California's bond debt now approaches $25 BILLION. Taxpayers must pay $3 billion EVERY YEAR. Now Sacramento politicians want to add another billion. Proposition 204 is too expensive! $995 million in bonds means a total of $1.7 BILLION in principal and interest over 25 years. As usual, taxpayers have to pay . . . and pay . . . with no end in sight.
And just what are we paying for? Proponents claim this measure will ''ensure safe drinking water . . . clean up pollution in rivers . . . protect fish and wildlife," etc. When has the government ever succeeded in doing any of these things? You are more likely to hear about government policies CAUSING unsafe water, CAUSING pollution and INJURING fish and wildlife.
When the government diverted water from Northern to Southern California, it created problems with saltwater intrusion into freshwaters. As a result, the Sacramento Delta became degraded. This new measure seeks to ''protect" the very same delta. As usual, the remedy for government mistakes is to spend more of our money to correct them. These flawed government water development policies caused the selenium intrusions into the Kesterson Wildlife Refuge and Reservoir near Merced and the resulting environmental nightmare.
Proposition 204 contains a laundry list of water projects, mostly in the Sacramento Delta area. How do we know if any of these projects are worthwhile, or if they are ''make-work" projects to fill the wallets of politicians and their big-money contributors? These projects should be voted on and funded at the LOCAL level, where voters have first-hand knowledge about their necessity. The rest of us lack enough information to decide intelligently.
There's also the issue of whether taxpayers all over California should have to pay for projects in one small area. Proponents claim there is a ''water crisis" and that this measure has state and national importance. They sure haven't demonstrated why. It smells like a big boondoggle to us.
The most curious part of Proposition 204 is $390 million designated for a ''Calfed Bay-Delta Ecosystem Restoration Program." A consortium of five state agencies and five federal agencies wants to create habitats, protect wetlands, introduce species management, and protect fish. We are suspicious of this program, as we are of any program that would bring together armies of bureaucrats from ten different agencies. By its very nature, the program would likely violate private property rights. Why impose strict, mostly unnecessary environmental regulations on private citizens? ''Wetlands" can mean anything that bureaucrats decide it means. Homeowners have run afoul of such regulations for minor acts like filling in puddles in their backyards. Some have even gone to jail. Proposition 204's loosely defined provisions are steps toward even more bureaucratic tyranny.
We favor protecting the environment--that's why we want government bureaucrats far away from our rivers, streams and wildlife. Look at the fine print. Proposition 204 means more bureaucracy, less protection of our natural environment, and $1.7 BILLION of our hard-earned dollars for 25% years. Please vote NO.
Director, Tahoe City Public Utility District
Insurance Adjuster/Investigator, Pasadena