Going negative

Steven Maviglio, a Sacramento-based political consultant behind “Restore Delta Truth,” has been hired by someone or something to Swift Boat one of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan’s major opponents: Restore the Delta.

I need to get into this because Mr. Maviglio decided it would be clever to pull “DeltaNationalPark.org, an environmental blog” into his messaging, referencing an old post of mine that was critical of RTD supporter Alex Spanos for his conventionally suburban development off Eight Mile Road north of Stockton.

I stand by that criticism, but Mr. Maviglio is disingenuous in his tactics. He knows that I have my issues with RTD, sure, but he would (or should) also know that I stand with the RTD in opposition to the BDCP, and favor the Western Delta Conveyance alternative to the twin tunnels, as I understand many (but not all) of the RTD’s supporters do.

He would (or should) know that I believe that all Californians should accept something like the same risk when it comes to their water, and not focus most of that risk on one unique and fragile place.

He would (or should) know that I believe that the Delta’s levees (actually they are dikes, not levees, as Emily Green has recently pointed out in an excellent essay on the Delta) should be transferred to Federal and State ownership (not a very popular position to many of the RTD’s more libertarian members). It would then be fortified to meet a future of Climate Change impacts and likely worst-case seismic events, and pay for itself by developing as a hybrid of public recreational spaces and private parcels.

I am not strictly speaking much of an environmentalist, in other words, and he would (or should) know that.

Mr. Maviglio, who is - I infer, sadly - a Democrat, knows how to provide the optics of hypocrisy, but he might want to look in the mirror and examine the coalition that his clients are a part of, too. He certainly must know RTD is a complicated coalition held together with an overarching interest in “shrinking the [BDCP] to a size that can be drowned in a bathtub,” to paraphrase another master of the negative,  Grover Norquist.

No doubt opposition analysis leading to a communications strategy is a big component of the professional services Mr. Maviglio offers his clients. I just have one question for him: Is the RTD being targeted because they are getting a worrisome amount of traction and/or the BDCP is in trouble? Going negative sure seems like the act of a desperate client. Maybe they’d be better off focusing on buying out (or selling their) marginal farmland and fast tracking groundwater regulations.

Posted by John Bass on 18 Mar 2015 | Comments (1)


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