Open letter to Senator Monning,

June 12, 2014
Senator Bill Monning

Senator Bill Monning


We are firmly against the formation of an “involuntary inclusion” Paso Robles Water District of any sort.

First, it has not been demonstrated that an all-encompassing water district is either necessary or desirable. There is no incontrovertible scientific evidence that a long term basin-wide overdraft even exists. Recent studies indicate the trouble spots are local depressions centered around areas of high volume pumping by municipal purveyors and large vineyard irrigators. It is not a basin-wide problem.

Second, this particular bill, AB2453, is especially egregious because the proposed voting structure effectively disenfranchises the small parcel owners and subjects their constitutionally guaranteed overlying rights to the political whims of a small politically powerful group of people and corporations with serious economic conflicts of interest.
This proposed voting structure is not the result of a true grass-root effort. It has been amply documented that the self-appointed ProWaterEquity negotiating team acted against the express direction of its own board. In fact, a majority of the ProWaterEquity board resigned because of the rogue actions of its negotiator, Sue Luft. What remains of ProWaterEquity represents no one in the basin except itself. The “grand compromise” is a sham.

Third, to the extent that a groundwater overdraft exists in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, the small parcel owners did not create it, they are not sustaining it, and effectively curtailing their water rights will not alleviate it.

Fourth, where areas may be under stress in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, they are created by the drought, and are sustained by the large irrigators and municipal purveyors. Putting the very people who are sustaining the problem in de-jure control of the basin is not a rational solution.

Fifth, this particular bill proposes no solutions. There is “no there there.” We suspect that at its heart it is another crony capitalism tax grab by the large vineyard irrigators and municipal purveyors to socialize the costs of the failure of their risky development.

Finally, The Paso Robles Groundwater Basin sustains a very large and a very diverse economy. Putting control of its groundwater, the one vital resource that enables the economy, into the hands of any one single group is a prescription for disaster, for therein lies the true danger of this legislation. The wine industry that would be masters of the basin barely existed in the Paso Robles Basin 30 years ago. It was only through unfettered access to land and water that it grew and thrived. Where would the wine industry be today if the dominant cattle and grain operations of that period had assumed control of the basin?

The proper tool for basin-wide management is adjudication. Only adjudication will protect the basin and preserve the rights of all landowners.


Larry and Sue McGourty

Larry and Sue McGourty enjoy living and farming in Paso Robles.



Moonbat Mooning has a big gulp to swallow.

BREAKING: High Court Permanently Kills NYC’s “Big Soda” Ban



I think their second to last paragraph NAILS it!!! When I got here in ’80 it was all cattle and grain farming. There was only a handful of wineries and NOW they want to dictate to the rest of us? I don’t thinks so.

Jorge Estrada

Hey BTDT or R2D2, when I moved here in 1971 there was only a handful of new SLO houses and today SLO growth is selling Salinas River water up and down the coast. Remember if you don’t use it, you lose it. I salute ag’s attempt to keep the river flowing north.


Good letter.

I don’t necessarily agree with each point, and I have other objections to the legislation, I believe that it’s important to write clear to the point letters such as this to our electeds.

To “Myself,” it’s helpful to state in your letters that you would like a response. If you don’t they won’t.

To “Slowerfaster,” overlyers have a right to drill (it may be in the state constitution, I don’t know where…) but they don’t “own” the water underlying their property. That’s why the Big Grape & irrigated cattle feed operations build holding ponds and plant as much as they can afford. They’re getting the water while they can. That way they can write off any future reduction caused by the drought as a loss. They can also apply for crop disaster relief, and there’s additional soil conservation payments for letting portions of their land go fallow.


Interesting point about requesting a response for a communication with a legislator. I suspect that many others (like myself) have lived in places and times where such a response was automatic unless requested otherwise. I always assumed that a legislator who cared about my vote/support would respond and never thought to request it. Times have changed I guess. (Lois Capps has responded to my communications — though the responses have usually been as “weaselly” as a pessimist could expect when total agreement was not present.)


I had requested a reply both times I wrote to him, this was as he was running for office, so I expected a reply even if it was limp wristed.


Russ …”I don’t necessarily agree with each point, …”.

I feel the same, and do find some agreement in parts of the ‘letter’.

My objection is with the hackneyed cry of “constitutional rights” that is subjective at best, and can ( and often is ) proclaimed by many if not all parties in particular matters of dispute.

The McGorty’s opening line: “We are firmly against the formation of an “involuntary inclusion” Paso Robles Water District of any sort.” I find is also quite Randian in nature. The geography of where there is overdraft should compel mandatory inclusion within the boundaries of the Water District, and owners of those properties should not be able to ‘opt out’ for self conceived individual rights.

It should not matter what the history of the basin was. Dealing with conditions now and into the future is what should be important.

The way to address an over-arching problem is comprehensively. The McGorty’s ‘solution’ would be costly, time consuming, and ultimately unfair to other individuals not on the author’s radar screen.


You have Californian Constitutional rights. Groundwater is subject to the California Constitution and case law, not the US constitution. Everyone needs to know that.

Under WATER CODE SECTION 34300-34308 which governs the LAFCO process, section 34300 states a land owner may request exclusion from a district.

34300. During or prior to the hearing of the petition:

(a) Any holder of title to land may request the exclusion of any

part of his land from the proposed district.

The entire adjudication cost for the Santa Maria Basin Quiet Title filing landowners was $3million dollars over 16 years. Just the projected administration costs alone for the proposed Paso Robles MWD is expected to start at $1.2million each year. Do the math.

This is a complex issue with far reaching ramifications to the entire county. It serves no purpose to flame each other.


Thanks for the citation & numbers.


Monning is a radical leftist who is completely out of touch with the good citizens of SLO County.

Monning was gerrymandered into our district by his fellow radical leftists.

As a radical leftist, Monning has no intention of doing the will of the people.


No surprise here, goes both ways—perhaps the good conservatives of SLO County are out of touch with the rest of the Senate district?

In case you missed it, the state districts were re-drawn a couple years ago by an independent panel based on an initiative voted in by your fellow good citizens and tasked with the specific goal of eliminating gerrymandered districts. The previous districts were horribly gerrymandered.


I’ve written a couple letters to monning,never even got a response,if you think that tree hugger is going to help us I believe we’re mistaken,he’s more concerned about his soda tax bill passing, for some reason he believes that will help obese kids,what a drip.


Oh please….” constitutionally guaranteed overlying rights…” ?

Where ? Where in the US Constitution is there anything remotely related to this bromide of an ‘opinion’?

That told me that these authors are nothing more than disgruntled Teabaggers, and that’s my opinion.

Kevin Rice

Wow. You’re really on a bigoted hate crusade this week.


I’ll admit that I’m not an expert at it like some.


They are talking about the CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION, not the US Constitution.

Read up on California water rights under the California Constitution.


Groundwater is subject to the California Constitution and California case law, not the US Constitution. If you had been following this issue closely you would know that.