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Jim Engelke's "No Plant Option" Is a "No Go Option" for Borrego

Jim Engelke’s discursive "Viewpoint" ("Borrego Water District, Farmers Should Consider No Plant Option," Borrego Sun, 3 November 2005, p. 6) oversimplifies, distorts, and flat-out misrepresents facts about agriculture and groundwater in the valley. Its only saving grace is its opacity. Most readers – even those who follow the groundwater situation closely – will likely give up when their eyes glaze over after the first couple of paragraphs and not be fooled.

Engelke contributes nothing new toward solving of our increasingly serious groundwater problem; raises a great many questions and answers none; and muddies waters already turbid enough. And that’s the charitable interpretation of his screed.

As an architect and "environmental planner", Engelke frequently attends both Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group and BWD meetings to represent clients. In both of these venues he often presents highly imaginative concepts that he proposes to incorporate into clients projects. All of these, as one might expect, benefit the client. Most do so at the expense of the community. They are never well conceived or thought out. They are almost always accompanied by and rely heavily on concept drawings that appear, as much as anything, intended to draw attention away from the concepts and to their visual expression; i.e. attempt to sell the sizzle rather than the steak. Inevitably his presentations raise far more questions than they answer, and inevitably Engelke attempts to trivialize or avoid these questions rather than answer them. He is nothing if not consistent.    12/01/2005

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