Local Voice Over Sacramento’s Overreach: The Water Debate We Deserve

By Stephani Baxter, Fallbrook Community Planning Group

Water is more than just a life-sustaining resource; it embodies the very essence of our communities. This truth magnifies the gravity of the county Board of Supervisors’ recent deliberations regarding the Rainbow Municipal Water District and the Fallbrook Public Utility District.

There’s a proposal on the table suggesting that every customer within the San Diego County Water Authority should have a say before any individual district can exit. On the surface, this appears democratic, but dig deeper, and one can’t help but question the implications for local governance, representation, and the trust our community places in its elected officials.

As a proud member of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group, I’ve consistently championed local control and community-centric decisions. What deeply concerns me now is the shadow of Sacramento looming large over local constituents. There’s been a clear-cut protocol for district departures for over half a century. Why, then, does Supervisor Joel Anderson believe now is the time to alter this time-honored procedure?

Anderson’s stance threatens to disrupt our community’s voice and showcases a disturbing trend of placing Sacramento’s judgment over those directly impacted. His willingness to override the local perspective is unsettling and strikes at the heart of local democracy.

In Contrast, Supervisor Jim Desmond, in his various roles, has consistently emphasized the sanctity of local governance. If a district wants to leave the authority, it should be able to do so following the longstanding protocol. Why unnecessarily convolute the process? Why let overarching bureaucracy muddle a system that has worked for decades?

Our avocado growers, among other farmers in North County, have been forthright about their dependence on fair water rates. It isn’t just about economics; it’s about survival and justice. These stakeholders and countless residents don’t deserve their voices to be muted by a decision-making system that’s lost touch with the grassroots.

This isn’t a call for reckless detachment. It’s a call for informed, community-driven decision-making. While collective judgments hold value, we must prioritize local voices when those decisions have tangible, daily consequences. Fallbrook, Rainbow, and similar communities deserve to make choices rooted in their unique circumstances and needs.

In the midst of these deliberations, an unexpected silver lining has emerged: unity. While this debate has diverse opinions, it’s heartening to witness how it has brought communities closer together.  This collective spirit is what makes Fallbrook, Rainbow, and Bonsall so special. Let it be the driving force that amplifies our voices.

I urge our community to champion local democracy and resist attempts by figures like Anderson to impose external narratives on us. We must not allow our future to be shaped by those who, intentionally or not, silence our voices in favor of distant, detached judgments.

This Friday morning, AB 399 stands on the verge of reality. The course of this bill rests, in significant part, on Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones. With one stroke of a pen, he has the power to halt this. But he needs to hear from YOU.

Time is of the essence. Reach out to Senator Brian  Jones, Assemblywomen Marie Waldron, and Laurie Davies no later than Thursday evening. We must inundate their offices with our collective voices, our calls, and our emails, ensuring our message is impossible to ignore.

Stand up. Speak out. Act now.

📞 Brian Jones: (916)651-4040
📞 Marie Waldron: 916-319-2075
📞 Laurie Davies: (916)319-2074

📧 Andrew.Hayes@sen.ca.gov
📧 Nicholas.brust@sen.ca.gov
📧 Corey.Uhden@asm.ca.gov
📧 Donna.cleary@asm.ca.gov

Fallbrook, Rainbow & Bonsall: Now is the moment for our community to rally and make a resounding impact. Let’s make sure our voice is heard!

Image Credit: Canva