Will San Francisco dehydrate itself in the name of beauty?
That, in essence, is what would happen under a proposed local ballot initiative to restore the Hetch Hetchy Valley in the Sierras, near the Yosemite Valley.
The beautiful Hetch Hetchy was said to rival Yosemite for beauty before it was turned into a reservoir in 1923. That reservoir now supplies water for San Francisco. The initiative would replace that water through conservation measures and other reservoirs.
In any other city in California, such a measure would be written off as sheer madness. Local governments worry about not having enough water, not about whether their water is despoiling a valley 200 miles away.
But this is San Francisco.
So bring on the water civil war. Mayor Ed Lee already opposes the measure. Look for others to join him. And look for considerable attention to accrue to this initiative if it reaches the ballot.