[env-trinity] Stockton Record Editorial 9 22 10

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Wed Sep 22 17:54:37 PDT 2010

Fighting for water

California's battle should at least be fought in public, not behind closed


By The Record

September 22, 2010 12:00 AM

To the absolute surprise of no one who has paid attention, participants in
the so-called Bay Delta Conservation Plan have been meeting behind closed
doors conjuring a plan highly unlikely to conserve any Delta.

In November, the group - which includes not one representative from the
Delta region - is expected to issue a report calling for construction of a
system of ditches or tunnels to bypass the Delta, sending more and more
water south.

In California, whiskey's for drinkin' and water's for fightin' over, in
words widely attributed to Mark Twain. And while the fight certainly is on
over Delta water, the fix also seems to be in.

Lame-duck governor and Southern California resident Arnold Schwarzenegger
favors what he calls a "conveyance system" around the Delta to quench the
thirsty south state as well as the water needs of south Valley farmers. Such
a system adds not a drop of water to the system but would severely cut flows
through the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Some politicians, especially in this season of voter discontent, have framed
the issue as a choice between jobs and fish. That's a nice sound bite but is
hardly nuanced enough to get at the need to protect the largest freshwater
estuary in the Western United States. The Delta needs protecting, not just
for the fish that call it home, but also to protect against saltwater
intrusion that threatens this entire region. Talk about job losses.

A conveyance system - aka a peripheral canal - would cost billions of
dollars. At last check, the state didn't have billions.

State legislative leaders pulled an expensive and controversial water bond
measure off the Nov. 2 ballot, sensing voter outrage over government
spending, especially at a time Sacramento politicians have yet to fashion a
state budget.

That bond was part of a package of five water bills also hatched in secret
without meaningful input from Delta region representatives but with
considerable help from south state water and south Valley farming interests.

That's not fair, of course, but fairness has a lot less to do with politics
than votes, and there are a lot of votes south of the Tehachapi Mountains,
among whose residents a knowledge of and an appreciation for the Delta might
be described as lacking.

"We think these processes should include the people who are affected. ...
It's about our water, it's about our region, and it's about our land use,"
state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, said in a letter protesting the secrecy
surrounding the DCP's work.

We could not agree more.

We know there's going to be a fight over water. This is California. That's
what we do. But, at least, let's fight it out in public.


Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land/fax

415 519 4810 mobile

bwl3 at comcast.net 

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org 



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