Did you know that the state might want to oversee plans to improve Thornton's central business area? Or a recycling plant in Stockton? Or a couple of subdivisions in the Mountain House development west of Tracy?
Two San Joaquin County supervisors warned the Lodi City Council that the state-appointed Delta Stewardship Council may want to seize land-use authority from cities, counties, water districts and other agencies in and near the Delta.
Starting next year, the Delta Stewardship Council could end up operating like the California Coastal Commission, but even worse, county Supervisor Ken Vogel told the City Council on Wednesday night.
The Delta Stewardship Plan has yet to be adopted by the Stewardship Council, but its staff has already sent letters to local agencies in San Joaquin County about potential land-use projects, Stockton City Attorney John Luebberke told the Lodi City Council.
"It may be very inconsistent with the desires of the community," Luebberke said.
The City Council voted 4-0 to endorse a resolution requesting that communities in and near the Delta be equal partners with the Stewardship Commission when it comes to Delta issues. Councilman Bob Johnson was absent.
"We are at ground zero, and the bullseye is on our back," County Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller said about Delta counties. "We need to bring as much pressure as possible."
The Delta Stewardship Council was formed to develop the Delta plan in conjunction with the proposed peripheral canal or tunnel that would convey more Delta water to the southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
"It's really about water in Northern California and Southern California," City Councilman Larry Hansen said.
"It's all about water," Vogel replied.
The Stewardship Council's position was not immediately available.
The Delta Stewardship Council was formed by the state Legislature in 2009 to develop the Delta plan by 2012. The council's plan won't have to be approved by the state, Vogel said.
Even though the plan has yet to be adopted, Engineer Kevan Samsam, representing the Delta Stewardship Council, sent a letter to San Joaquin County about a study concerning potential public works improvements in Thornton, which includes a roundabout.
In his letter, Samsam refers to "covered actions," which constitutes any project that will occur in the Delta or Suisun Marsh, funded or approved by the state or a local public agency or have a significant effect on achieving flood-control goals.
The Thornton improvement study would probably not meet the definition of a "covered action," according to Samsam's letter, but it could become a "covered action" in the future if the project changes.
"As such, we would encourage you to consult with us to ensure the project's consistency with the Delta plan ..." the letter read.
Ruhstaller reminded the Lodi City Council that decisions regarding the White Slough Wastewater Treatment Plant near Flag City could be subject to state approval.
"Any time you want to change a light bulb (at the plant), that will be a 'covered action,'" Ruhstaller said.
Vogel and Ruhstaller have already addressed the Stockton, Escalon and Ripon city councils to seek a unified voice in opposing the Delta Stewardship Plan. They plan to make the same pitch before the Lathrop, Manteca and Tracy city councils as well.
The Stewardship Council is chaired by former Sacramento Mayor and Assemblyman Phil Isenberg. Other members include former San Joaquin County Assemblyman and Sen. Patrick Johnston, and Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli of Galt.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.