Self-pity is a mortal sin, yet I find myself afflicted. Wwhhhyyyyy????, I whine to myself. WHY must I suffer like this? We had eight years of the Brown administration, who sacrificed every other water priority to advance the RadWaterBadBoy. Fine, I thought. Brown was an aberration. We elected Newsom, who really is doing other progressive things in other fields. Yet we get bullshit VSAs and reported inclusion of the extra bullshit SJV Water Blueprint.
Elected progressives furthering retrograde water policy is widespread. Today we see TJ Cox, delaying an investigation into Bernhardt fucking with the Biological Opinions. Melissa Hurtado’s bill SB559 is an attempt to get California taxpayers to pay to fix a federal water project so that the California growers who broke it don’t have to even though they are legally liable. Josh Harder is more moderate, but still talking about above-ground storage.
It is indisputable that electeds who campaign and are elected on progressive platforms immediately carve out water policy as a retrograde exception. I keep trying to understand why. The stupidest and most blatant reason is that they can’t defy Ag money. I hate for that to be true, because is so reductive and tawdry. There are other possible reasons, like they buy into stupid mythologies about Ag, or they are lured by the seductive manliness of Ag technical competence*. But maybe it IS just that all those progressive-except-for-water politicians will sacrifice progressive water policies so that Ag will fund their next campaign.
So maybe it isn’t interesting why progressive politicians go retrograde on water. Maybe the interesting question is ‘why do politicians feel safe to concentrate
their sell-out bullshit in MY field with no consideration for MY feelings retrograde policies in water?’ I mean, TJ Cox got elected because the Los Angeles Resistance gave him money and door-knockers. Josh Harder depends on the Bay Area Resistance. Gavin Newsom clearly thinks that delivering for progressives in other arenas plus Ag money will get him the presidency. They all clearly fear Ag money more than they fear that the Resistance will demand good water policy. Maybe water stuff is just too obscure. Maybe Feinstein has shown them that the path exists, and that water environmentalists will never be able to use bad water policy as a disqualifier for an otherwise progressive candidate.
Well. I didn’t actually enjoy following that train of thought and yet here we are. I can’t believe I’m telling myself I’ll have to wait for the next CA administration to have some hope. Does progressive water have to lobby the Newsom administration the way it would a hostile administration? Is anyone still hoping for a good outcome from the Resilience Portfolio?
*Which, I swear to god, is one shallow layer deep and the only reason the illusion holds is that everyone but me is too chickenshit to ask questions, and when I do, everyone sighs in relief that someone asked that and once again, I am furious that all those mid-career engineers hid behind the illusion of understanding to protect their manly façade and left the only woman in the room to point out that the presenter’s graph or chart doesn’t support what the presenter is saying. Furthermore, if Agency and department executives hadn’t largely been replaced by PR professionals, they’d have their own genuine expertise and wouldn’t be suckered by the appearance of it.
5 responses to “Why do elected progressives feel safe espousing retrograde water policy?”
Bless your heart On the Public Record, hang in there
Part of the problem is that urban progressives don’t get the harm big ag does to our mutual well-being by harming ecosystems. They think short showers are the answer. So they don’t pressure their candidates/reps on these issues. From Oakland, I went to Tracy to stump for Harder, knowing he’d be on the wrong side when it comes to ag, but I was intent on helping get a Dem House. A lousy trade-off. Today Harder voted for impeachment — still a lousy trade-off.
Progressive politics honors the technical experts, and rivaling ag are the lobbies of the water agencies, resisting change as good conservatives do.
It’s probably because people who call themselves progressives usually want to help the poor and middle class not further impoverish them. What you are describing is better labeled NIMBY pretend environmentalism which, as we can see from the mass exodus of poor and middle class over the last two decades, achieves your desired result of destroying people’s lives…all the while doing nothing to restore the pretend “natural ecosystems” you value so much.
I don’t see where equate “progressive” with these Democrats. They are elected from toss up Central Valley districts. They reflect the interests of their constituents, not those of the groups that provided resources to elect them. Our electoral system requires compromising around a single candidate, and you won’t ever get elected officials you reflect purely your perspective.