Helping Our Peninsula's Environment


Greed Has No Bounds

Copyright 2003 David Dilworth

(Herald Censored Water District Commentary)

For 24 years developers have run our Water District - into the ground and into the dust.

Since 1977, the developer-run Water Board has approved some 8,000 new water connections (this is not a mis-print). Several of those 8,000 are golf courses. For 24 years they've forced massive growth down our throats, and pushed hard for the growth causing Dam, and to top it off they gave away our drought reserve. This has caused huge damage to our Carmel River and its fish and forced us into an officially declared water supply emergency.

Thankfully, the Dam and all other water projects for our Monterey Peninsula must get voter approval. So, when the Dam had to go up for a vote in 1995, the voters beat it back. Actually, they beat it to a pulp - even though all the Mayors, and all the cities supported the Dam.

And now, for the first time since the Water District was created 24 years ago, we are blessed with a Board majority which supports environmental protection, supports our public interest and has a solution to the water problem which the public could support -- a no-growth, just-the-right-sized desalination plant at Sand City. This good board has a razor thin majority, but 4-3 proved just enough to overturn the outrageous Water transfer profiteering. Now that's leadership.

The Water Board was first created in 1977 because development had so severely overused what little water we have, that the state imposed a building moratorium on our Peninsula. Well, developer interests still control a majority on every City Council on our Peninsula. But, that amount of power just isn't enough for them. They want more. They want it all.

They are mightily annoyed they don't control the Water Board too. The only problem developers have is that the public will no longer ignore their greed driven water mismanagement.

Developers began to lose their stranglehold on the Water Board when the elections of Kris Lindstrom, Molly Erickson, and Zan Henson in November 1999. Then Judi Lehman ousted an incumbent in the Nov. 2001 election to finally give us a thin majority. Just a few months later that thin majority tossed out the water transfers.

Developers tried hard to get Water Transfers back by circulating a petition in March 2002 but they couldn't get even close to the number of signatures required to put it on the ballot.

Furious that they won't get a massive growth causing water project like a Dam, developers now want a gigantic, massively expensive, growth forcing Desalination plant at Moss Landing. They want it outside the District so Peninsula residents won't be able to vote it down.

To distract us, they got the Mayors to put a taxpayer dollar wasting advisory vote on the Water District on the ballot. (How would you vote, if you could vote to abolish the IRS? Or for that matter Pacific Grove for their sewage spills?) To little surprise, the water district lost that vote.

So which do you want - the developer's huge growth-forcing Desalination Plant in Moss Landing or a small one in Sand City that just fits our community?

There is no reason to resort to a regional water project or to change the water district governance, (except maybe to get rid of the two non-elected seats).

Since its not broken -- don't fix it.

And now....

Censorship Has No Rationale

Herald's Water District Censorship & Bias

by David Dilworth May 16, 2003

On April 6 the Herald published an unrebutted commentary against the Water District by Charles Page. In response, I wrote the above commentary, faxed and e-mailed it in on April 11.

After refusing to tell me whether they would run it for three weeks, I hand-delivered a third copy to the Herald on May 2.

On May 14, after more than a month and five phone calls from me since they first received it, Laurel Shackleford called back refusing to run it, although she admitted she enjoyed reading it.

The reason, she said, it is that they are planning to do a pro and con on both sides of the McPherson Bill and my commentary doesn't address the McPherson Bill.

Even if the Herald does eventually run a pro and con set of commentaries the score will then be two commentaries against the District, versus a single one in favor of it. Not to mention the significant information in my article that certainly will not be in either of the pro and con articles.

It is outrageously unfair of the Herald to allow Charles Page's one sided commentary to run unrebutted -- especially when they have an admittedly well written and entertaining article in opposition. In my opinion this smells like gross political censorship.


> From: Laurel shackelford

> To: Wies Norberg

> Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 9:06 AM

> Subject: Re: Dilworth letter

> Wies,

> We encourage and readers to write letters about things they've read or seen in The Herald - staff written articles, wire reports, other letters and Commentaries. Since space in the Commentary section is so limited, it generally isn't used for comments on other Commentaries. I repeatedly invited Mr. Dilworth to condense his piece to 200 words, the word limit for letters, however, he declined to do that.

> The Pro and Con on McPherson's water bill runs Sunday. I hope you'll find it of interest.

> Please don't hesitiate (sic) to get in touch is (sic) you have other concerns or suggestions.

> Laurel


From: David Dilworth

To: Weis Norberg

Thank you for your follow up Weis.

Astoundingly she admits that the Herald "encourages readers to write letters about things they've read or seen in The Herald [including]... Commentaries."

That is precisely what I did -- and yet she inexplicably refused it because she doesn't like a Commentary on a Commentary. (So what's a Pro and Con?)


I must clarify one point - Ms. Shackelford did not "repeatedly" invite me to turn the 500 word Commentary into a letter.

When she finally called to say she would not run it - she did not mention it at all. Only after I called her a few days later did she suggest it (exactly once) and only then after I boxed her into a corner by insisting that an unrebutted Commentary was unfair.

Since I spent a few hours condensing the issues into the Commentary, I feel confident there is no way to condense all the facts of my 500 word commentary into 200 words. I'd like to see Ms. Shackleford try.

But then, I am rapidly reaching the opinion she has already made up her mind and will soon write a "Dump the Water Board/Pro SB-149 Editorial. If this is correct she wouldn't want her point of view contaminated with having to think about powerful opposing points...


Disclaimer --

This commentary does not reflect any position of Helping Our Peninsula's Environment. This is the personal opinion of David Dilworth.

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