Mysterious Term Sheet
A recent letter from Friant Water Authority to Secretary Crowfoot and Secretary Blumenfeld, responding to the State’s request to provide “red flag” comments on the October 18, 2021 Draft Memorandum of Understanding Advancing a Term Sheet for the Voluntary Agreements to Update and Implement the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan, and Other Related Actions (Term Sheet) and related appendices by October 29, contains mystery.
Friant’s letter raises multiple concerns about costs, water supply, conflict with the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, and the need for federal legislation to force Central Valley Project contractors to pay their fair share. It most notably states that with respect to the litigation over the 2019 Trump Biological Opinions and negotiations over interim operations “dismissing the litigation must occur as part of reaching agreement on the Term Sheet.”
You may be asking yourself, “What is on the State’s October 18, 2021 Term Sheet that is prompting Friant Water Authority to insist on the dismissal of litigation over the Trump biological opinions?” Especially considering the Trump Biological Opinions were built on political goals more than facts? Those are great questions.
We would also like to know these answers too – but we don’t because the State refuses to share any of key documents regarding the voluntary agreements, despite partners filing for documents under the Public Record Act.
It seems secrecy and backroom dealing are once again the normal way of doing California water business, even though some of California’s most impacted parties, Northern California Tribes, Delta communities rural and urban, and regional environmental justice groups, are excluded from the conversation.
Isn’t this how we ended up with a PG&E deal that resulted in more fires? All made behind closed doors?
In 2022, we shouldn’t have to ask Governor Newsom for transparency, water justice, and equity in water planning, but here we are. He could start by insisting that his agencies make the Term Sheet for the Voluntary Agreements available to interested Californians. It shouldn’t be a mystery for the public to ponder.
Mysterious Assembly District Map
While redistricting in California is supposed to be led by impartial citizen committees, we hear stories daily about which consultant group from which political leaning is sticking his/her thumb into the redistricting process. It isn’t our issue, so we smile politely, nod, and get back to work.
Except when weird things are happening for water representation.
There is a movement to split San Joaquin County into three different Assembly Districts: 1) East County – where some groups don’t want to share flows with the Delta; 2) South County which in some places takes water from the Delta pumps, and will now be lumped in with water districts that favor the tunnel and voluntary agreements; 3) and the Stockton corridor, the urban Delta.
All three of these regions will be separated in terms of representation from the interior Delta, which will be part of another Assembly District.
These efforts for carving up the Delta for political gain remind us of what transpired in pre-war Poland. It also makes us wonder which political consultants have stuck their thumbs into the political pie for which Delta project or export goals.
Here’s how to comment on this redistricting of the Delta.