Buried deep in California’s 2020 May Budget revise, the Governor and his staff cut $7.3 million that was previously budgeted to help fund the Paradise Irrigation District (PID) rebuild its water system, which was devastated by the Camp Fire in 2018. The District needs the State money to keep its current operations afloat and to plan the overall rebuild, as more residents and businesses repopulate Paradise. PG&E’s bankruptcy plan also includes $288M to cover the lion’s share of this cost, but those funds are not immediately available, and in the meantime, this State money is critical .
IBEW 1245 represents the workers at Paradise Irrigation District, and when Local 1245 Business Representative Dominic McCurtain raised the alarm about the budget cut, the union started lobbying to return this funding to the budget. We helped form a coalition of 12 interested unions, public agency groups and north state advocates and began reaching out to the members of the California Senate and Assembly Budget Committees and certain subcommittees with control over these funds. With help from Assemblymember Gallagher and Senator Nielsen, we succeeded in getting the funding restored in the Legislature budget bill. Then we led the effort in contacting key members of the Governor’s staff to ensure the funding would not be cut again. On Tuesday June 23, we learned that the funding was restored. This is a BIG win for our members at PID!
–Hunter Stern, IBEW 1245 Assistant Business Manager