Commentary: Easy to blame farmers for California delta's water woes

It doesn't take much to qualify as an expert these days — particularly when the tag is self-applied.

Case in point: Democratic Rep. George Miller of Martinez.

According to his Web site, Miller is "an expert on California water issues" and "a leading advocate" on the environment.

He may have expertise, but Miller's record suggests he sure isn't very effective. For decades, he has championed the restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Yet the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast continues its long, sad demise.

In any other business, Miller would've been kicked off the job. But he is returned to Congress every two years by an electorate that embraces his simplistic, populist approach to fixing a complex ecosystem.

Miller's big-picture view of delta problems is to affix the blame to "wealthy irrigators" on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and the pumps that propel river water to the San Luis reservoir.

As political strategies go, his is an iron-clad winner. He turned restoration into a class war, pinned the bad guys label on folks a couple hundred miles from his district and spared the East Bay and the delta communities from confronting their own culpability in the demise of the delta.

Think of him as our local Republican congressman, Devin Nunes -- in reverse.

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