There are times when our beloved local newspaper outdoes even itself in high self-mockery. On those increasingly regular occasions, you have to wonder whether you’re reading the Bee or yet another clever send-up by the perpetrators of The Onion.
Just consider last Wednesday’s editorial, “Water posturing stifles compromise.” The Bee couldn’t “resist pointing out the irony” when the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) decided to increase river flows for salmon and the health of the watershed. The way the Bee sees it, this provides a well-deserved comeuppance for those who opposed the Modesto Irrigation District (MID) proposal to sell water to San Francisco.
Is it conceivable the Bee just found out about the SWRCB intentions? Followers of water news have known increased flows were inevitable for well over a year.
We’ve always thought the Bee’s long practice of doling out news like a miser dispensing nickels stemmed from its desire to tilt issues in its own favor. That was doubtless the motive for suppressing documents revealing the MID’s problems with its Falling Water Charge and the Farm Bureau’s objections to the water sale on legal grounds.
But this recent editorial suggests Bee management may be as much in the dark about western water realities as its dwindling readership. Is it conceivable the Bee expected local farmers to agree to transfer additional water out of the region when they already knew there was going to be more water diverted for fish and the watershed?
Typically, the Bee can’t imagine reasonable objections to its own arguments, which were in favor of less water and more money in the hands of recently departed MID General Manager Allen Short. As those who follow MID history well know, Short left the MID in dire financial straits. Why would ratepayers want to put more money in his hands?
The Bee characterizes opposition to its support of the water sale as “posturing” and “hyperbole.” But the Bee’s self-appointed position as our high court of reason and impartiality comes apart under even the most casual scrutiny. Not only have we long known that salmon and the Delta would be receiving more water, we’ve also known that the Federal Energy Regulation Commission’s relicensing process for the MID will very likely also result in less available water.
Apparently, only the Bee’s own management hasn’t yet realized that when the Bee says “compromise” it’s like asking a farmer to set the barn on fire while his house is burning down.
They’ve got to be kidding.