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Should State Agencies Be Lobbying for the Delta Tunnels?

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A recent email forwarded from one of our supporters seemed innocuous enough. The subject line read: “Op-Ed: WaterFix provides solution to California’s water woes.” These kind of emails are shared every day by people who follow California water policy.

What was strange about this email was the sender, a government agency.

From: CALIFORNIA NATURAL RESOURCES AGENCY

The email was a heads up regarding an op-ed from Mike Mielke with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group arguing in favor of the Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix). Pretty standard stuff.

What seemed odd is when the email clearly wanders into grassroots advocacy:

“Share Mike’s op-ed and these stats to make sure people know how crucial WaterFix is to securing clean water for 25 million Californians.”

Is this legal? Who knows?

But the questions raised by the email are many:

• Do ratepayers of the Santa Clara Valley Water District know their state tax dollars are funding the California Natural Resources Agency’s lucrative contracts to lobby their own ratepayers to pay more?

• Do ratepayers of the Santa Clara Valley understand that their pockets are being picked to pay to build the Delta Tunnels that will mostly benefit a few rich industrial irrigators in the southwest San Joaquin Valley?

• Do ratepayers of the Santa Clara Valley Water District know that when they paid their water bills over the last 24 months that they actually funded Santa Clara Valley Water District employees to help Stewart Resnick’s Paramount Farms to create Californians for Water Security? Californians for Water Security works hand-in-hand with Silicon Valley Leadership, and now California Natural Resources Agency to lobby Santa Clara Valley Water District board members to support the tunnels project?

• How should ratepayers and property taxpayers in the Santa Clara valley respond to agency lobbying? Should they demand a full accounting of the PR campaigns paid for with their money?

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • George Spatz
    August 23, 2016, 2:04 pm

    Santa Clara Water should refund money to their customers and get hit with a fine for this

  • Bob Johnson
    August 23, 2016, 8:04 pm

    Is grassroots lobbying by state agencies legal?
    Any lawyers or investigative journalists out there?

    • Nathan Duffy
      October 14, 2016, 7:26 am

      You’re talking about people and groups that we allow to make our laws. It’s legal until someone challenges them in court. Lawyers are mostly only interested in getting paid and only have the authority to speak for the person that hires them. Anyone who chooses to be can be a investigative reporter and take their own action in court.

  • Nathan Duffy
    October 14, 2016, 6:51 am

    I can promise you as someone born and raised there, that in general, ratepayers in the Santa Clara Valley have no idea about any of these things. That probably goes for ratepayers and taxpayers nationwide. I encourage anyone and everyone to look into a federal statute known as “42 U.S.C. 1983”, the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, and the federal courts pro se self help system.

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