Sure it’s a parody on a hit record decades ago called Days of Wine and Roses, but pertinent to the current Paso Robles water conundrum. All this whining and wringing of hands may bring some semblance of personal comfort to homeowners and business owners, but if you think Paso Robles, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Cambria, Nipomo, or any other place in SLO County for that matter is going to punish the winegrowers for the monolithic rape and overuse of groundwater, like my mother used to say, “You’ve got another think coming.”
It isn’t going to happen. Not now, not soon. So who is to blame? Well, just take a trip down the 101 Highway from Paso to Buellton; unless you have terribly bad eyesight, you’ll see the fields on both sides are inundated with wine vines, reminiscent of ants at a lakeside picnic, as far as the eye can see. Back then, I don’t recall any landowner “bitching” about the rainbow pot of golf they discovered, or the lack of water. For them, it was like finding money in the street: cash and carry!
Yet now it has all come home to roost, and the friendly smiles have turned to frowns and finger pointing directed at the wine growers. What’s next? Violence in the street and parades touting, “We want our water, and we want it now!” maybe? Yet if any homeowner or business owner finally says “to hell with it” and sticks a for-sale sign on his or her property, who do you think will buy a home or business with no water access?
No, my friends, you dug the hole yourself by allowing the growers to plant those “greedy seeds” years ago, and now “your” water belongs to the wine fields, wine-grower owners, and the workers who tend the vines. In 2014, they are holding four aces; all you property owners have is a piddly-ass pair of fives.
-- Tony Evans - San Luis Obispo