2 realities of $11 billion water bond

2 realities of $11 billion water bond


brown water bondThere are two realities with the current $11.1 billion water bond currently scheduled to appear on the November ballot as Proposition 43. One, the bond is too big and filled with pork. Two, even so, if it appeared on the ballot as is, it likely would pass.

Legislators are debating the size and content of the bond with time running out to replace the $11.1 billion measure that has already been removed from ballots twice before in 2010 and 2012. Given the state’s water situation, there must be no more delays.

However, the battle over content continues. In a letter – posted interestingly on his campaign website – Gov. Jerry Brown said he is concerned with too much debt and that his $6 billion water bond proposal would provide “for water use efficiency and recycling, effective groundwater management and added storage.”

Legislators have discussed water bonds in the $8 to $10 billion range. They battle over how much reservoir water storage, water movement and environmental protections should be included in the bond.


But the size of the bond won’t determine if the voters decide to support it. The reason is the drought.

Voters know about the drought. The fact that the state is suffering a record drought has been drummed home to the people of California. Electronic freeway signs most often used for traffic problem warnings now remind motorists of the drought and the need to conserve water. Word that overwatering comes with severe financial penalties has reached citizens who usually pay little attention to public affairs.

Most voters don’t dig into details of bond measures on the ballot or do the calculus on the cost of an $11 billion bond or one half that size.

The voters will consider a simple equation: to offset effects of a drought you need water. If a water bond appears on the ballot – no matter the size or content – and the voters think this is a way to help deal with the drought, they will vote Yes.

Big problem

The recent PPIC poll noted 61 percent of likely voters said the supply of water is a big problem, while an additional 24 percent said it was somewhat of a problem. Asked about the $11.1 billion bond, 51 percent of likely voters said they would support it, while 26 percent opposed. However, of those opposed, only 8 percent said they would reconsider if the bond were a lower amount.

Apparently, the bond’s size matters little to many who would vote No.

Brown is right to be concerned with the state’s debt situation, while hoping to eliminate the obvious pork in the current bond such as bicycle trails that have nothing to do with water usage and supply. However, whether his $6 billion proposal is too low is a fair question because additional money is needed for storage to deal with future water shortfalls.

Time is running out. Because they are aware of the devastating drought, if a more reasonable bond that can achieve the necessary two-thirds vote is not patched together to present to voters, they will likely accept the only option offered them – pork and all.


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  1. Gene Beley
    Gene Beley 10 August, 2014, 21:06

    With government the people have lost trust in our elected officials to do the right thing. Just look at how many elected officials in California alone have been caught by the F.B.I. on camera taking illegal money. Most of the money that flows to politicians, though, is done through legal channels, but still doesn’t instill much trust from the hard working citizens who are just struggling to make a living.

    With Governor Brown’s bypassing a public vote for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan twin tunnels boondoggle that has mushroomed already from $25 billion to $67 billion with no financing plan yet, and would put many people out of their Delta homes and farms, that, too, does not instill trust from the people. Or quietly jamming in a 16¢-76¢ gas tax, effective January 1, 2015, without a vote of the people, to create more cap and trade money to transfer to his other insane bullet train project, which is another lie, because it is no longer a bullet train like in Japan.

    Also, people are already suffering from too high property taxes. We need another property tax revolution from the people to go to something like $1 a sq. ft fixed property taxes annually. I think $2,000 a year for our 2,000 sq. ft. condo is a very fair contribution–especially now that we are 74 years-old and it gets more difficult to earn money as we age. We can’t even earn money on money anymore with less than 2% available on FDIC insured CDs that dropped our income substantially from the days of 5-5.5% CDs. Donating about three of my monthly Social Security checks each year to our property taxes really hurts. How many would be willing to donate one-third of their income to property taxes? If the government gets the money, they will spend it on fat pensions and questionable projects—like when a former City Manager of Stockton hired old time singer Neil Diamond for $1 million for one night at the opening of the Stockton Arena that only brought in $400,000 gross income.

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  2. Queeg
    Queeg 11 August, 2014, 15:13


    We feel the pain…..all seniors should go nonpartisan and fix stuff for all comrades…..why do the old and the poor always get picked on?

    They do not listen…..they do not care.

    Reply this comment

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Jerry BrownJoel Foxwater bondProp. 43

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