If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
That was the tune carried by the San Luis Obispo County supervisors on May 13 as they placed another piece in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin puzzle, approving a list of 26 appointees to the new Paso Robles Groundwater Advisory Committee. The committee, which will have its first meeting on May 22 at the Paso Robles City Hall, is a version 2.0 of sorts, with additional seats and slight alterations made to what was originally a blue ribbon committee.
When the proposed list first came up on April 8, Supervisor Debbie Arnold expressed qualms that certain stakeholders weren’t adequately represented. Specifically, Arnold wanted more representation from rural areas to balance out what she said was a list heavy in agencies and the bigger players among the wine business. Supervisors agreed to add two additional representatives—one each appointed by Arnold and Supervisor Frank Mecham, whose districts encompass the basin—but didn’t go for two more members Arnold lobbied for to represent the Creston Advisory Body and the Ground Squirrel Hollow Community Service District north of Creston, both in her district.
“The folks that are falling through the cracks are the overliers in the thousands that have no one to express their concerns,” Arnold said.
Courtney Howard, water resources engineer in the public works department, told New Times that the breadth of geographical areas over the basin was considered in the process of picking at-large members and representatives for other seats. Two committee members hail from Creston, another not far from Ground Squirrel Hollow.
This was the latest episode of jockeying among stakeholders as new groups and boards are formed to carry the community through the difficult task of solving the adverse affects of heavy demand and severe drought. Contentions have also been raised over a proposed water district, where sharp disagreements have been aired over voting structures and whether the body will be necessary and beneficial.
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay