The Bully Pulpit
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand says he won't be shy about using his high profile position to push water policy changes in the Central Valley.
Jan 05, 2017
When Families Protecting the Valley started writing our newsletters to inform people what we thought was really going on with California water policy, one of our goals was to try to get local elected officials involved in state water policy decisions. Over the years we have kept plugging away and we are starting to see our goal come to be.
For example, new Fresno Mayor Lee Brand says he won't be shy about using his high profile position to push water policy changes in the Central Valley. The Fresno Bee reports that Brand will use "Supervisor Buddy Mendes, a Riverdale farmer whose district encompasses southern and western Fresno County, as “my resident expert” on the Valley’s agricultural water situation."
Brand goes on to say "I’ll look to people like Buddy, his advice, and try to make this better for everybody. We’re all in this together. It’s not just Fresno and Fresno County; it’s Kings, Tulare, this whole region, and my job is to push that agenda. Agriculture is still the No. 1 industry in this county and water is absolutely essential, so I’ll use the bully pulpit of this position to advocate for that.”
We're glad to see that the new Fresno Mayor understands that his position can have influence on policy decisions that aren't necessarily issues the City of Fresno can directly impact. If Brand can harness the power of mayors, city councils and boards of supervisors in the region to collectively advocate for water policy changes on the state and federal level, we believe he can have a positive impact.
We were also glad to see Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau travel to Modesto to tell the State Water Resources Control Board what he thought about their plans for the use of water in the Toulumne, Merced, Stanislaus and Sacramento rivers.
KMJNOW reported that "Steve Brandau was one of hundreds who showed up in Modesto at a public hearing dealing with a water plan to take about 40% of water from tributaries that flow into the Delta. The water, according to the State Water Resources Control Board, would be used to help increase fish populations. Brandau told the Board the entire Central Valley is at stake if more water is taken away from communities and farms.
If people think the Trump administration will solve all our problems, they are mistaken. The State Water Board still has a lot of power and it will take the effort of everyone in the Central Valley to fight for our fair share of water.
Our thanks to Lee Brand, Steve Brandau and Buddy Mendes for realizing they have something to do with these decisions. We will continue to urge others to get involved.
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