Thursday, December 14, 2006

Governor’s Levee Work

As shaky as levees are as our primary flood protection, a well-maintained one is certainly much better than one barely kept together, so this is good news…relatively speaking, but an Auburn Dam would be better.

Gov.'s action on levees a model of leadership
George Skelton
Capitol Journal

December 14, 2006
Sacramento — The media often get accused of not reporting the good news. OK, here's some good news:

• Government has been working.

• Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been leading.

• My house may escape a Katrina catastrophe.

All summer and into the fall, big rock-laden barges have been plowing up and down the Sacramento River, pushed by tugboats. Towering cranes on other barges have been lifting these rocks — ranging in size from 6 inches to 2 feet — into eroded hollows in earthen levees that are the only flood protection for 300,000 Sacramentans.

California's state capital has had the worst flood protection of any major city in America, we're told. The levees are rated at less than 100-year protection — meaning there's a better than 1% chance each year of being flooded. New Orleans had 250-year protection before Katrina hit.

But because of Schwarzenegger, the leakiest levees have been plugged in time for the new flood season.

Give the guy credit. If it weren't for him, the ambitious $175-million project wouldn't have been attempted. Not by the state, of course. Not by the feds, certainly, although it was largely their duty. Nor by overwhelmed local governments.

Schwarzenegger didn't just sit around, waiting and whining for the federal government to act, as it should have. He pounced on the problem. Even Democrats admit that the Republican governor exerted the kind of leadership that the public covets, but too often is denied.