What Eric Caine, the Pussyfooting Modesto-based Merced College prof, either forgets or never knew was that Mike Wade, the prostitute, back when he had a real job as executive director of the Merced County Farm Bureau, through letters and testimony before the UC Regents, falsely claimed that there was adequate water for the UC Merced campus on site beneath the seasonal pastures.
So, in this convoluted water debate in which Wade, clearly furious that the institution about whose natural resources he "misspoke" as the politicians say, wishes to denounce the spawn he helped so ignobly to generate cockamamie "academic study" flak to broadcast and magnify the existence of what John Burton, boss of the California Democratic Party called, while he was serving as state Senate Pro Tem, the greatest "boondoggle" he'd ever seen in a long state and federal legislative career.
Caine, the pussyfooter, has been chased into this story by the UC Merced Office of Golden Bobcat Flak to defend the indefensible. The Boondoggle-at-the-Bottom will continue to taint the research for years to come. And who could trust Mike Wade after his claims for bubbling aquifers under the site of the future UC Merced, which presently gets its water from the City of Merced through pipes UC has never paid for and, as a result, has weakened the water pressure in Central Merced.
Badlands Journal editorial board
The Valley Citizen
Restore the San Joaquin River for Jobs, Farms, and Fish…Eric Caine
Mike Wade, Executive Director of the Farm Water Coalition, is an outstanding advocate for farmers. He always has a good command of facts and is ever-vigilant for threats to farmers’ water supplies.
Recently, however, he’s been too narrowly focused on the needs of a few farmers at the expense of farmers in general, especially those who farm the San Joaquin Delta. Wade’s recent criticism of a study that shows restoration of the San Joaquin River will produce thousands of jobs ignores the benefits of restoration to the Delta and to farmers who rely on Delta water.
Wade also manages to avoid the consequences of the status quo on the salmon industry, which faces the prospect of extinction without increased flows in our rivers. The salmon industry been battered by fishing bans and low yields for years.
The thrust of Wade’s argument is that the UC Merced study ignores lost farming jobs and thus paints too rosy a picture of the benefits of restoration. While it’s technically true that the study did not account for lost farming jobs for those dependent on taking water out of the San Joaquin River before it reaches the Delta, it also didn’t consider the prospect of lost jobs if Delta farms fail because of increased salinity in their water. Such considerations were outside the scope of the study.
Nonetheless, all the evidence we have suggests that without restored flows to the Delta, farming there will be negatively impacted with a consequent loss of jobs. Furthermore, Wade seems to forget that significant amounts of Delta water get
shipped south to even more farmers.
The restoration plan for the San Joaquin River is the result of over twenty years study, litigation, and congressional investigation. During that time, the many stakeholders in the fray had their say. Farmers and farming were well represented.
Today’s restoration plan isn’t perfect, but it does reflect decades of input from a multitude of interests.
The plain truth is that we’ve reached a point in California history when it’s apparent that we’ve committed more water than we can deliver. Whatever solution we find is bound to result in economic pain somewhere. The best we can hope for is to avoid a catastrophe that would devastate the Delta, the fishing industry, and farmers in one fell swoop.
Until the San Joaquin River is restored for farmers, fish and recreation, it remains a public resource that has been exploited to the point of ruin, not only of the river itself but the Delta it feeds. Collapse or even further impairment of the Delta would represent a catastrophe of national proportions.
Mike Wade is correct when he argues that the UC Merced jobs study has a narrow focus, but so does his rebuttal. All the evidence we have says that unless we restore and protect the Delta, we’ll suffer not only major losses of jobs, but the elimination of fisheries and Delta farming altogether. That’s too big a price to pay to placate one narrow interest group, no matter how persuasive Mike Wade’s advocacy.
WADE: Restoring San Joaquin River will cost ag jobs…Mike Wade. Wade, who lives in Modesto, is executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition…Modesto Bee…9-20-12
A recent report by the University of California at Merced, "The Economic Benefits of the San Joaquin River Restoration," discusses the potential for job creation associated with the restoration project. The scope of the report is a disappointment and no one should be surprised at the results.
According to the report prepared by the university's Shawn Kantor, restoration activities on the San Joaquin River will generate more than 11,000 jobs "in a region suffering from chronic unemployment." A closer look reveals a lot about jobs but not the impacts that are harmful to productive farmland, the local economy and the region's tax base.
While the report admits that its purpose is not to provide a full-scale cost-benefit calculation, it is important for the public to understand what is at stake for farmers and farmland resources.
Twenty years ago, as the executive director for Merced County Farm Bureau, I wrote about the potential negative impacts that a university campus would have on Merced County farmland. Those concerns were not out of place. This report paints a rosy picture for a few thousand permanent jobs for environmental consultants and state and federal government personnel while ignoring the negative impacts on agriculture and local government. Admittedly, the impacts of the restoration program are not the responsibility of the university, but it should devote at least some effort into balancing the costs with other economic
No one disputes that San Joaquin Valley's unemployment rate is high and the need for jobs is great. So why wouldn't a report that shows the job- generating potential of the restoration effort be good news? Because the report lacks balance and fails to provide information on the potential job-killing impacts and long-term economic harm on farmers, rural communities and local government.
The report talks about "enhanced recreational opportunities" and ties that to 475 jobs annually by 2025. But a realistic look at the river today reveals that a significant amount of recreation is already happening on the upper reaches of the river and between the cities of Mendota and Dos Palos. Newly restored areas below Gravelly Ford are mostly adjacent to private property, limiting legal access and recreational opportunities on the river, with the exception of road crossings that create safety issues.
Also missing is any discussion about the long-term water supply impacts that may affect farmers. A 2005 economic analysis by Friant Water Users Authority of a potential river restoration project showed likely thousands of jobs lost if farm water supplies were jeopardized. Currently, no long-term, comprehensive program exists to fully replace the water supply given up by farmers to satisfy restoration flows.
Additional farmland will be lost downstream because of restoration activities that will return the river corridor to environmental habitat. In the scope of the restoration program, those activities are necessary and are part of the plan.
Almost all of the land adjacent to downstream stretches of the river is private property. If the UC Merced report looked at impacts beyond the restoration itself it would have identified the thousands of acres of farmland that will be converted to public property.
Will there be positive outcomes from improving and enhancing the San Joaquin River? Absolutely. Does the public want to see salmon in a river where they have been absent for decades? Apparently so. Yet the public should be fully informed of the total costs to achieve the world it wants and if that means less farmland, a weaker agricultural economy and the potential for increased dependence on imported food, then the public needs to know that, too.