Delta levee breaks are declining. Reclamation districts have strengthened most to new standards. The Jones Tract flood eight years ago came as the exception amid a trend of improvement.
So why the oddly timed hearings on potential Delta calamaties, chaired by Republican Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock?
1. Redistricting. Denham’s up for re-election, but redistricting brought a lot of new south San Joaquin County voters into his district. He’s championing Delta disaster relief as a way of proclaiming his comittment to his new district.
2. A double game. As this story points out, Denham supported destructive legislation by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, to suck more Delta water to the south-Valley interests who have been indifferent to the Delta’s health. He also tried to sabotage restoration of the San Joaquin River.
A shrewd politican could appear to show concern for the Delta through disaster hearings that have the opposite effect of affirming the canard that the Delta is a fragile web of rickety levees sure to give way in a major earthquake and interrupt the state’s water supply — the primary argument for the Peripheral Canal.
Take your pick.