This letter is a response to Matt Grocott’s April 13 Daily Journal column, “Feeling overwhelmed?” He complained that the price of gasoline is higher in California in relation to neighboring states, without mentioning that the gas has been formulated to be cleaner here.

He also complains that advances under Trump are already disappearing, as if reducing environmental protections is a good thing. It appears that he wants to maintain a dirty air status quo in the name of keeping gas prices low, without thinking that moving toward cleaner technology is a better alternative. We should consider ourselves lucky that we have clean air and water standards in this country, rather than wanting these environmental controls rolled back in the name of reducing government oversight. Many countries do not have clean air or water.

Matt Grocott also complained about the lack of water, implying that this is somehow the government’s fault, when in fact it is climate change which is having a huge impact on our planet. Reining in human activity, such as burning less gasoline, to curb climate change should naturally increase the amount of rain and snowfall, reducing our water shortages.

Matt also complained that some water is allowed to flow into the ocean to save fish. Salmon need water runoff to flow into the ocean so they can spawn, and have been for a millennium. The livelihood of some fishermen depends on their existence, and the rights of fishermen versus farmers have been an ongoing issue for as long as I can remember.

So please look at the broader picture, before complaining that Democrats are having a negative effect on California.

Sandra Winkler

Emerald Hills

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(25) comments

Dirk van Ulden

Sandra has to do her homework before she gets an article out. First of all, Trump never reversed any environmental protection laws but stopped the onslaught of new regulations that were strangling our economy. Also, if anyone on this forum has ever spent time on the Sacramento River in the spring, as I have, there occurs a massive runoff that is something to behold. Water levels are typically 6 feet higher at Walnut Grove at times. Lots of that precious water could be stored instead of just flowing into the Bay and eventually into the ocean. Contrary to her statement, as the runoff is essentially over by July, that is exactly when the salmon return and spawn much later in the year. But in her book everything is due to climate change and Trump, regardless of the seasonal cycles that have been going on for centuries. And, even Newsom is at a loss to explain why our gasoline is at least one dollar more expensive than in our neighboring states. Sandra needs to get a life.

Terence Y

Excellent comment, Mr. van Ulden!


There are several people that post here that also need to get a life. A mirror wouldn't hurt either.

Dirk van Ulden

Taffy - I expected a more thoughtful comment from you. Are we wearing you down?

Terence Y

Taffy, you may want to sit down… I wholeheartedly agree but I would add in a CT (critical thinking) scan. I think our mutual friend, Tommy Tee, may be able to regale us with how life has been, mirror or not, before returning to the fold yesterday afternoon.

Tommy Tee

Excellent letter, Ms. Winkler!

Terence Y

Hey, it’s my old pal, Tommy Tee. We haven’t seen you in a spell. I hope all is well and we get more than a sentence or two out of you.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Ms. Winkler,

Good on you. Being a good steward of mama earth is of paramount importance. As you know, science and our understanding of it evolves. It would muse you to know all the errant lessons I was taught...only 60 years ago.

I cannot speak for Mr. Grocott, but as for myself, I believe at the heart of his message the takeaway is as follows.

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely


I think it is important to question authority; with respect and purpose. May I encourage you to so as well?

Old San Matean

Well said, Ms. Winkler, well said!!

Terence Y

Ms. Winkler, maybe you can explain why CA has been releasing water from reservoirs for the past few months and the last umpteen years to save the smelt and salmon, yet neither species have been found in their latest surveys. This boondoggle has been in place for almost 30 years, with no success. How long do we go forcing citizens to ensure these man-made drought conditions? Maybe you can explain why there have been no major reservoirs built since 1979 (New Melones)? And we do have existing clean air and water standards. Didn’t the EPA, a few years ago, warn CA that CA was failing to meet federal water quality standards? And you want stricter water standards? Good luck to you. Gotta go now, it's time for my 10 minute shower and I need to water the lawn and wash my car later, too.

Ray Fowler

Hello, Sandra

Matt raised the issues like gas prices and water management in his column a few days ago and a spirited debate followed. Your view of the broader picture fits nicely in that debate...

I see the broader picture a little differently. Gas prices are too high but they don't have to be the highest in the nation, and we are not building water storage facilities. It doesn't seem like Sacramento is listening...


Hello Ray,

You mention water storage and others have also. I am wondering what type of storage everyone is talking about. Recharging ground water, more dams or ???

Ray Fowler

Good morning, buddy

I only know what I read about this topic. It looks like water levels at the Colorado River (which supplies water to 40 million people) may go critical in about four years (or less). I don't know what models the prognosticators are using, but let's just go with that forecast. That means California needs to start building dams, underground storage and tanks (you're welcome!). Now.

We can revive a popular bumper sticker from back in out day... Shower with a Friend!



I do remember the shower with a friend bumper stickers, but I don’t remember if it was from the general save the world Earth Day theme or if it was from the hippie crowd. I am not sure about the hippies though, every now and then when you would pass one on the street it seemed like maybe they needed more than a shower, maybe a real long soak. BTW, I will pass on the Roman bath.

Back to the water storage. A lot of the people that advocate building dams, storage basins etc. to save a lot of the run-off before its goes to the sea are the same people that say the government should not be telling us what to do with the water we have now. They say it is more important to grow crops than to fallow the land in the name of saving water. Kind of a stretch, but similar to those that say they will take their chances about not wearing a mask or gathering in groups because they are young and not as vulnerable as others. They say it is their freedom to live as they want in the land of the free regardless of the effect it may have on others. One question is who will pay the tab? Everyone by way of our general taxes or just the users like a gas tax or hotel tax? Another obvious question is where the dams will be built. Will the same proponents be so happy the project is going forward when it is their property or business that will be 30 feet under the water of the new dam?

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

California is educated and wealthy. Why not put those resources to work? Desalination plants, anyone?

Ray Fowler

Once again... wisdom from Wilfredo! Yes... let's toss desalinization into the mix.

Tafhdyd, dear lad... you're conflating water issues and your general opposition to the "right" way of thinking. Water storage has got nothing to do with wearing masks. What's the latest from Fancy Fauci? No mask... one mask... two masks... vax and mask... the list goes on. Step away from the politics...

I grew up in the Central Valley. Water is King. That being said... scale back crops that need a disproportionate share of water: alfalfa, rice, almonds, cotton. Grow more eggplant, squash, spinach, carrots, tomatoes. More salads!

My dad worked in produce... cotton, grapes and potatoes back in the day. But we cannot do things the same way we did 50-60 years ago. Build dams where it makes sense to do so. Period. You'll have to compensate owners... yes. Everyone pays because everyone taps into the system... businesses that use more will pay more... How 'bout using the high-speed rail funding for water conservation projects?

Yeah, some hippies may need more than a shower. But you'll pass on the Roman bath with our friend in a 1920s-style tank suit and a rubber bathing cap? C'mon, man!



I agree with Wilfred and others that desalinization should be in the mix.

I would like to leave politics out of water but water and politics have been together in California for over a hundred years. You can't have one without the other. Have you driven down Hwy 5 in the past few years? Signs every mile with some version of Dems are bad, Trump is good. Do you want Democrats or food? Do you want food? Vote Trump. etc, etc.

I am glad you are familiar with the crops and water usage in the valley, that was my next line but I won't have to write it now, thanks. I will ad that the waste in agriculture is enough to forestall any water rationing for the urban residential section and have enough to build more communities. I think agriculture uses about 80% of the in house water and about 10% goes to residential/urban use. Fixing or conserving just 5% of ag use would be almost 25% of what is used for the rest of us. Leaky pipes and systems, poor irrigation techniques, etc. On a windy day in the Salinas valley you can drive down 101 and get your car washed for free with the crop sprinklers on full bore and the wind blowing the water across the highway rather than the crops. A few percent more on their water bill wouldn't hurt either.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Hello mi amigo Tafhdyd,

When people talk about taxing corporations or charging producers, I become confounded. Doesn't that mean consumers foot the bill anyway? So what's the point? [smile] Poor people need to eat healthy and affordably too.

Ray Fowler

More wisdom from Wilfredo... it never stops. Yes, corporations will pass on the expense, but those who use more water should pay more. If you live in Blackhawk and you want putting green front lawns year round... you'll pay. Double yes... make food more affordable for those with thin household budgets. If crops are less expensive to grow, partly due to reduced water requirements, and those crops are grown in greater numbers... won't that translate to more reasonable prices paid by consumers? Is there an economist in the house?!

When I say take politics out of the water storage discussion, that is a reference to the daily (and usually unnecessary) slings and arrows launching across the aisle. There will always be water politics in California. A good read... "The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire." It chronicles Big AG and its control of water in in the state.

I like some of Tafhdyd's ideas... do more to stop urban water waste and reclaim some AG water for urban use. That can help a lot while we're developing a better water storage system.

Yes... I am very, very familiar with the signage in red counties along I-5. First Amendment, baby. Oh, darn... social media can't block AG types from posting their viewpoints. Besides... it's all true. See ya at Harris Ranch for lunch.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Thanks for the book recommendation Mr. Fowler. I'll put it at the front of next winter's must reads.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

BTW, I'd rather become a filthy hippie than bathe with a mad scientist. [scared]

Ray Fowler

Wilfredo! Pleased stop! You've got me in stitches... stitches not covered by Obamacare.


Ray and Wilfred,

I will toss another book in the mix about water. I have not read it but I have it on a list to read sometime. You may have read it or know of it. It is called "Cadillac Desert" By Marc Reisner. I can't tell you which side of the aisle it is published on but I heard an interview about 30 years ago with the author and I said that sounds like a good book to read. I am a little behind on my reading list but I hope to get to it someday.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Your recommendation is duly noted Tafhdyd. BTW, I enjoyed two fingers worth of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked in an old fashion bar glass last night. Thanks again for the tips.

Ray Fowler

More water saving ideas... how 'bout sharing a communal Roman-style bath with Jorg? What could be better? Water splash fights instead of verbal exchanges...

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