If you find man-bites-dog stories enjoyable, here’s a dilly and it’s all wet, too. It’s all wet because it’s about the Hetch-Hetchy Valley; (lovely Yosemite’s twin) that was flooded to become a reservoir for San Francisco around 1913 over the not-yet-dead bodies of John Muir, the Sierra Club and almost every newspaper in the country. San Francisco wanted water and had clout; the torpedoes were damned and so was the valley. The city got its water; the valley became a reservoir. But time has passed; environmentalists have acquired political power and the name Hetch-Hetchy is being mentioned in political circles again.
This time, the greenies want to reclaim the valley and restore it by draining the reservoir. That will not only reclaim what Gaia (or God if you’re my age) gave us but can help take tourist pressure from Yosemite. And of course, make the greenies feel good about how they use our money. By now, San Francisco only gets around 7% of its water from Hetch-Hetchy and that, the proponents say, can easily be replaced from the other existing sources. Create an equivalent to Yosemite from a lake that isn’t needed anymore? A win-win, right?
Well, seems some don’t think so. Once more we’re seeing the enviros, the government park folk, the newspaper editors and all of natures’ friends lined up on one side and the City of San Francisco on the other, glaring at each other across Hetch-Hetchty. John Muir isn’t here to push his beloved valley but his Sierra Club has joined in, supported by Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer; no surprise, right? Well, except the Sierra Club and the Senators are supporting keeping the valley under water and the folks in Washington wanting to restore it are Republicans. You really can’t tell which side the players are on without a program these days, can you…
So the Sierra Club is all out for the environment and so are its great friends Feinstein and Boxer…except when it’s the actual Sierras near San Francisco; that’s evidently different. Real estate folk call this: NIMBY, if I recall: Not In My Backyard. And the Republicans are the good guys trying to reclaim Ma Nature. Takes some getting used to. But its’ fun to watch politicians tripping over their feet reversing themselves, right?
It can help us remember not to believe them in the first place, too!