by Wayne Lusvardi | October 30, 2014 4:42 pm
Call them Water Bond Czars.
They’re the nine members of the California Water Commission and will decide how to implement Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond on the Nov. 4 ballot, should voters pass it.
While most media have focused on what’s in the bond, little attention has been given to who will oversee the first water storage projects built in California in 50 years. The bond stipulates that the Nine Water Bond Czars will decide where the money goes.
According to the commission’s website:
“Seven members are chosen for their general expertise related to the control, storage, and beneficial use of water and two are chosen for their knowledge of the environment.”
But eight of the nine current members hail from Northern California. Just one, Chair Joseph Byrne, hails from drought-parched Southern California.
In the official pamphlet sent to voters for Prop. 1, the impartial California Legislative Analyst explained the powers of the commission for picking water storage projects:
“The Commission would not have to go through the state budget process to spend these funds. For all other funding provided in the measure, the Legislature generally would allocate money annually to state agencies in the state budget process.”
The power of the commission won’t be total because the $2.7 billion in bond monies for storage must be used as matching funds for water storage projects competitively proposed by other state, federal or local agencies. In other words, the commission won’t originate storage projects, but will pick the winners from proposals submitted by other agencies.
And Prop. 1 does not provide for accepting proposals from private entities or joint venture projects with private entities.
A Calwatchdog probe of the makeup of the nine Water Bond Czars found:
By clicking on the names in the table below, or going here, the biographies can be seen of each Commission member.
California Water Commission – Member Profiles
|Name||Principal Occupation||Education||Northern or Southern California||Party Affiliation||Prior Water Policy Experience|
|Andrew Ball||Building Industry||Architecture||Northern||Republican||None|
|Daniel Curtin||Labor Lobbyist & EnvironmentalAdvocate||Bachelor of Science||Northern||Democrat||None|
|Jose Del Bosque||Labor & Agriculture||Farming (Del Bosque Farms)||Northern||Undeclared||Prior years not stated|
|Kimberly Delfino||Environmental lobbyist||Law||Northern||Undeclared||None|
|Luther Hintz||Water Engineer||Engineering||Northern||Republican||52 years|
|David Orth||Agricultural Water Manager-Accountant||Accounting||Northern||Republican||28 years|
|Armando Quintero||Environmental educator||Education||Northern||Democrat||None|
|Anthony Saracino||Environmental Water Consultant||Environmental Engineer||Northern||Democrat||None|
The Commission is far from a panel that reflects the diversity of water interests in California and six of its members had no prior water policy experience before serving on the commission.
If Prop. 1 passes, its implementation could turn out to be a major political controversy in the next several years.
Note: The water bond matching fund share is typically 50 percent. This means the real tax burden of Proposition 1 is not $7.5 billion, but $10.2 billion, as another $2.7 billion will have to come from other agencies. So while water storage comprises 35 percent of the $7.5 billion total bond funds provided in Prop. 1, the actual amount of funding for water storage will be $5.4 billion. This would make funding for water storage about 53 percent of all funding.
Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2014/10/30/8-of-9-water-bond-czars-hail-from-norcal/
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