Leftovers column: water crisis is boring

By Ben Baeder

Is it just me, or have we been in a water crisis my entire life? No joke, some of my earliest memories are sitting with my dad watching super-spooky “WATER CRISIS!” stories on the local news.

People in California’s water business are constantly screaming that the sky is falling – or that water or snow are not falling from it fast enough.

“Wolf! Wolf!,” they scream.

But every time I turn on the faucet, water comes out.

It’s cheap. It’s sort of clean. And it seems like there’s plenty of it.

I’m tired of hearing about water. It’s so boring.

Uh oh. My inner Andy Rooney is growing out of control and is taking over my body. My eyebrows are growing white and huge. “Stop, Rooney! Stop!”

He’s taken over. The rest of this column is by Andy Rooney from 60 Minutes.

If water agencies are so hard-up, they should stop giving their workers big pay raises.

And if they are still broke, they should raise rates.

Otherwise, I don’t care anymore.

Seriously, Azusa Light and Water employees just got a one-time payment of 3.75 percent of their pay from the city. LA’s utility workers recently got a similar deal.

Maybe they were due for a raise, but they got it when everyone else in the private sector is getting hammered.

And, before its board buckled under political pressure, the Metropolitan Water District in October was on the verge of giving employees a 23-percent raise over the next five years.

So, do water companies have ample water and lots of money, or don’t they? I can’t tell.

If water is so scarce, why is the Inland Empire full of homes and mega malls?

Why are Southern California lawns lush and green?

Why, when my kids get bored, do I make their plastic slide a little more interesting by running the hose at the top?

All the while, farms in the Central Valley are going fallow and pumps in the Sacramento River Delta – at least until last year – were grinding up fish that are the bedrock of the area’s ecosystem.

Logic and economics aren’t applied to water issues. And I think I know why.

Quick, name the directors of your water district.

See. You don’t know. In the desk that is the human mind, water districts are just clutter that gets tossed away.

It’s so boring that our elected water board officials flit away public money on booze and conferences, and we don’t even pay attention.

Someone needs to do away with the whole system.

I wish I could say right now the best way to fix everything. My first instinct is: keep water rates low for businesses, farms and most residential customers, then jack the rates up super high for big consumers.

Hit extravagant people in the pocketbook.

If you want a Ferrari of a front lawn, you’re going to have to pay for it.

Maybe the wasters can pay for all the new water infrastructure we supposedly need.

Secondly, we need to get rid of water districts. Nobody watches them, and they’re inefficient.

I would offer more solutions, but my mind got too bored.

It’s on to something more exciting: prime numbers! Three, five, seven, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23. . .