The $11 billion water bond that California voters will be asked to approve next year, contains nearly $2 billion in earmarks or wasteful pork.
Hundreds of millions of dollars of these pork projects would do nothing to increase the state’s supply of clean and reliable water.
Republican State Senator Dave Cogdill, who authored the bond bill that Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed immediately, told KVML’s Bill Johnson on November 10th, that the pinnacle of his career was the “recent passage of the comprehensive water bill”.
Cogdill tried to justify his “pinnacle” porkulus water bill by telling the San Francisco Chronicle that, “…you can look at any bond that has been brought forward the last few years and probably find pork in it. You’ve got to be able to convince the majority of the people in the state that there’s something in there for them.”
In the same interview, the removed Senate Minority Leader told KVML that he will not seek re-election for the 14th District California Senate Seat, which includes Tuolumne County.
Here’s a look at some of the pork projects in the $11 billion dollar water bill that Senator Cogdill authored:
— $100 million for the “Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program” which includes bicycle trails and recreation projects.
— $75 million for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, for interpretive projects, physical projects and “improving community sustainability.”
— $250 million for dam removal on the Klamath River, to restore salmon runs.
— $20 million for Siskiyou County to help its economy.
— $20 million for the Baldwin Hills Conservancy to be used to buy land.
— $10 million for the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced
— $30 million for watershed recreation centers
Conservative critics of the water bill, such as Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, (who is racing against Republican Carly Fiorina for Democrat Barbara Boxer’s US Senate seat) said that he would prefer a bond that funds only construction of new dams and other water storage projects, which he claims, wouldn’t cost more than $5.2 billion.
According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the debt on this $11 billion bond would be repaid from the general fund (which is already facing a $21 billion deficit). If approved by the voters, the debt payments would eventually reach $800 million per year.
With Thanksgiving this week, anyone want to guess what the Senator would like us to eat?