At Thursday’s four-hour Senate Budget Hearing, state officials, think-tank analysts and environmental representatives spoke at length on how Proposition 1 monies should be used. Leaders from the agriculture, labor and business communities were not included in the panels of speakers.
“The Legislature must keep faith with the voters who overwhelming passed the water bond,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber). “The voters were promised that they would get new water storage if they passed the water bond.”
In advocating for good governance, Senator Nielsen asked for an hour of the Committee’s time to allow for equal time for communities from agriculture, labor and businesses to speak.
Senator Nielsen added, “It is important for the Legislature to present a balanced panel and provide all perspectives. Californians deserve another committee oversight forum to hear the public benefits of above-ground storage.”
In campaigning for Propositions 1 and 2, Governor Jerry Brown stated in the Voter Ballot Pamphlet, “Water storage is key and we haven't added any new storage in 30 years. Proposition 1 carefully invests only in the most cost-effective storage projects.”
Governor Brown further stated, Proposition 1 “expands water storage capacity, ensures that our farms and businesses get the water they need during dry years [and] increases flood protection.”
Tehama Colusa Canal Authority general manager Jeff Sutton, who is advocating for the construction of Sites Reservoir in Northern California, echoed Senator Nielsen’s sentiments.
“California’s population has more than doubled since 1960 when the current water storage and delivery system was built. The construction of the 1.8 million acre foot Sites Reservoir is vital to California's future. The integration of Sites with the existing State and Federal water projects will return flexibility and function back to the operations of our currently broken statewide water delivery system, providing significant benefits to the California Bay-Delta, while also greatly increasing water supply reliability for California's communities, farms, and the environment.”
Representatives from the Farm Bureau Federation, California Chamber of Commerce San Juan Water District, California Building Industry Association and California Alliance for Jobs were given a brief moment to express their support for another hearing.