Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Forget the Stilts, Leave the Politics at Home

My final thoughts on today's Palouse Basin Water Summit.

If you believe that there is a water problem on the Palouse, and a survey released today showed that most people do, then it is going to require cooperation among all the jurisdictions and all the communities on the Palouse to solve it.

And nothing kills cooperation quicker than political agendas and personal agendas. Last year, everyone was beating up on Whitman County over the Hawkins Companies development in the corridor. This year, it was WSU's turn to be over a barrel concerning the Palouse Ridge Golf Course.

On my way out today, I stopped in the "Water Conservation Room" to look at the exhibits. Back in the corner, the Palouse Water Conservation Network (King Solomon's group that is suing WSU over the golf course) had the typical stuff you'd expect like exhibits on xeriscaping. But then there was something you wouldn't expect. There was a big poster accusing Washington State University of "arrogance" over water use at the golf course. And there was a flier, which I picked up. Keep in mind, WSU was a sponsor and PWCN was a supporter of the event. I felt this display was wildly inappropriate and totally not in keeping with the cooperative spirit on water that was trying to be nurtured today.

And when it comes right down to it, the golf course has NOTHING TO DO WITH WATER. From what I can tell, it's nohting more than a variety of petty anti-capitalist rantings and one man's (Scotty Cornelius') personal pissed-off crusade about his favorite park being done away with.

Let me regale you with some quotes from the flier:

In 2004, WSU then president Lane Rawlins (now retired), made the decision to upgrade the WSU golf course, from a 9-hole-student-oriented facility to a 315 acre (typical size is 180 ac) 18-hole "state of the art," "world class," "championship" golf course on what was previously WSU research land.
Did you catch all the sarcasm with the quotation marks?
the Grande Ronde Aquifer - sole source of water for the region
No, it doesn't have to be. Plenty of alternatives are available. It only takes the will and the money to develop them. But the no-growth leftists prefer to have a sole, depleting source for water. Then they can use it like the "global warming" cudgel to get what they want: no growth (the WoW survey found that's exactly what 20% of Palouse residents desire).
The golf course operator (a private entrepreneur under contract with WSU)
Ah yes, the private entrepreneur. In the socialist version of Hell, they rank somewhere below child molesters.
But when dealing with a finite resource, just because you've been a good boy in the front yard doesn't justify being a bad boy in the back yard.
What about using reclaimed water?

For many years WSU has been lobbying the State legislature to fund a wastewater reclamation facility, with most of the water being used on the golf course. In 2000, this facility was estimated to cost $10 million, and if funded in 2008 would probably cost twice that amount, or significantly more the $12 million cost of the golf course and clubhouse combined, coupled with significant operating expense. Funding has been consistently denied, possibly because the legislature is wary of using taxpayer dollars to support a quasi entrepreneurial enterprise. Obviously the Palouse Ridge Gold Club, being the primary beneficiary of the facility, should itself fund a significant portion.

Buy beyond that, should the taxpayers be asked to compensate for a boondoggle [Gee, where have I heard that term before? - tf] that has no place on the Palouse? Better to abandon construction and convert the land to its original purpose: research.

Additionally, if such a facility is to be funded, there should be an agreed upon offset of less Grande Ronde water pumped. Otherwise, we are not assured of conserving our groundwater. WSU and Pullman will simply have more total water, and a second golf course can be built. We must be guaranteed that a gallon of wastewater diverted will result in at least a gallon of Grande Ronde water being left in the ground for the future.
A second golf course can be built. See , it's about the golf course, not water. All the experts agree that a wastewater reclamation facility is the way to go with water conservation. And the extra would be used to water lawns in Pullman, not build a second golf course. That's an absurd suggestion. Lawn watering is the biggest drain on the aquifer. It's a win-win. But not for the golf course-hating liberals.

Using taxpayer dollars to support a quasi entrepreneurial enterprise. Funny, the leftists never have a problem reaching into my wallet for every pie-in-the-sky social program handout you can think of, but if evil private enterprise might benefit, then they become the Club for Growth.

The flier concludes:
There is no better drinking water world wide than that from the Grande Ronde aquifer system beneath our feet. It has a superb taste [if you like iron - tf] and is uncontaminated by man. [that's why the barking moonbats will howl against any planned aquifer recharge system - tf] But the supply is finite and water levels are dropping; we should treasure it, repect it, and repect the future generations who should have the right to drink this superb water. [Therefore, we should all kill ourselves immediately so we stop using any more water - tf]

We need financial help! The appeal costs are much more than anticipated. Please consider contributing to CELP. Thank you.

The audacity. One supporter of the water summit engaged in open fundraising to sue another supporter.

They'll keep having these summmits, but it will just be more noble-sounding talk and chest thumping. Nothing is ever going to change until all these personal/political agendas and overweening egos are checked at the door.


April E. Coggins said...

Tom, I was there during most of the day, and the sky is falling UI crowd ruled the day. Unfortunately, you missed the "let's play with the graphs" that the UI "team" and Tom Lamar played on stage. Finally, someone with a little sense stood up and protested. I will remember him as the "garbage in, garbage out" guy. His challenges brought back some semblance of dignity to the meeting. It was one of those bizarre moments that you had to see to believe.

April E. Coggins said...

I just want to point out one other little thing. Tomorrow will be the two year anniversary of the Wal-Mart appeal. While liberals continue to play their violins, Pullman is starving. We need money to pay for all these aquifer recharging, reservoir building, storm water management, worm saving ideas. This is not rocket science, we need more money, not more rhetoric.