News and commentary by Fred Owens in LaConner, a small town in the Skagit Valley. The story behind the name: There was once a grocery store in a quonset hut, run by Mr. Grobschmidt. Clyde, an old drunk who lived out on the river, thought that Mr. Grobschmidt looked like a frog, so he took to calling the store the "Frog Hospital." Now the quonset hut, Mr. Grobschmidt, and Clyde are all gone -- only this blog survives to carry on the Frog Hospital tradition.
I wrote an Op-Ed piece for the Santa Barbara Independent with the headline Water is Life.
The piece is about the dramatic -- triple -- increase in water rates
for local farmers. Read the piece and find out how the farmers are
The Goleta Water District, where I live
and work, is just north of Santa Barbara city. The district covers
29,000 acres and 87,000 people live here, served by 16,000 water meters
with 270 miles of pipe. We have had roughly HALF the normal rainfall in
the past four years, which is what they call a drought. And that means
people in our district -- commercial, residential and agricultural --
will be paying more money for less water. No one likes that. Everyone
will get hit, but I reserve a bit of pity for the five directors of the
These poor people on the water board
-- five dedicated citizens who took a low-paying position some years
ago in a quiet agency without the usual public clamor -- are about to
become the focus of controversy. They are the bearers of bad news. They
are compelled to introduce regulations and restrictions on water usage
and proclaim Thou Shall Not Do This and Thou Shall Not Do That.
those directors did not climb on to the board of the Water District
because they wanted to wield such power, they only hoped to be quiet
bureaucrats. Oh well.
California is singing the blues, a
tune called Brown Lawns and Dusty Cars. But don't count us out. Gleeful
East Coast media big shots are singing our swan song, saying California
is done for, but they will be disappointed, because we're going to pull
through this. We will surprise you, We will endure, We will invent, We
will adapt and We will flourish.