Recently Walter Miller showed us a good example of criticism with civility, in a letter to editor to the Mountain Democrat, although he concluded that Greg Prada had substance where I had only form. I disagree, but was pleased that he presented that perspective in a reasonable way: He cited issues, not personalities. His references to Greg Prada and me were needed to convey his point and were done in a a respectful way. He and I followed up by mail and a phone conversation, and we had a good dialog. This is how scientific debate works and succeeds. It’s opposite to the “we’re right they’re wrong” mode that so often drives political debate to failure.
About substance, actual facts and valid analysis: I’m keeping more than a gigabyte on the Web for public access in the directory tree rooted at sierrafoot.org/civics/eid_2013/reference. Most contents are original source documents, especially from EID but also from many other sources. Recent additions included rate documents for more than 400 California water service areas. For analysis, mainly the “excel” and “powerpoint” subdirectories lay open my own mathematical analysis for public inspection.
Mr. Miller’s letter to editor pointed out a problem that needs my response. In July EID’s prime detractor libeled me severely in local media. Public acceptance of his false statements has been growing, and I now conclude that it’s absolutely necessary to remedy that. In part, I need to start a continuing campaign to get the truth out in ways that any reader can check and confirm.
What we need in the public discussion about EID is more science, less opinion, and no nonsense. Carl Sagan wrote in “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark,” “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” With respect to EID, we need to reclaim understanding of facts and their significance, instead of hunting demons or witches to sacrifice.
My next letter to editor will be about the 102 percent rate increase, which is mostly a myth. That claim would have been accurate only for customers with extremely low water consumption — 79 percent of the “Low Usage” case in the 2010-2011 Cost Of Services Study. Currently adopted rates produce a 50.5 percent increase (not 102 percent) for Medium Usage, 27.9 percent for High Usage.
El Dorado Hills