Fire and Water… Life for an ocean creature can seem cushy. There are no wildfires and all the water ocean-dwellers could want – and the water is salty just like Squid likes Squid’s margaritas. In Monterey County, on the other hand… not enough water and way too much fire. The existential stress of these two problems manifested on the night of Monday, Oct. 28.
The day was full of anticipation for the release of a report from California Coastal Commissionstaff, issuing a recommendation on whether to approve a permit for California American Water’s proposed desalination plant. Tom Luster, a staff environmental scientist, had labored to release the report as early as possible ahead of a commission vote on Nov. 14 in Half Moon Bay. Part of the report was supposed to come from a hydrologist he’d hired to analyze the potential impacts of the desal plant’s wells on groundwater supplies underneath Marina.
But Luster’s efforts were thwarted – by “power outages and wildfires.” Landlubber problems. Luster wrote an email to the legion of interested parties that the release of the hydrologist’s analysis would be postponed until Nov. 1. Meanwhile, he decided to publish part of his report and a recommendation – against granting a permit – because of “the complexity of the proposed project” and “the significant public interest in the project.”
Dozens of people on both sides of the issue happened to be in the same room when the recommendation dropped. Based on their frenzied response, Squid thinks some folks outta just relax and order a margarita, extra salt.
Running water… Speaking of the big week coming for Monterey Peninsula water: It’s finally time for the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District to decide whether to pursue a public buyout of California American Water.
When the water district holds a public meeting Nov. 12, it will be a year and a week since voters approved Measure J, compelling the district to conduct a feasibility study, and if feasible, pursue a takeover. (Measure J set forth a nine-month timeline, so releasing the study now puts it 30-percent behind schedule.) Squid is looking forward to the Nov. 12 meeting, when mysterious consultants who prepared various analyses will make their findings public. Squid has tried and failed to find out who the district hired to do this work. According to a press statement, MPWMD General Manager Dave Stoldt says, “This meeting will be an opportunity for the public to be presented the feasibility study by the consultants who authored it.”
Squid wonders if that means the consultants themselves will be on stage and the curtain will be lifted. Or maybe their voices will be piped in to conceal their identities, like in The Wizard of Oz? Either way, Squid is pouring another margarita for the week in water ahead.