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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Blackwater: DiFi's Questionable H2O Moves Muddy Dems' Election Hopes

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Will Sen. Dianne Feinstein's shady water deal shoot down Dems' election chances?
  • Will Sen. Dianne Feinstein's shady water deal shoot down Dems' election chances?
Take one part frozen orange juice concentrate, mix it with three parts water, and you have a delicious morning drink.

Take one sleazy political juice deal, and mix it with rotten water policy, however, and California's senior U.S. Senator may complicate her party's hopes for emerging victorious in this fall's elections.

As reported in this space in December, Dianne Feinstein has announced plans to override government scientists in order to boost irrigation deliveries to Central Valley farmers. It's a move that will particularly favor Stewart Resnick, a 118,000-acre corporate farmer who has channeled $29,000 to Feinstein and $246,000 to Democratic political committees during years when the senator has sought re-election.

And yet, by pissing off environmentalists -- a core Democratic constituency -- Feinstein may complicate life for junior U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is facing a challenge from Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina and others.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Fiorina has given her opponent a horse-head-in-the-bed gift in the form of heaping praise on Feinstein's waterworks, while challenging Boxer to support it.

Per the Bee:

"I appreciate Senator Feinstein's recognition of the disastrous effects

the biological opinion is having on the Central Valley," Fiorina said.

"The question remains: Will Senator Boxer join her in standing up for

the people of California?"

Boxer's spokesman offered a vague retort:

"Senator Boxer is working with all sides to find ways to get water to

communities in the Central Valley that are suffering from drought and

water shortages."

The most important effect of Feinstein's measure, however, may be in alienating green-thinking voters who form a significant power bloc in California. As reported, Feinstein is working on a still-secret bill amendment that overrides a National Academy of Sciences study on river-flow rules that protect smelt and salmon.

In 2006, environmental groups ousted seemingly nigh-invulnerable U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo. And enviro money and volunteers  will be crucial in a year when California Democrats hope to regain the governorship, hold on to two U.S. Senate seats and consolidate majorities in the state legislature.

That's a hard task for environmentalists to get excited about, however, when California's senior Democrat makes it look like she favors killing protected fish species and quashing science to help a campaign donor.

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Matt Smith


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