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House Members Blast DiFi On Water

by: Brian Leubitz

Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 10:00:00 AM PST


Dianne Feinstein has always been quite cozy with the politically powerful agribusiness of the Westlands Water District. That's very popular with Sean Hannity's Gang, but amongst fisherman and others living in and around the Delta, not so much.  Four members of the house, Reps. Garamendi, Lofgren, Miller and Woolsey, wrote a letter questioning her position.

The lawmakers' letter urges Feinstein to cancel her plan to introduce legislation to speed more water withdrawals out of the Sacramento River and San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystem.

"Salmon may not have high paid lobbyists like the corporate agricultural interests in the Central Valley, but they are critical to our coastal economy," said Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, who was among the letter's signatories. "The Feinstein plan will put thousands of families out of work from the fishing industry and local economies of the Pacific Coast."

The farmers are trying to argue that the question of water in the Delta is all about jobs there. And to an extent, that is true.  But, at the same time, the agribusinesses there have failed to do anything substantial to change the way they grow in the Westlands. They're growing crops that frankly do not belong there, and then getting righteously indignant about the whole affair.

And on the other side there are the fish.  Hannity wants to paint the fish as just the Delta smelt, and that is a serious matter. We really shouldn't be quite so cavalier about wiping another species off the globe. However, there are jobs on the other side of this issue.  THis is a question of jobs vs. jobs.  Fisherman, while not quite as politically connected as the agribusinesses, are hurting. They are fighting to maintain their way of life, and frankly, as the salmon runs putter out, crabbing season tightens up, further cuts from the Delta would further ravage the coastal economy.

I spend a lot of time up in Bodega Bay these days.  It's a fishing town, the largest fishing fleet between San Francisco and the Oregon border to be more specific.  And neither Sean Hannity nor Dianne Feinstein could ever convince me of the fact that these fisherman aren't hurting.  Salmon is their cash crop, and the water diversions threaten to eliminate these runs completely.

Pretending there are jobs, and people, on only one side of this issue is misleading and dishonest. Perhaps Feinstein, and the Governor, should take a trip to talk to some of these fisherman, and see if they're all hunky dory with the proposed water changes.

Brian Leubitz :: House Members Blast DiFi On Water
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