Bill Berryhill, a candidate for state Senate, seeks to separate himself from rival Cathleen Galgiani on a key issue: water.
Berryhill claimed today that Galgiani continues to “falsely state” (lie?) about her position on the Water Project Formerly Known as the Peripheral Canal.
As evidence, Berryhill points to Galgiani’s vote on the $11 billion water bond which narrowly passed the state Assembly in 2009. The bond does not expressly allow a canal to be built, but helps facilitate the project by providing public funds to restore Delta habitat — a key component of the canal plan.
Galgiani — unlike other Delta-area legislators — supported the bond.
“Let us not forget words of then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who held a press conference in Stockton the day after the Galgiani provided the deciding vote,” Berryhill’s press release says. “Gov. Schwarzenegger said, ‘Part of this package is to fix the Delta and to build a canal around the Delta.’”
Schwarzenegger did say that, but none of the legislation — including the bond — explicitly authorized a canal.
The day after the Legislature’s all-night session, I asked Galgiani why she supported the water bond.
“I am in a much, much different position” than the other Delta-area legislators, she said at the time. “I have a responsibility to balance the interests of farmers and other water users throughout the state.”
As chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Galgiani’s own district included not only San Joaquin County but also Stanislaus and Merced counties where the outlook on state water issues is much different.
“Half of the district is San Joaquin County, which is fearful of sending water south, and half is south of the pumps and they are desperate for water,” Galgiani said. “I am in the epicenter of this whole fight.”
While supporting the bond because it provided money for new surface storage, Galgiani did vote against legislation changing the governance structure in the Delta and setting up a process by which a canal might eventually be approved.
“I believe that there are other alternatives that we should be and could be looking to as opposed to just planning for a canal,” she said.
The canal should, she said at the time, be “the very last option.”