Solvang updated its homelessness ordinance. 

Starting Nov. 9, you can camp overnight in a number of publicly owned spaces but for no longer than 24 hours at a time. Unless, of course, you do camp somewhere for longer. Then, the city can notify you that you have up to 72 more hours to vacate the premises. So, really, you have four days and four nights to hang your hat on public property. 

While Solvang’s current rules made it illegal for someone to sleep or camp on public property overnight, the city’s attorney, Dave Fleishman, said they were unenforceable and possibly unconstitutional. 

These new rules are way better, apparently. Because although they don’t make homelessness illegal, they make it easier for the city to enforce against homelessness. 

See. Those two things are different! 

Carl Butler, though, wasn’t having it. He was very concerned about the Solvang’s new homelessness which will make for someone from LA or San Francisco to live in an “old Winnebago” on the city streets. 

“It’s not going to be a family from Guadalupe or Guatemala,” Butler opined. “They’re going to attract other people who want to join in with a substance party.”

Those are interesting places he chose to add into his public comments to City Council. People who become homeless can’t possibly be from Solvang! 

I’m not going to lie, a “substance party” sounds pretty fun! But not in an old Winnebago. I’d rather head out to the desert and get rained on, muddied up, and party with celebrities and 20,000 other people. That’s the kind of party I’m into. 

You know what else I’m into? Groundwater. 

The Cuyama Valley Groundwater Basin is in a state! Amid boycotts against Big CarrotBolthouse Farms and Grimmway Farms—due to a lawsuit over groundwater rights, Harvard University—aka Brodiaea Inc.—wants to store some of that groundwater in above-ground ponds to help protect its 840-acre Cuyama vineyard from grape-killing frost. 

As far as I understand things, pulling water out of the ground to put it in a pond can lead to things such as evaporation, which means less water all around. The more water that stays in the ground, the more water in the groundwater basin. 

However, 4th District Supervisor Bob Nelson seems to understand things a little differently. 

“Groundwater should go down because you want to make sure you have a capacity to refill. Declining numbers by themselves aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It actually often means there’s more room for recharge, if I understand groundwater correctly,” he said during the Board of Supervisors discussion about Harvard’s proposed ponds on Oct. 10. 

Um. What? 

He’s talking about a water basin that’s one of the 21 most critically overdrafted water basins in the state. The basin is currently on track to have every single one of its pumpers reduce water consumption by 60 percent, unless the water rights lawsuit gets its way. Who knows what will happen there? 

Also, groundwater doesn’t just automatically recharge because there’s room to grow. 

It needs to rain. Like, a lot of rain. It takes 10 years of heavy rains to recharge water in a groundwater basin. It will take 20 for Cuyama’s basin to be back in some sort of balance—and that’s only if landowners pump less.

The Canary is so confused. Send clarity to [email protected].

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