WILL YOU HELP DEFEND OUR NO TUNNELS CAMPAIGN? Restore the Delta is under attack by Gov. Brown’s pro-tunnels allies

About two months ago, a new group formed called Californians for Water Security. They are pro-tunnels, but hide that in a “fix our aging water system” wrapper. The group is run out of a Sacramento lobbying and campaign group.

They are well funded, hired several PR professionals and recently started attacking Restore the Delta through a shadow site called Restore the Truth. They have posted one blog on a site owned by one of the PR professionals.

They have called Restore the Delta an “AstroTurf” group, meaning a fake grassroots group. They say we support the “unsustainable status quo” in the Delta.

We are asking that you show you are real and support RTD and oppose the tunnels.

Please make a clearly letters sign that says, “I am Restore the Delta” and take a photo with it at a location that makes a point. You can add details in the photo representing who you are. For example, if you are a student, if you are farmer, etc.

If you have twitter or Facebook please send the following message with your photo: “I am @RestoretheDelta! #NoTunnels #IamRestoretheDelta @SecureWaterCA says we’re not real #cawater”

Include the phrase #notunnels beneath the photo or message.

Send the photo to Restore the Delta, post it on your twitter and Facebook page, if you have them, and share with your network.

Please take the photo right now.

The tunnels supporters have attacked Restore the Delta as a tool of the Spanos Company, and “billionaire developers.”

Of course, we represent the broad spectrum of those who oppose the governor’s tunnels project, which is almost everyone living and working in the Delta, and those who understand that the tunnels are the wrong solution.

The tunnels supporters have not disclosed their funding, but Restore the Delta has. So we challenge them to disclose who’s paying for their attack campaign.

Feel free to go on their twitter feed @SecurewaterCA and respond to their false attacks. Make sure to ask if they support or oppose the tunnels!

Some examples! Thank you Cruz, Jessica and Sim!




Restore the Delta responds to False Screed from Gov. Brown-allied flack: Is this part of Westlands’ Water District’s $1 million PR campaign? Or Part of Californians for Water Security?

You know you’re getting your message through when one of Gov. Brown’s pro-tunnels front groups launches untruthful attacks on you.

One of the legions of flacks being paid to push Gov. Brown’s Delta-destroying tunnels has attacked Restore the Delta in a typically truth-twisting screed.

It’s difficult to believe the guy who bought Enron stock while advising Gov. Davis on energy policy. The same guy who bought fracking company stock while advising Speaker Perez has little credibility on the Delta. Who’s paying for these attacks on Restore the Delta?

We do take it personally when false attacks are launched on us.

So we thought we’d take a few minutes to respond, and then we’ll go back to fighting the stupid tunnels. Please support our work in the face of false attacks on our coalition.

The attack claims Restore the Delta: “supports the unsustainable status quo for the Delta” FALSE.

We reject Gov. Brown’s tunnels as a horrible response to our water challenges.

We don’t support the status quo, and anyone who has read a word of our policy over the past many years would see that we have been campaigning precisely to stop the draining of the Delta. This false claim is a 10 on the bullsh@$ scale.

The attack claims that RTD is an “astroturf” group – that is, a phony grassroots organization. If you are reading this piece, you know that’s false.

Restore the Delta is a real grassroots organization, with more than 15,000 supporters, that does actual organization work, and raises its own budget every year through real fundraising events, and individual and business donations. We have real members, with real farms and businesses, real fishermen, who really care about a sustainable Delta. This gets a 9.5 on the bullsh+* scale. Next time you get one of our fundraising appeals, please donate to demonstrate that you are “real” and support RTD.

The attack claims that RTD “is funded by billionaire developers, a Koch brothers contributor, and big water users” – one of whom even owns a golf course. My goodness.

Restore the Delta represents all those who live, farm, fish and run businesses in the Delta, as well as more than 15,000 supporters across the state. Our members run the political gamut from very conservative to very liberal, and from every walk of life, because the entire political spectrum opposes the stupid Delta-destroying tunnels pushed by the governor and his special interest allies.

Many of our members would not spend more than an hour in a room with one another, but they agree with RTD that the tunnels and over pumping the Delta are NOT solutions.


A little truthful history:

Restore the Delta has existed as a campaign since 2006. From 2006 through 2010, we were under the fiscal sponsorship of Friends of the River. In 2011, we became our own separate 501c3 organization. Since 2011, we have raised a total of $1,542,504.50 through 3417 donations. Our average donation amount is $451.00.

We have received 3109 donations at $999 and below for a total of $333,962.57. These donations come from people throughout all of California.

We have received 308 donations at $1000 and above for a total of $1,207,534.93. The average major donor contribution is $3920.57. Of these 308 donors, 90% of them come from Delta landowners, almost all family farmers. The other 10% of our major donors are foundations, fishing groups, Delta area businesses, and private citizens from throughout California. We have three major donors who are area developers. Their donations have made up 5.2% of our total budget since 2011.

Our top 12 donors have contributed 26% of our total funding, and we are grateful to them for their generosity. Only one of those donors is a Restore the Delta Board Member, the AG Spanos Corporation. Their contributions make up 4% of our total revenue raised.

We operate depending on funding availability on an annual budget of $250,000 to $350,000 dollars. While we are grateful to our supporters for their generosity, the bigger story here is how underfunded we are compared to those groups doing media work, organizing, and lobbying for the water exporters. They have budgets in the millions annually. The fact that we have built a successful campaign at this funding level from such a diverse mix of supporters speaks to the fact that we have stayed true to our mission and that our supporters are passionate advocates for the Delta. They may hold diverse political views, but they are united in their opposition to Governor Brown’s plan to build the Delta tunnels and to the over pumping of the Delta.

We are proud that we run a grassroots campaign made up of supporters from every background and with contributions at every dollar level. We are grateful that all our supporters make contributions to the best of their individual financial ability and through their gifts of time and talent.


“Fish, Out of Water” by Comstock magazine

Prop. 1 channels billions of dollars to California’s water needs — but will it hurt or help endangered salmon?

By Alistair Bland

“Everywhere else in the nation, they are tearing down dams to benefit fish. Only in California are leaders telling us that building dams will benefit fish.”

“One of the main arguments for the dams from supporters is that dams will make for more flexibility in releasing water for fish. But obviously, the main reason for having dams is to have better flexibility for providing water for farmers. The environment just becomes justification for it.”

Check out the full article here:  http://www.comstocksmag.com/longreads/fish-out-water


Drought Shows Folly of Tunnels, Would be of NO Use this Year, but Would Cost Millions

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 2, 2015
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; [email protected]; Twitter: @shopcraft; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 [email protected]; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

Tunnel Critics: Drought Shows Folly of Tunnels,
Would be of NO Use this Year, but Would Cost Millions

Sacramento, CA – Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build water export Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today responded to federal agencies’ curtailment of water deliveries. “It is lucky for the South of Delta agricultural Central Valley Project contractors (and Kern County Water Agency) that the tunnels were not already built. If so, they would have had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars with no water supply,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. “The tunnels would not have provided them with any appreciable additional water. With multiple years of no, or very limited water supply, could those water takers afford to keep making their loan payments for the multi-billion dollar tunnels? If the water contractors could not afford to make the payments, would the bond holders foreclose? Even so, the land would not be worth much without water. Plus, rate payers and property tax payers in the Metropolitan Water District and Santa Clara Valley Water District would be stuck with higher taxes and water rates for less water than ever before.”

“The continuing drought shows the folly of the Governor’s tunnels. In the middle of a prolonged drought, the Governor blindly plans to solve our water scarcity by building massive tunnels, when our water supply is decreasing. The cost keeps escalating and the benefits diminishing,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. Restore the Delta pointed to findings of the administration’s own analysis showing the “through-Delta” alternative has the highest benefit-cost ratio of all the options. “The Brown Administration has failed to disclose that California families will pay thousands of dollars, yet receive no new water. It’s time to embrace a sustainable water solution that works in dry times as well as normal water years.”


Media alert: Mercury News editorial, “Delta’s health should take priority over pumping”

In case you missed it…

Mercury News Editorial
POSTED: 02/24/15, 2:47 PM PST 


Original article from San Jose Mercury News website here. 

California needs to get serious about protecting the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, one of Silicon Valley's most valuable water sources. The short-term needs of Central Valley farmers are significant. But they pale in comparison with preserving the long-term water quality of the estuary that provides water for two-thirds of the state's residents.

California took a significant risk when it waived some environmental protections last year for the Delta in order to pump additional water south to save acres of almond orchards. The results were not pretty. Tom Howard, the executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board, admitted last week that he had erred in calculating how damaging the impact would be.


The Delta smelt count dropped to the lowest level in recorded history. The impact on salmon was equally horrendous. The state reported that 95 percent of the juvenile Chinook salmon that spawned in the upper Sacramento River died because of the poor water conditions. Rising water temperatures and lower river levels also resulted in the growth of invasive plants that damage water quality.


California can't let this degradation of the largest estuary west of the Mississippi continue. The state will determine in March how much water can be pumped from the Delta in the months ahead. Gov. Jerry Brown needs to demonstrate that he has his priorities straight when it comes to the Delta's delicate ecosystem.


Big Ag critics contend that limiting pumping of additional water from the Delta constitutes putting fish before people. It's a misleading argument. The Delta smelt is merely the canary in the coal mine when it comes to preserving the estuary's health. Further degradation to the Delta will ultimately threaten the quality of the drinking water for Northern California residents.

Central Valley farmers, who suck up 80 percent of the water used in California, have proved that they have an unquenchable thirst for additional water to irrigate their crops. They've already sucked dry their own aquifers and irresponsibly planted thousands of acres of almond orchards without sufficient guarantees that water would be available during California's inevitable drought years.


The public policy makers who will make the crucial decision on Delta pumping in March are the same ones who are also asking state residents to trust them to the care of the Delta with their plan to build two massive $25 billion tunnels to pump even more water south from the Delta.

California's drought shows no signs of abating as the final weeks of the rainy season approaches.

Central Valley farmers need to come up with an alternate plan that does not do further damage to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.