In the weekly feature called "e-views," we invite readers to answer a question via email or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BrentwoodNews.
Last week's question:
Gov. Jerry Brown's $25 billion plan is to build two massive tunnels that would make it easier to move water from Northern California to farms in the Central Valley and Southern California. The plan calls for building two tunnels, each 40 feet high and 35 miles long, under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, with construction starting in 2017. What do you think of Gov. Jerry Brown's plan?
THIS PLAN IS a theft in two ways. Unless there is some magic to replace the water needed to keep the Delta clean, it will collapse and the ecological, agricultural, and economic strength of this area will be devastated for many years.
The second theft is of taxpayers resources, which might be much better spent on water reclamation and desalination plants. The entire water supply in Israel does it, why can we not?
I HATE the idea.
CALIFORNIA IS JUST now digging out from years of devastating budget deficits and still faces all kinds of unfunded retirement liability. Isn't it wise to throw away the shovel when you're in a hole?
I have two fears. One is that Jerry Brown got fevered by a Delta mosquito and is having delusions of grandeur. Seems thoughts to outdo the Taj Mahal, Dubai and maybe the Bridge to Nowhere are swimming in his head.
My other fear is that they are going to suck the Delta dry so as to have ample room for high-speed rail track.
IS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA paying for this? Why doesn't Southern California build a reservoir between all those mountains. What happens when the north has a drought (which we are currently in)? The cost is probably astronomical and the north will end of paying for it. It's a losing battle with the politicians, they are going to do what they want to do.
AS A CIVIL engineer with five decades of heavy construction experience, I vehemently oppose the Delta tunnels as a boondoggle that will waste billions of dollars from taxpayers and water customers.
Constructing 70 miles of 40-foot ID concrete tunnels through adverse conditions of soft Delta peat and mud, would be an unprecedented task. Until detailed designs and construction procedures are developed, cost estimates are only crude guesses. Even then, many problems will occur due to unanticipated conditions that will cause delays and send costs soaring over budget. I believe ultimate cost would likely be two to three times the $25 billion estimate.
Once true costs for tunnels are known, many water users may be unable to afford the required fees to payoff the project bonds, and taxpayers would be stuck for an even larger share of the costs. There are viable alternatives, including upgrades of the existing channels, that would accomplish the same objectives at a fraction of the risk and cost. And tunnels provide no fish or wildlife habitat, whereas channels can be designed with pools, bays and marshes to enhance habitat and recreational values.
Larry L. Harrison
THE DELTA TUNNELS plan is yet another boondoggle that should have California taxpayers hiding their wallets. In the six years this project has been in the planning stages, the estimated cost has gone from under $15 billion to nearly $25 billion. That doesn't include long-term financing costs, which will put the whole thing over $50 billion.
Executive director, Contra Costa Taxpayers Association
This week's question:
Ownerless cats have become a problem at a number of schools and other large facilities where they forage for food and try to stay warm but also could cause health problems. What do you think can be done to stem this problem?
Email your response to email@example.com. or post on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BrentwoodNews. Please limit responses to a few sentences, and be sure to include your full name and city of residence. Not all responses will be published. Note: Please respond before Monday.