Jack Ohman editorial cartoons and blog

Ohman: Water, water everywhere, thanks to new California laws ...

Published: Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 - 4:02 pm

Even after the substantial rainfall recently, California is still looking at a drought. If droughts were biblical, like downpours, this would be a biblical drought. More importantly, the drought has become political. Even President Barack Obama visited the Central Valley to extend federal assistance.

Gov. Jerry Brown has been correctly noting for weeks that he can’t make it rain. But on Thursday, he went a little further than his usual protestations.

“You’ve got to have rain. Aside from the rain, you’ve got to use the water efficiently. You’ve got to have storage, and we have to balance the interests because we have no other choice.” Then came the bombshell:

“If anyone can get it done, I can get it done.” And, like his “Little Engine That Could,” I think he can, with the help of the new session of the Legislature. All he needs is:

SB 786: “The Hydrological Fabrication Relief Act.” Creates water out of existing molecules of hydrogen and oxygen through magic and “really hard wishing.”

Outlook: Popular with Southern California legislators. Faces massive lobbying effort from Perrier, San Pellegrino and Evian.

AB 233: “The Surreptitious Pipeline to Oregon and Washington Act.” Funds transparent plexiglass dual tunnel with stealth technology to secretly tap into the Columbia River while Oregon/Washington isn’t looking. Provides 3,000 jobs for “distractors” to divert OR/WA attention.

Outlook: Very good in Oregon, where everyone stays inside with the shades drawn. Excellent in marijuana-friendly Washington, where they simply don’t care or won’t notice.

SB 114: “The California Hot Tub and Pool Confiscation Act.” Uses existing recreational aquifers to provide emergency storage.

Outlook: Last-resort measure opposed by virtually all Californians with pools and hot tubs.

AB 335: “The Convert Wine Into Water Act.” Employs reverse engineering technology as well as historically proven miracles.

Outlook: Strongly opposed by California wine industry.

SB 298: “The Water Safety Flexibility Act.” West Virginia has been experimenting with new water safety standards, such as licorice-flavored toxic goo. In the California Board of Equalization building, there’s a lot of water, but you don’t want to know where it comes from. If we could just relax our standards a bit, we could massively expand our water resources.

Outlook: Great if you like licorice.

Brown also has possible remedies that don’t include the Legislature.

A statewide ballot measure to create water.

According to the latest Field Poll, California voter approval of water split 56/44. Beer was the most popular fluid with a 78/22 split, and “wine under $15 per bottle” was just behind at 72/28. Water was popular across all demographic lines, except for witches and cats.

A well-crafted ballot measure campaign would unquestionably win, but if Brown doesn’t chose a political route, he has several other options available through executive order:

Military invasion of very wet states.

California Air National Guard units are secretly training around the clock over Minnesota. C-130 transport planes are practicing touch-and-go water-sucking maneuvers on Minnesota lakes, which is really difficult right now because they’re frozen over, but commanders are “very confident” that this will work.

Exchange Nevada mental patients for water.

While Nevada isn’t exactly a water mecca itself right now, we should be getting some sort of compensation for past Nevada transgressions. If the Nevada Legislature sent us 100 bottles of water per extradited patient, this would provide enough water to Southern California until 2023.

Annex water through redistricting.

Since some legislators don’t even live in their own districts, we can rejigger legislative lines to extend to monsoon-plagued nations. They may welcome our assistance, and we can send them California products in exchange, such as state Sen. Rod Wright, who could claim residency anywhere.

Allow lobbyists to provide up to $500 worth of water to each legislator, provided it is served in their own private home.

It’ll work, and you know they’ll figure out a way to bend the rules to give even more water.

Brown reminds us that we’re all in the same boat.

Like we have any water to put a boat in.

Read more articles by Jack Ohman



Editorial Cartoonist Jack Ohman

Jack Ohman Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award, the national SPJ Award, the National Headliner Award, the Overseas Press Club Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. He has written and illustrated 10 books, many of them about fly fishing. Jack has three grown children.

Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com.

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