Voters Agenda: Candidates evade thorny water issues

As this election season dribbles down to its final days, it might seem like water torture for many voters – drip, drip, drip.

Yet the real torture is waiting for leading candidates to offer honest and detailed positions on a crucial resource of California – the water we drink and dedicate to farming, industry and fisheries.

Gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman have offered policy platforms on water, but they both dodge some key issues. Whitman supports the $11 billion water bond that the governor removed from the November ballot. Brown has been more circumspect. Whitman has pandered to growers in the San Joaquin Valley by saying she’d favor farms over fish. Brown has criticized her for such pandering, but hasn’t detailed how he’d resolve disputes over imperiled Delta smelt and salmon and the big Delta pumps that suck water (and fish) to farms and cities to the south.

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/10/24/3125498/candidates-evade-thorny-water.html#ixzz13PBXV9KP

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GOP taps water as wedge issue in Fresno County

For the 10,000 residents of this overwhelmingly Latino city, the message on gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s advertisement is designed to hit home: Mendota’s unemployment rate is 39.9 percent.

Like many places in the southern San Joaquin Valley, this sleepy town in western Fresno County has been sucked dry in recent years by drought, the reduction of water pumping from the Delta to save endangered fish, and a relentless poverty that grinds at the town’s soul. You can see the effect in the downcast eyes of the men wearing cowboy hats who saunter by the billboard on their way to play a round of pool or buy a 24-ounce Budweiser at the nearby 7-Eleven to ease their troubles, at least for one hot afternoon.

For the GOP, the misery brings political opportunity. Republican operatives think they can persuade Latinos, independents and conservative Democrats in this swing county that their interests lie in a pro-business, pro-agriculture, pro-water agenda. The Democratic Party is fighting back, arguing that voters here need political leaders who advocate for economic and social justice — including comprehensive immigration reform.

Read more…

GOP taps water as wedge issue in Fresno County

MENDOTA — “Mas trabajos,” says the billboard. More jobs.

For the 10,000 residents of this overwhelmingly Latino city, the message on gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s advertisement is designed to hit home: Mendota’s unemployment rate is 39.9 percent.

Like many places in the southern San Joaquin Valley, this sleepy town in western Fresno County has been sucked dry in recent years by drought, the reduction of water pumping from the delta to save endangered fish, and a relentless poverty that grinds at the town’s soul. You can see the effect in the downcast eyes of the men wearing cowboy hats who saunter by the billboard on their way to play a round of pool or buy a 24-ounce Bud at the nearby 7-Eleven to ease their troubles, at least for one hot afternoon.

For the GOP, the misery brings political opportunity. Republican operatives believe they can persuade Latinos, independents and conservative Democrats in this swing county that their interests lie in a pro-business, pro-agriculture, pro-water agenda. The Democratic Party is fighting back, arguing that voters here need political leaders who advocate for economic and social justice — including comprehensive immigration reform.

Read more…