Saturday, July 3, 2010

Millions and Billions and Carly Fiorina

Mike Taugher quoted me in a story in the CC Times/Oakland Tribune about Carly Fiorina trying to put the Delta Smelt and jobs at the forefront of her Senate campaign.
An ex-HP CEO should know the difference between millions and billions.
I should be careful about being too clever with these comments, but my point is that we need to put the problems of the Central Valley economy in proper perspective. The foreclosure crisis has generated many billions in lost income and wealth in the Central Valley, and the drought impact is measured in millions, and the biological opinion is only a fraction of that.

I am glad that Mike wrote this article, and hope it gets her to be a little more responsible with the rhetoric. In fact, I don't have an issue with any of Fiorina's statements in this article, she is more responsible when a reporter is asking tough questions and questioning her facts. She is right that the ESA has indeed created a thicket of regulations, and it does have real economic costs, but it has benefits too and is nowhere near a top economic problem. In the case of the smelt and salmon biological opinions, there is a salmon fishery among other economic interests that benefit from reduced pumping, so it isn't even clear that California suffers any net economic loss at all.

Fiorina's website on the issues doesn't even mention the housing and foreclosure crisis at all, while exagerrating the impact of the Delta Smelt as Taugher's article points out. That's inexcusable for someone running on the economy and jobs, it's very negative for the Central Valley (of which Westlands is just a corner), and that is why I have written so much about this issue.

If there is a Senate debate about the Central Valley economy, housing should receive 10 times the emphasis of the biological opinions. If moderating a Central Valley economic discussion, I would also give education, workforce skills, the struggle to diversify the economic base, raising agricultural wages, immigration, and even AB 32 - equal or higher billing than the biological opinions.

1 comment:

  1. As a Fresno resident, I am so tired of politicians coming here and acting like the plight of the big westside growers is the only issue that matters around here. We've had some of the highest concentrations of both urban and rural poverty in the nation for years, but nobody pays any attention to that. Is it because poor people don't write big campaign checks?