Why Carly Fiorina is wrong about CA water – the politics (3 of 3)

From Ms. Fiorina’s water issues page:

As chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Barbara Boxer has the power to help turn the situation around. Yet, despite her willingness to help the people of New Mexico when they faced a similar situation in 2003, Barbara Boxer has repeatedly refused to take the pragmatic steps necessary to get water flowing again. She voted against a water amendment that would have temporarily allowed water to flow to California’s farmland and homes, and she continues to prioritize a small fish ahead of the livelihoods of California’s farmers and farm workers.

I have no doubt that talk like that gives Republicans in the San Joaquin Valley hard-ons, but notice that Ms. Fiorina only talks about what Sen. Boxer hasn’t done.  Notice that Ms. Fiorina isn’t talking about what she will do if she is elected.  That is because she can’t.  To “turn the pumps back on” (an inaccurate phrase), Ms. Fiorina would have to get a modification of the Endangered Species Act past the Senate, the House, and Pres. Obama.   Despite what Republicans want to hear, that isn’t going to happen.  House Representatives from the Valley have been trying to do that for years, with zero success.  They’ve made themselves into jokes trying to get that done.  Just three months ago, Diane Feinstein found out what fury she can stir up by trying to short circuit parts of the Endangered Species Act.

Further, Ms. Fiorina is running for a state office and there’s much more to the state than Westlands.  The only reason she thinks a California senator can deliver more water to “the farms” is that she has no idea what she’s talking about.  She’s ignorant of everything water but Republican polling that shows big results from mentioning “farm water”.  So she doesn’t know that if she starts pulling levers and blundering about, she’ll inevitably piss off vocal Delta interests, or farmers in the Sac Valley, or heaven forbid, Metropolitan Water District and ACWA.

If she’s elected, she’ll be a Senator.  She won’t be God, so she can’t make it rain more.  She can’t turn back climate change or restore a wet hydrology.  She can try to throw a bomb at the Endangered Species Act, but she’ll find out that Californians love it after all.  She’d also find out that when they aren’t hiding behind farmworkers, the growers in Westlands are thought of as unsympathetic agribusiness corporations, a la Reisner.  All she could do is go along with the painfully slow processes that Reclamation is developing, and support all the different Delta restoration processes.

I’d love to hear some genuine water policies from Ms. Fiorina.  But she doesn’t have them, because this is a tangled field and the knots are drawn tight.  If she does offer something substantive, we’ll talk about it here.  I don’t suppose I want to go look at Ms. Whitman’s water page, do I?  These three posts will probably cover it equally well.


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9 responses to “Why Carly Fiorina is wrong about CA water – the politics (3 of 3)

  1. Despite the distinct possibility that she probably really doesn’t want to do this, I like Fiorina’s idea of a debate in Mendota. Especially a town hall format debate. Citizens and residents ask the questions (like about nitrates, birth defect rates, etc.) and Sean Hannity sits in an air-conditioned tent 300 feet away from the action.

    The state, not to mention Sen. Boxer, could do with more exposure to the SJV’s troubles.

  2. onthepublicrecord

    I know. That’s been a strange tension this past year or two. The towns in the Valley are genuinely poverty stricken, and I think “Whatever gets them help is good, even if it is for the wrong reasons.” But then I get furious that Arnold Schwarzenegger made up the Latino Water Coalition to provide a front, and the goal isn’t directly helping those people, but rather showing a sympathetic face to pressure a judge’s order on the ESA. Besides, the “help” is to restore their low-paying farm labor jobs. Better than nothing, but not actually what first world people consider good.

  3. onthepublicrecord

    They could debate in Seville, which doesn’t have adequate drinking water. Or Kettleman City, where the EPA just confirmed the rash of birth defects. Those places could use a little bit more “govnment overreach.” Less than a hundred miles away from Mendota!

  4. Chris Austin

    I always smirked when I heard Carly’s ad that said: “Let’s take back Washington. Make it listen. Make it work.”

    It’s a great slogan, but c’mon… a freshman Senator with no political experience is going to go make Washington do all that?

    Yeah, right.

  5. There are so many articles bashing Fiorina’s record at HP that it is striking that the left-leaning profile from Mother Jones is among the most even-handed. In it, even critics agree that she’s quite the job creator at overseas call centers, although she’s less popular with HP shareholders.


  6. Mr. Kurtz

    She’s pretty much of a twit. On the other hand, Boxer has been essentially useless, because she is so disagreeable no other senators will work with her. To my knowledge, neither one has said anything original about water; just rote mouthings from an advocacy group’s handouts. Should be a fun fight.

    BTW the Kettleman City study showed *no* connection between birth defects and the waste disposal site there. Many ignorant people have been terrified, there and in other places, by “cancer clusters” and other imaginary findings with no basis in epidemiology or statistics.

  7. Not quite no connection. They have a mechanism (improperly handled PCB’s that cause the type of defect seen) and a couple different types of management carelessness (trusting an inadequate testing lab). The exact causation path isn’t established yet, but the signs are all pointing the same way.

    Notice, however, that the EPA is playing a good role here, as the federal government can do sometimes.

  8. This, I think, is Boxer’s opportunity, if she can pull it together.

    Yes, farmworkers in Mendota, your situation is very difficult. But here, other cities right next by. This is what we have done for you, if you vote for someone who believes in government. Then announce a huge increase in the state revolving fund, for loans for sewage and drinking water treatment in the Valley.