If the state of California could tax self-congratulation over missed political opportunities, we might have the money to rebuild our water infrastructure.
The water bond placed on the ballot by the legislature is of a piece with other less than impressive triumphs of the Brown Era. Presented with events and political possibilities to make big progress on a crucial issue, political leaders choose something small that doesn’t change all that much.
In water, the state’s needs – just to meet existing population and existing repair – run into tens, if not hundreds of billions of dollars. And this year, with a historic drought, the time was right for a fix. The state already had an $11 billion bond on the ballot that – despite constant criticism of it by the governor and media as full of pork – was doing well in polls.