CA Dems Push Sham River ‘Consensus’

FEB. 29, 2012


The waters are being roiled again in the Delta.

The roiling concerns H.R. 1837, the Republican-backed San Joaquin River Reliability Act currently pending before the U.S. House of Representatives.

Northern California Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, says the bill “destroys a state consensus” on the San Joaquin River and the Sacramento Delta.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

California’s Democratic U.S. senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, have joined Garamendi’s chorus and called “for consensus-based solutions that respect the interests of all stakeholders.”

There never was a consensus except perhaps between the plunderers of the spoils from California’s perpetual water wars.

The Shame of the River Consensus Sham

Garamendi says H.R. 1837 would undo 150 years of water law, remove all environmental protections for the Delta and Central Valley farmers and allow destructive water exports from the Delta.

He says H.R. 1837 should be called the “State Water Rights Repeal Act.” He’s right — but for the wrong reasons. What H.R. 1837 does is undo what Feinstein did with the San Joaquin River Restoration Act of 2009 – H.R. 146.  That bill was enacted three years ago, not 150 years ago.

Contra Garamendi, H.R. 146 was a prior water grab from farmers.  It limited how much water farmers can take for crop irrigation and imposed tiered water rates and environmental impact reports for renewal of all existing water contracts. In short, Feinstein’s H.R. 146 redistributed the water taken from farmers to fishing, recreational and real estate interests.

There was no bipartisan consensus when Feinstein’s bill was passed.  In fact, it had to be bundled with a bunch of bills under the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 for it to pass even through a Democratic-controlled Congress and get signed by Democratic President Barack Obama.  There was no “consensus” except of Democrats.  Consensus implies that those having to give up water rights and have to pay higher water rates somehow concurred with Feinstein’s bill.  This was not the case.

H.R. 1837 Would Restore Genuine Consensus

What Republican Rep. Devin Nunes’ HR 1837 bill would do is repeal Feinstein’s HR 146 and replace it with the Bay-Delta Accord drafted in 1994.  The Bay-Delta Accord was “consented” to by both then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, and then-California Governor Pete Wilson, a Republican.  This is what genuine “consent of the governed” entails.

Rep. Nunes’s HR 1837 would depoliticize water contracts.  H.R. 1837 provides for water contracts to be renewed automatically, instead of being thrown to political piranhas for the picking under a contrived retroactive environmental impact report.

Sure, by undoing H.R. 146 and replacing it with H.R. 1837 commercial salmon fishermen, sport fishing and recreational-real estate interests would be denied new water rights.  But they never had any water rights in the first place. Nor were there any environmental impacts on them because they had no rights or ecosystem to impact.  All that an environmental impact report would conclude under California’s sham California Environmental Quality Act is that salmon fishing rights were not granted 150 years ago and should be now.

But farmers had to buy their land to get their riparian (river) water rights 150 years ago.  A riparian right is a right to use the natural flow of water on land that touches a river, lake, stream or creek.

Appropriative water rights are those obtained by permit, court actions or legislative action.  Such rights are always subject to who is in political power and whom they may want to redistribute the rights to.

Garamendi also claims that H.R. 1837 is “imbalanced” and does not “satisfy the needs of everyone in California.”   HR 1837 is no more imbalanced than is Feinstein’s H.R. 146, which harms Central Valley farmers.

Neither would H.R. 1837 “take away California’s ability to control our own water destiny,” as Garamendi claims, any more than Feinstein’s H.R. 146 did.  Both H.R. 146 and H.R. 1837 are federal legislation.

As for the charge that “water storage and water recycling are important components of water policy, and they’re lacking in HR 1837” — the same could be said of H.R. 146.

H.R. 1837 also does not, as the Democrats claim, “threaten thousands of jobs for salmon fishermen and Delta farmers.”  Those thousands of jobs for San Joaquin River salmon fishermen and farmers would just be taken away from Central Valley farmers and from city water ratepayers and consumers of agricultural produce.

Politics is Dis-sensus

Any determination of an environmental impact under H.R. 146 isn’t environmental, but cultural and political.  Why, under Feinstein’s HR 146, in a drought should commercial salmon fisheries, sport fishermen and recreational/real estate interests have first dibs on water over?  Why should fishing and recreational interests be granted water rights without buying them?

And what about the “stranded assets” of farmland that no longer will have irrigation water?   Shouldn’t government re-pay farmers for those “sunk costs,” instead of hiding behind the sham that a “regulatory taking” is non-compensable?  Where is the “public purpose” behind the sham wealth redistribution of H.R. 146?  How is H.R. 146 any different than taking private property rights and giving them to developers under California’s defunct Redevelopment Law?

Water Rights by Force and Fraud — or Consent of the Governed?

A mix of force, fraud and consent of the governed have held California’s historic water contract together.  The elements of that contract have been Northern California giving up water to Central Valley farmers and Southern California cities in exchange for Delta flood protection, cheap hydropower and some water for themselves.

Feinstein’s H.R. 146 and the state-level Delta Reform Act together change the existing water social contract in California so that Central Valley farmers and Southern California cities get less water and in return Northern California gets Delta flood protection, cheap hydropower, a greater share of the water to redistribute to special interests and a new Delta regional sewage system to be paid for mainly by farmers and cities in the Southern half of the state.

Feinstein’s H.R. 146 confiscated water rights by the force of law and the fraudulent ideology of environmentalism and redistributed it to non-farming constituents under a wealth distribution scheme. Nunes’ H.R. 1837 merely returns those water rights to the pre-2009 genuine political “consensus.”

A sham consensus is no substitute for consent of the governed in California’s political water wars.


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  1. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 29 February, 2012, 10:10

    This is what happens when the dumb voters, again and again, put in the Senate two elite, remote Marin County Democrats. Boxer and Feinstein are ripping off Southern California, 2/3 of the state, to benefit their elite Northern California special interests. Time to split the state at least in twain.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  2. Wayne Lusvardi
    Wayne Lusvardi 29 February, 2012, 11:24

    HR 1837 The San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act is being debated today in the U.S House of Representatives:

    Link to journal of the days proceedings in the U.S. House

    Link to rules on H.R. 1837 debate in the House

    Amendments to HR 1837

    List of debaters

    “On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for morning hour and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. First votes expected: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Last votes expected: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
    One Minute Speeches (15 per side)
    H.R. 1837 – San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act (Structured Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Devin Nunes / Natural Resources Committee)
    The rule provides for one hour of general debate and makes in order the following amendments:
    Rep. Tom McClintock Manager’s Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Reps. Mike Thompson / Anna Eshoo Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Jerry McNerney Amendment #3 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Jerry McNerney Amendment #4 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. John Garamendi Amendment #9 (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. Grace Napolitano Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. John Garamendi Amendment #8 (10 minutes of debate)
Reps. Markey / Thompson (CA) / Matsui Amendment (10 minutes of debate)
Rep. John Garamendi Amendment #7 (10 minutes of debate)”

    Reply this comment
  3. Stanley K.
    Stanley K. 29 February, 2012, 12:58

    Watch the House debate on this issue live:

    Reply this comment
  4. Wayne Lusvardi
    Wayne Lusvardi 29 February, 2012, 15:30

    H.R.1837 – San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act
    Passed by House of Representatives – Now moves to U.S. Senate

    Yea: 241 (56 percent) Dems: 6; Repubs: 235
    Nay: 178 (41 percent) Dems 177; Repubs 1
    Not voting: 14 (3 percent) Dems: 9; Repubs 5
    Required: Simple majority of 419 votes = 210 votes[email protected]

    California Vote Tabulation by Congressperson
    Nay CA-1 Thompson, C. [D]
    Yea CA-2 Herger, Walter [R]
    Yea CA-3 Lungren, Daniel [R]
    Yea CA-4 McClintock, Tom [R]
    Nay CA-5 Matsui, Doris [D]
    Not Voting CA-6 Woolsey, Lynn [D]
    Nay CA-7 Miller, George [D]
    Nay CA-8 Pelosi, Nancy [D]
    Not Voting CA-9 Lee, Barbara [D]
    Nay CA-10 Garamendi, John [D]
    Nay CA-11 McNerney, Jerry [D]
    Nay CA-12 Speier, Jackie [D]
    Nay CA-13 Stark, Fortney [D]
    Nay CA-14 Eshoo, Anna [D]
    Nay CA-15 Honda, Michael [D]
    Nay CA-16 Lofgren, Zoe [D]
    Nay CA-17 Farr, Sam [D]
    Yea CA-18 Cardoza, Dennis [D]
    Yea CA-19 Denham, Jeff [R]
    Yea CA-20 Costa, Jim [D]
    Yea CA-21 Nunes, Devin [R]
    Yea CA-22 McCarthy, Kevin [R]
    Nay CA-23 Capps, Lois [D]
    Yea CA-24 Gallegly, Elton [R]
    Yea CA-25 McKeon, Howard [R]
    Yea CA-26 Dreier, David [R]
    Not Voting CA-27 Sherman, Brad [D]
    Nay CA-28 Berman, Howard [D]
    Nay CA-29 Schiff, Adam [D]
    Nay CA-30 Waxman, Henry [D]
    Nay CA-31 Becerra, Xavier [D]
    Nay CA-32 Chu, Judy [D]
    Not Voting CA-33 Bass, Karen [D]
    Nay CA-34 Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D]
    Nay CA-35 Waters, Maxine [D]
    Nay CA-36 Hahn, Janice [D]
    Nay CA-37 Richardson, Laura [D]
    Nay CA-38 Napolitano, Grace [D]
    Nay CA-39 Sanchez, Linda [D]
    Yea CA-40 Royce, Edward [R]
    Yea CA-41 Lewis, Jerry [R]
    Yea CA-42 Miller, Gary [R]
    Nay CA-43 Baca, Joe [D]
    Yea CA-44 Calvert, Ken [R]
    Yea CA-45 Bono Mack, Mary [R]
    Yea CA-46 Rohrabacher, Dana [R]
    Nay CA-47 Sanchez, Loretta [D]
    Yea CA-48 Campbell, John [R]
    Yea CA-49 Issa, Darrell [R]
    Yea CA-50 Bilbray, Brian [R]
    Nay CA-51 Filner, Bob [D]
    Yea CA-52 Hunter, Duncan [R]
    Nay CA-53 Davis, Susan [D]

    Reply this comment
  5. GX
    GX 1 March, 2012, 12:39

    Just one more example of Republicans being a tool of crony capitalism (in this case Resnick and all is agribusiness buddies) will continue to not attract fiscally conservative indepedents like me and will continue to lose miserably in this state.

    Best of luck this fall. You are going to need it with stunts like this.

    Lusvardi – when are you ever going to respond to my other post on this topic and actually produce an accurate URL so critical thinking people like myself can investigate your water sources?

    Reply this comment
  6. Wayne Lusvardi
    Wayne Lusvardi 1 March, 2012, 13:36

    I have provided several links to you. It is not my job to educate you with every question you pose on this website.

    Any more questions after this and you are going to have to disclose your identity for me to answer your questions. Otherwise you have something to hide.

    See below:

    California Water Balance Summary
    For Water Years 1998, 2000 and 2001
    Where the Water Goes 1998 (Wet Year) 2000 (Avg Year) 2001 (Dry Year)
    Total Supply
    (Precipitation & Imports) 335.8 million acre-feet 194.2 million acre-feet 145.5 million acre-feet
    Dedicated Supply (Includes Reuse) 97.5 million acre-feet 82.5 million acre-feet 65.1 million acre-feet

    Distribution of Dedicated Supply to Various Applied Water Uses
    Where the Water Goes 1998 (Wet Year) 2000 (Avg Year) 2001 (Dry Year)
    Urban Uses 7.7 million acre-feet (8%) 8.8 million acre-feet (11%) 8.6 million acre-feet (13%)
    Agricultural Uses 27.7 million acre-feet (28%) 34.3 million acre-feet (42%) 34.1 million acre-feet (52%)
    Environmental Water 62.1 million acre-feet (64%) 39.4 million acre-feet (47%) 22.4 million acre-feet (35%)

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  7. GX
    GX 1 March, 2012, 14:02

    First, let me provide the following URL so others can determine who is telling the true here:

    You have provided only one URL (…/CaliforniaWaterIssues.pptDr) – and that one was not complete so I could not follow up with your assertions.

    Now you are providing a different one. Why so? Is it that difficult to provide the complete versions of the original URL you referenced in defense of your position?

    Reply this comment
  8. GX
    GX 1 March, 2012, 14:08

    And by the way, I’d be happy to disclose who I am. Not just on this public forum. Provide a way for me to get a hold of you and I’d be happy to contact you.

    But you can already figure out who I am via the registration email address I provided during registration for this site 😉

    Reply this comment
  9. Wayne Lusvardi
    Wayne Lusvardi 1 March, 2012, 17:07

    The same data can be found at the California State University at Stanislaus and at the California Dept. of Water Resources website.

    Look at the data. You can pick any percentage you want depending on what is the WHOLE and what is the PART. A PERCENTAGE is a ratio of the PART TO THE WHOLE.
    If you want to select a narrow WHOLE then the percentage of ag water is higher. (YOUR 80%)
    If you want to select a broad WHOLE then the percentage of ag water is lower. (MY 8%)
    The California Dept. of Water Resources has selected a percentage using a middle figure of the AVAILABLE WATER not the HUMAN USE water as the WHOLE (DWR’S 42%).
    What I am driving at is the assumptions you use, or Dr. Gleick uses, depend on your VALUE JUDGEMENTS.
    You hate farmers and it is predictable that you would pick a set of assumptions that result in a BIG percentage.
    What the public wants to know is how much water is ag using in relation to all the POTENTIAL water – because ag is accused of wasting water due to some contrived water shortage. There is no shortage of water – there is a shortage of POTABLE water in a dry year but only if several dry years occur one after the other (a drought).

    Reply this comment
  10. GX
    GX 2 March, 2012, 11:03

    I always find it interesting when someone’s argument is challenged and that challenged person resorts to demonizing the challenger. Please point out to me one place where I intimated that I “hate farmers” (to use your words. You can’t because, I don’t feel that way and I’ve never stated that. Clearly, farmer play an important role in our society.

    What I don’t appreciate are large businesses who get subsidies and/or bailouts. In this case, I take issue with the effective very large subsidies that CA agribusinesses get. If they were required to pay the same wholesale price as everyone else, they would take a much more constructive approach to usage of our important water resource.

    Reply this comment
  11. GX
    GX 2 March, 2012, 11:05

    I really would like to get the complete URL of the original water report you referenced. So it would be great if you could correct the URL you originally posted.

    Reply this comment
  12. NW
    NW 3 March, 2012, 01:00

    Thank you Wayne Lusvardi for this article and your clear argumentation on the water issue plaguing CA. Since moving to this great state 9 years ago, I have watched with interest and perplexity this whole debate. It is amazing how out-of-touch Boxer and Feinstein are on this issue, willing to sacrifice the good of hard-working farmers and their employees in the valley on the altar of bay area special interests and political ambitions. I commend journalists like yourself along with outspoken reps like Nunes and Cardoza who have been at the forefront of cutting through the political BS clouding the discussion so we can return to the ’94 Bay Delta Accord ideals, which as you pointed out was a bipartisan agreement.

    Reply this comment
  13. Wayne Lusvardi
    Wayne Lusvardi 3 March, 2012, 01:01

    A person never knows when he is having an impact unless there is opposition. So thank you for confirming I am having an impact.

    Filibustering will get you nowhere.

    Reply this comment
  14. GX
    GX 3 March, 2012, 13:46

    Your dishonesty and misrepresentations are interesting to say the least.

    How many times do I need to ask you to confirm the original water usage URL you posted (you did not post a complete URL)? How many times are you going to dodge the request and try to redirect?


    Reply this comment
  15. Wayne Lusvardi
    Wayne Lusvardi 3 March, 2012, 15:44

    No more replies to your false accusations. Readers can go to the links and get the data.

    Do you deny the State Dept. of Water Resources statistic that ag uses 42% of water?

    Maybe you deny the Holocaust?

    Reply this comment
  16. GX
    GX 3 March, 2012, 16:07

    Really? You crack me up. What are you trying to hide? i keep trying to go to the link you originally posted (which I posted again above), but it doesn’t work.

    i’m not denying anything but instead trying to review the source information you originally posted. Instead of you simply clarifying the URL, I get a barrage crap like this stuff above.

    i’m done wasting time with a sham “author” like you. instead I’ll reach out to Steve to relay my experience with you. he and I have communicated in the past and I know he doesn’t play fast and loose with sources.

    Reply this comment
  17. Wayne Lusvardi
    Wayne Lusvardi 4 March, 2012, 12:55

    For readers information:

    Here is who GX apparently is:
    (GX = Global Exchange)

    Supported by government grants?

    Reply this comment
  18. Wayne Lusvardi
    Wayne Lusvardi 5 March, 2012, 11:40



    Scroll down to Slide # 39

    Reply this comment

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