California water bond measure may re-ignite the north/south war of 1982

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November 17, 2009

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta

STOCKTON, California: Democratic assemblywoman Noreen Evans said that the $11 billion water bond on the June 2010 ballot may be "the same tired story all over again." Her comment referred to the Peripheral Canal Vote of 1982, when northern California voters went to the ballot box to overturn a plan of the California State Legislature to divert water from northern California to southern California through a concrete canal starting on the periphery of the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta that would have moved water resources south.

Republican assemblyman Charles DeVore, criticizing the water bond from a different perspective, said that it is approximately double what it would take to "add water and fix the ecologically fragile delta." He asks, "Why is it that the price tag for this is a little more than double what it takes to do the job?"[1]

The $11 billion water bond bill includes about $2 billion in earmarks for projects that "lawmakers candidly acknowledge were included in the proposal to win the votes that were needed to pass the plan out of the Legislature."[1]

Examples of projects that would be funded if the proposition passes, but which are not related to improving the quality of California's water system, are:

  • $40 million to educate the public about California's water.[1]
  • $100 million for aLake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program for watershed restoration, bike trails and public access and recreation projects.
  • $75 million for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, for public access, education and interpretive projects.
  • $20 million for the Baldwin Hills Conservancy to be used to buy more land. The conservancy is near the home of Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.
  • $20 million for the Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach for interpretive projects for visitors.[1]

Gov. Schwarzenegger said, ""When you hear about pork, what is for some people pork is for us cleaning up the groundwater."[1]

The amount of money requested in the bill was increased by $1.15 billion in an all-night session that ended just hours before the bill was approved.

See also