Dan Walters gets it right, big time.
It’s not that California politicians haven’t talked about the state’s uncertain water supply.
They have – constantly, for decades.
It’s that they haven’t done much but talk.
California is beset by the worst drought in its recorded history, and its politicians, from its governor and U.S. senators down, are publicly wringing their hands about its effects and doing what they can, which is precious little, to mitigate them.
“Governors can’t make it rain,” Gov. Jerry Brown said recently. And that’s true. But California’s politicians could have learned from past droughts, including a very severe one during Brown’s first governorship, and acted decisively.
However, they didn’t. The state hasn’t truly addressed its water needs since Brown’s father, Pat Brown, was governor more than a half-century ago.
California enhanced its water supply in the 20th century because Californians had a fairly homogeneous view of how the state should evolve.
It resulted in Los Angeles’ still-controversial project to pull water from the eastern slope of the Sierra, in the federal Central Valley Project that built Shasta and other big dams and reservoirs, in Pat Brown’s State Water Plan that included the iconic California Aqueduct that bears his name, and in countless local and regional projects.
However, the cultural fragmentation of California that began in the 1960s manifested itself in political gridlock on any number of fundamental policy issues – transportation, education, criminal justice and, of course, water. It became a battleground for very deep divisions over the state’s future, particularly how land should be developed…
While our politicians can do little to alleviate the current drought, they can damn – or dam – well prepare for the next one. And if they don’t, they’re not fit to hold office.
Retrieved February 23, 2014 from http://www.sacbee.com/2014/02/23/6181420/dan-walters-california-politicians.html