Skeptical about the water bottling ordinance

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What, me controvershulz?
Creative Commons License photo credit: Qiao-Da-Ye賽門譙大爺

I’m skeptical about Kevin McCarty’s plan to draft an emergency ordinance to require special permits for water bottlers. My views pretty much jive with what the Sac Bee editorialized today. I think most people should be wary of government being able to change the rules and apply them retroactively. And I am wary of government changing the rules every time somebody follows the rules and it leads to an outcome they don’t like. When you do that, it should come with an acknowledgment of failure on the part of the government. Instead, this Nestle deal is spun by folks opposing it, including McCarty, as an attack on our resources by the evil Swiss. (I always knew that neutrality thing was a smokescreen.)

Per capita water use in Sacramento is 280 gallons daily, which is high compared to the rest of California. If the Nestle plant uses 80 million gallons annually, that would be about the equivalent of 300 homes. And by the way it is would be much less than the annual consumption of Land Park (the park, not the neighborhood), which is over 110 million gallons.

How about an emergency ordinance requiring the City to conserve? How about requiring the City to water park lawns on a schedule like the rest of us? How about preventing the City from approving new residential build-outs, creating bigger draw on our precious water, in this downward sloping housing market?

Another thing I keep hearing is that Nestle will have a “unlimited access” to the water supply. Unless I’m mistaken, don’t residential water users in Sacramento have unlimited access to the water as well? As long as I don’t waste it on runoff, is there any reason I can’t use as much water as my pipes can handle? In fact, since I pay a flat rate for water, I am probably much more likely to waste it than an industrial user who must pay the meter. That being said, the prices industrial users like Nestle are charged for water do seem drastically low. And again, if that needs to be changed, then it should be acknowledge that this is a failure on the part of government to take care of this resource.

I am however not necessarily convinced that water bottling companies are not evil, in the sense that the industry preys on our predilection for convenience and our stupid bodies’ constant need for water. Stupid human cells! Be more better.

We’ll see tonight whether the City Council wants to pursue this further. Will it be the most controversial local government discussion about water in Sacramento’s history? Probably not. What do you think? Anybody planning on attending/watching the meeting?

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Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

6 thoughts on “Skeptical about the water bottling ordinance”

  1. This is all sour grapes on the part of The City. Obviously, we should be more conscionable stewards of our natural resources, but that isn’t what people are mad about. We are giving our water away for pennies to a private firm that is going to make a killing on the deal. Other cities across the nation have entered into similar agreements with bottling firms but are making far more money on their deals because they have intelligent planners running their operations. Clearly, in hindsight, this is a screw-up, but what can we do? Should we be getting into the habit of reneging on our business obligations because the people who made the deal were fools? Perhaps we shouldn’t be electing these fools to begin with (cough cough, KJ).

    As usual, we have waited too long to open our eyes and look into the mirror and exclaim “Aha! I recognize the fool!”

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    1. Sour grapes is a great way to put it. If the price Nestle would be paying for the water is too low, that’s the City’s fault, not Nestle’s.

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  2. Actually, this is Exhibit A for having a mayor that’s accountable. The project went thru the city bureaucracy without a public hearing.

    But changing the rules after work has started on a project employing a bunch of folks? Pure politics by Councilmember McCarty. Thanks for calling him out on it.

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  3. CoolDMZ,

    You should know better than this. Healthy skepticism, especially if based on actual data, will get you nowhere in this town.

    For instance, Kevin McCarty is grandstanding against an entity he thinks everybody can agree to hate: a faceless evil multinational corporation, data notwithstanding. Ultimately the bottling issue will die on the vine, and later Kevin will receive a nice campaign donation for his Assembly bid from a bottled water trade group.

    And guys like Steve Maviglio will never miss a chance to politicize the issue towards the strong mayor initiative. Newsflash Steve; since day one the mayor has had the ability to put the issue of water bottling rules and rates before the city council. True leaders plan ahead, while political hacks react to the headline of the day.

    Instead of the usual “strong mayor” rhetoric, how about you ask KJ to just come out and state that this really is a big fuss about nothing and that McCarty is a grandstanding publicity hound representing a very vocal super-minority? Or admit that the mayors office failed to recognize and bring before city council a very important topic affecting all Sacramentans.

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