Editorial: Hypocrisy on parade
ONE OF the annoying things
local activists do is hide their real motives. Time after
time, they claim to have virtuous or altruistic reasons for
acting the way they do, even as those very actions prove that
they’re really working toward something else entirely. And
what they usually want is some kind of autocratic rule in
favor of their pet causes.
The people who gave the Monterey Peninsula its water
shortage, for example, said they were fighting for
restrictions on local water use to protect the Carmel River
and its native plants and animals. But as soon as those
draconian restrictions were in place, the activists started
doing (and are still doing) everything they could think of to
stop alternate water sources from being developed, thereby
leaving the river in its parched state and proving that their
real motive is to stop development — even the small amounts of
new development the majority of citizens believe their
The same exact thing happened with the small group demanding
that Flanders Mansion be retained in public ownership. At
first, their demand was that the mansion not be sold without a
public vote. But when the vote happened, and the citizens
decided by a sizable majority that the mansion should be
unloaded, the activists immediately disclaimed the vote and
sued to have it overturned. Now, you never hear them call for
a public vote on the future of Flanders Mansion.
The latest example of obvious hypocrisy by our local
activists was on full display this week at the Marina City
Council, as a small group trying to prevent a desal plant from
being built bent themselves into pretzels trying to come up
with reasons why even tiny, preliminary test wells for the
desal plant shouldn’t be allowed to be drilled.
Their gambit started when the first version of an EIR was
completed for the Monterey Peninsula’s desal plant. The
anti-desal activists sued to overturn that EIR because they
said it insufficiently analyzed the impacts a desal plant in
Marina might have on the Salinas Valley aquifer, which the
valley’s farmers rely on to grow their crops. The lawsuit
claimed that in-depth analysis was required to measure the
possible harm the desal plant might do to that aquifer.
At which point, the California Public Utilities Commission
agreed, and decided a series of test wells were required to
determine what harm, if any, the desal plant would do to the
Salinas Valley’s water supply.
But when preparations were made to drill test wells to
measure that impact, the anti-desal activists decided that the
test wells themselves would harm the aquifer and must be
At the Marina City Council Wednesday night, an attorney for
the activists argued that something called a “cone of
depression” would be created around the small test wells,
thereby damaging the precious Salinas aquifer. Of course, the
real cone of depression was the one that descended on the
audience as they listened to his gratuitous advocacy.
If these particular activists trying to stop the desal plant
were sincere about their claimed motive — protecting the
aquifer — they would support the test wells, because the harm
the test wells would show (at least, the harm the activists
are certain they would show) would be the surest way to stop
the desal plant from being built in Marina, now and forever.
Obviously, what they really fear is that the test wells will
show that the harm doesn’t exist, and that such a finding will
help clear the way for the desal plant. But that would also be
a victory for the activists — wouldn’t it? — since they could
then go to bed happy every night, secure in the knowledge that
their aquifer was safe. No, it wouldn’t, but only because
their true motive is something other than what they claim.
We’re not sure if these particular activists support some
other desal method, are no-growth simpletons, or are just on a
Whatever their true motive is, the Marina City Council is to
be congratulated for ignoring them, sticking to reason and
logic, and upholding its obligation to promote the public
Now, can somebody please get started drilling the test wells?