CalWatchdog Morning Read – December 30

  • Brown struggles to get support for twin tunnels water project
  • More than 800,000 undocumented immigrants issued CA driver’s licenses in last two years
  • New no-cellphone-usage-while-driving law goes into effect Sunday
  • When city retirement pays better than the job
  • Senate leader’s political aspirations well-hidden

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! TGIF. As we look ahead to 2017, we wonder what will happen with Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnel project, for we which he has struggled to gain significant support.

Last week, Brown’s aides treated the release of a massive environmental review that marshaled evidence in support of his $15.7 billion plan to build two 35-mile-long tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as an exciting step toward construction of the far-reaching project.

Critics, however, scoffed, saying Brown’s project becomes more unpopular the more it is discussed. In October, when the governor hoped to have consolidated broad support behind the plan, four Northern California members of Congress and eight members of the California Legislature sent letters imploring the federal government to look at what they called fundamental flaws in the project, starting with its shaky financing.

The 90,000-page document hailed by the Brown administration concludes that the two huge tunnels would stabilize statewide water deliveries from the Sacramento River and improve the health of the Delta in a way that was the least problematic of various options now being considered. If approved by state and federal regulators and the Legislature, the project would divert in normal conditions 5 percent more water from the river than is now standard.

The governor told reporters the tunnels had been subject to “more environmental review than any other project in the history of the world.”

CalWatchdog has more.

In other news:

  • Immigration: “Two years after the implementation of AB60 on Jan. 1, 2015, an estimated 806,000 undocumented residents have received driver’s licenses, according to Department of Motor Vehicles statistics this month. About 14,000 of these licenses were issued in November alone, the DMV said.” The San Jose Mercury News has more. 

  • New laws: “Amid lingering criticism and doubts about the feasibility of enforcement, Californians braced for new legislation taking effect in January that will ban almost all handling of cellphones behind the wheel. Beginning Sunday, law enforcement will be authorized to punish drivers using the devices in accordance with Assembly Bill 1785.” CalWatchdog has more.

  • Pensions: This Los Angeles Times headline says it all: “When city retirement pays better than the job.”

  • Politics: What will Senate leader Kevin de León do next? The Sacramento Bee has more. 

Legislature:

  • Gone till next week. 

Gov. Brown: 

  • No public events announced. 

Tips: [email protected]

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Tags assigned to this article:
DMVJerry BrownKevin de LeonDelta Tunnells

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