Bouquets and Brickbats

Grover gets out front on water issue

City deserves praise for taking steps now before the shortage becomes a crisis

November 1, 2013 

The city of Grover Beach deserves an ocean of applause and a bouquet of sea grass for looking for new sources of water right now, rather than waiting until the proverbial well runs dry. With so many Central Coast communities in dire straits when it comes to water, Grover is smart to raise the issue before there’s a crisis.

We’re impressed, too, that city officials are looking at practical steps, such as importing more Lopez water — which will require increasing the capacity of the Lopez pipeline — and additional conservation measures, rather than more expensive projects such as desal.

Not that Grover has been a slouch when it comes to water conservation. In 2000, city residents were using 2,084 acre-feet; this year, that’s down to 1,770 acre-feet.

Savings were achieved through a tiered water rate system — one that penalizes big water users with higher bills — a retrofit program that encourages water-saving appliances, even a “cash for grass” program that awarded monetary incentives to residents who ripped out their lawns and replaced them with drought-tolerant plants.

Possible next steps: working with big water users to conserve more — the city already has been in talks with the Lucia Mar Unified School District — and reducing water use at city parks.

Phony doc is ethically tone-deaf

It could have been worse. Aaron A. Marquis could have passed himself off as a brain surgeon or an airline pilot or an IRS agent, instead of posing as an audiologist administering hearing tests to unsuspecting patients.

The ruse ended when the state Department of Consumer Affairs launched an investigation.

Marquis, who operated out of the Advanced Hearing Aid Center in San Luis Obispo, pleaded no contest this week to theft and insurance fraud. His wife, Anja Sedar Marquis, pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and theft.

She had billed insurance companies for audiology tests conducted by “Dr.” Marquis. She faces five years’ probation, while the phony doctor is looking at up to a year in jail and — for having a tin ear when it comes to professional ethics — a ton of tone-deaf brickbats.

Give the shelter critters a little love

We’re tossing a warm blanket and a dogwood bouquet to Animal Services shelter supervisor Andrea Liddie, who will bunk down at the county kennel on Wednesday to draw attention to the plight of homeless animals.

Andrea plans to spend the entire day, from 11 a.m. Wednesday though 11 a.m. Thursday, sharing a kennel with Bubby, one of the shelter dogs looking for a permanent home.

If you’re considering adopting a dog or cat, now is a great time to do it, as the first week of November is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week.

If you aren’t in a position to adopt an animal, you can still show your appreciation — and earn a cattail bouquet — by swinging by the shelter with a donation of fleece blankets, canned Friskies cat food or financial donations for the shelter’s Animals Requesting Friends (ARF) fund.

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