"Balance For A Self Sustaining Community"
In 1995-6 when I ran for this office the first time, I used the phrase "Balance for a self-sustaining community" and use it now again to describe a vision of the community that I would like to see us establish here for ourselves. It is a community that is able to equitably and to responsibly manage its human, natural, and economic resources.
This is accomplished in a manner which successfully balances the interests and maintains the robustness of these resources, rather than one which is willing to accept their decline. It is a sustainably managed, livable community that renews itself through a primarily locally based economy supported by fair living wage, gender equitable, bias/harassment free jobs.
To achieve this goal, we need to have and to implement a vision of a more diversified and improved economic, social, and environmental model for our county and region. As is readily apparent to those of us who have lived here for a period of time, our social and natural systems are being overburdened and are failing.
This failure manifests itself most obviously in our clogged schools, roads, courts/jails, housing (etc.) and more subtly in our natural systems. Our community and region, which has long been almost entirely economically dependent on the engines of agriculture and tourism, can no longer afford the social and environmental costs of the level and kind of activity, particularly in agribusiness, that has developed.
Our current economic and social model of our community is not capable of being sustained. We are far exceeding and living way beyond the means of our community and region to support us. We must, as a community, become aware of the serious and ruinous flaws in the way we are conducting "business" here, and reevaluate and change our practices and model.
Nowhere is this more obvious and critical than in our planning and use of our water supply. Particularly this resource, and its health and overwhelming importance to our region, has been seriously neglected for too long.
Here in our region, our precious independent ample ground and surface waters, coupled with our remarkable lands and climate, create in our region the foundation of our unique potential to be the global example of sustainability realized. These must be properly managed and be brought into balance. We have only been reactive to this long term and serious abuse.
A long term, proactive, and strategic vision and remodeling is required. Since agriculture uses over 75% of our 100% current countywide water overdraft, our vision must include agriculture's diminished use.
Our new vision must additionally be less water, chemical, and migrant labor use intensive dependent. Agricultural revenue production will and must lessen. However, compensatory and replacement revenue production and good jobs will be provided to our community by the new and third economic engine of "intellectual property development" which we can now see growing here. This will be our salvation.
A new kind of migrant laborer is here in our community, and there will be more of them coming. However, instead of packing berries in a carton and living twenty five in a basement in Watsonville, this new migrant is packing electrons on a CRT and creating the potential of hundreds of millions of dollars of new green and clean revenue to replace the diminished ag revenue.
The growth and development of our educational, research, and other resources like UCSC, CSU, Cabrillo College, Long Marine Lab, Fort Ord Reuse, MBARI (etc.) must be nurtured to provide the facilities and development for these new migrants and their economic activities.
A company like NETMIND, a local office tenant of mine which made the cover of the Sentinel last week, is a perfect example of this new activity. NETMIND, which has its engineering offices here, develops "change detection technology" and provides companies like eBay with it.
Although, you've probably never heard this term before, apparently they must be doing something which is somewhat significant in that NETMIND is being acquired by PUMA in an acquisition currently valued at approximately $600 million. Not only does NETMIND use a minimal amount of local water for their operations, I have even seen numerous incidents of imported water (i.e. Calistoga's and Crystal Geyser's) being consumed by NETMIND'S employees!
Seriously, this is the new type of economic activity we must diversify into to bring our community into a more reasonable balance and assure our continued prosperity. A good and wise investor always has a diversified portfolio. Our community is no different. Let's wise up here.
When the rain is scarce (like now?), and ag takes a hit, let's have something solid and vital to fall back on. Let's try living within our local social and environmental means. We in this region, perhaps alone in the world, can be water and resource self sufficient and environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable in a vibrant and diversified community. This is a truly unique and incredible blessing. We cannot continue to allow it to be wasted away.
I believe that we can actually realize this vision here. With our shared vision and your participation, counsel, and support, this is exactly what we will undertake to do.
Thanks for your support and suggestions.
Please feel free to call me anytime (en ingles o espanol) with your opinions and concerns, your suggestions, and, most especially, your offers of assistance! I need your interest, your vote, and then your help and participation. Thank you for these.
Only together will we accomplish this!
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