• OPINION: No $ for Mayors’ JPA. Pulling out is a better idea.

    As many feared, the Mayors’ JPA (Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority Board) is beginning to be expensive. Wednesday night, June 19 the City Council will consider an expenditure of $33,000 as Pacific Grove’s share of the costs of legal advice to the JPA Board, on top of $5,000 already appropriated as our share of a total budget – so far – of some $174,000 for the first year.

    We remain convinced that the Mayors’ JPA is redundant and expensive, as well as being “too little too late.” The Mayors have admitted that they do not have the expertise to undertake the question of water supply, so they seek to hire it done. Other agencies have been charged to do the same work, and instead of representing only 65.9 percent of the constituency as does the Mayors’ JPA, these other agencies represent the entire spectrum of ratepayers, both city residents and county residents.

    In fact, as Monterey Mayor Chuck Della Sala pointed out in his June 8, 2012 letter to California American Water, the “Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is the agency on the Peninsula charged with monitoring and managing our water supply. As a public agency with an elected body representing the entire Peninsula, the District should play a key role in solving our water crisis.”

    The same faces are at all the same meetings, including the Technical Advisory Committee. Ultimately the decision regarding water supply will rest with California American Water and the California Public Utilities Commission, which have already expressed a desire to use groundwater replenishment and aquifer storage and recovery as two points of a three-pronged system to provide water to the Peninsula. The Mayors’ JPA efforts at recommending those two systems is obviously a case of “preaching to the choir.”

    Cal-Am has already expressed their desire to “go it alone” without a public agency and build their own desalination plant. Why would they listen to the Mayors’ JPA?

     

    Pacific Grove has also undertaken an agreement with Moss Landing Commercial Park to build a desalination plant. (While allegedly set up to be a no-cost item for Pacific Grove, surely no one believes that will remain true in the long run.) Why are we participating in a potentially competing effort?

    The number of attorneys qualified to act in this capacity is woefully small in the Monterey Peninsula area, too. We already share our City Attorney with the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. Part of the staff proposal involves the “concept of the JPA using our current City Attorneys at our meetings and as required.”

    We urge the City Council to, instead of appropriating $33,000 or even another cent to the Mayors’ JPA, withdraw from it at once. Our mayor and the mayors of the other five cities have serious problems at home and should be concentrating on those issues instead of duplicating the effort of others with more expertise, especially when the money could well be spent elsewhere in Pacific Grove.

     

    posted to Cedar Street Times on June 19, 2012

    Topics: Front PG News, Marge Ann Jameson, Opinion, Snarkin' With Marge

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