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The Delta Press Conference, July 7, 2009




CSPA would like to thank the hundred plus fishermen that showed up at CSPA's request. YOU made the difference!


(Scroll down and play the videos of selected speakers)


July 7, 2009 -- Over 250 fishermen, farmers, businessmen and conservationists gathered at the north steps of the capital to listen to Senator Lois Wolk, Lt. Governor John Garamendi, other legislators, and citizens speak in opposition to a series of bills moving through the legislature designed to fund a peripheral canal and two additional dams.


CSPA was well represented at the conference with Executive Director Bill Jennings, President Jim Crenshaw, Conservation Director John Beuttler, Director and Attorney Michael Jackson, Webmaster Jerry Neuburger and Advisory member John Ryzanych who also represented Allied Fishing Groups.


The first of the speakers was Senator Lois Wolk, (Video) who was instrumental in organizing the press conference. She was followed by Lt. Governor John Garamendi, (Video) Senator Mark DeSalnier, Assemblymember Alyson Huber, Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors representative Mary Piepho speaking for the assembled County Supervisors, and Assemblymember Joan Buchanan.


The theme from the speakers was universal in opposition to any secret deals in the legislature to move bills to fund a peripheral canal and additional water structure.


A reoccurring point in the presentations was the fact that delta residents and governments demand input into the future of the delta. Emphasizing that fact was the presence of five supervisors from the five counties surrounding the delta, Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin, Contra Costa and Solano.


The first of the private citizens to speak was Rudy Mussi, (Video) a third generation Delta farmer who spoke of the changes he's seen in the delta, a huge decline in fish and in water quality and the threat that a peripheral canal would finish the job.


Next Zeke Grader, (Video) president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations spoke of the devastation that excessive pumping has caused to the salmon industry, the 100% unemployment of commercial family fishermen, the loss of over 200 million dollars in annual revenue and the depressed state of many coastal towns with boats at the dock and tourism down.


CSPA's Bill Jennings (Video) gave a fiery presentation on the wrongs that have occurred over the years in California's water policy, giving little credence to any promises that the state may make in the future regarding the volume of water to be pumped from the delta or any attempt to restore the delta's fisheries.


Robert Johnson, (Video) a private fisherman and now political activist spoke how the millionaire farmers of the west San Joaquin valley, while the most junior of water rights holders, have attempted to mount a PR campaign depicting themselves as victims of "fish vs. people" all the while knowing that their water supplies were entirely dependent on the availability of water on a year to year basis with no promise of any guaranteed amount.


Restore the Delta's Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla (Video) spoke of the size and cost of the canal and the havoc it would cause to delta farms, fishermen, businesses and recreation.


Last minute additions to the speaker's list were Charlotte Hodde, Water Program Manager, Planning and Conservation League, Debbie Davis, Legislative Analyst, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Jim Metropulos, Senior Advocate, Sierra Club California and Steve Evans, Conservation Director, Friends of the River. All spoke of the need for openness in the planning of any new "plumbing" for the delta, the need to put the ecology and the economy of the delta first and the folly of billions in bonds to build what may amount to an ecological disaster.


At the end of the conference, five teams were assembled to visit various legislators, with the intent that any planning for the delta be done in open hearings with full input by the public in general and the people and governments of the delta.



Jessica Iniguez, Lindsay Martin and Kearsten Shepherd helping out at the Restore the Delta table.  A delta farm family looking at where the "Panama Canal" might cross their land.
John Ryzanych, United Fishing Groups and Jim Crenshaw, President of California Sportfishing Protection Alliance John Beuttler, CSPA Conservation Director (on the left) making a few points on why the "Panama" canal should stay in Panama.
Two Delta fishermen, Robert Johnson (left) and Bobby Barrack (right) Bill Jennings, CSPA, Zeke Grader, PCFFA and Dick Pool, Water4Fish
Senator Lois Wolk, starting the conference, introducing some of the speakers and making a firm stand on her position on the the future of the Delta.“You can’t fix the Delta without the people of the Delta as your partner.”  Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi calls the Delta home.

“This is too critical of a public policy issue to be done in secret. There needs to be light and transparency brought to this process."


Senator Mark DeSalnier from the East Bay, another "no canal" supporter.


Assemblymember Alyson Huber representing Lodi was raised at Tower Park Marina and spent summer days swimming in Potato Slough.


Assemblymember Mariko Yamada of Rio Vista speaking against the "back room dealing".


Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors representative Mary Piepho speaking for the Boards of Supervisors of the five Delta Five Delta counties, including Yolo County Supervisors Mike McGowan and Jim Provenza, Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez, Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli.

The crowd listening, CSPA's Mike Jackson center right (with coat over arm) 

Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, “The canal would be the biggest public construction ever made in the United States, equivalent to the Panama Canal, and I want to make it clear I will not vote for a Panama Canal.”


Rudy Mussi, Central Delta Farmer and Member of the Central Delta Water Agency

 Zeke Grader, PCFFA spoke of fishermen out of work and coastal towns with high unemployment
CSPA's Bill Jennings did not mince words when it came to the back room dealing and the state's broken promises. Robert Johnson, private fisherman and passionate about the Delta.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Campaign Director, Restore the Delta, "The Delta is on the brink of environmental collapse as the result of a failed water system that does nothing more than move water from north to south,"

 Dick Pool, Water4Fish and Gary Adams, California Striped Bass Association exposing the BDCP for what it really is.

Charlotte Hodde, Water Program Manager, Planning and Conservation League


Jim Metropulos, Senior Advocate, Sierra Club California


Steve Evans, Conservation Director, Friends of the River