Capitol Alert

AM Alert: New Delta tunnel plan spurs familiar criticisms

Aerial view of the Delta and the islands separated by the Franks Tract in the forground; San Joaquin river in the middle and the Sacramento River in the background on November 11, 2008.
Aerial view of the Delta and the islands separated by the Franks Tract in the forground; San Joaquin river in the middle and the Sacramento River in the background on November 11, 2008. The Sacramento Bee

Republicans fight taxes, business groups fight labor, and Delta lawmakers fight the tunnels.

That final truism will be on display today as Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton and Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, join an 11 a.m. event on the Capitol’s north steps excoriating Gov. Jerry Brown’s vision of two massive tubes capable of transporting water south.

Lawmakers regularly denounce the project and question its cost, though there’s little they can do for what has essentially become an administrative process since they put in statute the “co-equal goals” of bolstering water supply and replenishing the Delta ecosystem back in 2009. Brown has brushed off their criticisms, but they’re speaking out today to mark the closing of the public comment for a revised plan that has fanned criticism that Brown abandoned the environmental restoration piece of the project and doubled down on the tunnels.

Backers, meanwhile, are marshaling a big show of support for a project rebranded as the “California Water Fix,” touting favorable comment letters from union outfits like the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, major agriculture organizations like the Western Growers Association and business groups like the California Chamber of Commerce.

HEALTH STATUS: One of the major victories this year for immigrant advocates was legislation extending full scope Medi-Cal to undocumented kids. Though the final version won’t allow unauthorized immigrants to buy insurance on the state exchange, the law still marks the latest addition to a string of inclusive policies like offering driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally. Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, will be celebrating today with a “Health for All Kids” health fair in Los Angeles.

WET: Sacramento water savings slipped in September; residents consumed a solid 27 percent less water than during the same month in 2013, but that’s short of the 30 percent that the region must conserve by next February. How does that compare to the state as whole? We’ll find out today, when the State Water Resources Control Board unveils the statewide numbers for September at 10 a.m.

BOO: Already accustomed to a world that scares off many citizens, Capitol staffers will be donning costumes for a little Halloween fun today. Participating legislative offices will be offering candy and other treats for anyone in the building and seeking a sugar boost.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert. Alexei Koseff of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this post.

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