Friday, October 05, 2018

PROP 3

Prop 3 authorizes nearly $9 Billion in General Obligation Bonds to fund water and environmental projects. The largest share of it would go towards improving watersheds (the areas where rivers begin). The remainder would fund water conservation, storage, and habitat preservation. Possibly the most important aspect of this proposal is $1.1 Billion to restore and clean up sources of groundwater that were nearly depleted during the last drought.

All of this sounds good. Expensive, but good.

Unfortunately, there's evidence to suggest this is a self-serving proposal by big agriculture. Nearly all the backing for the prop comes from central valley farms and organizations that have caused many of the water problems we've got now, including the near collapse of groundwater systems in parts of the state. Repair costs are normally paid by those who did the damage, but this prop would shift the burden to taxpayers. The Mercury News writes, "Opponents are especially bothered by a $750-million expenditure to repair the federally owned Friant-Kern and Madera canals between Fresno and Bakersfield. Two problems, critics say: First, the canals aren't working right because the've sunk. and the land has sunk because farmers have over-pumped groundwater, causing major subsidence. Growers caused their own problem. Now they want the state to pony up to solve it."

In addition, the state still has nearly $10 Billion in unspent funds dedicated to water and environmental projects. $4 Billion of that was just passed in June of this year. Why not use that before borrowing even more? Here's why: the legislature did not put this initiative on the ballot. The people who would receive much of the money did.

Water security is among our most dire problems in California, and we should spare nothing to ensure safe and reliable sources well into our future. But we should also make sure that those funds are spent wisely. Prop 3 sounds good, but smells kind of funky.

Your Political Friend is voting NO.

In the meantime, there's one step that every Californian can take to reduce their water consumption - Eat Less Meat. Yes, that pound of beef on your plate required nearly 2000 gallons of water to produce.

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