Delta Flows Newsletter
Special Edition for October 19, 2009
Special Edition From Restore the Delta

"Hateful to me as are the gates of hell, Is he who, hiding one thing in his heart, Utters another.."

Friends of the Delta:Astroturfing Group Launches In-Delta Media Campaign   
Restore the Delta staff have been busy working on many field projects presently requiring us to be away from our computers.  During this time, numerous articles and opinion pieces  regarding the inadequate water legislation and pork barrel water bond recently passed by the state legislature have been published by smart water thinkers including Dr. Peter Gleick (Pacific Institute), Steve Evans (Friends of the River), and Jonas Minton(Planning and Conservation League), while wonderful quotes have been attributed to Bill Jennings (California Sportfishing Protection Alliance), and Jim Metropulos (Sierra Club California)  Thus, Restore the Delta has little to add and is thankful to those who have been able to speak with sensitivity and intelligence as to what is truly not happening for the Delta as a result of this poor legislative package.
But today, we had to return from the Delta fields to our computers when we saw the four-page ad placed by Families Protecting the Valley in the Stockton Record.  The ad refers to The Great Delta Toilet Bowl.  First, before we work our way through the content, let's make it clear who are the groups sponsoring and paying for the ad.
The ad was paid for by Friends of the Delta out of Newport Beach, California.  When we called their office, the phone was answered by the Sheldon Group, a public relations firm, representing Southern California water interests and developers.  In other words, Friends of the Delta is an astroturfing group, much like the Latino Water Coalition - an organization without any real members, but rather a website with a pr firm who may on occasion pay people to attend events.  They do not have staff like Restore the Delta staff, who take numerous calls from supporters with ideas and concerns about the Delta, or who hold public events, rallies, etc.
Friends of the Delta paid for the ad so that in-Delta residents could become members of Families Protecting the Valley.  The board of directors for Families Protecting the Valley includes members like Bob Smittcamp, who is a Westland's growers, lives in Fresno's posh zip code 93711, many miles away from his industrial farm that exports crops like almonds to Asia and Europe.  Mr. Smittcamp has held fundraisers for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who declared in a recent visit to Stockton that he is building the peripheral canal around the Delta.  Mrs. Smittcamp was also Chief Executive Officer of  To learn more about Westland's growers and the link between their practices and Central Valley poverty click here to read Lloyd article's recent law review article.   
The ad itself quotes science provided by the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta.  This group is housed in Stewart Resnick's headquarters for Paramount Farms in Kern County.  Stewart Resnick is the Beverly Hills Billionaire who has made tens of millions of dollars annually from buying and reselling water back to the state for a tidy profit.  To learn more about Mr. Resnick click here for a recent article on Alternet.
The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta group poses as a science based organization concerned about pollution in the Delta, when they are actually a propaganda group spinning facts to promote the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.  As expected, they never consider the possibility that water exports from the Delta has an impact on the ecosystem.
Mr. Resnick who supports the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta is also a frequent political campaign contributor to Governor Schwarzenegger's Dream Team, Senator Diane Feinstein, and earlier this summer to Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.  In fact, the Resnick's contributions to Senate President Steinberg were made shortly before the beginning of the Conference Committee Process, which left Delta legislators out of the water deal making process.  Click here to see contributions made recently to Darrell Steinberg.   
So, in summary, what we are beginning to see is an ad campaign financed by Southern California water interests and San Joaquin Valley agribusiness to bring residents and supporters of the Delta into their coalition: a twenty-first-century- twist on what happened in Owens Valley.
Turning to the content of the ad, it is highly ironic that the agribusiness industry, which has successfully lobbied the Schwarzenegger administration and shows up regularly at state and regional water board hearings to protest any strengthening of water quality standards for dischargers, is expressing concern about water pollution in the Delta.  In fact, water boards and water agencies under the Schwarzenegger administration have been weaker on enforcing water quality standards for the Delta than regulatory agencies have any other time in recent history.  They certainly have been lax in enforcing standards on municipal dischargers.
Is discharge into the Delta a problem?  Of course it is.  But it is also a problem that is exacerbated many times over by excessive exports and reduced inflows into the Delta.  Plus, when one considers that growers on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley are farming on drainage impaired lands that dump tons of boron, salts and selenium into the San Joaquin River that flows back into the Delta - and that these same growers want Northern California's water delivered to them through new conveyance- well we couldn't make up fiction with more ironic twists and turns.
Restore the Delta supporters should take our findings as a warning.  This ad is just the beginning.  Take the time to let local media outlets know that you disapprove of their willingness to accept these advertising dollars.  In addition, we expect these astroturfing groups to charge forward with an assault on the endangered species act as a ploy to increase the amount of water exported from the Delta.  And last, remember that political affiliation has nothing to do with protecting the Delta.  A number of our State and Federal leaders from both sides of the aisle have been corrupted by the California water-money trail.  Watch how your State and Federal Representatives vote on Delta legislation and vote accordingly in return at election time.


In This Issue
Friends of the Delta:Astroturfing Group Launches In-Delta Media Campaign
Bridge in Delta
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Restore the Delta is working everyday through public education and citizen activism to ensure the restoration and future sustainability of the California Delta. Your general contribution can help us sponsor outreach events, enable us to educate Californians on what makes the Delta so special, and assist us in building a coalition that will be recognized by government water agencies as they make water management decisions.
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Restore the Delta is a grassroots campaign committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta - a coalition of Delta residents, business leaders, civic organizations, community groups, faith-based communities, union locals, farmers, fishermen, and environmentalists - seeks to strengthen the health of the estuary and the well-being of Delta communities. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla
Restore the Delta
Email: [email protected]