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?