I did some research on these guys, read their bios, looked up their political history, and tried to get a sense of why they would come out against the one thing that could lead to some real water
Feb 23, 2016
The people opposed to the proposition that would take money from high-speed rail and divert it to water infrastructure are not convincing us that their argument makes sense. They were on the Ray Appleton Show on KMJ yesterday to explain but we were not impressed. They talk of how hard they've worked for so many years to get Prop 1 passed and it would derail all the progress they've made to get to this point.
We believe these people have got it Exactly Wrong. We also believe that Kristi Diener writing in the California Water for Food and People Movement has it Exactly Right.
From Kristi Diener: The Water Priorities Ballot Initiative is going to have some opposition. It's not surprising. For about the last 40 years, every major construction project ensuring new water for all Californians has been contentiously opposed which is the reason we now find ourselves with inadequate water infrastructure to meet the needs of our population. What is surprising is the valley folks who have recently spoken out publicly in the Fresno Bee against the initiative: Mario Santoyo, assistant to the GM of the Friant Water Authority representing 21 east-side water districts. Manuel Cunha Jr., Nisei Farmer's League President and east-side farmer. Steve Worthley, elected Tulare County Supervisor district four, comprised primarily of east-side farmers. I did some research on these guys, read their bios, looked up their political history, and tried to get a sense of why they would come out against the one thing that could, after all these years, lead to some real water for the entire population of this state. The web of information, including connections to Feinstein and participation in the crafting of Prop 1 is extensive. I have my own opinions as to their motives, but rather than say anything negative about anyone, you can do your own research and draw your own conclusions. I will however add some pictures I found interesting. I also looked into the one and only project they have their sights on, which is Temperance Flat.
Building Temperance Flat would more than double water storage on the San Joaquin River above Friant Dam. It is a worthy endeavor. Among other things, it would increase surface water supplies to the Valley's east side which in turn recharges underground aquifers and wells in places like Porterville. The cost is estimated to be somewhere around $2.5B and $3.3B. Prop 1 contains $2.7B that can be used to fund no more than half of any project and must be used for public benefits including recreation, water quality, and flood control, however, it does not specifically earmark one penny for new dams or water storage projects. Additionally, the money will be allocated through a competitive process in which scores of cities and organizations throughout the state will vie for a slice of the funds for their own proposals. If Temperance Flat was to receive a sliver of the Prop 1 pie nearly three years from now when projects will be ed, it would be no where near enough money to begin any construction. According to Mario Santoyo, their solution is to convince the federal government to pony up an additional $3B needed to get the project built. Now if the project costs between $2.5B and $3.3B, and they plan to ask for $3B from the feds, this tells me they expect to receive a measley $0 - $0.3B from Prop 1 monies. I also have to wonder how likely it is the feds will ante anything to the dam kitty given the history, or why we should keep doing the same thing and keep getting the same useless results? I believe this risky strategy holds little promise, and that hoping the feds will buy us a dam is an idea the clock has run out on.
Contrast that with the Water Priorities Ballot Initiative. This proposition picks up where Prop 1 left off. It takes 100% of the $2.7B, all of it, and combines it with the $8B previously approved for High Speed Rail. It specifically executes and fully funds Temperance Flat as well as Sites Reservoir, plus it increases both Shasta and San Luis Reservoirs. Rather than increasing water supply in a fraction of the state on the east side of the valley, it increases water for the entire state including the east side. It constructs new groundwater storage facilities and recharges existing groundwater aquifers. It modernizes existing facilities, and constructs new ones for water recycling, waste-water treatment, and storm water capture. It puts into our state constitution that people's water needs will be the priority and that cannot be undone by anyone except the voters. It is an any-and-all approach to securing new water for all users, and it does not create any new debt or tax burdens. If it passes it takes effect the next day.
This initiative is all of ours. It is the people saying to the government and its bureaucracies, "You failed. Time's up. It's our turn." This is us taking the reins and leading our water future back to the land of common sense instead of watching from the sidelines for the next hopeful prospect to come and go. This is "We The People" declaring that waiting to a water project to fund until the end of 2018 is not soon enough, and receiving pocket change from the $2.7B 68% of the voters approved and believed would be used for water storage is not money enough. We need water now. We will enact the law ourselves. We are well on our way to achieving success, and the powers that oppose us are afraid. They will launch water cannons from all angles. The closer we get to the finish line, the more they will fire. Keep going. Put on your wetsuit, put on your armor, and surge forth. These are exciting times.
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