Viewpoint: California water issues won’t wait for bond vote

Now that California lawmakers have pulled an $11 billion water bond measure off the November ballot, California is facing new questions about how to fix our long-standing water problems, including the long-term health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the future reliability of our water supply.

A number of commentators have praised or pilloried the delay of the bond, but one thing we can all agree on is that California’s water challenges have not gone away. The recent state Water Resources Control Board report that finds we must halve our water withdrawals from the rivers and streams that sustain the Delta is simply one more indication that we have over-tapped California’s precious water resources and that we must find innovative ways to do more with less.

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Mercury News editorial: Delay in state water bond vote presents opportunity

The recent decision to delay Proposition 18 for two years was inevitable, since backers of the $11.1 billion water bond measure correctly perceived that it could not win voter approval in November. But California cannot wait until 2012 to begin restoring the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the supplier of half of Silicon Valley’s water.

The next governor and the Legislature must use that time to improve the delta’s aging levees, fix its ecosystem by improving the water flow throughout the estuary, and reduce the amount of the bond — by removing some pork-barrel spending — to make the 2012 bond more palatable to voters.

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The real opportunity is to completely privatize water in Calfironia. That way, market forces would sort out issues of scarcity and price.

Voters should have gotten a chance on water bond

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

While water bond proponents like Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrat Senate Pro Tem, Darrell Steinberg, scrambled for the two-thirds vote necessary to snatch Proposition 18 from the jaws of almost certain defeat at the hands of deficit and economy weary voters in November – the measure’s environmental and conservationist opponents – having joined forces with good governance, education and taxpayer rights advocates – lost their bid to keep the initiative alive. Not to pass it, but to present it as a sacrificial lamb for voters to slaughter as a warning to future legislative attempts to govern by favoring special interests over the best interests of the state’s economic and natural resources.

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Comment: Right. Voters should have been allowed to veto this turkey of a water bond. Now, they’ll have to wait another two years to do so.

Bakersfield Californian: Fat won’t make water bond float

If California lawmakers and the governor are earnest about addressing the state’s water problems, they should break out the butcher knife and hack away at the fat loading down a stalled, $11 billion water bond.

With the flaccid economy and state finances in distress, they recognized the bond measure had no chance of passing in the November general election and, wisely, removed it from the ballot and shelved it until 2012.

The bond’s ostensible purpose was to fund a series of projects to improve the state’s water storage and conveyance plumbing, with particular focus on the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the heart of California’s water supply. Such steps are necessary to sustain our burgeoning population and vital farm industry.

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Comment: Better yet, instead of bonds, these water projects should be paid for on a pay-as-you-go basis.

California Puts Off Huge Water-Upgrade Effort

California lawmakers have voted to delay putting an $11.1 billion water bond to voters, extending a battle to rework the biggest effort in decades to upgrade the state’s water system.

The legislators also agreed to lengthen the terms of California’s nine water commissioners appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a change that some critics of the governor say could give him influence over the direction of the state’s water projects after leaving office in January. The commissioners’ terms would have ended at a various times over the next few years; they will now all hold their positions until May 2014.

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Water bond delay: When a loss is still a victory

On Monday night, the California legislature voted on a proposal to postpone Proposition 18, the $11 billion water bond, to the 2012 ballot. For bond opponents, there were moments of celebration, as when Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-Santa Rosa), a bond supporter last year, spoke in favor of pulling the bond from the ballot indefinitely. There were also moments of frustration, as when bond opponent Sandre Swanson (D- Alameda/Oakland) flipped his vote last minute and opted to keep the bond afloat for another two years.

In the end, the push to postpone the bond to 2012 passed by the smallest of margins. It’s not what bond opponents wanted. Ideally, the legislature would have seen the light and scrapped it altogether, or let the voters pull the plug this November so we could get to work on better approaches.

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Comment: In 2012, the bond is going to be just as bad, and the state just as broke — so it’ll lose then, too.

Calif. lawmakers pull $11B water bond from ballot


After some intense late-night vote wrangling, California lawmakers on Monday answered Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s call to pull an $11.1 billion water bond off the November ballot.

The Legislature narrowly passed two bills that would postpone the vote until 2012 and delay the terms of the nine members of the California Water Commission, which is tasked with allocating some of the bond funds.

The bills, AB1260 and AB1265, passed relatively easily through the state Senate, but ran into heavy opposition in the Assembly. It took several rounds of voting to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to pass AB1265, and there wasn’t a vote to spare.

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Comment: They should have left the bonds on the ballot, so they would lose.

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