Ever the opportunist, California Governor Jerry Brown doesn’t want a water bond measure on the November ballot for his pet twin tunnels project over fears it could hurt his reelection prospects.
While I oppose the twin tunnels plan, a massive water grab which would shunt water away from the Sacramento Delta and send it southward, hugely benefiting big labor that would build it and big banks who would finance it, Gov. Brown is clearly showing he considers reelection above his alleged interests for the state at large. After all, he’s honked loudly and obnoxiously about how the tunnels must be constructed. Now he backs away from that because he wants to be reelected. After his presumed reelection, he’ll no doubt try again to finance the tunnels.
Another reason to oppose the water bonds is because they are so filled with pork and special interests funding that voters have twice rejected them.
“There’s not going to be a water bond this year. No way,” said one legislative staff member working on the issue who requested anonymity. “Brown’s presenting himself to voters as the guy who just paid down California’s debt. Putting more debt on the ballot when he’s up for re-election would be a mixed message.”
California Governor Jerry Brown wants to build two massive tunnels to siphon water away from the Sacramento Delta to Central Valley agriculture and Los Angeles. Despite much pious and evasive posturing, it’s clear Brown will cheerfully let the Delta die. A top water aide let this slip saying the tunnel plan “is not about, and has never been about, saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved.” If built though, it will send large amounts of money to two of Brown’s pet constituencies, big labor unions and the investment banks who will underwrite the bonds. Anyone who thinks Brown is still a moonbeam liberal who cares about the environment isn’t paying attention.
The Bay Area gets two-thirds of its water from the delta and will do whatever it takes to preserve the delta from Brown’s cynical and irresponsible attempt to grab its water.
The best way to improve the health of the Delta is to fix the damaged levee system and allow more water to flow through the estuary, not less. Additional water for cities and agriculture can come from increased recycling and from expanding reservoirs and using underground aquifers for more storage.
Historians now question whether humorist Mark Twain actually uttered the famous quotation: “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.” If he didn’t, he should have. Northern Californians are in for the water fight of their lives — and with the likely cost in dollars and in water, it’s a fight they can’t afford to lose.
California governor Jerry Brown is full-tilt in favor of spending $68 billion on high speed rail and $14 billion on water projects, cheerfully ignoring that California can barely keep the lights on now.
“You’ve got to build to accommodate the growth,” Brown said. “California is not stopping. We’re not some tired country in Europe.”
I completely agree. California certainly isn’t like Europe, where countries admit they have problems and are trying to solve them. California politicians like Jerry Brown would probably remain relentlessly and mindlessly perky even if a 9.0 quake dumped half the state into the Pacific Ocean.
On the day of the Facebook public offering, Brown championed California as a place of innovation, saying, “This is where they invented Facebook…. This is still the Wild West.”
The governor was quickly reminded that Facebook was invented in Cambridge, MA.
American Leftist takes the interesting view that California Gov. Jerry Brown is just another out-of-touch, uncaring member of the 1%, and as such, supports them not us.
Jerry Brown has never had kids, never had to rely upon the public educational system for his education, never had to worry about getting retrained in order to reenter the workforce and never had to confront being sick with little or no money. No wonder he displays such a lack of understanding about the struggle of millions of people in this state to stay off the streets, feed themselves and educate their children. He remains, as he has always been, a self-absorbed trust fund kid incapable of maintaining any personal bond with the lived experience of the majority of people in this state.
The Kabuki Theater that is the California budget crisis continues. Republicans ask for the moon, then perhaps unknowingly use a classic Saul Alinsky tactic, while Gov. Brown freezes state hiring except for his staff and whomever else he might want to exempt.
On Feb. 15, California Republican legislators demanded Gov. Brown enact his $12 billion in proposed budget cuts before they vote on whether to approve his special election on the budget and taxes scheduled for June 7. Brown needs at least a few Republican votes for the special election to pass (assuming all Democrats vote yes.) Part of what Republicans want includes public pension reductions. The effective deadline for this to happen would be March 7, as the state needs three months to prepare for the election. But it’s simply not possible for the governor to implement sweeping public pension reform in a couple of weeks. Plus, even if he could, it’s a certainty that CalPERS and public unions would sue to block it, tying it up in court for years. The Republicans also want a permanent cap on spending, less regulations, tax reform, and liberals to be banished to the netherworld forever. (No, wait, that last one can’t be right”¦) Clearly, these demands are either a Republican ploy to block the special election from happening or ask for the moon then presumably settle for less.
Last Thursday, Republicans upped the ante saying they won’t vote to put taxes on the ballot even if Brown does magically slash pension benefits and impose a spending cap. Republican Sen. Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga said, “They [Democrats] really don’t need us to govern at all. They just need us if they want to raise taxes.” The senator may not be aware of this, but this is a classic organizing technique described by Saul Alinksy as “Eyes, Ears, and Nose.”
Eyes:”If you have a vast organization, parade it before the enemy, openly show your power.”
Ears:”If your organization is small, do what Gideon did: conceal the members in the dark but raise a clamor that will make the listener believe that your organization numbers many more that it does.”
Nose: “If your organization is too tiny even for noise, stink up the place.”
And that’s just what the Republicans are doing, stinking up the place. It’s generally an effective tactic too.
Meanwhile, Gov. Brown instituted a hiring freeze for state employees. However, he exempts top-level appointments for his administration as well as agencies performing “core functions.” He says this will save $363 million a year. However, the state payroll will be $15 billion this year, so that’s a 2.4% cut which isn’t a whole lot more than a rounding error. Given that “core functions” remain tantalizingly undefined, we can certainly expect a multitude of state agencies to claim they do indeed qualify, which should lead to some exciting and savage infighting indeed.
Republicans denounced the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office report on how to solve the budget crisis without new taxes as essentially being scare tactics from Democrats to force the budget special election. So, as you can see, the two parties remain far apart. Both sides engage in Kabuki, with often insincere efforts primarily meant for show, fifteen second sound bites, and a rallying cry for their base.
Folks, I spend a good amount of time out of California. When I mention California’s budget problems to people in other states, a not uncommon reaction is that they roll their eyes, giggle, and say something like, “Well, California really is the poster child for incompetence, isn’t it?” The Golden State has become a laughingstock. It doesn’t have to be this way. But if the state as whole doesn’t change, and fast, then events will force that change.