Supporters of an effort to study the removal of a San Francisco drinking water reservoir in Yosemite National Park are calling on broadcasters to remove their opponent’s ad from the airwaves.
The Restore Hetch Hetchy group that’s trying to get the $8 million study approved by voters Nov. 6 is being maligned by the Save Hetch Hetchy group, which maintains that the idea is ludicrous. Restore Hetch Hetchy wants to study drinking water alternatives and the feasibility of deconstructing the O’Shaughnessy Dam that holds in the headwaters of the Tuolumne River.
For dam study backers, the TV spot against Proposition F is clearly deceiving.
“Prop. F will drain Hetch Hetchy, San Francisco’s source of clean water and green energy,” the ad says.
Not so, says a news release issued Friday by Restore Hetch Hetchy.
“Proposition F does not require the dismantling of the O’Shaughnessy Dam,” the release says. “What it does do is require San Francisco to develop a plan to reform its 19th century water system and reverse the environmental damage caused by the system.”
Actually built in the early 20th century, the reservoir has once again spurred a political fight that has surely proven confusing for some voters. Restore Hetch Hetchy has been called out by Save Hetch Hetchy for deceptive ads as well, specifically mailers referring to San Francisco’s poor water recycling efforts.
Save Hetch Hetchy spokesman PJ Johnston has said The City won’t support any step toward dismantling critical infrastructure, making water recycling merely a convenient red-herring topic. Mike Marshall, executive director of Restore Hetch Hetchy, responded by saying that “water recycling is part of the larger issue of mismanagement of the system.”
On Friday, Restore Het
ch Hetchy attorneys sent a cease-and-desist letter to Comcast that says the cable company has a responsibility under Federal Communications Commission rules to check the facts of political advertising. As of Friday afternoon, a representative of Comcast said the letter was received but no action had been taken, pending further review.