It appears certain that the $11.1 billion water bond, the centerpiece of a historic water policy agreement championed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will be removed from the November ballot.
Concerned that the bond measure would be rejected by angry, recession-battered voters, Schwarzenegger and the Legislature's water policy leaders agreed last week that it should be postponed at least until the 2012 election ― much as an earlier high-speed rail bond issue was postponed until it could win passage.
It is, however, not quite that simple. The effect of postponement would be to take Schwarzenegger out of the equation since his stint as governor will end in six months. And the water deal's critics are already demanding that postponement should include a rewrite, which could mean prolonged wrangling or utter collapse.
As written now, the bond measure is a typical product of legislative deal-making, which means it forgoes logic and equity in favor of political expediency.