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"There's more B.S. in fly fishing than there is in a Kansas feedlot."
                                                      ---------- Lefty Kreh

From non-issue to major issue in one day

Two months ago I got a telephone call from my son as he was driving home from work. Mark lives in Los Angeles and the freeway had turned into a parking lot. To pass the time, he turned on the radio to listen to a popular talk show who's host was interviewing an official from LA's Metropolitan Water District. The topic was why LA and the other cities in the southland need to support the building of the peripheral canal/tunnels. As the conversation went on, the host inquired how much this project would cost, and how much more water LA would be getting from the project. The district official didn't answer the question and evaded a direct answer. When the show's host pinned him down he finally admitted the southland will not be getting an increase in the amount of water it receives. After the interview was over the phone board lit up. People were furious that it will cost them $17 billion (not including debt service) for no gain in the amount of water received. What really enraged them was that the south San Joaquin Valley corporate agribusiness giants would be getting 75% of the water but will only pay for 25% of the project.

Not really evil, just crafty and greedy (and with a full bank of attorneys to hired to bully and get their way)
For most of my son's life, I have been telling him of the serious issues we have in the Delta. Since he has moved to LA, he, like many others in southern California, have no interest in what is happening in the Delta or with California's with water issues. It's a non-issue with them. However, because of that talk show and others, water issues have gone from being a non-issue to a major issue in southern California. When I told my son that his water bills will double or triple for the next two-three generations if a tunnel is built, he was very upset. Actually, Westlands et.al. produce  less than 1/2 of 1% of California's economy but will put the southern Californians in debt for at least two generations. The only economic gain will be for the south valley's corporate agribusiness profit margin, at once again, the expense of the population of the state. This is a just another example of the south valley's corporate agribusiness greed. They want to again make money at someone else's expense.
In reading about the issues of a peripheral canal/tunnel and talking with people like Bill Jennings, and reading a recent article by Jennings in the Capitol Weekly, I have begun to realize that a canal/tunnel has huge mountains to climb before it can be started. Some of the problems the project faces are: water rights ownership, serious right of way-emanate domain issues, damage to the Delta's infrastructure (especially for cities like Stockton), violation of California's Clean Water Act, the failure of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, catastrophic violations of the Environmental Protection Act, the loss of our $1.3 billon per year salmon industry, and the list goes on...
However, nothing should surprise us when dealing with Gov. Brown and the present group of politicians in Sacramento. In the middle of August, Gov. Brown and his contemporaries "suspended" the Brown Act for three years. The Brown Act was put into law to require transparency in state, county, and local government including school boards. It was designed so decision-making groups were open to public scrutiny. Under the Brown Act, these agencies must post an agenda no less than 72 hours prior to a meeting. The public must be allowed to comment and to have access to all documents. Under Brown's suspension, the legislature can put items on an agenda without public notice, discuss the issues without public input, vote on the issues, and not have to provide public access to documents. All of these procedures can now be behind closed doors without any public access. Even though the state has not funded the Brown Act for three years, it claims this is a way to save money. It is, in fact, just another way for Gov. Brown and other legislators to hide behind closed doors. One can only imagine what Brown and his contemporaries will try to slip by us without our knowledge. Fortunately, however, several groups are seeking  injunctions to declare Brown's action unconstitutional.

Ron Forbes
Conservation Chair

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