During a recent forum led by UCSC Economics Ph.D. candidate Peter Towbin, community members gathered at the Cruzio Building on Cedar St. to discuss the various arguments for and against the proposed desalination plant. During the session, a fourth-generation Aptos woman squared off against a young couple from Chicago, arguing that without the influx of outsiders coming to Santa Cruz County, water would not be a problem. She said she’s against desalination because more available drinking water would make it possible for more outsiders to come.
“So we should go back where we came from?” the Chicagoans, who moved here a couple months ago for work, retorted. “Well, yes,” was the woman’s reply.
A showdown on the matter is looming Nov. 6, with ballot Measure P requiring voter approval for the proposed desalination facility.
Some circles, it appears, believe the right to drinking water should be contingent on native status. Bill Smallman, director of the Lompico County Water District, commented on an Aug. 22 story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel: “The real environmental elephant in the room is that desal will provide for unlimited growth…Water has become the factor which is force [sic] us to examine exactly how many people this planet can sustain with maximum harmony.”