Thursday, June 21, 2007

Top Ten Things Not To Say To The California Electorate

The Peripheral Canal, like the South's need for water, may rise again. The storied and frequently revived only to be killed Canal gets the Capitol Weekly treatment in the above linked article. Couldn't help but chuckle at this choice quotation from Central Valley State Senatory Dean Florez:

It was never built. The Legislature approved it, but voters rejected it in 1982 in a package of water projects known as SB 200. Denounced by some environmentalists as a catastrophe-in-waiting for the Delta and many in the north state as a Southern California water grab, the canal died at the polls.

"But we're not in 1982 anymore. Things have changed. We've got a governor who is willing to take the lead. There are different players. We have municipal water agencies that are bigger, more powerful now than they were back in 1982. They understand that we are all connected in this state. In my district, this is life or death to them," said Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter. "This time," he added, "it could be done without the voters."
Oh man. That guy should've just lit a match and tossed it into a powder keg while saying, "really though, what could go wrong?" Is there anything California voters enjoy MORE than reminding their elected officials that their understanding of representative democracy emphasizes the democracy over the representation?

Californians LOVE killing things in the polling booth. Or creating things that kill members. We should call ourselves, collectively, Dr. California Frankenstein for all the little direct democracy oddballs we reanimate and experiment with.

I'm sure there's a joke in here about whether voters will give Florez the Shafter for his "neener neener we don't need you" attitude, but I won't make it here. Too easy.

Of course, on the article's substance, I'd hate to see some modernized take on California water management go down because it gets slapped with ever-effective "Southern Cali water grab!" hysteria. I used to buy that - until I realized how much water EVERYONE steels from EVERYWHERE else (Bay Area, I'm looking at you).

From a wonk-view, I'd love to see active debate over new canals and damns. Gets me as riled up as a good redistricting debate. But I don't think ANYONE is served by telling the voters they aren't needed. They always manage to hear that message loud and clear - and the seldom ignore it.

1 comment:

Jared said...

Florez said something similar the other day about the San Joaquin Valley Air Board. Basically, he said that because it was composed of a bunch of officials elected by the voters, and not a bunch of air policy experts (presumably like him, in his meaning), the Air Board didn't know what they were doing and shouldn't get bond money from Prop 1B. Florez is the only politician I can recall actively campaigning for his district not to get more bond money.