SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), co-chair of the Legislature’s Delta Caucus, spoke out in frustration when his bill to increase local representation on the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) died in a committee hearing after Southern California water special interests lobbied against it.
The DSC consists of seven voting members; only one of these represents the Delta. Frazier’s AB 1194 would have added four voting members from the Delta region to the Council.
“Time and again, the voices of my Delta neighbors have been silenced or dismissed,” said Frazier, presenting AB 1194 to the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. “The interests of Southern California water agencies have been totally prioritized, while the goal of protecting the Delta’s ecosystem has been ignored and diminished, even violated.”
Solano County Supervisor Skip Thomson, immediate past chair of the Delta Protection Commission who for two years served as the Delta region’s lone voting member on the DSC, joined Frazier testifying in support of AB 1194.
“While professional, the Delta Stewardship Council’s makeup is very skewed,” Thomson said. “We are not arguing that special interests and the south state should not have a role here, what we are saying is that the constituency of the Delta deserves a real, constant, and much stronger role on this Council. There were many times when I was the lone voice for those who work, live and play in the Delta, and many times when the stakes were very high for those most affected, the Delta stakeholders had the quietest voice on the Council.”
“To date, the Delta Stewardship Council has demonstrated tremendous bias towards other parts of the state, and has not treated Delta residents and users equally,” said Karen Mann, president of Save the Delta Alliance, who also testified in support of AB 1194.
AB 1194 died when after the testimony was finished the bill failed to receive a “second” to hold a vote.
“After rational testimony in support of my reasonable and even-handed proposal to add more local representation to the Delta Stewardship Council, lobbyists for water districts south of the Delta lined one by one up to oppose the bill and killed it,” Frazier said. “We want Southern California to get the water it needs and has rights to, but the Delta must be protected in the process. It makes no sense to ruin the environment and economy of one-third of the state to benefit two-thirds of the state. The Delta is being held hostage by these special interests from Southern California.”
“It’s important that local communities have their voices heard,” added Sen. Dodd, D-Napa, co-chair of the Delta Caucus and a co-author of AB 1194. “We’ll continue partnering with Assemblymember Frazier and Delta Caucus members to advance that cause.”
Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which encompasses a large cross section of the Delta in Central Solano, Eastern Contra Costa and Southern Sacramento counties, and includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.
CONTACT: Andrew Bird (916) 319-2011 Andrew.Bird@asm.ca.gov