Monday, August 31, 2009

Stop the Water Bills

The LA Greens and LA County GP locals have both signed on to the sustainability principles of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN). Now, C-WIN is asking us to all work together to stop the water bills that are currently in the State Legislature. This is one thing that all Greens should get behind.

If you click Read more! I will provide additional information and tell you how to get started. Key grassroots organizations are taking very firm stands. We need to demonstrate the Greens will buck the flood and stand up for doing what is right, not just what may appear to be politically expedient.

First, you should read the letter that C-WIN sent to State Senator Fran Pavley and Assembly Member Jared Huffman. They head the key committees dealing with Water.
The California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) urges you to recommend that your committees reject SB 1 (Simitian) and AB 1 (Huffman). These bills will only coddle certain agricultural water districts to perpetuate their movement to eliminate California’s system of water rights and make water supplies for the future of California’s major urban economic engines, southern California and the South Bay Area less reliable than they now are. Moreover, these bills represent the legislature’s efforts to enact the Governor’s drive on behalf of his conservative agricultural friends in the San Joaquin Valley for new dams and a peripheral canal, neither of which the California Water Impact Network supports.

These bills will add another layer of governance to an already bloated and ineffective bureaucracy in Sacramento. Things are so bad that the Little Hoover Commission has established a committee to study and make recommendations on water governance in California. It would be idiocy for the Democrats, along with Gov. Schwarzenegger, to try and cram through this legislation before the commission has completed it's work. They are a long way from that and are still soliciting applicable testimony.

At the same time, Restore the Delta has commissioned a public opinion poll regarding attitudes toward a new "water conveyance" (euphemism for a peripheral canal). That poll indicated that there is very little support for such an undertaking, given that the budget is in shambles and the cost is high (lowest estimate is $23 Billion).

This is how they suggest using that data.
Dear Legislator:

Attached you will find a copy of a statewide voter survey on water issues conducted on behalf of Restore the Delta by EMC Research of Oakland, CA. EMC Research conducted 800 telephone interviews among registered voters statewide in California from August 23-27, 2009.

The poll indicates that while voters are concerned about water and ensuring a long-term reliable water supply is a "very high priority," all segments of voters are strongly opposed to a Peripheral Canal and very close to half oppose a bond for new dams, reservoirs or other water infrastructure projects.

It is clear there is very little support among the electorate for many of the elements included in the 2009 legislative water package.
I have a copy of that data, but only in image format. I would like to get it as a pdf and will post that when I do. However, here is the key point.

When first asked about the proposed solution, the distribution between those in support of, in opposition to, or undecided respectively was: 28%, 34%, 39%. However, after further being presented some additional background information, those numbers changed to 26%, 70%, 5%. Finally when given the opportunity to review position statements on the proposed legislation, the numbers again changed to 21%, 76%, 3%. In other words, there was some erosion of the supporters and a significant change of the undecided to the opposition position.

Restore the Delta is also calling for a stop to the idiocy being foisted on the people of California by Pavley, Huffman and State Senate Pro tem, Darrell Steinberg. It would seem that they are pushing this now just to head off any organized opposition. Then, I think it is incumbent on us to give them some opposition. I am working to get a Green's position in front of the Little Hoover Commission and, unless we drop the ball on this, it will happen.

So, what should you do? The easiest is to follow the process set up by C-WIN. You can find that here. They provide sample letters, but do not mention the Little Hoover Commission. If you use that, please indicate that it is irresponsible for the Legislature to craft this before the Little Hoover Commission report comes out.

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