Nov 27, 2017
WATER WORKSHOP 64: Water Bonds. Before we approve more money for this state government, we must change the state government.
By Wayne Western Jr.
Just what we need: More California bond debt. As voters, we should prioritize the things we need. We should also ask ourselves when is a good time to say we have had enough of approving and funding things that never happen? More water bonds are not a priority. The people managing any would-be bond money are the priority, and they should be replaced with responsible adults.
Everyone is fairly familiar with the latest bond that voters approved. From 2014, it was Prop. 1. Voters approved $7.54 Billion that was largely sold to the public to build water infrastructure. Prop 1. in fact supposedly does the following: $2.7 Billion for water storage, $1.49 Billion for watershed restoration, $900 Million for groundwater clean-up, $810 Million for water reliability projects, $725 Million for water recycling, $520 Million for water quality projects, and $395 Million for flood management.
Since 2014, we suffered one of the worst droughts in the history of the state, and the spillway on the tallest dam in the United States collapsed. We are told the Delta is on the verge of collapse both in infrastructure and water quality. Other infrastructure throughout the state is in ruins, and we have subsidence occurring in some areas of the Central Valley which also causes damage to infrastructure.
I think everyone can agree that water is a basic human need. With all of these catastrophic events and possibilities, one would think bond money, already approved by voters, would be dispersed immediately to remedy and thwart disasters. At least one would think that water would be treated with the same urgency as roads, right? After all, our governor and legislature forced through an emergency gas tax, without voter approval, worth $5.2 Billion, per year!
These new bonds slated for the 2018 ballot are more of the same. We talked about one of them during the last session of the legislature: SB5 by Kevin De Leon. Get ready for the commercials. What you will hear is how SB5 is about water reliability and water quality for growing demand, with a growing population, in a changing climate. You will also hear that this bill also contains money for parks and trails and will better serve disadvantaged communities. What you probably will not hear is that SB5 contains language to offer up a voluntary program to give up water rights that cover about one million acre-feet of water.
The other bond headed for the ballot will be sold to the public as a means to cover what SB5 does not. You will hear the name, Jerry Meral, a former Deputy Director of DWR. He is gathering signatures, has the money, and even has some agriculture backing. Jerry’s bond will not fund any new dams either, but might fix a few canals. These two bonds are worth more than $14 Billion.
The issue in 2018 in regards to these bonds is that they will not compete. In an effort to not confuse or annoy the voter, attempts will be made to pass both. Kevin De Leon and Jerry Meral will compliment one another’s work and probably sell them both to the public as a complete package. Half of this bond money has nothing to do with water, just like much of the gas tax will have nothing to do with road repair. I will vote no on both, as I did on Prop. 1.
While people like Jerry Brown, and Kevin De Leon, focus on the issues and continually cost taxpayers more money and show no results, we should focus on them. We should leave the issues where they are until we find better people to manage them, and our money. Before we approve more money to this state government, we should change the state government.
|Two multi-billion dollar bonds, having little or nothing to do with water projects such as dams, will make the ballot in 2018. With a long record of political capital for water projects misappropriated, this voter's goodwill has run out. They're both a "no" for me.|