Initiative That Threatens Delta Tunnels Qualifies For Nov. 2016 Ballot

By Dan Bacher | November 4, 2015 | Governor Jerry Brown has done everything he can to prevent his environmentally destructiv...

By Dan Bacher | November 4, 2015 |

Governor Jerry Brown has done everything he can to prevent his environmentally destructive Delta Tunnels Plan from being approved by a vote by the public, but California voters in the November 2016 election will get a chance to stop the tunnels and other multi-billion dollar government projects from going forward without voter approval if they approve a Constitutional Amendment. 

The "No Blank Checks Initiative," now poised for qualification on the November 8, 2016 Ballot, would force voter approval for public infrastructure bonds amounting to more than $2 billion and requiring new or increased taxes or fees. 

If the initiative passes, it would prevent the multi-billion dollar "California Water Fix" Delta Tunnels Plan from being financed without a vote by the public. 

Supporters have turned in 932,966 signatures for the measure that is spearheaded by Dean Cortopassi, a Stockton region farmer and landowner who has run a number of high profile media ads in recent years opposing the construction of a Peripheral Canal or Delta Tunnels. Cortopassi and his wife, Joan, have contributed $4 million to the initiative effort. 

In a statement released on November 3, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said that the group has not taken an official position on the initiative. 

"Dean Cortopassi has not been a board member with Restore the Delta since the end of 2012," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "His total contributions over our nine-year history make up 2.4% of our total money raised. Restore the Delta was not consulted regarding the ballot initiative and has not taken a position on it, but we do support the ability of California voters to be heard when it comes to spending billions of dollars on a water project that is not designed to restore the Delta or solve the drought challenges we are facing today.” 

Cortopassi, the Co-Owner of Stanislaus Food Products in Modesto, was not available for comment on the initiative at press time. 

You can expect strong opposition to the "No Blank Checks Initiative" by corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, developers, construction unions and companies, oil companies, Southern California water agencies and other Big Money interests that will aim to profit from the construction of the massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. 

“It would be very problematic for creating a secure water supply in California,” Robin Swanson, a consultant working with the pro-tunnels Californians for Water Security, told the Sacramento Bee Monday.  

The initiative's official ballot title is: Revenue Bonds. Infrastructure Projects. State Legislature and Voter Approval. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. 

According to the official summary, the initiative: 

"Requires State Legislature approve use of revenue bonds for public infrastructure projects funded, owned, or operated by the state or any joint agency that includes the state, if the bond amount exceeds $2 billion and repayment requires new, increased, or extended taxes, fees, or other charges. Requires that legislatively approved projects be presented on statewide ballot for voter approval. Applies to previously approved projects if remaining bond amount exceeds $2 billion. Requires that specified project information for all state bonds be included in voter ballot pamphlet." 

The Delta Tunnels, a project that would hasten the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other species, could cost ratepayers and taxpayers up to $68 billion. 

Restore the Delta and allied conservation, fishing and community organizations on October 30, 2015 announced the filing of more than 30,000 comments on the EIR/EIS by members of the public at large at a press conference at the State Capitol in Sacramento. A complete report on the event with photos can be viewed here.

For detailed analysis of opposition to the Delta Tunnels, please visit this collection of Comment Letters on BDCP/California Water Fix New Draft EIR/EIS 2015.

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Anonymous said...

It will get defeated by the big money interests, just like Elk Grove, the steaming dumpster fire, I mean best city that money can buy.

Just like Proposition F in San Francisco was defeated by $8 million spent by AirBnB to defeat the measure.

Warren Buffett said...

MWD of LA (remember Mono Lake) seems to be hedging their bet in case the vote goes "south" on them. Excerpt from new article:

"In the classic movie Chinatown the villain and the head of the water district played by the late John Huston says, "Either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water". In a scenario eerily reminiscent of a scene in the film, when the LA Department of Power and Water buys up land in the Owens Valley in order to seize Owens River water, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is considering purchasing land in the imperiled Delta to "bring L.A. to the water".

The parcels consist of four islands - Webb Tract, Bouldin Island, Holland Tract and Bacon Island - that are now in agricultural production. The total acreage of the parcels is 20,000 acres. They are controlled by Zurich American Corporation, the U.S. subsidiary of a Swiss insurance company."

Anonymous said...

Bullet train and drilling for oil on his property, what will Brown do next!

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