Monday, June 04, 2007

Every Word's A Fighting Word At Your Local Conservancy District

In case you missed what is perhaps the single funniest article on local politics in recent years, check out the Trib's piece on the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District election. It's kinda like the water issues in "Chinatown" combined with an Ultimate Fighting cage match. You got fisticuffs, analogies to Hitler and Castro, lawsuits aplenty and Bill Turner calling Dennis Domrzalski a "malicious yellow-dog blatherer".

Funny, funny stuff.

Now as to the issue of whether Bill Turner is Satan or Elmer Gantry or Hollis Mulwray in the MRGCD's little telenovela is an interesting one. Basically it appears Turner is a money-grubbing capitalist using water rights like the spice in Frank Herbert's "Dune". Or something like that. At the same time, Mr. Money Grubbing Capitalist appears to be drawing fire for simply pointing out things like:

In a 2002 article in Smithsonian Magazine, Turner was quoted as saying that acequia-based agriculture, the foundation of the MRGCD, was "doomed." A link to that article, along with a variety of other attacks on Turner, is posted prominently on the district's Web site.

But Turner stands by the view. The market has shifted, he says, and there's nothing wrong with that. Thousands of acres of farmland have already been turned into commercial and residential developments and people approach him every day wanting to sell their water rights, he says. Simply put, there's a lot more money in selling out than there is in farming.

"Do I think that agriculture is going to die in the Middle Rio Grande?" Turner asks. "I think it will, slowly."

Speaking as one who still spins an acequia-opening wheel every week or so, I think Turner is pretty much on target. Eventually the South Valley will become like the North Valley, with acequia water used for smaller and smaller pleasure farmettes. As Albuquerque expands South through Belen that change from "real" farms to yuppie farms like my own will pretty much cover the whole valley. That is if Mesa Del Sol hasn't figured out a way to divert all the water to itself.

At the same time, Turner appears to be one of the few humans outside of prison who has weaker people skills than my own. It's hard to tell from where I sit whether this is a good or bad thing. Maybe Turner is not merely pompously sanctimonious, and the people he's pissing off deserve to be pissed on. Or maybe he's Dr. Evil combined with Lex Luthor and that multi-arm guy in the 2nd Spiderman movie. I don't know.

What I do know is that it's pretty much impossible to read the aforementioned Tribune story without bursting out laughing. I dare you to try. I double malicious yellow-dog dare you to try.

P.S.: Elizabeth, New Jersey has the world's single highest per capital level of anger and rage. Note to those going to Newark Airport...NEVER go on to Elizabeth to fill up the gas tank on your rental. Just pay the extra $85 or whatever and show up with the tank less than full. Trust me on this one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHA!!! My family was in New York and we had to fly from Newark to Atlanta to Home. We couldn't find a gas station on the way up and after the guy said it would cost 60 dollars we almost went back for gas, but didn't. Plus we only had to pay 30 dollars. But don't tell Newark airport!