Opinion » Letters

Cal Valley's development and lack of water


Will Powers confuses the issues in his June 15 commentary, "Land-use politics," and most of what he said is incorrect and/or misleading. Having not been there long, his mistaken views and inconsistencies are understandable. First, let's clear this up. Land-use planning for the California Valley has always been centered around suburban residential use, not agricultural zoning. The Cal Valley was once touted as the New Palm Springs, not the New Central Valley. Why? Because the developers did think the California Aqueduct was going to come through. They envisioned golf courses, clubhouses with tennis courts, and swimming pools. Debbie Reynolds and John Wayne bought property there, but the water never came, and the water that was there was scarce and much of it bad—another reason agriculture is inappropriate and few live there.

The Carrizo water basin is a stressed, ancient basin with very little recharge. Large-scale agriculture would deplete it shortly, like the uncontrolled vineyard industry did to the Paso basin. That's why the real farmers and ranchers who live there dry farm. Besides the lack of potable water, the Carrizo Plain, which Cal Valley is part of, is home to more endangered and protected species than anywhere else in the continental U.S. It is the last remaining grasslands ecosystem in California. If and when the cannabis ordinance is passed, Mr. Powers will be able to grow his pot, just as all others will, but he will be limited to the restrictions of Proposition 64 and the Compassionate Care Act and only be allowed six plants or 30 if he is a certified caregiver.

Patrick McGibney

Carrizo Plain

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