The bitter bubble

Here’s Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, one of the key backers of the bill to rob Delta water and sabotage the San Joaquin River restoration, firing at coastal California:

“They never liked the fact that farmers and farmworkers were making what was once a dry area of the state the Garden of Eden of this world,” Nunes said. “They don’t want to admit to themselves when they live in the beautiful cities of Hollywood and San Francisco, all these great cities on the coast of California, that it’s a desert. They don’t have any water either.”

Touche. San Francisco and Los Angeles are water importers. However, suggesting California’s urban areas are equivalent to Big Ag is false. Cali urban has prudently stored water. Big Ag has overplanted and depleted state reservoirs. Cali urban uses 20 percent of state water. Big Ag uses 80.   

Lawmakers from Cali urban seek comprehensive solutions. This is what seperates the men from the boys. South-Valley Republicans pit their region against all others, particularly ours.  This is not the urban/farming disconnect. Again we see the parochialism and epistemic closure that hovers over the south-Valley region. They act as if they live in a bubble where only regional values and interests matter.

Their denial of everything from climate change to collaboration seems a recipe for defeat of their agenda. And it is. But it is apparently good local politics. Denounce the smelt, take a swipe at the liberal cities, push legislation doomed by the zero-sum approach … and rake in the contributions from special interests willing to destroy the Delta for profit. And count up the votes from farmers who refuse to see the bigger picture in a changing world. 

It makes you wonder if the red state down there hates the rest of California, and modernity, so much its residents would rather try to thumb their noses it than actually solve their problems. If so, they’ll get their wish.


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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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