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Legislature must decide whether Proposition 18 stays on the ballot

If the Nov. 2 election were high school and all of the qualified propositions on the ballot were students, Proposition 18 would be the kid eating by himself in the cafeteria.

Proposition 18, California's  $11-billion water bond, is intended to ensure the safety of the state's drinking water, meet residents' water supply needs, protect wildlife and reduce polluted runoff. You can check out the legislative analysis of the bill here.

Supporters call the measure  an essential step toward solving the problems facing our water system and environment. Opponents argue that Proposition 18 is a "pork measure that gives billions of dollars to special interests and bureaucrats."

In the past, The Times argued that although there may be a lot of pork in the measure, it represents a necessary step forward.

Celebrities have begun coming out against the measure. Calitics reported that actors David DeLuise of "Wizards of Waverly Place," Justine Bateman of "Family Ties," "Californication" and "Desperate Housewives," Kelly Williams of "Lie to Me," "The Practice" and "Scrubs" and Anna Belknap of 'CSI: NY" have all gone public with their opposition to the measure. 

But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that because it is crucial the measure passes, he wants to delay the vote and wait until political resistance dies down to ensure its passage. That idea doesn't seem too far-fetched: A Tulchin poll taken in January showed opposition to the measure at 55%, but a more recent Field poll taken in July showed opposition at only 32% (even though there were a large portion of voters who were unfamiliar with the measure altogether).

But if Schwarzenegger wants to see his plans come to fruition, the Legislature will have to act -- and quick. Schwarzenegger will need a two-thirds vote by mid-August to get the proposition off the ballot.

The governor's desire to delay voting for the measure also stems from the effects the state's budget crisis might have on voter mentality. A Bakersfield Californian editorial argues that voters are reluctant to approve of a measure so costly, especially in the throes of the greatest economic downturn since the Depression. 

Jeff Macedo, deputy press secretary at Schwarzenegger's office, said the governor was confident the proposition will be moved to the 2012 ballot. Macedo said the governor currently has no backup plan, but if the Legislature opts to keep the measure on the ballot, Macedo said the governor would "cross that bridge when he comes to it."

Sen. Dave Cogdill (R-Fresno) issued a statement on June 29 stating that he was in favor of passing a water bond but that he was "willing to wait to bolster voter understanding of this critical measure."

-- Emilia Barrosse


Comments () | Archives (4)

The comments to this entry are closed.

jennifer bowhay

Our government was based on a government by the people and for the people. The Constitution was based on a balance of powers. The scale has been tipped. Our courts are run by money and power- not the people. Now the U.S.A. rapidly becomes a two class government.

This isn't about my personal or spiritual beliefs- it is about-(once again) overriding the vote of the populace.

The court system is flawed and without justice, a country falls.

Mike Wade

California must undertake a modernization of an aging water infrastructure that was designed to serve half of today’s population of 38 million. Proposition 18 provides the necessary funding for statewide and regional projects to safeguard California’s water future. The supply, delivery and environmental issues associated with our state’s water issues will continue until the decision is made to update water infrastructure. Mike Wade, California Farm Water Coalition

Alex H

Just because a bunch of idiotic people watched some idiotic actors on a few idiotic sitcoms on the idiotic television set does not mean that they know anything about the state water system.

I saw a great bumper sticker on the back of a volkswagon beetle last month:

Dan Bacher

The legislature's decision on whether to postpone, scrap or leave untouched Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's water bond is actually a referendum on who should control water in California - the public or big corporations.

The battle over Proposition has been falsely framed by Astroturf groups as a battle between "farmers and fishermen" or between "fish and jobs." However, a recent report released by Food & Water Watch reveals that the real battle is between private and public interests, with private corporate interests across the state set to gain measurably if the bond is passed.

The battle is clearly between the people of California, including fishermen, family farmers, farmworkers, California Indian Tribes, conservationists and environmental justice communities, and the giant corporations that seek to profit off California's public trust water resources.

Bond beneficiaries would include the Obayashi Corporation, a large Japanese contractor working on the San Vicente Dam in San Diego, and Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Pacificorp would have costs associated with the removal of its dams on the Klamath River offset by bond funds.

Another beneficiary would be Cadiz, Inc., which could access bond money for a groundwater bank in the Mojave Desert, where it would store Colorado River water and resell it at a profit to Southern California communities.



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