23 Dec 2009

Something for everyone means nothing for anyone

Many of you have read the analysis, propaganda and celebration around the water bills that passed in California last month.

My last thought (for the moment) is that these bills represent the worst type of sausage making. The original idea was that each group would get its favorite idea adopted (a peripheral canal, fixing the Delta, monitoring groundwater, etc.) in exchange for allowing ideas that it disliked pass as well.

But instead of that "package deal" of strong reforms, we got a slew of watered-down "reforms" that do nothing at all. That's because negotiators accidentally (or purposefully) negotiated from a "what do we need to drop to get you to support this?" perspective instead of a "what do you want as a price for passing this?" perspective. As we all saw, the bastardized results are hardly worth the paper they are written on. (The optimists say "something happened!" Yeah. Great.)

Bottom Line: The water bills that passed need to be updated and replaced IMMEDIATELY. If they are all we have going into the bond ballot, then the bond will go down in flames, as a waste of money. (That's my view, and I promise to campaign against the bond.)

Addendum: Read Jerry Cadagan's brilliant op/ed [pdf] on the water bills.