Empty promise

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On Nov. 6, Hector Martinez was elected to the South Bay Irrigation District/Sweetwater Authority Boards of Directors, District 4. It was an open seat. His campaign was a zillion yard signs promising “Low water rates.” Mr. Martinez surely knows that an organization such as SBID/Sweetwater Authority cannot charge a water rate a penny higher than can be justified by the cost of a service. So what ever the ‘water rate’ is now, it exactly represents the cost of providing the current water service.

So Mr. Martinez surely knew that to cut the water rates, you must necessarily cut some present service. What would he cut? That’s easy to guess— in all such cases in government, what gets cut first is preventitive maintenance. That’s because voters will not realize the result until much later.

Anyone who watches local news, knows that there is a water-break in the city of San Diego almost monthly. That is because the ‘water company’ is part of the city budget, and so it has to compete with recreation, fixing pot holes, raises for police and Council members, etc. So their motto has always been, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and thus the pipes eventually break and tons of potable water go flushing out to sea, businesses and residents are inconvenienced, etc.

When is the last time you noticed a water break in Chula Vista, Bonita, or National City? Pretty close to almost never. That is because the SBID/Sweetwater Authority is only interested in water, and they have practiced preventative maintenance from the git-go when they took over water operations about 1980.

But not to worry – – however much Mr. Martinez wants to cut preventive maintenance to lower water rates, the other Board members are not that stupid — it won’t get done.

Peter Watry is a resident of Chula Vista.

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