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Sacramento forces immunization, living with dying yards

Here we go again.

Sacramento took more of your rights away last week when Gov. Brown signed SB 277.

It’s what Sacramento does fairly routinely: Take your rights away. They legislate. They tax more. They spend more. They dictate more. In short, they are trying their damnedest to run your life for you. What would you expect from a governor who is promoting a car that takes the driving out of your hands while he tells you that you and I must pay $68 billion on a high-speed rail project that you, in all likelihood, won’t get to use because of high ticket price.

Democrats are pro-choice when it comes to abortions but they’re anti-choice in so many other areas, including immunizations.

Now parents have no choice to opt out of immunizations if they want their children to go to ANY school, public or private. The law flies in the face of the guaranteed access to a free and public education by our Constitution. Yet, SB 277 denies that right without justification; vaccination rates in California are at an all-time high and our school children have never been at a lower risk of possible exposure to the diseases SB 277 portends to address. The law also denies California families’ Constitutional right to religious freedom since vaccine ingredients often contain fetal human and animal biological agents – something that violates many faiths’ teachings.

Democrats often say they’re doing things for the children. That tends to justify any taking of freedom, whether it be smoking or bike helmets or riding in the back of a pickup.

Don’t worry. Your kids are now safe from those irresponsible parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids. I mean, after all, the recent Disneyland outbreak of measles affected a whopping 131 Californians out of a statewide population of 38.8 million. This just could be another step on the way to the day when government dictates that your forehead or hand MUST be implanted with a computer chip that allows you to buy anything, after they get rid of paper money, of course. If this doesn’t sound like prophecy from the Book of Revelation coming to pass, think again. If you think that was a whack job statement from a right wing kook, stop and think: Is it really that far fetched knowing what you know about lawmakers?

Too bad Sacramento wasn’t as quick to provide for our most basic need – water.

The state is drying up and turning brown. Lawns are dying and so is landscaping and yes, I blame the Democrats. While they certainly have no control over the weather and rainfall, they knew decades ago that the state was growing quickly and made no provisions for water storage.

In 1976 the Valley was hit by a drought. We had constant reminders that we needed to conserve water. I recall one rather crude and crass saying preached to us students in high school: “If it’s brown, flush it down. If it’s yellow, let it mellow.” Gross and obscene, yes. But what was more obscene was Gov. Jerry Brown as governor moonbeam not building new places to store water when we need it most.

In August 2013 state Senator Anthony Cannella told a town hall meeting in Ceres that “We’ve got to have more storage. There’s like a Holy Jihad against water storage. I don’t understand it. I really don’t get it.”

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, former mayor of San Francisco, “got” that we need more storage. She said, “Expanding and improving California’s water storage capacity is long overdue. The last time we saw significant state and federal investments in our water storage and delivery system was in the 1960s, when the state’s population stood at 16 million. ... If we don’t take significant and rapid action, I fear California is at risk of becoming a desert state.”

No, Dianne, it is a desert state.

Of course we all “get it.” California is the most radically environmental state in the union. Valley lawmakers have known all along that we need to build more dams and reservoirs in the state but the Democrats in Sacramento seem to be whistling with hands in the pocket and rolling their eyes around in avoidance of the matter. They are, after all, bankrolled by environmental groups like the Sierra Club or just blindly subscribe to their mindset.

Modesto and Turlock Irrigation District representatives were recently in Washington, D.C., lobbying the Federal Regulatory Agency for a relicensing of Don Pedro Dam and powerhouse. The current license extends through April 30, 2016. Before FERC can reissue the license, the State Water Resources Control Board must sign on. But the state agency wants more water – a 35 percent of umimpaired flow from February through June – to be released on the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers to benefit fish. That move would have devastating impacts on TID and MID customers.

Median flows in the Merced and Tuolumne rivers currently are below 35 percent of unimpaired flow, so the proposal would take more water than what currently goes down the rivers. This comes at a time when McClure, Don Pedro and New Melones are dropping at an alarming rate. The State Water Board says the proposed requirement would, on average, cut the total amount of water available for diversion on the three tributaries by 181,000 acre-feet, a 9 percent reduction.

The San Joaquin Tributaries Authority approved a resolution in March saying the State Water Board’s proposal would create “significant and unavoidable impacts to the economy, agriculture, and groundwater basins in Stanislaus, San Joaquin, and Merced counties.” The resolution says taking 35 percent of unimpaired flow would result in a $69 million negative economic impact on the region, including the loss of 800 family farms, 460 jobs and $4.5 million in energy revenue.

Are state officials cognizant of the fact that if we hadn’t built any dams in the first place, the streams would have dried up long ago and all the fish would have died any way as a natural process? Nobody wants fish to die but death is a part of the natural cycle of life. I’d prefer it not be us who are forced to die for a lack of water.

Since Cannella made his remarks, of course, the state passed Prop. 1, the water bond in 2014, while environmental groups were having a conniption. The $7.5 billion bond set aside only $2.7 billion for water storage projects, dams and reservoirs. It’s sad that the Legislature had to wait until a drought to put such a measure on the ballot but hallelujah, we are finally getting somewhere. But that amount might buy us one dam.

California desperately needs leaders in Sacramento to get going on developing more water storage projects, whether it is to raise both San Luis Reservoir and Shasta Dam for more water storage, or build an off-stream Sites Reservoir in Colusa County, or a dam at Temperance Flat west of Auberry. Temperance Flat would quadruple storage in the San Joaquin River basin above Friant Dam. Together the two projects would add another 3.1 million acre-feet to the already 41 million acre-feet of storage.

High costs are used as an excuse for not building more storage. The Sites project would cost $3.6 billion. Raising Shasta Dam by 18 feet would cost $1 billion but could yield an estimated annual new water supply of just 60,000 acre-feet (AF) on average. That’s a pittance in comparison with the bullet train.

How do you feel? Let Jeff know by emailing him at