- Around here, the existing order of things is to shit on the poor.
- When there are fewer resources, rich people at the top naturally keep what they have, which forces us middlemen to shit on the poor even more.
- Why, oh environmentalists, are you forcing us to shit on the poor even more [by restricting access to resources]? I thought you liked the poor, you liberal hypocrites.
The sucker’s response is to try to engage the third point. The real dispute is properly in the first or second point, invoking a different world, one that school superintendents and county supervisors should have the intellectual capacity and imagination to create. In that world, school superintendents or county supervisors could throw the weight of their elected offices into grant applications to the State Board’s water quality grants. It isn’t like the rich residents of Cantua Creek are inherently opposed to receiving government money. Or perhaps the irrigated farmland of Stanislaus and Merced shouldn’t be the fixed constraint, forcing the brunt of the groundwater loss onto poor schoolchildren. Given that less water and a poorer society is our future, now is a good time for local elected officials to practice finding ways to distribute the predictable shortfalls that don’t fall on the poor.
Note: Do watch County Supervisor Mendes shouting at citizens in a public county supervisors’ meeting, if you will. Of the two primary participants, one is emotionally uncontrolled, shouting at more vulnerable people based on abstract political beliefs. The other is calmly referring to a study, trying to empathize, and sticking to the direct facts of the situation. It is a shame the unhinged one is the one with power. I’d love to see that switched.
MORE NOTE: It took me a couple hours after writing the first draft to realize that Supervisor Mendes’ shouldn’t be invoking this argument in the first place. He is livid, shouting at Ms. Jagannath because he has wrongly connected Cantua City and El Porvenir’s water problems to Westlands WD’s supply limitations. If I understood the news story correctly, Cantua City and El Porvenir have enough water. They pay $110/month for it, although it is too polluted to drink or cook with. What they don’t have and can’t afford is water treatment. Their resource restriction is ‘additional money to pay for water treatment’, not water itself.
To recap, Supervisor Mendes is sufficiently enraged by a different political matter that he:
- Isn’t paying attention to which issue is in front of him;
- Evidently doesn’t know of the existing study addressing the water treatment options of Cantua City and El Porvenir. Was that done by his county’s own public works department? He doesn’t know or care.
- Lost all professional demeanor and shouted at the constituents before him, including personal abuse, on camera.
Small wonder he is too ashamed to watch the footage of the meeting he chaired. How terrible that his constituents know they risk being treated this way when they bring their issues to him.