Sign Off…To the outsider’s eye, it may not have looked like Squid was busy this weekend, because most of Squid’s hours were blocked out for “executive time.”
Some of that important watching TV work happened Sunday, when Squid tuned into the most boring Super Bowl in history, which saw the evil empire that is the New England Patriots prevail in a 13-3 snoozefest. (Squid was mostly there for the ads, and especially loved the one from the Washington Post.)
It may not have looked like it, but it was a carefully planned weekend for Squid, because Squid is preparing for another snoozefest, and it’s one that will take far longer than three hours—and perhaps more than three years: Marina Coast Water District and the city of Marina’s fight against California American Water’s planned—and already approved by the California Public Utilities Commission—desalination project in Marina.
Sure, Squid gets it—if you’re a Marina resident who doesn’t like Cal Am, it looks unfair: Cal Am, whether Marina residents like it or not, will likely get whatever approvals it needs to move forward on the project from the California Coastal Commission.
(That's after a little Super Bowl-style show: First, Squid expects the Marina Planning Commission to deny a required permit, then Cal Am will appeal to the Marina City Council, which will also deny the permit. Then Cal Am will appeal to the Coastal Commission, and—voila!)
Then the city of Marina and Marina Coast will likely sue, and years of litigation will follow, and a bunch of lawyers will make millions but probably nothing will change. It’s all just too predictable, and too boring.
Given all that, Squid isn’t the least bit surprised that some Marina residents—as well as some Cal Am haters on the Peninsula—are still banging pots and pans over Cal Am’s project, and on Jan. 30 hosted a forum at the Marina Library titled “Can Cal Am STEAL Marina’s groundwater?” (Important note: What Cal Am can and cannot do will almost certainly be decided in a court of law, not in the Marina Library.)
Squid is not categorically opposed to asking tough questions and banging pots and pans—everyone needs a hobby or two—but Squid thinks the whole thing went a step too far in a change.org petition that tagged local officials like Monterey Peninsula Water Management District General Manager Dave Stoldt (and all of the district’s board members, among more than two dozen others), who now get an email notification every time 10 new signatures are added to the petition, and who have no discernible way to unsubscribe.
In one such notification Squid saw, those who signed were all from Illinois, Wisconsin or Florida.
But it's not just those far-away signatories who have no apparent stake in local water politics—it's the people the petition is targeted at, as well.
Every official tagged in the post has zero decisions to make about the project’s fate. Like everyone else who’s not a judge, they're just spectators in a long, boring fight, and they probably don’t need to be reminded of that fact.
That said, Squid is happy Marina residents are finally engaging in their water supply challenges, though Squid would counsel against squandering millions of dollars to fight—and perhaps lose—against Cal Am in court.
Instead, Squid thinks Marina should focus on its own very real water supply problems, not its imagined ones: Not a single hydrologist or expert Squid has heard from—who's not on Marina Coast’s payroll, at least—thinks Cal Am’s project will harm Marina’s water supply.
Moreover, consider the water supply: Marina Coast is drawing about two-thirds of its water from the deep aquifer, an ancient, finite water supply with an unknown capacity, and which Salinas Valley growers are actively pumping to oblivion while it still lasts.
So yes, Marina has water supply problems. They are far more serious, and far more real, than anything related to Cal Am.
Squid’s not sure what it’s going to take to wake Marina residents up to that fact, but perhaps a petition would do, with a constant stream of email notifications.