Hearst Castle superintendent placed on 30 day leave

February 24, 2014

hearst_castle_poolFollowing the filling of the 345,000 gallon Neptune pool for Lady Gaga, the state suspended Hearst Castle Superintendent Nick Franco for 30 days, castle sources said.

Less than two weeks earlier, park officials said they were draining the pool, which leaks between 3,000 to 5,000 gallons of water a day. The spring that provides water for the castle and the Hearst Ranch is diminished because of the drought and that there is not enough water to carry the castle through summer, the announcement said.

The draining was heralded by local media and castle officials as a water conservation action.

However, Lady Gaga wanted to have her photo taken in front of the famous pool and offered to pay the cost of replenishing the water. In addition, she contributed more than $275,000 to the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation.

Nevertheless, State Parks Department officials did not authorize filling of the pool, said Deputy Public Affairs Director Vicky Waters.


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If we’re in a water crisis, then how about reporting on what local hotels/motels are the biggest wastes of water?

“After upgrading its restroom fixtures with high efficiency toilets, showerheads, and faucet aerators, a San Antonio, Texas, hotel is saving 7 million gallons of water and $35,000 in water and sewer bills each year, with the added benefit of fewer maintenance calls from its 397 guest rooms.”

Probably because, as reported earlier, the Central Coast leads California in water conservation. What did the fine residents and businesses get for their efforts? Higher water rates. Year. After. Year.

It is never about water. It is always about money and power. That, I believe, is the essence of this story.


There is one truth that native Californians have always known: here in the Golden State, water is more precious than gold.

Sadly, the power brokers understand that as well.