Public Water Initiative Drowned

Since I wrote about it Monday as an example of local ballot initiatives that entirely obscure “bigger” contests, I should mention that Measure O, the Monterey Peninsula initiative aimed at forcing a public takeover of water systems in the midst of a regional water crisis, lost by a 44-56 margin. So I guess fears of O opponents that Cal Am Water was in danger of achieving Meg Whitman levels of overkill with its saturation advertising against the measure can breathe easier now. But there was one more apparent act of hubris from the utility giant, per this election night report from the Monterey Herald‘s Jim Johnson:

With all precincts reporting, Measure O trailed by about 12 percent, with almost 44 percent voting in favor.

Cal Am campaign spokesman Carlos Ramos declined to declare victory despite what appeared to be a strong trend, and said the No on O campaign was remaining cautiously optimistic.

If the trend holds, Ramos said the results indicate most voters agreed that Cal Am’s proposed Monterey Peninsula water supply project was too important to risk a contentious take-over.

Have you ever heard of a private corporation designating a “campaign spokesman” for a public ballot initiative? I sure haven’t. Perhaps that should be viewed as an act of transparency.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.