Devin Nunes gave a whole bunch of interviews about his water bill, which means he talked a whole lot of crazytalk and easily refuted lies. But whatever. That’s what he does, and we’ve spent enough time on many of them. This bill isn’t going far, so it isn’t like I’m worried about it or anything. I only have a couple thoughts worth putting up here.
1. For a bill this drastic, I can’t believe how petty and smallminded it is. I mean, if you’re going to write a federal bill that supercedes state water rights law for the first time, nullifies two previous well-established Congressional laws, breaks open settled litigation, and invites all hell to break loose, why would you waste your time on serving such a small set of masters? He does all this just for the monetary interests of powerful West Side ag. That’s so banal. Believe you me, the day I get to completely supercede state water rights law, nullify a couple Congressional laws, re-open settled litigation and invite all hell to break loose, it’ll be for some giant-ass principle, or to make history, or something supercool. Not so that rich people in the San Joaquin Valley can stay rich.
2. Bird’s gotta fly; stallion’s gotta run; Nunes has to say crazy insulting shit. That’s fine. He is who he is. Mostly I can let it slide or laugh at it. But occasionally, he still catches me offguard with something. This bit? Pissed me off.
Rep. Devin Nunes, author of H.R. 1873, jumped on board, too.
“The communities on the west side of San Joaquin County, I guess perhaps they don’t matter to the minority (Democrats),” he said. “Because evidently, by opposing this bill, you’re basically guaranteeing that the city of Tracy and those water districts where those jobs are created are going to be cut off from their water this year.”
Alex Breitler did a nice bit of fact checking, and showed that it wasn’t accurate about the city of Tracy. But I’m infuriated by Nunes’s statement that the minority communities on the west side of San Joaquin County don’t matter to Democrats. Let us be real clear about what Nunes’s interest in getting water to the west side means. It does not mean getting clean and safe drinking water into farmworker communities in the Valley as so many of those towns desperately need. No. Nunes means that he wants to get agricultural water supplies to the largest farms in California, farms comprising tens of thousands of acres, so that as a byproduct of their raising crops, they can offer menial farm labor to the permanently impoverished communities on the west side. Perhaps that is better than not offering menial farm labor to the permanently impoverished communities on the west side, but it is trickle-down concern at best.
Real concern about “water” for poor communities in the Valley would be about getting those communities affordable clean drinking water. And hey, look who is working on that! Fran Pavley and a bunch of enviros. Hey, another enviro. A Democrat from Fresno. A Democratic governor.
I mostly watch the water politicking and laugh. I mostly watch Devin Nunes and laugh even harder. But the thing that made me the angriest in all the drought propaganda was West Side agriculture suddenly pretending to care about the only sympathetic group of people in their counties, and hiding behind the plight of communities that they have exploited for generations. Fuck that, and fuck Nunes’s insulting bullshit about who “cares” about farmworker communities in the Valley. If Nunes wants to show he cares, he could get some towns in his own damn district some clean, safe drinking water.