Digger - December 06, 2016
The August 11, 2016 issue of the Borrego Sun contained what appears to be a press release issued jointly by the Executive Director of the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce Linda Haddock, Geof Poole, the General Manager of the Borrego Water District, and the Borrego Water Coalition (BWC). It is reputedly part of an abortive eight-part series of self-serving press releases planned and created by the BWC which series they now threaten to resume in response to alleged "bad press" they have been receiving.
The press release tells a saccharine little tale about a family (think "The Waltons") who came to a "stagnant" Borrego Springs in 1992 because of "their love of farming," but most importantly, for the Borrego Valley's "most precious resource - water" which, not insignificantly, was free for the pumping. Once established, they "happily installed" all sorts of gee-whiz water conservation measures on their farm because the patriarch had "fallen in love with Borrego" - an unparalleled act of pure altruism. The family members seem to patronize every business in town, all dutifully enumerated, on a near daily basis; "have always made it a priority to hire local Borregans" and, along with other farms, "fill the community with laborers frequenting the stores in town" during picking season thereby enabling businesses "to stay open year round;" and support worthy local organizations of every sort. They are clearly Borrego's little economic engine that could.
But that's not all! The water table in the valley is also miraculously rising notwithstanding the fact that nearly four times as much water is still being withdrawn from the Borrego Valley aquifer each year as is recharged. It's a veritable loaves and fishes kind of story.
It's also a fulsome crock of amateurish propaganda the sole purpose of which is to convince other community members that their little town wouldn't - couldn't - exist without the handful of farmers in the valley who pump 70 - 80 per cent of the groundwater each year and turn it into cash. The truth, of course, is that the town won't and can't exist much longer unless these self-styled noble-sons-of-the-earth are banished forthwith.
The insertion of Poole's name makes it look as if the water district was a joint author of the press release, but when informed of the ad he disclaimed any knowledge of it: "I have never seen the subject article before nor do I have any idea on its genesis. As I looked at the document, I noticed the date [June 10, 2016] is approximately one month before I started at BWD, my name is misspelled (E on the end) and the font used for my name is different that the rest of the article."
Upon learning of the ad, a Chamber of Commerce Board Member responded: "As far as I know, the [Borrego Chamber of Commerce] Executive Director, Linda Haddock, was not given explicit direction or approval to support this ad."
The the problematic authorship raises again another even more troubling issue: the questionable legitimacy of the Borrego Water Coalition. Since it appears to have been placed under BWC's auspices the ad lends credence to the charge that the shadowy BWC is nothing more than a pumper's lobby. If the two BWD directors who purport to represent the interests of BWD ratepayers on the BWC knew about this hoax and did nothing to stop it they are complicit and should resign from the BWD board. If they did not know of it (a) they are not doing their jobs and (b) the BWC is either totally out of control or entirely controlled by pumpers who make up the overwhelming majority of its membership. In any case, the BWC should be dissolved immediately and replaced by an honest broker reflecting the proportional interests involved in implementing California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and subject to adult supervision.
Much credit is due BWD's General Manager, Goef Poole, for refusing to allow the District to be implicated in a plot that is patently antithetical to the interests of its ratepayers and dissociating it from future disingenuous efforts to manipulate the local citizenry.
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