About me

No, this page still doesn’t tell you who I am. I am still a low-level civil servant who reads reports. I still do not represent my employer on this blog, not one little bit. I still only comment on what I see in the public record, in reports, presentations and the news. I am grateful to Aquafornia  Maven’s Notebook for ceaseless work sorting and presenting information to those of us who are fascinated by California water, and for protecting my identity.

Here’s a list of the readings that have influenced me, to which I must add For the Common Good, by Daly and Cobb. It should be on all of your shelves.

On pseudonymity:

I’ve been challenged for blogging anonymously. I don’t consider myself an anonymous blogger, although I don’t condemn that either. I am pseudonymous, distinct from the other anonymice. OtPR is a stable identity, here and in the comments of other water blogs. It has been two several years now. OtPR has a reputation to uphold, one I value and protect.

I started blogging pseudonymously because I don’t want to mix my professional and blogging worlds. It turns out I love blogging pseudonymously, primarily for a reason I didn’t expect. I love that my words stand on their own. They can’t be weighted by an academic pedigree nor dismissed as the obvious thing someone of my background would say. They aren’t shaded by what I am like in person, my age or my clothes or an accent or look. They must be considered alone.

I like being in the water profession distinct from OtPR. I write about public disputes and widely known people from afar, and want to keep it that way. In person, in public meetings with influential people, I sit quietly and watch. I don’t have to say anything. I can make my thoughts known should I want to. I don’t want to meet the influential names in the field nor sit in important meetings. If I met them, I would probably like them and lose my ability to call them terrible things. We all know how important that is to me. Keeping the two separate is very grounding. When OtPR has posted some provocative piece and is getting attention, I can go to work and be reminded that blog controversy is very different from real life, where no one cares. It does get a little lonely. I have never once heard OtPR mentioned in real life (even if someone reads it, how would he know to mention that to me?), which can make blogging a bit like throwing stones into a quiet lake.

I’ll be outed one day. It is inevitable. When I am, you guys will realize that knowing OtPR will tell you more about some bureaucrat with a name than knowing my name will tell you about OtPR. I will keep blogging, I expect. I don’t think I can stop. It will be less pleasant, but if I don’t blog, I have to think all these thoughts by myself. I am always grateful that people read this blog. Writing for others, thinking in public, is one of those privileges that very quickly starts to feel like a need. Talking about water very quickly, with allusions to current events, is another rare treat. I need you for both of those and I don’t forget it.

Finally, I have gotten roundabout word that there are people out there who want to meet me. I can’t think why, but if you have some pressing reason to interact with me, you should email. It isn’t terribly mysterious. I check that email and write back.

Onthepublicrecord @ gmail.com

16 responses to “About me

  1. Danny

    Are you done blogging? Or just taking a long hiatus? Your blog has been an extremely informative source for water policy in California.

    • onthepublicrecord

      I’m not sure I am done, although I’ve turned most of my attention to an unrelated topic. I may yet come back!

  2. jaylund

    You added some nice and useful spice to a discussion dominated by aromatic and uninspired stakeholder bloviation.

  3. I am always hoping you’ll come back … I hope you are doing well.

  4. Richard

    If you have turned your attention elsewhere, are you blogging about it elsewhere? I’ve followed you through what? Maybe three blogs now. That would be scary except that I live too far away and am too much a slacker to be a stalker Hope life is good.

  5. ScottB

    I hope you are enjoying your unrelated topic. But your legions of fans still miss your blogging. Stay well!

  6. AaronF

    So what is this unrelated topic and where?

    Hope all’s well. There’s a lot of topics out there that could use your wit, voice.


  7. Phil Isenberg

    I miss the comments of self-described Vlad the Impaler, who no doubt has much to say about this recent article by Borg-Blog posters Jay Lund and Ellen Hank, http://californiawaterblog.com/2014/01/07/resistance-is-futile-inevitable-changes-to-water-management-in-california/.

    How are you?

    Phil Isenberg

  8. WaterOnTheRocks

    You are back, thank god! Oh how I waited and waited all last year. I too am a low-level bureaucrat working in state water and I really missed seeing my thoughts blogged by someone else– I am not alone! Thank you.

  9. I was born in San Diego years ago and just now i have blogged my first time on water policy.


    I found your blog through a piece done on california water policy by the atlantic monthly,I found myself nodding my head at the ideas of the many who suggest that southern california could be water independent.You will notice however on my blog post I do suggest some imports of water but that because it supports a sort of industrial policy benefiting a san diego employer
    indeed my industrial policy would support a number of employers since using recycled water in a vat network of pumped storage power projects would keep local San Diego residents employed for decades

  10. May I please ask for your email address? I would like your opinion and would like to send you some information in the form of attachments about a technology we have developed, and partially demonstrated in Washington State, that can economically transport large volumes of fresh water long distances through the oceans using solar powered waterbag drones.

  11. Thanks for all your good work. It makes me happy to know some people in the world still search for the truth.

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