Thursday, December 7, 2006
People are nicer this time of year. Except when it comes to snagging a parking spot downtown or fighting over the last Sony PlayStation 3 at Target. Or waiting in line at the post office to mail gifts and other holiday cheer.
Some people are nicer this time of year. Like, for example, the people who serve on the water board, and those who work for the water company.
“Everything we do, good and bad, affects the same group of people.”
Last week, a committee of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District met with Cal-Am VP Steve Leonard. The topic at hand: a “strategy for developing a more respectful, effective relationship.” Awww, now that’s the Christmas spirit.
So, for nearly two hours on Nov. 30, Leonard sat at a table with water board members Michelle Knight, Alvin Edwards and Kristi Markey and District General Manager David Berger.
Leonard knew what he wanted from the get-go. “If nothing else comes from it, understanding our differences,” he said. “Some we ought to fiercely maintain—you’re a regulator and we’re a regulated body—and some we ought to get rid of. Everything we do, good and bad, affects the same group of people.
“I think it’s important that our relationship is defined by us and not third parties.”
He was talking about previous water boards, as well as pesky reporters and editors who love to write big, above-the-fold headlines like “Evil Cal-Am Hates Pain-In-The-Ass Water Board!”
At the end of the day, the group settled on a few action items.
“One is to talk to each other when there’s a controversial issue before it hits the papers,” said Markey. “And two, work together on collaborative projects.”
Also, board members are going to take a field trip to see the water system in action: what it takes to move a drop of water from Carmel to Seaside.
And there will likely be a televised workshop featuring a Q&A session with Leonard, who will answer questions about everything from infrastructure and rates to “Why does the water taste so bad?”
“Water is my thing, and we have let politics get in the way for a few minutes, but then we’ve got to get back to getting it running and getting it useful,” Leonard said.
It wasn’t on the to-do list, but a caroling party would be nice, too.
|THE WEEKLY TALLY||30,907||
Amount, in pounds, of Styrofoam that Americans throw away each day, an amount roughly equal to the weight of 1.2 million baby elephants. Source: Cradle to Grave: The Life Cycle of Styrofoam, a study by Andrea Kremer, San Francisco State University; and the San Diego Zoo.