Saturday, January 31, 2009

Liberal raindrops keep falling on our head

You should get a low-flow toilet and DON’T FLUSH TWICE. You should not clean your car yourself. (Why should you when you can use five gallons to clean your car, and the local carwash can use 30 to stay in business?) You should not water your lawn in the afternoon and on odd days or even days or ANY DAYS AT ALL. You should flush less. You should constantly be thinking of recycling water. You should take shorter, cooler showers. You should take baths. You should get restrictors on faucets and shower heads. You MUST get restrictors on faucets and shower heads. You should get barrels to catch drainage from the roof. You should bail out bathwater and water your garden with it. You should. You should. You should!

Are you tired of getting should on? I sure am. I’m expecting the politically correct “conservation” cabal to bang on my door anytime and haul me to jail for throwing out that last half-cup of coffee in the morning that I never drink. I keep the blinds closed and pretend to be yawning when the act occurs.

Here’s a frightful fact the PC water police don’t want to hear. There’s plenty of rainfall in the Atlanta area to fulfill our water needs for centuries of population growth, even in “drought” years – even if every year is a drought year of just 30 inches of rain. (Ethiopians are getting some chuckles out of our definition of “drought,” by the way.)

Here are the two things necessary to ensure we have plenty of water. (1) Get the government out of the water business. Let private companies build reservoirs, buy the land for them and manage the water system. Some of that is already successfully being done in New Jersey. More on that in a bit. (2) Send environmentalists to Ethiopia for a 10-year sabbatical and extensive training in common sense. If you, dear reader, think that mussels and fish and snail darters are more important than abundant water for humans, then raise your hand.

If you raised your hand, stop reading!

Well, on second thought, keep reading, because you’re a liberal and you love to get mad, stay mad and tell everybody that you’re mad. Your raison d’etre requires conservatives in some macabre symbiotic way. There. Mad?!

If you think some boxwoods, oaks, pines and swamps (excuse me, “wetlands”) are more important that water abundance for humans, then raise … Well, you know the drill.
Conservatives need to stop cow-towing to Gang Green and the Snail-darter Squadron. Conservatives, especially in the South, have a strong base of folks who are fed up with liberal platforms that violate individual rights of humans. They’re fed up with hearing about mussels and “wetlands.” Mussels aren’t on the verge of extinction, and if they were, so what? Ironically, in a laissez-faire (means “hands off, liberals”) economy, the more scarce mussels become, the more private companies will foster them and produce them on “farms” to ensure a profit and to ensure the public is accommodated with the tasty treats at dinnertime.

America has proven the maxim that private business always outperforms the government in service to the public – and water is no different. There’s one place in America where this is proving itself quite clearly: Jersey City, N.J.

In 1996, Jersey City signed a contract with the private United Water to get water to residents much more cheaply and efficiently. The partnership was the largest public/private partnership for a municipal water operation. United Water operates the distribution system, treatment plants, reservoirs and watershed, provides billing and collection and manages customer service for the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority. Jersey City continues to own its assets while controlling water rates and capital funding. The partnership was a recipient of the National Council for Public-Private Partnership's prestigious Project Recognition Award. The two entities renewed their contract on Jan. 30, 2008.

Here’s what was accomplished by having a private company handle the operations. The city:

• Collected a record $78.4 million in annual billings in 2007 for the JCMUA, compared to $42 million collected in 1997 at the inception of the public-private partnership
• Reduced major maintenance equipment repair costs from $2.7 million in 2000 to $500,000 in 2006
• Improved meter reading from 60 percent to an average of 97 percent actual reads
• Reduced aqueduct losses because of operating efficiencies

These are magnificent results, to be sure. But Atlanta and Georgia need to go one further: Let private companies build and maintain reservoirs and operate and own all water operations.
When building reservoirs has to depend on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Endangered Species Act, local government, state government, federal government and the lawsuit shenanigans of half a dozen environmental and animal “rights” left-brainers, then can we Atlanta citizens ever expect to have enough fresh water today and next year?

If it took the Hickory Log Creek Reservoir more than seven years just to get approval to start construction in Cherokee County, can we ever expect to stop being harangued by the “should” do-gooder elite?

We saw what happened when the government was exorcised from the telecommunications, airline and parcel-delivery industries. Those industries are not perfect, as few private companies ever are, but try to remember the Soviet-style service we had in these industries just 30 years ago, before deregulation.

Yes, prices sometimes go up, but there are good reasons for those rises – and usually there are bad reasons that involve government interference with the marketplace, as happened last summer when high-sulfur gasoline was prohibited from coming to Atlanta, when Gov. Perdue threatened the gas-station owners with price gouging (thereby allowing excessive, low-cost consumption that dried up the gas pumps), and when refinery regulations nationwide came home to roost locally.

As the AJC reported in March 2008, seven reservoirs are under construction in the Atlanta area. That’s good news. But there need to be many more – and they should be run by private companies, so we don’t ever have to worry about abundant supply again or ever have to go through our day listening to the nanny-state psychological torture of the left’s “shoulds.”
If it ever happens, then conservatives can laugh at the “should” being on the other foot.


Daniel said...

Ah, David. Don't restrict "laissez-faire" to liberals only! It'd be nice if that's the only group one had to worry about though...

David Elmore said...

Hey Daniel, I agree. The other side is almost equally as bad, especially now.
By the way, I got your previous message about my not blogging for a month. I took a sabbatical to go on a long trip to Texas with Livy and to expand my second business.
Thanks for noticing! I'll take a look at The Nearby Pen soon.
Hope you're well.