Ag Is Public Benefit!!
That's right. To try to get water for ag supporters have to make a proposal that promises that ag won't get the water.
Jan 30, 2018
We think most people would agree that we all want Temperance Flat to provide water for agriculture. The 2014 Prop 1 Water Bond will provide public money for proposed projects that have the necessary 'public benefits'. The probem Temperance Flat has is that the state no longer regards farming as a public benefit. So to convince the California Water Commission that they should fund part of the project, supporters have to put together a proposal that doesn't give water to agriculture. That's right. To try to get water for ag supporters have to make a proposal that promises that ag won't get the water.
It is a sad state of affairs that farming is no longer considered a 'public benefit' by the State of California. There was a time when most of these water projects like Shasta, Oroville and Friant Dams and the Central Valley Project were built that farming was considered a public benefit. Getting inexpensive water to farmers would allow them to grow crops that would be more affordable to the people. There wasn't a lot of debate about this. If water is more expensive, food will cost more. Making it less expensive, therefore, is a public benefit.
JFK could see the benefit when he spoke at the ground breaking ceremony of the San Luis Dam when he said, "We always have some different ideas of how that course of action can be made more perfect, and yet in this case, one part of your State has been willing to help another part...Nothing could be more disastrous for this country than for the citizens of one part of the State to feel that everything that they have is theirs and it should not be shared with other citizens of this State."
Republicans and Democrats worked together to put these water projects together for the benefit of all Californians. But now, farming is no longer a public benefit. To build Temperance Flat you have to prove that it will help the fish, help the Delta and the less for farming the better. Anything that goes to farming doesn't count.
How could this be? For years now, farmers are no longer called farmers. Environmentalists have branded farmers as 'Big Corporate Ag', nameless money-grubbing people sucking off the public trough. They say they're only in it for their corporate profits. Even in the Central San Joaquin Valley where the major newspaper is the Fresno Bee, letters to the editor like this one aren't uncommon:
"Temperance Dam only helps wealthy ag get more taxpayer subsidized water to support their failed business plans, something not allowed under Prop 1. And of course ag won't pony up their half of the cost, also required under Prop 1. This is going to be a political war for who can buy the most politicians to serve their narrow interests very quickly."
Or this one:
George Folsom · Fresno Ciy College
"It is clear that the cost of TFD could never be paid for by Ag and industry water users so they claim the small amount of water the project will allow for environmental benefit is worth $billions of dollars. It’s just another way to have the taxpayers subsidize Ag and industrial users or tax the poor to make the top 10% richer."
When Central Valley farmers even lose the support of the people of the Valley, they're in trouble. But, what's most surprising about the supporters of Temperance Flat is that they're surprised by all this. Nothing is new here. The State of California through the Dept. of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board have been signaling their disdain for farming (Big Ag) for years.
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