Was the Diablo desal an election scam?
July 15, 2016
OPINION by DEBBIE PETERSON
About the time that 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill indicated he would be running for a third term, he and PG&E staff from the Diablo nuclear power plant collaborated over lunch at his home to sell desalinated water to South County. On August 28, 2015, under threat of an emergency, the board of supervisors approved $300,000 from Flood Control Reserves to fund a feasibility study of the details in the Diablo proposal.
While he was advocating for large sums for the South County feasibility study, Hill was also demanding that the Paso Robles Basin be cut out of the Flood Control District management and budget and made part of a special district supported by his donors, the Resnicks of recent Justin Vineyard oak desecration fame.
On March 22, based on the feasibility study and promises from PG&E that desal would continue even if the plant shut down, Hill sold the board on allocating $900,000 from the Flood Control District to explore doing a deal with Diablo.
Hill then touted, as one of his greatest accomplishments, his ability to bring more water to South County through his relationship with PG&E.
Although they must have known for weeks or months, PG&E waited until after Adam Hill got through the June 7 primary election to announce the Diablo nuclear plant would be shutting down in 2025 and that PG&E would be breaking its promise to continue with the desal project.
Just days after the announcement, an Adam Hill insider told me what many had long suspected: the Diablo desal deal was never planned to happen, and never anything more than an election scam.
Adam Hill and PG&E not only conned their community out of nearly $1.5 million, but diverted valuable staff intellect and time from the very critical solutions their customers and constituents so desperately need. They effectively hijacked our water, both North and South County, during 18 months of critical shortages to further their own agendas. And while our water supplies dwindled, our electricity company and elected representative stole from us the very resources we needed to solve our problem.
Debbie Peterson is the former mayor of Grover Beach.