After hours and months of work with the engineering and environmental team at Department of Water Resources, we had the big unveiling of the new and improved tunnel route. There are so many improvements, large and small, based in part on the local resident comments we received in the small groups I organized, that I am very proud of this achievement.
So why do I feel so let down?
Someone leaked the story to Matt Wieser at the Sacramento Bee so we had to give him an exclusive scoop to delay his publishing the story while we finalized the details of the revised plan. He never writes a positive Bay Delta Conservation Plan story, and true to form he gave a quick “they listened to comments and made some changes” and then focused his story on perceived negative impacts to Sandhill Cranes. The real story about the crane habitat is much more complicated.
I got up at 6:00 a.m. to meet my friend Petrea for a walk and I checked the http://www.sacbee.com website and read the article. Then leashed Radar and left. I knew what to expect and I was still disappointed. He was able to find some people who were willing to say it’s a terrible development (even without information) so he created conflict. Huzzah for “journalism”.
Today was the actual press conference. Again I was disappointed. No one is pausing for even a second to appreciate what a big deal these changes are. And of course, the people who live in the Delta who hate the project no matter what we do, wasted no time in blasting it and continuing to exaggerate other impacts. (Comparing an infrastructure project to a war zone is really too much. I wish someone who has been in Afghanistan or Iraq, or Syria would explain to these people what a war zone really is…)
I realized tonight after coming back from a celebratory, blow-off-steam happy hour with the outreach crew, that I am waiting for applause from somebody. I will wait a very long, lonely wait in this project for anyone to applaud, which is why we all need to find ways to celebrate success even if it is self-generated. Thus, I am writing to you all on my blog.
I feel so good about what we accomplished and how many impacts we eliminated or reduced. It is a good project and now it is significantly better. And I am a critical part of the team that did it. And if this project ever gets built then it will be so much less costly and improved because of me and our team. And we are not done making it better. Plus tunneling is cool. All you closet nerds google “tunnel boring machine” and see what I mean.
Hip hip hoorah. Hip hip hooray. Hip hip hooray.
You can read all about the changes for yourself here.