USDA Data Dispels Myth that West Side Growers 'Feed the Nation'

By Dan Bacher

The corporate media and even some "alternative" media outlets have bought into this myth in their coverage of the California water wars, portraying the conflict as one between hard-working farmers like those portrayed in the classic Grant Wood painting who only want "feed America" versus "radical environmentalists" who want to protect a "minnow" like the Delta smelt.

The comments of Sean Hannity, in "The Valley Hope Forgot: California Farmers at Obama's Mercy" show on Fox TV News on September 18, are typical of those that perpetuate the myth that west side San Joaquin Valley farmers "feed America."

"You are the farmers that have sustained the entire country for decades," said Hannity, surrounded by hundreds of west side growers, bused-in farmworkers and Central Valley Tea Party activists. "We have generations of farmers here. And they are losing their farms. We have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of acres. We literally have — I met people earlier that now are on food lines because their farms have been shut down."

We Expected Better of the Network That Gave Us Edward R. Murrow

by Jane Wagner-Tyack
Restore the Delta

"60 Minutes" had a chance to take on California agribusiness and water mismanagement the way they took on Big Tobacco. They blew that chance. 

Instead, this past Sunday we got a CBS-ified version of Fox's Sean Hannity, complete with dry Westlands acreage, smelt-in-the-hand, and out of work Latinos.  So hackneyed was Leslie Stahl's fish- vs.-farmer formulation that even the Governor dodged it.

The Governor took Stahl on a flyover of the Delta and didn't say a single word about all the people who live and farm there.  We got to see him standing in front of the Latino Water Coalition, and Stahl never raised the issue of whom that coalition really represents. Sloppy.  Was anyone at CBS doing any research?

Restore the Delta Calls Out Phony Astroturf Group

By Barbara Barrigan-Parilla
Restore the Delta

Restore the Delta (RTD) has called on "Friends of the Delta" a disingenuous Astroturf group (an organization without any real members) based out of a public relations firm in Newport Beach, CA to stop using Restore the Delta materials in information packets it distributes. 
Residents and advocates of the Delta region have a right to know when they're being hoodwinked. The use of RTD material to further a cause that is completely counter to our mission is repugnant and must stop now. With 'Friends of the Delta' like these, who needs enemies?

Spoiled: California Food Safety Legislation Dies On The Vine

By Jill Replogle
Protect Consumer Justice

Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez started the year with high hopes that he could transform California’s system of ensuring food safety .

The issue had drawn national attention. “Omnivore’s Dilemma” was atop the best seller lists, while authorities announced they had detected salmonella in hundreds of tainted peanut butter, paste and other products produced by Peanut Corporation of America, prompting a massive recall and a bankruptcy.

The great water deal of 2009: Historic?


By Peter Schrag
California Progress Report

On the rare occasions when the biggest players in Sacramento blow kisses to one another for a historic achievement, the object of the celebration deserves a hard second look. It happened again last week when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, legislative leaders and a gaggle of other politicians and lobbyists reached the great water deal of 2009.  He wanted to congratulate all concerned, said the governor “for this historic accomplishment.” 

Like many other big deals in Sacramento in recent years, this one, too, was composed in large part of black boxes, deferrals, fudges and borrowing -- $11.1 billion in general obligation bonds in this case--  for large water projects, some as yet unspecified, plus a fair amount of pork having little to do with water. How many billions have we put on the credit card since 2004, when the governor declared that we’d tear it up?