In the News

Letters to the Editor: Saltwater Smackdown

By Gary Patton, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Weekly, 09/16/2009

REPEATING a misstatement doesn't make it true. Nonetheless, continuing to say something that isn't true can be an effective political strategy, unless the person pursuing that strategy is called to account upon every repetition.

This letter is to call to account Bill Kocher, director of the City of Santa Cruz Water Department, who has continued to make misstatements about the city's desalination project in the pages of Santa Cruz Weekly.

In the Aug. 5 issue, Mr. Kocher said: "The desalination project is in no way linked to any expansion of the UC-Santa Cruz campus" ("Desal and the Public Process," Posts). This is simply not true, as was pointed out by Alan Holbert in the Aug. 26 issue. Mr. Holbert accurately quoted a settlement agreement signed by the city and UCSC. That settlement agreement says: "The Santa Cruz City Water Department intends to pursue ... a desalination plant ... The parties agree that ... Phase Two (and subsequent phases) would be implemented to accommodate future growth in system demand" ("Desal and U," Posts).

You would think that this would have been the end of Mr. Kocher's claim that the desalination plant is "in no way linked to any expansion of the UC-Santa Cruz campus." However, in the Sept. 9 issue, Mr. Kocher claims: "The proposed desalination project ... is not designed, or intended, to accommodate UCSC growth" ("The Arguments for Desal," Bullhorn).

Mr. Kocher's most recent misstatement pretends that the signed UCSC-city agreement doesn't exist. It does, and it explicitly says that the city "intends" to pursue the desalination plant to "accommodate future growth."

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