The water was brown but that was classified as a “secondary aesthetic” violation and not a priority. Yet the people of the Sativa Water District near Los Angeles reported that the brown water produced skin rashes and itches. It turns out that the Sativa Water District along with potentially 1,000 water systems are at risk of failing with little being done to solve the problems.
The managers of the Sativa Water District had abysmal recordkeeping and lackadaisical or unethical business practices that delayed needed upkeep and squandered millions of dollars.
One can’t help but draw many larger lessons from this. First, if it was a white Republican governor of minority communities trying to deregulate excessive bureaucracy it would be front page news across the country.
Second, the writers of this article and many of the public policy experts said the answer was more regulation and “oversight” which is establishment talk for more government. But it was government bureaucrats that caused the problem in the first place. Shifting the responsibility and the cost to another entity in the madhouse of California might make small changes to help Sativa but will do nothing to change the system that produced this.
That system is broken because sanitation is one of the basic duties of governance. Much like the EPA that spilled millions of gallons of waste water into a river, the water district couldn’t even provide clean water. They literally had one job! Instead they made people pay their regular water bills for the brown and near-toxic water while also paying hundreds of extra dollars a month for bottled water.
The bureaucrats across the state have unwisely spent money and seem largely unconcerned with water problems. For example, Governor Gavin Newsom has promised 130 million dollars in the budget to help local districts refurbish their water systems. But this is barely more than the money they spend on health care for illegal immigrants (98 million dollars), and it’s a tiny fraction of the estimated 30 billion spent on illegal aliens in California.
But money is only spent at the direction of the legislature. What is often far easier than addressing infrastructure before it fails is to throw out some touchy-feely rhetoric about caring for the people and then spend money on homeless peoples’ pets, high-speed rail, biking trails and other socially acceptable causes. Those things might still be good in their own right, but they are usually considered first while basic items like supplying clean water are neglected until they reach a crisis; only then is money thrown at the problem in a frantically applied expensive Band-Aid.
It’s understandable that people will blame politicians, but the true blame lies with the people that let politicians get away with this and are fooled by the rhetoric that supports all of these projects and abandons the necessary and basic tasks of governing. So the next time you read the paper or OpsLens regarding some crisis of the day, you should instead ask yourself if the important matters are being addressed with foresight and wisdom by your local representatives.