There has never been a way Gavin Newsom could win over voters in the bright red San Joaquin Valley. That’s why post-recall commentary from Valley leaders and pundits has thus far missed the mark. In assuming Newsom ever had a chance with highly partisan Valley voters, most everyone has focused on Newsom’s position on water.
Water, however, is exactly the issue Newsom has no chance for winning on in the Valley. What Valley voters and their leaders really want is to continue their wanton use of water with help from a governor they don’t support — they didn’t support him when he first ran for office and they voted against him on the recall.
Valley farmers and their supporters want increased deliveries of surface water to make up for the groundwater deficit they caused by pumping Valley aquifers dry. They want water for farmers, but not for the farmers in the San Joaquin Delta. They want water for the region that “feeds the nation” even while planting ever more export crops.
Gavin Newsom has the kind of task no politician wants: On water, he has to make decisions that will please no one. No matter how much water gets sent to parched towns and farmers in the southern San Joaquin Valley, it won’t be enough. No matter how much water gets diverted to the San Joaquin Delta, it won’t be enough.
It won’t be enough because there’s not enough water — not enough for all the salmon, all the almonds, or all the lawns of urban and suburban residents. Providing enough for any one constituency means not enough for another — the state’s demands are greater than the state’s supply.
Newsom is also at a disadvantage because of his almost perfect match to the stereotype of the “Limousine Liberal,” a caricature especially abhorred in the Valley. His unmasked dinner at Yountville’s The French Laundry restaurant during a birthday celebration for a Sacramento lobbyist will haunt the remainder of his political career as an indelible image of hypocritical privilege.
Even Newsom’s greatest success as Governor of California works against him in the Valley. While California as a whole has consistently been among the nation’s leaders in controlling the Covid pandemic, the Valley has been an outlier.
Statewide, the almost two-thirds vote to reject the recall was driven in large part by Newsom’s aggressive management of Covid and by the dreadful prospect of Trump clone Larry Elder grabbing the reins of California’s galloping economy.
Covid management in the Valley, however, has been an almost purely partisan rejection of science and sound government. In fact, when attempting to contain a virus that has killed almost 700,000 Americans, the Valley has been the worst region in the state.
To date, Fresno County, with a population of 1,008,654, has 1926 deaths from Covid. Farther north, with just 555,728 residents, Stanislaus County has almost 1100 deaths from Covid-19. San Francisco, with just under 900,000 closely quartered residents, has 615 Covid mortalities. The numbers are clear: Valley leaders have failed at managing the virus.
As of this month,
“Covid has exacted a horrific death toll on red America: In counties where Donald Trump received at least 70 percent of the vote, the virus has killed about 47 out of every 100,000 people since the end of June, according to Charles Gaba, a health care analyst. In counties where Trump won less than 32 percent of the vote, the number is about 10 out of 100,000.”
It shouldn’t be a surprise that in a bright red region where defiance for mask mandates and resistance to vaccines is the norm that Gavin Newsom has been an unpopular leader. But once the pandemic is over and the numbers finally tallied, Valley voters may revise their views of the governor who chose science over politics.
When the fervid partisanship of the Trump era is replaced by considered analysis and calm reflection, more Valley residents will realize a governor who chooses science and life over politics and death is a far better choice than any anti-mask/anti-vax alternative. They may even begin rejecting local leaders whose allegiance to Trump resulted in needless deaths and a delayed return to normal.
And it continues to mutate and will cause even more infections in the unvaccinated!
Lou Valero says
Speaking of water, or the lack thereof, I came across a well done story at CapitolandMain.com: “DROUGHT NATION. Guess who’ll get hit hardest by California’s severe water shortage? Groundwater systems are key during California droughts, but certain communities are running dry — and there’s no real solution in sight.”
I immediately thought of this particular Valley Citizen post, that I had just read, that covered so much more than water, yet, besides Covid, is also heavily on my mind.
As for Covid, I am no scientist or medical doctor, but I certainly have carefully and conscientously followed all facets of information, in an attempt to understand the latest, as science and the medical field learn more. Covid information changes rapidly, does it not?
At this junction, as I may understand our current dilemna, the vaccines, thus far being utilized may be doing nothing for the Delta or other discovered variants, yet they do seem to lighten the load when a different variant is contracted. Thus, this may account for the multible breakthroughs in the already vaccinated.
Why the vaccine formulas are not being tweaked for other variants, which I understand would not be too difficult, is the question often asked. It may be that the developers could take a sizeable loss, since the cost to develop and manufacture said Covid vaccines was quite an expense. Plus, the original formulas are apparently lessoning hospitalizations. Then, perhaps, there are contractual obligations entered into in the heat of the ongoing pandemic.
Problem is, the current Covid vaccines’ immunity are known to be wearing off, meaning the Covid-19 antibodies wear off within 4-6 months of each vaccination, hence the push for the booster. Israel, who has mandated the 2 scheduled Pfizer vaccines, plus the booster, is still troubled with many breakthroughs, as may we here in the US, despite a booster.
On a lighter note, vaccine experts are working on numerous different vaccine formulas and already conducting follow up studies to get the world a vaccine that works on more facets of the virus, and its varients, rather than just on the spike protein, which formula apparently does not provide the permanent coverage necessary that we have been used to with prior vaccinations, other than Covid.
Word is there are some very promising vaccines currently being conducted in large scale studies, hopefully leading to FDA approval, and, involved in studies, within other countries. This is extremely important because doctors who know that field, have legitimate concerns that too many vaccines and boosters may harm the immune system’s ability to function adequately, after it learns to seek out the Covid-19 virus, contained within the current formulas being administered, and not much else. Apparently, the current vaccines are training the immune system what to hone in on and perhaps what not to in the future.
The possible reason the vaxxed are still being required to wear masks is that even the vaccinated may be sloughing off Covid and/or variants.
I hesitated to comment on all this, yet it bothered my conscience not to. I did my best to use tentative rather than absolute language.
Please do not shoot the messenger. I gave my earnest effort to learn what I have, thus far, and have applied my earnest effort to present the above.
My disclaimer is that, of course, I may be incorrect, so do your own research, hopefully what I included will assist what to research, and, by all means consult your medical doctor.
It was satisfying to see that there are multiple places in Stanislaus County where people diagnosed with Covid, in beginning stages, can go to have Monoclonal Antibodies administered in an effort to prevent a later hospitalization. Some medical doctors were, uncompassionately, telling positive tested patients that they do not treat early Covid and not dispensing the following vital information . Don’t let that happen to you. As soon as possible, before possibly testing positive, type “Monoclonal Antibodies in Stanislaus County” into your search engine. Then be sure to keep the phone numbers and addresses close by you. I hear Regeneron may be a more beneficial brand choice for its flexability in how it is administered, and another reason I won’t go into here. Do your research.
Frances Lopez says
John Duarte says
We can do better on water abundance for all of California. Jobs, housing and food are at stake.
First, groundwater depletion is a result of water delivery cuts to a third of their pre 1990’s contracts. There is solid data that Westside groundwater was stable before these cuts and depleted recently. These Agricutural lands were encouraged by governments with the California water project.
We flushed tens of millions of acre feet of fresh water out to the ocean this year. No smelt or salmon have been found by the delta monitoring program. Our stoicism is not rewarded. We may not know everything that we need to know to protect vulnerable species. Even is we sacrifice everything that we have.
We are sacrificing irrigated landscapes with great habitat value. Critters love water. Re deserting the valley will reduce diverse wildlife and inland wetlands. Suburban areas are losing living landscapes also. New developments are challenged to meet water efficiency standards. Dirt parks for the kids? No thank you. Not even for bright red neighborhoods.
Housing cannot be built at all without proven long term water supply. We are not building for an water abundance. We haven’t for a long time. Voters pass bonds. Government hires biologists. Money gets spent. Water remains scarce. Low income families pay a third of their income for housing. That is going up.
Housing, energy and food costs are going up. Fast. Low income families are breaking. Shedding tears on homelessness and living standards while staying dreamy on failed environmental schemes is cruel.
High energy costs, lost industries, poor roads, food inflation, scarce housing are all results of limousine liberal policies. Throw in unaccountable education and regressive taxation – gas tax, sales tax, wage killing corporate taxes and it is clear that California will be shedding more poor than well to do in the post recall exodus.
Trump was and is personally regrettable. His policies brought broad benefits. It is too bad that more political discussions aren’t dissecting policies and impacts rather than an out of office boogyman.
Eric Caine says
Thank you John. It’s always valuable to have alternative viewpoints. As for policy, we have long discussed here such things as the destruction of Tulare Lake, the loss of 95% of the Valley’s wetlands, and the destruction Valley aquifers. Were those events the result of government policy or lack of policy? Did the free market produce benefits for all during the destruction of the Valley environment? Would you agree that the loss of aquifers and consequent subsidence are impacts? Is loss of life due to (mis)management of a pandemic an impact? Is the management of a pandemic also a matter of policy?
Well put, Eric
John Duarte says
Tulare lake is owned, almost entirely, by the Boswell family. They are married into the Chandler family of LA Times fame, helped environmentalists kill the Peripheral canal around the delta in the 1980’s. Following the shutting down of the peripheral canal there hasn’t been the political will to improve CA water infrastructure.
Since the ‘80s the Boswell clan has all but monopolized S California home development- at a price.
This is an excellent example of limousine liberals masked as eco boosters and farmers jacking up CA and the cost of living for most others.
You mean the same JG-Bowsell corporation that has consistently donated more money to Republicans then Democrats?
Sure though, lets blame the Democrats who weren’t in power locally, for not doing something locally that the republicans who weren’t in power didn’t do.
Bruce Frohman says
Whether or not one likes Newsom, the recall was never justified. He did not commit any crimes, abuse his power, or harm large numbers of people. Voting to oust Newsom because he attended a party is a petty justification.
The reason the Republican Party in California keeps shrinking is stupidity. The party is out of touch with the needs of the citizens. The candidates universally are negative in tone and substance. They provide little reason to vote FOR them.
The Republicans will probably run anti-Social flame-thrower Larry Elder again next year, almost guaranteeing Newsom’s reelection.
Plenty of reasons exist to throw out the ruling Democrats. But it will never happen as long as Republicans continue their self-defeating ways.
The recall election results indicate that local voters are dissatisfied with Newsom. As the quality of life in the community continues to decline, the outcome was predictable.
Stanislaus County’s problems have been mostly neglected by state leaders. Meanwhile, the rest of the state has mostly prospered under Democrat rule.
Unfortunately, statewide Republicans don’t have quality candidates or a platform with broader appeal. Local Republican politicians have no clout in Sacramento.Thus, nothing will change in the Republican controlled Valley as the number of homeless continues to grow, the streets become ever more congested, and the strain on infrastructure mounts as the local population relentlessly increases.
Diane Kroeze says
Our reps in the State include Susan t. Eggman, caballero (sp) both who are “people” orientated. Our Fed. REP. is Josh Harder, Democrat and is trying very hard to make sure the Valley is being taken care of. Check out what he has sponsored and cosponsored to help all of us in the Valley. We have had a Republican Rep. In past years and the result is what you are talking about. It takes time to correct priorities that haven’t benefited people directly. Most of the local Officials have been Republicans over the years. I point all of this because your reasoning re: Democrats seemed to make US the cause of lots of problems. I’m sure WE did so in some actions. People are not always infallible, being human. I do agree with the Republicans lack of policy other than power as you say. Interesting to read your comments.
Keith A Ensminger says
It’s greed, the the people whining about surface water haven’t visited Sierra rivers that are but trickles right now. As a Nebraskan asked a farmer whining he can’t pump all the water he wants, “Why do you want to hurt your neighbors?”
The LA Times printed my letter to the editor in response to an editorial that perhaps we’re not in a drought, after all. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-05-06/editorial-there-is-no-drought
To the editor: The Times Editorial Board recognizes that water policies developed on the heels of the Little Ice Age are not scientifically sound or sustainable for California. (“There is no drought,” editorial, May 6)
Juan Cabrillo wrote of snowcapped mountains around Carmel when he sailed by in 1542, when the period of global cooling known as the Little Ice Age began. Juan Crespí wrote the principal diary of the 1769 Portolá expedition into California and reported that Indians on the southern end of the Santa Lucia Mountains in present-day Monterey County said they had deep winter snow.
My grandmother grew up a gold miner’s daughter 120 years ago, when our water policies were developed. Her family lived on the southern ridge of the Yuba River above Downieville. They had several feet of snow every winter at 4,500 feet in elevation. We rarely have permanent winter snow at that elevation anymore.
People who believe we can use as much water as we want are basically spending our inheritance with no regard for the kids and grandkids. Farmers are pumping more water from our aquifers than is being replaced, causing permanent subsidence in the land. We cannot dam our way out of our historical aridity because we rarely fill the reservoirs we have.
It’s time we learn to live within our means, and that means California is far drier that we previously thought.
west sider says
Highly partisan valley voters? It is the Bay Area and the coastal areas that have the highly partisan voters. All you have to do is look at the past several election results by County to determine where the highly partisan voters are. Obama won in many valley locations as did Biden. The vote in the valley is typically in the 55% range either way maybe 60%. The Bay Area and coastal areas voted 70% to 80% against the recall. They almost always vote that way for Democrat candidates or their ballot propositions. The valley has far purple districts. Geographically Newsom is unpopular in most areas of the state. The only county the recall was rejected to the east was in Lake Tahoe. This region is hardly bright red. If it was Josh Harder would never have been elected in the first place nor would Costa still be representing the district to the south.
Diane Kroeze says
Very informative Valley Citizen. I agree with most of what was said in the comments. Perhaps all.
The recall election of Gov. Newsom was a waste of OUR money to further the wish list of those who wanted to change the policies and power of Calif. The utter lack of real judgement was shown in the fact the Gov. Was up for reelection next year and no EXTRA money was needed to oust him, whether he deserved it or not.
Water and everything else shows One glaring problem. That is the lack of long term planning and the consequences of what will happen to the future of all. The very different ideology of appointed, elected officials is also a problem. Money and the word “progress” is bandied about with magical properties to solve everything. Those things, others and the large amount of people on this Earth are furthering the speed of Climate Change. All my opinions and learned with years of living it whether correct or not. Thanks for the detailed information in THE Valley Citizen.
Export crops, such as wasting water to grow hay for China. Tell me that is not factual. Please!
Is there any truth to China, and who ever else, pumping water to export?
I would like to tell you there is no truth to my next door neighbor keeping a 20 foot diameter x 5 foot high pool in their front yard since late spring full to the brim for the children and dog. But I cannot tell a lie…