Letters to the Editor
A number of months ago I requested water service for the home I’m building on Yucca Drive in Coulee Dam. I requested the same level of service as enjoyed by the town’s folks that live on the west side of the river. I received no answer, so a few weeks ago I made the request again, this time more officially - registered mail, return receipt, and such. The envelope looked very important and impressive … and it worked! The town clerk and Quincy Snow, decided that the council should resolve the matter; in the end, they didn’t, but I left with a promise that they would sometime “soon.”
The discussion was lively; some of the council members had productive input and well thought-through comments. One of the councilmen did say he actually talked with some of the people that pay extra for irrigation water on the reservation and, “they don’t mind at all,” so what’s the fuss over? Some questioned my analysis and facts, and one informed me that I was dead wrong about them (the west-side customers) because they have to pay a surcharge for irrigation water in the summer. “What!” I said in a surprised tone. Glancing towards the town clerk, he said in a compliant tone, “Riiiight?”
The clerk responded: “Well,” she almost whispered, “we haven’t charged that fee in years.”
So, you gotta wonder - here we have a councilmember, living on the west side of town, either thinking he’s still paying an irrigation surcharge or trying to prove that he graduated from the “blue smoke and mirrors program” the mayor teaches.
One west side resident was there and she was certain that the town actually voted to let those folks on the west side get free unmetered water (parenthetically, at the expense of those families on the other side of the river). “Well, some of us voted,” she said. Then, as the discussion moved on, it became, instead of a real vote; “there was a show of hands” and I needed to understand that “the place was packed out.” I think that usually means 20 or so out of 1,100 of us. And I wonder what side of the river most of them were from?
And then, in the middle of this cluster of political posturing, when I really thought nothing could explain the reason why it is that some families living east of the river pay more for their water in the summer, the mayor proclaimed in a loud voice, “LEAKS!” “It’s leaks…” Silence fell … the room was struck numb by the obvious brilliance of the proclamation. Now I thought about that. I was confused … dumbfounded actually, by my own myopia. Why didn’t I see that? It’s not about water-rate discrimination at all. It’s all about geography; everybody knows that as you go east you get leaks! Some families on the reservation (about 75 of them) actually get those pesky leaks every summer and then as the season shifts to fall, the leaks just magically stop. I suppose they have migrated yet further east… towards Spokane maybe.
Then I start to think that maybe, just maybe, Mayor Snow wasn’t talking about “leaks” at all, he was actually talking about “leeks.” That wonderful vegetable related to elephant garlic, onions, and such. “Leeks” take a whole lota water to grow and I’m sure almost every family has a plot of them in their east-side gardens. No one on the west side grows them because it’s too shady, I think. So that’s something we need to think about … maybe a public hearing to start the ball rolling on a “ban leeks movement!” Before we know it … problem solved. But I’ll miss that tasty Bacon, Leek & Tomato Spaghetti Sauce that I learned how to make by watching the Rachael Ray cooking show!
So, is it leaks? Leeks? Or just more Snow?