They said, “This time would be different.”


We first met two of the new Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) reps in October, at a Delta meeting of the Delta Activists (groups throughout the Delta fighting the tunnel project). The meeting was held at the Delta Farmer’s Market at the corner of Highways 160 and 12, hosted by Ken and Laura Scheidegger. One of the two DCA reps was Nazli Parvizi.

Delta Farmers Market

At that October 2019 meeting, Nazli assured folks that the DCA’s process would be different from what we’d gone through during the prior BDCP and WaterFix tunnel projects (FOR TEN YEARS!), where Delta voices were never heard. We were told that the DCA was forming a Stakeholder’s Committee to “listen to” the Delta folks and mold the project into something of value for everyone. I must say, we who have been involved with the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and related efforts for years were very skeptical. Yet Karen Mann, bless her heart, in an attempt to do her part for the Delta, volunteered to be on the committee.

[The SEC’s supposed charter is to represent Delta communities in the design of the Single Tunnel project, by giving feedback early on, during the design process. Our South Delta representative for local businesses is our STCDA President, Karen Mann.]

Repeated points made by the stakeholders during the SEC meetings are:

  1. The “Central Corridor” route (which was the WaterFix “Through-Delta Alignment”), is horrible, destructive, will kill Delta communities’ economies, and should be abandoned. The DCA’s own Independent Technical Review Committee agreed. The ITRC proposed a route further east, along the I-5 corridor, to reduce impact on the inner Delta. But the DCA rejected that recommendation.
  2. The site of the Intakes in the North must be moved. The current location will destroy the historic legacy communities of Hood, Clarksburg, and Courtland. Also, the Native American SEC members have reported that the north intakes will destroy a sacred burial ground!

THEN THE PANDEMIC HIT!

Karen, as well as the local businesses she is supposed to be representing and gathering feedback from about this project, are scrambling to keep their small businesses afloat or facing severe financial burdens, kids are home being homeschooled, people have parents and other who are sick battling this disease, health care and service workers are concerned with their own health, and streets are empty.

Most of the SEC committee sent in pleas to the DCA requesting the project be postponed until the pandemic is over. Delta communities are reeling. Many small Delta communities have limited internet infrastructure so cannot get the information about the Tunnel plans except in Town Hall meetings or one-on-one. In addition, no one wants to think about yet another attack on our lives – the huge construction project ripping up the Delta – at a time like this.

Karen’s request to postpone is here.

Yet at the DCA Board Meeting, it was reported that the SEC Members wanted to continue. (That has caused several emails disputing that report!)

At the SEC meeting Wednesday, April 22, (videoconferenced due to the pandemic), the SEC members pushed back strongly on holding the meeting as planned with the agenda item to discuss postponement moved down to Item #5. They wanted to discuss Item #5 first. They wanted to vote on it. They wanted to halt meetings during the pandemic.

Kathryn Mellon, the DCA lead, basically told them (my memory, paraphrasing), “We [the DCA] have a schedule to maintain. We are going to move ahead and complete the tunnel design. It is up to you [SEC Members] if you want to not attend. That would be unfortunate for your Delta stakeholders that you represent. They would not have their voices heard. But I guess they can comment during the CEQA process.”

It was very upsetting to me, listening to the videoconference. Very condescending and browbeating.

Wait for the CEQA process? We all know how that goes. We’ve been commenting on EIRs, opposing this project FOR TEN YEARS! When they get to their CEQA design, they are unmoving. What changes after that point? Nothing. The SEC members were not really given a choice. Yet, as they said, they cannot get valid input from their constituents at a time like this. THIS IS JUST WRONG!

Osha R. Meserve, Legal Council for the North Delta Agencies made this comment during the SEC Meeting public comment period:

A majority of the committee does not want to meet and there should be a vote to decide. The committee is being told that there is a deadline but not what the deadline is. The DCA materials from April 16th show that the Conceptual Engineering Report is due at the end of September so there should be time for stakeholder input. Yet the SEC members are being told they must continue meeting or their input will not occur. This is not correct.

She is exactly right!

So now we know. All that talk about listening, about the stakeholders having input, was a just that – talk.

There is one final test coming up. I sent in (*) Comments on the Project identifying issues with this project. Kathryn Mellon replied that they would like to have a conference call in May to review my document and provide their responses, to be sure they understand the issues. If there is any change in their plan (like if the Central Corridor route is dropped, the route most damaging to the Delta waterfowl and to boating, recreation, and tourism), “maybe” they are listing. The plus if the intake locations are changed. And if they commit to improving Highway 4 if they are going to overload it with construction trucks. If they do that, maybe they are listening.

I’m not going to hold my breath.

——————————————————————————————
(*) Note – There is an error in my comments submitted above. I had thought the DCA had said they would try to move the barge landing out of the popular “The Bedrooms” anchorage on Little Potato Slough and not work on the weekend. They did not. So we will need to see the next pass at the design to find out if the SEC inputs caused any change.

1 Response to “They said, “This time would be different.””


  1. 1 Mark A Goble June 30, 2020 at 7:57 am

    I recently discovered your website and enjoy reading through articles, and take comfort that I’m not as alone as it sometimes feels when it comes to the fight to save whats left of “my” delta.
    I detest the Metropolitan Water District, the water brokers Stuart and Lynda Resnick, the sleazy Westlands District and all of their bought and paid-for politicians. The blatant greed of these powerhouse jerks is unconscionable. Profits from water must be stopped!

    There appears to be an error I do need to point out, however. Your article refers to a huge victory and erroneously states the Central Corridor is no longer being considered for the Delta Tunnel.
    Reading through the DWR’s application, as well as in the FAQ section on the DWR site regarding the UCACE 404 permit, the DWR says clearly that they only cite the Eastern Corridor because of application guidelines, and no final determination has been reached for the tunnels route.
    The DWR specifically states one corridor option has not been chosen over the other.
    I urge you folks not to relax for even a minute. The SoCal water grab is happening at a frenzied pace, and all arms are gonna be grabbing! It is going to be a war, not a battle and we all need to be ready to fight.
    Most of all, we all need to be alert to the actions of the players. News coverages are focused elsewhere, and the Tunnel pushers know it. They will be sliding whatever they can slide through, as quietly as possible.
    As far as $45k/per month Kathryn Mallon and her Authority’s SEC meetings topic goes, I hope all involved see this for what it is…a tactic. The Tunnel’s biggest opponents gathered up and made to feel as they are part of the project, maybe a table scrap concession or two given up, but in the end alot of energy and time will be used up… that could have been used to fight the Tunnel.
    This is war, and the financial gains that are possible for the Tunnel backers have made them fierce enemies of those of us that love and care about the Delta.
    Of course, this is just my opinion…

    Keep up the good fight!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




Blog Stats

  • 96,088 hits

Support the STCDA

Sign up for Emails

Sign Up Now

Request a New Lawn Sign

Click Here to send an email to the lawn sign committee.

On Twitter

Receive news blog via email.

More Blogs

Educational Books about the Delta

Sassy the Salmon
and
The Fable of the Farmer and the Fish
All ages: K and above
Proceeds go to STCDA

%d bloggers like this: