Resnicks’ approach to state politics. They’ve given six-figure sums to every California governor since Republican Pete Wilson. They donated $734,000 to Gray Davis, including $91,000 to oppose his recall. Then they gave $221,000 to his replacement, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has called them “some of my dearest, dearest friends.” The $150,000 they’ve sprinkled on Jerry Brown since 2010 might not seem like a lot by comparison, but no other individual donor has given more.
The Resnicks also have chipped in another $250,000 to support Brown’s pet ballot measure to fund education. Now, in a throwback to the sort of massive public-works projects built during his father’s governorship, Brown envisions a bold, silver-bullet solution to the state’s water crisis.
There are laws on the books to prevent that from happening, but Central Valley farmers are working diligently to overturn those laws. In June 2015, Rep. David Valadao, a Republican from the Valley, introduced a bill that would force federal regulators to release more Delta water for agriculture. (The Resnicks have given more than $18,000 to Valadao’s campaigns since 2011.) “They really are trying to sacrifice one region for another,” says Restore the Delta’s Barrigan-Parrilla, who will testify against the plan this fall in hearings before the State Water Resources Control Board. “If these plans come to pass, [the tunnels] are a complete existential threat to our communities, our people, and to the environment.”
PAY TO PLAY = SO WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR??????
He recently unveiled a $15 billion plan to construct two 40-foot-wide tunnels that could carry 67,000 gallons of water per second from the Sacramento River to the Central Valley. The tunnels would completely bypass the ecologically sensitive Delta, eliminating much of the smelt-endangering pumping—and, by extension, many of the restrictions on Delta water diversions that have crimped the Resnicks’ supply.