Farmers, businesses and central California political leaders are holding the rally to support Assemblyman Jim Patterson’s request for a special legislative session to address the drought. It will be held in Rojas-Pierce Park, Mendota, Calif, at 11:00 a.m. October 2.
There are lots of reasons to ask the governor for the special session. One is to make sure politicians understand that the choice is fish or people. Right now, we need a change in the mindset of the people who are in charge of the delta water, to make sure they make responsible decisions. Remember last spring when five federal and state water agencies approved a plan which would have sent more delta water south?
The plan was to increase the flow during the two months that the excess water is not needed to protect fish or prevent salt water intrusion in the delta. We could have had a small surplus of water and it would not have hurt anyone’s special interest. The release was approved by everyone – except one man, Thomas Howard, the executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board. He’s a University of California Berkeley and Davis trained scientist who has been with the board for 26 years, rising to deputy director in 2000 and executive director in 2010. He did not want the flow to happen, and he was able to stop it, even though everyone else with a stake in the game said it wouldn’t hurt anything and would benefit the farmers and cities down south.
That’s the short-term political problem we need to solve. In the long-term, we need permanent solutions. We need to keep the pressure on to make sure the funding for dams and water projects doesn’t go away and the projects move forward quickly.
So – see you Friday, 11:00, Rojas-Pierce Park, Mendota.
I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West.