Here’s a fun little scenario for you: imagine you’re very thirsty, thirstier than any time you can recall. Now imagine you’re in some barren area where there’s not a drink in sight. (See? Fun!) Standing a few yards away is a 300-lb. bouncer, who looks like he could remove one of those big red spheres from in front of the local Target and go bowling with it. Imagine asking him if he happens to have anything to drink, at which point he starts angrily stomping toward you as if you asked him if his mother continued to charge his father after he married her, and if spanking was extra. He grabs your neck flesh like a briefcase handle, and tosses you like a dwarf into a cell containing nothing but a treadmill, which powers a water pump supplying the outside spigot. Fortunately for you, this walking bicep has a heart, and he offers you a deal: if you hop on the treadmill and log five miles, he’ll let you drink some of the water you’ve pumped out.
You jog wearily for what seems like an eternity, the whole time observing your quasi-personal trainer/sadist outside, using the water you’re supplying to hose down a giant pile of unused sponges and keep his Stanley Cup-size drinking glass nice & full. After one mile you hear the sound of your sweat glands slamming shut (it’s very unsettling). After three miles you experience tongue-death (fine by you, since it was starting to taste like a pencil eraser). The only thing that gets you through the final two miles is a sense of hope (that you’ll pass out any second, and the impact with the ground will be fatal).
Finally, imagine your large friend coming in and handing you that drink of water he promised, in a cup about the size of G.I. Joe’s shot glass.
Now you’re probably wondering what the point of this exercise was, besides to bastardize the word “fun.” It was to give you a sense of how California feels.
The Golden State may seem like a paradise to vacationers, but it’s really more like a 160,000 sq. foot toy being abused by the Dead End Kids. We’re lip-deep in one of the most serious droughts in state history, and as with every other spendwhore-infested government, no attention is being directed at the people responsible for the problem: politicians & bureaucrats. From top to bottom, California is run by pathetic eighth-wits who couldn’t make a sandwich if you spotted them the bread and the peanut butter, let alone manage a bone-dry landmass about to enter its wildfire season.
The governor, unsurprisingly, is a major contributor to the problem, his train-to-Utopia project having swallowed up billions of tax dollars a functional human would sooner spend on desalination plants. He’s also living under the boot of environmentalists (who only lift it when it’s time for Brown to lick it clean), their happily-bent-over-for demands including absolutely no dam construction. Right now some well-located new dams could capture the abundant supply of water that comes from the state’s annual rain and snowfall, most of which is concentrated in regions far removed from the arid central and southern lands. How abundant is this supply? Enough to thoroughly moisten as much as 200 million acres, the equivalent of over 40,000 Californias. The current destination of this mass of luscious fluid is the Pacific Ocean, which I’d argue is already pretty darn moist.
There is a purpose behind all this silliness, of course: the preservation of an endangered fish smaller than Tom Cruise’s middle finger, the “delta smelt.” To be fair, the preservation effort is showing some promise; now the smelt’s hopelessly inevitable extinction has been bumped to a slightly later date by Mother Nature. I doubt this will satisfy the state’s environmental groups, though, because even at the current pace we humans will still outlive the little bugger.
It goes beyond that. Southern California has lately been plagued by so many broken water mains, they’re thinking of putting up tourism signs marked “Welcome to SoCal, One Leaky-Ass Place to Visit.” As I write this, the most recent rupture happened last Friday in a residential area in Hollywood, the sixth one this month alone. In fact, throughout this drought Los Angeles has reigned (so to speak) unchallenged as California’s gushingest county. Last month at least six other pipes burst, in areas including Westlake, Boyle Heights, and Brentwood; five others happened in May, and the list goes on.
Keep in mind these are just the ones deemed serious enough by local media to cover; not every incident rises to the level of the twenty million-gallon behemoth that saturated UCLA last summer. Also keep in mind I didn’t research this very extensively—just a few newspaper reports and Google searches, that’s all. I could probably make a few calls and get a better idea of the overall waste caused by city politicians’ infrastructure neglect, but I remember the experience of trying to get a hold of local government pencil-pushers, and I’d rather experience the spontaneous combustion of my groin.
So, here we are watching California grow dryer and dryer, tree-humpers force us lower on the food chain than freakin’ BAIT, mayors and other municipal executives get outsmarted by century-old water pipes with the frequency of Geico commercials, countless illegal aliens enter our parched state with impunity, and countless millions of gallons of precious wetness get needlessly wasted. All this would already be sad enough to reduce Lee Marvin to tears, but wait! Us average folk gots yet another migraine ta tend to!
According to Los Angeles-based NBC4 News and the Center for Investigative Reporting, a motley group of public officials personally use so much water you’d think their properties were made of ShamWows. The top-ten offending parties are a mix of city councilmen, utility managers, and…umm…I forgot…hmm…who the heck…aha! I remember now! WATER DISTRICT BOARDMEMBERS.
The usage by these elitists, as recorded in 2012 and 2013 by the aforementioned journalists, ranged from three to ten times the typical household. Most of the hydro-heads will go unnamed, but special mention must be made of the biggest disgrace in the pack: Mike Soubirous, a city councilman in, of all places, Riverside. (I’d chuckle at the irony, but I’m busy picturing the councilman’s constituents invading his house and taking turns giving him a swirly.) From NBC4: “Soubirous knows he should cut his water use to set a good example, he told the Center for Investigative Reporting. But he has a one-acre lot with cascades of flowering shrubs and a weeping willow tree, and summer temperatures hit 100 degrees. Conservation isn’t that simple, he said. ‘Do I have to sell my house to set that example, or do I have to just abolish all my shrubs?’ Soubirous said. ‘I don’t know what to do.’”
It just so happens I know exactly what the councilman can do: go [romance] himself. This is the same guy who, after voting with his colleagues in July 2014 to limit residents’ yard-watering to every other day (among other mandatory reductions), had his sprinklers gloriously drenching his lush property all week long! That’s right, while the state was becoming dryer than James Bond’s wit, and 300,000 Riversidians were wiping themselves down with a moist towelette in lieu of showering, Counciltwerp Mike Soubirous was keeping his lawn so wet Greg Louganis could’ve used it for practice.
To his (Soubirous) credit, he eventually decided to cut back on his usage. Just like with all other humble politicians, one day it just hit him that he was wrong, so he stopped whatever task he was working on, and immediately went home to make it right. Thankfully, this happened only two months (sixty-plus waterings) after his infamous vote, and I’m sure it was just a coincidence that he had his epiphany right after a crew from NBC4 had spent seven consecutive nights filming his property.
That was two years ago, and the state’s southern counties, among them Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego where I live, remain as rain-deprived as ever. I can count on one hand the number of really good, driving rainstorms that have hit my area since my first child was born five years ago. (My personal favorite was the December, 2010 bucket-fest that pelted my truck while I was moving a pair of couches.)
Most of us Golden Staters are doing the best we can under the circumstances. We catch dishwater in small basins. We empty our kids’ bathtubs by hand. Those of us without instant water-heaters hold a jug under the kitchen faucet until it’s hot. And we dump it all into our yards, to make up for the severe reduction in yard-watering ordered by the local authorities (two mornings a week/five minutes per sprinkler head). Some of us even let our cars get dirty enough for potatoes to take root.
I don’t like neglecting my vehicles, but at least I get to spend my wash ‘n wax time on other fun pursuits, like daydreaming. I especially enjoy the one where we pack up all our stuff and move the hell out of this state. At least until the rain starts coming down…