One of the attractions at the California State Fair, going on right now in Sacramento, are the exhibits highlighting the state’s 58 counties. San Joaquin County is an agricultural county, so its exhibit includes a display of fruits, vegetables, nuts and wine that have come from the region.
But all the produce is overshadowed by the exhibit’s central feature: A massive segment of concrete pipe on a pedestal looming over everything else in the diorama. Large as it is, the cylinder’s diameter is about 1/6 of the size of each of the pair of tunnels proposed in a state plan to pipe water from the Sacramento River around the Delta to water-exporting pump, according to a sign on the display. The Delta is an important source of water across the state, but plans to build the tunnel has stiff opposition in San Joaquin County.
This isn’t the first time the county has used the State Fair to make a political statement. Plans to divert river around the Delta were being bandied about when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was in office. In 2009, the menace looming over the county was a red-eyed robot that looked a lot like the character played by the governor in the Terminator movies.