30 Jul 2010

Bias at California's DWR

The Department of Water Resources distributes five emails per work day to many people interested in California water issues. I have often wanted my stuff to be included in these emails.

I understand that they may not want to publish blog posts, but I was surprised to get this response to my piece in Forbes from Ted Thomas (Chief, Media and Public Information Branch, Public Affairs Office):
Thanks for your interest and congratulations on being published in Forbes. Regarding our clip service, I should explain that its purpose is to keep our managers and employees current with news that relates to their work and responsibilities. While your commentary is interesting, it does not usefully add to our program dialogue.
So it's not possible to redistribute a piece pointing out that shortages result because water prices are too low, but it's ok to distribute a blog post that says "The Colorado River IS Running Dry"? (Panic! Build more storage <-- another article DWR distributed.)

Bottom Line: DWR serves its bias (we want more supply!), not citizens needs (we want no shortage!).


  1. They don't want the government workers on their email list to worry their empty heads with new ideas.

  2. With exception of a few that are brazen enough to think outside the box and challenge the status quo, it is uncommon to challenge the staff. It is an unfortunate circumstance of the culture that has developed within special interest agencies. Quite the opposite of working with people from some firms where your thinking is challenged with regularity. Its the culture and who has time to cultivate a positive culture within a government agency? Where shall we start?

  3. David: I think that you might be surprised at who reads this and other water related blogs. Perhaps there are some 'empty headed' public servants that read these blogs and sometimes leaves a personal opinion in the comments section.

    Social Media is still an undiscovered country as far as governmental agencies are concerned. On topics that are considered sensitive (like water in the West), agencies do not generally encourage employees to engage in discussions on the internet. At least not on the taxpayer's dollar.

    This, of course, is my personal opinion done on my own time.



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