My  email conversation with Drew Wilson of Colorado State University continues. During my last correspondence I included the information gleaned by Truth Santos from the copy of the contractual agreement between Tres Santos and CSU (obtained through the Freedom of Information Act), that would seem to indicate a conflict of interest and restrictions placed on research which might be damaging to the Tres Santos “brand”. Following is the letter I received from Drew today then my response. To lighten the mood I am including my customary comic relief.

The struggle for appropriate and sustainable water use follows me wherever I go. In my other home in Northern California where a severe drought threatens to change the pattern of our day to day lives drastically, the wine industry is riding roughshod over neighboring residents and farmers alike in its water consumption and pesticide use. Meanwhile Nestle and others are slurping up millions of gallons of California water to sell back to its citizens and out of state. But I digress, here is Drew’s letter:

Yes, we are aware of the article you mentioned and regret that our mission and intentions have been misunderstood by some residents. At the same time, we appreciate their passion for their community. We hope that over time, these residents will begin to realize the real truth about CSU’s intentions, appreciate and even participate in our educational and collaborative contributions as well as our solution-oriented work and research. 

It’s impossible to be specific about hypothetical situations like what is referenced in that article.  CSU faculty members who conduct research, including research related to Todos Santos, enjoy academic freedom and those protections established in CSU’s faculty manual.  Publishing results from their research, in our opinion, would not be an event of default under the trust agreement.  In addition, CSU has a very robust conflict of interest policy. Oversight to manage conflicts is provided by the Provost’s office and our Conflict of Interest Committee. 

Our plans do  include a workshop series by local experts available to residents of Tres Santos, but also to all residents of the Todos Santos and surrounding region, including you, Mr. Fisher. If you so choose, we’d look forward to seeing you in class! Details on that series are forthcoming. Stay tuned.
 
I’d also like to point out that CSU has been welcomed in Todos Santos by the formation of educational alliances with local experts, universities, local Todos Santeños, as well as business and government officials. As a non-profit entity, CSU’s intentions are not motivated by monetary profit from the community; we are motivated by the opportunity to learn from the great lessons it can teach, to cultivate global learners, and to collaborate in developing solutions to real-world issues common to much of the world.

Our university remains very appreciative of the donation of land and buildings. MIRA’s contribution will facilitate important research and education. Although we expect some may continue to misunderstand our intentions, we also remain committed to our policy of transparency and the open door to community. Over time, as our educationally focused projects, workshop series and research render more results, we look forward to sharing our learnings, progress, as well as the community’s continued participation and support.

Here are our current areas of focus we’ve recently highlighted in social media:
1. Listen and Learn: This summer we are systematically engaging with diverse segments of the Todos Santos and Pescadero communities to hear and understand current and future priorities.
2. Analyze and Plan: Outcomes of this community engagement process will enable CSU and community members to co-create priorities for local workshops and research.
3. Develop Programs: Continue developing and supporting education programs for CSU students and the local community which bring together regional citizens, students, professors, experts, and community leaders with inbound CSU students and faculty.
I’m certain this will be published on your blog and shared on facebook by the authors of that article as well, so please allow me to distribute my contact info for questions, concerns, and constructive commentary.  Please feel free to contact me at drew.wilson@colostate.edu

Thanks Mr. Fisher. 

Drew

Here is my response to Drew’s letter:

Hola Drew,
Thanks for keeping the lines of communication open. You are correct in assuming that, in the interest of transparency and to promote the clarification of some areas of the Tres Santos/CSU/ Todos Santos Community relationship, I am publishing our correspondence on my blog. If we are indeed destined to triple our growth and demand for water in the next few years we are going to need all hands on deck participating, and a heckuva lot of scientific solutions to avoid rendering this “charming, quiet little fishing village” into another Los Cabos monstrosity. As always water is the prime concern. Unfortunately I will be heading back to my Northern California residence next week, but be assured that I will be keeping abreast of developments. I am hoping that some kind of meeting between official representatives of CSU and citizens of Todos Santos who are concerned about sharing the limited amount of water with thousands of new residents can occur sooner rather than later. 
Recently I was shown a list of suggested actions that could have paved the way for a more sustainable CSU presence in our community. I was told that these suggestions were submitted to CSU and that thus far there has been no response. I am including the list, which includes the recommended actions and what has actually been done instead. Perhaps you could respond to the validity of these suggestions and explain why less sustainable choices seem to have been made  by addressing this in our email dialog. I’m no scientist but I am sure that there are other community members who will understand your answers.
I am glad to hear that CSU has a robust conflict of interest protocol. Were the details of the CSU/tres Santos legal arrangement scrutinized carefully before proceeding? I would assume so, but how could possible research that indicated unrestrained growth would be seriously harmful to our community not be considered damaging to the “brand” of Todos Santos? Black Creek may suggest otherwise but their MO and attitude reflected in an article about them that I read in Wall Street Journal makes them seem like any other rapacious developer looking for gold South of the border. 
I look forward to our future exchanges in the interest of clarity and truth,
Regards,
Michael Fisher
PS- I will send the list I spoke of separately.
The list is a long document that I will have to edit and include in a later blog, but now here are the funnies.
EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

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