Sunday, August 1, 2010

212 / Now You See It...

To (water) bond; or not to (water) bond? That is a question.

Of all the various ballot measures now awaiting a decision by California voters on November 2nd, Proposition 18, the "Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010," is the one that may or may not still be on the ballot when you actually get to vote.

This measure was put on the ballot by the Legislature and the Governor, and the Governor has now had second thoughts, and wants to take it off the ballot. In its current form, Proposition 18 would authorize the State to borrow more than $11 billion dollars for various water related purposes. The total state cost would be about $22 billion.

Those concerned about the state's fiscal situation think that this proposed bond issue is not a good idea (click on the image for one view).

Opposition, however, goes beyond the anti-tax and anti-government advocates who have traditionally opposed bond issues to benefit the environment. This time, there is significant environmental opposition to the water bond, with the Sierra Club California, the Planning and Conservation League, Clean Water Action, the Desal Response Group, the California Save Our Streams Council, the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and the California Water Impact Network all recommending a "No" vote on Proposition 18. This group of environmental opponents also want the measure permanently removed from the ballot, not just "delayed," which is what the Governor is pushing for.

Environmental opposition to Proposition 18 has mobilized because the bond measure would permit the state's money to be used for projects that would subsidize the wasteful water practices of giant agricultural interests, and because the measure would fail to address the real needs of California, and to demand a change in the state's approach to water use.

If Proposition 18 stays on the ballot, I'm recommending a "No" vote.


  1. There is a lot of environmental support for this bill too. The California League of Conservation voters supports this prop and says it's a step in the right direction. There are many safeguards in place too if damns are proposed. It certaintly is not perfect and does not provide everything environmentalists would want, but it puts us in a better place than we are now. The water conservation targets and funding for upgrading parts of the levies that go back to Gold Rush times are crucial. If those levies break it will be a disaster environmentally and economically for the state. Knowing how impossible it is to get 2/3rds of the legislature to agree on anything these days, the fact they came up with a bond measure and all the supporting legislation leads me to believe we are not going to get something better anytime soon. The consequences if this prop doesn't pass are huge and will be felt for the next 100 years. I wish we could create a bond that would be perfect and respect the environment 100%, but unfortunately we don't live in a world that works that way. If our state can make a few steps in the right direction and get us closer to important goals, I'll take that. Progress not perfection is the best we can get considering the political environment in Sacramento.

  2. Thank you, Richelle, for letting folks know that there is a "pro" side, too!

    But I'm definitely "No."

  3. Maybe the best hope is a prop that only concentrates on fixing the levies. Maybe that could pass with a 2/3rds vote in the legislature. The levies concern me greatly. We shall see.


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