Executive Address – March 2014

Of Pontification and Pandering……
In February, the Valley was a stir with drought-spasm related activities –mostly fighting over how best to “solve” the water crisis at hand.  The wind was abuzz with those who are best at pontificating on the grand political stage, over which politicians were the most “divisive,” and “irresponsible,” in this battle, setting the stage for what ultimately results in a bar fight-overnight-in-the-slammer type of outcome –useless.

The most interesting thing about the bloviation oratory over who knows best in this water war is the invariable desire to maintain status quo –when it HAS NOT worked.  As a valley resident, all I’ve ever heard is that we need more water storage.  But now I’ve actually seen that we need more water storage –it’s not just a hypothetical discussion. But the entrenched political reality is that very little “real” efforts have been made towards making increased water storage a reality.  Instead, we just see an increased level of pandering towards those that cannot be satisfied –in our County, these include a wide-eyed fish that’s quite tasty over greens. 

The enigma that has become the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Agreement has never been so mightily tested –and it’s doubtful, ever will again.  This perfect “storm” of dry years has fostered a far worse conundrum for the river and its users than even conceived during the drafting of the agreement, far be it for me to say that now –remorse runs thick in the air, at least on the farmers side of the aisle.  When faced with a no win scenario –what is one to do?  As we stand today however, there is also no way to win in the face of Mother Nature (she always wins).  We can however, take a stand against the status quo and buck a system that has not worked or even come close to the promise of equality for all. I cringe at the thought of more drought “legislation” that is supposed to promote expedient water deliveries, (I’m sorry, what in the heck have we been paying everybody to do up in Sacramento and DC if they weren’t already seeing to it that we were receiving our water promptly?!?!?). I’m equally nauseous over emergency drought assistance money that increases the federal deficit, takes money away from other programs, and does nothing in the way of actually solving the real problem.  

When it comes to political pontification and pandering –I guess the real question is –what do you want your legacy to be? Is it to get another highway or post office in your name?  Will you be lost in the annals of diplomacy as the person who made sure the Department of Water Resources checked an extra box before sending contract water (which is owed anyway) faster south? 

I’ve got an idea, if you really want some name recognition there’s a few good dams in California that could need to be built.  Any takers?

Anja K. Raudabaugh
Executive Director


March 2023