Gov. Newsom – Stop Shoving Poseidon down OC’s throat!





Original Piece

It seems like Governor Gavin Newsom should be wanting all the friends he can get around now. Well, maybe it would be a good time for him to stop treating intelligent folks in Orange County like sheep that can be fleeced by his contributors and lobbyists.

Those of us who’ve been fighting off the Poseidon desalination boondoggle for about 16 years now were happy these past few months to see it get more attention statewide. This great January piece by the SacBee‘s Andrea Leon-Grossman firmly ties Gavin’s loyalty to Poseidon with his most embarrassing rich-kid gaffe – the hypocritically Covid-unsafe French Laundry dinner:

If Gov. Gavin Newsom can afford the $450 cost of having dinner at the exclusive French Laundry restaurant in Napa, he probably won’t bat an eye at increases in water bills like the ones residents in Orange County would experience due to Poseidon Water’s desalination project proposed in Huntington Beach. But for Californians on low and fixed-incomes, and those already suffering terribly from the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unnecessary hike in water bills is a cruel and undeserved burden.

The French Laundry dinner Newsom attended in November was a birthday celebration for lobbyist Jason Kinney, a partner in the Axiom Advisors lobbying firm. Poseidon has already paid Axiom Advisors more than $500,000 over the past year and a half to lobby Newsom (not to mention a $25,000 contribution to Newsom’s inauguration) and other state officials to secure approval of its boondoggle desalination project.

Poseidon, owned by an equity firm, is spending heavily to buy state approval because its troubled project does not make economic or environmental sense. It is strategically designed to suck water from the ocean and money from the pockets of ordinary Californians to further enrich this massive corporation and its international financiers..

Read the rest here, you’ll thank me…

A couple months later, the LA Times’ dour-countenanced columnist Steve Lopez picked up the theme with a devastating editorial, “This Desalination Plan Stinks All the Way from OC to Governor Newsom’s Office“:

….As Bettina Boxall reported after digging through records, Poseidon has spent $839,000 on lobbying for this project, with $575,000 of that sum going to Axiom Advisors. And who is a principal at that lobbying firm? Jason Kinney, the French Laundry birthday boy and a pal of Newsom.

Meanwhile, emails reveal that Poseidon has inserted itself into staff review of the project, so much so that it’s fair to ask if state regulators are doing their jobs or rolling over.

Five years ago, I went to Huntington Beach to meet with local foes of the project, and they made a compelling case for their opposition… So why go ahead with it?

There’s no good reason other than corporate profiteering at public expense. Poseidon saw an ocean of money, and the state has done nothing but clear the way for the company to cash in.

To move forward, Poseidon would need approval from the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. So it was inconvenient for Poseidon when some board members last summer began asking all the obvious questions, and one of them asking the toughest questions was William von Blasingame, whose term was about to expire.

So was he reappointed to a new term?  Of course not.

Von Blasingame told me he began hearing rumors that he would get dumped — the governor is responsible for appointing members to the board — and his suspicions were confirmed in October. That’s when the Newsom administration announced it would replace him with a member of the Tustin City Council who, by the way, had received campaign contributions from pro-Poseidon labor groups.

[Read the rest here, you’ll thank me.]

A coalition of groups is holding a rally against Poseidon in a few hours – Wednesday 4:30 at Centennial Park in Santa Ana.  Santa Ana is a good place to fight this disaster – it probably has the most low-income residents who will be hurt by the unnecessary water-rate hikes that this billion-and-a-half dollar HB plant will force on all of Central/North County.

And it’s about time to remind new Santa Ana Mayor Vince Sarmiento of the promise he made to Los Amigos while he was running – to agendize a Council discussion of the project, which will hopefully lead to the Council instructing Santa Ana’s new OC Water District director Nelida Mendoza to begin OPPOSING THIS.


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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.