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Hollywood Stars Slam Schwarzenegger's Water Bond

by Dan Bacher
The PSA features such actors as David DeLuise, from "Wizards of Waverly Place" and son of Dom DeLuise; Justine Bateman, from "Family Ties," "Californication" and "Desperate Housewives;" Kelly Williams, from "Lie to Me," "The Practice" and "Scrubs"; Anna Belknap, from "CSI: NY."
Hollywood Stars Slam Schwarzenegger's Water Bond

by Dan Bacher

The No on 18 Campaign on Tuesday announced its release of a public service announcement featuring Hollywood actors united against Proposition 18, the $11.14 billion pork-laden water bond backed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

The controversial bond remains on this November's ballot, in spite of attempts by Schwarzenegger and Steinberg to delay the bond until 2012 because of the public's lack of support for this taxpayer bailout for corporate agribusiness and southern California water agencies.

The PSA features such actors as David DeLuise, from "Wizards of Waverly Place" and son of Dom DeLuise; Justine Bateman, from "Family Ties," "Californication" and "Desperate Housewives;" Kelly Williams, from "Lie to Me," "The Practice" and "Scrubs"; Anna Belknap, from "CSI: NY."

"The 60-second spot points out the bond will cost Californians $22 billion over the next 30 years in addition to the attempt by the legislators to postpone the measure until 2012," according to a news release from the No on 18 Campaign. "It also calls on voters to contact their local legislator and demand they scrap the bond altogether and start working on real solutions that truly address the water needs of the State."

The bond creates the infrastructure to build a peripheral canal and new dams that would likely lead to the extinction of collapsing populations of Delta and longfin smelt, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, green sturgeon, southern resident killer whales and other species. The peripheral canal would cost an estimated $23 billion to $53.8 billion at a time when California is in its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

"We support keeping water publicly owned, pure, accessible and drinkable, straight from the tap," said John Lehr, one of the creators. "Proposition 18 is a massive waste of money and won't help California's future water needs."

Lehr, creator of the improvisational comedy series "10 Items or Less," joined forces with Nancy Hower to craft this video. The duo has collaborated on numerous video projects and is currently producing a pilot for Comedy Central, according to the No on 18 Campaign.

Despite what many are saying, the water bond has yet to be either postponed or repealed. "Legislators have talked about postponing this ridiculous bond until 2012, hoping voters will forget the measure came together during back-room deals adding billions of dollars of pork projects and that it does very little to solve California's water needs," said Elanor Starmer of Food & Water Watch.

"The state is staring down the barrel at an already outrageous deficit. Taking on an additional $22 billion would be irresponsible and we can't afford it; not now, not ever," Starmer stated.

To view the video, visit

No on Proposition 18 is a coalition of consumer, education, environmental, fishing, farming, tribal, community and social justice organizations opposed to the water bond that will be on the statewide ballot in November.

Coalition members include the Sierra Club California, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Friends of the River, Food & Water Watch, the Planning and Conservation League, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Sea Urchin Commission, Clean Water Action, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, Southern California Watershed Alliance, Restore the Delta, Winnemem Wintu Tribe and Urban Semillas.

Proposition 18 is yet one more attempt by the Governor and the Legislative "leadership "to privatize water and other public trust resources in California. It amounts to corporate welfare for water barons such as Stewart Resnick, the owner of the giant Paramount Farms, who has made millions and millions of dollars in profits off selling subsidized water back to the state.

Assembly Speaker Endorses Governor's MLPA Initiative

Proposition 18 must be seen in the larger context of the campaign by the Governor and the Legislature to industrialize our the ocean, bay and inland waters. The Governor and Assembly Speaker John Perez are currently promoting the fast-track Marine Life Protection (MLPA) Initiative, a privately funded process to create so-called "marine protected areas" on the California coast.

The MLPA officials have railroaded California Indian Tribes and fishing communities on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and South Coast - and now are trying to do it on the North Coast, but they have faced massive resistance there.

In a letter to the California Fish and Game Commission, Perez says he supports "the strongest possible network of marine protected areas based on science" along California's southern Coast. That is a complete and total lie, since the process has completely taken oil drilling, water pollution, wave energy projects, corporate aquaculture, habitat destruction and all other human uses of the ocean off the table other than fishing and gathering.

"You have a historic opportunity to create a legacy for southern California's oceans and generations to come ... Please adopt the protections most likely to provide lasting benefits for all Californians by choosing the strongest possible option of Marine Protected Areas in southern California," said Perez.

However, the real "legacy" of the illegitimate process that John Perez adamantly supports is the industrialization and privatization of California ocean and bay waters under an initiative privately funded by the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund Foundation. This illegal process has violated the Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act, the California Public Records Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and other laws.

The MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces, appointed by the worst Governor in California history to kick Tribal members, fishermen and seaweed harvesters of the water in fake "marine protected areas," are dominated by oil industry, real estate, marina development and other corrupt corporate interests. In fact, the "strongest possible option of Marine Protected Areas" that Perez gushes over was crafted under the leadership of Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association and the chair of the South Coast MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force, who has called for new oil drilling off the California coast.

As Susan Burdick, Yurok Elder, told the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force in Fort Bragg when over 300 Tribal members and their allies in a historic protest took control of a meeting on July 21, "We're not going to stop what we have doing for generations. We have young people here, old people here and we will march everywhere you go."

"What is your real purpose: to start drilling for oil off our coastline?" she asked. "Be honest with us!"

Perez's friendly relationship with big oil companies is no secret. Perez is the author of the "rigs to reef "legislation on behalf of the oil industry that saves them billions in the decommissioning of oil rigs off Southern California, so his strong support of oil industry supported "marine protected areas" that also insulate them from pesky environmental regulations should also come as no surprise.

Whether it's the water bond, the peripheral canal or the corrupt MLPA process, Tribal members, fishermen, seafood industry workers, environmentalists, family farmers and others will resist the drive to privatize our public trust resources.

We must relentlessly expose corporate greenwashing and racism, whether it is promoted by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly Speaker John Perez, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg or their "environmental" NGO collaborators. For more information about the Coastal Justice Coalition's battle against the MLPA's violation of indigeous rights, go to:

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Trager Water Report
Tue, Aug 3, 2010 4:03PM
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