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From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Mon Oct 3 2011Invitation-Only Meeting Held to Promote a Desalination Plant in Santa Cruz
Mon Oct 3 2011Private Meeting at Museum of Art and History for Building Santa Cruz Desalination Facility
Alex Darocy writes: Public officials from the past and present filed into the Museum of Art and History Monday night [September 19] as Mike Rotkin and Cynthia Mathews, describing themselves as part of "the Sustainable Water Coalition," hosted a private, invite-only informational meeting in support of the proposed desalination plant project. The desal project, which so far has cost $6 million dollars to be studied, has been aggressively promoted by officials, and this private meeting has brought up issues of governmental transparency. This meeting punctuates a new era of suspicion concerning local politicians: during the planning of the desal project there have been conflicts of interest, including the selection of the URS Corporation to author the EIR [Environmental Impact Report], as well as recent ethics violations on the part of city officials.
Mike Rotkin was nowhere to be seen inside, and it was unclear if any of those at the meeting were also members of the "Sustainable Water Coalition." When questioned through email, Rotkin and Mathews have so far not disclosed who has funded the group (and paid for renting the museum) and they have not disclosed the names of any of the other members of the coalition, or if there are even any other members at all. At times, the meeting had the feel of a private club filled with public officials, and clearly a group of them there had politically bonded over the issue and were using the event to further those connections.
Private Desal Meeting - Report, Photos, Background | City of Santa Cruz Consultant Verifies Decline in Drought Risk | October 3: Water Commission Meeting