Thursday, December 25, 2014

Bob Dunning: Want fairness? Look to Santa Cruz


From page A2 | May 06, 2014 |

SANTA CRUZ 1, DAVIS 0 … the city of Santa Cruz, well aware of the drought facing much of California, has instituted a water rationing program that is fair to rich and poor alike because it guarantees all citizens access to an equal amount of water for an equal price … in Davis, on the other hand, our solution to a water shortage has always been to crank up the price through a punitive “tier” system that punishes large households, even if the individual members of that household use less water per day than individuals in smaller households …

Those who are well off tend not to worry about conservation because there is no limit to the amount of water they can use if they’re willing to pay for it … that’s true under both the “tier” system and the newly instituted CBFR structure … Santa Cruz has rightly concluded that such a system is simply unfair … thus, it has instituted a water rationing plan whereby each single-family dwelling is allotted 10 ccf of water each month … rich or poor, you get 10 ccf and not a drop more …

Because this allotment is based on a household of four people each using approximately 60 gallons of water a day, the city explains that “If your household is larger than these assumptions, you will be able to apply for a higher allotment.” … thus, a household of six presumably will be eligible for about 15 ccf a month … which is only fair … in this way, each individual is treated equally when it comes to a commodity as precious to life as water …

EVEN MORE SANTA CRUZISMS … Santa Cruz offers free aerators for faucets and free low-flow showerheads, plus rebates to replace toilets, washing machines and turf, some of which is offered by Davis and some not … in addition, Santa Cruz advises that citizens “Limit showers to five minutes — FREE timers are available.” … a timer in the shower for people who have no sense of time? … what a novel idea … wonder if it works on teenagers … I mean, unless the timer also provides an electric shock to the water scofflaw, it’s likely to be ignored … Santa Cruz also encourages citizens to “Read your water meter,” which I believe is a felony in Davis …

SPIN DOCTOR WANTED … in an era of tight budgets, it was distressing to see the Davis school board vote 3-1 to hire a public information officer … the position will be 60 percent time, which means the new PIO will be able to say “The board met in closed session last night and all minutes of that meeting are confidential” only six times a month instead of 10 … put simply, the board does not need a new hire to paint smiley faces on every action the district takes …

SPEAKING OF THE BOARD … now that Alan Fernandes is the board’s unanimous pick for Nancy Peterson’s former seat, some assume he will have a leg up on the other candidates come Election Day in November … maybe yes, maybe no … after all, there will be some interesting issues before the board between now and then, and the electorate isn’t exactly smiling kindly on elected officials these days … Alan may want think twice before he puts that loaded word “incumbent” next to his name on the Official Sample Ballot …

HOLIDAY SNAFU … Crystal at, doing her best to keep her holidays straight, notes that on Monday she “saw a Christmas tree on the curb outside the Greystone Apartments. A lot of people don’t really understand what Cinco de Mayo celebrates. Maybe someone thought it was a day to discard your Christmas tree.” … good thing this didn’t happen at UC Davis … if you mix up your holidays on campus they’ll slam you into mandatory diversity training faster than you can say “Kris Kringle” …

— Reach Bob Dunning at



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .