Lawmaker finds support for blocking Brown’s tunnels

by Gene Beley, Delta Correspondent, Central Valley Business Times
March 26, 2017

  • Discovery Bay homeowners vociferous in tunnel opposition
  • “We are not going to let the big power in Sacramento step on us”

Sen. Steven Glazer speaks in Disco Bay—Calls Sacramento "Disneyland North" from Gene Beley on Vimeo.

“Some of my friends refer to Sacramento as Disneyland North,” began state Sen. Steven Glazer, D-Orinda, the first senator to speak to the Save the California Delta Alliance activist group, which is among those fighting the governor’s planned water tunnels.

If built, the massive twin tunnels would suck comparatively clean water out of the Sacramento River before it could flow into the California Delta and pipe it to buyers in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California via the canals of the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

“One of the key things about the state capitol is they consolidate their influence in one spot and overrule the public. It’s not good. It’s not healthy,” Mr. Glazer said.

He seemed to gain a lot of friends when he told the town hall audience of nearly 500 people that he had an invitation the same night from Gov. Edmund Gerald Brown Jr. to dine at the mansion along with other influential people, but chose instead to come visit with the Discovery Bay group. Loud shouts of “thank you!” and applause followed.

Mr. Glazer, who represents the area around Orinda and Walnut Creek, said he’s against the twin tunnels and the governor’s high-speed rail scheme, which again brought boisterous cheering from the audience.

“There are so many consequences — intended and unintended,” he said. “And there is a lot of momentum behind it.

“I remember 1982 — the heat of the anti-Peripheral Canal fight. This is no different. The odds are against us. President Obama supported the (twin tunnels) project. There is every indication that President Trump is going to help to support the project. It is not going to be an easy one to stop,” Mr. Glazer said.

“We are not going to let the big power in Sacramento step on us here in the Delta’s Discovery Bay and Contra Costa County. We have a voice in this. You have a voice in this. That’s why we are here,” he told the audience.

“The EIR [environmental impact report] is done. The $15 billion cost has been laid out, to be paid for, if it happens, by homeowners and business interests. I’m told the federal government won’t make a decision until at least April. And you may not hear from the State Water Resources Control Board for about a year,” Mr. Glazer said.

He says that could be an opportunity for opponents of the governor’s tunnels, which would be essentially an underground version of Mr. Brown’s voter-rejected Peripheral Canal.

“I sure hope the Delta Alliance will put together a few bus trips for those of us who want to make our voices heard in front of the State Water Resources Control Board,” he said. “Are you going to be there with me?”

“Yea!” the crowd yelled back.

Mr. Glazer also said litigation may be a key pressure point to make a difference.

“Our environment matters,” he said. “Our drinking water matters. Our quality of life matters. And we’re going to fight, fight, fight! Let’s stop those tunnels!”