On politics in the Golden State

Category: water

Schwarzenegger wants water bond off November ballot [Updated]

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday asked the Legislature to take the $11 billion water bond off the November ballot.

"It's critical that the water bond pass, as it will improve California's economic growth, environmental sustainability and water supply for future generations," Schwarzenegger said in a statement Tuesday. "For that reason, I will work with the legislature to postpone the bond to the next ballot and avoid jeopardizing its passage.”

There is precedent for lawmakers delaying votes on measures they have put on the ballot themselves. A high-speed rail bond was delayed three separate times by lawmakers who feared earlier votes would have jeopardized the bond's passage. Proponents of the water bond had concerns that asking voteres to approve a new, $11 billion bond while the state faces a massive budget deficit and unemployment is near record highs might be politically problematic.

[Updated: 2:56 p.m.] Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) agreed the vote should be delayed. "

"Given the challenges currently facing California, I agree with the governor the water bond should be postponed,’’ Steinberg said in a written statement.

Anthony York in Sacramento

Farmers win delta water victory

If you're keeping score at home, count it as Farmers: 1, Salmon: 0.

A federal judge has loosened limits on pumping water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta -- limits that were originally put in place to protect native salmon.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger was a victory for Central Valley farmers and Southern California cities, which had sought to ease the limits.

Environmentalists had backed the pumping limits to protect salmon and other native fish species. Farmers had complained that the limits threatened crops in the valley.

Bettina Boxall has more background on the case.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

First Take: Steve Poizner draws protesters. Jerry Brown admonishes ACORN. Spinning in defeat

GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner was met by angry protesters at a signing for his new book about his year as a high school teacher.

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, a Democratic candidate for governor, ruled some activities by ACORN were highly inappropriate, but not illegal.

John Eastman, a Republican for attorney general, lost a battle in court Thursday, but that didn't stop his campaign from trying to spin the setback as a victory.

Despite the wet winter, California's water woes are not over.

Get the latest headlines from California politics as they happen. Follow PolitiCal on Twitter.

-- Anthony York

Schwarzenegger ponies up for water bond

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ballot campaign committee has contributed $200,000 to the campaign to pass the multibillion dollar water bond he signed last fall.

The bond, expected to appear on the November 2010 ballot, is hailed by supporters as an opportunity to rebuild the state's aging water supply system. Opponents have called it pork-laden spending that the state cannot afford. The California Alliance for Jobs, a business and labor coalition, has already given $200,000 to the campaign; so has the California Conservation Action Fund, an environmental group.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

Gas taxes, water bond create political pickle for Schwarzenegger

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to raid the state's gasoline taxes could have some unintended consequences -- including crippling his effort to pass a water bond on the November ballot.

Confused? Welcome to the world of Sacramento politics.

In his January spending proposal, Schwarzenegger proposed a technical change in the way the state taxes gasoline sales. The tax changes would reduce funding for public transit by more than $1 billion, and put money for other construction projects in jeopardy. That's a problem for Jim Earp, a close ally of the governor who is the head of the California Alliance for Jobs,  a consortium of construction companies and workers that has backed many major Schwarzenegger initiatives in the past.

Complicating matters is the fact that Earp is campaign chairman of the governor's water bond campaign, which is scheduled to come before voters in November.

"My concern is if we're put in a completely defensive posture on transportation, it's going to impact our ability to work for the water bond," Earp said today. "It's going to be hard for me to raise a lot of money and get a lot support  if our guys keep getting shot at."

Earp said he hopes his members can reach an agreement with the governor that will limit potential funding cuts for transportation. "We have worked very closely with the governor," he said. "I agree with his basic approach to try to rebuild California. I think that he's just got some bad advice on this particular proposal."

-- Anthony York in Sacramento


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