A-a-h, the night before the election, and the letters to the editor at the Santa Maria Times just keep coming.
First there's the letter on November 6, 2006, from Nancy Orchard, a Santa Maria property owner who lives in Solvang. Even from that distance, she can see that up for city council re-election Marty Mariscal isn't representing the Santa Maria citizens well when he allows the city water bills to continue to climb.
Orchard details the history of state water in Santa Maria. It seems that since the early 1990s, the City of Santa Maria has raised rates annually to pay for anticipated state water. Now that state water is being piped into the city, the city has turned around and is selling water to other cities in the Central Coast -- for a profit.
Orchard states that everyone in Santa Maria has already financed the state water. If the city is going to make money on something the citizens have already purchased with their hard-earned dollars, why aren't the citizens being reimbursed for their investment in this profit-making venture?
Orchard critizes Marty Mariscal for his "scheme to take state water sale proceeds and give it to businesses for loans," instead of returning the profits to the citizens who funded this little water-selling business.
But wait ! There's a letter on November 6th in favor of Mariscal -- his very own wife, Marye. She relates how she and Mariscal were, "and still are," high school sweethearts; that Mariscal didn't come from an affluent family and that over the years, he "has worked very hard." They went to college together, got married, moved to Santa Maria and had a family. Pretty normal stuff here.
Marye relates how they became involved in the community and the leadership roles her husband has taken on. "I know how hard he works," she says. "I love, trust and believe in Marty. I know you can, too."
I don't know about "loving" Marty. The Tin Soldier does know that the citizens have been upset since the acting City Clerk, Stephanie Swarner, was relieved of her duties; since the city council (including Marty Mariscal and Alice Patino) ignored the hundreds of citizens who pleaded that former Police Chief John Sterling be retained; since the city council began building equipment to add fluoride to the city's water supply before the citizens had a chance to vote on the issue.
And don't forget the issue of the citizens being denied their democratic right to elect their mayor, with the last three city mayors being appointed from within the ranks of the existing city council, due to the then sitting mayors conveniently resigning in order to allow the appointments.
And then there's the Mother of All Issues -- the contract between the Santa Maria City Council and Chevron to truck toxic contaminated soil from the Guadalupe Dunes to the Santa Maria landfill, which sits over the water basin for the whole valley.
I don't know, Marye. I think it's probably a good thing you love him. The rest of us are ticked.