Opinion » Letters

A disaster nobody wanted to pay to prevent



Al Fonzi’s commentary, “The disaster that wasn’t,” in the Feb. 16 paper is just another attempt at diversion and scapegoating. He blames bureaucrats and politicians for the Oroville Dam near-disaster, just like his wife, Atascadero City Council member Roberta, blamed Gov. Brown for Walmart’s abandonment of its Atascadero store plan.

Fonzi asked, “what happened?” Here’s the answer: 12 years ago, three environmental groups warned of exactly what recently happened to the Oroville Dam and recommended reinforcing the dirt spillway to prevent erosion from undermining the dam. They were rejected because water purveyors didn’t want to pay for the improvement, including state water contractors and water districts from Los Angeles, Kern County, Santa Clara Valley, and Alameda County. These facts were reported by the San Jose Mercury News (Feb. 12), CNN (Feb. 13), The Tribune (Feb. 13), and others.

So, if you’re really concerned about people “being placed at unnecessary risk,” maybe it’s time to start listening to folks like the Friends of the River, Sierra Club, and the South Yuba Citizens League, all of which issued that warning about the dam more than a decade ago. But Mr. Fonzi seems more adept at disinformation than acquiring and disseminating facts.

-- David Broadwater - Atascadero

-- David Broadwater - Atascadero

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