Turning about on Smith Canal

Record photo by Cliff Oto

One of the most vocal critics of the Smith Canal flood gate project says he’s now willing to support it, following yet another community meeting last night at the Amblers Club.

Bill Maxwell writes:

“Yes, I will hold my nose and vote in favor of the Smith Canal Assessment.  Even though I know this multi-million dollar boondoggle’s sole purpose is to appease FEMA and keep thousands of homeowner’s from being forced to line FEMA’s pockets with insurance money.  As one of the engineers on the project told me, ‘This is not about flooding, this is about insurance.’  For me, economically, it’s a no-brainer.  I live in the east end of the flood zone and thus my assessment is only $16, as opposed to $412 (and going up 20% a year for the next several years) for insurance.  But more than that, my money will stay in my community and have a direct positive effect for me and my neighbors.  Yes, I think the floodgate is unnecessary, but it’s better than putting an unearned commission in the pockets of insurance companies and giving money to FEMA for them to dole out so folks can rebuild houses in ‘tornado alley.’  I urge everyone in the Smith Canal Assessment District to vote ‘yes’ on this project.  And if you get a chance, ask a FEMA official to explain how this differs from extortion.  Now, let’s just hope the feds don’t come back in a few years with a new set of onerous regulations.”

Maxwell’s grudging support might be good news for those who want the project built, if it’s any indication that other critics are also inclined to “hold their noses” and approve it.

Then again, his assessment is rather small. The gate will be a harder sell for folks who must spend hundreds of dollars a year even though they believe the project is unnecessary for flood control purposes.

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    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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