The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority held a meeting of its board of directors at Fresno Irrigation District’s headquarters on Friday, August 11, 2017. The SJVWIA was formed to provide support for the Temperance Flat Dam. There was representation from Merced, Madera, Fresno Tulare and Kings Counties as well as several cities. Chairman and Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley gaveled it together at 9:00am. There were a dozen folks in the audience and we all saluted the flag; as it should be. There was no public comment, the minutes were approved and Pal Xiong from Fresno County’s Auditor Controller staff gave the financial reports and they were approved.
Worthley reported there has been great progress in the relationship between the Authority and the Friant Water Authority. There have been meetings wherein this progress has been made and Worthley stressed his confidence there will be a consensus for a positive outcome. Director and Madera County Supervisor Dave Rogers said he attended the meetings and felt there are only very small matters needed to wrap up. A committee of Worthley, Directors Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes and Steve Chedester of the Exchange Contractors will work with Friant. So, while Friant isn’t officially at the table the feeling here is it is only a matter of time.
The San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority was invited to join the Authority and at yesterday’s SLDM Cannon Michael was volunteered to represent that interest. The Joint Powers Agreement had to be amended and Michael joined the directors at the big table.
Executive Director Mario Santoyo (my apologies – I believe I’ve been incorrectly placing an “a” at the end of Mario’s last name for more than a decade) informed the directors they needed to put a conflict of interest code into policy, which they did.
The engineering/technical bull geese Chris White of Central California ID and Bill Swanson* gave an update on the Prop One application and they are working very long, hard hours. Worthley hoped they could attend a press conference at the Fresno Farm Bureau headquarters in Fresno this Monday, August 14th at 10:00am to mark the submittal for the grant application. He wanted to publicly thank White and Swanson for their dedicated work. Santoyo told the board not to forget the US Bureau of Reclamation for its technical expertise but also the almost half a million dollars it brought to the table. The Bureau’s Sharon McHale said it’s looking go with the WIIN Act that more federal funding will be made available. Rogers said he was attending a meeting of California’s rural counties group where some of the other counties’ supervisors felt threatened by Temp Flat. Rogers told them this project is the best in the state for helping water supplies up and down the Central Valley. By the way, the August 14th date is the deadline for submitting the Prop One application.
Worthley reported Orange Cove Mayor Victor Lopez helped to organize a group of Latino elected officials to meet with California Senate President pro-tem Kevin DeLeon and it was very effective to help in bring Temp Flat’s profile up a notch. Rogers and Santoyo both kind of said the same thing; the SJVWIA is a unique organization that reaches across many political and geographical views. Worthley said on of Friant’s concerns is the Authority will exist beyond the Prop One application. The answer is yes and directors all agreed there are other water issues beyond Temp Flat worth supporting.
There are two briefings and tours scheduled on August 17th and 22nd for Assemblymen Vince Fong and Anthony Rendon. Santoyo reported the group’s Washington DC lobbyists reports the Trump administration is on board with new dam construction. He said the member from Table Mountain Rancheria Dan Casas was a Navy Seal who served with the new Secretary of Interior. Not a bad connection.
Under public relations and outreach Santoyo reported a good turnout from various entities for letters of support. He said part of the strategy was to reach out beyond just the area. There are at least 24 organizations who added their seal of approval. The passing of state Senator Dave Cogdell was noted and his support was acknowledged as instrumental to get the ball rolling for Temp Flat. Santoyo listed many organizations, some of which are known as big political givers to Governor Jerry Brown as well as the obvious ag support. The entire cadre of state elected officials from the Valley have signed on. The federal side have yet to sign up. Worthley again invited everyone to the press conference and Santoyo said if anyone wants to speak to please let him know so he can organize as positive a presentation as possible.
Next, we watched a very well produced video promoting the Temp Flat project. Jeff Vallejo was credited with the video. I believed he was the same guy behind “Tapped Out”. There is now a website but I couldn’t see the address. Google it. Historian, newspaper man, public relations expert Randy McFarland advised the board to keep bringing new information out as it’s available. A legislative aid to the assembly said there will be a joint op-ed released from Sacramento in support of the Prop One ap. The next meeting will be September 8th.
DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY; Don A. Wright strives to provide his clients with the most complete, up-to-date, and accurate information available. Nevertheless, DAW does not serve as a guarantor of the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, and specifically disclaims any and all responsibility for information that is not accurate, up-to-date, or complete. DAW’s clients therefore rely on the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of information from DAW entirely at their own risk. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not represent any advertisers or third parties.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 by Don A. Wright No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of DAW. * I can’t recall the name of Swanson’s firm but he’s been involved in Temp Flat from the beginning. I do recall sitting in Temp Flat meetings with the gentleman more than a decade ago. Sorry Bill.