City of Santa Cruz Voter Approval for Desalination Facility, Measure P (November 2012)

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A City of Santa Cruz Voter Approval Required for Desalination Facility ballot question was on the November 6, 2012, ballot for voters in the City of Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz County, where it was approved.[1]

With the approval of Measure P, voters will have to vote on a specific plan before a proposed $115 million desalination facility can be built. The proposed facility would be shared with the Soquel Creek Water District. It would produce about 2.5 million gallons of desalinated water each day.

The Santa Cruz City Council already approved an ordinance that says that voters in the city must weigh in on the desalination plant. According to their plan, that vote of the people would take place in November 2014.

However, some residents in the city feared that if the composition of the city council were to change in the city council elections that take place on the November 6, 2012, ballot, that the new city council might vote to repeal the ordinance that gives voters the right to vote on the desalination plant. These concerned residents felt that it would be better to lock-in the right of residents to vote on the proposed facility by turning the "right to vote" measure into a citizen-initiated plan.

Election results

Measure P
Approveda Yes 19,124 72.13%
Final official results from the Santa Cruz County elections office.


Paul Gratz is a leader in the "Right to Vote on Desal Coalition," which supported the measure. He said, "With resources stretched, the city should focus instead on regional collaborative solutions that coordinate water supply and storage management, inter-district water transfers and reuse, water neutral development, community engagement, and robust conservation practices and incentives."[1]

The official voter pamphlet arguments in favor of Measure P were signed by:

  • Rick Longinotti, Spokesman, Right to Vote on Desal Coalition
  • Celia Scott, former Mayor of Santa Cruz
  • Michael Guth, Executive Committee Chair, Sierra Club, Santa Cruz Group
  • Dustin Macdonald, Chair, Santa Cruz Chapter Surfrider Foundation
  • James H. Littlefield, Environmental Projects Director, Surfers Environmental Alliance


The official voter pamphlet arguments in opposition to Measure P were signed by:

  • Neal Coonerty, County Supervisor
  • Mike Rotkin, Union Organizer
  • Gine Johnson, Environmental Activist
  • Judy Warner, Community Activist
  • John T. Collins, II, Trustee, Santa Cruz City Schools

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Measure P: "Shall an amendment to the Charter of the City of Santa Cruz 'Requiring Voter Approval for Desalination Projects' be adopted?"[2]

Path to the ballot

The measure was on the ballot because signatures were gathered on initiative petitions.

The signatures were collected by the "Right to Vote on Desal Coalition." 5,442 signatures were required and 8,715 signatures were submitted.

Cost of election

See also: Costs of administering local elections

The cost to the city of voting on the measure will be approximately $2 or $2.50 per registered voter. This comes to a total of $70,000 to $90,000.[1]

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mercury News, "Desal measure heads to November ballot; group narrowly collects enough signatures to qualify," July 3, 2012
  2. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

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