26 Aug 2009

Boldly (Wrong) Politicians

People send me some of the water agit/prop from California politicians.

Steve Poizner is running for governor in 2010, and he has a "solution" for our water problems. Here's one bit:
Utilize The Governor’s Executive Power To Get Water To Where It’s Needed. As Governor, Steve Poizner will exercise his full authority under the law to ensure that water gets to drought-stricken parts of our state [1]. Although he recognizes the breadth and significance of the Endangered Species Act, Commissioner Poizner firmly believes that California’s governor should have the right to respond appropriately to emergencies within the state’s borders [2]. He will explore every legal option—and will take California’s case all the way to the United States Supreme Court if necessary—to ensure that Californians who need water have access to it [3].
So let me get this straight:
  1. From where? More important, from who? Is the governor going to take water from the NON-drought-stricken part of the state to the "drought-stricken" part? How's he gonna get it there? Helicopters?
  2. Before you ignore that federal law, can you ignore the drug laws? Please argue for legalization before the Supremes. That would improve things by much more.
  3. Need. I hate that word. Who doesn't need water? How does the "wise" governor intend to arbitrate among claims? Oh yes, I forgot -- whoever gives him the largest bribes campaign contributions.
Enough of this rubbish. What a delusional candidate!

But wait, he's got company!

Steve Dave Cogdill, State Senator from Modesto, introduced a bill for "a safe, clean and reliable water supply" (stuck in committee). His agit/prop for the bill [pdf] is good example of self-quoting, free-lunch politics. Even worse, it's full of misinformation and hyperbole:
  1. "We have a crumbling infrastructure built three decades ago for 18 million people and the state's population is expected to nearly triple that number in the next decade."

    It was built from the 30s to 60s, it works pretty well, and the population is NOT going to 54 million by 2020. He's high by 10 million.

  2. "Court decisions and new regulations have cut Delta water deliveries by 30 percent, imperiling the Valley’s economic engine: agriculture and endangering millions of Californians who rely on the Delta as a source of clean water."

    DWR says [slide 6 of this pdf. Oct 20 addendum: They took it down. Here's my copy, made for just such an occasion :)] that regulatory cutbacks are 10 percent. "Endangering millions"? Are you kidding me? Prima facie dumb.

  3. "Water is literally going down the drain. In 2005, enough water to supply 13 million families for a year went out to sea and was lost because there was nowhere to store it."

    So, reservoirs were full of water. Did we have a drought? No. A shortage? no. Why would we need more dams then? Will more dams now "make" water appear? No. The reservoirs we have are only 66% full [pdf]. Is Cogdill implying that we could have saved enough water from 2005 to make it today? Maybe. Is that a silly idea? Yes, if you understand cost-benefit and realize that 80 percent of the water goes to agriculture (his district). Ahh yes -- the water would NOT go to 13 million families (that's the entire state population @ 3people/family, btw) -- it would go to farmers. And no, that doesn't necessarily help farm workers!

  4. "According to a recent UC Davis report, a continued dry spell could result in a $2.8 billion hit to the state’s economy, with 95,000 jobs lost."

    Well it didn't. Howitt (the source of that report) now estimates $1 billion/35,000 jobs. Jeff Michael argues that job losses have nothing to do with water.
In the water business, we talk about grabbing the "low-hanging fruit" first, but Cogdill is going for the hardest, most expensive fruit (dams, etc.). I wish he'd talk about water conservation/efficiency via higher prices and markets, but he probably isn't because he wants to use Other People's Money to help his constituents.

I am glad that SB 371 is stuck in committee. It deserves to die. And so do all dam proposals.

Hear that Governor?

Bottom Line: Politicians often promise everything to everyone, regardless of reality. These guys have gone overboard. They should be cited for "contempt of logic/respect" for reality/their constituents/the State.

hattips to DL, GP and DW