Monday, 9 November 2009

Stockton is in a fightin' mood

I enjoy Michael Fitzgerald’s writing at the Stockton Record. This recent article does a good job of capturing the local sentiment that the city is always getting screwed over by the state. The sudden prison hospital announcement (not 1 but 2!) and the Governator’s celebration of the water package in Stockton (after ignoring the region through the whole debate) brought those feelings to a head. This city is riled up. Fitzgerald says its time for Stockton to fight.

In a staggering display of insensitivity, the governor of California last week chose Stockton as the spot in which to get goose bumps over passage of the state water package.

“Part of this package,” gushed Arnold Schwarzenegger, “is to … build a canal around the Delta. … That was great news this morning.”
Pause for applause. No applause…

May I suggest why? It’s not the cynical subversion of the legislative process…

It’s not the Quisling collaboration of certain big environmental groups…

It’s not the 1950s plan for dams and canals…

It’s the presumption that this region is such an afterthought that it really doesn’t matter whether its residents swallow the transparent greenwashing and legislative charade meant to conceal this late-model Owens Valley water grab.

Same with prison officials…Without public hearing, they sent out a formal Notice of Decision…

Given all that, plus the prison system’s history of shamelessly broken promises, I’m surprised they could keep a straight face. They must inject themselves with Botox.

I’ll make a prediction about the other giant project involving this area, high-speed rail. I predict if that system ever gets built, the powers that be will renege on their promise to beef up traditional rail over the Altamont.
They’ll shrug helplessly and say they have no choice: there’s a budget crisis, a court order, unforeseeable new circumstances, a flat tire, their dog ate it…

But there is a point in all these endeavors when the fight moves into the courts. That, my friends, is a different kettle of smelt.

The law levels the playing field, more or less. Then beware, ye backroom boys; ye who rigged the political process; ye who funded the biased study; ye Astroturf; ye to whom the environmental impact report was no more than formality…

Maybe the city needs to imitate the water exporters get Burson-Marsteller and a comedian to get their message out.

[My apologies to Mr. Fitzgerald for chopping up his essay. click here to read the whole thing.]


About the Author

Ethan Jacob

Author & Editor

I am Ethan Jacob Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, where I have a joint faculty appointment in the Eberhardt School of Business and the Public Policy Program in the McGeorge School of Law..

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