Over the Hill

On Paso Robles basin and mobile marijuana, the people were heard

Phil Dirkx
Phil Dirkx

Local government listened, and we now stand a good chance of forming a district to manage the dwindling Paso Robles groundwater basin. The state Legislature seems ready now to approve a basin management plan.

It’s based on a compromise proposed by two organizations, one representing the basin’s large landowners and the other the small ones. They originally opposed each other but then found common ground.

They were acknowledged by local government — our county supervisors — who forwarded their proposal to our state assemblyman, Katcho Achadjian. The state Legislature is now reported ready to approve a Paso Robles basin management plan derived from the original compromise.

The basin district would cover much of the North County, most of it in the district of county Supervisor Frank Mecham of Paso Robles. He wants the county to start forming the district as soon as state approval arrives. Water levels in parts of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin have dropped alarmingly.

The Paso Robles City Council also heard about the water basin worries. The council declared Tuesday that it also supports the water-basin legislation. It expressed a willingness to join with the county in a joint-powers authority for the basin.

The Paso council also listened to people Tuesday about medical marijuana. This was the second time the council had considered banning medical-marijuana delivery services. On July 15 the council deadlocked 2-2 on such a ban, with one council member absent.

On Tuesday the council voted 3-2 to file the matter without further action. So now Paso Robles won’t prohibit medical marijuana deliveries but will charge $80 a year for a business license. And the city’s 2007 ban on selling medical marijuana from fixed locations still stands.

Passing laws against medical or recreational marijuana seems as futile as passing laws against waves in the ocean. Such laws make marijuana expensive and criminal cartels rich. So the three City Council votes against the ban were steps in the right direction.

Local governments sometimes take a long time to solve problems. But they keep trying, maybe because they can’t hide from their voters.

Our county acquired the right to a large quantity of Nacimiento Lake water back in 1959. But 52 years passed before any substantial flows were piped to communities in the county.

It might have been done quicker by a federal or state department, or by a fuehrer, ayatollah or commissar. But there would surely have been more dissatisfaction.

Local government is the people’s government.