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Schwarzengger’s Water Empire

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger must live in a parallel universe devoid of logic, rationality, critical thinking and accountability, based on his latest contradictory actions at the State Capitol.

The same Governor who is working relentlessly to pass a budget-busting $9.3 billlion water bond, with absolutely no sense of irony, yesterday issued an executive order slashing the salaries of 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour and immediately laying off 20,000 temporary workers until California passes a budget.

“Today I am exercising my executive authority to avoid a full-blown crisis and keep our state moving forward,” Governor Schwarzenegger said. “This is not an action I take lightly, but we do not have a budget, and as Governor, I have a responsibility to make sure our state has enough money to pay its bills.”

Schwarzenegger, the worst ever Governor for fish and wildlife in California history, is apparently one of the most ruthless in the way he treats the state’s workers, including DFG staff. An S.S. officer’s son who became a body builder and then a Hollywood “action hero,”

Schwarzenegger apparently wants to run California like a totalitarian state. Agency staff are routinely bullied and those who disagree with his disastrous environmental policies are pressured into resigning.

On Schwarzenegger’s watch, Central Valley king salmon have collapsed to the lowest recorded population level, due to the Governor’s zeal in increasing water exports to his buddies in corporate agribusiness. The same increase in water exports is also the key factor in the collapse of three pelagic species – the delta smelt, longfin smelt, juvenile striped bass, and threadfin shad – as documented by a team of federal and state scientists.

The same Governor who is slashing state worker salaries last week spoke at a Capitol rally touting the “benefits” of a $9.3 billion “compromise” water bond sponsored by him and Senator Dianne Feinstein. The proposal, opposed by a coalition of fishing groups, Indian Tribes, conservationorganizations and Delta residents, includes two new dams and a peripheral canal. The bond would build the infrastructure to export more even more water out of the Delta, further imperiling collapsing salmon and other fish populations.

I ask Schwarzenegger how he can cut salaries and jobs, due to a budget shortfall of $15.2 billion, while he is campaigning for a proposal that would indebt the state for another $9.3 billion? Is Schwarzenegger out of his mind?

The corporate media, who haven’t yet got tired of the novelty of having an “action hero” actor as the Governor, portray Schwarzenegger as the “green governor,” since they are deceived by his detestable grandstanding about “global warming” and “ocean protection.” Meanwhile, he presides over the destruction of the largest estuary on the West Coast and California and Oregon salmon fisheries.

Schwarzenegger’s bizarre vision of “ocean protection” means allowing corporate water polluters and agribusiness to routinely violate environmental laws while his administration removes sustainable recreational and commercial fishermen from the water by creating massive “no fishing” zones.

Apparently, Scharzenegger has the same compassion and consideration for state workers that he has for commercial fishermen, charter boat captains, fishing guides and people employed in the fishing industry who are being devastated economically by the salmon fishing closures.

“I understand that this will affect people at a time when they are already struggling and so I want to apologize to all the state employees for having to do that,” said Schwarzenegger. “When I sign this order thousands of pink slips will start going out across the state. And I’m also cancelling all overtime, except for public safety and 24-hour medical care and I’m ordering also a hiring freeze. And, effective for the August payroll, tens of thousands of state employees will be paid the federal minimum wage until a budget is passed and then, of course, they will get reimbursed their salaries.”

If there ever was a governor that really needed to be recalled, it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. His legacy to date includes the Prospect Island Fish kill, the closure of ocean and Central Valley river salmon fisheries, the collapse of the California Delta food chain, the gutting of the California Department of Fish and Game and repeated breaking of federal and state environmental laws. What will it take to get the people to rise up and get him removed from office like was done to Governor Gray Davis?

DAN BACHER can be reached at: Danielbacher@fishsniffer.com

 

 

 

 

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Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento. He can be reached at: Dan Bacher danielbacher@fishsniffer.com.

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