Did this swing miss?

Some say Obama’s desert golf out­ing sent the wrong mes­sage.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Matt Hamil­ton matt. hamil­ton @ latimes. com

Af­ter two days of fundrais­ing in Los An­ge­les and San Fran­cisco, Pres­i­dent Obama de­camped to Palm Springs over the week­end to do what many oth­ers do in the desert re­sort com­mu­nity: play golf.

But the pres­i­dent quickly found him­self in a po­lit­i­cal sand trap. The prob­lem, crit­ics say, is that it takes a lot of wa­ter to keep the Coachella Val­ley’s 123 golf cour­ses green, and Cal­i­for­nia is in the midst of a se­vere drought. Cities and towns are strug­gling with a state- wide manda­tory 25% re­duc­tion in wa­ter use.

“Ev­ery­thing Pres­i­dent Obama does in Cal­i­for­nia makes a huge state­ment. I’d say that’s the wrong state­ment to make,” said Sara Amin­zadeh, di­rec­tor of the Cal­i­for­nia Coast­keeper Al­liance. “We need our lead­ers at all lev­els to show this is a shared sac­ri­fice and to think about how their be­hav­ior can re­flect that.”

The Coachella Val­ley’s golf cour­ses suck up about 37 bil­lion gal­lons of wa­ter an­nu­ally, enough to f ill about 56,000 Olympic- size swimming pools.

A siz­able aquifer sup­plies wa­ter to the re­gion, but it has de­clined steadily. Three wa­ter dis­tricts in the Coachella Val­ley are among the state’s top per capita wa­ter users, with daily use of about 300 gal­lons.

Deputy Press Sec­re­tary Eric Schultz def lected crit­i­cism of Obama’s fond­ness for fair­ways, telling re­porters aboard Air Force One that the ad­min­is­tra­tion last year ear­marked $ 190 mil­lion for farm­ers and drough­trav­aged com­mu­ni­ties, with an ad­di­tional $ 110 mil­lion on the way.

“This ad­min­is­tra­tion’s com­mit­ment to help­ing those af­fected by the drought is sec­ond to none,” Schultz said.

Jonathan Par­frey, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Cli­mate Re­solve, said it was mis­guided to crit­i­cize the pres­i­dent’s choice of golf des­ti­na­tions “given his in­cred­i­ble en­vi­ron­men­tal record.”

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