September 15, 2009

I'll Supply the Tin Foil Hats Next Time

Good Grief.

We had a water meeting today in my neighborhood. If you recall, my zipcode is the same as that of a zone that is being examined as a cancer cluster. Water has been the big issue... surely because we're on well water, it must be the water.

And something like this, brings the chicken littles out of the woodwork.

Because... you know... we're all going to die of cancer.


The meeting was so slanted towards going on public water it wasn't even funny. There was nothing unbiased about it. A guy stood up to speak to all of us, a man who lives IN our neighborhood, who happens to work with the city water department. He gave a 10-15 page powerpoint pitch to all of us on the benefits.

Of course there was the direct quote from the Public Health Director how it was the right thing to do.


Over the last few years, the city of West Palm Beach has had nothing but problems with their water. I even posted on it here before.

Oh let's see... July 17th 2007 on how the Mayor dumped treated wastewater into the well fields of the public water.... without telling the citizens.

Then there was Oct 3, 2007 where the City of West Palm Beach was on boil water alert due to a fecal water contamination.

The the following day where I expanded on the nasty water problem and how messed up it was.

And here we sat tonight, listening to some guy in a shirt and tie, tell us how this was far superior to what we're all drinking with our carbon filters and RVO systems.


Sitting on the front row were all the huge proponents of our going to City Water... water controlled by people that constantly make the headlines of our newspaper for their ineptitude.... on so many levels.

I wanted to pass out tinfoil hats to those in the front row. Maybe that will help them all from getting brain cancer. 'Cause... you know... it's coming. Yesterday.

Overall, the meeting was extraordinarily civil, considering how emotional this topic can get. We're not just talking about the safety of our drinking water, of which it is... safe, but we're talking $11,000 per home to run water lines through our 'hood and THEN another $6500 to run it up to your home and THEN there is a fee for a meter and all sorts of other stuff I didn't quite get. (I sat in the back and observed the chicken littles who needed tinfoil hats...)

The $11000 can be funded through a bond. What a bonus. It can get added to our taxes over 20 years so that we can continue to pay on that cash, year after year... until we've probably really paid $15000-$20000. What a frickin' BONUS!

But the other fees? The $6500 to run it to your home and the meter hook ups and all that? That is cash, folks, cold hard cash.

Benh. Wrong answer. I don't have that kind of cash and I don't want to pay on a bond for 20 years and I like my water.

However, I will lose. I'm making peace with it, in particular with the fact I'll be paying on the bond because I just don't have the money to hook up to water I trust less than my well water.

Anyway, so the meeting was civil... until the end. I knew it. I KNEW the Queen Chicken Little herself was going to be there and I knew she'd get shrill and I think I went just to see how spooled up and half insane she was going to get.

We made it through 9/10ths of the meeting with a few comments that tickled the edge of her paranoia, but at the end... she finally tripped over that edge and waiting for her was the neighborhood loud mouth.

For 13 years I have lived in this neighborhood and for 13 years, with the exception of 3 or 4 years when he was in prison, we have a neighbor that has consistently interrupted the meetings with boorish behavior. I think he's undiagnosed ADHD at age 70+. He stands through the meetings, paces, and just seems like barely contained energy.


He'd kept his mouth shut through the entire meeting, something that surprised me very very much. I wasn't even sure where he stood on this water fence, he was so quiet.

But when Queen Chicken Little said that a waiver was required by her firm to sell a home in our neighborhood, a waiver stating that we were within a potential cancer cluster, all hell broke loose.

There was much murmuring from most in attendance, and not a murmur of shock, but one of anger.

And that's when our neighbor became totally and unequivocally unhinged about how he wasn't going to listen to any scare tactics on this water issue. I looked at my girlfriend and said, "We need popcorn".

Great stuff.

Queen Chicken Little backed down.

The vote is coming. A group is getting together to put something out for the neighborhood... information. My girlfriend, extraordinarily level headed as I would expect any retired Navy Commander to be, stood and asked that the data presented to us be scientific and void of emotion.

I'm surprised she didn't get a standing ovation. I know I wanted to.

Meanwhile, I think I'm on the losing end. Public Poopy Water is coming my way.

You can lead a neighborhood to public water, but you can't make them drink it. I'm not hooking up. Blech.

Posted by Boudicca at September 15, 2009 09:01 PM

I would have been tempted to out crazy them. Started foaming at the mouth about how the Government was deliberately putting carcinogens in the ground water
so they can force us to hook to the water THEY control so they can pump their drugs into us to keep us docile. SHEEP! You're all SHEEP!!!

Posted by: Graumagus at September 15, 2009 10:41 PM

Don't you remember me complaining that I didn't have the money to hook up to city water. They gave us the same 'deal'. But we aren't in the cancer zone so it was not 'forced' on us. We did not hook up. I paid a fortune for a great water well system when we bought this house. I have NO money left due to the increase in taxes... but I do pay for water each month in tax money whether I like it or not... I just don't pay the bond, nor the hook up fee, nor the monthly utility bill...which would be a frick'n fortune for me. My neighbor is a plumber and a good one... if you want his number, let me know.

Posted by: vw bug at September 16, 2009 04:39 AM

Grau- You know, I was tempted. I wasn't going to take that particular line, but I so wondered what it would be like to be the craziest person in the room. The thought amused me. I really really like the gov't paranoia idea. A lot. That cracks me up. Baaaa!

VW- I'm going to be stuck with the bond. If they vote yes, I'll be forced to help pay for it through our neighborhood. I just won't be paying the extra 6K to hook up. I have a damn good system and my water guy is the best. Plus, I have a deep well. I wish I'd known about your plumber though, dammit. It took me 18 years to find a guy I finally like.

Posted by: bou at September 16, 2009 05:21 AM

Oh and in all fairness I should state, I really think that the avg person in our neighborhood will vote FOR it for resale value, not paranoia. They had a realtor stand up and say how he'd lost like 3 deals because we're on well water. So anyone over 55 who wants to sell, want city water for salability. I completely get that... it's tempting just for resale due to the concern from people outside of our 'hood about what we drink.

I do wonder though, during the upcoming great water wars, how much everyone will have to spend for water. They gave this ridiculous number that our water will only be $50 a month. My gf looked at me and said, "With three teenage boys? I don't think so?" I think it will be triple that for me.

Posted by: Bou at September 16, 2009 05:53 AM

Resale value is a powerful incentive... and though nobody would want to spend the money for city water, there are systems like Rainsoft to keep that crap out of your home.

Next meeting, take a video camera, k? We could use a little entertainment... ;)

Posted by: pam at September 16, 2009 08:12 AM

Did you or anyone else mention that list of past foulups by their water department and how they had to pay megabucks for an outside firm to clean house in their water department, reorganize the place and do maintenance and repairs that had been put off for years?

That water bill price may depend on what else they slip into the bill. When I had county water, I paid for water and sewer. Here in Lantana, they lump water and sewer and garbage and trash pickup on the same monthly bill, which of course is MUCH larger than my old county water-sewer bill.

Posted by: George P at September 16, 2009 08:56 AM

Go Italian! Drink lots of wine!

Posted by: JihadGene at September 16, 2009 11:03 AM

Oh, Bou! That's so funny ... but it isn't! You've just described every water meeting I've ever attended.

Posted by: PeggyU at September 16, 2009 11:17 AM

You know, of course, that I am the official purveyor of Tinfoil Hats. With perforations.

Posted by: Elisson at September 17, 2009 04:44 PM

Public water adds salability? Really? Where we're at it sure doesn't - everyone has wells and no one wants city water. But then I guess N Fla is much different. By the way - how are you liking your tankless water heater? We are getting ready to buy a house and I think we want to get one.

Posted by: Carmen at September 18, 2009 12:37 PM