Action alert: All hands on deck!

Dear Restore the Delta supporters,
Next weekend, we need your help. We will take part in two events on the same day and weekend — volunteer help is needed and would be greatly appreciated. Both events are important opportunities for us to provide public outreach about the Delta tunnels and to get the community interested/involved in the protection of the SF Bay Delta and its watersheds.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR CALAVERAS RIVER RUN
We are looking for volunteers to serve a variety of positions, from registration to course monitors. Volunteers will have to work a 2 hour or longer shift depending on the position.

Calaveras River Run
Date: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Time: 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Location: University of the Pacific, 601 Pacific Ave., Stockton, CA
*More information about the Calaveras River Run here. The proceeds for this run will benefit Restore the Delta and Students Run Stockton.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR SANDHILL CRANE FESTIVAL
We need volunteers to table at the Restore the Delta booth for shifts of 1 hour or more.

Sandhill Crane Festival
Date: Saturday, November 7 AND/OR Sunday, November 9, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Sunday
Location: Hutchins Street Square Theatre, 125 S Hutchins St, Lodi, CA
*Saturday time slots are filling up — we need more volunteers Sunday.

Please e-mail [email protected] or call (209) 475-9550 if you can volunteer for any of the two events above.

0 comments

Event alert: Join Beehive No Tunnels & water bond events next week!

Next week, we will be hosting events in Stockton and Sacramento where we will be introducing a *brand new graphic* about the BDCP tunnels. These two events will conclude the Beehive Collective, Restore the Delta and No on Prop 1 tour that we have been holding throughout the state to stop the tunnels and to inform people about the California water bond. Please join us on the day before the elections in Stockton and on election night in Sacramento. Both events are free and open to public.

The graphic we will be introducing draws inspiration from struggles against large-scale infrastructure projects throughout MesoAmerica, connecting local and the global struggle for control and protection of water.

Monday, Nov. 3 in Stockton
WHO: Beehive Design Collective, Restore the Delta, No on Prop 1, With Our Words, Delta Fusion & others
LOCATION: Reality Stockton, 1825 Pacific Ave, Stockton, CA 95204 *corrected address*
TIME: 6:00 PM
Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

Tuesday, Nov. 4 Election Night in Sacramento
WHO: Beehive Design Collective, Restore the Delta, No on Prop 1
LOCATION: Sol Collective, 2574 21st St., Sacramento, CA
TIME: 7:00 PM

Our tour is still going around the State — for any events near you, please see our updated tour schedule here.

0 comments

Hoist with His Own Petard: Jerry Brown Reveals True Intent of Prop 1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; [email protected]; Twitter: @shopcraft

Hoist with His Own Petard:
Jerry Brown Reveals True Intent of Proposition One

Sacramento, CA – After months of misrepresenting the true purpose of Proposition 1, Governor Jerry Brown inadvertently undermined his own message at a recent Stanford water conference. He claimed the measure would provide components missing from the State Water Project “enacted by my father.” These components, Brown ominously intoned, would “deal with the Delta.”

Jerry Brown had attempted to “deal with the Delta” once before. That was during his first tenure as governor in the 1980s, when he tried to push through the Peripheral Canal, a fiscally irresponsible and environmentally destructive trans-Delta water conveyance scheme that was soundly rejected by voters.

Opponents of Proposition 1 noted that the State Water Project constructed by Governor Pat Brown is nothing to boast about. “It has depleted North State Rivers, degraded the richest estuary on the west coast of the continental United States, encouraged unsustainable corporate agriculture on the toxic soils of the western San Joaquin Valley and provided zero water security for southern California ratepayers,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta and field director for No on Proposition 1. “In concert with the federal Central Valley Project, the State Water Project has brought the Delta to the precipice of ecological collapse. Meanwhile, the State Water Resources Control Board has handed out water rights that promise five times more water than is available in California. Now, the Governor is championing a proposition for dams that will provide minimal water storage at astronomical expense, and destroy what is left of our salmon fisheries. These aren’t legacies he should point to with pride.”

Barrigan-Parrilla noted that Proposition 1 is closely allied to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a Brown scheme that is a reprise of the Peripheral Canal. The BDCP would authorize the construction of two gigantic trans-Delta tunnels that would devastate the Delta, cost $70 billion or more, and benefit corporate San Joaquin Valley farmers at the expense of citizen ratepayers.

Brown appeared at the Stanford conference – inappropriately titled New Directions for U.S. Water Policy — with representatives of Paramount Farms, a corporation that cultivates 165,000 acres of orchards in the San Joaquin Valley. Stewart Resnick, a close Brown confidant and Democratic Party fund-raiser, owns Paramount Farms. Resnick has made hundreds of millions of dollars exporting nut crops to China. He has used his wealth to great advantage, influencing state water policy through generous political contributions, including to Brown’s campaigns.
“Brown’s master plan for California water is simple,” says Barrigan-Parrilla. “First, it’s about taking care of special corporate interests like Paramount Farms. Then it’s about sticking taxpayers with the bill. It benefits the governor’s cronies, but it certainly does nothing to secure the water security of average Californians.”

Barrigan-Parrilla noted that voters must recognize the linkage between Proposition 1 and the BDCP, and reject both. “Voters should not be fooled. Proponents of Prop 1 may say the water bond is separate from building the twin Delta tunnels, which will devastate fisheries, family farms, and the five county Delta region. But the Governor does not see them as separate,” she observed. “Gov. Brown’s poor choices in water leadership through three terms have not protected Californians during this drought, and they will only assure future water crises. Prop. 1 mainly offers more infrastructure projects that will be bone dry during future droughts.”

0 comments

In case you missed it: LA Times, “Amid California’s drought, a bruising battle for cheap water”

Amid California’s drought, a bruising battle for cheap water

By BETTINA BOXALL
October 21, 2014

The signs appear about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, tacked onto old farm wagons parked along quiet two-lane roads and bustling Interstate 5.

“Congress Created Dust Bowl.” “Stop the Politicians’ Water Crisis.” “No Water No Jobs.”

They dot the Westlands Water District like angry salutations, marking the territory of California’s most formidable water warrior. Their message is clear: Politicians and environmental laws are more to blame for Westlands’ dusty brown fields than the drought that has parched California for the last three years.

In truth, neither is to blame for Westlands’ woes so much as the simple fact that the nation’s largest irrigation district is in the wrong place.

In a state where three-quarters of the water use is by agriculture, powerful farm districts such as Westlands play an outsized role in the rough-and-tumble world of water politics.

Westlands and its wealthy farmers are exercising their considerable clout to maintain a flow of cheap water from the north despite a harsh truth. In all of California, there may be no worse place to practice the kind of industrial-scale irrigated agriculture that Westlands is famous for than the badly drained, salt-laden lands that make up roughly half the district.

Westlands has persevered for decades by battling other farmers for supplies, repeatedly suing the U.S. government and spending millions of dollars trying to roll back environmental restrictions on water deliveries — all while planting lucrative nut crops that can’t survive a season without water.

Now it is a driving force behind the most ambitious water project proposed in California in decades, the $25-billion plan to send Sacramento River supplies south to Westlands and elsewhere through two giant water tunnels burrowed under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The water would help Westlands for a time. But the expensive tunnels would merely delay the inevitable: The more Westlands is irrigated, the more its land will be ruined.

Continue reading article and view drought map at LA Times.

0 comments

In case you missed it: Fresno Bee, “Trudy Wischemann: In the end, water bond will undermine small farmers”

Trudy Wischemann: In the end, water bond will undermine small farmers
BY TRUDY WISCHEMANN Fresno Bee


Valley Voices
October 18, 2014

Mas Masumoto, that Fresno County farmer who grows peaches on the Kings River fan, has become an invaluable regional voice. Through his books and his monthly column in The Bee, he has spoken the truths of rural, small-farm life for people like him, small farmers who largely mark their daily joys and long-term sufferings in silence. Thanks to Mas’s writings, they feel less alone in this world, and more non-rural people understand. As a rural advocate, I am deeply indebted to him. When he speaks, I listen.

Several weeks ago he fervently called for “Art of the Drought,” this drought, referring back to art from the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. A rendering of Dorothea Lange’s famous photograph, “Migrant Mother,” filled a quarter of the page, surrounded by sketches of other kinds of dried-up sufferings. I know the photo well, and many of her others: while at Berkeley I worked with her widower, economist Paul Taylor, near the end of his life. He knew the power of her art, and when they combined it with his facts and knowledge, they created a document of that drought’s causes and effects — “An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion” (1939) — that was never surpassed.

About two-thirds down in Mas’ column there’s an uncharacteristically political suggestion that voters should approve the water bond in the upcoming November election. I was surprised by his rare political advocacy and chagrined by his suggestion that the voters’ hearts need to be opened by art to vote “yes.” I see nothing in the water bond that will help the smaller growers, and have every reason to suspect that our tax monies will continue to be used to help the large ones like Lynda and Stuart Resnick, owners of Paramount Farms, to the disadvantage of those trying to make a living on the land.

The bond’s most prominent spokesperson, Gov. Jerry Brown, learned well from his father, under whose leadership we got the water bond creating the high-cost State Water Project that made farming feasible on those west side lands the Resnicks farm now. This second-generation governor would still like to be president someday, according to published reports this summer, and the Democratically inclined new king and queen of California Agriculture can probably help make that happen.

So, what could make Mas move in print from his apolitical comfort zone to advocate for passage of Proposition 1? Perhaps it’s the same thing that moves most of my citrus-growing neighbors to think it’s their only salvation. Few have examined the legislation, busy with trying to survive; with characteristic faith, they follow the lead of the agribusiness industry hoping they’ll be included in the state’s largesse.

Or perhaps it’s an even stronger survival instinct. To oppose the California Water Bond, especially in public in this large grower-dominated region, could be economic as well as political suicide. Perhaps the key to understanding our farmer friends’ reflexive advocacy for a bond that could mean their end, we have to go back to another Dust Bowl-era piece of art, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, which Mas addressed in late spring.

In Mas’s earlier piece he ruminated on what Steinbeck might have written about this drought, mentioning the plight of the smaller farmers and hoping he’d find them on the new pages. But they were there on the old ones, just invisible except for three pages describing a small farmer who gives Tom Joad a job at a decent wage, only to be forced to reduce it the next day under pressure from the Associated Farmers. Steinbeck’s description of the angst the small farmer experienced doing that is something I hear from my own farming neighbors, and so is his awareness of the economic control exerted over his life and farm by the largest players. “Goddamn it, they got me trapped,” says Steinbeck’s small farmer with more clarity than my farm friends express. But the feeling is there, and so is the helplessness they feel about getting freed.

I think our farm friends are being used, once again, to pass legislation that will undermine them in the end. I don’t know that they have a choice. But we do. Visit www.noonprop1.org, the website of the “No on Prop. 1” campaign, and see if their arguments aren’t compelling. They’re asking us to make our politicians work for real solutions to our increasing water supply problems rather than dealing out a little pork here and there to keep quiet those who otherwise might speak up. Then, for the love of our rural lives and our real agricultural economy, vote “no” on Prop 1.

Trudy Wischemann is editing a book of writings on “Agriculture and the Common Good” for publication this year with Mark Arax. She writes “Notes from Home” for Tulare County’s Foothills Sun-Gazette, which can be viewed at www.trudysnotesfromhome.blogspot.com.

0 comments