What did he get for his money? Some attention, it appears...
In a June 28, 1999 letter [PDF], Sen. Diane Feinstein asks Sec. Interior Babbit to look into the increase in prices and drop in reliability on the west side of the San Joaquin valley. She says:
I think that this situation is untenable if we are to provide fairness and certainty, which should be a basic commitment of federal water policy.In a July 12, 1999 letter [PDF] to Feinstein, Sagouspe says
I recognize that there are legitimate environmental issues that must be dealt with and resolved. However, it is virtually impossible to continue to do this on the backs of the federal export water users. There are broader implications associated with such a course of action than most people realize. An entire segment of California's economy is at risk here.Note the Delta smelt comment. That was ten years ago!
There are several issues that will surface in the immediate future that can produce a crisis and you can expect to see these shortly. These include but are not limited to the issue of contract renewals, makeup water for delta smelt pump restrictions, B2 policy, and Trinity River fish flow increases.
In a September 9, 1999 reply [PDF], Feinstein says "thank you for taking the time to contact me" -- and not much else.
10 years later, Sagouspe tells Feinstein [PDF] that California and the country are experiencing "a colossal failure of political leadership." He goes on to say:
It is true that we are experiencing a drought in California, but this is only the final nail in the coffin for California water users... there is absolute no excuse for today's abandonment of common sense for political expediency that is so pervasive in today's political environment. Our current political system has bankrupted this once great state by allowing runaway environmental regulations along with a failure to invest in water system infrastructure to completely destroy California's economic engine.I added the emphasis to the text above, and you can guess how I would comment on each carefully-wrought phrase.
You now have a situation where millions of acres of prime farmland are out of water costing billions in economic value and huge job losses. You are about to see an additional 23 million people in Southern California face a similar situation, and your hometown will be there soon. All of this was predicted and preventable, had there only been some leadership.
The president and governor must declare a state of emergency for California. Water must start flowing again immediately or you will lose those additional 40,000 jobs from the Agricultural sector over the next few months. You will also lose many more thousands of jobs from other California businesses if this situation is not corrected immediately. You also see a dramatic loss in domestic food production capabilities, requiring the nation to become still further dependent on foreign food sources, which raises the issue beyond just the economy to one of national security. There is simply no time to waste.
Many of us will not survive this disaster. The infrastructure that made us great is in shambles. California was once considered the bread basket of the world and the greatest state in the union. Tomorrow, California will be little more than a third world country. Businesses are leaving as fast as they can and there is little wonder why. I have already moved half of my assets out of California, and if I could move my almond orchards out of state I would.
In closing I would like to thank you for reading this. You may not be hearing from me much longer, as I may be one of the ones that do not survive. Just remember that inaction is no longer an option. Tough choices need to be made and they need to be made now or the social fabric of our being and our way of life will be gone. We don't need or want a bailout. What we do want is the freedom to make a living without unreasonable government interference. Please keep in mind that agriculture is about the only sector of the economy not looking for handouts; we are simply looking for a chance to succeed at what we do best, providing jobs, and abundant quality food at affordable prices for everyone to share in.
Diane, only someone like you can accomplish this major task. I just hope that you do not wait too long to forcefully weigh in. What a legacy it would be for you to lead the effort that puts California back on a path towards prosperity. It was not that long ago when California led the nation in education, innovation, infrastructure, and prosperity. With your leadership, greatness is once again attainable.
The one phrase that I do want to expand on is "What we do want is the freedom to make a living without unreasonable government interference." Excuse me, but Westlands would NOT exist if not for the massive government projects that bring water to a VERY dry area.
Bottom Line: He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.