The Delta Tunnels Are a Water Grab – Not a 'WaterFix'

There’s a lie going around Sacramento, and much of the state, that we can solve California’s water problems by building two hugely expensive, environmentally disastrous tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta.

So instead of calling the Delta tunnels project a “California WaterFix” like the governor, bureaucrats and water agencies are doing, let’s call it what it really is: a water grab of epic proportion.

Priced at $16.3 billion, the outrageous cost alone should be enough to kill this project, which would reroute water 35 miles to the Delta pumping stations through 40-foot-wide tunnels buried 150 feet underground, before sending it further south. The whole point is to divert more water from the Sacramento River to the Central Valley and Southern California, most of it to be used for agriculture.

Water agencies were supposed to pay for this boondoggle, but so far they’ve balked, putting up just 40% of the costs. It’s likely the state will later raise taxes to pay for the tunnels and use voter-approved Water Bond money, from Proposition 1, to pay for habitat restoration, despite many promises to the contrary. highlights the many thriving communities that rely on California's Delta.

Now, in an effort to appease an angered public, Governor Brown and the Department of Water Resources say they’re fine building just one tunnel at a cost of $10.7 billion. But it’s not enough to cut the Delta tunnels project in half. As your Lieutenant Governor, I’ll do everything in my power to see this costly and ecologically disastrous project killed. Period.

For decades, we’ve been sacrificing the health of our Delta ecosystem in the interest of sending ever more water south. The cost of the tunnels plan to the Delta’s fragile ecology can’t be underestimated. Threatened chinook salmon, endangered smelt and other at-risk fish and wildlife are barely hanging on as freshwater gets furiously depleted and more saltwater enters the Delta. It’s our responsibility to ensure that these species have a fair shot at survival – something that won’t happen if the tunnels get built. The health of the San Francisco Bay Delta ecosystem is literally at stake with this project.

Delta landowners and family farms are deeply against the tunnels plan, as are many of the water agencies that are being asked to pay for it though they don’t stand to gain. The fact is, water costs for farmers who rely on the Delta could quadruple or more if the tunnels get built.  

As your Lieutenant Governor, I will be in a unique position, on the Agriculture-Water Transition Task Force and as a member of the State Lands Commission, to weigh in on giant projects like this one. And believe me, under my leadership the Delta tunnels will never see the light of day. Stand with me, landowners, environmentalists and local governments in opposing this costly and irresponsible plan!

California is not alone in facing a water crisis. Across the globe, corporations and big agricultural interests are busy privatizing, monopolizing and harvesting this vital, dwindling resource that every human needs to survive. And with the impacts from climate change sure to worsen in coming years, conflicts over water scarcity will only grow. That is why it’s time to put a stop to the water grabs right here, right now. Yes, California needs solutions to our chronic water shortage. But the Delta tunnels aren’t a “WaterFix” at all. They’ll only magnify the financial and environmental problems we’re already facing.

Please join me:

Now Is the Time To Ban AR-15s

I am asking you to stand with me and millions of other Americans to support and empower the student-led movement March For Our Lives.

The traumatized, courageous teenagers from Parkland, Florida who have stood up over the past week to condemn Donald Trump, lawmakers, and the NRA and gun manufacturing corporations that fund them, have won our hearts.

It feels like a moment of ‘no turning back.’  But in order to make real change happen – not just a ban on bump stocks, but outlawing the sale of AR-15s and assault weapons altogether – it’s going to take all of our voices speaking as one.

Congress has failed our young people.

As long as corporate gun manufacturers and their lobby agencies, like the NRA, are buying influence in Congress we, the American people, will continue to bury our young.

That is why I stand 100% behind the youth who are organizing the National School Walkout on March 14 and the March For Our Lives happening in DC and nationwide on March 24.

California has been making headway on regulating the purchase and firepower associated with these military-style weapons.

As your Lieutenant Governor, I will do everything in my power to protect Californians from gun violence.  Now, with the regularity we’re seeing of mass shootings by people carrying assault rifles, the urgency is upon us to act.

Our elected representatives need to know it is no longer acceptable to receive money from the NRA at the cost of losing our children like we did tragically last week. We must turn around on guns - and we can start with a renewed assault weapons ban that will work to keep instruments of terror like the AR-15 out of the hands of killers. In the words of Senator Bernie Sanders: “These weapons are not for hunting. They’re for killing human beings.”  We need tighter background checks as well.

And, we need to reignite a national conversation about the example that our government is setting.  With governmental use of violence so readily through police killings and through wars and military force, it should not be surprising to us that our children would imitate it.  Neither can we ignore ongoing U.S. arms dealings abroad, which fuels conflicts and civil wars that greatly harm civilians including children.  It’s time for shifting away from this culture of violence and cultivating a culture of peace as an example for our youth.

No issue hits us harder than the senseless slaughter of schoolchildren.  I run for political office to make a difference and to fight back in the face of injustice and tragedy.

Help me support the brave young leaders who have sparked a national movement, and together we can end the senseless gun violence that is tearing American families and communities apart. 

It's here!

Whoa! It’s here! Gayle’s store.

We’ve teamed up with BumperActive, a great union on-demand print shop, to provide Gayle for California schwag by mail - items are priced per each, and if you’d like to make a large order for your group (and get discounted rates), just email [email protected] or call 512.465.9306.

All purchases are in-kind donations to Gayle’s campaign. Order now and get your Gayle for California gear in time for the Women’s March.


Launching this store cost $250 - would you like to chip in today to help cover that cost?

Your contribution today will cover the cost of launching Gayle’s webstore. Click here to make a contribution of any size to support Gayle’s corporate-free campaign to organize hundreds of California communities for progressive change.

Thank you!


‘Bernie Sanders of the East Bay’ Leads California Endorsement Chase

“Our Revolution” Locals in 25 Communities Favor Former Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin

RICHMOND - Gayle McLaughlin, two-term mayor of Richmond, CA, today announced support of more than two dozen affiliates of Our Revolution, the post-presidential organizing arm of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. More Our Revolution chapters have endorsed McLaughlin than any other candidate in the country. She has also won the support of several Green Party county chapters, prominent chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America, including San Francisco and the East Bay, and of Socialist Alternative.

McLaughlin, the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) co-founder whose battles with Chevron are chronicled in Steve Early’s “Refinery Town,” has been called the “Bernie Sanders of the East Bay” for her advocacy of single-payer healthcare, $15 minimum wage, and collective grassroots power. Her corporate-money-free campaign for Lt. Governor of California includes the goal of fostering hundreds of “progressive alliances” throughout the state, modeled after the RPA’s success in taking five of the seven City Council seats in Richmond.

“As mayor and a city councilmember, I was able to accomplish so much because we built our strength from the grassroots up,” said McLaughlin. “We passed the $15 minimum wage locally, reduced crime, won the first new rent control in California in 30 years, and compelled Chevron to pay millions more in taxes. A people’s agenda is truly possible when we come together and organize for our communities.”

McLaughlin has been traveling throughout the state to promote the RPA model and to engage progressive activists with her platform. Her endorsements stretch from Del Norte County to San Diego. See a full list here:



Today across the state families and friends will gather to give thanks. This is a special time of togetherness and gratitude. Personally, I am extremely grateful for all of you who are supporting this political revolution we are building together. I am thankful for this campaign and shared organizing effort that is bringing us together around progressive values. Even in these dark times for our country, we can experience the joy of solidarity!

Here in Richmond, I’m thankful for the victories the Richmond Progressive Alliance model is winning for the people. We won rent control! We won the $15 minimum wage with CPI adjustments for long-term benefits!

As progressives, we are in the midst of a generational surge in our community - Bernie woke us up, invigorated us! These past few months of my campaign have seen seven new Progressive Alliances adopt the RPA model. Record numbers of corporate-free candidates are running for office - many winning under the banner of the Our Revolution and the DSA. There is a lot to be grateful for!

I also realize that the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States is rooted in our colonial history - and that our nation continues to discriminate against our indigenous neighbors. It was a year ago that North Dakota law enforcement and allied agencies and mercenaries violently attacked Dakota Access Pipeline water protectors (a new Unicorn Riot documentary about #NoDAPL, “Black Snake Killaz” is now available free online). Polluters disregard the impact of their toxins on communities everywhere, and the fact that indigenous water rights are constantly threatened is an especially egregious example of this disregard.

Here in Richmond, as mayor, I worked with native tribes to support the Richmond Native American Pow Wow, a free family-oriented annual cultural gathering open to all people. November is Native American Heritage month, and if you are in the Bay Area, please join in this 8th annual celebration (10:00 am-6:00 pm at 2200 Macdonald Avenue).

Richmond is also one of the first cities to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We believe that people power can change communities, and change cities! We can overcome our past with a People’s Future.

Will you do me a favor? Will you visit my Facebook page and share the progressive victories and solidarity that you are grateful for?

It's Go Time! Let's Get Volunteering!

Calling all Gayle for CA volunteers! Thanks to everyone who has gotten started helping to spread the good word about Gayle, and to all of you who want to get more involved! We see ALL of you as strong Local Leaders and we are be dedicated to empowering you with powerful tools and responsive campaign support as we work together to organize California!

We are getting set for a lot of fun - petitions, barnstorms, and more. Here are some actions steps you can take right now to get plugged in:

  1. If you have already signed up to volunteer but not through the website, please fill out the form there so we know what special skills you can contribute;
  2. After you've filled out the volunteer form (today or previously) we want everyone who's able to join Slack, our distributed campaign communications tool (works with desktop and mobile, Macs and PCs) - to join, email me at [email protected] and I'll add you;
  3. If you are able to contribute 3-5 hours a week helping us with a very methodical approach to spreading the word about Gayle on Facebook, please email [email protected] to get involved;
  4. If you are able to contribute 3-5 hours a week engaging in research and data entry on progressive groups, email me ([email protected]) with "data volunteer" in your subject line
  5. Interested in leadership and launching a Gayle for CA club in your area? We are currently identifying Club Coordinators to organize and manage the great work of other local volunteers. If this might be YOU, let me know! Reply with subject line "Club Coordinator"

Thanks so much for dedicating your time to Gayle's campaign! As the end of the month is near, we are looking to close out strong with fundraising, so please consider sharing some of your treasures as well. Your donation of $27 or another amount is much appreciated and if you can sign up for monthly contributions, that will help carry us through the June primary all the way to November!

I look forward to working with you!

Jon Gilgoff
Volunteer Coordinator
Gayle for California

Stop Chevron!

On Tuesday evening, police told residents of El Segundo, California, to shelter in place. They were the latest victims of a toxic Chevron refinery bursting into flames (KTLA photo).

In 2012, here in my home city of Richmond, 15,000 residents sought medical care because of  a Chevron refinery blaze. Like El Segundo, we are victims of a century-old refinery that pollutes even on the best days. Chevron paid the state $1 million in fines for the Richmond blaze -- barely a drop in the bucket for a corporation that spends many millions on political donations and lobbying activities each year.

We have to get California away from dirty energy! We have to stop this predatory corporation that stands in our way!

Chevron is a bully, but I know how to fight back. In Richmond:

  • We sued Chevron for “willful and conscious disregard of public safety" in the 2012 Richmond fire. Chevron had “fixed” more than 2000 leaks in the refinery tubing with temporary clamps! One caused the fire.
  • We defended our democracy by supporting corporate-free progressive candidates back in 2014 and we defeated more than $3 million in Chevron spending for pro-oil candidates.
  • Today 5 out of 7 Richmond City Councilmembers are corporate-free progressiveskeeping their eyes on the refinery bully.
  • We are telling every city and community around the state that folks need to organize like the Richmond Progressive Alliance did. Each community must take on the “Chevrons” of their city. It may not be a burning oil refinery like in Richmond or El Segundo, but the polluters and abusers are there in many different forms.
  • We organize and mobilize locally! We create progressive, corporate-free, inclusive, diverse and year-round organizations that fight for the local hot issues and elect corporate-free candidates to local office.

(Richmond CA protesting Chevron’s 2012 fire.  Photo: J. Reardon)

El Segundo residents deserve clean air and safety in their community. Whether it’s Chevron or any other big corporation that exists to service its bottom line, we aren’t safe until we organize to say “People First! Environment First!” It’s on us to organize to fight back, all across the state!

I will be in Southern California this week sharing the story of how we organized and fought back in Richmond. If you need information on how to get involved with this latest tour, just reply to this email.

Every time my organizing campaign for Lt. Governor tours the state, it costs about $3,000. Your support means I can continue to meet activists and voters across the state with at least one tour a month.

Will you chip in $27 or more today to say NO to Chevron’s dirty refineries and dirty money? To say YES to single-payer health care and an economy that puts people first?

Click here to make a contribution of any size. Gayle for California takes ZERO corporate donations!

Thank you for your support!

In solidarity,

- Gayle

P.S. Do you know how much money Chevron gives to establishment candidates in California? Learn from Richmond Confidential.

No LPG Storage in San Pedro!

Gayle's prepared remarks for the California State Lands Commission meeting, August 17

Members of the California State Lands Commission,

I am Gayle McLaughlin. I am the former Mayor of Richmond, California. I am here to support the residents of San Pedro and neighboring Los Angeles areas who are asking the Commission for justice and protection from the Rancho Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) 25 million gallon butane storage facility, at 2011 North Gaffey Street, San Pedro, California.

I join the residents in asking that the LPG facilities be moved away to an isolated area to make their neighborhoods safe. The facility is on the Palos Verdes earthquake fault zone. It is vulnerable to drone attacks and tsunamis, and can trigger a catastrophe causing thousands of deaths.

A revocable permit for Rancho LPG Holdings, LLC, for use of an underground pipeline and rail in the Port of Los Angeles, a public land, is in your jurisdiction. You have the obligation to protect the public. There is an enormous risk associated with this use of our public land in the port of Los Angeles, and there is very little benefit to the people. It is time to rectify this wrong. The commission must show clearly that it stands for the health and safety of the people of California.    

I speak from experience. I was serving as mayor of Richmond, California when, on August 6, 2012, the local Chevron refinery exploded and burned for many hours, sending 15,000 residents of our city to area hospitals. Nineteen Chevron refinery workers barely escaped with their lives.

Years before the fire, Chevron ignored safety demands from the people and the city government of Richmond. Chevron gave the same type of empty reassurances that the good people of San Pedro continue to receive from Rancho LPG: “It’s all fine and safe.”  After the refinery explosion, Chevron pleaded no contest to criminal neglect, and last month it was mandated to initiate repairs for $25 million, mostly to replace rotten pipes they had refused to fix until now.

I’m also here as a former city official who knows all too well that corporations put profits before people. Both Chevron and Rancho LPG have been gambling with the safety and the well-being of our communities, and too often the regulatory agencies have allowed them to gamble and profit at our expense.

California is not the 100% renewable energy state we must become, and for the time being fossil fuel industries will continue to exist. However, both oil refineries and LPG storage facilities must be located in isolated areas of the state where they do not pose immediate dangers to residents.

I’m here to tell you what you already know: that unless forced by the people’s agencies, corporations will do the barest minimum to cover appearances. They will continue to put families at risk, turning a deaf ear to the voices of safety experts, not even hearing the alarms of their own engineers and workers. That happened in Richmond.

I’m here to say to the Lands Commission that California is watching what you do, and that California is expecting you to do much better than other regulatory agencies who have failed the people of San Pedro and the Los Angeles area.

Removing the Rancho LPG facility from San Pedro will reduce the risk to the entire Los Angeles Harbor area; relocating the facility will provide the community with a higher level of safety as California advances away from fossil fuels and towards our 100% renewable energy future.

Don’t wait until San Pedro explodes to move the LPG tanks.

A Better California is Possible!

Thank you

Gayle McLaughlin

Former Mayor and Councilmember of Richmond California

A special day for the Indian people, and the Hindu faith!

As a mayor of Richmond, I had the privilege of representing a large diaspora of Indians and Indian-Americans who choose to call Richmond their home. During my terms as Mayor, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to their rich culture and tradition. Today, India marks the 70th anniversary of its independence from Britain. India’s freedom struggle is a lesson and example to be studied by anyone trying to fight tyranny. Mahatma Gandhi fostered a people-powered movement to gain freedom from the very powerful British empire. The Indian independence campaign showed that when everyday people come together and organize peacefully, there is no army that’s too big to conquer or interest to powerful to take on. My own campaign seeks to to create a truly people-powered movement to wrestle control away from the current corporatocracy. In this shared spirit, I would like to wish every Indian and Indian-American “Vande Mataram.” 

Today, also marks another special day for the Hindu community. Today, Hindus celebrate the birth of their god Krishna. In the Hindu tradition, he was the light that fought tyranny wherever it was found. While embarking on an important fight against tyranny, Krishna also teaches people to rediscover their inner child, their curiosity, and an enthusiasm for life. This spirit is something all of us can appreciate regardless of our religion or cultural tradition, and in this spirit, I would like to wish all Hindus:

ॐ जय जगदीश हरे!