“The drought looms large.”
— Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, commenting on rumors the peripheral tunnels water bond may not go on the ballot again in 2014.
Gov. Jerry Brown may not put it on the ballot because he’s running for re-election as a fiscally prudent governor. So floating a bond – more debt – be it the original $11.1 billion extravaganza or the pared-down $6.5 billion version floating about the legislature, could undermine his brand.
As the San Jose Mercury News reports here, “In 2009, lawmakers approved placing an $11.1 billion water bond on the ballot but then pulled it in 2010 and 2012 after polls showed voters would reject it because of its high cost and criticism that it was full of pork-barrel projects. Two smaller measures, both about $6.5 billion, are pending in the Legislature but require a two-thirds vote. A September poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found a bare majority, 50 percent, of likely voters supporting a bond that size.”
So the water bond and the tunnels stay on life support year after year. They may have gone quietly into the night … but for the drought. The diabolical drought may increase public support for the Delta-destroying project. Hence Quinn’s comment, meaning that though public support is weak, the drought may change the equation.