Dianne Feinstein and Westlands: Secret Sweethearts?

Almost two years ago, the tenacious Lloyd Carter — a former reporter turned water law expert — wrote a public letter to Senate Dianne Feinstein, calling her out for her work on behalf of cotton and almond growers of the so-called Westlands water district of the Central Valley.

As he commented on his site, in April 2008:

California environmental groups have grown increasingly concerned that
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein is secretly negotiating a "sweetheart"
deal with the Westlands Water District that will harm the Delta and
will allow continued irrigation of high selenium soils.
Environmentalists remain deeply suspicious of Westlands' claim that it
has a viable solution for the drainage crisis affecting the western San
Joaquin Valley. Westlands, which only has a few hundred growers, is
seeking enough water annual to meet the needs of a city of 10 million

Last September, Feinstein called for the spending of $750,000 on a National Academy of Sciences study of the exhaustive science on the Delta fisheries (but, interestingly, on her site claimed she was backing an Obama administration request…that in fact she spearheaded). 

Now, long before the study has been completed, Feinstein has drafted legislation lifting pumping restrictions in the Delta, for the sake of Westlands. (Her office is continuing to avoid responsibility, but according to the excellent enviro reporter Bettina Boxall of the LA Times, who has seen the language of the bill, it "would effectively weaken new pumping restrictions designed to protect
the imperiled delta smelt and crashing stocks of migrating salmon.")

The move surprised other Democrats in the California legislature:  

"This came as a bit of a shock that she did this," said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena).

He represents the North Coast, which has been hurt by two years of bans
on commercial salmon fishing stemming from collapsing salmon stocks.

"If this were to go through, it would have a devastating impact on
Northern California and other jobs and other economies in the state,"
Thompson said.

This move raises huge questions — legal, political, scientific, legislative — but for now, one can only think back on Carter's prescient warning and recall the old line: Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

5 thoughts on “Dianne Feinstein and Westlands: Secret Sweethearts?

  1. She’s been a despicable person in terms of policy for decades, and only seems to be getting worse with age. Her marriage to the ethically challenged Richard Blum certainly hasn’t helped either. By the way, her first name has two n’s rather than one.


  2. I believe I did spell the senator’s name correctly. For a much harsher — but also more specified — look at Dianne Feinstein’s latest move, here’s Dan Bacher of North Coast, entitled “Stop Feinstein’s War on Salmon and Fishing Jobs!”


    Feinstein, the faithful friend of agribusiness tycoon Stewart Resnick and Westlands Water District, the Darth Vader of California water politics, is also collaborating with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to build a peripheral canal or tunnel. The peripheral canal project, whether in canal form as originally proposed or in its latest incarnation by the Bay Delta Habitat Plan as an underground tunnel, will cost Californians between $23 billion and $53.8 billion. While putting Californians into debt for generations to come, the canal is also likely to result in the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River Chinook salmon, green sturgeon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and southern resident killer whales.

    The canal will not only be a fish killer, but a giant job killer. By increasing water exports from the California Delta to corporate agribusiness and southern California, the canal will destroy California’s once vibrant recreational and commercial fishing industries and the thousands and thousands of jobs that they provide to coastal and inland communities. The salmon collapse has already resulted in the loss of 23,000 jobs – we cannot allow Feinstein and corporate agribusiness to further devastate the communities that depend on salmon and other fish for their livelihoods.


  3. Nah, I’ve been watching her closely for the better part of three decades and know that the witch has always been Dianne with two n’s. Google it. And please keep the coverage coming. It’s shocking how underreported her sheer corrupt awfulness has become.


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