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Trying to Like the Water Bond

"The bond was deliberately left vague so that projects would go through a public competitive grant process."

Sep 24, 2014

"But nothing in the water bond makes either of those projects certain(Temperance Flat or raising Shasta). Construction proposals would be evaluated by the state and far more efficient, less costly new underground storage could replace the big dams. The best argument for that shift is that California already has more than 1,400 dams, and as White House science adviser John Holdren noted early this year, "The problem is not that we don't have enough reservoirs, it is that we do not have enough water to fill them."

The above statement is from Thomas Elias at the Appeal-Democrat who supports the water bond. What he fails to mention is that to use new underground storage you need a long time to let the water percolate and without dams to hold the water so you have time for the percolation process, underground storage will never be utilized like they say it will.

Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle writes, "However, the money is not yet tied to specific projects. The bond was deliberately left vague so that projects would go through a public competitive grant process."

There was a time in California, not too long ago, when water was considered a public benefit when it went to Valley farms which in turn created productive assets that created jobs and a tax base for the cities in California. Now it's only a public benefit when it flows toward fish. Farmers are now way down the list and considered 'users' and 'users' must pay the full price of the water without help from the public, and the public will now pay only for fish benefits at the expense of their own well-being. When it comes to a dam like Temperance Flat, fish will get most of the water if the dam's ever built thanks to taxpayers. Farmers look like they will only get 40,000 acre feet or so to spread over a million acres. Not good. Again, assuming it's ever built.

According to Assemblyman Tim Donnelly in one of the articles below, over 50% of the money in the bond is not being used for storage, but instead being used to fund the daily operations of agencies who's goal is to deny water to farmers.

Pro-farm interests fought for $2.7-billion in the bond for storage projects, hoping for the possibility of building Temperance Flat. Donnelly states the obvious in his article when he says, "a
nd we all know that the enviro-extremists who aren’t employed by the government will try to strike it rich by blocking any of the legitimate projects funded through this bond, making a payday for these activists groups, but whittling away the funds available for building actual concrete infrastructure."

So, we have to conclude that the $2.7-billion in 'maybe' money for storage might be used someday in the future if we can survive all the lawsuits. But, even then we don't get the water. The 'real' money in the bond, the money we know will be spent, will be spent on environmental 'pork' projects and agencies they support.

It is what it is. We wish it wasn't.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Payoff to the Enviro-Extremists
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly

Proposition #1 isn’t a water infrastructure bond, it’s nothing more than a $7.12 Billion payoff to the enviro-extremists who control natural resources in California. What else do you call it when over 50% of the money is being used to fund the daily operations of those agencies whose goal is deny every drop of water to agriculture and industry in our state so that the fish can flourish while the farmers die. It’s not by accident that over 800,000 acre-feet of water were allowed to flow out to sea in the midst of the worst drought most Californians have ever seen. That’s real power.

Here’s how they plan to use this 40-year money:

- $520 million to improve water quality for “beneficial use,” for
reducing and preventing drinking water contaminants, disadvantaged
communities, and the State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund Small
Community Grant Fund.
- $1.495 billion for competitive grants for multibenefit ecosystem and
watershed protection and restoration projects.
- $810 million for expenditures on, and competitive grants and loans to,
integrated regional water management plan projects.
- $725 million for water recycling and advanced water treatment
technology projects.
- $900 million for competitive grants, and loans for, projects to
prevent or clean up the contamination of groundwater that serves as a
source of drinking water.
- $395 million for statewide flood management projects and activities.

So far, that’s a lot of words to describe a $4.42 Billion jobs program to keep all the enviro-bureaucrats employed for the next few years so they can make life miserable for anyone involved in the production of food or energy.

- $2.7 billion for water storage projects, dams and reservoirs.

When we finally get around to actual infrastructure—that is, water storage and conveyance—there’s only $2.7 Billion left for water storage, and not a penny for conveyance.

If we are going to leverage the future earnings of our children and grandchildren, shouldn’t it be for something that will last at least that long? If Proposition 1 was strictly for building dams, conveyance, and making physical improvements to water storage infrastructure, then it would be worthy of your vote.

The problem is that long after the money has been squandered on all the pet projects the Sacramento leftists couldn’t find funding for, we’ll still be paying and paying and paying. When you spread repayment over 40 years—if we get a favorable enough interest rate—we might only pay double or triple or quadruple the original amount.

However, in a state that needs to build over $750 billion in infrastructure over the next decade, can we afford to waste scarce dollars to fund the day-to-day operations of the same gov’t agencies whose mission is to take more and more control over our private property in the name of the environment?

I’ve been trying to figure out why so many voted for this boondoggle. The new mantra of the Republicans in California is we stand for fiscal conservatism and nothing else. Let’s review that. On one hand, they can legitimately claim that this $7.12 Billion bond has less pork than the $11.2 Billion bond passed in 2009, but never placed on the ballot for fear it would fail. And given the pressures of the drought, I’m sure many of the Central Valley representatives felt compelled to vote for it. But when you look at what we get for what we are paying, it’s hard to justify a sticker price of $7.12 Billion for $2.7 Billion worth of water storage, and no conveyance.

And we all know that the enviro-extremists who aren’t employed by the government will try to strike it rich by blocking any of the legitimate projects funded through this bond, making a payday for these activists groups, but whittling away the funds available for building actual concrete infrastructure.

I must admit that as I pondered why the Democrats voted for something that shrunk the payola available, I realized that perhaps I was being obtuse and missing the obvious. The so-called “Water Bond" passed the legislature on Wednesday, August 13th to great fanfare. Just over two weeks later, on Friday, August 29, a bill to takeover control of groundwater and limit how much private property owners can draw, passed out of the legislature to the governor’s desk.

I believe that in exchange for “allowing” a fraction of what’s needed to be set aside for dams—which the environmentalists loath—the Governor got his Water Bond out in time to ride a white horse to the rescue of the crisis that he and his cohorts created.

What the farmers and industry leaders failed to calculate was that the governor had sold them out long before the ink was even dry on so-called “Water Bond”, agreeing to give the enviro-extremists disguised as gov’t regulators control over the water that flows under their private property.

However you slice it, Proposition 1 is a bad deal for everyone except those who get paid to control us by controlling our water.

That’s why I was the one of only two “NO” votes, and why you should join me in rejecting this indecent proposal.

Drowning in Pork: No on Prop 1
Debbie Bacigalupi, special to the California Political News and Views, 9/22/14
California water, it’s life. Well, perhaps it’s more like gold these days.
California’s history of diverting water to arid, dessert-like San Joaquin Valley creates a bountiful edible garden. A land of life and great prosperity…the breadbasket of the world! A utopia of fruit, nuts, vegetables, milk, beef, eggs, livestock byproducts and the many industries, companies, communities that were created as a result of California’s healthy Ag history. That is until bad policy, poor planning, favoritism, and mother-nature converged into a present day “water crisis” and an excuse for a bill bloated with waste.
Once the world’s 5th largest economy as a rich food-producing state, California’s future is boiling with water problems consistent with irresponsible leadership that did not follow through on its 1960s Water Plans to build more water storage facilities. Instead, agendas consistent with placing the lives of fish over farmers, and therefore its people, find farmers and ranchers kicking up their fallowed land wondering why a government would consider removing dams as a solution for “habitat restoration,” flush millions of acre-feet of water out to “a rising sea”, or shut off water to its own prosperity and livelihood.
To solve California’s “water crises”, a Water Bond Bill worthy of a career politician’s attention has been bubbling to the surface for years now. With too much pork and an expensive price tag in 2010 and 2012, this year is ripe with an “historic” drought and dried up reservoirs to propel fat-laden Prop 1 (AB 1471 (Rendon), the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014)), at a pre-interest tax-payer cost of $7.12 Billion, into the November spotlight, despite drowning in “pork”.
Should Prop 1 pass, here’s what voters should expect at the very least:
  • To fork out $14, 500,000,000 after interest on the initial $7.12 Billion bill; this interest pay back will limit future opportunity to correct California’s water needs and crowd out funding for other necessary projects down the road.
  • An estimated 1% increase in new water storage at a heavy ticket price to “help restore salmon” while suggesting the removal of “fish barriers;” are they suggesting removing dams?
  • Vague and slippery slope language with unknown implications on landowners, farmers, ranchers, thousands of acres, and removal of dams in the guise of “restoration”:
o Section 79731 (b) gives payments to landowners pursuant to CA Department of Fish & Wildlife goals for “the creation of measurable habitat improvements or other improvements to the “condition of endangered or threatened species.”
o Section 79731 (5) “Fulfill the obligations of the State of California in complying with the terms of multiparty settlement agreements related to water resources. (6) Remove barriers to fish passage. (7) Collaborate with federal agencies in the protection of fish native to California and wetlands in the central valley of California.” (12) “Assist in the recovery of endangered, threatened, or migratory species by improving watershed health, instream flows, fish passage, coastal or inland wetland restoration, or other means, such as natural community conservation plan and habitat conservation plan implementation.”
o Section 79736 (e) identifies $475 Million be available for the Natural Resources Agency for any “multiparty settlement agreement”:
  • Originally, the Water Bond Bill called for the largest clean, green, hydroelectric renewable energy DAMS REMOVAL project in US History: an extremely controversial “multiparty settlement agreement” where members of Congress and DOI scientists question the validity of the science used for an agenda to destroy Northern California Klamath River Dams; and, whereby Measure G (2010) proved overwhelmingly (with nearly 80% of the voters in Siskiyou County) that citizens disagreed with the so-called “multiparty settlement agreement” to destroy the four sound, renewable energy Klamath River Dams and their storage reservoirs. Despite overwhelming citizen opposition, the “multiparty” “parties” continue to push Klamath River Dams removal in spite of the financial harm, potential flooding, loss of clean green energy, loss of fire suppressing reservoir water, and undue stress to the community.
o Section 79738 states a portion of $87.5 Million shall be available for CA Dept of Fish & Wildlife for (3) “Scientific studies and assessments that SUPPORT the Delta Science Program” (formerly the Bay Delta Conservation Plan that would restore thousands of acres of delta habitat and install 30-mile tunnels as a way to deliver water from the delta)[2].
  • $1.5 Billion for special interest groups unrelated to water, including: bike trails, hiking trails, and administrative costs.
Spending money on California’s liquid gold does not always equate to more water. But intelligent planning does. California needs MORE storage water. Voters should think that with a year of historic drought, catastrophic wildfires, land going fallow due to government water shut off that our legislatures would create a bill that adds to California’s security and prosperity. This Water Bond Bill does little if anything to improve our situation but rather takes from the taxpayers and adds fear and concern to California’s future.
Prop 1 should NOT be seen as a “better than what we’ve got” water plan. The lesser of two evils is still evil and could prove a poor decision with unknown, long-term implications. Californians deserve better: leave the pork in the pig and the rights to the people.
[1] http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Bay-Delta-Conservation-Plan-diverting-water-5760140.php
[2] http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Bay-Delta-Conservation-Plan-diverting-water-5760140.php

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