Editorial: Flimsy justification to call for Jerry Meral's ouster

Published: Wednesday, May. 1, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 12A
Last Modified: Monday, Jul. 15, 2013 - 3:53 pm

Congressional representatives from Northern California have reason to criticize the way Jerry Meral and the Brown administration continue to push ahead with plans for two gigantic water tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. We added our voice to those criticisms Sunday.

But last week's call by five congressional Democrats for the resignation of Meral, the governor's point man on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, was an embarrassment. Did they want him to resign because the tunnel's ominous potential impact on Delta communities? Because of continued uncertainties about how much water would be left for the Delta?

No, they demanded the resignation because of something that Meral said – or purportedly said – within earshot of a pair of activists who are hardly neutral in their assessment of Meral.

On April 15, Meral reportedly said that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan "is not about, and has never been about, saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved." These comments were overheard by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, who sent them into the blogosphere.

Meral claims his comments were taken out of context, but even if they weren't, they don't justify his resignation. More than a century ago, the Delta was drained, its ecosystem forever changed. "Saving it," at least restoring it to its pre-1800s state, is impossible, a point Meral has made in the past.

Sadly, we live in an age when the politics of vilification rages, when a single comment or image can be blown up beyond proportion. Liberals hate it when the right engages in these tactics. If so, they shouldn't practice it when it suits them.

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