Re: Inquiring Minds & the 3 new council members
To the Editor:
The 2014 Election is over and Santa Paula has 3 new city council members, 2 complete new faces and 1 recycled face (as far as new ideas). It’s too early to tell what direction the new city council will travel. However, in the manner in which the writer Marsha M. Rea of “Inquiring minds always knew we could...”, she has identified the 3 new council members as political progressives or at least it could easily be interpreted as such. There are some of us that will wait and see the actions taken by the voting majority before judging them successful. In Rea’s article she seems to paint a fantasy of a picture for example; “Council member (elect) Proctor has been working with the Sothern California Association of Governments for the past few years and has developed relationships with other leaders from other communities that will surely provide new ideas for solving our problems”. What does Rea attempt to do with her accolades for Proctor, did this man not serve 8 prior years on the council and did he not have sufficient clout to have done the job he now intends to fulfill? If Proctor used the time “building relationships with other CAG wisely can Santa Paula look forward to a healthy reduction in sewer/water rates? If history is correct it was Gabino Aguirre and Proctor that wanted Veolia to have been awarded the contract for the new sewer plant but instead the majority gave the contract to PERC, the same company that was given much praise by Peggy Kelly in her April 9, 2009, SPT article. This same controversy that Marsha Rea seems to have issue with as far as fraud and corruption relates to in her call for further audits is addressed and contradicted by the Ventura County Grand Jury’s report dated June 26, 2013. There has been a lot of controversy over the selection of PERC over Veolia but the grand Jury report doesn’t anywhere substantiates the conspiracies or fraudulent behavior Marsha Rea seems to allude to in her writings. As far as the praises given to Martin Hernandez by Rea one should wonder where this guy has been during the closed council meetings. It should also be stated that in spite of working for County Supervisor Kathy Long, Hernandez hasn’t come up with any solution on his own that could be judged as earth shattering. While not much is known of Crosswhite, she’ll also be judged on her future performances and let’s hope she doesn’t get caught on to many social entitlement issues. Although Gherardi has previous experience on the Simi City Council but was re-called back in the late 1970’s, because ironically she was associated with sewer rate increases. This same Ginger Gherardi has been blessed by Rea so let’s hope she comes through for us but if she relies totally on additional government funding or big government solutions be advised that government help comes with lots of strings attached. And as long as people understand that the sewer plant project is Santa Paula’s debt and in prior years the voters didn’t actively push their representatives for infrastructure necessities in a timely manner, we now face the pain of paying for OUR bills and that’s where the pain is located. If the informed legal voters of Seta Paula prefer conspiracy theories they should at least take the time to find the truth. After all, would it be ethical to allege those that favored Veolia had a hidden agenda?
Andrew F. Castaneda
How large is the Santa Paula aquifer?
To the Editor:
The East Area 1 environmental impact report (EIR) uses the year 2000 Fox Canyon Management statistics which say the Santa Paula aquifer encompasses about 13,500 acres at 365 feet deep. This is a total cubic acreage of 4,927,500 acre feet of dirt which is saturated with 15% water content. This calculates to 739.125 acre feet of water. The EIR then rounds this up to 800,000 acre feet.
This appears to be a lot of water, but remember this was in the year 2000, before the drought. Today, the saturation number is closer to 10% which is 492,750 acre feet of water. Furthermore, farmers and cities currently draft 26,000 acre feet per year. Therefore, current usage is 3.5%--5% per year (26,000/ 739,125 to 26,000/ 492,750) between the high and low estimates.
The problem is replenishment. If the drought continues, the aquifer will decline by 17.5 to 25% in five years. Without substantial rainfall, there is no offset to this current usage. Even with a 20% state mandated usage reduction, you can only slow the decline of the aquifer if there is no rain. The only thing that will stop this decline of the aquifer is substantial rainfall. But meteorologists are predicting more dry years with only a mild El Nino this winter.
Overall, East area 1 is a fantastic project that I endorsed at the time. Unfortunately, when most of the city voted to approve it, no one ever expected a severe drought over the horizon. I would hope the city manager and city council would get together with United Water and update the water report in the EIR. They need to be able to decisively guarantee water for the project (1.2 million gallons per day/ every day) without further accelerating the decline of the aquifer. Or there must be a moratorium until there is rain. Either way, the aquifer must be protected first and foremost.