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In an interview with Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning" May 18, Governor Jerry Brown called for tax hikes to bring down a budget deficit of nearly $16 billion - while promoting the construction of a budget-busting $14 billion peripheral canal or tunnel.

Brown's estimate of the cost of the canal at $14 billion is up from the "over $10 billion" estimate he made in January.

However, the real cost of the canal, proposed under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to divert more water from the California Delta to corporate agribusiness and Southern California, is much larger. Economist Jerry Kasower in 2009 estimated that the actual cost of the project would range from $23 billion to $53.8 billion, depending on whether a canal or tunnel is chosen.

The Governor defended both the canal project and his $68-billion plan to build a high-speed rail system, in spite of $15.7-billion deficit, as he promoted his November ballot initiative to raise taxes and defended his revised state budget. He claimed the $14 billion water project was necessary to "make sure we have a reliable water supply."

"California is growing. This is not Europe," Brown told Rose. "We're very entrepreneurial, very innovative, and people are still coming here."

"You know, this is where they put in, they invented Facebook," he claimed. "Not in Texas, not in Arizona. Not in Manhattan, and certainly not under the White House or the Congress. This is still the Wild West, and we're going to prove to the rest of this country and the world that we know how to do 'it'"

Rose countered that Facebook was invented in Cambridge, Massachusetts, not California. Brown responded that after inventing Facebook there, "they learned fast to get on a plane and get out to California, where all the other innovative people are."

Brown said his budget plan would increase the sales tax to 7.5 percent from 7.25 percent and raise income taxes on people making over $250,000.

"Combined with that, we're making some very drastic cuts in almost every area of state government," said Brown. "So we are going to start living within our means - something that hasn't truly happened for the better part of 30 years."

While Jerry Brown slashes the state budget, he is fast-tracking a government boondoggle that will deliver more subsidized water to corporate agribusiness interests so they can market the water back to the public for an enormous profit.

Not only will this canal put Californians in debt for decades to come, it will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species, according to agency and independent scientists alike. This will lead to the loss of thousands of economically valuable jobs in the recreational and commercial fishing industries.

While the canal will result in unprecedented ecological destruction, Southern California ratepayers are alarmed by the canal's enormous cost. The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) has admitted it would pay at least 25% of the cost of the project, which could go over $50 billion. MWD has already admitted that it will need to increase water rates every year for the foreseeable future.

Rose's interview with Jerry Brown was one of the greatest examples of political cognitive dissonance I've ever witnessed. How can one call for draconian budget cuts and tax hikes while promoting a canal that will indebt Californians for generations to come?

Brown claimed in his interview that "We're not some tired country of Europe. We're a buoyant, dynamic society that will both discipline itself on a daily basis but it will on the long-term plant the seeds of future growth."

Unfortunately, Brown's description applies of "tired" accurately describes his proposal to build a canal or tunnel, a Nineteenth Century solution to Twenty-First Century problems.

In light of Brown's renewed call for the canal's construction, it is crucial for everybody concerned aboutCalifornia's future to support AB 2421 (B. Berryhill). This bill supports an independent cost-benefit analysis before committing the public to pay tens of billions of dollars to build a peripheral canal or tunnel to divert more Delta water under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

To watch the interview, go to:

For more information about the campaign to stop the canal, go to

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Comment Preferences

  •  Among the May Revise proposals are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical, Mr Robert, KenBee

    to have state workers work 9.5 hour days four days a week and have every Friday off.  They lose 5 percent pay in the process.

    Also included are the delay of a variety of loan from the GF to various specialty accounts that it has borrowed from.  It is only a matter of time before they do to them what they did to transportation and just simply keep a couple billion dollars of the "loans."

    Also, there is a shell game that would "reduce" the number of state workers, well not really, what it would do is eliminate salary savings (that 4 percent of salaries that they do not give to the departments because they have calculated that, in aggregate, four percent of positions are vacant at any given time.  They figure that if they eliminate four percent of positions (which had no $$$ in them) they can have a much lower number of state employees because they are not forced to count the structural vacancies.

    They are moving forward with the High-speed rail blended system projects (Prop 1A)

    They are also taking advantage of a loophole in the gas tax swap to move $312 million from transportation (both state and local) to the General Fund.

    "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

    by Sychotic1 on Sat May 19, 2012 at 08:57:02 AM PDT

  •  Weird (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lcrp, KenBee

    I thought the canal was to protect the fish in the Delta. Wow, what a huge boondoggle. Hate to say it, but the high speed rail is looking like the same thing. I like Jerry a lot, but these sound like bad ideas.

  •  This diary doesn't say what the purpose of (0+ / 0-)

    the canal is. Economically, just like the federal stimulus plan, infrastructure projects help by using supplies, equipment, and labor. Has there been a cost/benefit study? Jerry Brown knows ecology; is famous for that knowledge.

    Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

    by HappyinNM on Sat May 19, 2012 at 08:58:03 AM PDT

      •  And the diary does say this about ecology (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox, Mr Robert, KenBee
        it will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species, according to agency and independent scientists alike. This will lead to the loss of thousands of economically valuable jobs in the recreational and commercial fishing industries.

        While the canal will result in unprecedented ecological destruction, Southern California ratepayers are alarmed by the canal's enormous cost.

        For shure we are hungry for jobs and infrastructure all across the country, but there are so many to choose from there is no need to destroy fishery.

        Glad Jerry won over bobble head whathername.  But he is not  the same Jerry of olde.....

    •  HappyinNM's questions (5+ / 0-)

      First, the purpose of the canal is to facilitate the export of more water from the California to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and southern California.

      Second, no cost benefit-analysis has been done on the canal. In fact, canal proponents are trying to stop a cost-benefit study of the project because they know the costs would greatly exceed the benefits.

      As I put at the end of the article:

      In light of Brown's renewed call for the canal's construction, it is crucial for everybody concerned aboutCalifornia's future to support AB 2421 (B. Berryhill). This bill supports an independent cost-benefit analysis before committing the public to pay tens of billions of dollars to build a peripheral canal or tunnel to divert more Delta water under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP.


      •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I guess I didn't read carefully enough. What divineorder said about Brown not being the "Jerry of olde" is disappointing. I read the part about the loss of fish, but I thought perhaps there was some other ecological value outweighing that loss. I lived in CA when Brown was governor the first time. I also lived in CA when Pat Brown was governor. Since your diary only stated one side of the issue, it was my inclination to question your motive. Now that you've answered that, what do you think Brown's motive is?

        Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

        by HappyinNM on Sat May 19, 2012 at 10:43:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Aren't canals and rail good stimulus? (0+ / 0-)

    "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

    by GussieFN on Sat May 19, 2012 at 09:50:54 AM PDT

    •  Not if the trade off is cutting state workers' (0+ / 0-)

      salaries even more, workers who do important work and are vital to California's economy, in trade for megaprojects of questionable value and utility that may not translate into jobs for years and years.

      •  But are those two issues (0+ / 0-)

        inextricably linked?

        Can I be against cutting salaries and for the canal/rail? Is cut and canal better or worse than cut without canal? I honestly don't know. Just moved to CA, still need to read up.

        The Nature Conservancy seems pro-canal for environmental reasons, but for all I know they've edged into greenwashing or something.

        "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

        by GussieFN on Sat May 19, 2012 at 10:57:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They shouldn't be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but drawing from the well of state workers' salaries and benefits is now the money solution of choice for every politician in the state. Dem or Rep.

          Until I see a halt to the incessant cuts that public workers have endured (well, I guess if working nights and weekends at Home Depot in a second job is enduring), I cannot abide spending a penny more on a huge project like this.

    •  yes. Infrastructure is the best stim (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bunk, GussieFN, KenBee

      But his canal may may not be a good idea, not familiar with the project, but from the info in the diary, apparently not such a good idea.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Sat May 19, 2012 at 10:43:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  not at the cost of environmental deficits that can (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      too many people

      never be repaid.
      The central valley should become the solar energy capital of the world, rampant sunshine, and useless poisoned land from the salts of uneducated publicly subsidized farming.

      This appears to me to be salting the mine so that worthless farmland can be claimed to be washed clean of the selenium that is there...nonsense of course.

      Instead these fools should be promoting green energy, renewable projects can get deeper and far more supportive backing than this destructive project.

      Growth in Socal is a NoWin deal and has been for some time.

      Solarize the southern central valley poisoned farmland, people will happily support that.

      Wake up Gov Brown!

      From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America!...Langston Hughes

      by KenBee on Sat May 19, 2012 at 03:16:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's be sure to distiguish "deficit" from "debt" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    First,  California has structural financial problems which stem the fact that the legislature must pass revenue increases with a 2/3 majority. This means that every Democrat in Sacramento gets 1 vote, and every Republican gets 1-1/2 votes on tax increases.

    Criticism of Governor Brown should be tempered with the fact that the legislature is ruled by a tiny Republican "Politburo", allied with an entrenched anti-tax lobby that can swing local elections and intimidate Democratic legislators.

    The peripheral canal will certainly cause ecological damage by diverting water from the Sacramento Delta and San Francisco Bay. But it will certainly boost economic growth and land values in SoCal.

    But given the de-facto "cap" on tax rates, the State's only other option to increase revenue is economic growth. The State's only option for funding infrastructure projects are bond sales.

    Advocates for the environment don't object to selling bonds for watershed protection, storm water cleanup, and improvements to sewage plants... and these do not bring growth or increased tax revenue. Sure, the bonds add to the public debt eventually, but State's debt service is less than 8% of the annual budget.

    Give Jerry a break. The Governor is boxed into advocating the "least worse" option by the 'Pub's stranglehold on taxes.

    I'm against building the canal, but the best way to defeat it is to defeat Republicans at the polls.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Sat May 19, 2012 at 11:19:54 AM PDT

    •  Campaign contributors put pressure on Brown (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, KenBee


      Actually, the fix was in before Jerry Brown even became Governor. Jerry Brown isn't promoting the canal under "Republican pressure;" he doing it under pressure by his biggest campaign contributors, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the billionaire agribusiness tycoons. This article was written in February 2010 before Brown even officially declared he was running for Governor.


      Big Ag’s Power Couple Banking On Brown, Feinstein

      by Dan Bacher

      Monday Feb 15th, 2010 10:42 AM

      Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills agribusiness tycoon who owns 115,000 acres of farmland in Kern County, appears to be putting his bets on Jerry Brown as the winner of the gubernatorial race in the November election - even though Brown hasn't officially declared himself as a candidate.

      On November 11, 2009, Resnick and his wife, Lynda, the co-owner of the giant Paramount Farms and Roll Corporation, wrote four checks totalling $50,000 for the Brown campaign.

      The donations that the Resnicks made to Brown to date exemplify the enormous political influence of Resnick and other water barons exert over California water politics. The Resnicks are the largest tree fruit growers in the world.

      Delta advocates fear that campaign contributions from the Resnicks and other big water interests could heavily influence Brown's positions on the peripheral canal, the construction of more dams and the November $11.1 billion water bond. They also fear the Resnicks could pressure Brown to support legislative and administrative attacks on federal plans protecting Delta smelt and Central Valley salmon.

      The Resnicks and executives of their companies have donated $3.97 million to candidates and political committees since 1993, mostly in the Golden State, a California Watch review of public records shows, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, December 6, 2009.

      Roll International, one of the largest private water brokers in the U.S., makes millions of dollars in profit off marketing subsidized public water. “Through a series of subsidiary companies and organizations, Roll International is able to convert California’s water from a public, shared resource into a private asset that can be sold on the market to the highest bidder,” according to Yasha Levine in “How Limousine Liberals, Water Oligarchs and Even Sean Hannity are Hijacking Our Water" (

      Resnick was heavily involved in the creation of Kern County Water Bank — a controversial underground water storage facility in the southern San Joaquin Valley. The Westside Mutual Water Company, owned by Resnick, now owns 48 percent of the bank. One of the reasons why Central Valley reservoirs were drained so low over the past few years was to fill the water bank and southern California water reservoirs.

      The Resnicks have also written big checks to the campaigns of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and presidential candidates from both parties in the 2008 election. They contributed a total of $271,990 to Schwarzenegger’s campaign coffers. They haven’t contributed to the Republican candidates for Governor, Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner yet, but don’t be surprised if they do.

      In response to my emailed questions about Brown's positions about the peripheral canal, new dams, the water bond and the biological opinions, I received the following response from "Ned," a staffer from Jerry Brown 2010.

      "Thank you for your email," "Ned" stated. "While Jerry is considering a potential run for Governor, he is not a declared candidate. He has said that he will make a decision on the Governor's race by the filing deadline in March, until that time he is focused on his job as Attorney General. Should he declare a run for Governor, he'll begin to address all the issues and concerns that Californians will find important in choosing their next Governor."

      Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), quipped about Resnicks’ contributions to Brown and others. “Resnick is an equal opportunity contributor to candidates seekers. He gives money to everybody – it doesn’t matter if they’re Republican, Democrat or the Anti-Christ, he’ll try to buy their votes.”

      “For Brown to say that he doesn’t have a position on the issues and then to accept major contributions from a guy involved heavily in water politics like Resnick is highly disingenuous,” said Barbara Barrigan Parrilla, campaign director of Restore the Delta. “The contribution to Brown is a prime example of how big agribusiness influences both political parties.”

      Brown signed the original legislation that authorized the original peripheral canal bond in 1982, but voters overwhelmingly defeated the canal at the ballot box that November.

      Brown hasn’t indicated his position now on the canal and new dams, but the other candidates have. Meg Whitman is a strong supporter of the peripheral canal, more dams, and increased Delta pumping.

      “She acknowledged the ‘humanitarian disaster’ resulting from 35-percent unemployment in some west valley towns and the threat to a region that grows a huge portion of the nation’s food,” according to Whitman’s Website, reporting on her visit to Fresno on May 29, 2009.

      ( “As governor, she said she would stick with her conviction that saving jobs takes precedence and would use emergency powers to order more pumping from the Delta. In the longer term, she supports more above- and below-ground storage facilities and the construction of a peripheral canal in addition to conservation efforts.”

      Poizner is also a big backer of the peripheral canal. In an interview with the Bakersfield Californian on April 30, 2009, he stated, “I do support more above-ground storage and I do support more water conveyance systems to get the water from where it is to where it needs to go, without completely destroying the delta.”

      Obama Administration Convenes Panel at Resnick’s Request

      The recent National Academy of Sciences Delta Panel held in Davis from January 24-28 illustrated the influence of the Resnicks’ money upon political decisions. Because of a letter that Stewart Resnick wrote to Senator Diane Feinstein, Feinstein pressured the Obama administration to conduct the review of the biological opinions protecting Central Valley salmon and Delta smelt.

      In the letter of September 4, Resnick claimed that the biological opinion to prevent endangered salmon and smelt from becoming extinct was "exacerbating the state's severe drought" because it reduced the water available to irrigate farmland. He claimed that "sloppy science" by federal fishery agencies had led to "regulatory-induced water shortages." "I really appreciate your involvement in this issue," he stated.

      The administration invited representatives of corporate agribusiness, including Resnicks’ Astroturf group, the Coalition for a “Sustainable” Delta, and Southern California water districts to testify, but they invited no representatives of recreational fishing groups, commercial fishing organizations, Delta farming groups, California Indian Tribes and environmental justice communities, the people most impacted by fish collapses.

      The NAS Panel is a typical example of the “pay to play” corruption endemic to California and U.S. politics. The Resnicks and associates have contributed $29,000 to Feinstein and $246,000 more to Democratic political committees during years when she has sought re-election.

      Feinstein, the Resnicks and other corporate agribusiness interests, southern California land speculators and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are engaged in an intense campaign to weaken pumping restrictions protecting threatened and endangered species under the federal biological opinions for Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, green sturgeon and the southern resident population of killer whales.

      Senator Feinstein is now proposing an amendment to a jobs stimulus bill that, in effect, would suspend rules that protect salmon and other imperiled fish from being killed by the giant state and federal pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. She is doing this at a time when Central Valley salmon populations have collapsed to a new record low. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) on February 11 reported that only 39,530 Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon returned to spawn in 2009.

      "No hearings have been held on Senator Feinstein’s proposed amendment," said Steve Evans, conservation director for Friends of the River. "No written version of the amendment is available for review by the public. This is not the way to conduct public policy!"

      Corporate agribusiness and their political allies are also pushing for the approval of a water bond that, combined with the water policy package passed by the California Legislature in November, creates a clear path to the construction of the peripheral canal or tunnel and Temperance Flats and Sites reservoirs.

      Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who received $15,600 for his 2010 campaign from the Resnicks on July 30, 2009, strong-armed the water package through the Legislature in spite of strong opposition from his constituents and environmental, fishing and Delta farming groups.

      The canal will cost $23 billion to $53.8 billion to build at a time when California is in its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression - and the budgets for teachers, game wardens, health care for children and state parks have been slashed.

      Unfortunately, you can expect political influence by corporate giants like the Resnicks to increase even more, due to the recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision that blocks bans on corporate spending for political candidates.

      For a complete list of Resnick’s contributions, go to

      For action alerts and updates, go to

      •  very good Dan (0+ / 0-)

        thank you for staying on this issue.

        From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America!...Langston Hughes

        by KenBee on Sat May 19, 2012 at 03:21:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm phone banking every day to get Democrats to (0+ / 0-)

        go to the polls in June.  To avoid discouraging those voters, I recommend that you refrain from language like "the fix was in". You're putting some down-ticket races at risk.

        Do continue to hold Jerry Brown's feet to the fire, but don't single him out for criticism. There's plenty to go around.

        The "both sides are equally to blame" canard will only benefit the canal-builders.

        Have you noticed?
        Politicians who promise LESS government
        only deliver BAD government.

        by jjohnjj on Sun May 20, 2012 at 09:29:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Corporate Democrats are big backers of the canal (0+ / 0-)

          As a journalist, I'm concerned about uncovering the truth. I will not refrain from language like "the fix was in" when this accurately describes what is going on.

          I have not singled Jerry Brown for criticism - I was the most consistent and vocal critic of Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign to build the canal and his corporate greenwashing policies while he was in office. Read any of my blogs published during the Schwarzenegger administration.

          However, right now Brown and his staff - Natural Resources Secretary John Laird and the Deputy Director Jerry Meral- and their corporate agribusiness and water agency allies are the most enthusiastic supporters of the canal.

          In fact, it is a Democrat - Meral - that has adopted the construction of the canal as his "cause" for over three decades.

          The "canal builders" are the corporate Democrats like Brown and the corporate Republicans like Schwarzeneger. The "both sides are equally to blame" accurately describes the position of both the corporate Democrats and the corporate Republicans. What we should do in the elections is work for those candidates that oppose the corporate water grab.

          Fortunately, the Obama administration appears to be backing away from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the canal or tunnel because agency scientists are saying that the plan violates the state and federal Endangered Species Acts and other laws protecting fish and wildlife.


  •  Growth is what cancers do best. The West is H2O- (0+ / 0-)

    limited, and this is all about what is the history of so much of CA -- stealing water resources for the benefit of the influential few. There are whole books, and courses, and even movies ("Chinatown" comes to mind) about this.

    The Rich Shits do not give a rip shit about people upstream or down from their Glorious Grabbery. There's long-term planning and the building of coalitions of "interests" in place, to run an aqueduct from Lakes Superior or Michigan to the Great Republican Southwest, for more fucking monoculture in the form of bluegrass lawns and backyard pools and "water features" on the Great Estates and of course irrigation, with wetback slaves to work the fields.

    Good luck with all that. The cool part, as always, is that the Rich Shits know they can do what they want and never face any consequences, because the Ordinary People either don't know what's being done to them and with their bits of wealth, or are too overwhelmed by the audacity and hugeness of the theft, or are too kindly to do what seems so roundly justified. "Even Jerry Brown" has his price...

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Sat May 19, 2012 at 01:31:55 PM PDT

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