Officials Not Happy About Decision
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
Steve Worthley is a Tulare County Supervisor and president of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, the applicant of the Temperance Flat Dam project.
“We are five counties, but when you include the water districts and the cities that are a part of our JPA, we truly cover the entire San Joaquin, and it’s four million people,” Worthley said. “The four million people of the San Joaquin Valley needs to be heard not only in Sacramento but throughout the state. We are important and what we produce in this valley is important not only to our valley, to the state, but to the world. We cannot afford to stop this process. We must go forward. We look forward to working with our federal partners, our private investors, but this project will proceed.”
Buddy Mendes is a Fresno County Supervisor and a farmer of various crops in Fresno County. He is also a member of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, who said, “I have witnessed a mugging by the commission. They mugged the people of the valley in a criminal act. They’ve virtually given away their responsibility to the Fish and Wildlife Service, who had a license to steal from the four million people in the valley. They took from them. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. ”
The former mayor of Fresno, Alan Autry, who worked early on regarding the Temperance Flat Dam Project, said,“I want to see emails, and I want to see meeting schedules between those commissioners. We have a right to see those. Who came into those offices? What was discussed right before that vote? We will show you ours. If there’s legal recourse to do that, I would urge it to be done. Because the light of day is their worst enemy.
And the big area where the water commission staff says where Temperance Flat project fell short was on the ecosystem restoration, and it came down to a model, and the model that the applicants followed was the same model used by the Bureau of Reclamation and state, explained Mario Santoyo the executive director of the Water Infrastructure Authority. “And we asked them, ‘If you do not like the model we were using, then give us a model to use.’ And they did not have an answer.”
Santoyo said that he did not think that the Water Commission’s staff even used a model to make a determination.
“I do not think so. From my perspective, they were already fixed. They knew the answers and whatever we produced wasn’t going to be the answers that they wanted,” Santoyo said.
And it was determined that California Fish and Wildlife was doing all the science based on the numbers that the Temperance Flat applicants gave to the California Water commissioners.
“Fish and Wildlife were only supposed to be consulted. That’s what the legislation says, “ Santoyo said. “They were given the complete authority to make the decision. That’s where the problem is, is that they were only supposed to be consulted but not given ultimate power.”
And the California Fish and Wildlife has never been a friend to agriculture, Santoyo said. “Given all the actions that have occurred regarding all the shortages of water that now are hitting us, whether it’s in the Delta where there are the tributaries. Yeah, it would be difficult to say they’ve been our friends.”
California Assemblymember, Jim Patterson said in the words of Winston Churchill to a graduating class. “‘It was probably one of the shortest commencement addresses in history,’ I think is our rally and cry. Never, never, never, never, ever give up. We’re not giving up because our future is dependent upon this and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do the very best we can to save, store, move and use water, in one of the most effective and efficient way possible.”