Shot in the foot
The Lower Tule River Irrigation District shot itself in the foot when, in a effort to gain public support, it tied the smokescreen of Success Dam public safety to raising the water level 10 feet. The LTRID even got their pawns, the Army Corps of Engineers, ever eager to look busy and involved, in their scam to sway public opinion, and the Porterville City Council and county Board of Supervisor’s support.
Even though dam safety is not the LTRID’s responsibility, maximizing profits to their shareholders is their only concern and the reason for their existence. To support their position that the dam was unsafe, they needed studies, and through the corps and junkets to Washington, D.C., solicited and received millions of dollars to perform those studies.
These seismic studies were performed on the east side of the dam and sure enough, they “proved” that the dam was unsafe. To further scare the public and city council, they even got the Porterville Recorder involved in their scheme, by using words like “liquefaction” in their test conclusions.
Then lo and behold, W. Bush got into the White House and the economy went south, and there was no money to raise the dam. Even the city council got wise and used the money it was giving the corps to balance the city budget.
Now the LTRID and the corps were in a dilemma; the LTRID did not have the money to raise the dam, the smokescreen of dam safety hadn’t worked, profits were slipping and the corps, having no project, was back to eight hour coffee breaks.
What to do? Do a new study, have “experts” do an about face by declaring the dam to be safe; the only differences: do this study 400 feet away on the west side of the dam and hope for new data, spend thousands rather than millions and again get the cooperation of the Porterville Recorder — lacking an investigative reporter who might ask embarrassing questions like: “Why did the ‘unsafe’ studies cost so much more than the ‘safe’ studies and where did the millions go?