Gov. Newsom’s announcements today.

I assume you all saw the news; Governor Newsom declared that he will change the nature of the AroundDeltaWaterGo from two tunnels to one smaller tunnel. My thoughts:

  • It would be lovely if he also abandoned the fucking insipid branding efforts. We are neither children nor consumers to be fooled by CoolNames with internal capitals.  It is tedious to be forced to use them. I hope that era, started by Schwarzenegger and marked by the influx of PR staffers into appointed positions, can come to a quiet end.
  • Governor Brown went to quite a bit of effort to insulate his projects from the next administration.  It is administered by a JPA and they just selected the engineering firm for the design.  Governor Newsom may have less power to change the project now than he anticipates.  It isn’t only a state project run by his administration any more.
  • Governor Newsom’s interest in the Valley has held strong, even unto the second month of his administration.  He has a good understanding that there is a lot more to the Valley than ag; this may allow new political bargains with Valley residents who have been long neglected.
  • Looks to me like Gov. Newsom is leaning heavily on the PPIC’s body of work.  I’d be cool with that if they didn’t substitute economic analysis for moral values.
  • If Felicia Marcus is at leisure, it’d be wonderful to see her as DWR Director.

 

ADDED 2/14:

This morning, I realized why the branding felt so insulting.  I suspect that the concept of branding WaterFix and EcoRestore was pitched to Gov. Brown and while he was personally indifferent, he thought that perhaps we all would fall for it.  If my assumptions are accurate, it would be symptomatic of the contempt he felt for us all.

His contempt for us was evident, not just in the most famous example, but throughout this ACWA speech as well.  I had begun thinking that the reports of his genius were overblown, but whether they were or weren’t, the whole concept of ‘Jerry Brown’s special genius’ allowed what was fairly evident (his clear opinion that he made better decisions than the people of California) to go unremarked on.

I had been feeling unhappy about Gov. Brown for the last couple years of his term, but hadn’t teased this out yet.  But with him a month gone, I strongly notice the contrast.  It is a relief to have a governor who doesn’t feel open contempt for his own people (and, you know. Anyone he talks to.).  Gov. Brown seemed to have gotten the “known asshole” exemption.  That’s the one where everyone knows someone is an asshole (or, “irascible” or “blunt”, or “doesn’t like small talk”, or “genius”), so grants that person much more leeway to be an asshole.  But I think the world would be better off without that exemption, if we held known assholes to even stricter standards of behavior.  Besides which, only powerful men seem to get the known asshole exemption, and I am so fucking over powerful men taking license.

 

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Gov. Newsom’s announcements today.

  1. John Ragozzino

    And he also canceled the silly train too.! All in all, a good day!

  2. Anonymous

    What do you want to call the project, preferably neutral and without an F bomb?

    • onthepublicrecord

      Maybe something like “the Delta Conveyance project”. Something that isn’t actively patronizing us all. Or asserting that the proper way to interact with us is advertising.

  3. David Keller

    Now that Felicia has been removed from SWRCB, I agree: put her in charge of DWR.

  4. Jeffrey Michael

    Agree about the branding. Unfortunately, he still used the label WaterFix in his speech, and I am not optimistic that this trend towards deceptive naming/branding will change under any Governor or political party. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if high-speed rail gets renamed the California TravelFix to make relatively minor adjustments sound like a new project (just like NAFTA was renamed the USMCA, the Green New Deal, etc., etc.).

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