Supervisors from the Delta counties stopped by our office on Monday to talk about the governor’s twin tunnels plan.
Among other issues, San Joaquin County Supervisor Ken Vogel said the counties asked the state if it could prepare a red-line version of the 34,000-page draft plan, which in theory would allow readers to understand what has been changed in the huge document since a previous draft came out earlier this year.
“They said they can’t do that,” Vogel said. “You won’t have any idea what’s been changed in there unless you read the whole thing.”
Nancy Vogel (no relation to Ken), a spokeswoman for the Department of Water Resources, told me later that officials considered a red-line version of the report, but decided showing all of the edits would be too confusing.
Other issues brought up by the supervisors:
• Larry Ruhstaller said he’s not sorry to see Jerry Meral, the governor’s point man on this project, retire at the end of this month. All Meral ever did, Ruhstaller said, was attempt to cut a deal with the counties, saying things like: “What’s your bottom line? What’s it gonna take?”
• Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff said there’s nothing wrong with compromise, but at the end of the day, “We want (the plan) to work for everyone.”
“We’re not against a plan,” she said. “We know there needs to be a comprehensive solution.”
• Mitchoff didn’t like Meral’s comments in his letter to the governor last week, in which Meral said implementation of the plan is “virtually certain.” “He’s still touting that it’s a done deal,” she said. “That’s what’s irritating and frustrating.”
• Spending billions on the tunnels will “suck all the money out of the room,” Ruhstaller said, making it more difficult to secure funding to make regions of the state more self-sufficient, or to replace cities’ aging infrastructure.
• Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli said the project’s packaging as a conservation plan is “masking the true intent” and added that phasing in environmental restoration goals over 50 years, much of that work after the tunnels have already been built, is “a bit ridiculous.” He said people need to take a deep breath, step back and come to the realization that water in California has been oversubscribed and overpromised.