San Joaquin County Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller said at a meeting this week that in October he will join the Delta Stewardship Council, an entity which a number of organizations including the city of Stockton just happen to be suing right now.
Ruhstaller will replace Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli on the council, which recently finished a controversial 100-year plan for the Delta — a plan that may ultimately include the governor’s proposed twin tunnels.
Ruhstaller will serve on the council by virtue of his service on the Delta Protection Commission, whose chair must serve on the council.
The assignment could sometimes place him in an awkward position, as the council is not well-liked in Delta regions. Nottoli, for example, took some heat from Delta advocates for ultimately voting to approve the Delta Plan, saying it struck a balance on some “pretty difficult issues.”
But the new position does allow Ruhstaller to represent county interests on the seven-member panel.
Now that the plan has been approved, the council will be busy not only implementing it, but defending itself against seven lawsuits.
Ruhstaller said he’ll try to represent not only the commission, but also the individual interests of the five Delta counties, which might be different at times.
“My job is going to be to try to make sure things don’t slip by… I’m going to need to make sure every time something comes up, I may not get them to change it, but you need to have it in the record that I objected,” Ruhstaller said.
As for the lawsuits, once he’s briefed, Ruhstaller said he’ll have to stay mum on the subject — “or I’ll have my tongue ripped out,” he quipped.