LAS VEGAS -- Local parents can drop off their kids at the Springs Preserve Saturday evening for a special movie presentation and meal. The water district, which operates the facility, describes the event as both fun and educational.
For a mere $25 each, kids ages 5 to 12 can be dropped off at the Springs Preserve for a movie night, with pizza and snacks and a bit of education slipped into the mix. The Springs Preserve is a wonderful facility, and it should be, since it cost the public about $250 million to build and millions more each year.
The main message of the preserve is sustainability -- how to live within your means in a tough desert environment -- especially when it comes to water. And that's why it is simply astounding that someone at the water district decided that the best movie for the kids to see is Rango.
Without question, it's an excellent movie, brilliantly animated, sparkling dialogue, and a powerful message of its own, but I am left wondering -- did anyone at the water district watch Rango all the way through before deciding to show it to kids? Or did somebody really screw up? There's nothing X-rated or too graphic for young audiences but the message doesn't seem like one the water folks would want to perpetrate.
In the movie, a stranger arrives in the rural ranching community of Dirt and it becomes apparent the dirtonians have a water problem. Here is a sampling of the dialogue.
"you can't grow no crops without water...." "Mister, if I don't get some water, I'm gonna lose my ranch, and you're telling me that's all that's left?"
There had been plenty of water for the town and the ranchers, but somebody took it. Is this beginning to sound familiar? It becomes clear who the bad guy is -- a public official who looks a lot like the John Huston character from another great movie Chinatown. In that film, a corrupt water baron who had a partner named, what was it, Mulray, something like that, plotted to steal water from one rural valley so that a bunch of development could take place elsewhere and big shots could make piles of money.
"That's the immutable law of the desert. Control the water, and you control everything." The bad guy says that diverting the water is good for the future, meaning, future development. The hero, Rango, follows the trail until he finds out who benefits from stealing all that water. It's Las Vegas. Not a metaphor for Las Vegas, but the actual place, surrounded by plush green golf courses.
There's a happy ending to the movie --- I don't want to spoil it for the kids who haven't seen it -- but the real life Rango drama playing out here in our backyard might not end so well.
Water boss Pat Mulroy says her agencies are moving forward with their plans for the rural water grab. It's all for our own good, Mulroy says. And it won't hurt those ranchers out there in the sticks.
In one interview this month, she said the water grab is only being pursued as a possible option if we really need it. In a second article this month, she said it is, in fact, our only option. I'm guessing that Rango calls that speaking out of both sides of one's mouth. Perhaps most telling was this comment from the water boss back in the 1990's, Mulroy said, "we were told this drought wasn't possible." Wasn't possible, eh? Why were we not informed? What evil genius hid this information from our water agencies? The fact is, the only people who said that extended drought was not possible worked for Mulroy. They had in their hands 500 years of data to show that drought on the Colorado is the norm, not the exception, but they ignored that information because it simply did not fit the growth at any cost zeitgeist.
They knew. They didn't want to admit it and spoil the party. Showing Rango to kids is an excellent idea. I hope they all pay attention and then tell their parents to watch it as well. And at the next Springs Preserve movie night, maybe a screening of Chinatown.
The BLM is holding public hearings around the state on the pipeline plan, including some in this area next week. You can look at the schedule here.