Water bond campaigner reveals measure would lose 'pretty dramatically'

By Dan Bacher | November 2, 2013 | Joe Caves, a “campaign manager” for three successful water bonds, told attendees at a dinner of the S...

By Dan Bacher | November 2, 2013 |

Joe Caves, a “campaign manager” for three successful water bonds, told attendees at a dinner of the Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) on October 24 that the bond that is currently on the 2014 ballot would lose "pretty dramatically."

The legislature doesn’t have a very good record of passing successful water bonds, according to Caves. 

“The one passed in 2009 was the first one they even managed to get a 2/3rds vote on since 2000," said Caves. "And that one was constructed in a way necessary to put legislative compromises together, but also created elements of it that created opposition to the bond."

"The polling that we did after that bond passed was such that it started out with so much baggage, it was so large, and the opposition was so significant that all of our polling showed it going down in 2010. It showed the same thing in 2012, and it’s showing today that the bond that’s on the 2014 ballot would go down pretty dramatically," he explained.

"The Delta opposition to the current BDCP is great enough in the Delta communities that particularly in the Bay Area and Northern California, it tends to translate into this north-south water grab issue that fundamentally doomed the peripheral canal back in 1982," said Caves. "All of our polling indicates that if that’s the message that Northern California has and if there are credible messengers pushing that, it’s very easy to defeat a bond, any bond."

Responding to Cave's comments, Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s peripheral tunnels that would drain the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and doom Central Valley salmon and other Pacific fisheries, called on the governor to abandon his proposed tunnels.

“Voters are not going to stick ourselves with a $7 billion bill to mitigate damage from the proposed water export tunnels,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “The tunnels can’t go forward without a certain source of funding to mitigate its disastrous effects."

"If voters won’t approve that funding, and water-takers won’t pay for the damage they’ll do, then it’s time to abandon this unworkable project. What now, Governor Brown? How are you going to spin the tunnels going forward?“ she asked.

Tunnel opponents say the BDCP is a badly-conceived Nineteenth Century "solution" to Twenty-First Century problems that will cost Californians an estimated $54.1 billion.

The construction of the peripheral tunnels would hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and green sturgeon, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. It will take vast quantities of fertile Delta farmland out of agricultural production, under the guise of "habitat restoration," to facilitate the diversion of massive quantities of water to irrigate corporate mega-farms on toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, according to tunnel opponents.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan officials announced on Monday that the release of the BCCP documents, originally slated for release in mid-November 2013, has been delayed to December 13, 2013, the result of the federal shutdown. 

Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) Background: According to the Committee's website, "The Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) — established in 1984 — is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public education partnership dedicated to informing Southern Californians about our water needs and our state’s water resources. Through measured advocacy, SCWC works to ensure the health and reliability of Southern California’s water supply." The group is "being paid by the Brown Administration to push its tunnels," reported Restore the Delta.

For more information and action alerts, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org

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