Water Security Requires Change

By Dana Newquist   |   October 25, 2018

by Ken Coates, Cori Hayman, Brian Goebel (candidates for Board of Directors, Montecito Water District) Dana Newquist, and Woody Barrett (candidates for Board of Directors, Montecito Sanitary District)

When it comes to water and the environment, voters in Montecito face a stark choice on the November ballot: Change versus the status quo. The case for change is crystal-clear: we can and must do much more to achieve water security for our community and protect the environment. The incumbents on the boards of the Montecito Water and Sanitary Districts have had a dozen years to deliver on both of these critical goals and have failed to do so.

As was true in 2014 (when the Water District implemented quotas and penalties with the full support of the incumbent now seeking re-election to the board), our water supply today is largely dependent on the weather, despite the fact that we are now in the eighth year of record drought. Not only does the incumbent still have no plan for improving our water supply (after failing for years to file a plan as required by State law), he has actively hindered progress on two critical initiatives that would increase water security for our community. 

First, his involvement in negotiations with the City of Santa Barbara regarding purchasing desalinated water has set us back years. Second, he has irresponsibly compared using recycled water to spraying lawns with Agent Orange. 

The incumbents seeking re-election to the Sanitary District Board have failed to deliver water security for our community as well. Notwithstanding their purported support for water recycling, they have done little to stop the Sanitary District from dumping 500,000 gallons of wastewater just off Butterfly Beach every day – water that could instead be safely recycled for use in landscaping. They have also failed to direct the District to treat this water more thoroughly before discharge, notwithstanding that Heal the Ocean has called upon them to do so since 2001 (and Summerland has been doing so for years). Rather than use the district’s substantial cash reserves to solve these pressing sustainability problems, the incumbents have instead approved the expenditure of $3.5 million for a new District office building.

It’s time for a change. If we want to ensure a brighter future for our community, we need strategic planners, problem solvers, collaborators, environmental stewards, and financial managers on the boards of the Water and Sanitary Districts. 

The Water Security Team is the right team at the right time. We have more than 120 years of combined experience successfully managing public and private sector enterprises through periods of change. We are proven collaborators and skilled negotiators. 

We have the right platform. We will work with a sense of urgency to build a local, diversified, and resilient water supply for Montecito and Summerland, using every tool at our disposal to harvest every available drop of water on this side of the mountains.

We are running for the right reasons. We care about water security for Montecito. Nothing more, nothing less. This election has nothing to do with cityhood, and we have no interest in privatizing water. The incumbents continue to peddle these fabrications because they cannot defend their own records. 

To bring about the change our community needs, please ignore the Sanitary and Water District incumbents listed on your ballot and vote for us instead. We cannot afford to continue repeating past mistakes.


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