Former Santa Maria City Council and Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors member Toru Miyoshi landed a bombshell in the August 10th commentary section of the Santa Maria Times. It seems Cambria has a problem with Chevron Corporation pumping water from an underground area contaminated with methyl tertiary betyl ether (MTBE).
Regarding MTBE, the Environmental Protection Agency has determined that "the data support the conclusion that MTBE is a potential human carcinogen in high doses."
Cambria is concerned that this contamination threatens their municipal drinking-water wells. So Santa Maria has come to their rescue -- allowing Cambria to dump their contaminated water into the Santa Maria water treatment plant.
Miyoshi correctly asks, "Who authorized this?" Was it the same Santa Maria city manager -- Tim Ness -- who was criticized in this year's Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report as having "assumed too much power"?
Or did Ness go forward with dumping toxic waste in our water with the approval of our City Council members?
One of the responses the City Council made to the recent Grand Jury criticisms regarding their lack of oversight of Ness was their glowing reference to Santa Maria's sound financial condition. According to the City Council, this is due to Ness' superior job performance.
How much money did it take for Cambria to buy Santa Maria off?
What was the price paid by Cambria to induce Santa Maria officials to allow toxic water to be dumped into Santa Maria's previously clean water, thereby risking the health of all the city's residents?
Did our public officials trade our health in order to balance the city's budget?
And lastly, when did our public officials start drinking bottled water without warning us that we needed to be doing the same thing?
The citizens of Santa Maria deserve some answers.
One Tin Soldier