Tag Archives: Costa

Twisted priorities

In a time when Lester Brown is writing about a World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse it seems that the political forces in California make for strange reading.  Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose overall environmental polices were as destructive as any CA governor, made an impassioned speech this week on the need for strong action on climate change.  It may be the only environmental issue that he got right.  

At the same time, Representative Jim Costa was voting with the Republicans to continue subsides to the petroleum industry… subsidies that cost the US Taxpayers Billions a year.  It is yet one more piece of evidence that cutting the federal budget is not really a goal, but rather a question of whose ox is going to be gored.  In this case, Republicans in Congress are making sure that their ox is protected.

We all know how we are being manipulated, first by a national that considers Charlie Sheen to be the big story of the day year, but also by the political operatives who draw a public salary to be lobbyist.  One time John Doolittle / John Ashcroft aide, Kevin Ring, made that very clear on his Daily Caller blog post this month.  

If I did not know these critical facts as the lead staffer on the bill, how little did other Hill staffers (and their bosses) know when they agreed to let this bill pass? I know this for certain: If someone had objected, I would have recommended that we accuse the objector of not being serious about saving Americans from this deadly threat.

Ring was talking about how federal legislation regarding methamphetamine and the manner in which offenses are punished.  But we surely know that the same type of mnanipulation goes on in every are. BTW – Ring awaiting sentencing for Abramoff associated dealings.  In California, we need to pay attention to how demands for additional growth and invective against the EPA will play out, especially with CA Reps Buck McKeon and Darrel Issa in positions of power right now.

Schwarzenegger was right.  This is a time when we will have to manage the climate as best we know how or pass on the consequences of our non-action to our children and grand children. The Climate, Energy, Water nexus of issues will define our future.  

As a one time thespian, I am thinking of the line from Death of a Salesman: Attention must be paid.

Coastal Calitics and Central Valley Water

I have often noted that the progressive movement in CA is a coastal phenomenon while the real battle for the future of this state is being fought in the Central Valley.  This is true for the Green Party, of which I am a member and it appears to be true for Calitics as the nexus of California’s progressive netroots.

Let me call attention to the 20th Congressional District, where Jim Costa campaigns like a Democrat, but too often votes like a Republican, especially when the issues are ecological: water, fresh air, extractive industries, etc.

Last night, I was reading the most recent issue of High Country News.  One article was about the proposal to re-establish Tulare Lake as a cost effective alternative to building some of the dams called for in the Schwarzenegger Water Project passed by the legislature in the recent special session.  Surprisingly, this story, from a Colorado based publication, mentioned that Steve Haze was going to enter the primary against Costa, and never a peep out of Calitics before this.

After reading the story, it seems to me that Haze has it right.

“We’ve lost more jobs in construction than we have in farming this year,” he says, piloting his granite blue Chevy pickup through clouds of fluffy bolls. “The real question is: How do we manage the water we have for farms, fish and people?”

That is a far cry from Costa’s message of fry the delta smelt.  In fact, Haze is doing a lot more.

But it’s the feasibility study Haze completed last year that both the California Democratic Council and the California State Grange, a 137-year-old farmers’ advocacy group, quoted when they endorsed the plan. In that study, Haze’s team of engineers, hydrologists and economists argue that returning water to Tulare Lake would cost $1.3 billion — a fifth as much as a proposed dam that would capture flows from the Upper San Joaquin River at Temperance Flat. It would also store twice as much water.

 For the life of me, I don’t see why Calitics is not paying attention to this race.  Finally, there is a chance to break the hold that regressive agribusiness puppets have had on the Central Valley and to let new ideas grow like the tules that once covered the landscape.