Claremont Insider: Projects, Projects, Projects

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Projects, Projects, Projects

It looks like the San Gabriel and Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC) is back in business now that Governor Schwarzenegger has lifted the state's moratorium on selling bonds.

The RMC's website had this bit of information:


GREAT NEWS!!! Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced on Wednesday, April 22 that more than 5,000 projects will be restarted as a result of the State’s recent bond sales and funding from the federal Economic Recovery Act. This includes projects approved by the RMC Board prior to the bond freeze on December 17, 2008, even if those projects did not have a signed contract. Funding for new bond-funded projects is still on hold. Over the next week staff will work with our grantees to re-start projects as quickly as possible. If you have questions please contact your project manager.

The City of Claremont can now cash that $850,000 RMC check for Padua Park.

Unfortunately, CGU grad Tim Worley may be a permanent casualty of the state budget crisis. Worley, RMC's former director of water policy, was laid off several months ago, and he's no longer listed on the RMC staff page. Don't fret, though, we hear Tim's keeping plenty active far below the radar in closed, non-public meetings shaping our local water future. You won't have a say in these matters, but you'll likely get stuck with the very large tab.
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By the way, you can hear Worley, and his friends C. Freeman Allen and Marilee Scaff plugging their ideas tomorrow at Claremont's Earth Day Celebration. Worley and friends will bookend the Earth Day speakers at City Hall. Worley speaks at noon on "A [his, Allen's and Scaff's] Vision for Water Sustainability."

Allen and Scaff close the speeches with a talk about Marilee's Marsh, a huge, $24 million-plus extravaganza dreamed up by water interests and relentlessly pushed for the past year without public input by Worley, Allen, Scaff, and the Claremont League of Women Voters. The Marsh got some RMC seed money last year, with a little help, no doubt, from Worley, who was still on staff at the time. It's really been fascinating to watch how these sorts of projects develop with minimal involvement on the part of the real stakeholders: YOU.

The talk by Allen and Scaff is titled "Water Restoration and Reclamation in Claremont" and takes place at 4pm.

You can see that Scaff's idea of public involvement is to hold series of dog-and-pony shows like hers and Worley's tomorrow in order to sell a public works project cooked up in closed-door meetings and planned by the water interests who will build the project and benefit monetarily from it. Slipping their talks in before and after other, far more credible speakers, lends a certain verisimilitude to their PR campaign. One almost feels sorry for Scaff, an earnest, very well educated and accomplished matron with high standing in the LWV who's being manipulated by people far smarter and far more cunning than her into being the salesperson of this coming boondoggle.

Tomorrow's sales hype should be fun to hear. It's not too different from going to the county fair and hearing the ShamWow!® guy: One cloth can soak up the ocean! Go tomorrow and hear Marilee's ScamWow!® pitch.