To quote Robin Williams from “Good Morning Vietnam”: “How hot is it out there? It’s hot. Damn hot. Hot as the inside of my shorts. I could cook things in it. Do a little crotchpot cooking! … Fool, I told you it was hot! Were you born on the sun? It’s damn hot!”
With apologies, I’ve used that quote at least three times over these past 18 years of writing Signal columns. And each time, that quote seems to ring truer and truer. It’s damn hot and not getting cooler anytime soon.
Our overheated weather exacerbates our extensive California drought, and between the heat, the receding snowpack, dropping groundwater, and all the other alarming changes around, we’re seeing California community after community turning down or even shutting off the tap on outdoor watering and in some places, even restricting indoor water usage.
This is not the way any of us wants to live. Truly. We don’t want these water problems.
Red/Blue/Purple/All the colors of the rainbow – none of us wants our community to dry to a crisp, our yards and our parks and streetscapes turned to a hellscape of dead grass covered with dead leaves. This is not the California Dream, nor is it why we moved to Santa Clarita, one of the most landscape-conscious communities in California. Indeed, our lovely Santa Clarita Valley is a garden and park paradise to be treasured and preserved.
Yet all of this is at risk with continued drought and higher and higher temperatures unless we take productive, pragmatic action to address the dependability of continued water delivery.
And this is where you and I come in. Yup, us voters.
There’s a very important election coming up in November. And yet, while many are focused on our Congressional Battle Royale, a more immediately important race is on that ballot, and that is for our SCV Water Agency board members. Currently, there are 12 board members, but these are being consolidated to nine. Some current members will remain, some will go. The remaining nine will determine the future decisions and direction of water delivery in our valley. Think “ample water or continuing reductions and restrictions.” What do you want?
Let’s be clear: Your vote Nov. 8 for the SCV Water board will directly decide what kind of water policy our valley will either enjoy… or suffer. And this is no overstatement. Some candidates would use, and have used, their water board position to promote their personal political agendas through what is essentially water delivery blackmail. Others see their positions as a sacred responsibility to the SCV public to always guarantee sufficient water to all residents to meet all climate challenges.
Right now, almost all of us would vote for “continued full water availability.” Now is no time for reduced water delivery to be used as a cudgel to bash political opponents or promote fringe “woke” environmentalism. Our trees and greenery need water as much as we do. Our lifestyle largely depends on water availability.
We need candidates and water board members dedicated to protecting, sustaining, and enhancing water availability to all living in the SCV — and indeed, our entire state. We need pragmatic people who are professional water managers. Folks who know how to get things done and have proven their commitment to the excellent water service we’ve long enjoyed in the SCV.
Water board leadership and water delivery shouldn’t be a means to political power. Water shouldn’t be political at all. Rather, our elected water board members should be singularly committed to the upkeep and buildout of whatever systems and contracts are required to keep SCV water-sufficient forever.
It’s doable, despite this drought and despite our rising temperatures. Candidate and present board member Maria Gutzeit explains, “Scientists and engineers know we have sufficient water in California. What’s needed is the determination and guts to push through the engineering and building of solutions and systems to ensure continued dependable water delivery to all Californians.”
Gutzeit knows. A chemical engineer by education and environmental consultant by profession, she’s been on SCV water boards for 17 years. Few, if any, have her unique pragmatic qualifications to get things done and to protect our interests. To hear Gutzeit say it:
“The singular mission of water board leaders is to ensure the continued, guaranteed, dependable flow of clean, necessary and abundant water to all SCV residents. To all of us.
“It’s not the water board’s job to decide who gets water and who does not. Or what gets built or what does not. That’s the job of city planners and our City Council.”
Water shouldn’t be politics. Rather, water delivery is about our common quality of life.
I’ve known Maria Gutzeit for 25 years. Above all, she’s pragmatic, solutions-driven, intelligent, focused, has built an incredible family, and is passionate about our local quality of life.
If you want clean water at affordable prices to continue flowing through your tap, you’d be wise to check Maria Gutzeit’s name when voting this coming election. Her district is on the west side of town. There’re two other districts on the ballot also. Be sure you vote for folks committed to continued full water supply to all the SCV. Your vote matters so much to your lifestyle, the health of our landscapes, and even the well-being of all the little creatures who also inhabit our beautiful community.
Vote for the folks with guts and smarts who are committed to getting things done. On the west side, that person is Maria Gutzeit, 100% completely proven by her experience and actions on our behalf.
Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.