The returning is as tedious as the going

The California Water Commission (CWC) met on June 15, 2011 at exactly the same time as the BDCP was having its first public meeting since Jerry Meral introduced his divide-and-conquer working group strategy.

“Due to state budget constraints,” the CWC meeting was not webcast live, and 36 hours later, video of the meeting was still not available “on-demand,” as promised.  Given the way the state is throwing money around on all these planning processes, public information is a bad place to shave costs.

(If you’d been in Waikoloa, Hawaii, however, you could have joined Commissioner Del Bosque’s for his teleconference participation in the meeting.)

In the meeting briefing packet, there was a document included about naming State Water Project Facilities.  We’ll dispense with the matter of State Water Project nomenclature by stipulating at the outset that the CWC should follow a tradition of “identifying the contribution of [an] individual to water management in California or the specific facility,” as stated in this briefing document.  They could achieve this end by proposing to name the peripheral canal the Gerald Meral Delta Water Conveyance Facility.  We’re sure it would become a disaster memorial for California in the long-run, but hey, that’s our grandchildren’s problem.

Far down on the CWC agenda, at Item 10, was “Briefing on statutory responsibilities of the Water Commission including naming of State Water Project facilities and eminent domain.”  Sort of an afterthought for them, you know, but we’ll report on it first here.

Regarding eminent domain, here’s what the staff briefing to the CWC says:

“The Department of Water Resources may acquire property for constructing, maintaining or operating State Water Project facilities (CWC 11575) but it may not commence an eminent domain proceeding until its governing body has adopted a resolution of necessity.  (CCP 1245.220)  The governing body is the California Water Commission.”

“In adopting the resolution of necessity, the Commission must find all of the following facts: 1) the project is necessary, 2) this property in particular is required for the project, 3) the project is located to provide the greatest public benefit with the least private harm, and 4) that an offer has been made to purchase the property.  The resolution must be adopted by a vote of two-thirds of the Commission members.”

“DWR staff will provide a more detailed briefing on the eminent domain issue to this Commission at the July meeting.  It is anticipated that the Commission will begin resolutions for dozens of properties in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta later this year to conduct geological activities, including drilling, in support of the Environmental Impact Study for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.”

There you have it, just as we feared.

The CWC meetings can be agonizingly tedious, and parking is a challenge.  (Many of the garages in the area are for State workers only.)  But you might want to put the July meeting on your calendar.  CWC meetings are typically held on the third Wednesday of the month, so the July meeting will probably be on July 20, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., in the first floor auditorium at the State of California Resources Building, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento.

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