Farmers and other water users can adopt a proven strategy to obtain a reliable water supply. This overlooked strategy was developed by environmentalists in the 1980s.
Environmentalists in Congress in 1980 were in trouble, and therefore their programs were in trouble. Environmentalists realized that if they could develop a strategy to select legislators, they would have an easier time winning battles in Congress. Environmentalists could participate at the beginning of the process of creating law.
Environmentalists decided that half measures were insufficient. In 1982, one organization endorsed 140 candidates for the House and the Senate, raised a quarter of a million dollars for their campaigns, and environmentalists worked on campaigns. Around three-quarters of their candidates won. Politicians increasingly came to value the endorsement of environmentalists. Laws created federal agencies that provided jobs for environmentalists. Vigilant environmentalists made sure that the laws were subsequently enforced. Now, environmentalists use political campaigns, laws, lobbying and litigation as effective tools to achieve their goals.
The composition of the Legislature represents those who take politics seriously.
Like the environmentalists in Congress in 1980, farmers today are in trouble, and their rights are in trouble. Farmers’ strengths of: optimism, thrift and independent self-reliance are being used against them by shrewd environmentalists, who take advantage of farmers’ corresponding reluctances to: acknowledge the impacts of environmental programs, spend money on politics, and work together as a group.
Yet, the $43 billion California agriculture industry, and the $395 billion U.S. agriculture industry, are far greater than the $7.5 billion U.S. environmental industry. Farmers ought to realize their strength, and not sell themselves short. Farmers can use the environmentalists’ strategy for themselves, and can be just as successful.
Farmers and other water users following this strategy would spend money on political campaigns to elect legislators who would create laws to represent water users’ interests. Then federal judges would be tasked with upholding laws favorable to water users and to people in general.
The money being spent on appeasing environmentalists could go a long way politically. The average winner in a U.S. Senate race spent $10.2 million in 2012; the average winner in a U.S. House race spent $1.5 million. If the $240 million spent on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan had been spent politically, water restrictions may have been eased.
Environmental extremists are anti-human and anti-civilization. “The world has cancer and the cancer is man,” cites the Club of Rome. The federal Endangered Species Act is enforced “whatever the cost,” favoring fish over people, in order to eliminate the water needed for growth, causing human suffering. The environment is now using 48 percent of California’s dedicated water supply. Reservoirs are being drained for fish. Farmers must act before their wells are pumping dust.
Farmers, ranchers, homebuilders and other industries must move beyond cronyism, or seeing one another as competitors; we must unite to defend civilization itself. When farmers apply the environmentalists’ strategy, then farmers will develop clout in Sacramento and Washington,D.C., and water policies will change.
A highly effective means to join together and pool financial resources politically is a Super PAC — a type of 527 group. Super PACs, officially known as “independent expenditure-only committees,” may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, and may engage in unlimited political spending.
As Ronald Reagan said, “It all comes down to this basic premise: If you lose your economic freedom, you lose your political freedom and, in fact, all freedom. Freedom is something that cannot be passed on genetically. It is never more than one generation away from extinction. Every generation has to learn how to protect and defend it.”
Bruce Colbert, AICP, is executive director of the Property Owners Association of Riverside County, Calif. The association is a nonprofit, public policy research, lobbying and educational organization, formed in 1983, to protect the interests and private property rights of landowners in the formation and implementation of public policies.