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Senators & Water

The race, according to polls, is for second place between Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Tom Del Beccaro

May 23, 2016

There's a race for Barbara Boxer's seat in the U.S. Senate, but you would hardly know it with all the noise about the Presidential race.  Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein were both elected to the Senate in 1992 and Central Valley farmers have been losing water ever since.  From the 1992 CVPIA to the 1993 ESA listing of the Chinook Salmon to the 1994 ESA listing of the Delta Smelt to the 1995 Cal/Fed Program to the San Joaquin River Restoration, the Central Valley has lost over 5-million acre feet from our water supply.  All of that supposedly for fish, yet not any quantifiable improvements to fish populations.  

And, in the midst of the current drought our Senators haven't been able to get a drought bill through the Senate.  Both Boxer and Feinstein have been there for 24 years.  Now, Boxer is leaving and the odds-on favorite to take her place is California Attorney General Kamala Harris.  As an L.A. Times editorial says, "But another reason there's been so little attention paid to the Senate race — the first open Senate seat in California in more than 20 years — is that there's a sense of inevitability about the outcome."  The race, according to polls, is for second place between Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Tom Del Beccaro to move on to the November general election.  

What do we know about these candidates and their views on California water policy?  Harris supports the ESA and says “there’s just no question about that.”  She added, “both (the environment and agriculture) can be protected...and I reject a false choice that you are on one side or the other – that it’s either a fish or a farmer.”  Farmers might disagree.  According to the Times she has little knowledge of proposed reservoirs.  "Asked her views Tuesday on the Sites proposal, Harris said “I am not familiar with it.” She gave the same answer about Temperance Flat.

Sanchez, the Democrat Congresswoman from Southern California is at least willing to look at the ESA.  “Everything needs to be on the table when we go in to find a solution,” she said, adding it would be “very difficult to do” politically.  She also doesn't sound too familiar with the reservoir situation.  "Sanchez did not specifically address the Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley, and said the Temperance Flat Dam on the San Joaquin River “would be a little more difficult to do,” but did not take a stand on it."

Republican Tom Del Beccaro, on the other hand, has a comprehensive water plan on his website.  He says, "We are losing the water war to environmentalists and bureaucrats because most California voters don't know that the real problem is mismanagement, not a lack of water."  He supports a pro-growth policy with new storage.  He's the only viable candidate we've seen with a comprehensive water plan for the state.  You can see his plan HERE.

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