Thursday, April 24, 2014

Congressman speaks at Solano EDC breakfast

By Melissa Murphy

Posted:   04/23/2014 08:55:37 PM PDT

The future of water in California and Travis Air Force Base continue to be the main topics of discussion for Congressman John Garamendi, D-Solano.

Wednesday morning, Garamendi addressed the local business community during the monthly breakfast of the Solano Economic Development Corporation and in less than an hour covered the full spectrum of issues facing Solano County including, water and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, Travis Air Force Base, education and business community partnerships, and transportation.

Garamendi lauded the communities in Solano County for their endless support of Travis and its mission.

"The future of Travis is assured by the work of this community," he said, adding that contingents from Solano County that have traveled to Washington D.C. make it a point to keep Travis at the forefront of those making the decisions. "The Department of Defense knows you care about Travis."

With the likelihood that the KC-10 refueling jet will retire, and half of the military's fleet of those aircraft based at Travis, the military installation is positioning itself to be the home of the KC -46.

Garamendi remains positive about its future.

"Travis is well suited and there is no other competition on the West Coast," he said. "I believe we'll find ourselves in a solid situation."

Garamendi also didn't hold back from how he feels about the governor's 25 billion dollar water plan that calls for building two massive tunnels in the Delta.

"I have three words: stop the tunnels," he said. "I can add a word to that: stop the damn tunnels."

His advice to state leaders on the matter is similarly straightforward. "Just don't do it," he said. "It's an existential threat to the Delta."

He said that the plan will have the capacity to pull 15,000 cubic feet per second of water from Northern California to Southern California, while the flow of the Sacramento River is anywhere from 10,000 to 18,000 cfs.

Garamendi said the proposed plan would be efficient enough to take all the water out of the river, destroying the Delta.

He took the opportunity to promote his own water plan, one he said is less expensive and focuses on conservation, recycling and the creation of storage systems.

He said conservation, recycling and storage creates 4 to 5 million acre feet of new water. Add in flood protection and that in turn, Garamendi contends, will save the Delta and guarantee water security for at least 50 years.

He added that Gov. Jerry Brown needs to pivot off his plan.

"I have a project that makes your daddy's program look small," Garamendi said in reference to the original plan for a state water project in 1960 that started with Brown's father , former Gov. Pat Brown, which was followed by a peripheral canal proposal in 1980 in the form of Senate Bill 200 that was overwhelmingly rejected by voters. That plan is eerily similar to the one governor is proposing now.

Additionally, Garamendi spoke briefly about transportation and questioned the reasoning behind taking retired military ships out of the Suisun Bay and towing them to Texas to be disassembled when there is already a great facility in Vallejo to do the job. Some in the audience believe its because of the strict environmental regulations in California. The congressman promised he would work on changing that.
Wednesday afternoon Garamendi also held and open house at his district office in Fairfield where he answered more questions from constituents.