Saturday, March 25, 2006

Dam Discussion Taboo Continues

This story from today’s Bee is welcome news that the business chamber is focusing on flood control, but what is not welcome is the apparent failure of public leadership to acknowledge that the optimal solution to flooding, a major, new dam on the American River, is worth even discussing.

I attended a presentation the other day sponsored by a public administration professional association to discuss flood issues. There were presentations on flood danger, flood preparedness, flood related media, and flood protection. It was a fair-sized group, maybe 35 people, most working in the public field on flood-related issues.

What struck me as I left, after almost two hours, was that other than a couple brief references no one asked nor presented the obvious piece of information.

What is the best solution to our flooding?

The only other professional forums I have attended to compare this with are those in the criminal justice field, and always, at some point in the discussion, someone will reference, or ask, “What is the best solution to the crime in our neighborhood, (or state, or country?)”

The couple mentions were from an engineer who said that since “no one has a spare $3 billion laying around we can’t build the Auburn Dam”, and another similar comment during his presentation.

Though it might be difficult to provide the best solution to our flood danger, we won’t get there by not talking about it.

I will focus much more on this in our upcoming member's newsletter, and you can find a membership application by going to our website at

Here is an excerpt from the article.

Metro Chamber focuses on need for flood control
By Niesha Lofing -- Bee Staff Writer Published 2:15 am PST Saturday, March 25, 2006

Flood protection was the main course served up by local leaders at the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's "State of the City" luncheon Friday.

Mayor Heather Fargo urged business owners to protect themselves against flood risk, for both their own economic viability and that of the city.

"It is Sacramento's biggest risk and something that we need to work on together," Fargo said.

Fargo also cautioned the group not to let re-emerging debate about a proposed Auburn dam shift the focus off efforts to secure federal funding to help strengthen levees in the Sacramento region.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has refueled talks in Washington recently of a flood control dam at Auburn.

"An Auburn dam debate right now would be an unfortunate distraction," she said. "It would make our funding in Washington dry up faster than the drought in the 1970s."

Dan Silva, a Sutter County supervisor and chairman of a Sacramento Area Council of Governments subcommittee on flood protection, said there is no better time than now to work on flood protection - at every level of government.

"There's no finer time to tell the Legislature that four factors need to be achieved - flood control, flood control, flood control, flood control," Silva said.