sue: I don’t have a candidate … and I will not work on anyone’s campaign. You have been turning our water infrastructure into a campaign issue for years; long before I started to comment (e.g. weren’t you planning to mention a few times that you saved the city $100M?).

    And your ad hominem doesn’t intimidate me. I’m going to continue to speak my mind.

    Also, I’m not sure who the candidate is that you were trying to smear. If you want to use me to attack one of your opponents, at least have the common sense to spell out who it is!

  52. jimt

    Don,

    Nice to see some numbers (from a prior post) for recent subsidence rates about and inch per year. As I understand it, this can be a serious rate–every decade another foot of irreversible subsidence and aquifer system degradation.
    Another detrimental effect of subsidence you didn’t mention in prior posts is increased energy needed to pump water: basically subsidence packs together the aquifer grains (reduces pore space) and reduces subsurface storage and permeability; thus when wells are pumping the cones of depression are deeper (at same pump rate) meaning more energy to pump a given volume of water (for a given pump rate).
    Together with reduced natural recharge due to reduced permeability, this can seriously reduce the future sustainable rate of aquifer water withdrawal by pumping. In other words, it is best to never let the subsidence process get off to a serious start!

    Given the rate of subsidence you cited (about an inch per year); it would be good to get some professional groundwater scientist expert opinion on how much that subsidence is likely to continue under several water supply options (including surface water substitution and shift toward deep well pumping ); and how serious the detrimental effects of such subsidence are likely to be. As I understand it; after some time of pumping (maybe several decades or more, depending on withdrawal rate) the deeper aquifer is likely to start getting depleted, and we may get additional subsidence due to deep aquifer pumping alone.

    It would be nice to get some groundwater experts (from UCD or other disinterested 3rd parties) to investigate this and get back to Davis voters with some expert opinion before the June vote.
    Results of this study might tip the balance for this particular voter, maybe other voters as well!

  53. Sue Greenwald

    [b]Voter2012[/b]

    I can’t make an “ad hominem” attack on a pseudonym. If you had the integrity to sign you name when you attribute motives to a person who is willing to sign their name, you might have a right to complain.

    It is my strong belief that you are a political operative. If you are not, just sign your name and prove me wrong.

    I happen to be proud of saving the city $100 million on the wastewater treatment plant because I had the honor of making a major contribution to the city’s well-being.

    I also think it illustrates that I have had good judgment in the past concerning fiscal issues, and hence it is some indication that I might be making an important point when it comes to the fiscal impact of taking on $300 million of debt at one time, instead of phasing it in.

    I think that if you signed your name, you would find that we could actually talk about this important issue in a constructive manner together.

  54. Sue Greenwald

    [b]jimt[/b]: I am going to try to get some idea about how much of our local subsidence is due to agricultural use of shallow wells. Don thinks that our local farmers use surface water, but I want to verify that.

    I saw one study that shows 1/4 inch a year subsidence at a “Davis” site, although the exact location of the Davis site was not described.

    I am going to call Jim Frame and ask him a bit more about his study, and try to sort out any possible agriculture-related subsidence from potential municipal ground water-related subsidence.

  55. medwoman

    Sue

    First I want to thank you for the obviously huge amount of time and energy you have brought to informing yourself, and attempting to inform those of us without the time to commit currently.

    “But there are many who can’t afford a blank check approach.”
    Agreed, and that is part of what makes this so difficult. We do not know the full cost of the project, and it is equally true that we do not know the full cost of delaying the project. Either way, we are by necessity choosing a “blank check approach.” The question is, are we choosing it for ourselves in part, or are we choosing to defer the entire cost to the next generation, along with the consequences of any environmental degradation our actions may cause.

    I will be interested in hearing the results of your planned research.

  56. Davis Enophile

    Rich, some time yesterday: [quote]This gets to the heart of what Sue Greenwald has been arguing: Woodland is not replacing its wastewater treatment plant and taking on the surface water project. Davis is on course to do both at the same time. So knowing that, your argument is off-base, Alan. [/quote]

    If you’re still reading, Woodland upgraded its treatment plant to a tertiary system with UV disinfection (state of the art). I think they started construction in 2005 and completed in 2007. I don’t know the exact cost of such an upgrade, but it could easily be $100 million, possibly more. They borrowed money to pay for that upgrade, and will be paying for it at the same time they pay for their portion of the surface water project, so I think you are wrong in your response to Alan.

    I believe Woodland sewer rates have no tiers and are upwards of $70 per month, but not certain on that.

  57. Don Shor

    Here is an important resource that I’ve posted several times before. Look at the specific water use by region within Yolo County, and the sub-basin that comprises the are where Davis and Woodland pump: [url]http://www.dcn.davis.ca.us/dcn/projects/conjunctiveuse/chapt3a.html#table4[url]
    
 Lower Cache-Putah. 
That is where Davis pumps. That is where subsidence is occurring.

  58. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Voter 2012 obviously wants to turn the water issue into a campaign issue for the upcoming council race. Voter 2012, you shouldn’t worry so much. Your candidate will win handily without Karl Rove tactics.[/quote]

    Drive by sniping…

  59. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I can’t make an “ad hominem” attack on a pseudonym. If you had the integrity to sign you name when you attribute motives to a person who is willing to sign their name, you might have a right to complain.

    It is my strong belief that you are a political operative. If you are not, just sign your name and prove me wrong.
    [/quote]

    Again, drive by sniping. You know what the rules of the blog are – commenters may post anonymously, and should not be criticized for doing so… Let’s keep things civil, or at least let’s stick to the spirited discussion of the issues without the personal attacks…

  60. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]I will make a few calls and find out more about where selenium limits are likely to go, and get back to you.[/quote]

    The problem here is what I perceive to be a lack of objectivity. Calling around to get answers you are looking for/cherry picking, doesn’t really advance the discussion much.

  61. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]This is not opinion; it is the publicly-stated policy of the CVRWQCB. [/quote]

    Thanks for this post. It was very interesting. I have a question(s). How many such water boards are there in the state? Is the CVRWQCB the only one of these boards that has taken this position? Or have others? In what context was the quote taken from?

    Obviously the quote does not answer a dozen questions/issues as commenters have noted, but it still is interesting information. What it doesn’t address is how much delay will cost us ultimately, and whether it is really feasible for Davis to argue “economic infeasibility”…

  62. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]ERM: “The problem is the huge amounts of disinformation being put out there by the opponents of this project.”

    DT Businessman: ERM, you didn’t seem unduly concerned by the disinformation being put out there by the opponents of the 3/4/E/F project. You weighed in on both debates. Why the concern now? [/quote]

    ???

  63. eastdavis

    Regarding selenium effluent restrictions, discharge into surface water and treatment aren’t the only options. Selenium is an essential nutrient, one that is commonly added to livestock feed (selenium at higher concentrations is a toxicant especially in aquatic ecosystems). The Panoche Drainage District (just south of the old Kesterson Reservoir) has been reusing drainage water for years on salt tolerant crops that include alfalfa and Jose tall wheatgrass. They actually mow those forage crops, bale it and sell it to local feedlots. The quality of the drainage water used to irrigate these crops is approximately 3,500 mg/L total dissolved solids and over 200 ug/L selenium, which is significantly higher (I think) than anything that would come out of the Davis WWTP. I would think that cropland reuse of Davis WWTP effluent could be a cost effective method to reduce our effluent discharges of salt, boron and selenium.

  64. davisite2

    Rifkin says…”In other words, are Don Shor, Matt Williams, Ed Schroeder, Elaine Musser, et. al, in your view, motivated by real estate development dollars?”

    I would not venture to claim that I know the complex motivations of others, something that Rifkin could think of emulating when he accuses others of taking a position on this issue based upon the time-frame of the probable reminder of their lives.

  65. E Roberts Musser

    [quote] I would think that cropland reuse of Davis WWTP effluent could be a cost effective method to reduce our effluent discharges of salt, boron and selenium.[/quote]

    I believe the reuse of our wastewater for resale in order to cut ultimate costs is already under consideration…

  66. Michael Harrington

    Someone said this Blog is like Times Square: it never sleeps. I quit the other night at midnight, thinking I had finally gotten in the last word (ha, when has that ever happened to me in life?), and came to work the next morning after taking my kids to school, and found that the debate raged until well after 3 am by the night owls. I always used to tease the CC that it really needed a group of 10 CC members: five for the early shift (i’m in that group), and five for the late (Sue would lead that one!).

    Got to go collect some more signatures, and hopefully run into some of those Souza Blockers! (Is in, blocking his re-election?)

  67. Michael Harrington

    BTW, I am thinking of putting together an e-history of this campaign, which will include the photos and video of the action at the tables. It’s so easy to publically film those Souza Blockers when they are 100% focused on intercepting voters and blocking their access to our tablers. It’s a new media world out there now. Steve: keep it up. Maybe I’ll show some at CC Public Comment as my 3 minutes of public comment?

  68. Don Shor

    @ eastdavis: that is an interesting possibility. The first question I would have is whether the supply would exceed the demand. Selenium is a high priority pollutant with regard to Delta impacts.

  69. Don Shor

    Continuing the subsidence discussion, the greatest area of subsidence is in the Yolo/Woodland/Davis/Zamora area. That is where the primary water used is groundwater (80% approx), not surface water. In the rest of Yolo County, farmers use primarily surface water (70% approx.). The biggest users in the groundwater area are the cities of Davis and Woodland, and UC Davis. That is where the land is sinking.
    It is easy to conclude that the subsidence is likely caused by the overdrafting of groundwater in those areas.
    In the rest of Yolo County, where surface water was brought in 1977 (Indian Valley), overdraft is not occurring and (I believe) subsidence is not occurring.
    The rate of subsidence in our sub-basin is high: up to an inch a year. That is how much the ground is sinking. When the ground sinks, it reduces the air space that water can fill. Ergo, it reduces the amount of future groundwater potentially available.
    One possible solution is to artificially recharge the groundwater. Excess surface water could be pumped into the wells for storage. Discussing this option, and another, I have this from the previous link Sue and I have both posted; it also confirms that we are overdrafting and that subsidence is a problem:
    “These two activities might be used to help r[b]everse the heavy overdraft in the YZWD area, reduce subsidence there, improve recharge to the Yolo-Woodland-Zamora area of the aquifer, [/b]and more effectively use the groundwater in the western part of the County.”
    Sacramento River water would be an excellent source of artificial recharge, allowing storage of high-quality water for use during drought years.
    [b]Subsidence is a problem, and continuing to pump from the intermediate wells will increase the local subsidence caused by overdrafting in our region. [/b] Trying to solve this by going to the deep wells creates its own set of problems.

  70. Rifkin

    BRIAN ENO FAN: [i]”Woodland upgraded its treatment plant to a tertiary system with UV disinfection (state of the art). I think they started construction in 2005 and completed in 2007. I don’t know the exact cost of such an upgrade, but it could easily be $100 million, possibly more. They borrowed money to pay for that upgrade, and will be paying for it at the same time they pay for their portion of the surface water project, so I think you are wrong in your response to Alan. I believe Woodland sewer rates have no tiers and are upwards of $70 per month, but not certain on that.”[/i]

    Matt Rexroad, can you confirm this?

  71. Rifkin

    [b]Dullardite2:[/b] [i]I would not venture to claim that I know the complex motivations of others, something that Rifkin could think of emulating when [u]he accuses others of taking a position on this issue based upon the time-frame of the probable reminder of their lives[/u].”[/i]

    WTF? I don’t [s]forking[/s] have any [s]filking[/s] idea what the [s]funk[/s] that means. [i]The probable reminder of their lives?[/i] Can you please translate your accusation into English?

    And whom have I accused of taking a position based on what?

  72. Rifkin

    BRIAN ENO FAN: [i]”I don’t know the exact cost of such an upgrade, but it could easily be $100 million, possibly more.”[/i]

    If that $100 million estimate were true–which would be odd given that our entire new wastewater treatment plant is expected to be just a little over $100 million–then Sue’s contention would have no basis.

    It is not true, though: The Woodland project, for which I am told they built up a substantial CIP fund for in advance of the start of construction, cost less than $25 million ([url]http://www.overaa.com/projects/Woodland-Wastewater-Treatment-Plant-Expansion[/url]).

    And because of the pre-funding, I was just told by a someone who works for the City of Woodland, it will be paid down by 2015.

    Here is what the Woodland expansion looked like when it was being built:

    [img]http://www.overaa.com/content/projects/Woodland-Wastewater-Treatment-Plant-Expansion/Woodland-progress-for-web._jpeg.jpg[/img]

  73. Rifkin

    [i]”My guess would be “reminder” was a typo for “remainder.”[/i]

    Don, If so what does his question mean? Do you understand what he has accused me of? I don’t get it. I guess I am too stupid for DavisiteDos.

  74. Don Shor

    To possibly paraphrase: some have suggested that some people who oppose the water project are of such an age that a 20 – 25 year delay would take it out of their life span.

    So “when he accuses others of taking a position on this issue based upon the time-frame of the probable reminder of their lives” means accusing others of not wanting to pay for the project in their lifetime.

  75. eastdavis

    Speaking of the subsidence issue, Alan Pryor in his September 5 article on the Vanguard made mention of the Tsakopoulos plan to drill +/- 18 new groundwater wells adjacent to Willow Slough which runs through the Conaway Ranch. This is associated with the agreement with the County allowing Mr. Tsakopoulos to sell roughly 80,000 acre-feet of water from Conaway to Metropolitan Water District in Southern California. There’s been plenty of lively discussion on this site regarding subsidence in Davis over our groundwater usage. But what about the Tsakopoulos plan? Has there been any analysis on the impact of drilling so many wells in the Yolo Bypass on issues such as subsidence? I wonder if switching from surface water to wells in the Bypass could impact the flood protection afforded by levees along the Yolo Bypass to Davis and/or Woodland.

  76. davisite2

    “My guess would be “reminder” was a typo for “remainder.”

    Thank you for correcting my typo, Don, as you easily recognized it from the content of Rifkin’s post that you deleted because of its outrageous nature.

  77. Rifkin

    D2: [i]” you easily recognized it from the content of Rifkin’s post that you deleted because of [b]its outrageous nature.”[/b][/i]

    I have never said your nature was outrageous, D2.

    [i]”some people who oppose the water project are of such an age that a 20 – 25 year delay would take it out of their life span.”[/i]

    In all the comments on the water project, I don’t recall anyone accusing the referendumnites of that. I have heard referendumnites of being largely worried about real estate development on the periphery of Davis; and other referendumnites believing the water project is, in effect, a big government big tax that they oppose on grounds of having their taxes raised.

    Specifically, I recall D2 saying that the water project is unnecessary, but for peripheral real estate development; and D2 has implied that developers (like John Whitcombe) are behind it. D2 has also said, without citing any experts, that experts say the deep aquifer is good for another 40 years, which, I would guess, is more years that D2 expects to live.

  78. rusty49

    “some people who oppose the water project are of such an age that a 20 – 25 year delay would take it out of their life span.”

    In all the comments on the water project, I don’t recall anyone accusing the referendumnites of that.”

    Actually I remember a post or two where someone accused Sue of that.

  79. Adam Smith

    [i]BTW, I am thinking of putting together an e-history of this campaign, which will include the photos and video of the action at the tables. It’s so easy to publically film those Souza Blockers when they are 100% focused on intercepting voters and blocking their access to our tablers. It’s a new media world out there now. Steve: keep it up. Maybe I’ll show some at CC Public Comment as my 3 minutes of public comment? [/i]

    This is the 4th time you’ve threatened to provide proof of something that clearly isn’t happening. Must be Groundhog Day.

    Perhaps you should provide film of the signature gatherer at Nugget. I observed him actively intercepting almost every potential shopper at Nugget yesterday, no matter how far they walked away from him trying to avoid him. It appeared that several folks went inside to complain to Nugget management.

  80. Sue Greenwald

    [quote]“some people who oppose the water project are of such an age that a 20 – 25 year delay would take it out of their life span.”[/quote]If we, a town of 65,000, proceed to take on $300 million of water-related debt without phasing it in, those who will be hurt the most are those in their twenties. They will be paying this off for most of their adult lives if they choose to remain in Davis. On top of that, they are entering the job market during the worst recession since the great depression.

  81. jimt

    Don Shor,

    Thanks for posting the info. on subsidence.
    Subsidence is forever; the aquifer degradation that occurs will not ever reverse itself; let alone in our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildrens lifetime (the period that was evaluated by certain American Indian tribes when making major decisions that affected the livlihood of the tribe; a bit different from the currently quarterly-scale time horizons of the our financial and CEOligarchy tribal leaders).

    Another important technical question with regard to subsidence is if it is mainly due to clayey aquitard compaction and squeezing out of water from these layers, which can affect water quality on the decadal time scale, or if it is mainly due to grain settling in coarser silt and sand layers; which has the longer-term impacts on aquifer degradation.

    This is one of the many reasons (others I don’t have time to post), in addition to those I posted earlier, why this issue of subsidence perhaps should be addressed by a new independent investigation/assessment by 3rd party experts; by early spring 2012!

  82. rusty49

    Mr. Shor:

    Mr Pryor posted a Selenium level chart for the 2000-2010 years. Do you know where he got that chart from and if so could you post a link to see that study? I’ve asked Mr. Pryor to post it but no answer.
    Thank you in advance.

  83. Frankly

    [i]”Jeff, come on over to the good side. I don’t like being on the opposite team of my conservative brother”[/i]

    Ha!, yeah Rusty, I’ve not been liking you and I being on opposite sides for this. A couple of things keep me tilted toward advocating for the surface water project. One is the lack of a definitive lower-cost alternative combined with my growing concern about future generations being impacted by our collective irresponsibility delaying our pain. The other is my concern for Davis missing out on an opportunity for a valuable clean water source. Related to this is another similar concern that we may hurt the future generations having to deal with water quality and water supply issues because we failed to take advantage of the surface water rights/project when we had the ability.

    There is a lot of history about fortunate communities that secured early water rights and built water works, and unfortunate communities that missed opportunities and currently lack options.

    I’m not too concerned about a 6-9 mth delay to research and design a less expensive solution if one exists. I am concerned about proceeding with expensive waste water system improvement first considering we might not require it with a decrease effluent resulting from the change from well water to surface water.

    Lastly, in terms of my personal economics and preference, I have a salt-based water softener and have drinking water delivered. We also have water spots and mineral deposit build-up that requires more chemicals and lots of elbow grease. You can see the build-up forming on outside hose faucets and plugged drip-line emitters. I’m under the impression that the high mineral content is reducing the life of our water heaters and house plumbing.

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