SANTA CRUZ > Coalition delivers 8,800 signatures in an effort to place desal amendment on November ballot
The Right To Vote On Desal coalition rallied in front of Santa Cruz City Hall on Tuesday, May 29, at 12:45 p.m. to deliver 8,800 signatures to city officials for processing.
The signatures were gathered in order to add a Charter Amendment to the November ballot that would guarantee the Santa Cruz community the right to make the final decision on the construction of a controversial desalination plant.
Since mid-February, volunteers have been gathering signatures from city voters in an attempt to hit the 5,400-in-180 days requirement to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. At 8,800 in 120 days, they have far exceeded requirements.
“To be held hostage to desal is not what Santa Cruz is about,” said coalition member Paul Gratz.
The mood was jubilant, with coalition members cheering and clapping as the stack of signatures was carried into City Hall.
“Desal is awful, and it’s inefficient,” said Blissa, a coalition member who goes by one name. “Regional water transfers would be much more efficient, but there’s no money in it for the city like there would be in a desal plant. We’re here in a truly grassroots way to guarantee the rights of Santa Cruz voters.”
The issue is a polarizing one for Santa Cruz, but opponents of the desal plant are varied in their reasoning.
“Some are worried about the ocean, some are worried about the climate, and others are worried about the cost of building the plant,” said coalition member Jackie Griffith.
Coalition members include Peakwater, Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives, Save the Waves Coalition, Sierra Club, Surfer’s Environmental Alliance, Surfrider Foundation, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
City officials have begun logging the signatures, a process that Gratz says “could take days, could take weeks.” If the signatures are logged and verified, then the amendment will find itself on the November ballot later this year.