Paso’s little water war has big implications

September 25, 2010

Nacimiento spillway

A water war with historical precedent rages today in Paso Robles and has sparked a constitutional confrontation. The tsunami threatened by the conflict’s potential outcome has become a source of great concern for regional water planners.

“Paso’s Withering Water War” is the newest offering of The 15-minute mini-documentary explores the deep divide among residents and city officials in the North County city, who disagree on how to pay a huge financial obligation placed on city taxpayers’ backs pending completion of the Nacimiento Water Project.

Who’s going to win? Big developers linked arm-in-arm with big vineyard owners? Or city homeowners? Watch Daniel Blackburn’s latest video at

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Where else have we seen a huge infrastructure project tried without a 218 vote and supported with fees?

Paso meet Los Osos.

Yeah, that’s what the protest was over in part, in Los Osos, that pesky 218.

We now have liens for $25,000 against our homes instead, plus a bankrupt CSD we’ll get to bail out, and a wastewater plant we’ll probably not gain control of for years, if ever. Was that a good choice in your opinion?

Be careful what you protest. The result might come back to bite you in unexpected ways.

All good points, but take another look from outside, Why did the recall succeed?

Was it the unfounded promises of the protesters or was it the political ineptness of the sitting board?

I lived there at that time, never once did a CSD board member come to my house.

The election was decided by less than fifty voters.

I think it was a combination of the two – the protesters promised a cheaper plan. And I do agree. The sitting board made mistakes. There was a psychological element to the protesters that the sitting board did not understand at all, nor respond to in any effective way. It is too bad that personalities determined the outcome with such profound and awful consequences.

I’m not sure what a CSD board member would do at one’s house though – ? You mean campaign for their side – like the protesters did?

I blame the initiative process too. Measure B was illegal – why were we even allowed to vote on that?

Some of those vineyard owners ARE big developers. They just like to hide that fact. I know of several.

It sounds like you are attempting to make a negative correlation. Are big developers still the pariah?

I am not attempting, I am simply stating fact: there are several big developers in our county who are also owners of vineyards. They hide this for their own agenda.