| Many progressive activists, myself included, have worked hard for many years to answer one of the most important questions in California politics: "How do you get Dianne Feinstein to take the action you want her to take?"
Apparently the answer was staring us in the face all the time and we just didn't know it because we've deleted Fox News from our channel lineups:
You have Sean Hannity do it.
In response to the growing temper tantrum being thrown by Westlands Water District and their astroturf allies, including Sean Hannity's demagoguing visit to the Valley, Senator Dianne Feinstein has decided that reason, caution, sensible water policy and the Endangered Species Act should all be tossed to the wind in order to deliver water to big agribusinesses on the arid west side of the San Joaquin Valley:
[Feinstein] also called for waiving the Endangered Species Act to speed water transfers from the delta to farmers. "Just get it done as fast as we can," she said.
DiFi did also explain plans to write "one of the biggest pieces of legislation she's ever attempted" to solve the Delta and the San Joaquin Valley water crisis. It's a laudable goal, but if she is being pushed around this easily by right-wing front groups and hissy fits, I'm not exactly confident about the outcome here.
The Obama Administration is, so far, resisting the cries to blow up 150 years of water rights and water legislation and take water from existing users and give it to big agribusinesses:
Salazar said the administration has put $400 million into California water projects, adding that it would be a "fundamental mistake for us to use this crisis to essentially create another crisis that will continue into the courts for decades to come without us getting to real solutions."
Salazar has it precisely correct. The Westlands Water District and the Central Valley Congressional delegation, spooked out of their wits by Sean Hannity, are demanding that we destroy the Pacific Coast salmon fishery, put fishermen out of work and devastate coastal communities, and steal the water coastal communities are already conserving in order to continue unsustainable and reckless uses of the soil. Kudos to Ken Salazar and the White House for refusing to cave into this nonsense.
What Feinstein and others are calling for would be the equivalent of demanding all Americans buy SUVs to prop up a failing car industry, or passing a law mandating all Americans purchase private health insurance to prop up an already-profitable insurance industry that fails to keep Americans healthy.
The Valley's economic crisis is indeed dire. But there are ways to help the unemployed that don't involve putting someone else out of work, or shutting off someone else's tap. I'd hope that DiFi would embrace such a rational proposal, but I fear that will require us to convince Sean Hannity to do his show from the Monterey harbor, or the Crystal Springs Reservoir.
Ultimately this all comes down to the beneficiaries of 30 years of Republican economic policy raising holy hell that they are now being asked to give up their unsustainable and unjustifiable privileges to help the nation survive an economic and environmental crisis. DiFi isn't going to stand up to them. It looks like Obama will, but we're going to need to have his back on this to ensure that we actually fix the Delta instead of break it even further to enrich a few big companies on the Valley's west side.