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Thirsty bird.With Gov. Brown ordering across-the-board reductions in water usage, the Partisan has a few suggestions, some entirely serious.

First, no one should even think about making signs proclaiming their dedication to conservation or sending out mailers touting their efforts. It takes water to make signs and water to make envelopes and glossy paper. Let’s all just assume that you and your business are doing your part. Thank you.

Farmers should be barred from putting new fields into production. They say they can’t water what they’ve got anyway.

It takes a gallon of water to produce one almond, yet California growers are planting almonds as fast as they can. That will change once the almond boycott gears up.

Many of the houses in Pebble Beach, Carmel and Pacific Grove are weekenders owned by people in Texas or wherever. Even if it takes a new kind of border patrol, make it clear to them they’re not welcome for the duration.

Members of athletic teams should be limited to one-minute showers after practice or games. Football players who have to be forced to take showers at home are known for trying to use every drop of hot water in the locker rooms.

Cal Am should be fined for every ounce of water that escapes from its pipes, and the fines should be steeply tiered like they are for homeowners. Can’t account for 10,000 gallons, Cal Am? That will be $26 million.

Make everyone’s water bill a public record.

People who use too much water get socked with big bills. How about free water for those who use very little, or prizes for those who cut back the most?

Tell the Monterey Downs developers that if they come up with a plan to use the horses to haul water tanks in from back east, we’ll consider letting them put in the trails and maybe the tennis center but that’s all.

Rose bushes and rhodendrons, gone. Pretty, yes, but they’re water hogs.

Hose down your sidewalk, go to jail.

Some of the water that is flushed into septic tanks eventually seeps into the groundwater but much is lost. To foster recycling and protect streams and beaches, sewers need to be installed in the many parts of California still on septic systems.

If you’re going to take a bath, and you probably should, don’t let the cold water run down the drain while you wait for the hot. Put the plug in. The bath will get hot enough anyway.

If there are still places in California without water meters, shut off their water entirely.

Avoid the need to wash dishes. Do what most guys do when they’re alone and just eat over the sink.

If you’re planning to paint your house, use oil-based paint so you don’t need water to clean up.

Finally, as a reward to those of you foolish enough to have read this far, a water-related joke:

Two guys were hired to paint a church, but the job didn’t pay well and they realized early on that they couldn’t afford enough paint. So they bought what they could and thinned it with water. As they proceeded, they found that they had to keep adding water and by the time they reached the steeple, the paint was no longer completely covering the old coat. Suddenly dark clouds gathered, rain poured down, washing much of the paint away, and a voice boomed from heaven, “Repaint, you thinners! Repaint and thin no more!”


LARRY PARSONS: Don’t be a dope. Get out there and vote


'Vote for me' political signIn November 1970, I was a 19-year-old college sophomore still ineligible to vote because you had to be 21 back then to vote or to drink legally. I figured it had to do with being able to take a couple stiff shots after going to the polls because of the horrifying experience.

It wasn’t until the next year that the 26th Amendment giving 18-year-olds the right to vote was added to the Constitution. The process took three months and eight days, making the lowered-voting-age amendment the quickest amendment ever ratified.

I figured the haste had a lot to do with the fact 18-year-old men could be drafted into the Army and become haunted war veterans without getting a chance to vote for the people who decide where and when to send young men and women to war.

To this day, I can’t understand why citizens eligible to vote in our democratic elections choose not to exercise their right.

Having covered scads of elections, I witnessed voter turnouts ranging from the embarrassing (18 percent) to the historic (Hip, Hip Hooray, a whole 78 percent!!!) I can’t recall any election that came within a pixel’s width of 90 percent. And those are turnout figures of registered voters, not of everyone over 18 who could vote if they had registered.

I really can’t understand why people who take the time to register to vote don’t vote. They must fill out the form feeling extreme peer pressure, thinking somehow it will get them laid, or mistakenly believing it makes them eligible for a Powerball lottery with a $100 million jackpot.

During a stint as an editorial writer, I wrote a few of those get-out-and-vote-because-many-people-died-for-this-right editorials. I may as well have written a piece trying to convince today’s Tea Party conservatives the population isn’t cleadivided between “makers” and “moochers.”

The reasons I’ve heard for not voting range from the reasonable (Everyone in the house came down with a vicious stomach flu) to the fatuous (I was driving to my polling place and my car was swallowed by a giant sinkhole. I crawled out of the wreckage and ran the rest of the way, but I got there just after the polls closed. Darn!)

Then there are the half-wits driving around with bumper stickers that say, “Don’t blame me. I didn’t vote.” That makes me want to say, “Hey, dolt, no matter what you think from watching FOX News or MSNBC, this is America! We share the blame equally.”

There is a gubernatorial election next month. They give me the chance to use my favorite word in my political lexicon — gubernatorial. Why? Because the first two syllables are pronounced “goober,” and I’ve always been a pushover for onomatopoeia.

Granted, the statewide races at the top of the ticket — led by the gubernatorial (ahh!) contest between the timeless Jerry Brown and temporarily homeless Neel Tushar Kashkari (last time I look up that spelling) — aren’t going to set anyone’s hair on fire.

But there are a few interesting and important state races and state ballot measures, and Monterey County voters have a platter of political delicacies to dine upon.

There is a countywide sheriff’s race. One of the prime duties of the sheriff is to run the county jail in a humane, orderly and secure manner. There isn’t a more important job in all of public administration. Picking the right sheriff is an awesome responsibility.

There are city council races and local tax and school bond measures galore. There are elections for airport, harbor, hospital, park and water district directors.

And North County voters have a choice for county supervisor between the darling of the political powers-that-be and one of the most energetic gadflies ever to get a cowboy hat seemingly stuck to his head.

If these weighty decisions don’t get your juices excited about voting, I figure you are dead, or really don’t care that much about citizenship.

I am not in favor of adopting mandatory voting because that’s authoritarian. And if there is a freedom that Americans cherish, it is the freedom not to participate — to play all dumb or hipper-than-thou.

If possible, I would favor warning people to vote or all the members of U2 will show up at their front door and play every song from their crummy new album until all eligible voters in the household produced a “I’ve voted” stickers. I figure that would only be fair.

Getting back to my original point. By November 1972, I was a 21-year-old carpenter’s apprentice. I couldn’t wait to vote that fall.

President Richard Nixon had campaigned four years earlier, saying he had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War. In 1972, that plan was still a big secret, and Nixon, meanwhile, had secretly expanded the war in Southeast Asia to carpet bomb parts of Cambodia.

I eagerly cast my vote for decorated World War II bomber pilot and Democrat George McGovern. Big loss, of course, but the paranoia and skullduggery the ’72 campaign instilled in Nixon led to his demise two years later.

Man was I hooked on voting. It makes you free.


mans hand hiding ace in the sleeveHere’s the Monterey Herald’s recommendation on Proposition 48 on the November ballot, in its entirety.

“This measure is merely a ratification of an agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and the North Fork Indian tribe allowing it to acquire land 38 miles away from its reservation and build a casino and hotel. Also, the agreement prohibits another tribe, the Wiyot tribe, from building a casino but allows it to share in the profits from North Fork casino’s profits.”

It’s almost, kind of, sort of true, but as much as I appreciate brevity, a little more information is required to make it actually, all the way true. (The Herald’s parent company recently required one of its papers in Pennsylvania to go without power for a few hours on a recent afternoon in order to save money. Perhaps the company is now trying to reduce its ink expenditures.)

Prop. 48 is not “merely a ratification of an agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and the North Fork Indian tribe allowing it to acquire land 38 miles away from its reservation and build a casino and hotel.” It actually would ratify a highly significant shift in California policy on where tribes can build casinos. Up to now, the government allowed Indian casinos to be built only on land owned by recognized tribes. Prop. 48 would put the public’s stamp of approval on new precedent, which would enable tribes or casino operators working with tribes to buy land just about anywhere in the state for gaming purposes.

Proponents say the new rules would create new economic opportunities for tribes that for one reason or another do not possess land suitable for casinos. The North Fork tribe has been mired in poverty for decades and has been left out of the gaming bonanza that has enriched some tribal operators. Even if it did own potential casino property, the tribe is centered in the sparsely populated Sierra foothills where a new casino would have to compete with other well-established tribal casinos in the area. The tribe’s agreement with the governor would enable it to set up shop along heavily traveled Highway 99 near Madera on the San Joaquin Valley floor.

Opponents argue on the other hand that ratifying Prop. 48 would essentially legalize casino gaming everywhere in the state. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I have my own opinion but it’s up to the voters to decide and, to me, it is an exceptionally important public policy question. I don’t think it is a good idea to discourage voters from paying attention by dismissing it as “merely” the ratification of an existing agreement. In reality, Prop. 48 “merely” asks the voters to put their stamp of approval on a precedent-setting arrangement worked out between tribes and politicians who have happily accepted huge campaign contributions from tribal interests.

For what it’s worth, the Herald recommends a yes vote.