Prop Zero
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The Waters Part

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The Waters Part

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Good news if you think the state needs to make big new investments in dams and other waterworks: late Monday night, both houses of the legislature voted to remove Prop 18, an $11 billion water bond, from this November's ballot and put it on the ballot in 2012.

Gov. Schwarzenegger and other backers of the bond wanted the change, because of fears that voters would balk at so much borrowing in bad economic times. They were probably right about that.

The delay also should provide an opportunity to try to make the bond a bit smaller. Critics have identified hundreds of millions in items that seem only tangentially related to water.

And there's this history-is-circular alert: if Jerry Brown is the next governor of California, he'll have the tough task of fighting for this bond. One of his biggest defeats during his first term was a referendum of a major water project -- the so-called peripheral canal -- that he supported.

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