And what did they get? “I’ll get back to you on that,” “sorry I can’t be more helpful,” and “I’ll send that comment in.”
I arrived at the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) In-Delta Meeting for Discovery Bay, held in the Brentwood Library, on Tuesday September 3. There was already a crowd there. At least 20 people were ahead of me on the waiting list. There were citizens from Brentwood, Discovery Bay. There were farmers, business people, marina owners.
The meeting was hosted by Brian Heiland, a DWR engineer and two consultants from URS Corporation, Tiffany and Jackie. Jackie had people sign in and had boxes of the nice glossy BDCP literature. She was explaining the process to the folks there: Sign in and then Brian would take one-on-ones and Tiffany would be taking some people in groups. (Shown below a small group meeting in the stacks). My first thought was that the small library was a very strange venue for a public meeting.
Gene Beley was on-hand to video the interactions. The hosts weren’t very happy with his videoing. Brian refused to provide any feedback when being taped. Jackie expressed that they were not providing any public information, rather only to give the people a chance to express their feedback.
I don’t fault the young people there doing their best. But this was not a true “In-Delta Meeting” and not what we had been asking for, needing, or what the Delta citizens deserve. The fault for causing citizens, farmers, and business people wasted time and aggravation lies with the DWR and BDCP managers who decided on this format and venue. It obviously was more of an attempt to check the “public outreach” checkbox than to truly interact with and provide information to the concerned citizens who will be so impacted by the Delta Tunnels project.
Here’s Gene’s video showing a group that split off and offered great suggestions and ideas including the Discovery Bay CSD representative Bill Pease who also owns River’s End Marina; Tom Huppler, an engineer by profession who lives in Discovery Bay; Eric Jensen from Discovery Bay, an Engineer proposing desalination as a viable alternative; and the Save the California Delta Alliance Secretary, LaVeta Gibbs. The USR Corporation Consultant’s main feedback was “I’m happy to pass that on.” Here is Gene’s write-up in the Central Valley Business Times. We all should give Doug Caldwell, the Editor of Central Valley Business Times a big “thank you” for always being willing to post the latest, cutting edge information about what is really happening with the Delta Tunnels Project. Sign up for his FREE newsletter 6 days a week by looking at the top of the masthead to subscribe and fill out the email information.
Since Karen Mann and I spent probably 15-20 minutes talking about Delta issues with Brian which resulted in just a few sentences he wrote on a one-page form, I am less than confident that all of our concerns and issues will be recorded or responded to.
Various people suggested to the DWR reps that they need to come to Discovery Bay in a larger venue and that they needed to have the right people who can answer the questions. Specifically, we need Jerry Meral and David Sunding to show up to ask questions about the construction impacts, long-term water quality impacts in the South Delta, and the economic impacts to South Delta communities which is now missing from the State Economic Report. I asked Brian to let me know when we could hold a meeting with them in attendance and we could certainly arrange the right time and place.
When I walked out, a librarian said to me “It sure was noisy in there today.”
Other Video from Gene Beley:
Oakley City Council member Diane Burgis and Brentwood resident, Jim Panagopoulos.