Saturday, October 7, 2017
[Alameda County] Transparency Important
Blog note: this editorial references a grand jury report.
The Zone 7 Water Agency became the first state water contractor to approve a financial commitment for the California WaterFix, which includes the controversial twin tunnels. The 5 to 2 decision was made at the September 20 meeting with no public comment. Board members Jim McGrail and Angela Ramirez Holmes were opposed.
Zone 7 will spend up to $250,000 to cover costs for the California WaterFix starting on January 1, 2018 and continuing until the first bonds are issued.
The vote by Zone 7 took place after one major agricultural water contractor voted against taking part, raising concerns that the project may never move forward. Now, a second agricultural contractor has questioned the estimated cost of the project. Lawsuits have been filed challenging the environmental review.
The $250,000 would be better spent working on diversifying Zone 7's water portfolio, including storage, desalination and reverse osmosis. Zone 7, instead, chose to continue to rely on the state for 80% of its water with a project that may never materialize.
Two years ago, a grand jury report stated that the agency needed to be more transparent in its decision making, including televising meetings. Zone 7 meetings are now aired on a local cable channel. Last month, Board President John Greci proposed dropping coverage of meetings.
Supporting the twin tunnels, a decision not in the public's best interest, demonstrates the need for television coverage now more than ever.
October 5, 2017