Column 1: Water, water, everywhere

Martinez News-Gazette Columnist

WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE, and plenty to drink. But it will cost you more per swallow in the Martinez Water System. Untreated water supplies flow through the canals and pipelines from the source up in the Delta, but it is not free. Thus, the City needs to increase some rates to make it possible to convey the precious commodity, treat it to make it domestically usable, pump it to the site of use, and maintain all the facilities required for the entire operation. Make sense? Sure. When we turn a valve we need to expect good clean and drinkable water.

Some water systems have meters to account for usage by the user. Some cities or rural areas have had such meters for decades. Some, like Discovery Bay, are going into metering, or may have done so already. The meters were installed during construction of the homes, but not put into use at the time. Now appears to be the time to do so. The homeowners have paid for their water as part of their property taxes regardless of how much water they used which comes from very deep wells in the area.

Martinez has had metered water for seven or eight decades, or more. I can remember my Grandmother cautioning us kids about letting water run too long during our visits here from Sacramento in the 30s and 40s. In Sacramento there were no meters, and unlimited use. That system was very convenient when summer heat hit town and we could run through sprinklers carefree. But, as kids, who worried about water use? Just keep cool during summer days.

The explanation provided by the City recently supporting the rate increases seems logical, and proper. Meanwhile, let us all remember that water is not a resource with unlimited quantities, as we have learned very well during drought years. As good citizens of the planet, conservation should be high on our list. Glug, glug, gurgle, gurgle.

SPEAKING OF WATER, have you been to a meeting recently? Did a number of attendees carry a water bottle in with them? (Not counting luncheon or dinner meetings!) Has this become ‘the thing to do’? Is it really beneficial? Does a bottle of water in front of you act as an item of security? (Better than your favorite teddy bear?) Silly? Perhaps the bottle replaces the smokes we had at meetings way back when?

First began to notice the water bottle at meetings some 30 years ago just before I retired. At that time, women were the water carriers at meetings. Since that time, we see men and women toting water bottles to gatherings, mostly meetings of one kind or another. Must have a beneficial feature, health issue, or security. Just curious.

THE WORLD has so many issues over which one can become disheartened or discouraged. However, humor does pop up on occasion to give us a chuckle. Such was the case found in a really old clipping in our files where we collect interesting ‘stuff’.

A sociology professor, Gary Marx, at MIT, did research on the monitoring of work and workers. He found some ‘good stuff’. He discovered the following:

“To All Employees: From Employee Relations Department. Subject: Restroom Trip Policy (RTP)

“An internal audit of employee restroom time (ERT) has found that this company significantly exceeds the national ERT recommended by the President’s Commission on Productivity and Waste. The Technical Division (TD) has developed an accounting and control system that will solve both problems. Effective 1 April, a Restroom Trip Policy (RTP) is established. A Restroom Trip Bank (RTB) will be created for each employee. On the first day of each month employees will receive a Restroom Trip Credit (RTC) of 40. The previous policy of unlimited trips is abolished. Restroom access will be controlled by a computer-linked voice-print recognition system. Within two weeks each employee must provide two voice prints (one normal, one under stress) to Personnel The ‘killer’ is this statement: “Should an employee’s RTB balance reach zero, restroom doors will not unlock for his/her voice until the first working day of the following month.”

The instructions go on to state the workings of a restroom stall with timers, warning buzzers at 30-second intervals, up to 3 minutes. After another 30 seconds, the toilet tissue roll will retract, toilet will flush and the stall door will open. The employee may choose whether they wish to hear a male or female ‘voice’ providing directions. A bilingual capability is being developed.”

Further technical details include video cameras to prevent others from sneaking in behind someone who still has time in their bank. However, to respect privacy of employees, cameras will not be operative within the restroom itself.’

(Column 1 note) There are many more features upon which we will not dwell on this very informative piece due to length, etc. In conclusion: The management recognized that employees, from time to time, may have a legitimate need to use the restroom. But employees must also recognize that their jobs depend on the company’s staying competitive in a global economy. Therefore, these conflicting interests should be weighed, but certainly not balanced. The company remains strongly committed to finding technical solutions to management problems. We believe our trusted employees will do the right thing when given no other choice.” (Job openings at all levels??)

CHEERS for those who met and discussed/debated the possible ways to keep the Oval Office Occupant from doing another stupid move and closing the government. As of this column being written, a decision he and his advisers made was NOT to pay the contract government personnel who missed a month of pay. How grossly mean can one be?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *