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University of California Berkeley 

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Regional Oral History Office 
The Bancroft Library 

University of California 
Berkeley, California 

Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr., Era 


Edmund G. Brown, Sr. 

B. Abbott Goldberg 
Ralph M. Brody 

William E. Warne 
Paul R. Bonderson 

The California Water Project: Personal 
Interest and Involvement in the Legislation, 
Public Support, and Construction, 1950-1966 

Water Policy Issues in the Courts, 1950-1966 

Devising Legislation and Building Public 
Support for the California Water Project, 
1950-1960; Brief History of the Westlands 
Water District 

Administration of the Department of Water 
Resources, 1961-1966 

Executive Officer, Regional and State 
Water Pollution and Water Quality Control 
Boards, 1950-1966 

Interviews Conducted by 

Malca Chall 

in 1979, 1980 


1981 by The Regents of the University of California 

This manuscript is made available for research 
purposes. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for 
publication without the written permission of the 
Director of The Bancroft Library of the University of 
California at Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication 
should be addressed to the Regional Oral History 
Office, 486 Library, and should include identification 
of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use 
of the passages, and identification of the user. 

Copy No . 


Covering the years 1953 to 1966, the Goodwin Knight- Edmund G. "Pat" 
Brown, Sr. , Oral History Series is the second phase of the Governmental 
History Documentation Project begun by the Regional Oral History Office 
in 1969. That year inaugurated the Earl Warren Era Oral History Project, 
which produced interviews with Earl Warren and other persons prominent in 
politics, criminal justice, government administration, and legislation 
during Warren s California era, 1925 to 1953. 

The Knight-Brown series of interviews carries forward the earlier 
inquiry into the general topics of: the nature of the governor s office, 
its relationships with the legislature and with its own executive depart 
ments, biographical data about Governors Knight and Brown and other 
leaders of the period, and methods of coping with the rapid social and 
economic changes of the state. Key issues documented for 1953-1966 were: 
the rise and decline of the Democratic party, the impact of the California 
Water Plan, the upheaval of the Vietnam War escalation, the capital punish 
ment controversy, election law changes, new political techniques forced by 
television and increased activism, reorganization of the executive branch, 
the growth of federal programs in California, and the rising awareness of 
minority groups. From a wider view across the twentieth century, the 
Knight-Brown period marks the final era of California s Progressive 
period, which was ushered in by Governor Hiram Johnson in 1910 and which 
provided for both parties the determining outlines of government organiza 
tion and political strategy until 1966. 

The Warren Era political files, which interviewers had developed 
cooperatively to provide a systematic background for questions, were 
updated by the staff to the year 1966 with only a handful of new topics 
added to the original ninety-one. An effort was made to record in greater 
detail those more significant events and trends by selecting key partici 
pants who represent diverse points of view. Most were queried on a 
limited number of topics with which they were personally connected; a few 
narrators who possessed unusual breadth of experience were asked to discuss 
a multiplicity of subjects. Although the time frame of the series ends 
at the November 1966 election, when possible the interviews trace events 
on through that date in order to provide a logical baseline for continuing 
study of succeeding administrations. Similarly, some narrators whose exper 
ience includes the Warren years were questioned on that earlier era as well 
as the Knight-Brown period. 


The present series has been financed by grants from the California State 
Legislature through the California Heritage Preservation Commission and the 
office of the Secretary of State, and by some individual donations. Portions 
of several memoirs were funded partly by the California Women in Politics 
Project under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, in 
cluding a matching grant from the Rockefeller Foundation; the two projects 
were produced concurrently in this office, a joint effort made feasible by 
overlap of narrators, topics, and staff expertise. 

The Regional Oral History Office was established to tape record autobio 
graphical interviews with persons significant in the history of California 
and the West. The Office is under the administrative direction of James D. 
Hart, Director of The Bancroft Library, and Willa Baum, head of the Office. 

Amelia R. Fry, Project Director 
Gabrielle Morris, Project Coordinator 



Advisory Council 

Don A. Allen 
James Bassett 
Walton E. Bean* 
Peter Behr 
William E. Bicker 
Paul Bullock 
Lou Cannon 
Edmond Costantini 
William N. Davis 
A. I. Dickman 
Harold E. Geiogue 
Carl Greenberg 
Michael Harris 
Phil Kerby 
Virginia Knight 
Frank Lanterman 
Mary Ellen Leary 
Eugene C . Lee 

James R. W. Leiby 
Albert Lepawsky 
Dean McHenry 
Frank Mesple* 
James R. Mills 
Edgar J. Patterson 
Cecil F. Poole 
A. Alan Post 
Robert H. Power 
Bruce J. Poyer 
Albert S. Rodda 
Richard Rodda 
Ed Salzman 
Mortimer D. Schwartz 
Verne Scoggins 
David Snyder 
Caspar Weinberger 

Project Interviewers 

Malca Chall 
Amelia R. Fry 
Gabrielle Morris 
James Rowland 
Sarah Sharp 
Julie Shearer 

Special Interviewers 

Eleanor Glaser 
Harriet Nathan 
Suzanne Riess 
Miriam Feingold Stein 
Ruth Teiser 

^Deceased during the term of the project 


(California, 1953-1966) 

Interviews Completed and In Process, March 1981 

Single Interview Volumes 

Bradley, Don, Managing Democratic Campaigns., 1954-1966. In process. 

Brown, Edmund G. , Sr., "Pat", Years of Growth, 1939-1966; Law Enforcement, 
Politics, and the Governor s Office. In process. 

Champion, Hale, Communication and Problem- Solving : A Journalist in State 
Government. 1981. 

Davis, Pauline. In process. 

Dutton, Frederick G., Democratic Campaigns and Controversies, 1954-1966. 1981. 

Hills, Edgar, Boyhood Friend, Independent Critic, and Campaign Manager of 
Pat Brown. In process. 

Hotchkis, Preston, Sr., One Man s Dynamic Role in California Politics and Water 
Development, and World Affairs. 1980. 

Kent, Roger, Building the Democratic Party in California, 1954-1966. 1981. 
Knight, Virginia (Mrs. Goodwin). In process. 

Leary, Mary Ellen, A Journalist s Perspective: Government and Politics in 
California and the Bay Area. 1981. 

Lynch, Thomas, A Career in Politics and the Attorney General s Office. In process 
Mills, James. In process. 
Reagan, Ronald. In process. 
Rodda, Albert. In process. 

Simpson, Roy E., California Department of Education, with an Introduction by 
Wilson Riles, Sr. 1978. 

Multi-Interview Volumes 

Burch, Meredith 
Carter, Judy Royer 
Elkington, Norman 
Guggenheim, Charles 
Sloss, Nancy 

Brown, Bernice 
Brown , Frank 
Brown, Harold 


Button, A. Ronald, California Republican Party Official and State 

Treasurer of California, 1956-1958. 
Gibson, Phil, Recollections of a Chief Justice of the California Supreme 


Mosk, Stanley, Attorney General s Office and Political Campaigns, 1958-1966. 
Powers, Harold J., On Prominent Issues , the Republican Party, and Political 

Campaigns: A Veteran Republican Views the Goodwin Knight Era. 


Doyle, Donald, An Assemblyman Views Education, Mental Health, and Legis 
lative and Republican Politics. 

McKay, Robert, Robert McKay and the California Teacher s Association. 

Sexton, Keith, Legislating Higher Education: A Consultant s View of the 
Master Plan for Higher Education. 

Sherriffs, Alex, The University of California and the Free Speech Movement: 
Perspectives from a Faculty Member and Administrator. 


Becker, William, Working for Civil Rights: With. Unions, the Legislature, 
and Governor Pat Brown. 

Christopher, Warren, Special Counsel to the Governor: Recalling the 
Pat Brown Years. 

Davis, May Layne, An Appointment Secretary Reminisces. 

Kline, Richard, Governor Brown s Faithful Advisor. 

Mesple, Frank, From Clovis to the Capitol: Building a Career as a Legis 
lative Liaison. 

Poole, Cecil, Executive Clemency and the Chessman Case. 


Barrett, Douglas, Goodwin Knight s Governor s Office, 1953-19 58, and the 
Youth Authority, 1958-1965. 

\j j 

Bright, Tom M., The Governor s Office of Goodwin J. Knight, 1953-1958. 
Groves, Sadie Perlin, A Career as Private Secretary to Goodwin Knight, 


Lemmon, Maryalice, Working in the Governor s Office, 1950-1959. 
Mason, Paul, Covering the Legislature for Governor Goodwin J. Knight. 


Bell, Dorothy Hewes, Reminiscences of Goodwin Knight. 
Finks, Harry, California labor and Goodwin Knight, the 1950s. 
Hill, John Lamar, First Minority Member of the State Board of Funeral 

Examiners . 
Polland, Milton, Political and Personal Friend of Earl Warren, Goodwin 

Knight, and Hubert Humphrey. 

Salinger, Pierre 
Yorty, Sam 

Nofziger, Frank! yn, Press Secretary for Ronald Reagan, 1966. 
Parkinson, Gaylord, California Republican Party Official, 1962-1967. 
Roberts, William, Professional Campaign Management and the Candidate, 

Spencer, Stuart , Developing a Campaign Management Organization. 


Caldecott, Thomas W. , Legislative Strategies, Relations with the Governor s 

Office, 1947-1957. 

Fisher, Hugo, California Democratic Politics, 1958-1965. 
Lanterman, Frank, California Assembly, 1949-1978: Water, Mental Health, 

and Education Issues. 
Richards, Richard, Senate Campaigns and Procedures, California Water Plan. 


Burns, Hugh, Legislative and Political Concerns of the Senate Pro Tern, 


Lincoln, Luther, Young Turk to Speaker of the California Assembly, 1948-1958. 
Rattigan, Joseph, A Judicial Look at Civil Rights, Education, and Reappor- 

tionment in the State Senate, 1959-1966. 
Sumner, Bruce, California State Assemblyman and Chairman of the Constitution 

Revision Commission, 1964-1970. 
Allen, Bruce F. , California Oil and Water, and the Politics of Reform, 



Teale, Stephen, The Impact of One Man-One Vote on the Senate: Senator 

Teale Reviews Reapportionment and Other Issues, 1953-1966. 
Allen, Don A., A Los Angeles Assemblyman Recalls the Reapportionment Struggle 

Peirce, John, California State Department of Finance, 1953-1958. 
Levit, Bert W. , State Finance and Innovations in Government Organization, 


Tieburg, Albert B., California State Department of Employment, 1945-1966. 
Wedemeyer, John, California State Department of Social Welfare, 1959-1966. 
Lowry, James, California State Department of Mental Hygiene, 1960s. 



Blease, Coleman, A Lobbyist Views the Knight-Brown Era. 

Coffey, Bertram, Reflections on George Miller 3 Jr., Governors Pat and 

Jerry Brown, and the Democratic Party. 

Engle, Lucretia, Clair Engle as Campaigner and Statesman. 
Nelson, Helen, California s First Consumer Counsel. 

Jewett, Emelyn Knowland 
Johnson, Estelle Knowland 
Manolis , Paul 


Behrens , Earl C. , Gubernatorial Campaigns and Party Issues: A Political 

Reporter s View, 1948-2966. 
Bergholz, Richard, Reporting on California Government and Politics, 

Kossen, Sydney, Covering Goodwin Knight and the Legislature for the 

San Francisco News, 1956-1958. 


Christopher, George, Mayor of San Francisco and Republican Party Candidate. 
Weinberger, Caspar W. , California Assembly, Republican State Central 
Committee, and Elections, 1953-1966. 

CALIFORNIA WATER ISSUES, 1950-1966. 1981. 

Brown, Edmund G. , Sr., The California Water Project: Personal Interest 

and Involvement in the Legislation, Public Support, and Construction, 


Goldberg, B. Abbott, Water Policy Issues in the Courts, 1950-1966. 
Brody, Ralph M. , Devising Legislation and Building Public Support for the 

California Water Project, 1959-1960; Brief History of the Westlands 

Water District. 
Warne, William E. , Administration of the Department of Water Resources, 

Bonderson, Paul R. , Executive Officer, Regional and State Water Pollution 

and Water Quality Control Boards, 1950-1966. 



Availability of water has been a prime challenge and topic of debate 
throughout California s history. The years 1950-1967 were no exception. 
During that period the subject shot up to the top of the state s agenda 
as a massive statewide water project moved from the planning stages to 
actual construction. 

Numerous engineering and financial feasibility studies, some dating as 
far back as the 1920s, preceded the 1957 publication of the Department of 
Water Resources Bulletin Number 3 which outlined an ambitious plan for water 
delivery to all areas of the state. By that same year the legislature had 
come to agree that the Feather River Project would be constructed as one of 
the initial components of this master California Water Plan. 

While the later feasibility studies were in progress, water interests 
recognized that the Division of Water Resources within the Department of 
Public Works, with its policy-making board and complex ties to a multiplicity 
of state agencies, was not capable of organizing and carrying out the type 
of project being designed by the state s engineers. Obvious as was this need to 
centralize the water administration, a satisfactory bill did not pass the 
legislature until March 1956. Attempts had failed under Governor Earl Warren 
in 1953, and again under Governor Knight in 1955. Finally, in a special 1956 
session of the legislature with stronger leadership from Governor Knight and 
careful interim committee background work by Assemblyman Caspar Weinberger, 
reorganization bill AB 4 passed the legislature. In July of that year the 
Department of Water Resources took its place in the state administration. 

Despite success in centralizing control of water development in a single 
agency, Governor Knight was unable to bring about sufficient harmony among 
water interests to move the Feather River Project forward. The best he could 
get from a seriously split legislature was an appropriation, in 1957, to 
begin preliminary work toward eventual construction of Oroville Dam. The 
major stumbling block was inability to reach agreement on the phrasing of a 
constitutional amendment which would guarantee legal safeguards to the north 
regarding entitlement to waters in the counties of origin, and also guarantee 
safeguards to the south to protect that area s rights to the water for which 
it would bear the major construction and transport costs. 

Behind this overriding north-south division were others: application of 
the 160-acre limit or some other measures to prevent "undue enrichment" to 
large landholdings which would benefit from the water project, protection of 
water quality in the San Francisco Bay Delta, agreement on a satisfactory 
formula to finance the multi-billion dollar project, and cooperation with 
the federal government in the building and operating of the San Luis Reservoir. 
This latter was a key element in the state project as well as in the federal 


project for the Westlands Water District, planned as a unit in the Central 
Valley Project. There were also partisan political considerations. As 
time wore on Democrats foresaw the opportunity to control the state govern 
ment, and they were eager to take ultimate credit for the success of the 
water project. With the election of Pat Brown in 1958 the Democrats did 
become the majority party in the legislature and the administration. 

The newly elected governor, characterizing the preceding decade as one 
of delay and frustration in coming to grips with water development, was 
determined to unite the water interests long enough to pass a bill to provide 
for building and financing a state water project. Not without monumental 
struggle, he did so within the first two years of his administration. 
Construction went on apace during the ensuing six years. 

Other water issues concerned the governor and his staff during his 
eight years in office, most notably those relating California s division 
of the Colorado River waters with Arizona, the construction of additional 
features of the Central Valley Project, and the shift from interest in water 
pollution to water quality. 

Water quality was a subject under continual scrutiny in the state legis 
lature. Attempts to revise the 1949 Water Pollution Control Act to bring 
about more stringent water quality regulations and more centralized control 
were met by vigorous opposition in 1963, 1965, and 1966. Despite this 
opposition there was gradual recognition of the relationships between water 
quantity and water quality. The nine regional boards were strengthened in 
their efforts to improve quality and tougher regulations were issued and 
enforced. Even the name of the boards was changed from Water Pollution 
Control to Water Quality Control. The end of the Brown administration also 
marked the end of the part-time state board and the beginning of another 
phase in the administration of water quality control policy. With the merger 
of the Water Rights Board and the state Water Quality Control Board, in 1967, 
the full-time Water Resources Control Board assumed responsibility for 
overseeing water quality in the state. 

This volume includes oral history interviews with five men who were 
instrumental in helping to shape California s water destiny during the years 

Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, who, while governor, brought about realization of 
the state s long sought water project, which he considers one of the 
major achievements of his eight-year administration. 

B. Abbott Goldberg, who, while deputy attorney general from 1948 to 1960, 
handled California s landmark Ivanhoe case. He was Governor Brown s 
appointee as deputy director of the Department of Water Resources and 
his special counsel on water problems from 1961 to 1966 and is regarded 
by Brown as one of the major influences in his understanding of water 
policy issues. 

Ralph Brody, who was from 1959 to 1960 deputy director of the Department 
of Water Resources and special counsel to Governor Brown on water 
problems, and from 1961 to 1966 chairman of the California Water 
Commission. He has been given credit as the principal architect of 
the Burns-Porter Act. Remaining close to California water issues, 
he was, from 1961 to 1971, manager and chief counsel of Westlands 
Water District. 

William Warne, who was director of the Department of Water Resources 

from 1961 to 1966. He was credited with superb management in the initial 
construction of the California Water Project. 

Paul Bonderson, who was executive officer of Region 3 of the Water 
Pollution Control Board from 1950 to 1956, and of the State Water 
Pollution (later Water Quality) Control Board from 1956 to 1967. 
During his long tenure the state moved from concern for water pollution 
to water quality, as well as from water quantity to water quality. 

Missing from this lineup is Harvey Banks, appointed by Governor Goodwin 
Knight as first director of the Department of Water Resources in 1956, who 
continued as director under Governor Brown until after passage of the $1.75 
billion water bond measure in November, 1960. Mr. Banks was interviewed in 
1965 and his oral history, California Water Project, 1955-1961, is available 
for research in The Bancroft Library. 

The interviews in this volume, as well as those in other volumes in the 
Governmental Documentation Project dealing with gubernatorial years of Goodwin 
Knight-Edmund G. Brown, Sr., should provide those interested in California 
water history with considerable fresh data with which to understand better 
this perennially vital subject. Excellent sources can also be found in The 
Bancroft Library among Governor Brown s papers and in the collections of 
Paul S. Taylor and Preston Hotchkis. In addition, the Water Resources Center 
Archives on the Berkeley campus contains a wealth of government reports and 
private papers dealing with water in California. 

Californians are once again locked in a heated and divisive struggle over 
distribution of water this time the subject is the Peripheral Canal, one of 
the features of the California Water Plan envisioned in the Burns-Porter Act. 
While the problems of the Delta reach far back in California history, this is 
only one among many issues in the Peripheral Canal debate. Many of the seeds 
of this controversy will be found in this volume covering California Water 
Issues, 1950-1966. 

Malca Chall 
Interviewer -Editor 

June 1981 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr. , Era 

Edmund G. Brown, Sr. 




An Interview Conducted by 
Malca Chall in 1979 

Copyright (cj 1981 by the Regents of the University of California 


TABLE OF CONTENTS ~ Edmund G. Brown, Sr. (Pat) 


Background Experiences with Water Law and Water Issues 

as Attorney General, 1950-1958 1 

The Campaign for Governor, 1958 13 

The Burns-Porter Act, SB 1106 15 

The Campaign to Pass Proposition 1 32 

Considerations in the Selection of the Water Plan 34 

Obtaining the Contract with the Metropolitan Water District 36 

Policy Decisions on Power and Pricing 39 

Personnel Appointments and Conflicts 45 

The San Luis Reservoir Joint-Use Contract 49 

The Tug-of-War Between California and Arizona on the Colorado River 52 

Relations with Congress 57 

Pushing for the Peripheral Canal, 1965-1966 59 
Some Final Questions: The Democratic Party, the Metropolitan 

Water District, the Tidelands Oil Funds 60 




During his term as attorney general of California (1950-1958) , Edmund G. 
(Pat) Brown dealt with a number of crucial water issues and gradually 
concluded that the problems of water rights in California were related to 
water shortages; that, in fact, problems of water law would become obsolete 
"if we would devote ourselves to making the supply of developed water 
sufficient and stop striving for competitive advantages..." 

As he campaigned for election as governor, he used substantially this 
same argument, outlining frequently what he deemed to be the solution to the 
decade-long impasse in the development of the Feather River Project. He took 
office in January, 1959, determined to pass the water project. The engineering 
plans were ready; he decided that it was up to him to get the project through 
the political phase which, "to my mind was just as great an achievement as 
the engineering." 

Pat Brown chose his first year in office his honeymoon period to reach 
his goal, planning also to take advantage of his one-million vote plurality 
and the Democratic party s majority in the legislature. He carefully chose 
his staff and advisors, men with knowledge of state water issues, with broad 
constituencies, all of whom cared as deeply as he did that the project be 
started quickly. 

Thus, with most of the main engineering and administrative building 
blocks present, it remained for his administration to sweep aside, temporarily 
at least, the factions which had created years of delay. He insisted that the 
people of the state look at the project as a unit, one in which each section 
would benefit, one in which water users would pay full costs, and one in which 
the water would be guaranteed through firm contracts. On January 22, 1959, 
soon after his inauguration, he delivered a special message on water to the 
California legislature, in which he laid out a plan for building and financing 
the project. "It is time," he is widely quoted as saying, "to start moving 
dirt and stop throwing mud." 

This new approach was not readily accepted by all water interests, but 
within six months, as a result of the governor s determination, some skillful 
strategy, and mighty help from friends and advisors in and out of government, 
he achieved the legislation which specified the details of the California 
Water Project and provided the general scheme for financing it. 

Between July, 1959, when the governor signed the Burns-Porter Act, and 
November, 1960, water was the hottest issue in the state. In Northern 
California, the San Francisco Chronicle depicted the project as a giant 
octupus enveloping defenseless water interests. In Southern California the 
Metropolitan Water District, expected to be the beneficiary of half the water 


from the project, kept up cliff-hanging negotiations with the Department of 
Water Resources on a prototype contract until four days before the election. 
Thus the campaign pitted north against south, farmer against farmer, urban 
areas against agricultural, advocates of the 160-acre limit against its 
opponents, advocates of fish and wildlife protection against those whom they 
feared would destroy fishing and wildlife habitats in the Delta. Labor 
union members, engineers, businessmen, and economists disagreed among themselves. 
To allay doubts, fears, and to set the record straight, Governor Brown, his 
staff, many private citizens, and a blue ribbon committee, Californians for 
Water, traveled throughout the state speaking to newspaper editors and to as 
many groups of people who would listen trying to persuade them of the essential 
need in California for the state water project. On November 8, 1960, a 
perplexed citizenry approved the $1.75 billion bond measure by a narrow 
margin. Some of the same tensions rose again in the mid-sixties when the 
governor tried to gain acceptance of the Peripheral Canal. They pervade 
the current Peripheral Canal debate. 

Actually water issues continued to dominate the eight years of the Brown 
administration. The governor was often thrust into the midst of disagreeing 
factions within his administration. These issues related to the use of 
tidelandsoil funds to finance the water project, the joint federal-state 
San Luis Reservoir contract, the Pacific Southwest Water Plan and other 
ramifications of that long struggle with Arizona stemming from the Arizona v. 
Colorado decision, and the need to lobby Congress for appropriations for 
several long-planned dams to be added to the Central Valley Project. 

By the time Pat Brown turned the governor s office over to his successor, 
in January, 1967, the California Water Project was within seven years of 
completion. He fully expected that the Reagan administration would build the 
remaining features according to plan. That Governor Reagan did not do so has 
disappointed Governor Brown who is as keen for completion of the project today 
as he was in 1959. 

Because he considers the water project to be "one of his proudest 
achievements," he wanted to cover it thoroughly in his lengthy oral history. 
To this end we recorded four hours of his experiences on two different 
mornings, on April 24, and May 8, 1979, in Los Angeles. But first he wanted 
to review background material. Prior to our first recording session Governor 
and Mrs. Brown came to Berkeley to take part in the April 5 Charter Day 
ceremonies. I picked them up at the Oakland Airport and drove them to the 
campus. The governor and I then conferred briefly in the seminar room of The 
Bancroft Library, looking at the draft of questions and the background papers 
which I had prepared for the interviews. These papers and mere were 
subsequently mailed to his office before each interview. 

In order for him to give his full attention to the water story, to avoid 
the constant interruptions which beset him in his office, we agreed to an early 
morning breakfast followed by a three-hour recording session in my motel room. 
Here, leaning back in his chair, with his feet propped up on the edge of the 


bed, he talked with candor, good humor, and still-felt emotion about his 
motivations, strategies, and disappointments relating to the California 
Water Project. An error in scheduling put the second interview session in 
the conference room of his law office. Despite the interruptions we 
completed the interview as planned. 

Pat Brown still believes that it is better to have water with problems 
than problems without water. Whether one looks with favor or disfavor on the 
California Water Project, it cannot be argued that Governor Edmund G. Brown, 
Sr. , is responsible for that monumental project, the impact of which has, 
once again, made water one of the hottest issues in the state. 

Therefore, this interview, which will be one chapter in his full-length 
memoir, has been included in this volume covering California water issues 
from 1950 to 1966. 

Malca Chall 

7 May 1981 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 

[Interview 16: April 24, 1979]M 

Background Experiences with Water_Law and Water Issues as 
Attorney General, 1950-1958 

Chall: You did come in as governor with a fully prepared program about water. 
Much of it seems to have come from your experience in the attorney 
general s office so I thought we d go back over that and discuss your 
work for reorganization in 1956. I understand that one time, in 1955, 
it was, you took a strong stand against the [Francis] Lindsay bill 
[A.B. 777] because he would have practically done away with the use of 
the attorney general s office in the Department of Water Resources, 
that they contemplated setting up. The following year in the 
Weinberger sessions, you indicated that they should get the water 
program going regardless of the attorney general s place in the new 
department although you still wanted it to have some control over the 
Department of Water Resources.* 

Brown: When was that? 

Chall: You stated that in the Weinberger hearings. 

Brown: Oh, in the Weinberger hearings. 

Chall: Yes, so apparently you were ready to do some kind of compromising to 
what extent, I don t know. 

##This symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has begun or 
ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 64. 

*A Department of Water Resources for California; Report of the Assembly 
Interim Committee on Government Organization to the California 
Legislature, February 8, 1956. [Caspar Weinberger, chairman] 

Brown: Well, I think you really ought to go back a little ways in the water 
project, if you don t mind. I d go right back to law school. I 
took a summer 

Chall: Excuse me, I ll just tell you that that s all in Chita s [Amelia Fry] 
interview. * 

Brown: Oh, is that all in Chita s? All about the water bonds and the 

attorney general s campaign too? I mean not the water bond campaign; 
my campaign for attorney general in 1950? Is that in there? 

Chall: No, I think not. You did discuss what you d learned in law school. 

Brown: I had taken a course in water law from a man that wrote the water 

article in Cal Jurisprudence. But I hadn t touched water law in the 
seventeen years I d been in private practice and seven years as the 
district attorney of San Francisco. But when I ran for attorney 
general in 1950, as I went into the Valley and spoke to the what they 
then called the Irrigation Districts of California, I discovered that 
water was of critical importance to the people of this state and a 
critical political issue. You had the farmers on one side and you 
had the big landowners on the other, and you had the acreage limitation 
that went back to the Reclamation Act of 1902. 

So I had to be briefed on it. I can t remember who briefed me 
on it, but I spoke with some of the attorneys in the attorney 
general s office and I recognized the political importance of water 
in 1950 although the only position I took was that I would build, or 
complete, or cooperate in a California water project of some kind. 
[Governor Earl] Warren had tried to do something but he had not worked 
too diligently for it. It was on the back burner during his first two 
terms . 


So the very first case I had when I became attorney general was 
the case of Ivanhoe Irrigation_JDistrict versus All Persons . This 
involved the validity of the acreage limitation. Did she go into all 

Yes, and I m going into it again with Abbott Goldberg. 

Oh, are you. Well, let me just terminate it then by saying that the 
importance of the Ivanhoe Irrigation case was not so much the 
philosophic position on whether or not the acreage limitation was good 

*See interview with Edmund G. Brown, Sr. , "The Governor s Lawyer," in 
Earl Warren: Fellow Constitutional Officers," Regional Oral History 
Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1979, 

Brown: or bad, but the right of the state of California to contract with the 
federal government if the federal government attached conditions to a 
grant for the building of a water project. If the position of my 
predecessor had been sustained, the only way that we could have got 
jmy_ money from the federal government was to change the federal law 
and I don t think they would have done that or to change the 
constitution of the state of California. 

So I reversed the position of my predecessor, Fred Howser, and 
sought the validation of the contract. We lost it in the superior 
court. We lost it by four to three in the supreme court of California, 
but won it unanimously with Earl Warren sitting in the case as the 
chief justice [United States Supreme Court]. I really feel that was 
the real big decision that made it possible to build the California 
Water Project and I don t think most people have given me the credit 
I think I m entitled to for making that strong political decision to 
move ahead with Ivanhoe to change the position of my predecessor on 
Ivanhoe irrigation. We had to fire an attorney who was being paid 
fifty or sixty thousand dollars a year, a man by the name of Arvin 
Shaw, and we handled it by the civil service lawyers in the AG s 
office. That s when we brought Abbott Goldberg into the case too. 
Abbott was assigned to it by me. 

Chall: Oh, I see. He was a civil servant? 

Brown: He was a civil servant in the attorney general s office, and I don t 
think he d ever handled a water case before. 

Chall: Is that right? He certainly learned fast, didn t he? 

Brown: Well, no one in the attorney general s office had done any water law. 
They had retained outside counsel all the time. 

Chall: Now, you just said a moment ago that as a result of winning that case, 
it provided the opportunity to put over the California Water Plan. How 
so? Why do you suppose that s true? 

Brown: Well, I don t think California would have passed a bond issue much in 
excess of $1.75 billion which we suggested in the 1959 Burns-Porter 
Act. We had to have the help of the federal government to build the 
project. We had to have it in the building of the San Luis Reservoir 
and we had to have it in water allocations and a great many other things, 
It was necessary for complete cooperation between the federal government 
and the state. 

The contention of the opponents was that any federal law that 
required the adoption of the acreage limitation of the Reclamation Act 
of 1902 would be unconstitutional, would be an invalid contract under 
the constitution of the state of California. They claimed that the 
California constitution provided that water must be equally distributed 
in all land and that conflicted with the federal statute. So we 

Brown: contended that the federal statute pre-empted in the matter of water 

because the water belonged to all the people of the United States and 
the Supreme Court upheld it. 

Now, recently there have been some decisions. I haven t read 
them so I m not prepared to pass judgment on them, but a decision in 
the Supreme Court of the United States, a four-to-three decision 
(I did read it but I can t remember it as I m talking to you this 
morning), that holds that the state of California is in control of the 
water of the state. It seems to me that they overruled Ivanhoe Irrigation 
versus All Persons. So when you talk to Abbott Goldberg, you might 
ask him about that. I m not prepared to say, but Abbott should know 

Chall: That s the latest U.S. Supreme Court decision? 
Brown: The latest Supreme Court decision, within the last 
Chall: This permitted then the partnership too. 

Brown: Later on. You see, you started asking me questions about 1955 and 

the reorganization. I was a member of the California Water Authority. 
That was composed of the controller, the attorney general, the state 
engineer, the state treasurer, and I think the governor oh, and the 
director of finance. Those were the five people on the California 
Water Authority. The state engineer was a man by the name of Bob 
Edmonston. Bob was a good water man and, of course, I had, during my 
campaign for attorney general in 50 and 54, I had run into all the 
big water users, and the proponents of acreage limitations, and the 
opponents of acreage limitation, and the opponents of diverting the 
water to Southern California. So I became a pretty fair to middlin 
water lawyer at this time. 

When Cap [Caspar] Weinberger came into the attorney general s 
office in San Francisco [to talk to me about this] he was a Republican. 
I had been offered a job by his father many, many, many years before 
that, so we were very friendly. He said to me, "I think if you re 
going to build a California water project, we better have one authority 
to do it. You can t have all these different agencies that they now 
have." So I said to him, "I ll support you and I ll help you." 

So he sold it to Governor Knight. So here you had the Republican 
governor, and the Democratic attorney general, and the Republican 
leader of the Ways and Means Committee, Cap Weinberger, all supporting 
the reorganization of the water departments of the state. So as a 
result of that, we put it over and that was another very, very good 
thing because it gave the governor, in 1959 when I was elected, it gave 
him the power to really run the project. He became almost a dictator 
of water because the director of water resources who made these 



decisions and controlled all of the water and everything else, served 
at the pleasure of the governor. So the governor really controlled 
the water of the state of California. 

And you could see that this was the way to go? 

I thought that water was so complicated and so controversial; it 
wasn t a partisan issue. It was an issue of the different areas of 
the state. The Delta people were terribly afraid that if they even 
took that water down to Southern California, with their big vote, 
that when they needed it, they wouldn t get it back. 

We wrote an opinion which was somewhat controversial controversial 
from a legal standpoint. Some of the lawyers in the attorney general s 
office didn t agree with it, but I signed it anyway because it gave 
the counties of origin the right to retake their water at any time that 
they needed it. It gave them a prior right. The opinion interpreting 
the statute gave them a prior right; it gave them a priority over the 
importer of water. So it would give the mountain areas, the county 
of origin, a first right to the water even though Southern California, 
or the southern valley, or wherever the water was exported to needed 
the water. 


When we wrote the opinion we felt the mountains would never need 
the water anyway. [laughs] I mean there was plenty of water for them 
up in the mountains, so when we talked about the county of origin 
where the water originated and said that they were entitled to a 
right, it was like telling someone that didn t have a oh, I don t 
know. I can t think of a good example, but you know what I mean. It 
was a meaningless decision. 

But later on, when it got into big arguments about Southern 
California versus Northern California and the water, or the southern 
San Joaquin Valley, I used it politically with great effect in arguing 
that the county of origin would give these people water. But what 
was the county of origin? Is it in the mountains where the water 
originates or is it in the valley where it starts? We never really 
we left that quite foggy because we felt that there was plenty of 
water in the state to take care of anybody if we conserved it and 
stored the water. 

So those two things, the reorganization of the water departments 
of the state and vesting authority in the governor, number one, and 
number two, the county of origin opinion during my attorney generalship 
were part of this very delicate political process of building the 
California Water Project. 

Do you suppose that the success of that reorganization plan that 
Weinberger finally achieved was developed because Weinberger was in 
charge of putting it through? 

Brown: Yes. You know, for a legislator to come down and talk to a Democratic 
attorney general and seek his help to build a project, and to have the 
vision to see the need of development of all the water of California 
was a real act of statesmanship in my opinion. 

Chall: Can you recall what had occurred with the Lindsay bill? You took a 
strong stand against that and that was just a few years before. 

Brown: What was the Lindsay bill? 

Chall: I understand it was also a reorganization bill, but it would have 

removed the attorney general s office from the legal action on water 
in the new department. 

Brown: I opposed any dilution of the powers of the attorney general in any 
shape, form, or manner. Constitutionally I felt that the attorney 
general was the chief law officer of the state and I did everything 
within my power to keep outside counsel out. Later on, we had the 
Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Water Resources was 
later in the development of the water, and there was a quarrel because 
the Department of Fish and Game wanted to file a suit to compel the 
Department of Water Resources to release more water into the San Joaquin 
for the purpose of fish and game. They wanted to go into court and 
let a court decide and I said, "No, we ll make the decision. The 
governor will make the decision." I decided against fish and game, 
wouldn t let them bring a suit. That was much later on. I can t give 
you the date of that, but I remember the controversy that existed. 

Chall: So Weinberger 

Brown: Weinberger s entitled to great credit for that. But as I talk about 
my own work as attorney general, I become a little bit proud of the 
vision that I think I had. 

Chall: While on the one hand the winning of the Ivanhoe case provided you and 
the state of California, as you say, with the future opportunity for 
getting the water plan through, it certainly brought out a lot of 
enmity toward you. 

Brown: Oh, yes, it was enemies that I never lost after that because the 

farmers, the big farmers, the people that wanted that federal water, 
they wanted the acreage limitation repealed, and they would have done 
anything to get it repealed, and if they had won Ivanhoe, they felt 
that would be the pressure to get the federal government to repeal 
the acreage limitation. 

Now, I wasn t really too keen for the acreage limitation. I 
became convinced that big farming in some crops and in some areas 
was far more sensible than acreage limitation, even though the acreage, 
limitation provided, for a husband and a wife, 320 acres, and that 

Brown: property was worth considerable money. Let s say it was worth $1,000 
an acre. Well, that s $320,000. That s not a very small farm if you 
own a ranch worth $320,000. So when you talk about acreage limitation.. 
But I felt that there ought to be a better way of limiting the subsidy 
on water. 

You see, under the federal reclamation act they sell that water 
for $3.50 an acre-foot, and it cost about eighteen dollars to deliver 
it. So there s a fifteen dollars an acre-foot subsidy to these big 
farmers Southern Pacific, Standard Oil, Kern County Land and those 
people just reaped a terrific wealth there from the federal government. 
Now, under the state project, as it later developed, we charged them 
for not the actual cost of the water because the domestic users paid 
for most of it but we did charge them a much higher price for the 
water than the federal reclamation. They re paying in some of these 
areas, forty to fifty dollars an acre-foot, where they were only 
paying $3.50 in the federal reclamation project. 

So I would have favored probably corporate farming but under a 
limited shareholders program. In other words, to compel, if you are 
going to give a subsidy for water, to have a corporation composed of 
maybe a thousand people, none of whom would own more than maybe ten 
shares, then there d be a real sharing of the benefits and you d 
have economic farming. 

But as I talk with you this morning, I m not completely familiar 
with it. There was a man at Berkeley, a professor there, who fought 
for acreage limitation from pillar to post, wrote articles 

Chall: Professor [Paul] Taylor? 

Brown: Professor Taylor. He had claimed me and praised me very highly when I 
changed the position of my predecessor in the water project. There s 
one other thing too that I think I told Chita, that when I was elected 
attorney general in 1950, the same month I was elected in November, 
the California Law Review devoted its entire issue to water law and 
the water problems of the state, and I read that from cover to cover. 
I became a real authority on the problems of water, probably more so 
than any lawyer except a lawyer that was writing on it or teaching 
water law in the state of California. I did that; I read it and reread 
it; read it from cover to cover. 

We had the Herminghaus case, and we had the Ivanhoe case, and we 
had Rank versus Krug and we had Arizona versus California these were 
all pros and cons in that article and I was intimately connected with 
all of those water cases. 

Chall: I think that in terms of the 160-acre limit, we ll be coming back to 
that from time to time because it hung on as an issue. 

Brown: It s still hanging on. It s. still on as I m talking to you today. 

Chall: And I think that the people like Professor Taylor and the labor unions, 
and the Grange, felt that you had taken a stand philosophically for 
the 160-acre limit and then when you weren t concerned about it as 
such in the state water program, the Democrats, the liberal Democrats, 
and the other groups, felt that you had betrayed them. I m not sure 
that it was ever clear that you were not really philosophically 
concerned as such with the 160-acre limit. It was a legal matter 
that you had been concerned with. 

Brown: It was the extreme liberals who wanted to break up the big farms in 
the state of California. They felt the device of the delivery of 
water would do it. I was never convinced that the small farmer could 
succeed or would be good for the economy of the state and I don t know 
today as I talk to you whether that s true or not. 

Later the political decision I had to make in connection with the 
acreage limitation was that if we put that in there, if we put the 
acreage limitation into the California Water Project as a lot of them 
wanted me to do labor and other people I felt we d incur the opposition 
of some of the large landowners and they d finance a campaign against 
my bond issue. So I felt it was more necessary to have water and that 
we could take care of any excess benefits later on. We could do it by 
breaking up the big farms. If they wanted to do it constitutionally 
or by initiative, they could do it. But I didn t want anything to 
stop the California Water Project. 

Chall: We ll probably get back into some of that in a minute. I wanted to 

go back to the setting up of the Department of Water Resources. There 

was a bone of contention not only about the role of the attorney 
general, but about the kind of committee that would be used for the 

department, whether it would be a policy committee or an advisory 

committee. You took a stand that it should be an advisory committee 

Brown: What committee is that? 

Chall: That s now called the California Water Commission. 

Brown: Oh, yes. 

Chall: It was at first set up with seven members and then it increased to 

nine members, I think, through some bill of, I believe it was Pauline 
Davis. I sent you a list of the people whom you appointed to that 
commission and I was interested to know what kind of backgrounds did 
you have in mind when you made these appointments? 

Brown: [reading list] Ralph Brody, John Bryant Riverside, John Bunker, Ira 
Chrisman, John J. King, Edmund Koster, Norrie [Norris] Poulson, 
Marion Walker. Well, they were all people that dealt with water. 
They were all people that were from different parts of the state. 
Norrie Poulson was mayor of Los Angeles, and Marion Walker had run for 
state senate or assembly from Ventura and Ventura was one that I 
thought would need water later on. Grass Valley, of course, up in 
the mountains, and Petaluma and Sonoma County. Ira Chrisman down in 
Visalia, down in the valley. I don t remember John Bunker of Augusta. 
John Bryant, Riverside, was very active in water and Ralph Brody, of 
course, from Fresno. These were all people that had been actively 
working in water. 

Chall: Did you ever change your mind about whether this was a good role for 
a commission or whether it might have been better to have been a 
policy making commission? The State Water Resources Board, its 
predecessor under the division [of Water Resources] had more authority 
to set policy and there were some people who felt that was better. 

Brown: I still feel that to have a big commission, having hearings and 

things like that, that it was better to give to an executive the right 
to do these things, to give the governor the power. I don t know 
they ve modified the law now, I think, so that you do have a policy 
making commission. I forget what they call it today. But it s just 
like the Energy Commission of the state of California. 

I agree with the situation where we appointed a department head 
and let the governor run the thing. The legislature can always change 
the law. But you get these damn commissions, and you put people on 
them, and they re part-time commissioners usually, and they become 
really bureaucrats in their handling. They re not subject to any 
political influence and whether you like it or not, the politics of 
being reelected is sometimes a good ingredient in making decisions. 

I would compare it with the Coastal Commission today. We appoint 
people for a fixed term and they are just so bureaucratic my son 
[Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.] called them "bureaucratic thugs." If 
you re a governor and you do these things you can change it. So I m 
very happy that it was only an advisory commission and didn t have 
the power to make vital decisions that we were able to make them at 
the department level. If we had the commission, we d still be building 
that project. 

Chall: I was interested in the statement that Harvey Banks had made in his 
interview.* He felt that it might better have been a different type 
of commission, one with more policy 

*See interview with Harvey 0. Banks, California Water Project, 1955-1961. 
Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of 
California, Berkeley, 1967, p. 42. 


Brown: Oh, he said that? 

Chall: Yes, he seemed to have felt that that might be better, and this was 
in 1967, I believe, when his interview was held. 

Brown: I can t remember his view as I m talking to you today. 

Chall: He may not have expressed them to you either at the time. Were you 

in contact much with Mr. Brody at the time he was the chairman of the 
commission? I know you were closely in touch with him when he was 
your counsel. I wondered whether you had any relationships with him 
that were close after that, when there were still some rather 
important decisions to be made. 

Brown: Well, when did I appoint him the attorney? Do you know? Have you 
got that time? 

Chall: Brody? 

Brown: Yes. I thought he came right in with me at the very beginning in 1959. 

Chall: He did but then after the water bond was passed you appointed him to 
the commission. 

Brown: Oh, he resigned after that. He went down to Fresno and went to work 
for that big for Jack O Neill and those people down there. 

Chall: Yes, Westlands Water District. 

Brown: Westlands Water District, yes. 

Chall: So you made him the chairman of the California Water Commission. 

Brown: Well, Ralph Brody had been one of the attorneys in the Bureau of 

Reclamation and in my study of the big fight between the Bureau of 
Reclamation and the California farmers, I supported the liberals, the 
[Harold] Ickes group in the Department of Interior. Ralph Brody was 
part of that; so was Bill Warne. These people had all been subject 
to a violent attack by Sheridan Downey in a book called They Would 
Rule the Valley. I thought that Downey was a very intemperate man. 
I read his book and I thought he was way out of line. So from my 
reading, and history, and my own political philosophy, I relied on 
liberals like Bill Warne and Ralph Brody to a tremendous extent, 
although I put Bill Warne in as the head of the Department of Fish 
and Game and later put him in charge of the Department of Water 
Resources. Abbott Golberg had been with me in the attorney general s 
office. Abbott was a cold I don t mean cold, he s a very warm guy 
but he made up his mind and wouldn t change. 




You were talking about Abbott Goldberg, 
about the way he worked. 

I d like to know something 



Well, Abbott had never had anything in water law until he was 
assigned by me as attorney general to the Ivanhoe case and he didn t 
come into it until late, as I remember. The first two attorneys that 
worked on it were Bert Levit and I can t remember who else. Maybe 
I gave it to Abbott too. Bert Levit was my chief assistant. I think 
it was probably Ted Westphal who I appointed chief of the civil 
division. So I worked very closely with Abbott. He was one of the 
key men in the development of the California Water Project. 

He got very close to a little attorney in the Bureau of 
Reclamation whose first name it seems to me was Lee-something I 
can t remember it. But he was a little fighter. He represented the 
Department of Interior in all of these cases and he and Abbott Goldberg 
joined together. He was in the Ivanhoe Irrigation District versus All 
Persons because the United States government intervened in that case. 
They agreed philosophically. 

You also had a battle what they used to call state rights and 
they didn t want the federal government to have anything to say about 
the water. But you ve got to remember at that time we had a Democratic 
administration and the big farmers were all Republicans. They hadn t 
helped me. They had supported the opposition to me, so I wasn t 
about to do anything for them anyway. Now, that may sound like a 
small-gauge guy that he would let politics interfere with his judgment 
on a thing like this, but that happens to be true. 

Do you think that the problems of dealing with the large landowners, 
and Southern California people, and the Metropolitan Water District, 
might have had something to do with the fact that Governor Knight just 
couldn t move beyond where he did move with respect to water? Many 
of the recommendations with respect to financing the water project, 
et cetera, were all made; many of them were there in place during his 
administration, but nothing could be done. I wondered whether it 
might have been a problem of just dealing with these factions, 
particularly if you re a Republican and you need their financial 

Well, I think that certainly played a part in it. Knight couldn t 
fight the big landowners like I could because he needed their support 
as a Republican, number one. Number two, both the north and the 
south were afraid of each other. The Northern California and Southern 
California interests were all afraid. The Metropolitan Water District 
were afraid of the farmers and the farmers were afraid of the 
Metropolitan Water District. So they tried to write a constitutional 
amendment that would provide forever, or constitutionally, for the 
allocation of water. But it was absolutely impossible to write a 


Brown: constitutional amendment and put in the constitution of the state of 

California declaring rights in water. I mean that Southern California 
would have X acre-feet of water and Northern California would have 
X acre-feet. 

So Abbott Goldberg came to me, after I was elected governor, and 
said to me, "Governor, the question of water law, the question of a 
constitutional amendment, becomes important only if there isn t enough 
water, and there s sufficient water in the state of California to take 
care of everybody. So don t worry about a constitutional amendment. 
Build the project, build the dams, provide the water, and there will 
be no need for legislation because there will be water for everybody." 

So based upon the studies and the report made to me, by the 
civil service people and the Department of Water Resources, that if 
we built the Feather River Dam, and if we built the Peripheral Canal, 
and if we built further dams up in the Eel River up in the northwestern 
part of the state there would be plenty of water to take care of 
California down to the year of maybe 2025, which is about as far as I 
would project myself, we wouldn t have to worry about water. Then, at 
that time, we figured that energy would be so cheap that we could have 
desalinization of the water to take care of the coastal areas and 
we used the Coastal California Water Project for the others. So that 
was the philosophy that motivated me in the water project and I think 
time has proven it to be correct. 

But, you see, afterwards now we re getting way ahead of our 
story in 1970 or somewhere along there they passed the Wild Rivers 
Bill that took the Northern California waters out of the project and 
made them wild rivers so you couldn t build any dam. He [Ronald Reagan] 
also didn t fight for the Peripheral Canal so as a result of that 
Peripheral Canal costs have been inflated to such a point now that 
it s almost impossible to build. So I regard Reagan as a destroyer of 
the California Water Project in the sense that he didn t fight for it 
like I did. He probably didn t know it. He didn t know water law, he 
didn t know the history of it, he didn t even know California. So 
that s one of the tragedies. 

But the environmentalists in Northern California, the Delta people, 
will put their arms around him and say that he saved the Bay Area fom 
pollution and everything else. 

Chall: Was there some concern at that point that the water plan as set out 
really wasn t going to be able to pay for itself and they had to cut 
back on it? They were always, as I see it, year by year differences 
of opinion about how much the plan was going to cost from the very 
beginning, where it ranges from eleven billion up or down, nobody knew 
for sure. When the Reagan people came in they felt there was going to 
be almost immediately a financial problem, and began to cut back. Was 
that a consideration that you think has some validity in it? 


Brown: No, I don t think it has any validity because you need water. Whatever 
it costs you have to have it. It s like oil today. If you have to 
have oil, you ve got to pay for it. What s the value of oil? What s 
the value of water? If you re crossing the desert and you haven t got 
a bottle of water, and there s no water any place in sight and someone 
comes along and says, "I ll sell you two spoonfuls of water for ten 
dollars," you ll pay for it. 

The same thing is true in California. Whatever the cost of water 
is, it s relatively cheap alongside of the needs of a great big state 
that s now growing at the rate of 400,000 people a year. I think that 
cost is important. I mean you can t bring water down from Alaska 
when there s other available sources. But we looked at the economy 
of water and we just felt that that was the way to handle it. 

The Campaign for Governor, 1958 

Chall: Now, in your campaign for governor you set out in your speeches some 
ideas and statements about water which you had more or less stated 
during the past number of years and others had too about the big 
cost and cooperation with the federal government, and all this kind of 
thing. How important was water as such in your campaign for governor? 
When you and I are talking about water I m likely to focus in on it 
as if it were the most important thing, but you had other things like 
FEP and 

Brown: Abolition of cross filing. 

Chall: Abolition of cross filing. So how important did you feel that water 
was in your campaign? 

Brown: I thought it was of tremendous importance. I felt it was almost the 
number one project. You get involved in the water of California, the 
water controversy, and it becomes a passion with you to see it, 
because it really meant the development of Southern California, and 
the development of the agricultural areas of the state, and providing 
jobs. As a matter of fact, when they developed Century City here in 
Southern California I went to the dedication and the head of the 
Aluminum Corporation of America who had purchased it from the Twentieth 
Century said to me, "If you didn t pass the water bonds and we didn t 
have the California Water Project, we never would have invested the 
billions that we re going to invest in Century City." So you see the 
offshoots of a project like that were tremendous. I can tell you it 
was almost number one. As I look back on what happened there were 
some other things that I think have had a more profound effect, but 
water was one of my proudest achievements. 


Chall: Now, when you were campaigning you didn t campaign with any specific 
facts . You talked a lot about water and the fact that only the 
governor s office could provide the leadership for the project and all 
of that, but there were no specific facts on how it would be built. 
Were people, however, expecting that if you were elected governor, 
something really would be done with the water project? Were you 
campaigning with that idea in mind, that you were going to get support 
from certain groups because you were planning to put the water project 

Brown: Really I didn t think of water in terms of if I support water it will 
help elect me governor. By this time I had been convinced that we 
needed the California Water Project and rightly or wrongly, I was 
going to push it through. When I talked about water I recognized it 
was a sectional issue and not a partisan issue and that s the way I 
talked about it. I still believe that to this day, that it was not 
partisan and I had to just be the water master of the state in building 
the California Water Project. I had to make the decision. 

Of course, I had advisors. I had men that I depended upon like 
Ralph Brody and Abbott Goldberg during the campaign. I had all of 
those people that had assisted me, and I knew some of the big water 
people in the state. There was Jack O Neill down in Fresno who was a 
big friend of mine and a big contributor. 

Chall: Oh, he was? 

Brown: Oh, yes, and so I worked right alongside of them. 

Chall: Your idea, however, was to become elected and get Democrats in so that 
you could put the project over? 

Brown: That s right. 

Chall: There have been statements to the effect that the Republicans, in fact, 
had prepared all the ground work for the water program and the Democrats 
held out, particularly in the years 1957 and 1958, hoping that a 
Democrat would come in as governor and Democrats in the legislature, 
and then they would put it over. Do you suppose that there s any 
validity to that? 

Brown: As a matter of fact, I talked with Assemblyman Vince [Vincent] Thomas, 
who was the Democratic floor leader, and we didn t cooperate with 
Governor Knight in the last year. We wanted the water project to be 
something that we could put over. But they were sticking at that 
time to the constitutional amendment. So even though there was 
certainly a political input, it was also the fact that Knight did not 
have the vision to see the impossibility of passing a constitutional 
amendment. He was fighting for that. 


Excerpts from "Background Material for Members of the Working Press;" 
California Campaign Committee, October 14, 1958. Speeches of 
Edmund G. (Pat) Brown. 

PERSONAL 7fAT3R RSC03D - San Diego, Saptemb 9 r 10, 1958 

A famous Democratic Governor of New York State was fond of saying, 
"Let s look at the record;" and, because I am now a candidate for the 
position of Chief Executive of California, it is time that you should 
know ny record to date in this important and difficult subject. 

I believe you will find it a first hand, continuing, and con 
structive record at the forefront of probing and providing public 
leadership on one of the most difficult and complex problems ever to 
confront any American state. 

I am proud of this record because I believe it has been a record 
of leadership. As I shall presently show, I have been first, or among 
the first, to publicly take a position on the major questions which 
have arisen to date in formulating our future water policy., Substan 
tially all of the policies and positions which I initiated, or was 
among the first to advocate, either have been or are now receiving 
widespread and general acceptance. Let s look at the recordl 

In January, 1955 as "the Legislature convened, I issued a formal 
opinion upholding the constitutionality of the statutes which protect 
those parts of the State wherein water originates, frora being deprived 
of water they need for their own future development. That opinion has 
not been seriously challenged. 

Since that opinion, Southern California, has been seeking to 
place some limitation upon the quantities of water reserved to the 
areas or origin in order that beneficiaries of the Feather Rivsr Pro 
ject might obtain a firm and irrevocable right to receive water from 
that project. 

The lines along which this debate wag to grow, had scarcely been 
drawn before I had completed a study in the mattor As the result of 
this study, I folt that Southern California was entitled to a valid 
assurance of a firm risht to its future neada for watar. 


I also pointed eut that we were on the threshold of a new era in 
water development, and that whether we like it or not, California nust 
undertake a coordinated development of all resources of the State. 

I pointed out that the growth of the State has reached a point 
where there is no longer unappropriated water during periods of low 
flow to supply future uses in the Sacramento or in the San Joaquia 
Valleys, and that project construction is as essential to the future 
of the northern part of the State as it is to the south. 

I said that without storage projects the future needs of neither 
area of origin nor area of deficiency can be met, and that, obviously, 
the construction of projects is not only a matter of time but is some 
thing which will be progressive. 

This was in May, 1955* almost a year before the publication of 
the California "Water Plan. 

The Attorney General s Committee of Water Lawyers on County of 
Origin Problems came into being in the late summer of 1955 Every 
section of the State was represented by qualified attorneys who were 
men of high standing in their respective communities. But even as 
the waterlawyers commenced their deliberations, which extended over 
a period of a year-and-a-half , I had already turned to the questions 
of financing actual construction, and of fiscal policies which have 
always seemed to me to be the hard core of the problem. 

Before the end of 1955* I had- formulated and adopted certain 
basic policies which have since been gaining greater and greater 
acceptance. These were: 

First, the need for the adoption of a master plan such as the 
California Water Plan. By means of that, plans for specific projects 
can be coordinated and guided toward the end of the maximim use of 
our remaining water resources. 

Secondly, the concept that the State itself must construct and 
operate certain large project works which are beyond the financial 
resources of local agencies. 

Thirdly, the creation of a permanent "Water Development Fund 
operating on a revolving fund basis, in order to insure continuity 
to the State s program and orderly development benefiting all parts 
of the State. 

Fourthly, complete development of the key watersheds is necessary 
in order to obtain their maximum benefits. 



As evidence of my non-partisan approach to the solution of our 
water problems, I can point to the wholehearted support which I gave 
to Governor Knight in seeking, over active opposition, the creation 
of a Department of Water Resources headed by a Director who was 
appointed by and responsible to the Governor. Further, I succeeded 
in reaching an agreement concerning the role of the Attorney General 
in conducting water litigation on behalf of the State which avoided 
all controversy on this point. 

Prior to the creation of the Department of Water Resources in 
1956, as Attorney General, I was a member of the Water Project 

In March, 195&, there was published a preview of the California 
Water Plan. The California Water Plan is not a construction program. 

This being so, what was needed as quickly as it could be ob 
tained, were the recommendations of the State s engineers and water 
experts for an actual state construction program. Accordingly, at one 
of the last meetings of the Water Project Authority, in April of 1956, 
I proposed a resolution which was adopted. This resolution called upon 
the then State Engineer, the Division of Water Resources, and the new 
Department, to prepare a twenty-year program in order that the people 
of the State might know and understand the extent of the financial 
burden which must be shouldered if we are to have water when and where 
it is needed. 

So far as I am informed, this was the first formal action to 
produce a twenty-year program to be undertaken by the State. 

I have consistently taken the position that federal financial 
aid and assistance should be obtained to the fullest extent possible. 
We cannot afford to ignore it. California water users are the direob 
beneficiaries of the long standing federal policy providing interest- 
free capital for water projects serving agriculture, and of applying 
excess power revenues to minimize the cost of water. 

I would say that we now have an expectancy in round figures of 
one billion dollars of federal money to provide water development 
facilities that we must have. 

I say to you candidly that the financial condition of the State 
of California Trill not permit us to slam the door on financial assist 
ance of such magnitude. On the other hand, I think it equally un 
realistic to -want the Federal Government to carry the entire burden 
of water development in California. 



My position has consistently been that the state can best provide 
the over-all direction of water development. But we must encourage the 
concerted use of federal, state and local funds to the maxirauia extent 

When the 1957 session of the legislature convened, I was able to 
transmit to it and to the Governor the final Report of the Attorney 
General s Committee of Water Lawyers. 

The most important conclusion reached by the Water Lawyers 
Committee was stated in these words: 

"Under the water conditions which now exist in 
California, we believe that there can be no final or 
complete solution to the problem of the areas of origin 
except within the framework of a long-range program of 
state financing or construction of those engineeringly 
sound and economically feasible projects which are beyond 
the financial capabilities of local agencies, public and 



Brown: I suppose we could have passed some sort of a constitutional amendment 
but it might have prevented the passage of the water bonds later on. 
It s hard to say. But there was, as a matter of fact, politics in it. 
I worked for the Democratic minority or majority to see that there was 
no water project until I was elected governor. 

Chall: So, in other words, you were definitely laying the ground work for 
your water plan a year or two ahead? 

Brown: Well, I was laying it back when I was on the Water Project Authority 
when Bob Edmonston stood me up against the wall and said, "If you 
want to leave your mark in history, you build that California Water 
Project." You ve got to remember, when we re talking about the 
California Water Project we re talking about the Feather River Dam, 
we re talking about the San Luis Reservoir, we re talking about 
pumping the water over the Tehachapis. That was all in Bob Edmonston s 
water plan. 

I m not a water engineer and I m not a person that knows the 
sources of water or how to measure acre-feet of water. I was 
essentially a politician in what I consider the best sense of the word. 
That was the project itself. Now, how do you achieve that? How do 
you get it done? That was the political phase of it which to my mind 
was just as great an achievement as the engineering. As a matter of 
fact, it was a more subtle and more difficult thing to do. I had to 
fight later on all of my close friends in the legislature Senator 
[George] Miller, Senator [Stephen] Teale, and all of the people that 
were in the upper San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area. 
You see, you had a rural senate then and these were the most powerful 

The fact that I selected Hugh Burns to carry the bill in the 
senate and we started in the senate, in the rural areas, and then 
had Carley Porter in the assembly this was political genius if I do 
say so myself. I can remember laughing and thinking what a great 
thing this is to call it the Burns-Porter bill. I look back on it 
now and it was really an achievement. 

The Burns-Porter Act, SB 1106 

Chall: I still read material that says that Burns wrote the act, authored 
the act, which Mr. Grody in his article claims is not so, that 
actually Mr. Ralph Brody wrote the Burns-Porter Act.* Was Brody 
basically the author of that act? 

*Harvey P. Grody, "From North to South: The Feather River Project and 
Other Legislative Water Struggles in the 1950s," Southern California 
Quarterly (Fall, 1978) , pp. 287-326. 


Brown: Yes, he was. Burns couldn t Burns didn t know water law or anything 
like that. He just needed water for the valley down there. He was 
a very good pupil in arguing for water on the floor, but Ralph Brody 
sat right beside him on the floor of the senate telling him what to 
say. Ralph Brody was the actual drafter of the act. Of course, he 
had legislative help. He had people that had had experience in writing 

Chall: The basic difference between the Burns-Porter Act and all of the 

other statements that you had made when you were attorney general, 
and in your campaigns, the one subtle change and it wasn t so 
subtle was going for the bond package, and as legislation as a 
statute. Now, whose idea was that? That s really a crucial change 
in detail. 

Brown: I really think Abbott Goldberg was more responsible for that than 
anybody. I think he was responsible for influencing me to not try 
to go for a constitutional amendment, to go for a legislative act 
and a bond act. I think on the bond act itself, which gave authority 
to the governor to issue these bonds, I think that was the composite 
political judgment of Brody, and Goldberg, and Harvey Banks, who was 
then the director of water resources, and myself. 

Chall: Somebody has credited Hugo Fisher with that. 

Brown: No, Hugo Fisher wasn t even in water at that time. I can t remember 
who was in the legislature that we depended upon the most, but Hugo 
Fisher didn t come in until much later. He was not entitled to 
credit for that. 

Now, the size of the bond issue, the $1.75 billion bond issue, 
that has to be credited to Norrie Poulson who was then the mayor 
of Los Angeles. We were questioning could we ever pass a bond act of 
$1.75 billion? We didn t know exactly the cost of the project. We 
hadn t priced it out to any exactitude. As a matter of fact, we thought 
it would cost more than the $1.75 billion, probably in the neighborhood 
of $2.50 billion. But we figured there would be other sources of water. 
So the question was, we could get $500 million and build the Feather 
River Dam and get the project started. Then you had to complete it. 

I remember someone telling me about how Huey Long operated in 
Louisiana where the legislature wouldn t give him the money to build 
a road. So he built a road. He started at one end, built it to here 
and left a big gap. Then the legislature had to change it. So people 
told me about that, I can remember, and said, "Why don t you do that? 
Build here and build here and then they ll have to complete it." 

But Norrie convinced me that if we were going to pass the bond 
issue at all, if we were going to satisfy them, we had to take care 
of every part of the state. The $1.75 billion, plus tideland oil 


Brown: revenues which was to be added to the project would complete the canal 
throughout the state. I can remember arguing, "We ll take one great 
natural resource, oil, and we ll create another great natural resource, 
water," which was a good argument. I don t know how much of tideland 
oil has gone into it, but that was one of the arguments that we used. 
We had to put tideland revenues in the project. 

Now, Ralph Nader later came along and wrote a scathing article 
on the California Water Project and claimed that I lied to the people 
of the state in the actual cost of the water. Now, as a matter of 
fact, he never talked to me, nor did any of his people ever discuss 
it with me, as to whether or not 1 lied, to give me an opportunity to 
explain it. He just made the bold statement, he issued this statement 
to the press. I don t think I was ever more infuriated since I left 
the governor s office to have a man like Nader come out here to 
California, after I d fought so hard for the water project, and to 
criticize me without giving me a chance to reply. 

If he d called me up and said, "These are the facts. What about 
it?" But he didn t even give me an opportunity to plead "not guilty" 
and I ve never had any use for Ralph Nader since. There s the old 
Latin expression "falsio in unius falsio in omnibus" "false in one, 
false in all," and that s the way I felt about Ralph Nader. 

As a matter of fact, we had consultants, I mean on the financing, 
on the bond issue. I can t remember who they were. I think there was 
a man from Boston, Massachusetts. I can t remember the name of the 

Chall: Main, I think. [Charles T. Main] 

Brown: Main, yes. The Delta people, the big farmers that opposed the water 
project, they retained other consultants. So the people had the two 
reports of financial people before them, and for Nader to say that the 
people were lied to by me is a complete exaggeration . 

Chall: Do you think though that people can make these statements though 
lying that s a rather tough word in view of the fact that nobody 
really knew how much it was going to cost? Erwin Cooper points out 
in his book that the initial plan was based on something that might 
cost $2.5 billion, but from the time the bond act, SB 1106, was passed 
in the legislature in June, 1959, until the election in November, 1960, the 
engineers were continually cutting down the size of the project.* 

*Erwin Cooper, Aqueduct Empire (Glendale, California: 
H. Clark Company, 1968), pp. 230-231. 

The Arthur 


Brown: Well, there s some truth in that, but as a matter of fact to cost-price 
it out completely you almost had to develop the whole plan. We didn t 
want to delay the project for maybe two or three or four years. We 
did know the exact amount of the bond issue, $1.75 billion. That s 
the largest bond issue in the history of any state. 

When they say it doesn t include interest anybody could easily 
compute the interest on the bond issue or they can estimate it. When 
you pass a school bond issue for $250 million payable forty years 
later, you never say the bond issue is going to cost double that at 
the present time. You say it s a $250 million bond issue and the 
interest rates will be whatever the interest is at the time. So when 
he says we didn t count the interest, in no bond issue that I know of 
have they ever added on the interest, except opponents that may want 
to add the interest charges on a project. 

We had four bond issues on the ballot in 1962. We had one for 
schools, elementary and secondary schools; that was $250 million. 
We had one for beaches and parks; that was $250 million. We had one 
for university and state colleges; that was $250 million. We had one 
on veterans loans. That was one billion dollars worth of bonds that 
we were issuing in one year and we never added the interest on them 
and said six percent over forty years will be X number of dollars. You 
don t talk that way. People presumptively know you pay interest on 
those bonds. 

Chall: When you spell it out, and Bruce Allen did in some of his material, 
that would indicate that the price of the water program would be 
doubled. Of course, his idea was to pay as you go. That idea held 
on for quite awhile. There was no pay-as-you-go in your plan. 

Brown: We never paid any attention to him. You could not depend upon 
the legislature to appropriate money every session for the project. 
You would not tell what particular benefits went to what areas of 
the state. I m glad we had the bond issue. The bonds averaged out 
about four percent. The bonds now, of course, with interest rates of 
ten and twelve percent, they re selling I guess the three and a half 
percent bonds we sold must be selling for maybe around $55 and $60 

Chall: Some of the later ones must have cost more in interest because I think 
it was some time in the seventies that there was a proposition on the 
ballot to allow the state to raise the interest rates to seven percent, 
to pay off bonds. 

Brown: Did that pass? 

Chall: Yes, by a small margin. 

Brown: Have all those bonds been issued now, do you know? 


Chall: I don t know, but I think they probably haven t if they were going 
according to the original plan. I do think that Reagan planned to 
sell them off a little faster at one point. 

Brown: As a matter of fact when the project of the Feather River Dam was 

built I had to make a decision personally as to whether to build the 
Feather River Dam. Some people claimed that we didn t need the dam; 
we could use the rest of the project, the San Luis Reservoir. We 
didn t need that water behind the dam until probably 1970 or some such 
date. It was down the road quite a bit. 

Chall: Dillon Reed, I think. 

Brown: Dillon Reed. Whatever they told us to do. But other people came 
along and showed me that the inflationary rate would be X dollars, 
that the inflationary costs would be tremendous in ten or fifteen 
years. So if we issued the bonds and built the dam, even though we 
didn t need it back in 1960 or 61, we figured that it was cheaper 
to do it then. It was almost a stand off. I mean don t build the dam, 
don t pay interest on those bonds, as against inflationary costs in 
those days. I mean inflation was only three or four percent. 

But the thing that finally moved me to build the Feather River 
Dam: I was sitting there one day in the governor s office and I 
thought, say there s another big flood like there was in 1955. Say 
that people were killed because we didn t build the flood control 
features of the California Water Plan. I would feel very badly about 
it and, as a matter of fact, in 1964 we did have torrential rains and 
we would have had a flood. The dam was only half up, but it was up 
just enough to save Marysville and Yuba City. So I was again 
vindicated in the decisions that I had to make. 

Chall: When you say it was a stand off, does that mean within your 

administrative family and with the Department of Water Resources 

Brown: I would say that the finance people wanted me to delay it; the water 
people wanted to build it. They re builders; they like to see those 
projects built. But it was I that made the decision myself and I based 
it upon flood control, because interest and inflation was almost the 
same at the time. 

Chall: Now, that did create some financing problems quite soon as the 
consultants had said it would if you built it right away. 

Brown: Because the other people didn t need the water right away. You 
couldn t sell the water. 

Chall: That s right, you couldn t sell the water, and this resulted in the 
decision to go back and get 








More money. 

Well, not only more money but to use the Central Valley Project bonds. 
Do you recall the court case? I think it was Warne versus Harkness? 

Yes, that was the Department of Water Resources against the Department 
of Finance, and the supreme court validated the sale of those bonds 
which we thought they d do. That was Phil Gibson, the chief justice, 
with whom I worked very closely. [laughs] He was a great chief 
justice and it was great to validate those bonds. Miller fought it, 
George Miller and those fellows. They all fought [it] . But we needed 
all that money. But we got it. Have you got something on that there? 

Let s see. [goes through papers] I don t have anything on the court 
cases with me. There were several court cases that you had to make 

Oh, yes, we had to validate the Burns-Porter Act. 

We had to get that 

That was the Marquardt [Metropolitan Water District versus Marquardt] 

I don t remember which one it was, but the fact is that the chief 
justice worked very, very closely with me in all of those decisions. 
You see the supreme court didn t have to take original jurisdiction 
in those cases. But I would call the chief justice up and I would 
say, "Chief, this is very important. I want you to take it," and 
invariably he did. 

Brown: I can t remember the maneuverings ; all I can remember is we maneuvered. 
You see, in the first instance we passed the Burns-Porter Act in the 
senate first and there were some imperfections in the bill that we 
discovered later. 

Chall: What kind? 

Brown: I can t remember what they were. Maybe Ralph or Abbott would remember 

Chall: Were they legal imperfections? 

Brown: Whether they were legal or technical imperfections I really can t say. 

Chall: In the bond act, in the act itself? 

Brown: In the act itself. There were some things that we would have liked 
to have cleared up. But when it got over to the assembly, we passed 
it intact. We didn t change one syllable in it because if we did it 


Brown: would have had to go back to the senate for concurrence in the 
amendments and we never felt we could get those votes again. I 
jammed them through with all of the power of a governor with a 
million vote plurality, and I just gave it everything I had. 

Chall: How were you able to do that? Grody [on page 300 of his article] 

quotes you as saying that you "begged, pleaded, urged and cajoled," and 
Weinberger, in a little article that I saw in Western Water News in 
August, 1959, right after the bill had been signed, said that you 
"pleaded, begged, threatened, and browbeat the Democratic senators." 

Brown: I did, I did. I did everything. They used to say that I had a 

reputation of listening to the last person that talked with me. I think 
it grew out of the Chessman case. But in the issues of major importance, 
I never retreated one iota like fair housing, fair employment practices, 
cross filing, and the water project. They were all you know, we 
played a tough poker game in those things. 

In passing the bond issue, for example, the Metropolitan Water 
District really wanted to dominate the project and the L.A. Times 
and the Metropolitan Water District both threatened to oppose the 
bond issue unless I made changes in the act. One of the changes they 
wanted, they didn t want the east aqueduct to be built. They wanted it 
all to go through the Metropolitan and the Metropolitan would have 
controlled the whole water of the south. And they had good arguments 
for it. It was the second California water project. But we felt that 
it was a state project and the state should dominate it, and I m glad 
we did because now we have an overwhelming vote in Southern California, 
for the time being, and a great need for water down here. It s a 
question whether they wouldn t use that power to hurt some of the 
Northern Calif ornians . 

Chall: Can you give me any instance of how you "threatened, browbeat, 

Brown: Oh, I can t remember specifically. The one I had a tough time with 
was Gene McAteer. He was my closest friend, my campaign chairman 
in the state senate. We were close personal friends, I mean social 
friends. As a matter of fact, his wife still is. At my birthday 
party Saturday night, why, she was there with her boy friend. I 
think McAteer wanted a judgeship for a man that helped him get through 
the bar examination, a fellow named Glickburg or something. He 
wouldn t vote for it until I promised to appoint this guy judge, which 
I finally did. He turned out to be a poor judge too by the way. He 
was finally defeated because of his injudicial remarks on the bench. 

Chall: But you did need McAteer 1 s vote? 


Brown: I did need McAteer s vote. I can t remember. There were two or three 

others that I needed and I did an awful lot of trading. I did a lot 

of trading in the legislature, commitments. I can t remember what they 
were now. 

Chall: It s also claimed that you had to make some strong promises to Hugh 
Burns in order to get him, not only to carry the act, but to stay 
with it toward the end. There were appointments that might have had 
to do with insurance commissioners and even at the very last, practically 
the last minute, he still was wringing concessions out of you. Do you 
recall any of that? 

Brown: I have no recollection of that. Hugh became involved in the bill 
as much as I did. He wanted the Burns-Porter Act. He wanted the 
title, and the people in his district, fellows like Jack O Neill that 
had supported Hugh and were very close to him, they were the ones that 
really got it more than I did. He didn t extract anything from me. 
On the Insurance Commission he was very interested in the reappointment 
of one of Knight s men, Britt McConnell, and I did reappoint him but 
I did it because the insurance industry wanted the man. It was one 
of the few places where I let an industry name the commissioner, but 
I did it. 


B rown : 

I was ready to fight on banks, and on water, and on capital 
punishment, and a lot of other things, but I just thought there was 
no use making too many enemies right at the beginning of my term. 
But I have no recollection. I think Burns asked me to reappoint Britt 
McConnell which I promised to do, but I don t think it was tied into 
the water project at all. 

Burns was the president pro tern of the senate. He was the 
leader. He was entitled to great consideration on appointments that 
I d make and I gave it to him. Hugh was a very conservative senator 
even though he was a registered Democrat. But he and I always got 
along very, very well until the end. I mean after the first two years, 
I can t remember what we fought about. I think we fought about fair 
housing. He was violently opposed to fair housing. But generally 
speaking we got along very well. 

Were there any concessions that had to be made between let s say water 
and the passage of the FEP? Did you have to water down FEP in order 
to get some votes on the water bill or anything of this kind? 

No, I don t think so. I don t think so, although we were willing to 
trade. I can t think of any. Unquestionably, I wanted that water 
bill through and I probably would have promised almost anything to 
get it. I wanted it done. But you ve got to remember that I had won 
by a million votes. This was my honeymoon, the first year as governor. 
I hadn t run into Chessman yet. I hadn t run into the things that 
later weakened me in the eyes of the public and in the eyes of the 


Brown: Southern California needed that water very, very badly, and there 

were some other areas. I mean Kern County needed the water, so I had 
Fresno and Jack O Neill. They wanted that San Luis Reservoir 

Then, of course, we had to share that with the Bureau of 
Reclamation. We had to get their help, so I needed the congressional 
help of men like Clair Engle and others. So it was a great political 
victory for me, but I was the commander- in-chief of a pretty good army. 
There was one other phase to it that happened. [interruption: telephone 

One other phase to the project was this, that we were running 
into trouble with fish and game because of the fish life. They were 
afraid there would be too much water diverted from the Delta, and it 
would hurt the fish life. So the engineers came up with the Peripheral 
Canal. That would have cost a great deal more and we didn t have that 
in the original project. We didn t have the Peripheral Canal in the 
original planning of it and I think at that time the Peripheral Canal 
would have cost $250-$270 million. But we added that to protect the 
fish life. Now, I didn t know when we put that in that it would also 
add another 850,000 to a million acre- feet of water. But we put that 
in for fish and game. Now, that project has not been completed yet. 
We had that down the line maybe eight or nine years. 

Chall: But the Peripheral Canal was put in for the reasons of protecting fish 
and game? 

Brown: Fish, not game; to protect the fish because it permitted the 

regulation of flow into the Delta. The way it is now without the 
Peripheral Canal, you have to put all that water in there to flush it 
out, and some places you don t need the water, you don t need it in 
some of the marshland around there; you don t need it. So you can 
regulate flow; when the fish need the water for salinity control and 
things such as that. This permits you to flush it out at the right 
time whereas now it s just an uncontrolled thing. You waste a 
tremendous acreage of water in flushing it out rather than regulate 
the flow of it. You ought to get more detail of how that works from 
Ralph Brody or one of the other engineers if you talk to them. 

Chall: I always thought the Peripheral Canal was to provide cleaner, fresher 
water along the aqueduct rather than to protect the Delta. 

Brown: Both, it was for both. It was put in at the request of the fish and 

game people because they opposed the project in the first instance and 
I had to overrule them. So then we came on with the canal, even though 
it added considerably to the cost of the project, we still wanted to 
go ahead with it. 


Chall: Now, the fish and game people I think the chair of their committee 
was Pauline Davis. Did you work closely with her on such things as 
the Davis-Grunsky Act and protection of fish and game. Was that one 
of her prime considerations? 

Brown: Well, Pauline Davis was a pretty hardnosed politician. She was pretty 
good. She wanted some dams built up in her area that had nothing to 
do with the California Water Project, but they were good for her. 
They were little projects that had been suggested and they should have 
called those the Davis Lakes. I forget what they called them. But 
in order to appease the Northern California people, to take care of 
everybody, I signed the Davis-Grunsky Act which provided for recreational 
lakes. This was for recreation, for fish, and boating; funds were 
included in the project. We took money out of the tideland oil funds 
to build those dams up there. They ve turned out to be great things too. 

At that time, we didn t plan them. We were thinking, our minds 
were thinking that the economic use of water, and flood control; 
recreation was a third priority. As it s turned out, all of them have 
been very worthwhile and justifiable. The people that use those 
dams now for recreation is tremendous. I mean Castaic Lake and Perris 
Lake and some of the others. I don t know how much recreation there 
is on San Luis. I don t think there s very much. That s a pretty 
windy, cold slot, [pause] Have you been up to the Feather River at all? 
Have you seen the Feather River Dam? 

Chall: No, but some day I m going to. 

Brown: Oroville Dam? 

Chall: No, I ve never been there. 

Brown: Oh, well, you ought to take a look at it. As a matter of fact, what 
you should do is to get somebody, get nine or ten people, and have 
them charter a plane and fly up and see the fish hatcheries up there 
and then fly down along the route and come down into San Bernardino 
and to Perris. 

Chall: Right, that s one of my ideas for the future. 

Brown: It would take you two days to do it. It s really a tremendous thing. 
It s really something. Later on I guess they were calling it the 
California Aqueduct I wanted them to call it the Edmund G. Brown 
Aqueduct. Jack Knox put through a bill and said, "It s a cinch to go 
through." This was during Jerry s first term. [pause] And Jerry 
called me up and he said, "Dad, I think it s a mistake to call the 
project after you at this time. When you re dead, then they ll name 
something after you." I said, "Hell, I won t know anything about it 
then!" But he too called my attention to the fact that they wanted to 


Brown: call the big auditorium in Sacramento the Earl Warren Auditorium and 

the people voted it down. They wanted it to be called the Sacramento. 
So I think Jerry s right about it. The people don t like to have you 
name something after yourself. 

Chall: Especially if it s their project. 

Brown: Bill Warne wanted to name the Feather River Dam the Edmund G. Brown. 

Instead of calling it Oroville Lake, they wanted to call it the Edmund 
G. Brown Lake. One of these days they may change the name of one of 
the little ditches or something. 

Chall: Well, they have O Neill Forebay. 

Brown: They ve got the O Neill Forebay, and they ve got the Carley Porter 

Tunnel, and they ve got the Edmonston Pumps. So they ve got lots of 
things but nothing if you go from one end of that project to the 
other, you won t see my name any place, not a single solitary place. 
I think everybody is a little bit embarrassed when I go through it 
because they know damn right well that it wouldn t have been built if 
I hadn t been governor and if I hadn t been attorney general. Unless 
I had had the background of the fights and the feeling for water it 
never would have been built because the opposition was so great. 
Today, if you had to get an environmental impact report on that whole 
dam, it would be in court until the year 2000. 

Chall: Yes, some of the present day opposition to the whole water program 

claim that it s environmentally unsound as well as fiscally unsound, 
so you probably would have difficulties with it. 

Brown: Yes, you would have had. The environmentalists became more powerful 
as time went on as California grew. Now, we re growing at the rate 
of 400,000 people a year. You see the Central Arizona Project will 
come on stream in about three or four years. They re building that 
now. They ll take substantially more of the Colorado River water. 
So we won t be able to get that Colorado River water anymore which 
supplements the Owens Valley water in Southern California. So we re 
going to need the California project water. This is like the oil 
shortage. I mean people still buy these great big cars and you know 
these gas guzzlers waste all this oil, and gas, and things like that. 
The same thing s true with water. 

Chall: There is a claim that much of the water that s being planned for the 
future wouldn t be needed in quite that amount if people would 
conserve not only industry and homeowners but primarily agriculture. 
There is a concern that agriculture takes all the water that it can 
get, and pumps out all the water that it can pump, and still asks for 
more. Some people think there must come a time when we say no to 


Brown: I wouldn t say we d say no but we would just make them conserve the 
use of water. There s many ways they can conserve water and that 
should be part of the program of development of the California Water 
Project. They re pumping that water at tremendous depths now. It s 
cheaper to pump it than it is to buy more water in a great many of 
the cases. Of course, when it gets down deep you have to use a lot 
of power and as power costs go up it will be cheaper to buy the water. 
But we re going to need it all. 

But you re going to have to conserve too, and during the great 
drought we all conserved in the use of water flushing toilets and 
taking showers, and it worked. We still ought to do it, although 
we ve had two wet years and it s very difficult to get people to talk 
about water in a wet year. Get a couple of dry years and then people 
think about water. 

Chall: Back to the water bond issue itself the method of offsetting tidelands 
oil money. Do you recall that offset feature? It may be better to 
ask somebody else like Ralph Brody perhaps about that. 

Brown: What do you mean offset? I don t understand. 

Chall: Well, the money that came in from the tidelands oil could be used to 
help pay for the construction of the project. However, then that 
money plus interest, that amount had to be set aside for building 
the other features 

Brown: The second phase. 

Chall: The second phase. Some twenty-five million or more were expected to 
go into that fund every year and you agreed to that in essence. Do 
you know how that feature was put in? Was that something that you and 
your advisors worked out? 

Brown: I can t remember that now. 

Chall: How did the legislators take to having Ralph Brody and Mr. Banks sitting 
in on the floor of the houses and giving their signals about whether 
or not something was all right. 

Brown: The opponents didn t like it at all. George Miller and those, tried 
to get them off the floor. Although Hugh Burns was the presiding 
officer and we had a majority with us in the thing. 

Chall: Is that a rather unusual practice? 

Brown: They won t permit it anymore. 

Chall: Had they done that before that you know? 


Brown: There had been occasions, but this was a very technical thing, the 
passage of the California Water Bond Act the Burns-Porter Act. 
There were a lot of questions and Ralph would just sit there and 
answer them and he was really good. When you talk to him, you tell 
him that I m still appreciative of what he did. He was really excellent 
and so was Abbott. Now Bill Warne, he came into it later. 

Chall: Yes, it was Mr. Banks that you would have been working with. 

Brown: I kept Harvey Banks in. Harvey had been appointed by Knight. Harvey 
was a conservative engineer, a water engineer, where Brody was a 
liberal lawyer or so I thought. He s now been down there with the 
Westlands project and he s been very severely criticized. But he had 
gone through the wars with the Bureau of Reclamation on water 
throughout the entire West. But I wanted to make it nonpartisan. I 
didn t want to put a Democrat into the Department of Water Resources. 
So I kept Knight s man in and that was a deliberate judgment on my 
part. Banks and I were never too sympathetic. We didn t see eye to 
eye on a great many things. 

Chall: But on water? 

Brown: Well, on water particularly. I can t remember where we disagreed. 

There were terrible fights between Ralph Brody and Banks and both of 
them threatened to quit from time to time, and I just had to jolly 
both of them along and tell them both, "You re the boss, you re the 
chief, don t worry." 

Chall: Who was the boss? Who was the chief? 

Brown: Brody was the one I relied on more. I relied upon Brody; he was a 
Democrat and my appointee. Harvey Banks was a Republican, a Knight 
appointee. . .but he was a good engineer, a very sound fellow, and I 
respected him very, very much. But the man from whom I had received 
a great deal of my advice during the campaign was Ralph Brody. He 
had been with the Bureau of Reclamation. Banks resented the fact 
that he wasn t named chief signal caller. He was the director and yet 
the governor did most of his conversing with somebody else. 

Chall: That would be difficult, of course. 

Brown: Very. But I kept it up until the water bond issue was passed. I 
don t remember when Harvey Banks resigned. 

Chall: I think he announced his resignation in October 1960, but didn t 
leave office until December, because you wanted to announce in 
October 1960 that was even before the bond issue was passed that 
William Warne would be the new director. Warne doesn t know why you 
wanted to make the announcement prior to the passage of the bond 


Brown: I don t either. 

Chall: Was there some political meaning, a signal to the Democrats out there? 

Brown: I probably had some sinister reason for it, but I can t remember what 
it was now. Maybe the Democrats were opposing the acreage limitation; 
I mean opposing the fact that we didn t have the acreage limitation in 
the bond issue. 

Chall: Yes, the Democratic party was opposing that. 

Brown: But I can t remember now why I did it. Ralph doesn t know either, eh? 

Chall: Well, I haven t talked to him yet. 

Brown: Have you talked to Bill Warne? 

Chall: Yes. 

Brown: He didn t remember why, eh? 

Chall: He said he didn t know why. 

Brown: I don t know why either, so we re even. 

Chall: All right. The bond act, according to Bruce Allen and others, was 
just a governor s give-away program. I mean there was no data in 
there about exactly how the money was to be repaid. None of the facts 
were laid into the bond act, and yet billions of dollars were going 
to be spent without any assurances of how it was going to be paid back. 
That was a calculated action on your part I take it? 

Brown: Yes, I wanted it to be open-ended so that the governor and the 

department could move ahead with the water project. Like right now 
the governor needs very little authority to issue more bonds or do 
whatever he can, fiscally, to complete the project. The legislature 
would have to affirmatively take some action to stop him. That is 
just exactly the way I wanted it. Bruce Allen, of course, he was a 
very vicious legislator, one of the most vicious guys that I ve met. 
I could hardly talk to him he was so bad. One of the worst I ve 
ever seen in the legislature. He s now a judge. That scared the 
life out of me, to think of this man being a judge, but they tell me 
he s turned out to be a pretty good judge. 


Chall: He had a plan, of course, for years, about using tidelands oil money 
and the whole pay-as-you-go process, which, as you have pointed out, 
would never have worked. 

Brown: I didn t pay very much attention to him and that probably annoyed 


Chall: Now, you did put into the bond act his tidelands oil fund act which 
had been passed just prior to SB 1106.* In fact, you waited until 
it was passed before you moved yours. 

Brown: Was that his bill? Was that Bruce Allen s bill? 

Chall: Yes, it was. 

Brown: To use part of the tidelands oil funds? 

Chall: Yes. 

Brown: Well, I don t remember that but I had no compunction about even using 
my enemies in order to accomplish the result. You ve got to remember 
that I was absolutely determined that I was going to pass this California 
Water Project. I wanted this to be a monument to me. So it was good 
for the state, but I felt that from a political standpoint, I mean 
from my own political standpoint, you want to accomplish things. Like 
if you re a lawyer you want to win lawsuits, and I wanted this project. 

Chall: Why was this so important to you? 

Brown: Well, it was like building the University of California. I mean I 
knew they needed it and it was a very difficult political issue to 
get over. There was tremendous opposition to it, so it s the 
competitive spirit that I had but also a great sense of accomplishment. 
You know, when you run for public office you have somewhat of a 
missionary complex. You think you re the only guy or the only person 
that can do this job and that s the way I felt about the California 
Water Project. 

Chall: Okay, now by leaving out all of the particulars, by leaving them out 
of the bill, you knew sooner or later (you, Ralph Brody and the rest) 
that you were going to have to come up with a plan for repayment even 
though it wasn t in the bill and for pricing. Almost at once in 
Western Water News, September, 1959, there s an article by Samuel B. 
Morris, a consulting engineer in Los Angeles. He suggested a two-part 
rate structure which, in fact, is the method that was used. So the 
general question is what was going on behind the scenes to have 
developed that rate system this two-part rate system that is the 
Delta charge and then the capital cost for transportation and 

*The bill by Bruce Allen was known as the California Water Fund 
Bill, AB 1062. 


Brown: Well, it was a very difficult thing to price out. I mean to take 
the flood control features, the recreational features, which would 
be paid for by all the taxpayers of the state, the tidelands oil 
funds, and then the actual cost of water. The farmers couldn t 
afford to pay the same cost as the person who would maybe pay a water 
bill of two and a half or three and a half [dollars] a month. 

Chall: You all knew that this was going to be a problem? 

Brown: Oh, yes , we all knew. It was a matter of compromise, and working it 
out with Metropolitan Water District and other water contracters in 
the state. It was a very difficult thing to do. We had a tough time 
with the Kern County Water District, a very, very difficult time with 
them on those contractual obligations. Bill Warne was a dedicated man. 
He was the one that got in there and started working with these people 
and he was a very stubborn individual. When he made up his mind, 
nobody was going to influence him. He became very unpopular with a 
great many of the water users and a great many of the legislators too. 
But he had a great friend in George Miller. As a matter of fact, 
George Miller had recommended him to me. He was over in Korea or 
someplace at the time. I called him over in Korea to come back and 
be the Fish and Game Director and he agreed to come back. Even though 
Miller was opposed to me, he was very friendly with Bill Warne. 


Chall: So almost at once, you were having difficulties with respect to 

repayment. The Irrigation Districts Association, the State Chamber 
of Commerce with Burnham Enersen, the Farm Bureau Federation, and 
even the Federated Women s Clubs sent you a letter about the difficulty 
that agriculture would have in paying for the water. How did you all 
work this problem out about agriculture? What were your feelings 
about farmers? We talk about farmers but the indication is that most 
of these people in Kern County had rather large acreages. 

Brown: Oh, yes, the people you re talking about were the big corporations 
of the state of California. 

Chall: How could they not have afforded to pay? 

Brown: Well, they j^ould afford to pay for it and they did pay for it. We 

just told them to go to hell. We knew they needed the water and that 
they d eventually come along with us which I think most of them 
eventually did. 

Chall: An arrangement was made with the Kern County Water Agency that they 
could have surplus water for eight dollars an acre-foot, just the 
cost of transportation of the surplus water to sections of the area. 

Brown: Well, we just threw that in because 


Chall: That s a subsidy in a sense is it not? 

Brown: Well, it is and it isn t. What are you going to do with it? If they 
didn t buy the surplus water it would flow to the sea. So we had to 
get rid of it at bargain rates and, of course, if we could induce 
them to buy it, why, fine and dandy. Now, in the water drought of 
two years ago Kern County didn t have enough water. I represent an 
irrigation district down there, the Berrenda Mesa Water District, 
and they had one hell of a time. They were absolutely dry. 

Chall: They were dry in Kern County? 

Brown: Oh, yes, they had to allocate the water. In the first year they gave 
us enough just to keep the vines and the orchards going. The second 
year they didn t know what they were going to do, and then the rains 
came along and saved us, and we had a deluge. But if that drought had 
lasted another year, the agricultural interests would have lost 
millions of dollars. You can t imagine what a disaster it would have 
been. And the only thing that saved them in this drought year was 
the California Water Project. That was the only thing that saved them 
through those two years of drought. You re going to have other years 
of drought as sure as we re sitting here in this room and that s why 
it has to be completed, and they re dillying and dallying and fighting 
it. The state senators from Southern California, Republican state 
senators, wouldn t give my son the bill last year which they should 
have done. 

Chall: Oh, the canal? 
Brown: Right. 

Chall: Do you get the feeling that you ve been all through this before; the 
same groups are opposing? Even some of the farm groups were opposing 
the bill because they didn t want it tied into control over ground 
water. That s part of it. The Delta interests are part of the 

Brown: Oh, yes, I don t think any of them have retreated. There s one group 
down there I forget the name of the man the father carried on a 
water fight and I think he must have told his son on his death bed, 
"You must never go along with the water project." They re very well- 
to-do farmers. They ve got all the water they need themselves, but 
they re scared to death they ll take it away. So they financed the 
fight against the water project. They financed the fight against it 
last year. No matter what kind of a bill will come up they ll fight 
it. They want to still destroy the California Water Project, and 
unless the people become aware of the need for water, they can very 
likely succeed, because they know the value of water, they know the 
need for it. 


Brown: If there s no conservation or no regulation, then the water has to flow 
as it flowed before we had any dams or anything else, and they won t 
have to pay for it. The Delta gets all that water for nothing. You 
see, during the early days before they had the Shasta Dam, if you d 
have a dry year, you d have salt water almost all of the way up to 
Sacramento. Now you have fresh water throughout the entire year and 
they just pump that water out of the Delta and they don t pay anything 
for it at all. Really they should be bound by the acreage limitation 
because they re beneficiaries of the Shasta Dam, the reclamation project. 

Chall: They are bound by it, aren t they? 

Brown: They re bound by it in my legal opinion, but it s never been enforced. 
None of those Delta islands have any acreage limitation in the 
allocation of the water. 

The Campaign to Pass Proposition 1 

Chall: Let s talk about the passage of the water bond issue. Mr. Preston 
Hotchkis, who was your statewide finance chairman, says that it was 
the toughest campaign he had ever been involved in. 

Brown: Did you talk to him? 

Chall: No, others in the office have been interviewing him and this was one 
of his statements during his interview.* I gave you a list of the 
people who were chairmen of the campaign. 

Brown: Yes, let me see if I have it. 

Chall: Also, this book that I have here is a publication of the Metropolitan 
Water District on its fiftieth anniversary and there s some background 
here on the passage of the water bond which I would like to take up 
with you also.** 

Brown: Have you got the names of the people I put on the committee? 

*See interview with Preston Hotchkis, Sr. , One Man s Dynamic Role in 
California PoLitic!3 and_Water Development^ and World Affairs, 
Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of 
California, Berkeley, 1980. 

**Aqueduct, Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, Metropolitan Water District 
(46: 1, Fall, Winter, Spring, 1978/79), pp. 58-64. 


Chall: Yes, Thomas Mellon was your state chairman and some liberal Democratic 
groups felt that this was a terrible decision that you had made to 
put in one of the most conservative persons in the state of California 
as the chairman of your water bond campaign. Cyril Magnin was the 
Northern California chairman; Norris Poulson, Southern California 
chairman; Preston Hotchkis, statewide finance chairman; and Edward 
Day, statewide treasurer. How were these men chosen? 

Brown: Well, I wanted people that could raise money. Preston Hotchkis was a 
Republican. He raised a lot of money, and Cyril Magnin raised the 
money in the north, and Norrie Poulson was the mayor of Los Angeles. 
I thought it was a pretty good cross section of the people. 

Chall: Did you pick them on your own or did you have someone do this for 

Brown: Oh, no, I picked them myself. I called them up. See, Hotchkis, they 
own the big ranches in both Los Angeles County and in Santa Barbara 
County. They own the ranch up there. Now they re fighting the nuclear 
power plant up there I mean the LNG site up there, up there on that 
ranch. I forget the name of the ranch. 

Chall: They re fighting aginst it? 

Brown: They re fighting against it, and they re fighting it on environmental 
grounds, and they ve never supported any environmental cases until it 
began to affect them. 

Chall: The others who assisted in the campaign were the League of Women 

Voters and other women s groups. How valuable do you think that the 
League of Women Voters were? 

Brown: Oh, invaluable. I consider the League of Women Voters the most 

objective group in the state of California. I think there is less 
pressure of special interest in the League of Women Voters there s 
none. I don t say they always make the right decisions, but the women 
I found. were the most intelligent group in the state, the League of 
Women Voters. When they agreed to support us I knew that right was 
on our side. 

Chall: That s interesting. Hotchkis says that it was the tremendous work 

of the women not only the league women, but other women who really 
won the campaign. 

Brown: I think that s true. You see, during the campaign I went up and down 
the state. I made speeches from Arcata in the north to Imperial 
County in the south. It was a bi-partisan issue. At the same time, 
Kennedy was running and I was making speeches for Kennedy. So I d 
have one hat on at noon talking to a Santa Barbara club and then at 
night I d be talking to a group for Jack Kennedy, and I worked like 
hell for both of them. 


Brown: I thought on the night of election I can never forget we were in 
the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The returns came in and I d thought we d 
lost the water bond issue, we d lost that one, and that Kennedy had 
won. So we thought it was a fifty-fifty victory. But later on the 
returns came from Orange and San Diego and we won. We lost forty- 
eight, I think, of the fifty-eight counties in the state on the 
California water bond issue. The Commonwealth Club opposed it; the 
San Francisco Chronicle carried on a militant campaign with a big 
giant octupus, the water project, and they took me on violently, and 
we finally won it. 

Then Kennedy lost when the 100,000 absentee ballots came in from 
the conservative Republicans. They always vote absentee. I was very, 
very disappointed in losing Kennedy that night. I thought I had won 
both of them for a little while. As a matter of fact, I was down in 
Mendoza, Argentina when I heard those reports. They used to count the 
absent voters later. I was told at that time, by the gleeful Republicans, 
that Kennedy has lost California to Nixon, which made me very unhappy. 

Chall: What if the bond issue had lost? 

Considerations in the Selection of the Water Plan 

Brown: If the bond issue had lost we never would have had a California Water 

Now, we had to make one other decision. I think I ve talked 
about before. Today, of course, the environment the quality of life 
is very important. At that time, I was primarily dealing with the 
quantity of life. People were coming into California, and there was 
no pill, there was no abortion. So we had a big birth rate and a big 
in-migration. So I had to build roads, and highways, and schools, 
and universities, and water projects, and beaches, and parks, and 
everything else. Some of my advisors came to me and said, "Now, 
Governor, don t bring water to the people; let the people go to the 
water." That s a desert down there. Ecologically it can t sustain 
the number of people that will come if you bring the water project in 

I weighed this very, very thoughtfully before I started going 
all out for the water project. Some of my advisors said to me and 
I can t remember who they were now "Yes, but people are going to 
come to Southern California anyway. If you don t have water, they ll 
be there anyway but the life will just not be as good for the people 
if you don t have the water project in, balancing the thing." Somebody 
said, "Well, send them up to Northern California." Well, I was a 


Brown: Northern Calif ornian. I knew I wouldn t be governor forever. I didn t 
think I d ever come down to Southern California and I said to myself, 
"I don t want all those people to go to Northern California." 

So environmentally we did consider it. Now, it s arguable 
whether or not we shouldn t have limited growth by lack of water. 
Santa Barbara County just defeated a water project up there because 
they don t want growth, they don t want people going into Santa Barbara 
County, and if there s no water you re not going to build any homes 
and people won t go up there. It s a hell of a way to limit growth, 
but it s probably as good as any. 

Chall: There was also a later concern about the way the water plan worked out 
from some economists at the University of California at Berkeley who 
thought that it might have been a better idea to put the water on the 
east side of the San Joaquin Valley, where it already was to some 
extent, of course, in the Central Valley Project. They claim that the 
land on the west side was marginal and one was putting a great deal 
of water onto what was really marginal land, and also land, as you 
know, that s so alkaline that it creates problems of its own. 
[interruption: telephone rings] 

Brown: You see, the federal government is supposed to build the east side 
canal too. They would have taken care of the east side for their 
water needs and I hope they build that east side canal too. I m not 
too familiar with where that water was to come from, but they probably 
need water because they re overdrafting on the east side of the San 
Joaquin Valley. But the west side, all in all, it will develop as 
time goes on. You see, we needed to sell that water to Southern 
California, to build the dam, and we had to have that flood control, 
and we do have recreation. 

The situation was that there were fifteen different plans I mean 
fifteen economists, financiers there were all sorts of plans that 
came to me as governor, that I studied after I was elected governor, 
and even during the period that I was attorney general before I made 
governor. Finally, I said, "There s no one right plan; we ve just got 
to have a plan." It s like energy today. There s no right way to 
conserve energy, or to price energy, but you just have to do something. 
If you don t do anything, you don t get anything done. So I arbitrarily 
selected this one. I thought it was the best . Don t misunderstand 
me I didn t toss a coin or anything like that and make a choice. But 
if we had made other decisions, you would have weighed that against 
the cost of an east side canal, rights of way through the rich lands 
of the east side. You already have the Friant-Kern Canal. The pumps! 
The question of whether we should have two pumps over the Tehachapis. 
Bechtel and Company recommended one; Daniel Johnson recommended another, 
and I had to make choices on them, and I m not an engineer. 


Chall: Is that right? You did? 

Brown: I did it myself. I got advice from my own engineers, of course, from 
the people that were building it. But you had three engineers. You 
had Bechtel, you had Daniel Johnson, we had our own engineers , and then 
we had the Metropolitan engineers too. 

As a matter of fact, in one decision that s rather interesting, the 
Metropolitan Water District, who wanted two pumps rather than one, 
stated that we were building it on an earthquake fault which we are. 
The tunnel is built right through a big fault. They said, if you 
have two pumps and one goes out, you only have to repair one instead 
of repairing the whole thing. They said that you will only have 50 
percent to do over again. I went home and I talked to my wife. 
Somebody had argued it was like riding in an airplane. A husband and 
wife should not ride in the same plane because if one airplane goes 
down, why one will live. I came home and made that argument to my 
wife and she said to me, "The way I look at it is if one of you rides 
in a different plane, one of you has twice as much chance of being 
killed ." [laughs] So based upon my wife s suggestion, we built only 
one pump. So those were little decisions that were made that went 
into this project. 

Chall: So whenever there was really a conflict among experts you would have 
to make the decision. 

Brown: Yes, I would have to make the decision and I made it too. 
Chall: You must have made plenty of them then. 

Brown: I made lots of them, I mean financial, and building of the dam, and 

they were all I was like a czar of water in these things. But I don t 
mean that I did it whimsically or capriciously. It was done based 
upon the soundest political and engineering and scientific advice 
that I could get. 

Obtaining the Contract with the Metropolitan Water District 

Chall: Would you describe some of the tensions that were between you and the 
Metropolitan Water District in getting that signature? According to 
the Metropolitan Water District people in their fiftieth anniversary 
edition here, it took ten months of negotiation until they could reach 
the point of agreement. In fact, you announced pricing policies in 
January of 1960 and it wasn t until that summer that they claim they 
were able to see anything concrete that they could work on. This 
apparently is so because there s a letter you received from Mr. [James] 
Cantlen, president of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and he says 


JUL 2U 19D 

Jaly U, 15*0 

f the feat* erf Cs 

14, Califernie 

Irtfft \ Goverment CoHBittee, has been working diligently 
continuously for aany naaths "^^M"!*. a sannd basis for 

Kater Plan. 

ef the priftcip*! flbataftlec fee caalMtaai t Ckis work 
h* bn th* vaarrailabillty f a p<ia contract acceptable 
to the St*ta California for proriding vatar voder the <tate 
Hater PLaa. On Jasmarj 7 f this year preaeatad to yoo a 
atateseat af features and principles vliieh a fait abpold IM 
iaclodad io auch coo tracts. Shortly thereafter you and the 
State Department af Sater Be source* aanoumrfid principle* hich 
ahould be incorporated la the State** contract* far vater. 

During the laterveniag noath* there have been auearoui aeetinga and 
Aiacuaaiooa betyeea interested parties and appropriate State off icial* 
to expedite the deterninatioo of a specific fora af contract. To 
date the State has not yet aade public aaj Contract which vould be 
acceptable to it. 

Like you, we af the Lee Aagalee Chanber af Coanerce appreciate 
the vital laportanca af Che iapleaentation af the State Hater 
Plan. Z feel obligated to call to your personal attention the 
lack of a specific contract and the obstacle thia delay presents 
to the Chamber s axpreaaed support af the State Bater Plan. 

To penait af the Los Angeles Haaaber af Coiaaarce taking a public 
position as aooa as possible an the vital vater issue, Z respectfully 
and urgently reqnest that yon lend your influence to the publicatioo 
ef the specific fora af contract at the earliest possible date. 



Chall: that they would like very much to come to a decision about the water 
plan, that one of the principle obstacles to a conclusion to this 
work has been the unavailability of a specimen contract acceptable 
to the state of California for providing water. "On January seventh 
of this year we presented to you a statement of features and principles 
which we felt should be included in such contracts and shortly 
thereafter you and the state Department of Water Resources announced 
principles which should be incorporated in the state s contracts for 
water. During the intervening months there had been numerous meetings 
and yet the state has not made public any contracts which would be 
acceptable to it." So what was going on in your office? 

Brown: Well, we were having a tough time getting the right pricing. We 
didn t know just exactly how to do it and there was internal 
disagreement, so we couldn t present it to anybody else. Metropolitan, 
of course, was driving a very hard bargain. It wasn t until the last 
two or three weeks of the campaign that they finally came up with it. 
I remember going into see Norman Chandler and Norman Chandler saying he 
was going to oppose the project in the L.A. Times unless we went along 
with the Metropolitan s viewpoint. I told Norman, "Then you just 
oppose the project, Mr. Chandler. The people will look at you with 
scorn as the years go on." So he walked out and I didn t know whether 
he was going to support it or not. I was really very angry. I don t 
think he was angry, but I was very angry at him. But they finally 
supported the project and so did the Metropolitan Water District. 

They had to do it. I knew we had them. I knew that if they didn t 
get this bond issue over, they d never get water in Southern California. 
So they did support it but they waited until the very last hoping I 
would yield, particularly on the east side canal. That was the main 
thing. And the reason they didn t want the east side canal was that 
they wanted to control the project, they wanted to sell all the water. 
But the way we did it, we had cohorts on the other side. Now, the 
Riverside newspaper I noticed an editorial in there taking on the 
Metropolitan Water District for not coming along with us. It was a 
very delicate political maneuver from time to time and any wrong 
decision would have meant the loss of the war, if we had not done it 

Chall: How closely involved were you during the ten months of negotiations? 
[Robert] Skinner worked with [Charles] Cooper, Don Brooks and Don 
Whitlock; Harvey Banks, according to Met s publication was the chief 
negotiator for the state. "If he had authority to handle certain 
things, he d tell us, and if he didn t, he d say he d say he d have 
to take it up with the governor." 

Brown: Well, he d come back and report to me. But I didn t do any individual 
negotiations because I really didn t know the cost of water. I didn t 
know what was good or bad. They would explain it to me and they d come 
back to me. But they did all the price negotiating. I didn t have 
anything to do with that at all. 


Chall: What about Carley Porter? 

Brown: No, Carley didn t know anything about it either. We had to explain 
to him; we had to dot the i s and cross the t s. Carley became very 
knowledgeable about it before he got through and was very, very good. 
But he wasn t a lawyer. He didn t know anything about water law. He 
didn t know anything about pricing. But he handled it very expertly. 
I don t want to minimize the work that he did in the legislature. 

Chall: But they claim that after the act s passage it was Carley Porter who 
smoothed out some of the differences between Met and the state before 
the contract was signed. 

Brown: Well, that may have been true. We had to go along with the legislation. 
We were very grateful to him too for the expert way he handled it in 
the legislature. 

Chall: Were you in contact with any members of the Metropolitan Water District 
board? Could you have influenced any of them to move away from 
Jensen s position or did you just have to wait? 

Brown: I had some friends on the great big board of directors. But Joe Jensen 

was a stubborn old man and he had fought these battles. He was ringwise; 
he s been in it a long, long time. 

Chall: According to this same report it was Noah Dietrich at the last who 
broke away. 


Chall: Mr. [Alan] Bottorf? The Met history claims he was active in the 
negotiations . 

Brown: Oh, yes, he was very active and always very nice, but very persistent 
too . 

Chall: He represented the Feather River Project Association which, of course, 
was behind the Feather River Project for many, many years. But he 
also represented Kern County farm interests. Big interests. 

Brown: A big interest; he was the front man for the big interests, yes. 

Chall: So it s quite possible then that he was there working behind the 
scenes on this. 

Brown: Oh, yes, he was up there working on the thing. But Bill Warne was a 

tough negotiator and bargainer too. That s why I had him in there. He 
was a stubborn guy and he had fought with these people for years and 
years and years. We really shoved it down Metropolitan s throat 
because they had to have water and we were the bosses. We knew they 
had to have it. If they didn t get that through and thank God they 


In: i iu - l3 go 

October 5, 1960 

Board of Directors 
Metropolitan Water District 
of Southern California 
306 West Third Street 
Los Angeles, California 


I have received your wire of October 4 and discussed it in detail with 
the top officials of the State Department of Water Resources. 

We are in complete agreement that your communication is intemperate in 
tone, and in important instances, mistaken or misleading in fact. 

More important, the Board appears to have set itself above the legis 
lative and executive branches of State governmentwhich created the 
Metropolitan Water District. 

Not a single member of your Board is elected by the people, yet you 
collectively assert the right to pass on statewide policy which 
properly can be determined only by elected officials responsible to all 
the people of California. 

I am amazed, as I am certain are the people of your area, .that you 
have been unwilling even to explore with us the promising areas of 
compromise suggested by your own water committee and technicians the 
persons who have been most familiar with this matter and with the past 

A bare majority of the Board appears to wish to dictate where, if and 
when all of Southern California will receive water. 

I am confident, however, that neither the constituent units of the 
District nor the people of Southern California are in sympathy with the 
content or manner of your ultimatum to the sovereign State of 

We have willingly recognized the legitimate interest of the Board in 
those questions which are properly subject to negotiation in any con 
tract between a state and one of its entities. But I can not, and will 
not, recognize any right of your Board to dictate economic and social 
policies affecting the entire State or, for that matter, the people 
of the area you serve. 


October 5, I960 

Board of Directors 
Metropolitan Water District 
of Southern California 

Nor will I be party to any effort to deny the Legislature elected by 
the people of California its constitutional and legal prerogatives. 

However, I am Issuing no ultimatum. I am interested in progress, and 
I will not stand on ceremony when something can be accomplished. I ar 
instructing the Department of Water Resources and its staff to work 
further with you to determine if additional areas of agreement are 
possible. I must make it clear, however, that the basic principles w< 
have consistently supported are not themselves subject to change. Th 
applications, the terms, the conditions and the language, however, are 
open both to discussion and to reasonable alteration, 

It is your right to refuse, but if you exercise that right, I think 
you should be conscious that you are risking responsibility for a long 
and crippling delay in bringing urgently needed new supplies of water 
into Southern Californiaand just as urgently needed flood control t< 
Northern California. 

This project is not for the Board alone, nor for the MWD alone, but f< 
all the people of California, south and north alike. 

Attached you will find a resume of the errors of fact and interpreta 
tion in your most recent wire. 

In closing, I wish to add only that I am still willing to proceed to i 
contract under the conditions outlined above. As I have declared be 
fore, however, I do not feel that such a contract is a necessary pre 
liminary to your support of Proposition One, or the vote of the people 
on Proposition One on November 8. In the end, of course, we must botl 
rely on the wisdom and sound judgment of the voters. Whatever the 
future course of our negotiations, I am content to leave the decision 
in their hands. 


EDMUND G. BROWN, Governor 

- 2 - 



1. It calls for a definitive contract before the election, the terms 
of which will give them (the voters of Southern California) some 
measure of protection for the billions of dollars for which they 
are asked to commit themselves. 

As should be clear to all concerned by this late stage of the 
negotiations, the State is committed not to spend any Bond money 
until contracts have been signed for at least 75$ of the water 
involved. The protection exists whether the contract is signed 
now, next year, or the year after that. Without the participation 
of MWD or the areas it represents, the project cannot be built. 

2. As for "erroneous advice" from my staff on your position on the 
matter of the effective date, there was none. My position was 
taken as a matter of principle, and what I consider to be in the 
public interest, not on whether your Board of some other con 
tracting agency might or might not find it acceptable. 

3. It is not "conceded by all that it (the surcharge provision) 
would make the district violate the provision of the MWD Act". 
All do not agree. Furthermore, as we understand it, the MWD 
now has variable charges for water. 

4. The State has never asserted "the right to turn off the water 

supply of the 7,500,000 people in this district in the event of 
a violation of the surcharge provisions" . 

The last language submitted on the subject did permit closing off 
water supplies to individual agencies in violation, but we are 
agreeable to a change even in that provisionperhaps by a 
method of suit for recovery of the surcharge. 

It has never been contemplated that the whole district would 
suffer from violations within a given member agency or a water 

5. The State does not wish to "dictate how much water this District 
must take from the East and West branches" as. you state. The 
State is willing right now, and has been from the beginning, to 
negotiate with you as to the specific amount to be included in 
the contract with respect to deliveries to you from each branch 
of the aqueduct. It was your own representative s request to 
delay a decision on this matter that necessitates the language 
in the contract as now drafted. It is not something, as you 
state, that is a "last minute proposal by the State . 


6. The State is not attempting to dictate "how much subsidy in 
effect this district must pay for the benefit of other con 
tractors". The State is not suggesting that your district sub 
sidize other contracts in any respect. We are saying that the 
MWD can not, as you would apparently wish to do, be in the posi 
tion of vetoing service to other areas in the South which are 
not a part of MWD, or of vetoing construction of the East Branch 
Aqueduct. The cost to MWD will not be greater under the arrange 
ment we suggest than it would be if the MWD took all delivery 
from the West Branch. As we understand it, your own engineer 
recommends that you take delivery of a part of your supply from 
the East Branch. 

7. You are not being asked to be "the Agency which must pay all 
deficits arising out of the so-called financial inability of 
other areas to pay their fair share" . The MWD is asked only to 
pay its own share of the cost of the works necessary to serve 
it and no more. The formulae for determining what you will pay 
have been worked out with your District and in many instances 
have been suggested, by you. The MWD is being asked to do no 
more than any other area. 


Brown: had the good sense to go through with it because it will be a lifesaver 
for them in the next twenty years. It has to be completed though too. 
I m urging my son, at the present time, to complete and build this 
project; get it done, put your whole force behind it. Of course, 
Jerry s lost some of his muscle by running for the presidency. 

Chall: We re really moving to the end [of this session]. 

Brown: I think that s a pretty good session. I think we ve done pretty well. 

Chall: If you can spare another half-hour or so I d appreciate it. 

Brown: How much more have you got? I m sleepy! 

Policy Decisions on Power and Pricing 

Chall: [chuckles] I know you are. I think you ve probably handled most of 
this material on the outline. Let me go back a moment and ask you 
how you felt, even though Kennedy lost, how you felt about the passage 
of the bond act. Was that basically more important in the long run 
to you than winning or losing Kennedy? 

Brown: No, I d say they were both equally important. I wanted Kennedy to win 
in California. Of course, he won the presidency and losing California 
was secondary, but it was somewhat of a blow to the prestige of the 
Democratic governor that he couldn t carry his state for Kennedy. But 
Nixon was a hometown boy. He d never been defeated in California up to 
that time. I was the only one that ever defeated him in any campaign 
in California. But in view of the fact that Kennedy was elected 
president, it didn t make any difference whether he carried California 
or not. The water project, if it had gone down, I really feel it 
could have affected the lives of human beings in this state and I 
think it s a monument to me and I m very proud of it. 

Chall: Do you think that it would have been possible to have passed another 
bond act to have gone through the same routine again and passed it? 

Brown: I never could have gotten the water project through the legislature 
again, and nobody s been able to get anything further to develop the 
water project. The opponents of it, they re a minority, but they ve 
become so strong that it s hard to fight them. You want to realize 
that Northern California, they really get their water out of the 
Sacramento River and they don t need the project. They need flood 
control. San Francisco gets water from the Hetch Hetchy, Oakland 
gets it from the Mokelumne River, they don t need it. Fresno and those 
areas have the reclamation project. So when to build anything further, 


Brown: you really have a minority interest to complete it. So it s really 

very difficult to get people of San Francisco or Berkeley to do anything 
for Los Angeles. All of those Northern California places could get by. 
But Southern California with its hordes down here and great development 
it s going to get worse. You ve got some great agricultural areas 
too in Ventura County and Santa Barbara County. But eventually I 
think this whole great area down here will become a metropolitan area. 

Chall: And the project will be paid for by water bills? 
Brown: Right. 

Chall: There was a great hope for atomic energy in providing desalinization 
and also getting the energy to pump the water over the Tehachapis at 
a very low cost. Was this a disappointment, an unexpected problem 
when you had to put that off? 

Brown: Yes, as a matter of fact, we worked very closely with Admiral [Hyman] 
Rickover. Did you know that? 

Chall: I read it in some report, and Mr. Warne discussed it. 

Brown: Yes, Admiral Rickover came out and sold us on the breeder reactor. 
We were going to use the breeder reactor in the valley to pump the 
water over the Tehachapis and Bill Warne worked with Admiral Rickover. 
I met him and Admiral Rickover was enthusiastic. They would have 
paid a substantial amount of the cost because it was to be 
experimental . 

Well, after we worked it, after the bond issue was all over 
I can t remember when it was Admiral Rickover called me up and said, 
"I ve got to fly out to see you." So he flew out to see me and he said, 
"I m sorry but we can t go ahead with the breeder reactor. Our 
experimental plan indicates that we cannot control that heat in the 
breeder reactor and therefore we have to abandon the project." Well, 
that was a big disappointment. 

But then after that, we entered into a contract with all of the 
water people to bring power down from the Columbia River, an intertie 
that we built. That expires in 1982 and we got a very, very favorable 
contract; but it expires in 1982 and they re going to double the cost 
of that. Power at that time is going to go up tremendously. 

I would have favored a nuclear plant there in Kern County, to use 
the waste water, but it was defeated by a two-to-one vote, and now 
that they ve had the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania disaster it looks to me 
like nuclear s dead. So this is going to increase the cost of the 
project. I don t think you re going to build any more nuclear plants 
for a long, long time. They ve become very expensive too forgetting 


Brown: about the safety of them. The economic cost of nuclear is almost 
even and it will go up more in the years ahead to build these 
projects. So we re going to have to do something else. 

We ve got a real problem on energy, not only in the water project 
but in everything else we use. You run into these environmental 
problems again in trying to get oil or LNG [liquefied natural gas]. 
Oil is dangerous in the sense that if the ship should sink it would 
pollute the beaches. They had one up there and it scared us to death, 
off of San Simeon the other day. Of course, LNG is potentially 
dangerous too. If that liquefied natural gas escapes and becomes gas 
again rather than liquid, that can be a potential explosion. Nuclear 
is gone. You have some thermal and we have developed that. Solar, 
I don t think there s enough solar and it would cost too much to 
produce it. Oil is so expensive. We have real problems on energy. 

Of course, this will affect the water project. Hydro. We have 
most of the hydro that we can develop in the state of California. 
I don t see anybody really selling the people on this. I m thinking 
of having a press conference in Sacramento and talking about it a 
little bit. 

Chall: Going back now to the last few years of the legislature, and your 
terms as governor. When I laid out the activities of the governor 
and the water project between 1960 and 1965 I noticed that many of the 
central decisions had to be made by the end of 1963 because that s 
when the contracts were made final. At that time you had the three 
law cases being decided with respect to the bonds. Now, in between, 
Richard Nixon ran for governor. What do you suppose would have happened 
to the water program if Richard Nixon had won? 

Brown: I can t remember that being an issue in the campaign at all. I can t 
remember anything about it. But I think the project had sufficient 
impetus and because he was from Southern California he probably would 
have pursued the same general principles that I followed. 

Chall: As you know, the legislature was given a chance to take one last 

look at the contracts and the program before the contracts would be 
made final. You allowed them the 1961 legislative session in which 
to do it. But again you managed to keep out all changes so that the 
prototype contract with the Metropolitan Water District was safe. 

Brown: Well, Miller and the "river rats" fought the project from pillar to post 
in every place. I just had enough votes to beat them on the thing 
and after the bond issue went over that was such a feather in my cap 
that I regained some of the prestige that I lost by reason of the 
reprieve in the Chessman case. I lost a lot of my muscle in that 
Chessman thing. It was a bad decision. It was like my son s decision 
on this constitutional amendment. I mean this has really hurt his 
prestige, in my opinion, terribly. 


Chall: But the Chessman case was a philosophical matter with you. You 

wouldn t have done anything else; even in retrospect do you think 
that it was something that you would do again? 

Brown: The Chessman case in retrospect, I think I d have to do it again, 
although I m bothered by the ethical question. The man had been 
convicted, he had a fair trial, he unquestionably was guilty. My 
caveat was that I didn t believe a person who committed the crimes 
that he did, that he didn t have exactly a fair trial. It affected 
my sense of justice. But should you let one man s life affect all 
of the other things that you re doing, assuming I was a good governor, 
assuming that I had a compassion for people that needed the help of 
the governor. Should I let this man die, or save him, and hurt my 
prestige which it did with the blind, and the totally disabled, and 
everybody else? I could have been defeated by Richard Nixon as a 
result of the Chessman case. 

It made me [seem] a vacillator and a softie on crime and people 
were so outraged at Chessman that they wanted him killed. It s a 
tough ethical question and I ve never really solved it in my own mind 
yet. I ve talked to Jesuit priests about it and it worries them too. 

Chall: What led up to the policy that you enunciated to the legislature in 
1961 about the sale of water to those landowners with 160 acres or 
less and those with more: that the price of water would be based on 
the actual cost of the power to their land, if they had 160 acres or 
less, but if they had 160 acres or more they would receive the water 
for the market price of the power used to pump the water to their 
lands. Now this was considered a very important pricing policy that 
you made. It was first enunciated in your speech on January 20, 1960, 
over the radio . 

Brown: Well, you see this was a compromise on the acreage limitation to 
encourage the small farms . 

Chall: You asked the legislature to consider it. How did you work that idea 

Brown: You see, I had given myself the power to make these decisions. That 
was the beauty of supporting the reorganization of the water 
administration. Did you give me a copy of this speech? 

Chall: No, but I have one here. 

Brown: Let me have one. I d like to read this. It s interesting. 

Chall: Now, these are the only last couple of pages. 

Brown: That s all I need. 

Chall: Here it is; that s for you. I ve got some other things here but I 
don t know whether you need them. 


Brown: I don t remember this now. When was this? Do you remember? 
Chall: In 1960. I think I have a little note on top. 

Brown: [reads] "Address by Governor Edmund G. Brown, California Water 

Program, Wednesday, January 20, 1960, 6:30 p.m." This was before the 
bond issue was passed then. The bond issue wasn t passed until 
November, 1960. 

Chall: So this was the beginning of the enunciation of a policy? 

Brown: Yes. You see, I was trying to get the support of the Democrat 

liberals. They were offended by the fact we didn t have an acreage 
limitation in the bond act itself. Of course, they fought us. So we 
threw them a bone in the thing . 

Chall: It seems to be a rather small bone. 

Brown: Yes, it wasn t very substantial and it had no effect upon big or small 
farms either. Well, we never expected to get enough money from the sale 
of energy out of the dam to do much more and we knew we d run out of 
it by the time it got down here. 

Chall: Do you think it satisfied them? 

Brown: No, I don t think it satisfied them. The people that fight for the 
. acreage limitation are really pretty idealistic, tough-minded people 
and nothing will satisfy them except the breakup of these big farms. 
They continued it under the Carter administration. Even though they 
haven t enforced the acreage limitation in Imperial County since 1930 
it s almost forty-seven years Carter comes in and he tries to put 
it into effect down there. Well, nobody s for that now. Land has 
been bought and sold based upon no acreage limitation. It would be 
very unfair to bring it in now. 

Chall: As you quoted a little while ago, when you were setting up the 
policies for the bond act, you were planning to put all of the 
tidelands oil funds into the water plan. 

Brown: Not all of it. 

Chall: But a large amount. 

Brown: I think we were, yes, but we had to take 

Chall: You had to start making some concessions by about 1963 or 64. 

Everybody apparently wanted to get in, get something out of those 
tidelands . 

Pages 4, 5, 6 from radio-TV address of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr. 43; 
January 20, 1960. Los Angeles, California. 


After months devoted to this study by our water experts and 
other outstanding engineers, water lawyers and economists, I 
believe we have arrived at equitable and workable solutions to 
these controversial issues. 

First , we must recognize that except in the early years when 
the amount of water tc-ing pumped will be relatively small, the 
proposed project will consume more power than it produces. This 
is caused by the tremendous electrical energy needed to pump water 
over long distances and high mountains. Since over the long run 
this will be a power-deficient project, we are not able to embark 
on a substantial power marketing program. There is thus little 
reason to become involved in the public vs. private power 

To the extent, however, that power may be available to sell 
for a period of time, I have . concluded it should be sold at market 
value. This income can be applied to help meet the costs of the 
project and thus keep down the price of water. I want to stress 
just as strongly as I can that the purpose of this project is to 
supply water vital to California s growth and prosperity. That 
water must be supplied at a price people can afford to pay. 

I also v;ar.u to e~p;.asize that to the extent power is available, 
it shall be sold under provisions of existing law which grant a 
preference in such sales to public agencies. 

Nov;, I would like to discuss the second and related question. 
This involves distribution of the bsr.efit-s of project water in an 
equitable manner. It is the issue 5crr.3tir.i3s referred to in terms 
of the I: lo0-acre limitation, IJ or of "un-j\;?,t enrichment". 

1 firmly beiisve that we have the responsibility to see that 
no one receives a disproportionate or lion s share of she benefits 
from a publicly-financed project. In addition, I think that the 
development of small farms should be encouraged. 

I believe vie can attain those just and fair ends without try 
ing to obligate or ccerce anyone to sell or divide his land in 
order to ret water. We are therefore establishing a fair price 
differential to take care of this situation. 

On land In excess of ISO acres, .the price to be charged shall 
be the cost of delivering the water,, including the market value 
of the power used to punra it to this land. 

For all others which shall include the overwhelming 
majority of customers in both the cities and farm areas " the 
price shall be cost of delivering the water, including only the 
actual cost of the power to pump it rather than the market value 
of that power, less the amount of the benefit from any sale of 
power outside the project. 

1 believe these policies are fair and workable. They will 
give the small farmer a break In his .battle to compete with the big 
mechanized arms yet they will not seek to force anyone to break 
up what he owns or pay more than is reasonable for delivering the 
water to his land. The principle of differential v;ater rates for 
large and small farmers is already in effect in federal law in the 
small projects act sponsored by California s Senator Clair Engle . 
I believe it is a just and sound principle to apply to our program. 

1 would like to discuss other details concerning the project 
with you tonight, but there is not time. Tomorrow, the-jfore, I 
shall release in Sacramento a detailed statement of contract 
principle;.* r3cc-~3r.ied by the State Department of Water Resources 
and . approved by me . 

The statement will cover such basic matters as assurances 
of continuing supplies cf water to all contracting agencies, 
water rate estimates, and number of other provisions. 

The people of the State of California will then have before 
them a comprehensive picture of what we are asking them to approve 
in November. I shall therefore not call a special session of the 
Legislature on the water program. 

I am quite certain that these policy decisions won t satisfy 
everyone. But, ~ believe sincerely that they are equitable, that 
they will work, and that they v;ill have the approval of tha fair 
minded majority. No one is going to get all he wants in a project 

- 5 - 




engineered to help all of California. But if we work together and 
get more water for our State, every Calif ornian and every com 
munity will benefit, whether directly or indirectly. 

Above all, I want to emphasize that petty carping and the 
voices of those of little faith must not be permitted to cloud or 
defeat this massive undertaking to meet California s water needs 
for the next several decades. Nor can there be any politics 
involved either partisan or personal. We need an end to endless 
argument in which each speaks only his own self interest. There is 
need to recognize a larger interest that benefits and brings 
together all of our State. 

Finally, I want to assure you that the laws of the State of 
California already require that rates charged for water and power 
from a project such as this must be sufficient to pay for all 
construction, operation and financing costs. This means that the 
project will be paid for by those who receive its benefits, and 
that it will not be charged in any way against those who receive 

Reputable independent financial experts have concluded that 
the State 03..-. ::.25 ~ certainly to issue the large amount of 
bonds authorized by this project and still have bonding capacity 
to meet other great public needs. And in the most, fundamental 
economic sense, we cannot afford not to develop our water resources. 
It is an investment for cur future. We have already seen in the 
great Central Valley Project how .;:ater resources development can 
make our land and economy bloom for the benefit of millions of people. 

California s grov. th and prosperity require we move ahead. 
Each of us has a responsibility to help assure that. 

I urge your support for the water bond issue on the ballot 
next November . 

Thank you, and good evening. 

it II it il il il it 71 it i I iT 


Brown: I think we had to take money, we had to put some in the schools, 
didn t we? 

Chall: Yes, you did, and so it finally developed that instead of what would 
have been an expected average of something like $20 million a year, 
into the water project, it was cut to $11 million in various ways. 
Do you recall how the Department of Water Resources reacted to this 
because this was the way they had of financing the project and 
developing plans for building on the north coast. It was set into the 
law. So by cutting back on the money you were in effect changing the 
way in which this project could be financed. 

Brown: I don t remember that. I remember cutting back from twenty million 

to eleven million, and I remember the discussion as to where they get 
the money and as I remember it they could still finance it with the 
contracts that they had. 

Chall: You don t remember that they were concerned about this at all? 

Brown: No, I don t. No. I remember that we were concerned about I can t 
recall the concern. 

Chall: In 1965 you vetoed a bill that was set up by Carley Porter which would 
have allowed $5 million in nonreimbursable costs from the tidelands 
oil fund, and guaranteed annually $5 million when Davis-Grunsky funds 
exhausted projects. [AB 1147] 

Brown: I don t rember why I vetoed it. 

Chall: Well, I suppose you didn t want additional tidelands money going into 
Davis-Grunsky projects or any other projects at that time. 

Brown: I probably didn t want to extend Davis-Grunsky any more than it was. 

You see, we d allocated X number of dollars to Davis-Grunsky and that s 
all I wanted, and they were constantly trying to get more. Carley 
probably tried to accommodate them. 

Chall: Yes, because in 1966 [AB 12] a somewhat similar bill went through 

without the same kind of Davis-Grunsky involvement and you signed the 

Brown: Oh, I did? 

Chall: Yes. 

Brown: Well, I m not clear on that. 


Chall: I didn t ever check back to find out what happened to a request that 
you made to the legislature in 1964 for a $398 million bond issue for 
financing additional capital construction facilities of the State 
Water Plan. Do you recall asking for that in your budget message of 

Brown: No, I do not, but I know there was never another bond issue passed. 

I must have asked for it but I didn t get it. Unless it was a revenue 
bond issue, unless we were going to sell some revenue bonds of some 
sort. We had to scrape and pull to put this project over. I mean 
don t kid yourself. [laughs] It was a close fit and $1.75 billion 
was about all that we felt that we could get a bond issue. We were 
afraid to make $2 billion. It was like $1.99 rather than $2.00. We 
just thought that sounded better to the people. 

Chall: Even though you all knew that it was going to cost considerably more? 

Brown: Well, we weren t sure. No, we weren t quite sure how much it would 

cost. We felt that $1.75 billion, with those revenue bonds, with the 

sale of power, and the tidelands oil funds, we d be able to get by. 

They figured it out. No, we did not deceive the people on that, but 

we knew it was going to be pretty close. It s awfully hard to project 

yourself ahead fifteen years to know what the inflationary rate is 

going to be in these things. 


Chall: I wanted to read to you a statement made by Erwin Cooper in Aqueduct 
Empire, page 240: "Seen in the light of that polarization, the fact 
that Governor Brown successfully welded California s warring halves 
together long enough to synthesize a workable water formula looms all 
the more as a remarkable feat of statesmanship." Do you like that? 

Brown: Yes, I love it. 

Personnel Appointments and Conflicts//// 

Chall: I wanted to ask you some questions about personnel administration 

relating to the project. Gradually you pulled William Warne in from 
the Department of Fish and Game, to agriculture, to water. Did he 
seem the best choice to you at the time? 

Brown: He seemed like a very strong administrator to me and he had no 

hesitation in giving me advice and in disagreeing with me. I didn t 
want "Yes" men around me. I had read of his record and that Senator 
Sheridan Downey had attacked him. All of those things played a part 
in my choice. 


Chall: Your relationship with him during the years that you were developing 
the water project? How were they? 

Brown: Great, and up to the present moment we re still very, very close 
personal friends all the people were. 

Chall: When Hugo Fisher came in as the head of the Resources Agency presumably 
over Bill Warne and other department heads, and at the same time the 
water program was being developed, how were relationshps developed 
among you and Warne and Fisher. Warne, as you said, was a tough 
administrator, and he knew where he was heading. Was it difficult for 
him to work between you and Fisher and did you require this? 

Brown: Hugo had been a state senator. He had been one of my strongest 
supporters in the state senate. He was defeated in 1962 by some 
Republican (I can t remember who it was) down there. [Jack Schrade] 
But he didn t know as much about water as either Bill Warne or Ralph 
Brody. So even though he was in charge of natural resources, I tried 
to keep him out of water, and my reliance on water was upon Bill 
Warne, not on Hugo. But Hugo was kind of a dominating guy and I 
don t think the relationship was very good between Hugo and Bill 
Warne. But Bill knew that he had my support. 

Chall: What about relationships that might have been difficult because you 
appointed Abbott Goldberg as the deputy in the Department of Water 
Resources while he also acted as your counsel on water matters? Was 
this a potential and actual problem? 

Brown: We didn t have any place to put Abbott, you see. There was the chief 
counsel. We had to go through the attorney general by reason of my 
original fight to separate them and he was in the attorney general s 
office. But I wanted him on a full-time basis on water. So the only 
place I could put him was deputy director of the Department of Water 
Resources. But he got along well with Warne, although he s another 
stubborn guy and they differed philosophically in some respects but it 
all worked out okay . 

Chall: So you probably did have some 

Brown: Oh, I had a lot of personnel problems. I had to be like a baseball 

manager you know, when to take out a pitcher, and when to put him in, 
and when to let somebody move in one direction, and move in the other. 
It was a constant battle, but it never reached a point of fisticuffs 
or anything. 

Chall: Or anybody resigning in the middle of important negotiations? 

Brown: No, no. And it was tough keeping Harvey Banks because he got pretty 

angry with Ralph Brody at times. But I was afraid the damn bond issue 
would go down the drain if I didn t keep Harvey in there. I mean he was 
the man that gave respectability to my liberal appointees. 


Chall: Yes, and the fact that some people, like Bruce Allen, said that this 
was just a way for you to look awfully good so that ultimately you 
could run for president. 

Brown: Did he say that? 
Chall: Yes. 

Brown: Well, I couldn t run for president during the first two years. My son 
did, but I decided I couldn t do it. 

Chall: Now, I have some material that I got out of your papers which you 

deposited in The Bancroft Library and it indicated that Abbott Goldberg 
and Attorney General Mosk were in total disagreement on how to proceed 
with a case. It happened to be Rank versus Krug. I don t know what 
the outcome of that was, but Mosk had made up his mind that the state 
would not be a party to the case after the opinion had come out of the 
Ninth Circuit Court and Abbott Goldberg was very angry and I think he 
directed a memo to you. 

You had been attorney general and you knew that problems were 
going to come up between the attorney general and department counsels 
with respect to water. In your testimony before the Weinberger 
committee you had said that the governor was going to be the person 
of last resort, but chances were that the attorney general was going 
to make the final decision anyway. How did you handle problems of 
this kind between Mosk and the department heads, and counsels, 
particularly with water? 

Brown: Well, of course, the attorney general is an independent constitutional 
officer and the governor can t fire him or hire him, but you re married. 
When I first became attorney general Warren was the Republican governor 
and I was the Democratic attorney general. But I always tried to serve 
the governor. He was elected by the people. He was the person who 
was supposed to make the decisions. So I went along with him. Now, 
Stanley, of course, had an independent, philosophic view that sometimes 
agreed with mine and sometimes didn t. Stanley s a damn good lawyer. 
I mean he s a good associate justice of the supreme court, and the 
fight between him and Goldberg was really a philosophic fight. Abbott 
had been working on water far longer than Stanley Mosk. Stanley had 
been elected at the same time as me, but he had been a judge down in 
the superior court of Los Angeles County. But he was not an expert 
on water law. 

Now Rank versus Krug, I can t remember what happened. Did that 
go to the Supreme Court? Did Abbott take it to the Supreme Court? 

Chall: Yes. 







I think I permitted Abbott to take it to the Supreme Court on his own. 
I think that s what happened. But I d be in a very peculiar position 
if I appointed a lawyer to handle a case before the Supreme Court and 
the attorney general of the state would oppose the lawyer that the 
governor appointed, particularly when they re both of the same 
political party. 

I ran into that in another matter. I ran into that in a case 
involving the El Paso Pipeline where I supported the dismissal of an 
anti- trust case it has nothing to do with this. The State Board of 
Equalization, by a four- to-one vote, went along with me or I went 
along with them. But Bill [William] Bennett, who s now a member of 
the State Board of Equalization, Bill Bennett went into court and 
argued as an individual, as the president of the Board of Equalization 
and, by golly, he won the case in the Supreme Court all by himself. 
As a result of that, the El Paso Pipeline had to break their plan to 
purchase the Pacific Northwest Pipeline. Bennett had always accused 
me of taking a bribe or some other damn thing in the case which, of 
course, was nonsense. But we had a real rift which has never been 

So in a case of this kind, Rank versus Krug? 

I can t remember what happened. I can t remember. Abbott Goldberg 
would know. Are there any letters or anything on that? 

I didn t check any further. There may be. I just took a note on that 
in order to discuss matters of personnel and problems of jurisdiction. 

Rank versus Krug was on the San Joaquin River. It was a question of 
how much water should be released. What Abbott wanted to do was to 
pay the farmers and to take that water because they had another source 
of water from the Friant Canal. It was not really the big policy 
issue. Rank versus Krug, however, did involve who controlled the 
water of the river and Judge Pierson Hall was the judge in that case 
and he was very anti-federal government and Abbott Goldberg was very 
pro-Bureau of Reclamation and [Department of] Interior. He felt that 
he had a much broader philosophic base with the national government 
than you did with the local water users. 

I ll find out how that came out but if you allowed Abbott Goldberg 
to take that to the Supreme Court, that meant you had to get Mosk s 
approval on that. 

I probably did but I can t remember what actually happened, 
know whether that s in here or not. [goes through papers] 

I don t 

Chall: No, I don t have any court cases to talk to you about. 


Governor Explains Farm Water Rates and Effect of Excess Acre Surcharge 

Last August the California farm Research and Legislative 
Committee asked Governor Edmund G. Brown to clarify the 
pricing of agricultural water from the proposed California 
Water flan at rates farmers can afford (see October FARM 
REPORTER) and to explain the surcharge provisions proposed 
by him as a means of preventing "undue enrichment" of cor 
poration farms and large landowners. Suhsequently a CFR&LC 
subcommittee discussed the matter with Ralph Brodt. Brown s 
Water Advisor, and mentbers from th<T LJept. or water Re 
sources stag. Here is the Governor s reply to Mrs. Grace Mc 
Donald, Executive Secretary of the Committee. ~~~ 

Dear Grace: 

This is with reference to your letter and subsequent con 
versations with Ralph Brody and others of the Department 
of Water Resources staff regarding the matter of ability 
to pay upon the part of agricultural users of water from 
the state project and the surcharge provisions which are 
being included in the contracts we are presently ne- " 
gotiating. ..":.. jrV.-::> ./.- \ -4*C:1 .-,-.- ". 

Insofar as the ability of agricultural users to pay. is 
concerned, I must agree with your comments that such 
ability is limited and that the unit cost of agricultural water 
is high. I agree, also, that if our agricultural economy is to 
be sustained within the state project service areas some 
manner must be found by which assistance can be provided 
to agriculture. This problem has been the subject of dis 
cussion by my own staff, the economists in the Department 
of Water Resources, and our financial consultants whose 
reports should be forthcoming in the not too distant future. 

The problem with respect to agriculture arises prin 
cipally during the build-up period during which there is 
less use of water but high capital costs to be met. This re 
sults, of course, in a higher unit cost of water than would 
be the case if full use were being made of the water itself. 
In addition, even under full use agriculture has some diffi 
culty in meeting the full unit cost of water. 

We are making provision for meeting this problem in 
two ways. In order to spread the cost over as large a. tax 
base as possible within the areas directly benefited, we will 
require that over-all master districts be formed to contract 
for state project water within these agricultural service 
areas. This is justified by virtue of the fact that the avail 
ability and use of the agricultural water will benefit sub 
stantially those areas which are contiguous and adjacent to 

This is a practice commonly followed by irrigation 
districts at the present time. The agency, as irrigation dis 
tricts do-now, would raise its funds by means of an overall 
tax within the area to meet part of the costs, and the re 
mainder of the costs would be recovered by means of tolls 
for water furnished. This is the practice followed in Santa 
Barbara and Solano Counties and many other areas. It has 
the effect of relieving the burden on the part of the water 


The second method we have developed can meet the 
problem during the period of build-up in water use. We 
are providing in our contracts with metropolitan areas, 
such as the Metropolitan Water District that in the initial 
years municipal, industrial, and domestic water will return 
their share of the cost with higher initial installments but 
gradually reducing in later installments and agricultural 
users starting out with low installments and increasing. 

The final result is that neither agricultural, industrial, 
nor domestic users pay any greater share of the capital in 
vestment over the entire project repayment period than 
they would have paid had their installments been on an 
equal annual basis. However, the annual amounts paid by 
agriculture in the early years will be less, thus reducing 
unit cost of water to them in those years, when the agri 

cultural areas are not fully developed. 

I sincerely believe, and the economists with whom I 
have discussed the matter agree, that this can and will meet 
the problem of the agricultural areas. 

In connection with the surcharge, I am confident this 
matter is not completely understood. There has been a con 
siderable amount of sentiment for federal acreage limita 
tion. Even the Federal Congress has recognized that the 
historic federal acreage limitation is not suitable in all 
instances. For example, the Federal Small Projects Act 
follows essentially the same procedure which we have 
adopted. Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, perhaps the 
strongest advocate of acreage limitation, in 1958 intro 
duced a bill in Congress which would have provided for a 
procedure essentially the same as we have adopted. Actu 
ally, those who support acreage limitation differ from what 
we have done not in the matter of policy, for we are fol 
lowing the policy of acreage limitation, but rather in the 
matter of mechanics. . _ . 

I consider the mechanics which we have adopted will be 
more effective than the federal acreage limitation. The cost 
of water from this project will be high in the first instance. 
When one considers that it will be from $15 to S20 an acre 
foot canal-side and when one adds to this the surcharge of 
S2 to S3 per acre foot and compares this total canal-side 
cost with the charge being made for canal-side water on 
the federal Central Valley Project of 83.50 an acre foot, 
one can see the advantage to the small landowner. 

In addition, I believe it is not commonly understood 
that when we mentioned a surcharge of $2 to S3 an acre 
foot this actually means a price differential of $8 to S12 
per acre. This results from the fact that it is necessary for 
most crops to have irrigations of from 3 to 4 acre feet per 
acre. This means, therefore, that the production cost from 
the standpoint of water allowance on lands in excess of 160 
acres will be from S8 to $12 more per acre than it is for the 
smaller owner. This in my judgment will tend to discour- 
age the retention or accumulation of large land holdings, 
I hope that the information I have supplied will be of 
use to you, and I wish to express my regret for the delay 
which has been occasioned in supplying you with this in- 
forma ion and my sincere thanks for your interest in this 

Sincerely, EDMUND G. BROWN, Governor 

The Conservation Story 

Land, Wood & Water. By Senator Robert 5. Kerr, fleet 
Publishing Corp., Netr York, $rf.95. 

Larui, Wood & Water is an eloquent and comprehensive 
study of all phases of conservation. It gives a full and accurate 
picture of the history and benefits of modern water develop 
ment, irrigation, flood control, navigation, hydro-electric power, 
recreation and soil conservation. Written for the layman as well 
as the expert, it should be required reading for all high school 
and college students. 

The author, Senator Robert S. Kerr (D-Okla.), chairman of 
the Select Senate Committee on National Water Resources, is 
well qualified to discuss conservation policies and programs. 
His committee gathered first hand evidence from all parts of 
the nation concerning the urgency of conservation. 

Senator Kerr devotes several pages describing the crusade of 
Californian George Maxwell before the turn of the century to 
swing public opinion toward reclamation policies which would 
benefit homemakers rather than speculators. Success crowned 
his efforts when Senator Francis Newlands of Nevada, with 
whom he worked closely, sponsored the Federal Reclamation 
Act which was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, June 
17, 1902. 

Maxwell died impoverished in 1933. His ashes rest at his 
birthplace near Sonoma where his daughter, Ruth Maxwell 
Denny, with very little public help, maintains in his honor the 
Maxwell Memorial Park Conservation Center. 




The San Luis Resgrvoir Joint-Use Contract//// 
[Interview 17: May 8, 1979] 

Chall: Here is a sort of chronology of the San Luis Reservoir decision that 
might help you. 

Brown: [pause to look through papers] I can t remember the chronology of 
these things . 

Chall: That s all right. You probably recall then that one of the major 

sticking points was the fact that the House and the Senate took out 
section 7 of the bill which would have exempted the 160-acre limit 
from the San Luis contract and then left it up to the secretary of 
the interior to work out an agreement with you. Now that created a 
tremendous problem, of course. I ve noticed that there was a great 
deal of scurrying around during the year in which the secretary was 
making his decision about the joint-use agreement. 

Brown: Let me see if I make it clear. Under the bill that was signed, they 
exempted the acreage limitation from the service area of the San Luis 

Chall: No, they left it in. 

Brown: Oh, they left it in? 

Chall: Yes. 

Brown: So you had to have the acreage limitation? 

Chall: That s right. But then the bill said that it was up to the secretary 
of the interior to sign an agreement with the state and didn t mention 
the 160 acres. But Congress had left it in the law. Now it was up 
to the secretary of the interior and the Bureau of Reclamation to 
work out a contract with the state on the San Luis Reservoir. It 
would have seemed that Congress wanted the limitation. 

Brown: Kept in. 

Chall: So there was a year in which you had to work out matters. Let s see, 
the bill gave you until January 1, 1962, to come to an agreement or 
San Luis would be built by the federal government alone. This was 
1961 and everything hinged on your getting the water plan through. 

Can you recall what was going on in your administration in trying 
to persuade Secretary Udall to sign an agreement that did not include 
acreage limitation in the state project? 


Brown: What was the period, what time was this? 

Chall: Well, the bill was signed by President Eisenhower in May, 1960, and 
you had the whole year of 1961, after Kennedy came in, to work out a 
satisfactory agreement. It took the entire year right down to the 
wire. It was signed December 30, 1961. Now, what caused the problem? 

Brown: Well, I guess the problem was that we had made a commitment, we d 

made a decision that the acreage limitation would not be within the 
California Water Project. We were going to charge the users of the 
water a fair market value for their water rather than to limit it 
by acreage limitation. The reason we did that was because I was 
afraid if we got into a social theory like acreage limitation that 
the big landowners would put money in to fight the California water 
project. So I had to balance the equities of the situation: a^ water 
project or no water project with the acreage limitation in it. I 
personally did not believe in the acreage limitation as the best way 
to limit the size of a farm that got water. I felt that they should 
pay for the water and it was suggested to me by others that rather 
than a 160-acre limitation, or a 320 for husband and wife under the 
community property laws of the state of California, that it would be 
better to have a corporation with limited number of shares. 

I felt that there were better alternatives than the acreage 
limitation that was passed in 1902 when they wanted people to come in 
and homestead their land and build it. I just felt that this was not 
the best way to do it. I read everything that I could on it and it 
became a real battleground between the liberals and the moderates and 
conservatives. The conservatives were against any acreage limitation. 
They were all for subsidy to the big farmers. Well, I was against that. 
I didn t want to let them have that water for three and one-half 
dollars an acre-foot on 90,000-100,000 acres of land. That was 
ridiculous . 

Chall: They would have had to cut up their land holdings though. 

Brown: They would have had to cut up their land holdings under acreage 

limitation. They would have broken down the farms into 320 acres. 
But, of course, I didn t think that land was worth $1,000 an acre 
with water on it. That s a farm worth $320,000 back in 1960. It 
was not a small farm! [laughs] I mean $320,000 was a pretty rich 
farmer at that. So I didn t want to even subsidize him. So those 
were the factors and we finally negotiated, and I guess [Stewart] 
Udall finally gave in. 

Chall: Yes, he did. Do you recall what made him give in? 

Brown: Well, he and I were very, very friendly and we were very, very close 
and I don t know what compromises we made. Brody and Warne would 
remember that, but I wouldn t. I just know that we stuck tight on the 


Brown: deal and Warne and Brody were both tough negotiators. I can t 

remember why, but I know I talked to the secretary about it. He and 
I worked very closely on a great many things. 

Chall: It took so long for the decision to be made. Apparently it wasn t 
all that simple because there was concern that, after all, this was 
partly a federal project and if any federal funds go into it to help 
build it up then some obviously thought that the acreage limitation 
should apply . I was wondering whether the fact that you were a 
Democratic governor and you were coming up for reelection in 1962 
had any effect on whether or not they were eager to figure out a way 

Brown: Help me. 
Chall: Help you. 

Brown: Well, I think that probably played a part in it because I was Kennedy s 
campaign chairman in California, voted for him for president of the 
United States. Stu Udall was a very close friend of mine. He was a 
congressman from Arizona and we worked very closely together on water 
projects and I think that that played a part in it. We had already 
committed ourselves on our bond issue that there would be no acreage 
limitation and so I had to, after we made that decision, I had to keep 
with it or break my word. 

Chall: What would have happened if the agreement had gone the other way, I 
mean if the decision of the secretary had gone the other way, that 
acreage limitation would apply. 

Brown: I have no idea. I can t tell you; I don t remember. 

Chall: Now, I did see some material in your papers I was going through the 

Governor Brown papers the past couple of weeks that some time in 1963, 
you were trying to change the name of the San Luis Reservoir, but I 
don t know what you were trying to change the name to. Was it Edmund 
Brown? There was some material in your files, just letters, saying, 
"We think it should stay San Luis; that s an historical name in this 
area." But I have no idea what it was that you were attempting. Do 
you recall? 

Brown: No, I think they may have wanted to call it after Los Banos . What s 
the name of the town that s right there. Maybe it is Los Banos, I 
can t remember. 

Chall: Los Banos is right there. That s where the reservoir is. 

Brown: That s where it is, in Los Banos. I can t remember that. I m sorry. 

Chall: I see, but it wasn t after yourself? 


Brown: No, I didn t want to name anything after myself. As a matter fact, later 
on Bill Warne wanted to name the Oroville Dam. He wanted to name it 
after me and call it the Edmund G. Brown Dam. As a matter of fact, he 
prepared the plaque and everything else. This was after I was defeated 
for governor and I wouldn t let him do it. I thought Reagan would 
change it back and then I would look bad, and it was self-perpetuating 
anyway. Then later on last year this is additional information 
Assembly Jack [John] Knox had a resolution all prepared and had the 
votes to call the aqueduct the Edmund G. Brown Aqueduct, from San Luis 
to the Tehachapis, and Jerry called me up and asked me not to do it. He 
pointed out to me that in Sacramento they wanted to call the auditorium 
after Earl Warren and the people voted it down, and that there was some 
resentment at all the things called after John Kennedy too, and some of 
them, like Cape Canaveral, went back to the original names, later on. 

Chall: I wasn t able to figure that out and I thought somebody else someday 
might not be able to figure it out either. That s perhaps about all 
we can get on that subject on the San Luis Reservoir. 

Brown: You know, this water project interests me very, very much, some of these 
things that occurred. I may want to talk to you one of these days after 
I retire, which may be sooner than I think, about getting these materials 
and working on it. This is where I can spend a good part of my life in 
The Bancroft Library, writing and dictating and going over those things. 

Chall: Oh, yes, your files are great once you start working through them and 
take the time to do so. 

Brown: But you ve got to take time; you ve got to be patient with them, no 
question about it. 

Chall: Well, it s all there. Here s some material on the Pacific Southwest 
Water Plan. 

The Tug-of-War Between Arizona and California on The Colorado River 

Brown: We were insisting upon 4.4 million acre-feet of water even though we 
lost the case in the Supreme Court. Arizona couldn t get the money 
to build the Central Arizona Project without our help and we had more 
votes in the Congress of the United States, and we worked hard, so we 
just filibustered it. We just wouldn t let central Arizona go through 
by the influence that we had. I went back and I talked with Senator 
[Carl] Hayden, who was a very elderly gentleman at the time, but a 
very pleasant old man. I met with him and we tried to work out a 
compromise, and apparently we did work out a compromise that we d 
import more water into the Colorado. I don t know where that water 


Brown: would come from. I haven t the slightest idea as I read this letter, 
but apparently they were to bring more water down, probably from the 
Snake or one of the other rivers into the Colorado, and then that 
would leave enough water for both the Metropolitan Water District and 
the Central Arizona Project. So the Central Arizona Project eventually 
went through. It s now being built. It will come on stream in 1982, 
I think, and when it comes on stream California will lose a substantial 
portion of water out of the Colorado. 

We re going to have to have other water and they re dawdling up 
there in Sacramento today and no one s able to reach an agreement. 
Southern California is going to be in one hell of a spot in the next 
three years unless something s done. They re going to be in a tough 
spot anyway in my opinion. 

Chall: Well, now, in addition to Arizona s wanting the Central Arizona Project 
and Senator Hayden being chairman of the Appropriations Committee which 
is a rather powerful spot to be in, California was also interested in 
getting the Auburn Dam and Folsom South Canal built and Senator Hayden 
for years had been sitting on that, so California had something to gain 
as well . There seemed to be tremendous controversy within your 
administration over the stance that would be taken whether you were 
going to insist that California get an assurance of 4.4 million acre- 
feet of water annually, or whether they would have it for maybe 25 
years or so and then it wouldn t serve them any longer. You apparently 
were at odds again with the Metropolitan Water District. They claimed, 
in their summer, 1964 News Report, that the latter "compromise proposal 
developed by representatives of Governor Edmund G. Brown and Senator 
Carl Hayden of Arizona, has been termed markedly inferior to the 
Pacific Southwest Project Act by the MWD Board." They claim that your 
proposal would recognize the principle of protecting California s 
Colorado River water rights only for twenty-five years . 

Brown: Oh, yes, I was fighting with them all the time. They took a very 

hard nosed attitude about everything. I mean they wanted to control 
the water in Southern California. As a matter of fact, they wanted 
to control the water in California. Our old friend, Joseph Jensen, he 
fought these battles and he was really a stubborn guy. On the 
California Water Project he wouldn t agree to it, wouldn t support 
the bill in the first place, because he didn t want the east aqueduct, 
number one. Number two, he wanted two pumps rather than one pump to 
pump the water up the Tehachapis. We were fighting with them all the 

I think there was substantial agreement in Sacramento with Bill 
Warne and Hugo Fisher and the other people in our water department. 
We d sit down and discuss it. We wanted Arizona to move ahead. As 
a matter of fact, we didn t see any reason why all these people should 
come to Southern California, from an environmental standpoint. We 


Brown: wanted some of them to go stay in Arizona. I really think we were water 
statesmen where the Metropolitan Water District people were really water 
hogs. Of course, they had fought this thing out a long time in the 
Owens Valley, so they had a tradition of having difficulty in the 
development of Southern California. But they really had no broad vision 
and it used to annoy me and I used to laugh at it. 

But I wanted Central Arizona to go ahead because I felt California 
had other water; we had other sources of water. It now develops that 
they re making wild rivers out of some of these other sources of water, 
so California can t develop its full potential. Even now I disagree 
with the environmentalists and the Sierra Club. I think that some of 
the Eel river should be built and developed, and they will eventually. 
Like this gasoline situation down here now where everybody s againt 
everything but nobody s for anything. 

Chall: According to a memorandum in your files there was internal disagreement 
within your administration. According to Abbott Goldberg s memo to 
you, in the group who wanted the status quo, that is, insuring the 
4.4 million acre-feet of water before any bill goes through, were 
Kuchel, Mosk, Ely, and also Congressmen Sisk, McFall, and Johnson, and 
the Arizona state people. On that side also were Dowd, Corker, Grindler. 

Brown: Yes, they were all together. 

Chall: Then on your side, I gather, were Warne, Goldberg, Fisher, in helping 
you to take this modified stand. 

Brown: The other people, Grindler, convinced Mosk that they were right in 
this thing. Mosk was a Southern Calif ornian too and they wanted to 
protect California s water interests, and I suppose Stanley, as the 
lawyer for California, had to fight for it, where I was the governor 
in more of a position to make policy, in a policy position. Bill 
Warne and Hugo Fisher and I were all liberals. The others had been 
fighting Arizona for so long that they just had to continue to fight. 
It was like the Hatfields and the McCoys in Kentucky. They just didn t 
know how to quit. We wanted a compromise. I wanted Arizona to 
develop. I d been long as attorney general I had been completely 
disillusioned with Mike Ely and Mike Dowd and the Imperial Valley 
people who were completely incapable of any compromise of any kind, 
nature or description. They just wouldn t compromise and, of course, 
the farmers were the same way. I being a city boy I really feel we 
took the statesmanlike attitude in this thing. 

Chall: Can you recall any of the meetings that you would be holding in 
trying to work things out? 


Brown: Oh, we had all sorts of meetings. I tried to get Stanley Mosk to go 
along with us. He wouldn t do it. Of course, Sisk, and Johnson, and 
Kuchel were very powerful members and it got into it was rather a 
bit of controversy at that time. I can t remember who finally won it, 
but I remember this was one of the few times that Stanley Mosk and I 
had been in disagreement. I d like to review that history and find 
out about it. But we felt that Mosk was influenced by one of the 
people whose name was mentioned there. 

Chall: Dowd? 

Brown: No. Let me see that. 

Chall: Well, let s see, the names are also on this piece of paper. 

Brown: Corker, Charlie Corker. Charlie Corker was a brilliant lawyer and 
Charlie Corker had influenced Stanley. He and Abbott Goldberg had 
fought. Abbott was a real interstate water lawyer. He was the one 
that got me to change in Ivanhoe irrigation versus All Persons . He 
was the one that wanted, in Rank versus Krug, to permit some of the 
water to go down the stream. Abbott influenced me, had great influence 
on me in the long run, because I thought he was more generous in his 
attitude toward other states. These people were Calif ornians first and 
Americans second, whereas we tried to be citizens of the United States 
and still assure the California people of their rights. 

Chall: While you were then taking different stances it would have been quite 
difficult to get any bill through the Congress. 

Brown: It was very difficult to do it. I can remember the quarrel, but I 
can t remember the eventual solution to it. 

Chall: What happened, do you recall, when Mr. Lynch came in as attorney 
general? Did that make any difference in his relationships with 
Abbott Goldberg? 

Brown: I don t think it did. I think he followed his deputies in the office. 
Tom had not had the contact with water that I had. He hadn t fought 
the battle. He d been district attorney of San Francisco and he 
couldn t possibly have had time to get into it. Even though I appointed 
him he then became an advocate of the attorney general s position, the 
legal position, that they d taken. I m sure he didn t change it. 

Chall: So your main activity then was in trying to persuade Senator Hayden 
and Stewart Udall to the California position that you had? 

Brown: Well, remember my theory always was that the law of water is the law 

of water shortage and there was plenty of water in the West. I didn t 
care about how much money it cost. I felt the money would be spent. 


Brown: People would have it and I wanted to invest in a complete development 
of the water of the West for all the states of the West. I wasn t 
too concerned with expenditures of money. I was a reckless, profligate 
spender of funds and still am! 

Chall: Well, that s what seems to have made it come apart so that everybody 
could accept it Senator Hayden and the Californians was what Hugo 
Fisher indicates in his letter, that water was going to be found 
somewhere else and therefore it was no problem. However, as I 
understand it, the water was never found anywhere else because even 
though you set up the Western States Water Council, nothing came of 
the idea of importing water from the Pacific Northwest. 

Brown: Well, there has been no more water development since 1960 between you 
and me. They started the Auburn Dam and they started a couple of 
these other dams but they ve all been fought by environmentalists and 
litigation and everything else. 

Chall: But the Oregonians and the Washingtonians did not agree to allowing 
the Snake River 

Brown: They wouldn t let any water come out of the Columbia either. 

Chall: That s where it was supposed to come from. So now what happens? 

There isn t any water coming from the Pacific Northwest as had been 
planned or hoped for, and yet these projects in Arizona have begun 
and they re going to go through. So was it a hoped for pie-in-the- 
sky do you suppose? 

Brown: No, they re eventually going to have to do it. There may be some 
eight years of water conservation before they get through. We re 
growing now. Arizona s growing, California s growing, and the 
whole West is growing. They ll eventually have to build some very 
expensive projects. They ll be more expensive now than they were then. 

Chall: Coming from where? 

Brown: Well, they ll eventually get it out of the Columbia. Columbia doesn t 
need all that water that flows down there. It s ridiculous between 
you and me. 

Chall: [laughs] It never ends, the same questions. At any rate, Mr. Hayden 
did allow the Auburn Dam bill to go through and eventually, I guess, 
the other project went through too for the Folsom South Canal. 

Brown: But they haven t built the dam yet. They re having trouble on design 
and things like that now. But they ll eventually build it. They ll 
come up with another one, but they re afraid of earthquakes. There s 
always opposition to those things. 

EDMUND G. BROWN -^^.S^f^ ;.". . : A^s^ H - 

Deportment of Conservation 
Department of Fish and Game 
Department of Parks and Recreation 
Department of Water Resources 
State Reclamation Board 
State Water Quality Control Board 


Regional Water Pollution 



The Honorable Edmund G. Brown 
Governor of California 
State Capitol 
Sacramento, California 

Dear Governor Brown: *-? 

At your request , I have reviewed the draft bill to set 
in motion the Pyifir. Southwest Regional Water Plan 
which bill now has the support of Senators Thomas~Ku"chel 
of California and Carl Hayden of Arizona. 

I find that the bill will accomplish the goals which 
you set forth in detail to Secretary of the Interior 
Stewart Udall on December 4, 1963. 

At that time, you advised the Secretary that: "the 
Pacific Southwest can no longer afford the luxury of 
uncoordinated water development on a competitive project 
by project approach with each project depending on an 
admittedly insufficient stream. The major needs of the 
region can only be served by a regional program. 

"Until the interested parties agree on a truly regional 
approach we thin"k the Congress should shelve all project 
by project authorizations in the Lower Basin of the 
Colorado River. To do otherwise is either to provide for 
an expensive shifting of already acute deficiencies or to 
build substantial projects which will inevitably run short 
of water. Such an approach raises more problems than it 
solves ." 

To implement that tneory, you proposed a Pacific Southwest 
Regional Plan. The draft bill would accomplish that 
purpose . 

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: " : ,,;Y V :, .-.%. /.* ,-:. .V .- --:v . . : " - VXc " - *-- ! - " J< .- .^- : " 

i -?- s;-.^; 1 .^ I :: - v...^5 ; >:- . "" "-; 
The Honorable Edmund G. Brown : "-r2-; ; ": -^February- 3, 1965 


You recommended that surplus water and power revenues 
within the southwest region be pooled -to finance new 
works to import water to the Colorado River basin. The 
bill would achieve that goal. 

You proposed that the Federal government . import enough 
new water to guarantee a supply of at least 7,500,000 
acre-feet to Colorado River users, thus eliminating the 
cause of friction between California and Arizona. The 
draft bill would accomplish that pur po sav 

in your December, 1953 report, you also recommended 
creation of a Regional Water Commission to coordinate. 
project planning in the west and the draft bill would 
carry out that recommendation. 

The most significant development in connection with the 
draft bill is the acceptance by Senator Carl. Hayden of 
Arizona of the principle of assuring California her 
existing uses up to 4.4 million acre-feet until works__are 
built to import water into the Colorado. 

This priority, in substance, is the same as that you 
recommended to the Southern California water interests 
in January, 1964, and to Senator Hayden at the beginning 
of last year. . 

At that time, neither Senator Hayden nor our Colorado 
users would agree to this form of priority. Our users 
insisted on perpetual priority; Arizona insisted on a 
priority terminable in a period of years, even if no 
works were constructed to augment the Colorado water supply. 
Now both sides have accepted this intermediate position. 

Having thus agreed on the contents of the bill, there 
remains the question of how to procure its passage. Senator 
Hayden says that he will attempt to procure Senate passage 
of the compromise bill once it has been passed by the House 
of Representatives. Senator Hayden points out that on two 
occasions in the past, the Senate has passed the Central 
Arizona Project Act only to have the bill fail in the House. 
He accepts the California priority, but only if he can be 
sure that the Central Arizona Project will be authorized 
in retrun for his doing so. Passage of the bill by the 
House would provide the necessary assurance. 

I recommend that you urge the California members of the 
House to give this latest bill, which represents an accord, 

56c At. 

The Honorable Edmund G. Brown 


Pebruary 3, 1965 

their most earnest study, with a view to its early intro 
duction as a united California effort to execute the 
compromise With Arizona. 

Very sincerely yours, 

Administrator of Resources 

Relationships with Congress 


Chall: I d like to know a little bit about some of the other people with whom 
you had to work on this whole controversy. Can you tell me something 
about "Bizz" [Harold] Johnson and his role? 

Brown: Bizz was the state senator, elected to Congress, a very close friend 
of mine. We worked very closely with him. He was with me, I think, 
in most of the things I did. We re still very close friends. He s 
a conservative Democrat, not a liberal Democrat. He comes from a 
conservative area that votes Republican usually, so he was lucky to 
be reelected and reelected. 

Chall: Did you work with him closely on some of these water matters? 
Brown: Oh, yes, I worked very closely with him. Yes, I did. 
Chall: Irvine Sprague, how did he serve during this period? 

Brown: Irvine Sprague was my Washington representative. I set up a Washington 
office. California never had that before and it was his job to work 
with the congressmen, the senators, and the administration. He had 
been the administrative assistant to Congressman [John] McFall and 
he was very much of a diplomat and politician. He knew the mind of 
the congressman because he had worked, as the administrative assistant, 
to McFall. He got along very, very well with them. He was very 
helpful to me, gave me lots of advice which I followed very closely. 
He was a great administrator and got along well with the senators and 
the California congressmen; I don t think relations were ever better 
then between the California congressmen; that lasted down to the 
present moment. Jerry has a fellow named Joe Beeman in there today 
who s nowhere near as effective as Sprague was. Joe was Phil Burton s 
representative and far more liberal than Irv Sprague or John McFall. 

Chall: Did Sprague help write some of the bills that had to do with the 
water issues in Washington that we were just talking about? 

Brown: No, he didn t write any of the bills. But he would act as a liaison 
between all of us in the thing. We d tell him what we wanted and he 
would try to affect it. If he couldn t affect it he might suggest a 
conpromise. He was not essentially a water man, didn t know anything 
about water, but he did know legislation, and he did know congressmen, 
and was very, very excellent. He later went with President Johnson 
as one of his administrative assistants and is now the head of the 
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, chairman of it, and a very, very 
able guy. 

Chall: How closely did you work with Congressman [Wayne] Aspinall? 


Brown: Well, we worked with him on water legislation. He was from Colorado 
and he was always suspicious of California. But I got along with 
him. I don t think he ever gave me any votes or anything. I can* t 
remember. He was a Democrat too. I try to get along with everybody. 
I was friendly with all these congressmen and went out of my way to 
help them where I could in various things , and I worked with the 
governors of all the western states too. 

Chall: Was it important for you as governor to work with the people in the 
Congress who had these key spots? 

Brown: Oh, a hundred percent! I mean we had to get money from them, we had 
to get legislation on various things, and it was one of the most 
important parts of my administration to work with them. Now, Aspinall 
was the head of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee after Clair 
Engle went to the Senate, and he was a key man in all this legislation. 
The chairmen of those committees were all powerful at that time. If 
they said no, you couldn t get anything through. So I had to work 
with them very, very closely. Of course, he and Clair Engle were 
very close friends too. But each one represented their own states. 
There was an element of real selfishness and parochialism on the part 
of these people. 

Chall: So that just managing to get a regional water plan through was 

Brown: Was very difficult. Each one was suspicious of the other and, of 
course, there was great question of fact to as to how much actual 
water there was in these things . 


Chall: What about James Carr who was undersecretary in the Department of 

Brown: Oh, yes, we were very close. He was Clair Engle s administrative 

assistant when he was a congressman. He came from Redding, California, 
and Jim and I were very close personal friends. As a matter of fact, 
I was instrumental in getting him appointed undersecretary of Interior 
by President Kennedy. He was one of the California appointees, and I 
recommended and fought for him. So he was always very, very close to 

Chall: That would have been a key position. 

Brown: Oh, it was a key position for us. We needed somebody in the 
Department of Interior. The relationship was very, very close 
between Udall, Carr, and myself, and my water people. Abbott Goldberg 
was always a little bit on the outside because he was the most liberal 
of any of them and the least states righter of the whole group. 


Chall: Yes, I occasionally saw some little speeches from some of the Southern 
Calif ornians who opposed his ideas. 

Brown: Oh, yes, the Southern Californians, and the Metropolitan Water 

District, and the Imperial Water District, they didn t like him at 
all. The Irrigation Districts Association, which was financed by 
the big farmers a phony organization. It really wasn t water 
development or small farmers; it was a protection of the big farms 
in California, obviously. 

Pushing for the Peripheral Canal, 1965-1966 

Chall: There s a letter, which I saw in your files, dated April 6, 1965, to 
Stewart Udall, regarding a meeting that you wanted him to have with 
Warne, and Fisher, and Mr. Shannon of fish and game to discuss the 
Peripheral Canal. This was in April, 1965. In September, 1966, which 
was a good year later, there were, in your files, hundreds of letters 
which you kept copies of which you had written to individuals and 
water agencies asking that they participate in the campaign to get the 
federal government to build a Peripheral Canal. 

Brown: Oh, yes, I worked very hard to get that Peripheral Canal. 

Chall: What is your recollection really of what was holding up the Peripheral 
Canal at that stage? 

Brown: Well, the only thing that was holding it up really was, number one, 
financing I mean money. They were beginning to cut back on water 
projects in the West. Number two, the Delta people were fighting it 
with all of their power. They felt that if they built the Peripheral 
Canal instead of the water going through the Delta where there would 
always be lots of water, they d take that water out and they d have 
to be dependent upon a water master to get their water. [pause] 

You see how I was working on water all the time. Here it is now 
twelve years later, after I ve gotten out, with no one that knew 
anything about water, so there has been nothing done except delay and 
stalling and everything else. It s like this gasoline shortage today. 
They re going to have the same thing in water later on. Although there 
should be far more conservation in water. There s a reckless waste of 
water by pumping and things like that at the present time. 

Chall: Now that spate of letters came out during your 1966 relection campaign. 
Was this also a way of showing the water people that you were concerned? 



Copied from originals in The 
Bancroft Library for reference 
only. Copies may not be deposited 
in other libraries or institutions^ 
without express permission. Please 
return all copies to The Bancroft 
Library upon completion of your 

September 22, 1966 

Mr. Roland Curran 
Box 15 

Baker afield, California 

Dear Mr, Curran: 

I am writing you because cf your demonstrated interest in California 
water resources davii lopment, and more particularly because of the 
urgent need for authorisation and construction of the Peripheral 
Canal as the great, central .link in both, the .-federal Central Valley 
Project: and the State Water Project, 

You know of the great benefits to be realized from the Peripheral 
Canal. It will provide hi^h quality *a ler-.. not ; only for use In the 
Oan Francisco Say x- ea, the Zan Joaquin 7alle# and Southern 
California, but also In the- Dt-.ita itself,. 

I am hopeful that Ccn^resa will authorize the federal portion of 
this joint state-fe ifrai project, Inclu -3 ?^ Integrated operation 
xlth the Californ -a ,,:;u^chici, at itj ne?:t stiHSicn so we can sseer 
the hlgr; ^iter cari; it.y socoitw^n-t* vf tae Stats :iater Project in 
the early 1970?r. 

You can help Calif orr.lans attain the benefits of the Peripheral 
Canal by joining ire in informing the people about this- -jreat- and 
vital part of the State Water project and by working with JTSC to 
obtain early authorization and construction. 

Together, we have achieved the unprecedented la water development 
in California in recent years. I am confident that together we 
will continue to kect; efficiency and economy In every phase of the 
State s water development. 


EDMUND a. SHOWN, Governor 

-;"^V " -. - 

: K;:< : - :"."" -v -. 


^||:-:^ : 




P. O. BOX 2445 UOO Q STREET Copied from originals in TK* 

Phone 325-5078 Bancroft Library for refsrenoe 

BAKERSFIELO, CALIFORNIA 93303 only. Copies may not be deposited 

in other libraries or institutions 
without express permission. Please 

September .28, 1966 

A * ^ a. ,3 ; 

eturn all copies to The Bancroft 
Library upon completion of your 

Governor Edmund G. 
State Capitol 
Sacramento, California 

Dear r;overnor: 

Thank you very much for vour letter of SepteKiber_22nd . I appre 
ciate verv much vour personal interest in the construction arfd 

v " ^ _ . - - - V* * * 

operation of the Perinheral Canal. This is a most important unit 
of our state water" "project"" For~Tt will insure the delivery of 
2;ood quality water throughout the project s Service area. 

The Kern County Water Agency is wholeheartedly in support of the 
State s program in connection with the Peripheral Canal. We are 
ir.ore than hapoy Co work with you and x^ith the Water Resources De 
partment in dolm: whatever we may accomplish in helping to secure 
its authorization iind construction. 


We are pleased to hear that you will be here on" October 6th tc 
address the luncheon that will be a part of the Tehachani ground 
breaking celebration. 


Kith host personal r Beards. 



Brown: A little politics, I m sure that that was involved. I don t remember 
it, but I m sure that that was part of it. You d make more votes like 
that than you do out campaigning and telling about your record. It 
didn t do me any good though. [interruption: telephone rings] 

Some Final Questions: The Democratic^ Party , the Metropolitan Water 
District, the Tidelands Oil Funds 

Chall: When I left you a few weeks ago I still had a few questions. I thought 
I d just go over them a moment and see what you can recall. With 
respect to the Democratic State Central Committee and the CDC, over 
the years when you were the governor and particularly when you were 
working on the water plan, how did you handle those two organizations 
who were committed to a rather liberal policy on water, with respect, 
particularly, to 160-acre limit? 

Brown: Well, I tried to get them to go along with me. The CDC, of course, 
wanted the acreage limitation, so I was never able to get them to 
agree with me. Of course, environmentalists were beginning to move 
into the liberal ranks at that time and beginning to feel their 
power. But I made my own judgments, particularly during the second 
term I didn t intend to run for a third term and I would try to do 
the thing that I thought was best from what I considered my expertise, 
with a greater knowledge of the facts than the other people. So I 
tried to get them to go along, but if they didn t I moved along anyway. 

Chall: You had told me the last time that you did have some contacts with 

the Metropolitan Water District during the time when you were working 

on the bond election and attempting to get them to sign. I wonder 
whom they might have been. 

Brown: Oh, Joe Jenson. I met with all of them. I would meet with the whole 
gang of the Metropolitan Water District all of the time. I had a 
big fight with them because they wanted to control the California 
Water Project and we felt it was a statewide project and it would 
defeat it if Los Angeles controlled it. But they were adamant about 
it. They finally gave in because they had no other alternative. I 
think I told you that before. 

Chall: Yes. I was wondering whether you had special contacts with one or 
another of the directors whom you could attempt to pull away from 
the center. 

Brown: Gee, I don t think so. There was another fellow, I worked with. You 
don t ignore Los Angeles Water and Power in this thing either. They 
were a very, very important factor because they knew they were limited 
in their water. They were very, very helpful, and I worked with 
their attorney. 


Chall: Kennedy? 

Brown: No, [Harold W.] Kennedy was the county counsel. I- thought he was a 

very stupid man. I ignored him. He didn t know anything about water. 
He d make these ridiculous speeches. I mean he was a nice guy, but I 
just had no use for him. No, there was an attorney for the Los Angeles 
Water and Power who influenced me greatly. I can t think of his name 
now. He died. But he was truly a great lawyer. As a matter of fact, 
I offered him a judgeship and he turned me down because he wanted to 
work on water. He had been all through these things, and he d come 
up and see me. He played a great major part in my decisions. We 
ought to get his name. You won t have any trouble finding it. I just 
can t think of it now. He died nine or ten years ago. He was chief 
counsel to the Los Angeles Water and Power. He was assistant city 
attorney working under Roger Arnebergh. But the way they do it, they 
have their own legal department, in Los Angeles, for water and power, 
like they have in the airport and the port commission. They all have 
their own attorneys that are there. He was the assistant city 
attorney in charge of water. He got more money, as a matter of fact, 
than the city attorney. 

Chall: All right, I ll get that. So he was important. [Gilmore Tillman] 

Brown: He was very important in the development of the whole California 

Water Project. He ought to have his name engraved. I can t think 
of his name. 

Chall: Well, we ll find it. I believe they did come over to your side. 

Brown: Oh, yes, they all came over and helped at the end. I told you about 
going in to see Norman Chandler who urged me to go along with the 
Metropolitan Water District and I wouldn t do it. But the Timers 
finally came along and endorsed the project too. They were influenced 
by the Metropolitan Water District greatly. 

Chall: Chandler was supposed to own a rather large bit of land. 

Brown: Oh, yes, he had that Tejon ranch and the project benefited them 

tremendously. This water project was a godsend to the big landowners 
of the state of California. It really increased the value of their 
property tremendously and people should realize that. But also the 
ordinary citizen was helped by it too. I was willing to go for 
enrichment of these rich people here because it was the lesser of 
evils. I wish there was some way we could have an unjust enrichment 
tax like we are with the oil companies now. 

Chall: Do you recall who signed the contract with you from the Metropolitan 
Water District? Was it Jenson or Skinner? 




I think we both did. 

[interruption: telephone rings] No, it was 






In one letter that I have here, you have said, "When I was governor 
we earmarked the tidelands funds for education. The Reagan 
administration, under pressure from the water interests of Southern 
California, repealed this statute and gave the funds to the water 
project. This was absolutely wrong and resulted in diminished 
education for the people of this state. It is a long story and I 
don t think you have it all."* Now about earmarking of the tidelands 
funds for education Initially a portion of the tidelands funds 
had been earmarked for the California Water Project, then later you 
cut back some of the funds and used them for education. 

Not all of it. 

It was assumed that about $20 million a year would go toward the 
water project. 

Yes, I think that was it. 

However, it got down to the point where I think you had set it for 
$11 or $12 million a year, in order to give funds to schools. 

We had to compromise. We had to use some of it for the lakes. 

Oh, well, no. This was even after. Yes, I know what you mean. I 
was just wondering how you feel now looking back on it, putting the 
blame on Reagan for using tidelands money for water. 

Well, it was another subsidy to the big farmers. It gave them more 
money. But we had to keep that bond issue to as little as we possibly 
could and we were afraid of a $2 billion bond issue, whereas we felt 
we could put a $1 billion 750 million project over. So therefore we 
had to get other money. Of course, I won the lawsuit, when I was 
attorney general, for the state of California. That money all went 
to the city of Long Beach. I also lobbied for the return of the 
tidelands to the state of California. I used to argue, take one 
natural resource, oil, and put it into water. Could I keep this 
letter? You don t need this, do you? 

No, I don t. You can have one. I have another. And here are copies 
of letters from the Hotchkis papers regarding bills AB 15 and SB 11, 
which would have used tidelands oil funds to complete the California 

*Edmund G. (Pat) Brown. Letter to the editor, San Francisco Bay 
Guardian, Septemember 30, 1969. 


Chall: Water Project to Ventura County. These were being considered in 
January, 1968. Your letter may have been referring to this 

Brown: Okay, thank you. 

Chall: Thank you for your time. I think we are finished with our interviews 
on the California Water Project. 

Transcriber: Michelle Stafford 
Final Typist: Keiko Sugimoto 


TAPE GUIDE Edmund G. Brown, Sr. (Pat) 

Interview 16: April 24, 1979* 1 

tape 1, side A 1 

tape 1, side B 10 

tape 2, side A 20 

tape 2, side B 30 

tape 3, side A 38 

insert from end of tape 2, side A, beginning of tape 2, side B 45 

Interview 17: May 8, 1979 49 

tape 4, side A 49 

tape 4, side B 58 

*Interview 16, which will be one chapter in Edmund G. Brown, Sr. s full-length 
memoir, has been included in this volume covering California water issues from 
1950 to 1966. 


INDEX Edmund G. Brown, Sr. (Pat) 

acreage limitation, 2-3, 6-8, 32, 42-43, 49-52, 60 
Allen, Bruce, 18, 28-29, 47 
Aspinall, Wayne, 57-58 
Auburn Dam, 53, 56 

Banks, Harvey, 9, 16, 26-27, 37, 46 

Bennett, William, 48 

boards and commissions, uses of, 9 

Bottorf, Alan, 38 

Brody, Ralph, 10, 14-16, 26-27, 46, 51 

Brown, Edmund G. , Jr. (Jerry), 9, 31, 39, 41, 52 

Burns, Hugh, 15-16, 22 

Burns-Porter Act, 15-32 

California Democratic Council (CDC) , 5 
California State 

California Water Commission, 8-10 

Coastal Zone Conservation Commission, 9 

Department of Fish and Game, 23-24 

Department of Water Resources 
organization of, 1956, 1-8 

California [State] Water Project, 1950-1967, 11-63 
Carr, James, 58 

Central Arizona Project, 52-54, 56 
Chandler, Norman, 37, 61 
Columbia River, 56 
Cooper, Erwin, 17 
Corker, Charles, 55 

Davis, Pauline, 8, 24 

Davis-Grunsky Act, 24, 44 

Day, Edward, 33 

death penalty, 41-42 

Democratic party (California) , 60 

desalination, 12, 40 

Dowd, Munson (Mike), 54 

Edmonston, A.D., 15, 25 
Eel River, 12, 54 
election campaigns, state 

1958, gubernatorial, 13-15 

1960, Water Bond Issue, Proposition 1, 32-34, 39 


Ely, Northcutt (Mike), 54 
Engle, Clair, 58 

Feather River Dam. See Oroville 
Fisher, Hugo, 16, 46, 53-54, 56 

Gibson, Phil, 29 

Goldberg, B.Abbott, 3, 10-12, 14, 16, 27, 46-48, 54-55, 58-59 

Grody, Harvey P., 15, 21 

Hayden, Carl, 52-53 
Hotchkis, Preston, 32-33 

Irrigation Districts Association, 59 

Ivanhoe Irrigation District v. All Parties, 2-4, 6, 11, 55 

Jensen, Joseph, 38, 53, 60 
Johnson, Harold (Bizz) , 54-55, 57 

Kennedy, John F., 33-34 

Kennedy, Harold W., 61 

Kern County Water Agency, 30-31 

Knight, Goodwin, 4, 11, 14 

Knox, John, 52 

Kuchel, Thomas, 54-55 

League of Women Voters, 33 

Levit, Bert, 11 

Lindsay, Francis C., 1, 6 

Los Angeles Water and Power, 60-61 

Lynch, Thomas, 55 

McAteer, Eugene, 21-22 
McConnell, F. Britton, 22 
Magnin, Cyril, 33 

newspapers, 34, 37, 61 
Mellon, Thomas, 33 

Metropolitan Water District, 11, 20-21, 30, 32, 36-39, 53-54, 60-61 
Miller, George, Jr., 20, 26, 30, 41 
Mosk, Stanley, 47-48, 54-55 


Nader, Ralph, 17 
Nixon, Richard, 41 
nuclear power, 49-41 

O Neill, Jack, 14, 23, 25 
Oroville Dam, 19, 52 

Pacific Southwest Water Plan, 52-57 
Peripheral Canal, 12, 23, 31, 59-60 
Porter, Car ley, 15, 25, 38, 44 
Poulson, Norris, 16, 33 
power electric, 40-43 

Rank v. Krug, 47-48, 55 

Reagan, Ronald, 12, 19, 62-63 

Republicans and the California Water Project, 4, 11, 14-15 

Rickover, Hyman, 40 

San Luis Reservoir Joint Service Contract, 3, 23, 49-52 

Shaw, Arvin, 3 

Sierra Club, 54 

Sisk, Bernard (Bernie) , 54-55 

Skinner, Robert, 37, 61-62 

Sprague, Irvine, 57 

Taylor, Paul, 7-8 

Thomas, Vincent, 14 

tidelands oil funds, 16-17, 24, 26, 28-29, 43-44, 62-63 

Tillman, Gilmore, 61 

Udall, Stewart, 49, 51,, 58-59 

Warne, William E. , 10, 23, 27-28, 30, 38, 45-46, 51-54 

Warren, Earl, 2 

water conservation, 25-26, 59 

Weinberger, Caspar (Cap) , 1-6 

Western States Water Council, 56 

Westphal, T. , 11 

Wild Rivers Act, 12, 54 

women in politics, 33 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library - Berkeley, California 

Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr. , Era 

B. Abbott Goldberg 

An Interview Conducted by 
Malca Chall in 1979 

Copyright (cj 1981 by the Regents of the University of California 


Photo by Sirlin Studios 
Sacramento, Calif. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS B. Abbott Goldberg 



Joining the Staff of the State Attorney General, 1948: 

Some Personal Background 1 

Assigned to the Ivanhoe Case, 1950 2 

The San Luis Reservoir Joint Service Contract, 1961 20 

Rank against Krug 23 

Arizona against California: An Appraisal of the "Long Suit" 30 


TO GOVERNOR EDMUND G. BROWN, SR. , 1961-1966 33 
Cases Relating to the Contract and the Sale of Bonds for the 

State Water Project 36 

Replacing the Tracks of the Feather River Railroad 45 
Some Observations on Administrators and Administration 

Relating to State Water Issues 48 






Of Abbott Goldberg and water policy, Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown has 
said, "He influenced me greatly in my philosophy of development." When 
B. Abbott Goldberg joined the staff of the state attorney general s office 
in 1948, he did not anticipate that within a decade he would have been 
assigned by Attorney General Pat Brown two of the most hotly contested and 
critical water cases to come before the state and federal courts. Nor could 
he foresee that by 1961 he would be deputy director of the Department of Water 
Resources and counsel to Governor Brown concerned primarily with cases in which 
the development of the California Water Project was at stake. 

It was Abbott Goldberg who handled Ivanhoe Irrigation District v McCracken 
and Rank v Krug, both landmark cases which were taken to the United States 
Supreme Court, both to be decided in favor of the state s position. These 
defined the authority of the federal government in California s Central Valley 

After passage of the California Water Bond measure, Proposition I, in 1960, 
he had responsibility for three cases which went to the state supreme court: 
Metropolitan Water District v Marquardt , Warne v Harkness , and California 
Water Resources Development Finance Committee v Betts . Favorable court 
decisions in these crucial cases permitted the Department of Water Resources 
to carry forward its plans to construct and finance the State Water Project. 

Almost simultaneously, Abbott Goldberg was preparing the brief arguing in 
favor of joint state-federal construction and financing of the San Luis 
Reservoir a key element in the water project, and one which involved a 
decision on the application of the 160-acre limit to the state project 
itself. Goldberg s brief against such application was an important legal 
argument among the many opinions and pressures put before Secretary of 
Interior Stewart Udall during 1961. Once again the state s position was 

These are just a few of the cases water and others which Abbott Goldberg 
was assigned during his eighteen-year tenure with state government prior to 
his being appointed to the Sacramento Municipal Court and then to the superior 
court by Governor Brown in 1966. 

When he was asked to participate in this oral history project to discuss 
specifically issues related to water, Judge Goldberg agreed but only on 
condition that he have time to review his briefs and other relevant papers; 
he was afraid that he could not remember the details of cases which went back 
nearly thirty years. Fortunately for this project and for students of water 
history, Judge Goldberg had retained his papers in his home and he has agreed 
to deposit them in the Water Resources Archives on the campus of the University 
of California at Berkeley. 


Judge Goldberg spends much time in his office on the campus of McGeorge 
School of Law in Sacramento, reading and writing articles for law journals, 
and it was here that we met during the morning of May 10, 1979. We discussed 
the outline of questions which I had prepared, then had lunch in the student 
cafeteria, during which he regaled me with humorous anecdotes on the problems 
of indexing legal cases. After lunch we returned to the office and in three 
and one-half hours recorded the interview. 

Alternately smoking and cleaning his pipe he thoughtfully and articulately 
answered questions, offering background on the personalities and the politics 
behind the often difficult legal questions involved in the cases under study. 
He understands that it is the actions and interactions of people which make 
history and that the high drama and human interest behind court cases are 
usually muted in the writing of the decisions. Thus, despite its complexity 
and the seriousness with which the issue of water is attended on all sides, 
one can, under Goldberg s guidance, find elements of humor to brighten the 
paths through the labyrinth. 

When he received his lightly edited transcript, Judge Goldberg checked it 
carefully for accuracy, adding some details. He has claimed that he does not 
consider himself an authority on water law as such, that his interest has been 
in the functioning of local government and the relationship between local 
government and the state on the one hand, and the United States on the other. 
This brief interview, in combination with the Goldberg papers in the archives 
and other oral history interviews about water, will enable the researcher to 
understand better the many legal and political facets of California s long 
standing and seemingly never-ending controversies about water. 

Malca Chall 

30 October 1980 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 

Room 486 iii 

The Bancroft Library 

University of California 

Berkeley, California 94720 

Governmental History Documentation Project Interviewee 
Your full name Benjamin (B.) Abbott Goldberg _ 
Date of birth December 22, 1916 _ 
Father s full name David A " Goldberg _ 

Father s place of birth Libau < n W Lie P a J a ) Latvia 
Mother s full name Bessie Rosenberg 

Mother s place of birth Smargon, Lithuania 

Where did you grow up? Fitchburg . Massachusetts 

Education Public schools. Fitchburg. Mass.: B.A. Univ. of Michi 
gan. 1937; LL.B.. Harvard Law School. 1940. 

None of consequence. Admitted to Massachusetts 
Early employment 2 

Bar December 1940; U.S. Army January 1941 to April 1944, 1st 

Lt. , Ordnance Dept. ; retired for physical disability. 

Positions held in state government 1944-48. attorney Judicial Council; 
1948-61, deputy, later assistant, Attorney General; 1961-66 De 
puty, later Chief Deputy Director, State Department of Water Re 
sources; 1966 judge. Municipal Ct.. Sacramento: 1966-78. judge 
Superior Court, Sacramento. Lecturer, Hastings Law School 1948-52 

Employment after leaving state government Distinguished Scholar in Re- 
sidence, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, 

[Date of Interview: May 10, 1979]## 

Joining the Staff of the State Attorney General, 1948: 
Some Personal Background 

Chall: To begin with, Judge Goldberg, I d like to know briefly the route 
by which you joined the attorney general s office and then became, 
eventually, their expert on water law. 

Goldberg: I originally came from Massachusetts . I was returned to Letterman 
Hospital [San Francisco] as a patient in the summer of 1942 and was 
confined at Letterman for about a year and a half, or perhaps more. 

Chall: Would you explain in more detail, please, about when you went into 
the army and the nature of your illness? 

Goldberg: I was graduated from Harvard Law School in 1940, admitted to the 
Massachusetts bar in December 1940, and ordered to active duty 
with the army in January 1941. Shortly after Pearl Harbor I was 
sent to Hawaii where, in April 1942, I became extremely ill with 
what is variously known as Crohn s disease or regional ileitis or 
inflammatory bowel disease. I was transferred to Letterman 
Hospital in San Francisco, underwent two surgeries, April and 
October 1943, and discharged in April 1944. 

////This symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 60. 

Goldberg: By that time, I found that San Francisco seemed to be a nicer 

place to live than going back to Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where 
I came from. Or even to Boston. Also, I was not really very 

I started looking around to see what the opportunities were in 
San Francisco and I was referred to the chief justice of the 
California Supreme Court, then Philip S. Gibson. As chairman of 
the Judicial Council, Judge Gibson was in charge of the survey of 
administrative agencies, the administrative law, a study that the 
council was then conducting for the legislature. 

He took me on as a research assistant on that project. Of 
course, I could not practice law in California because I was not 
a member of the California bar. I became a member of the bar by 
studying while I was working for the chief justice. 

Chall: Where was that, in San Francisco? 
Goldberg: In San Francisco. 

Then after I passed the bar, I was still having some health 
problems, and I continued with the Judicial Council and the chief 
justice, I think until 1948. By that time I had gotten acquainted 
somewhat with California state government and with the opportunities 
available in California state government, and it seemed to me that 
a good job for me was going into the attorney general s office 
because the work seemed to be more interesting than what one would 
encounter in the ordinary practice of law. Also, and this was 
very important to me, I would have the benefit of the sick leave 
and leave of absence provisions of the state Civil Service Act. 

Bear in mind, in those days, health plans and retirement plans 
in private practice were virtually unknown. So I took the 
ordinary state civil service exam for the attorney general s 
office, passed it, and was appointed as a deputy attorney general 
in San Francisco, I think in 1948. I was there doing whatever work 
a junior deputy was required to do until Governor [Edmund G., Sr. ] 
Brown, then district attorney of San Francisco, was elected 
attorney general [1950]. 

Assigned to the Ivanhoe Case, 1950 

Goldberg: One of the problems he had encountered during his campaign for 
attorney general had been the problems of the Central Valley 
Project, particularly the validation of various contracts 

Goldberg: containing the acreage limitation, and the acreage limitation was 
then as lively a controversy as it is now, perhaps more so. As 
attorney general elect, I believe, he wanted someone to make a 
legal investigation of the problems connected with the acreage 
limitation and the matter was coming to a focus in a case known as 
the Ivanhoe case. The Ivanhoe case took the form of a so-called 
validation proceeding, a procedure unknown to the common law, and 
characterized under the law of California as a special proceeding. 

He inquired of the various senior men in the office as to who 
would be an appropriate person to put to work on a special proceed 
ing, and notice, as lawyers, nobody really thought much about the 
substance of the case; we thought about the form, the special 

The answer to that was rather clear because I had written an 
article for the California Law Review on the use of various extra 
ordinary writs which are in California law, special proceedings, 
and was therefore the local authority [chuckles] on special 
proceedings. The fact that I didn t know a riparian right from 
a pump handle didn t make much difference. So I was assigned to 
study the problems connected with the Ivanhoe case. 

The office under the former incumbent, Fred Howser, a Republican, 
had taken the position that the acreage limitation could not be 
applied in California because the California law giving authority 
to the irrigation districts to so comply was unconstitutional. 

I wrote an opinion concerning Friant Dam and releases of water 
from Friant Dam to protect fish, in which I came to the conclusion 
that the prior opinion which had been written by Mr. Arvin Shaw, 
now deceased, was wrong and that the state law that permitted 
cooperation between the irrigation districts and the United States 
was, in fact, constitutional. 

I was thereupon assigned to the Ivanhoe case and had the 
assistance of two lawyers from the United States Bureau of 
Reclamation I can t remember if it s called district or what 
office Regional office in Sacramento, Adolph Moskovitz and Stan 
Kronick. I recall rather vividly after making a first appraisal 
of Ivanhoe, I said something to then- Attorney General Brown, "Do 
you realize the political ramifications of this" 

He replied to me, and this I recall very vividly, "You just be 
right on the law and the politics will take care of themselves ." 
So I felt that I had a free hand to be right on law, if one ever 
can be, and I proceeded to amend the pleadings in Ivanhoe, so that 
the state appeared in support of the Ivanhoe Irrigation District 
rather than in opposition to it. 

Goldberg: This change in position was extremely offensive to the Irrigation 
Districts Association and to all the large landowners, who both 
were opposing the acreage limitation. These included the Kern 
County Land Co., which, if I recall correctly, was then repre 
sented by Mr. Burnham Enerson; the Salyer interests, represented 
by I can see his face right up clearly in front of me Walter 
Gleason; the Di Giorgio interests, represented by Alvin Rockwell. 
I suppose those were the principal ones. There were others, but 
I cannot now recall them. 

Chall: Were you telling me another time today about Mr. [Harry] Horton? 
Would he represent the 

Goldberg: Oh, Mr. Horton represented McCracken. 
Chall: I see. Okay. 

Goldberg: Mr. Horton was counsel for the Imperial Irrigation District. The 
Imperial Irrigation District had a sort of two-fold interest in 
Ivanhoe. One in connection with the acreage limitation. The 
Imperial Irrigation District had been exempted from the acreage 
limitation on the basis of a letter written, I think, by Ray Lyman 
Wilbur as one of his last acts as secretary of the interior. 

The letter is rather well known and the rumor, which I emphasize 
is only a rumor, because I have no way of authenticating it, but 
the rumor was that it was actually written by Northcutt Ely, who 
had been an assistant in the Department of the Interior to Secre 
tary Wilbur. But be that as it may, there was no more substantial 
basis for exampting Imperial from the acreage limitation than that 

Also, the Imperial Irrigation District received its water from 
the Colorado River, and there was the continuing, festering 
controversy between Arizona and California as to the entitlement 
from the Colorado River. It always seemed to me that the Imperial 
Irrigation District and the Colorado River interests generally, 
had an underlying strategy of protecting the Colorado River as a 
source by diminishing the rights of the United States in water 
development, wherever they could. The attack on the acreage 
limitation was part of that overall strategy. 

Chall: Could I interrupt you a moment and ask you about Mr. Edmonston? 

How did the then-agencies the water division and the engineers 
take to this change in policy? Did you get any feedback from 
that source, that group? 

Goldberg: Oh, yes. We got a lot of feedback from the then, I think it was 
the Division of Water Resources, within the Department of Public 
Works, or the Office of the State Engineer within the Division of 
Public Works . 

Goldberg: Mr. Edmonston and his then-chief counsel, Henry Holsinger, and 
their subordinates, were very much provoked by the change in 
position by the attorney general. Their interests were somewhat 
different, of course, from the interests of the Imperial Irriga 
tion District. They were interested in protecting Imperial. They 
had really accepted, although I never heard them articulate it, 
but they had accepted the Southern California strategy on the 
Colorado River fight. In addition, you had a personality problem 
operating there. 

These men that is, Edmonston, Jerry Jones, Bill Berry these 
are engineers I m sorry, I can t recall the names of the others. 

Chall: That s all right; they re in files. 

Goldberg: But these men had done what I can truthfully describe as a superb 
work of engineering in designing the Central Valley Project. This 
can be traced, I think, through their old bulletins 24, 25, and 
26, or 25, 26, and 27. I don t recall the numbers. But you will 
find in there the real design of the Central Valley Project. 

The design had been completed, let s say, in the late twenties. 
The problem in the thirties with the Depression was how to finance 
this work, get it under way. They had originally hoped that it 
would be financed by the United States and constructed by the 

As it actually developed, and you ll have to speak to perhaps 
somebody like Leland Graham or perhaps Mr. Marion Clawson, to 
get the account of this, but as it actually developed the story 
as I got it from the state engineers is that the United States 
"stole" their project. Because, when the United States came in, 
instead of constructing the project with the state as an instru 
ment, or WPA, or something of that sort, the United States seized 
upon it as a project for the Bureau of Reclamation then under the 
directorship of the fabulous character, Mike Straus. If you ever 
wanted to make Bob Edmonston foam at the mouth, all you had to do 
was say "Mike Straus." [chuckles] 

But the project was constructed substantially, not in literal 
leaps and bounds as designed by the state, but in substantial 
conformity with the way the state had designed it. Here was 
their beautiful project, and they really had nothing to do with 
it except kind of monitor the thing, and the monitoring through 
the agency that had been set up to build the Central Valley 
Project that was the Water Project Authority. Not only did it 
not have very much to do, but what little it did do was in the 
nature of caviling, and I use the word in its literal meaning of 
finding trivial and irritating objections to what the United States 
was doing. 

Goldberg: I recall well one meeting of the Water Project Authority. By the 
way, their meetings were transcribed and I suppose are available 
in the archives somewhere. But I recall one meeting at which then- 
Attorney General [Earl] Warren said something to this effect. By 
the way, the attorney general was an ex officio member of the Water 
Project Authority. He said that the Water Project Authority should 
not be engaged in this rather captious criticism of what the United 
States was doing; that, after all, the one who paid the piper had 
the right to call the tune. I recall that, I think, because I used 
it in a brief somewhere. Or if I didn t use it, I certainly should 

So when the attorney general changed position in the Ivanhoe 
case, the Division of Water Rights or the state engineer I don t 
recall just what title was used 

Chall: I think it was Water Resources. 

Goldberg: Well, whatever it may be appeared in opposition to the attorney 

general. Henry Holsinger was then an elderly gentleman of the old 
school. The judge, Benjamin Jones, from Lake County, was also 
elderly. I hestiate [pauses and laughs] in view of my relationship 
with him, to call him a gentleman. I don t know whether he s still 
alive, but I used to think of him as a flatulent old oaf. 

The judge, who accepted everything Horton said, but didn t quite 
have the affinity for Horton that one might expect under the circum 
stances the judge lapped up every word that Henry Holsinger had to 
say. Henry made the argument that if we were correct, we would 
have the horrendous consequence of the state being in constant 
thraldom to the United States by an infinite succession of forty- 
year contracts for the delivery of water, and that every time that 
a contract came up for renewal, there could be different conditions 
on the contract, or the United States might refuse to deliver water 
at all within the Central Valley. 

I remember I argued in opposition to that: What were they going 
to do, roll up the Friant-Kern Canal and move it someplace else? 
But that rather homely argument cut no ice with Judge Jones, and 
we lost in the trial court. 

The appeal was to the state supreme court. In an opinion that 
I think was really contrived, because it is at all odds with 
California water law, the state supreme court by a four to three 
vote affirmed the trial court.* 

Ivanhoe Irrigation District v. McCracken, 357 U.S. 1958. 

Goldberg: The peculiarity of the opinion was that it seemed to be holding 
a federal law unconstitutional under the state constitution. 
This point was peculiar enough that instead of going to the U.S. 
Supreme Court by the ordinary vehicle, certiorari, we took an 
appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The United States Supreme Court eventually refused to character 
ize the case in the way we had characterized it, and treated the 
appeal as a petition for certiorari, as is permissible under its 
rules, and proceeded to reverse the California Supreme Court and 
remand the case for consideration of the remaining issues under 
state law. 

But this business of taking the appeal to the U.S. Supreme 
Court rather than going by certiorari raised jurisdictional 
problems, and we received a letter from the clerk of the U.S. 
Supreme Court admonishing us to argue the question of jurisdic 
tion first. I don t recall what all the jurisdictional issues 
were, but one was whether we had pursued the proper remedy, the 
appeal or certiorari, which, in practical effect, made no great 
difference in the argument because it provided a convenient means 
of explaining the California Supreme Court opinion to the United 
States Supreme Court. 

A more troublesome problem was whether we really had a 
justiciable issue. As I told you, the Ivanhoe case was a so- 
called validation case. This was a proceeding provided for in 
the state statutes for obtaining a judicial declaration as to 
validity of the contract. Now years ago, there had been a case, 
I think Modesto Irrigation District against Tregea this may 
have been as long ago as the nineties; I don t really recall in 
which a similar validation proceeding had been dismissed by the 
United States Supreme Court because the United States Supreme 
Court then thought that no justiciable issue was presented; that 
it was not a real case of controversy, it was simply a means of 
collecting evidence as to the validity of the contract. This was 
a very troublesome point. 

I can t recall it must be in the briefs I can t recall how we 
weasled out of that one. But that was a major problem. It was so 
major that the United States Supreme Court, when it decided that 
we were correct and that the acreage limitation was indeed constitu 
tional, solved the problem by simply not discussing it, so that if 
one were to read the opinion in the Ivanhoe case today, one would 
never know that this problem was present. 

Chall: So they made the decision on some other basis then? 


Goldberg: They simply considered the merits, if I recall the opinion 

correctly. I d have to review the opinion, but my recollection, 
without having looked at it for many years, is that this problem 
of federal jurisdiction. . .Now this isn t merely Supreme Court 
jurisdiction; this is federal jurisdiction. The federal courts 
have jurisdiction only over actual cases in controversy. This 
problem of federal jurisdiction was never mentioned. 

A sidelight on that, 
little anecdotal. 

I take it in oral history, we can be a 

Chall: Yes. 

Goldberg: The Ivanhoe case was argued in April. At that time the attorney 
general s office was in the process of conducting a rather active 
recruiting program. Since I had gone to Harvard and I was back 
at Washington, the suggestion was made: why didn t I go up to 
Cambridge and see if I could find a few likely recruits for the 
attorney general s office in California. 

So I went up to Harvard and while there, I paid a courtesy visit 
on Henry Hart. 

[brief interruption] 
Chall: You were recruiting at Harvard. 

Goldberg: Yes. Henry Hart was a professor at Harvard. I d had him for one 
semester, but I didn t know him. But he was co-author with 
[Herbert] Wechsler of Columbia of a book entitled The Federal 
Courts and the Federal System, a book which was indispensible to 
us when we were working on the Ivanhoe case. I frankly would have 
been lost without having that book available. 

So I thought I should pay him at least a courtesy visit. I 
went in to see him and I told him about the Ivanhoe case. I 
said, "I suppose you never heard of such a thing as the acreage 
limitation." He said, oh yes, he had indeed, that he had been 
born and brought up in Spokane, Washington, and he was quite 
familiar with the acreage limitation and the problems of state 
relationships with the United States in these reclamation projects, 
and did I have an extra set of the briefs that I could let him 

I said yes, and I presently sent him a set of the briefs, in 
return for which he sent me his final examination in federal 
jurisdiction. I recall there were four questions. There was 

Goldberg: the easy first question, then a little harder second one, finally 

we get down to the fourth, the real toughie. There, lo and behold, 
was our Ivanhoe case with its assorted problems of federal juris 

Thereafter, the opinion in Ivanhoe came out. I wrote Professor 
Hart a note. I said, "Does the Supreme Court get an A?" He never 
chose to reply. [laughter] 

Well, the Ivanhoe case was remanded back to the state court. 
Chall: Was that the state supreme court? 

Goldberg: The state supreme court, yes. It was again reargued. 

Goldberg: It had been settled as to the constitutionality of the acreage 
limitation by the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, and in the 
second Ivanhoe opinion in the state supreme court, of course, we 

Chall: What if you hadn t? I realized it went back and I never could 
understand why I m sure a legal scholar would be able to but 
could it have been that the second time around, it still could 
have been decided the other way by the state supreme court? Then 
where would you have been? 

Goldberg: Of course, the state supreme court could have done such a thing 
as holding the entire validation proceeding itself unconstitu 
tional. The validation proceeding in a sense is a little suspect. 
I don t know what the act now provides, but at that time it 
provided only for service of notice of proceeding by publication. 
It did not require any effort to personally serve any people who 
might be interested. 

There are cases in the U.S. Supreme Court that could be used 
to invalidate such a proceeding on the ground, not that it doesn t 
provide the best notice possible, but that it doesn t even provide 
a reasonably likely notice to parties interested. It could have 
gone off on something of that sort, but it didn t, and the 
contracts were affirmed. 

Chall: Could I get some anecdotal information from you about the Supreme 
Court arguing the case before the Supreme Court? Was this the 
first time you had done so? 


Goldberg: Yes. That was the first case I had before the U.S. Supreme 

Court and I ve got [pausing] well, let s see three anecdotes 
in mind. One, at the end of the argument. Anthony Lewis, who, 
I guess, at that time, was either working on Gideon s Trumpet or 
had just completed it, was a reporter for the New York Times , 
assigned to cover the Supreme Court beat. 

After the argument he came up to me and he said, "Mr. Goldberg, 
do you realize you ve scored an all-time first before this court?" 
I said, "No." He said, "Yes. You argued the question of federal 
jurisdiction for almost half an hour, and Justice Frankfurter asked 
you only one question and when he did, he was almost deferential." 

Chall: [chuckling] Is that so? 

Goldberg: That s one. Another one, and this is one of my really happy 

memories. I was perhaps three-quarters of the way through the 
argument in any event, approaching the close of the argument 
and Justice Harlan interrupted me. "Now," he said, "as I under 
stand your argument, your points are one, two, three, four" just 
as if he had been looking over my shoulder at the outline I had 
in front of me. 

I said, "Yes, that s correct. Now if I haven t been clear " 
"Oh," he said, "if those are your points, you have been perfectly 
clear." I cherish that thought. 

The other anecdote is this. There were actually three cases 
four cases, excuse me. There was a similar validation case from 
the Madera Irrigation District, which went up with Ivanhoe. There 
was a case, Albonico against the Madera Irrigation District, which, 
if I recall correctly, involved some challenge to the assessment 
procedure, under the contract with the Madera Irrigation District. 
And there was another validation case from Santa Barbara, involving 
what I think is the Catch uma Project. 

The attorney who had originally handled the case for Santa 
Barbara was a young man named Parma, who unfortunately was 
killed in an automobile accident while the case was pending. He 
was succeeded by his senior partner, Francis Price. Francis 
Price was one of the eminent figures at the California bar. It 
later turned out that Francis Price was a personal friend of Chief 
Justice Earl Warren. He was such a good friend that Chief Justice 
Warren sent around the Supreme Court s car to take Mr. Price back, 
at least back to the airport. I remember he asked us whether we 
wanted to ride and we didn t. But there was a personal relation 
ship there, although Mr. Price did not participate in the argument. 
He left the argument entirely up to me. 




Chall : 


What I recall about Mr. Price is we were in the final stages 
of correcting the proofs we, being Adolph Moskovitz and I. We 
were sitting in my little office in the attorney general s 
offices in San Francisco, late one evening, going over these 
galley sheets. 

Now, Adolph is an expert grammarian and he was very careful 
about sentence structure, capitalization, and the like. It was 
getting along towards midnight and I recall Mr. Price saying, 
"Well, boys, if the outcome of the case depended on the quality 
of the punctuation, we d certainly be home free." [laughter] 

Earl Warren, when we were interviewing him, was sure that he had 
disqualified himself from this case. But as far as I can tell, 
he did not. There was somebody it was an eight to one decision- 

Eight to nothing. 

It was an eight to zero decision, of course, 
Mr. Frankfurter who disqualified himself. 

I thought it was 

That is correct. Frankfurter disqualified himself for reasons 
never revealed to me. Preble Stolz, now a professor at Boalt 
Hall, was then working as a law clerk, I think to Mr. Justice 

When I first met Preble, he told this must have been in 58 
or 59, or perhaps 60, but it was about that time maybe 58. 
When I first met Preble, he told me he knew why Frankfurter had 
disqualified himself, but, of course, he could never reveal it 
to me because it was one of the secrets of court employment. 

Only a few months ago I said to Preble, "Well, they re all 
gone now. The Ivanhoe case is a dead letter. Will you finally 
tell me why Frankfurter disqualified himself from the Ivanhoe 
case?" To which Preble replied, "I forget." [laughter] 

Chall: We ll just have to find out some other way. 

But Frankfurter did listen. Even if they disqualify themselves, 
do the judges sit in? Because you say that Frankfurter did ask 
you a question. 

Goldberg: Oh yes, he asked me a question and he also made a remark to Mr. 
Horton that I would have found devastating, but it didn t bother 
Mr. Horton any. Horton was the principal oral advocate for the 
opponents of the limitation. They split up their argument three 


Goldberg: ways: part to Horton, part to Alvin Rockwell, and part to 
Denslow Green from Madera, I suppose, because Dennie Green 
participated both in the Madera validation case and the 
Albonico case. 

Anyway, they had that three partite argument and Horton led 
off. Of course they had received the same letter that we had 
the counsel were admonished to argue the question of jurisdic 
tion first. Horton started out with the, as I recall it, rather 
diffuse and emotional harrangue on the beauties of the Central 
Valley Project and the need for water, et cetera, and this 
continued for some time. He said, "Now I get to the question of 

Frankfurter said, "I m glad, because we ve been waiting for 
the past half-hour." 

Now, there s a transcript of the argument somewhere. I 
thought I had it. Perhaps it s in with the actual case file 
from the attorney general s office, which I think is in the 
state archives, but there is a transcript of that argument 

Chall: Let me ask you another question. Did it seem surprising to you 
that Earl Warren would sit on that case since he had been 
attorney general excuse me, he was governor at that time that 
Howser planned to set the case one way, before Governor Brown 
came in and changed the argument. Would that necessarily have, 
do you think, put him in conflict of interest here? He seemed 
not to think so, of course at the time, he certainly thought 
not, but when I asked him about it, in 1972, he was sure that 
he had disqualified himself. Were you surprised when he was 
still on the bench then, participating? 

Goldberg: I tell you, I don t think I ever thought about it. By that 
time, Brown against the Board of Education had been decided. 
It was well known, the direction of Warren s thinking. Really, 
the constitutional argument in Ivanhoe was quite simple. There 
is nothing in the Constitution that says that you have to 
subsidize a person more simply because he happens to own more 
in the first place. 

There is nothing in the Constitution that requires you to 
define as property within the due process clause a hope of a 
future benefit as contingent or uncertain as getting water down 
to Bakersfield from the San Joaquin Valley some 150 miles to the 
north. So that really the constitutional attack was a gross 


Goldberg: I would have to refer to the briefs, but I think that I may 

have gone as far as characterizing the California Supreme Court 
opinion as an attempt to evade the federal Constitution or to 
construct a right simply to have a right to be deprived of t 
without due process. 

I think I have the Ivanhoe brief here and I can refer... I 
think what I may have been thinking of was in our petition for 
rehearing to the California Supreme Court after the first state 
Ivanhoe decision where we wrote [looking into Ivanhoe brief] : 
"There were apparently only two ways in which the the constitu 
tionality of the 160-acre water limitation can be attacked. One 
is to hold that it deprives a person of property without due 
process of law; the other is to hold that it denies equal 

"To apply due process, it is necessary to find a property 
right to be deprived of. So one way of explaining the trust 
is that it is a device which was called into being in order to 
have a property right of which to be deprived without due process," 
et cetera. 

I think that is the thought that I had in mind a moment ago. 
And that s from the Petition for Rehearing, which in my files 
is dated February 7, 1956. 

Here we are twenty-three years and a generation later. 
Chall: And it hasn t been solved yet. It s still in the courts. 

With respect to Ivanhoe, I came across, in one of our notes, 
some information about Associate Justice John W. Shenk. He was 
a member of the California Supreme Court, had been since 1924, 
died August 3, 1959 at the age of eighty-four. Western Water 
News said that he wrote the 1957 decisions in the contract 
cases of Ivanhoe and the Madera Irrigation districts. Do you 
recall Judge Shenk? 

Goldberg: Yes, I recall Judge Shenk very well. 

Chall: Elderly man at the time you were doing that hearing? 

Goldberg: Yes, he was elderly when I first met him in 1944. He was a 
very pleasant gentleman. I would occasionally meet him at 
Foster s for lunch and our personal relationship was always 
most amiable. But I think that he was committed to a particular 
point of view in the Ivanhoe case and he was following that point 
of view out. 


Goldberg: Now, bear in mind, Judge Shenk was a Republican. You can trace 
his actions in the administrative agency cases where he was 
consistently an opponent of administrative agencies in the sense 
that he wanted an independent judgement of the courts on the 
evidence in cases involving review of administrative activities, 
a problem which remains somewhat controversial to this day. In 
my opinion, and, of course, this is only an opinion based on my 
observation of him, he was still carrying the fight against the 
New Deal, which went on in the California courts in late 1930s 
and early 1940s, and the Central Valley Project was viewed as a 
New Deal operation. 

This may tie back, in part at least, to the animus against the 
United States shown by the state engineer s office. All those old 
gentlemen were old Republican appointees, too. 

So you get kind of a political conflict there, 
[brief break] 
Chall: Do you want to continue? 

Goldberg: Well, we ve only talked for an hour since lunch. I do have a 
letter that I should get off later, but it won t take me long. 

Chall: Since this was your first contact before the United States 

Supreme Court, I would like to get some of your personal feelings. 
How did you go about preparing yourself emotionally, or whatever 
one would call it, to argue before the Supreme Court? Isn t that 
considered an important step up for an attorney? What all was 
going on in your mind at the time? 

Goldberg: Of course, I considered it important. I was thrilled to have the 
opportunity. I had a good deal of appellate argument experience 
already behind me. I don t know how many cases I had before 
Ivanhoe, before the California Supreme Court, and I don t know 
how many cases I had thereafter. In 1958, I was already forty- 
one, and I was certainly no ingenue, as far as appellate argument 
was concerned . 

The actual mode of preparation was that Adolph and I went over 
the case. I don t recall how we did it now, but Adolph Moskovitz 
was a lawyer of great ability. I was extremely fortunate to have 
had a man like him to work with. We canvassed the case, and with 
Mr. Price as well, up one side and down the other. Then I had 
become acquainted with some of the men from the solicitor general s 
office in Washington. The solicitor general was going to appear 


Goldberg: amicus curiae in our behalf in Ivanhoe, and I spent a Sunday 
afternoon with a man named Davis I m sorry I don t remember 
his first name. He later became the clerk of the United States 
Supreme Court. He, of course, had had a number of cases before 
the Court and was experienced in its procedures and just sort of 
briefed me. 

I looked for and I have not been able to find, but what I 
recall doing, was making a tight outline of various points that 
I wanted to be sure to cover. I think what I did was simply 
tick off those points in the outline. I remember well because 
I d used the procedure before and I used it thereafter. 

I simply took a three-ring binder and put my outline in that 
and flipped the pages as necessary. But I had pretty well in 
mind what I wanted to say and I knew the case thoroughly enough 
so I doubted there was any question that could be put to me that 
I couldn t field, and so it turned out. 

Now, whether it was before the Ivanhoe case or not, I don t 
recall, but we got to Washington a little early and I went over 
and watched the session of the Court just so that I would have 
the feel of the courthouse. I remember hearing an argument by 
somebody from the state of Washington on I can t recall what the 
case was about and feeling sorry for the poor man because he 
was so obviously unprepared to meet the Court on its own ground. 
But we were prepared to meet the Court on its own ground. 

We had this federal jurisdiction business which, of course, 
is commonplace to the Supreme Court, but it was a little bit 
out of the ordinary, at least in the detail in which we had to 
explore it, to the average lawyer from the country like San 
Francisco. But we had made a point of developing that as 
thoroughly as we could . 

I think that s one place where there was a direct tie to 
legal education because this business of federal jurisdiction 
had been certainly emphasized when I was at Harvard. I think 
Adolph had gotten a highly similar emphasis on it when he had 
been at Boalt. 

I always felt that the acceptance of the proposition that the 
federal jurisdictional arguments were of prime importance was a 
result of the type of law school training we had. Of course, I 
can t relate it to Horton s apparent obliviousness to the 
importance of the jurisdictional questions. Horton was a 
Stanford graduate, sometime in the twenties, and lord knows 


Goldberg: what they taught at that time. But he certainly didn t show off 
to advantage, either in comparison to us or in comparison to his 
own colleague, Alvin Rockwell. 

Rockwell, I think, was as alert to the jurisdictional problems 
as Adolph and I were and perhaps more so. 

Chall: Following that case, there was an attempt, several times actually, 
to reorganize the Division of Water Resources and its agencies 
into a department; one of the sticky points, as I recall, the 
last couple of times, dealt with the place of the attorney 
general in this new department . 

It seemed to me some of that was based on animosity of the 
water people toward Attorney General Brown and you at the time 
and they didn t want the attorney general to have anything to do 
with the new department. 

Goldberg: That s correct. I don t know what the law is now, but the 

Department of Water Resources wanted to have its own counsel and 
handle its own cases. This, of course, becomes particularly 
meaningful in a state such as California where you re liable to 
have a governor of one party or political attitude and an attorney 
general of a different one. Unlike the United States, here the 
attorney general is really an independent functionary. 

Chall: I read some of those hearings and was impressed with the fact 
that Caspar Weinberger, in the latest, the finally successful 
plan, was so concerned about the Ivanhoe case that he said he 
had gone into the attorney general s office and read all the 
briefs and tried to find out as much as he possibly could about 
it so that he would understand what this general hostility was 
all about. Do you recall Caspar Weinberger s role and your 
participation in the hearing at all?* 

The material, of course, is in the files, in the records. I 
just wondered what you might recall of that particular time. 
And Mr. Weinberger. 

*"A Department of Water Resources for California," Report of 
the Assembly Committee on Government Organization to the 
California State Legislature. February 8, 1956. 


Goldberg: I ll tell you the truth. I don t really recall much about that. 
I do recall this: we had one hearing and Mr. Weinberger was 
going on at some length and I interrupted him by pointing out 
that the court reporter who was taking down what he was saying 
had run out of paper in her little machine and had been typing 
for some few minutes on [chuckles] a blank roller. If he d 
pause a minute, he might have his words recorded for posterity, 
but otherwise they would not be. 

But I don t really have in mind how those problems were solved. 

Chall: They were solved. I just was interested in your reactions to the 
problem that Ivanhoe presented, but we can go on. 

When you were working with Mr. Moskovitz on the Ivanhoe problem, 
did you also get to know at that time Ralph Brody and any other 
attorneys in the Central Valley Project, the Bureau of Reclamation? 

Goldberg: Oh, yes. Yes, I knew a great many of them from the top on down. 
I think Ed Fisher was then the general counsel for either the 
Department of the Interior or the Bureau of Reclamation I don t 

Chall: Did you learn the water law from these people? The background 
and what you needed? Moskovitz, I m sure, must have learned as 
he worked with you. 

Goldberg: Adolph had worked for the Bureau of Reclamation. I think, indeed, 
that may have been his first job out of law school. I also, in 
Rank against Krug, worked with Bob Burton, who worked for the 
Bureau of Reclamation and had actually worked on water rights for 
the Bureau of Reclamation. 


I must point out that I really don t consider myself an 
authority on water law as such; that is, the law relating to 
diversion, and use, and priority of use, et cetera, of water. 
My interest is really more in the functioning of local govern 
ment and the relationship between local government and the state 
on the one hand, and the United States on the other. 

One of my motivating forces was to assert and preserve the 
authority of the state and its local agencies to cooperate with 
the United States. 


Goldberg: I had, while working in the attorney general s office, handled 

a number of cases on welfare matters for one of the departments. 
I forget what we used to call it Department of Employment or 


Goldberg: Unemployment Insurance Commission, or some such. I was well 

aware of the need for the state to remain in conformity with the 
requirements of the Social Security Act, and the parallel between 
remaining in conformity with requirements of the Social Security 
Act and remaining in conformity with the requirements of the 
Reclamation Act is really quite striking. 

In one of the Ivanhoe briefs I don t recall which one but 
in one of the Ivanhoe briefs, I actually had a catalog compiled 
of various state statutes, including a number of the social 
welfare statutes, that could be affected by restricting the 
state s ability to adhere to federal requirements. You ll find 
cited in the Ivanhoe case such things as Steward Machine Company 
against Davis, which I think is in the original Social Security 
Act case. 

Chall: Did you adopt, in time, a philosophy about the 160-acre limit, 
or was this merely a legal concern of yours? It goes on for a 
number of years, of course, in your work in water. I just was 
interested in that, whether there was a philosophy behind it 
or it developed eventually. 

Goldberg: On the merits of the acreage limitation as such, the idea of 

fostering the family farm, I have blown hot and cold. I don t 
really feel that I, as an individual, am capable of really forming 
an opinion there. I don t know enough about agricultural econom 
ics, about rural living, to say whether the goal of small family 
farms and a robust yeomanry, as was envisaged, they say, by 
Thomas Jefferson, has any reality today or not. I do know I m 
recalling back now over almost thirty years how when I first 
went down into the Central Valley with the idea of looking at 
such things, how impressed I was by the difference between the 
development on the west side where we had the large farms, and on 
the east side where we had rather pleasant, thriving towns such 
as Dinuba, and Selma, and Orange Cove, and so on. That you just 
couldn t help seeing. 

I remember going by a west-side ranch I think it was called 
El Solyo and seeing a field of tomato plants that stretched off 
in the distance practically to the horizon, and round about, a 
few hovels with some little rather dirty-looking Mexican children 
playing around, and thinking to myself, "Well, this may be a great 
way of raising tomatoes, but is it a good way of raising kids?" 

On the other hand, I m also well aware of the fact you can go 
over on the east side and you find the farmers who prosper there, 
as soon as they make a little money off their farms, the first 
thing they do is move into nice homes in the fig-garden area of 
Fresno. So I wonder to myself whether really the family farm does 
have much meaning . 


Goldberg: No, what really got to me was this that I didn t think that any 
body had a right to be subsidized. I may have said this already 
I don t think anybody has a right to be subsidized more simply 
because he happens to own more in the first place. That is, that 
the United States can limit the extent of its subsidies, just the 
same as they ve done under the Social Security Act, and that it 
wasn t worth altering the Constitution of the United States to 
change this, to me, self-evident proposition. 

No, if somebody were to come along and say that a proper 
acreage limitation is 320 or 640, I don t know that I could argue 
about that. I do think that there is a serious question as to 
what extent agriculture should be subsidized at all. But these 
are I would view them really as economic rather than legal 
problems. As far as the law is concerned, the state or the United 
States has a fairly free hand to adopt whatever policy seems 
appropriate at the time of adoption. 

I think I was more interested in preserving the state and the 
United States freedom of action than in the acreage limitation 
as such. 

Chall: It has been suggested that Attorney General Brown allowed you to 
argue the Ivanhoe case before the Supreme Court instead of doing 
it himself because he was preparing to run for governor and 
could not afford to incur the hostility of the landowners more 
than he already had. What do you think of that theory? 

Goldberg: Not much. Brown had already incurred whatever hostility he was 
going to incur. I believe he said something about his making a 
short opening, and I said not to because we had been admonished 
to argue jurisdiction first. If he had made such an opening, it 
would have marred our argument as much as Horton s opening, for 
which Frankfurter rebuked him, marred that of the landowners. 

Chall: Sometime earlier you spoke about that "fabulous character, Mike 
Straus." He certainly aroused much hostility among some land 
and water people in California. Could you explain why? 

Goldberg: I can only give you a personal impression, not an historical 

account. By the time I got into the act, Straus s unpopularity 
in California was thoroughly established, and I accepted it as 
a fact of life as I accepted the equal unpopularity of Dick Boke, 
the then-regional director of the bureau. These men were unpop 
ular because they were enthusiastically and ably enforcing an 
unpopular law the acreage limitation and an unpopular policy 
public power. My hunch is that Straus rather enjoyed his 
unpopularity. He was a very articulate and witty man and seemed 


Goldberg: to enjoy the opportunity to be more of a curmudgeon than his 

boss, Secretary Ickes. Long after Ivanhoe, I got to know Straus 
personally a bit, had dinner at his home and listened to him. I 
am as sure as one can be in the absence of an express admission 
on his part that he relished baiting his opponents. I think of 
him now as an overgrown pixy. 

The San Luis Reservoir Joint Service Contract, 1961 

Chall: Could we move in just sort of a straight line on that one 

question [acreage limitation] and consider the San Luis Reservoir 
issue? There, it was argued that the 160-acre limit wouldn t 
apply to the State Water Project. It could just as easily, on 
the face of it, have gone the other way, since Congress had 
determined, in fact, that it was supposed to apply to the state 

Goldberg: I don t know where you got that last statement from, but my 

recollection is that Congress, instead of resolving the problem, 
just tried to shove it off on the courts. That they couldn t 
resolve it. Senator Morse wanted to go one way; some other 
Senator wanted to go another way. Someplace in the stack of 
notes I have on my desk, you d find the arguments on the floor 
of Congress, some rather impassioned speeches in which we find 
that everything is being left to the courts to resolve. 

Chall: My assumption is based on the fact that when the Senate and the 
House finally passed the act in 1960, they removed a section 
[Section 7, H.R. 7155] that stated that the acreage limitation 
would not apply to state projects, leaving the assumption that 
it would apply. Then they sent it off to the Department of the 
Interior to establish a contract between the state and the 
federal government. 

Goldberg: We re up against the interesting legal problem on which I have 

a note someplace the interpretive effect of a bill that has not 
passed, or a section that was excluded. 

The application of the acreage limitation to the San Luis 
project, of course, can I haven t followed it closely enough in 
recent years to know whether I can say still, but certainly at 
the time that I was interested in it could have gone either way. 
The theory was that since the state was going to require its 
users to pay the full cost of the water, there was no subsidy 
reason for applying the acreage limitation. There may have been 



Chall : 



Chall : 

Chall : 

a policy reason, such as a policy of fostering family farms, for 
doing so, but there was no financial reason for doing so, and 
the reclamation law, which was based on the theory of subsidized 
agricultural water simply as a reason for the limitation, simply 
had no application thereto. 

I don t say that theory s unassailable. 

That was the basis apparently upon which Mr. [Frank J.] Barry 
made his decision? 

I don t recall that in that detail. All I know is that they 
finally decided on one basis or another that the limitation did 
not apply. Perhaps you can tell me, is that now under attack? 

Well, yes, in a sense. It was a case before Judge Oliver Carter 
in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, in 1973. He 
ruled that the acreage limit did not apply to the state project.* 

I just want to know, without having to read your brief, the 
basis on which you wrote your own brief. Did you tell me that you 
were back in Washington quite often during that period? There was 
a great deal at stake in the secretary s final decision. Toward 
the very end you wrote your lengthy brief. Did it seem at that 
point essential that the state set forth its case quite clearly? 
Were Mr. Barry and Secretary Udall having considerable difficulty 
in making a decision? 

[emphatically] Yes! 

I thought that they were because it took them a year... 

They were having difficulty making a decision, and you ve got to, 
again, look at the politics of the situation. 

What were they? 

Well, you have a Democratic administration in Washington which 
would like to enforce the acreage limitation. You have a prom 
inent Democratic governor in California, who, for his own 
political health in California, would like not to have the 

Bowker et al v. Morton et al. 


Goldberg: acreage limitation applied, and therefore you have a conflict 
within the party. Sort of a family row, as it were. Perhaps 
one of those situations where you have to rise above principle. 

Chall: [chuckling] To quote Mr. Unruh. 

Goldberg: Yes. That s the way I recall it now. What the reality... 

Chall: You were working for the Department of Water Resources as deputy 
director at the time, and also, weren t you Governor Brown s 
counsel on water interests, so you had a dual role? 

Goldberg: Yes. I had a dual title. Really, I functioned more for the 

governor than I did for the department. Partly through choice 
and partly through necessity, I involved myself with the actual 
administration of the department as little as I could. 

Chall: Was emotional fervor running fairly high during that year? 

Goldberg: Oh, yes. I see now references to Senator Engle, who was very 
much involved in this. How fleeting is glory. Senator Engle 
was so important, and now I have to pause and 

Chall: try to remember his first name? 

Goldberg: No, I remember his first name. His first name was Clair. I 

recall him as a member of the House of Representatives and his 
participation in the Fallbrook hearing, which is something that 
we haven t mentioned. 

Chall: . Senator Kuchel, at the time; Bernard Sisk, Bizz Johnson, Harlan 
Hag en. 

Goldberg: Yes, I remember them. 

Chall: When you went back to Washington, whom would you talk to? 

Goldberg: To tell you the truth, when I d get back to Washington, I would 
talk to anybody who would talk to me! [laughs] But at one 
stage, I became very well acquainted with Senator Carl Hayden 
from Arizona, who invariably confused me with Eddie Weinberg, 
who was an attorney for the Department of the Interior, at that 
time. I could never understand the confusion because there I 
was, tall and rather gaunt, and Weinberg was short and rather 
fat, and he was always calling me Weinberg. 


Chall: What else can you recall about the activity at the state level 
and contacts in Washington? Also, what kind of argument or 
pressure, and on whom, by whom, do you think brought about the 
final decision to accept the joint contract without the 160-acre 

Goldberg: The final decision was made in Washington ostensibly by Secretary 
Udall. All I know is what we argued, and that is in my memo. 
Our motive was to protect the financial integrity of the State 
Water Project by keeping the large landowners in. If the acreage 
limitation were applied, they may have executed their threats not 
to contract for water, and if they had the state would have been 
hurt as a creditor and by eventual diminution of its agricultural 
resource. I suppose the answer is that we did not consider the 
threats idle ones. 

Rank against Krug 

Chall: Back to the court cases between 50 and 58, then. What about 

Rank v. Krug*? I ve never paid too much attention to what that 
was all about. I have a little article here from Western Water 
News that might refresh your memory, although I m sure you know 
it well. Explain that case, and the time you came upon it. 
That s a long one. 

Goldberg: That was a long one; yes, it was. That was some 270 trial days 
and 27,000 pages of transcript. When you say explain it to you, 
you remind me of the talmudic story. I think it was the Emperor 
Hadrian [who] said to Rabbi Akiba, "Explain Judaism to me while 
standing on one foot." And Rabbi Akiba said, "Do unto others as 
you d have them do unto you. That s the law. All the rest is 
commentary." Well, I can t achieve that one. 

Rank v. Krug, 90 F. Supp. 773 CS.D. Cal . 1950) (motion to dismiss 
denied); Rank v. Krug, 142 F. Supp. 1 (S.D. Cal. 1956) Cjudg. for 
pffs.); rev d in part and aff d in part sub nom. California v. 
Rank, 293 F. 2d 340 C9th Cir. 1961), 307 F. 2d 96 (9th Cir. 1962); 
rev d with directions to dismiss sub nom. Dugan v. Rank, 372 U.S. 
609 (1963), City of Fresno v. California, 372 U.S. 627 (1963). 

Collateral litigation and opinions: United States v. United 
States District Court, 206 F. 2d 303 (9th Cir. 1953); State of 
California v. United States District Court, 213 F. 2d 818 (9th Cir, 
1954); Rank v. United States, 16 F.R.D. 310 CS.D. Cal. 1954); City 
of Fresno v. Edmonston, 131 F. Supp. 421 (S.D. Cal. 1955). 

See also 18 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 31 (1951). 


Chall: Well, maybe you don t have to explain it to me. Maybe somebody 
else can read it and understand it. 

Goldberg: It cannot be understood by reading. 

Chall: It can t? 

Goldberg: No. 

Chall: Well, then you ll have to explain it, won t you, to me? 

Goldberg: Yes. As I told you this morning, part of California s opposition 
to the acreage limitation was not only opposition to the acreage 
limitation as such, but also a desire to protect the Imperial 
Irrigation District, which had been exempted from the acreage 
limitation on the basis of the letter by Secretary Wilber. I 
think I already told you this on the tape, did I not? 

Chall : Yes . 

Goldberg: All right. In addition, and this can t be documented I put it 
out solely as my personal impression which I gained over the 
years. In addition, there was the problem of California s other 
rights than the Imperial, but they included Imperial s, in the 
Colorado River. You can start with the simple assumption that 
it doesn t make any difference what Arizona is entitled to if 
Arizona doesn t have means of getting at its water. 

The only way that appeared to be feasible for Arizona to take 
its entitlement, whatever it might be, would be through federal 
financing, and therefore a way of protecting California on the 
Colorado was to embarrass the United States in the financing of 
reclamation projects. To curtail the United States power to 
operate reclamation projects insofar as that could be done. 

So comes the case of Rank against Krug, which is an effort 
now to enjoin, that is, specifically interfere, through the 
court, with the operation of Friant Dam; to get a decree out of 
the court saying that the United States has to release a given 
amount of water to protect water users below the dam. 

Joined with that was an effort to protect fish life below the 
dam. So we have the fish interests and these landowners in the 
reach between I think it was Friant and a point called Gravelly 

Chall: Were the fish interests and the land interests joined together, 
or were they at odds with each other? 


Goldberg: Well, at one time, they were both represented by a man named 

Claude Rowe, who was an attorney in Fresno. But that was before 
I got involved. The attorney general of California, acting 
through the late Mr. Arvin Shaw, wrote an opinion holding the 
acreage limitation unconstitutional and then there was an effort 
to involve him in protecting the fish, but Mr. Shaw was an ardent 
irrigationist . He wanted, as far as I can recall it, no part of 
protecting this fish life. This kind of went against the grain. 
I remember vaguely an effort to get the attorney general into the 
case to protect the fish. That was still pendant when my first 
participation in Rank against Krug occurred. 

Chall: That would have been under 

Goldberg: Howser. 

Chall: Howser still. 

Goldberg: But that continued for a while under Brown too. I suppose because 
none of us at the time realized the interconnection between Rank 
against Krug and the acreage limitation cases. The judge who was 
handling Rank against Krug was Pierson Hall. Judge Hall was a 
great friend of Sheridan Downey, formerly Senator Sheridan Downey. 

Senator Downey had written what, for a time, was a famous little 
book called They Would Rule the Valley, and had also conducted the 
hearings on I think I have that [looking through papers] Senate 
[Bill] 912. Those hearings were entitled Hearings Before a 
Subcommittee of the Committee on Public Lands, United States 
Senate, 80th Congress, First Session on Senate 912, May and June 
of 1947. 

I don t recall whether those preceeded or followed his book. 

Judge Hall was also from Southern California. He had been a 
city councilman of Los Angeles. Although he and I had various 
personal frictions, I must say he was an extremely capable man. 
the sort of man I would not like to have to encounter again. Very 
able and shrewd. 

I always had the impression that Judge Hall saw Rank against 
Krug in the beginning as I eventually came to see it as a means 
of embarrassing the United States in the actual physical conduct 
of the water project, and thereby adding a little fuel to the fire 
that the Colorado River interests were trying to build in Southern 
California . 


Goldberg: So Judge Hall held that the United States had not acquired the 

water rights necessary to run the Central Valley Project insofar 
as it concerned this group of landowners, and that the United 
States had to make certain releases for Friant Dam to satisfy 
those rights. 

Those releases were incompatible with the best use of the 
Friant-Kern and Madera canals and in certain years could have 
actually required the deliveries through those canals to be 
diminished and also could have required more expensive water. 
That is, the contracts distinguished between water firmly 
available, which is sold at one price, and water intermittently 
available, which is sold at a lower price. The judgment would 
have required the delivery of the firm water when intermittent 
water would otherwise have been available, and it would cost the 
irrigators more. 

I got into the case after, I think this is vague in my 
recollection I think the state had already taken a position in 
favor of the fish. I got into the case, as somebody who was 
already in Ivanhoe, and reversed the state s position and said 
"no go" that actually Judge Hall had no jurisdiction to grant 
an injunction, on the ground that the United States had authority 
to take and I mean this literally physically take whatever water 
it needed for the operation of the project. 

Now, this is the so-called power of inverse condemnation, the 
taking of property first and compensating the owner later if he 
proves that he has a property right. You ll notice that the 
Constitution of the United States says that property shall not 
be taken for public use without compensation. Unlike the constitu 
tion of California and some other states, it does not say public 
property shall not be taken for the public use without compensation 
first being made. That is, you can take and pay later. 

My position, in a nutshell, and this is substantially the 
position of the United States, was that the United States, what 
ever it had taken, made no difference. If these people had water 
rights which, by the way, was a question of considerable dispute, 
as to who had water rights and what sort of rights they were if 
these people had water rights that were interfered with, their 
sole remedy was to sue the United States for damages under the 
Tucker Act, which then, I think, in the amounts involved, would 
have required a suit in the United States Court of Claims similar 
to the Gerlach case. 


Goldberg: You may have heard of the Gerlach case. [U.S. v. Gerlach Live 
Stock Co., 339 U.S. 725 (1950).] The Gerlach case involved the 
rather similar situation, but downstream from Gravelly Ford. 

Chall: It s been a hotly contested area, hasn t it? 

Goldberg: Oh, yes. We lawyers used to talk about these areas as not being 
irrigation districts but litigation districts. 

Judge Hall eventually wrote an elaborate opinion to the effect 
that the United States did not acquire the rights, could not 
acquire the rights, and therefore, the releases had to be made 
pursuant to his injunctive order which would define the various 
rights that had to be satisfied. 

An interesting thing about his opinion that stuck in my mind 
was that he quoted the Central Valley Project Act. The act which 
actually authorized the building of the Central Valley Project 
by the United States is in one of the flood control acts of the 
mid-thirties. I can t recall which one now. But that statute 
provided that the United States could acquire water rights by 
eminent domain or otherwise. I m quoting now, "by eminent domain 
or otherwise." 

In his opinion, Judge Hall omitted the words "or otherwise." 

Goldberg: "Or otherwise" recognizes the authority to take rights by inverse 
condemnation, and so we promptly appealed Judge Hall s decision. 
The court of appeals gave us what I would call a ninety percent 
victory. Again, the exact details I don t remember. 

J. Lee Rankin was then the solicitor general of the United 
States. This was during the Eisenhower administration. And Mr. 
Rankin, I believe, is a nephew of the late Jeannette Rankin, who 
was, I think, the first woman to be elected to the House of 
Representatives . 

Chall: Right. 

Goldberg: Mr. Rankin insisted that we go to the U.S. Supreme Court. I 

remember arguing with him about it. I told him, "You know, we ve 
got a ninety percent victory; let s leave it alone. If you go to 
the well too often, you re going to fall in," et cetera, but that 
cut no ice. He insisted that we ask the U.S. Supreme Court for 
certiorari, which we did, and it was granted. 


Goldberg: By the time the case came up for argument, the Eisenhower 

administration was out, the Kennedy administration was in, and 
the solicitor general was now Mr. Archibald Cox. The United 
States in this case, unlike Ivanhoe, was an actual party, and 
under the etiquette of the Supreme Court, Mr. Cox got to argue 
first. Again, unlike Ivanhoe, this case involved some explana 
tion of the physical features of the project. At one point, Cox 
I don t know if he d ever seen the Central Valley Project said 
something wrong about Tulare Lake [laughs] , and I thought to 
myself, "My God, we re going to lose this, because Cox doesn t 
know about the watershed of Tulare Lake." [laughter] 

But the fact of the matter is that we didn t lose at all. We 
succeeded in getting a hands-down victory. I often wish that I 
had saved I forget what the United States Supreme Court calls 
its final order mandate, remittitur, or rescript, or some such. 
I often wish I had saved that as a memento, because the final 
words were reversed with directions to dismiss, which was a 
wholesale acceptance of what I had been telling Judge Hall for 
some three or four years: "Judge, you don t have any jurisdiction 
to do what you re doing." 

That was in 1963 or 64, I think. Anyway, it seemed to me it 
was about sixteen years after the case had begun. I always 
thought that the persistence of Rank against Krug because, you 
see, as I ve explained it, it s really fairly simple but the 
persistence of Rank against Krug, the inflation of that case out 
of all reasonable proportion, was explainable really as a desire 
to keep litigation going in order to enhance California s position 
on the Colorado River. Now, that may be pure guesswork on my 
part, but it does seem to be a rationalization of what otherwise 
is, to me, to this day, inexplicable. 

Just to give you an idea of the physical magnitude of Rank 
against Krug, I found in the notes that I brought down for this 
session, the index which Bob Burton made on the exhibits. He 
is now an assistant attorney general in California, but at that 
time, I think, he was working for the old Water Project Authority, 
or perhaps he was a deputy attorney general; I don t know. But 
he worked with me. 

Among his other functions was the function of preparing an 
index to the exhibits. And I happened to have found a copy of 
that and I will show it to you. [searches through papers]* 

*This index and all of the papers saved through the years by 
Judge Goldberg have been deposited in the Water Resources 
Archives of the University of California at Berkeley. 



, that s just an index, all those pages? 

Chall : 
Chall : 
Chall : 


Chall : 





This is just an index. For example, I turn to the title 
"Intervenor s exhibits." And this was only kept until 1953. I 
don t know whether that was the end of the case or not, but here 
is an intervenor s exhibit entitled "Cal-A-30-A," a schematic 
diagram, et cetera, describing the exhibit. [reading from 
document] "Put into evidence on June 11, 1953, at page of 
transcript 21,992." 

I literally had a bookcase full of transcripts on that, 
[looking through index] Here s another one. I m looking at 
the Defendant s exhibits. This was the individual defendants, 
employees of the Bureau of Reclamation. "A-89-A a paper sack 
containing shells picked up by the court on June 17, 1953, 
approximately three feet below the surface of the ground at the 
bluffs near Herndon, in evidence of page 22,233" and so on. 

It sounds as if they dug up everything. 

Oh yes, we literally dug stuff up. 

It didn t lay any new ground, then, this decision? 

No . No . 

It wasn t as essential or important as the Ivanhoe decision was 
in terms of the 160 acres? 

It would have been an important decision only if it had been 
decided incorrectly. 

Against you. 
That is right. 
I see. 

Could you explain to me a little more about what you mean by 
the Southern California interests using these cases to prevent 
their loss of the Colorado River, or at least to keep the federal 
reclamation law out of the state if possible? Is that what you 

No. Actually, they didn t want to keep the federal reclamation 
law out of the state because they had gotten everything they 
wanted from the federal. 


Chall: That s right. So I m trying to figure out what the concern was. 

Goldberg: What they were trying was to keep the United States from building 
a project for Arizona. 

Chall: I see. 

Goldberg: So If you can paint the United States as an inept operator of 
reclamation projects, then when Arizona comes with its bill to 
authorize what we now call the Central Arizona Project the 
United States comes along with its bill you can say to your 
friends from the East, "Well, now look at the mess that the 
United States has created. You shouldn t authorize a great big 
reclamation project like that with all these questions going 
around, spending millions of dollars on a really speculative 

Chall: That would also mean, then, that they could pretty well assure 
the proposition that the so-called Feather River Project, the 
California Water Project, which had been in the engineering 
works, would be built by the state rather than the federal 
government. That was another one of their concerns, I think. 

Goldberg: Yes! Oh, yes! Because, really, the principal source of financial 
support for the Feather River Project had to be the Metropolitan 
Water District. The Feather River Project actually is a much less 
expensive project than the Central Arizona Project, well within 
it was then well within the ability of the Metropolitan Water 
District to finance. Bear in mind, this was long before anybody 
had thought of anything like Proposition 13. 

Arizona against California; An Appraisal of the "Long Suit" 

Chall: What about Arizona v. California? That was one of the major 
cases that you didn t handle. 

Goldberg: I didn t participate in Arizona against California. I remember, 
of course, studying it in a rather general way. It s obvious 
from what I ve told you of my appraisal of Rank against Krug 
and Ivanhoe that I was not sympathetic with the point of view 
that we should try to embarrass the United States as a tactic of 
defeating the possible authorization of a project for Arizona. 


Goldberg: One phase of that was that always in the back of my mind was 

the thought that someday California might need federal assistance. 
The day might come when California might have to look to such 
sources as, say, the Columbia or the Snake, or who knows what, 
the rivers of the northwestern states. If that eventuality ever 
came to pass, we would want the United States to be a capable 
instrument, not as Harry Horton would paint it, as an intruder. 

Again, by way of anecdotal example, I remember Horton arguing 
the United States came in to California and did something or 
other. And I replied, "You mean the United States came in here? 
I thought they were here all the time." I guess those are the 
two sides of one coin. 

Another thing, I made as dispassionate an appraisal of Arizona 
against California as I could. It s pretty hard to do when you 
consider the complexities of the case. But trying to simplify it 
in my own mind, I came up with this proposition: that California 
had limited itself, by the so-called California Limitation Act, 
which was a condition of passage of federal authorization for 
what we now know as Hoover Dam California had limited itself to 
4,400,000 acre-feet of water per year and one-half of the surplus. 

There was no surplus and California ended up with contracts 
for 5,300,000 acre-feet. I thought that that discrepancy of 
900,000 acre-feet I remember saying this to then-Governor Brown 
I said, "I think that difference of 900,000 acre-feet is going to 
be pretty hard to explain, and I don t think that two years 
before the Supreme Court s enough to do it." 

I really just had the hunch that Arizona against California 
was a loser and I didn t want any part of it. 

Chall: So Northcutt Ely had it the whole thing. That was an assigned... 

Goldberg: That was assigned to Northcutt Ely, I suppose, because of the 
death of Mr. Shaw. Shaw may very well have had it if he had 
survived . 

Chall: Did Shaw remain, then, in the attorney general s office despite 
the fact that he had been taken off the case? 

Goldberg: He never really was. He never really was in the attorney 

general s office. He was in private practice in Los Angeles 
and he had a title, assistant attorney general of California, 
but I think he was actually paid on a per diem basis. 


Goldberg: His employment with the state attorney general s office long 
antedated the civil service system that we now have. I think 
he had originally been attorney for the Palos Verdes Irrigation 
District. It may have gone back even to the days of Attorney 
General [Ulysses S.] Webb- When the Colorado problems first 
started, Shaw, because of his familiarity with the Colorado 
River through his Palos Verdes connections, was taken on. 

Again, that s my recollection. I couldn t testify to that 
under oath; that s a glimmer in the back of my mind. 

Chall: I just couldn t quite see this connection over the years here. 

Goldberg: He, again, was really very well informed, a good lawyer, and one 
of my lasting regrets, actually, is that because I found myself 
coming to opposite conclusions than he had come to one of my 
regrets is that I couldn t have been friendlier with him than I 
was . I admired Shaw as a lawyer . 



Chall: How did you define your position with the Department of Water 
Resources and with Governor Brown, between 61 and... When were 
you appointed to the bench? 

Goldberg: Sixty-six. 

Chall: You said you preferred to be in the governor s office rather than 
work as deputy? Where did you have your office? 

Goldberg: I actually had my office in the department, and I actually did 
a good deal of work for the department. What I said, I think, 
and if I didn t say it, this is certainly what I meant: I 
actually preferred to function more as the governor s water 
counsel than I did as deputy director. After all, if I truly 
functioned as deputy director, and particularly after Jim Wright 
left in 61 or 62 as chief deputy director, I would have been 
much more active in such things as personnel, budgeting, and 
general departmental administration than I ever chose to be. 

Chall: So you preferred to be in law? 
Goldberg: Yes. 

Chall: Generally, what were your relationships with Mr. [William] Warne? 
Did you usually agree on most issues that arose in the department? 

Goldberg: I have to stop and think whether I ever had a serious disagreement 
with Bill Warne. The only thing that I can come up with is that 
I never agreed with him that we should have staff meetings at 
7:30 in the morning. 

Chall: [chuckles] Yes, on Monday. 

Goldberg: I recall remarking to him once that just because he had been 

director of agriculture at some time or other, was no reason that 
_! should get up with the chickens. 

I considered Warne a superb administrator. I think we were 
very, very fortunate to have a man of his ability and character 
in charge during the construction period of that project. Of 
course, it s only scandals that make the news. But when you 
consider the amount of money that he was responsible for, the 
nature of the construction that he was responsible for, the type 
of decisions that he had to make, and that all of that has gone 
through to this day without the suggestion even of any sort of 
impropriety reflect on that and you ll form your own judgment 
as to Bill Warne as an administrator. 

Warne was a skilled administrator; he was a good judge of 
persons; he was very careful of his choice of associates. For 
example, I always thought one of his wise decisions was in 
picking Al Golze as chief engineer. Because to push a project of 
that sort through, without any really major difficulty, that just 
doesn t come about through good luck. 

Chall: There were some materials I saw in the Brown papers dealing with 
those days of the Pacific Southwest Water Plan, in which there 
seemed to be considerable difference of opinion between you and 
[Stanley] Mosk, and the Metropolitan Water District, and Senator 
Kuchel, and others. I guess it was almost like a Southern versus 
Northern California point of view. 

Goldberg: I don t recall the exact nature of the difference, but you see, 
I had left the attorney general s office; Rank against Krug 
had gotten itself disposed of; Ivanhoe had been dead for a 
couple of years, at least; and the only big water case going was 
Arizona against California. Judge Mosk, as attorney general, 
had worked on Arizona against California within the office, as 
distinguished from Northcutt Ely outside the office. He had, 
working within the office, a man by the name of Charles Corker, 
who is now, I believe, a professor of law at the University of 
Washington, and had been on the faculty at Stanford. Again, a 
highly qualified lawyer. This is not your run-of-the-mill civil 
servant. Corker, of course, was working on Arizona against 
California and dedicated to winning it, if he could, and dedicated 
to minimizing its impact if he lost. 

I think Attorney General Mosk s point of view was based upon 
what he learned from Charlie Corker; indeed, it had to be based 
on what he. learned from Charlie Corker because there was nobody 


Goldberg: else in his confidence to tell him differently. I don t think 

you could expect him I don t recall if he ever solicited me for 
any opinion but even if he had, you couldn t expect him to rely 
upon me particularly, because by that time !_ was working for 

As I said before, the attorney general even when they re both 
of the same political party in California, the attorney general 
is an independent entity. 

Chall: So that the main problem in those days was getting Senator Hayden 
to accept the proposition to let us build the Auburn Dam-South 
Folsom Canal and at the same time get Congress not to agree to 
authorize the Central Arizona Project? 

Goldberg: There we re coming to a head! We still want some federal money 
here. But how do we get federal money for California if we re 
saying you can t have it for Arizona? 

Chall: And Southern California, or California rather, wanted its absolute 
entitlement to that 4.4 million acre-feet of water or wouldn t 
give way. 

Goldberg: Well, I don t think there s any question about being entitled to 
the 4.4 million as long as it s there. But the problem is beyond 
the 4.4; 4.4 isn t enough for us! Cutting through the whole thing, 
unfortunately, is the problem of the degradation of the quality of 
the Colorado River, which I think is something that really nobody 
ever foresaw. 

Chall: Yes, that s right. 

Goldberg: That was one of California s, _!_ thought, good arguments against 
the so-called Frying Pan Arkansas Project, which takes water out 
of the Colorado watershed and puts it into the east slope. 

Whether California could have defeated that Frying Pan Arkansas 
thing I always thought there were highly legitimate grounds for 
defeating that. Whether California could have defeated that if 
it had had a different image back in Washington, a less obstruc 
tionist image, that s a matter of speculation. 


Cases Relating to the Contract and the Sale of Bonds for the 
State Water Project 

Chall: A few notes I have here deal with the Marquardt case 

[Metropolitan Water District against Marquardt]. You wrote 
to Pat Brown when Warne vs. Harkness had been concluded, 
asking that he recognize Fred Bold s services in Warne vs. 
Harkness . You realized that he had had an uphill fight, but 
he took the case because he felt it would be a public service to 
get the issues through, thoroughly aired. Do you recall Fred 

Goldberg: Yes. Fred Bold I haven t seen him in many years, but he was an 
attorney in Richmond. I don t recall when I first encountered 
him. He had done some work for various public districts. He 
was the sort of lawyer who struck me as capable of putting on a 
good argument in a case of this sort. After all, there aren t 
too many lawyers who are either familiar with or interested 
enough in this sort of thing to do an adequate job. 

In cases such as Marquardt, you have what may always be 
attacked as a sort of collusive suit and I wanted to eliminate 
as much basis for such an attack as I could. 

Chall: But you were explaining to me this morning that Marquardt was 

rather essential in order to get those water bonds sold. 

Goldberg: Yes. This is one of the [searching through material] Here s 
Warne against Champion; that s the wrong one. Yes, here s the 
Metropolitan Water District against Marquardt. [continues 
search] We re up to our ears in briefs. 

Yes, here s the case that I was telling you about that set 
the pattern for these sort of things. It s Golden Gate Bridge 
District against Felt, 214 Cal. 308. 

Chall: Didn t you also tell me about the Mallon case? 

Goldberg: The Mallon case was something different. Goodness! Is there 
another set of briefs in Marquardt? I don t find my own. I 
don t know how many briefs there were. 


Goldberg: [Finds brief] I m reading from the reply brief of the State of 
California in Metropolitan Water District against Marquardt. My 
copy is dated June 29, 1962. I m looking at page three, which 


Goldberg: has a continuation of footnote five. It says, "The time honored 
method of obtaining a judicial determination of such fundamental 
basic issues" that is, of the state s liability to be on the 
bonds "is by this form of proceeding" meaning an original pro 
ceeding and mandate in the supreme court. 

"The first case under what is now the Irrigation District Law 
was an original proceeding mandamus to compel the secretary of 
the district to sign bonds- Turlock Irrigation District against 
Williams, 76 Cal. 360 (1888). 

"Such use of mandamus has been so convenient and frequent 
that in the modern cases it is now simply acknowledged to be an 
appropriate remedy. Golden Gate Bridge District against Felt, 
214 Cal. 308 at 318-19 (1931); Metropolitan Water District 
against Heilbron, 167 Cal. App. 2d 192 (1959). 

"There are only two set tests of the propriety of the remedy; 
the first is whether the proceeding is of sufficient importance 
to be brought in the original jurisdiction of this court. This 
was settled when the court sent the case to hearing on the 
merits. The other is whether the suit is collusive. In view of 
the extensive participation herein by the respondent and amici 
curiae who not only disagree with us but occasionally disagree 
among themselves, the charge of collusion is frivolous and San 
Joaquin practically so concedes." 

But the leading case, the root case for our purposes, for 
justifying this form of proceeding, was Golden Gate Bridge 
District against Felt. 

Chall: By this form of proceeding, you mean going directly to the 
supreme court? 

Goldberg: Yes. 

Chall: This was to insure that these bonds that the contract was a 
good one? 

Goldberg: That the contract was good, would be good security for the bond. 
And we tied the contract to the bond as a device for assuring 
the water users that the state will not unilaterally abrogate 
the contract because of the fears engendered by the Mallon case. 

The Mallon case is the case in which the state recovered 
various monies from the city of Long Beach that had been dedi 
cated to Long Beach under their arrangement for taking oil out 
of the Long Beach tidelands . 


Chall: Right. That was very important. 

Goldberg: And it s the case that holds, I suppose on the basis of another 
case called Trenton against New Jersey, that a city, a public 
entity of the state, had no constitutionally protected rights 
or contractual due process rights, I think, against the state 

Chall: This is really what was for long years a problem with respect 

to getting the Feather River Project moving without a constitu 
tional amendment because they couldn t agree on some language of 
this kind. A constitutional amendment, I guess, was to provide 
assurance that if they paid for water the south the water 
could not be taken away by some change in state policy. 

Goldberg: Of course, even a constitutional amendment would have done no 
good if the people at some future time wanted to change the 

Chall: Yes, that is so. Do you know who was behind the concept in 
SB 1106 insuring that this legislative act would make it 
possible to put through a project of this kind if all the 
projects, or the aspects of it, were laid into the law? This 
was a rather unique approach to getting this accomplished this 
Feather River Project Act. It may have been [Ralph] Brody. 

Goldberg: It may have been Brody. I started to say I don t really know who 
really planted the seed, who conceived the idea. [pause] I 
think it may have been Brody. I know after the idea came up, I 
know I worked on it because I recall reading a book, [Benjamin F.] 
Wright, The Contract Clause of the Constitution, which is how I 
became informed about these old railroad cases and reconstruction 
cases that I told you about. So I know that I worked on it, but 
it s such an ingenious idea, I d like to say that I conceived it, 
but that would not be true. [chuckles] 

Chall: You are credited, I think by Erwin Cooper, for coming up with 
the idea of utilizing the old Central Valley Project bonds to 
help pay for the project.* Let s see, that was in Warne v. 
Harkness . Warne v. Harkness dealt with the issuance of the 
Central Valley Project bonds. That s the one that Mr. Bold 
assisted on? 

*Erwin Cooper, Aqueduct Empire (Glendale, California: The Arthur 
H. Clark Company, 1968). 


Goldberg : 
Chall : 

Chall : 

Chall : 


We ll have to see. 

[checks papers] Yes, Bold participated in 

It authorized the Department of Water Resources to issue revenue 
bonds under provisions of the water code governing the Central 
Valley Project. 

Now, those bonds, as I understand it, had been lying around 
since 1933. 

The authority to issue them. 

The authority to issue them. But I think this case was essential 
to get the project moving that time. I guess the companion case 
was California Water Resources Development Finance Committee v . 

That was on the issuance of anticipatory notes. 
I see. 

I m looking at Warne against Harkness and I find, in the briefs, 
a reprint of a letter I wrote to Charles Cooper, who was then 
the chief counsel for Metropolitan. I find that my thinking 
apparently never changed. I told you earlier, on the acreage 
limitation, that my real desire was to preserve the legislature s 
freedom to act. I find in this letter, that I wrote to Mr. 
Cooper on the revenue bonds, in September of 63, and I m 
quoting myself, "I think it is neither legally necessary nor 
administratively sound to attempt to preclude the legislature 
of some future day from acting in accordance with what may then 
be the public interest." 

Whatever I think, at least I m consistent, 
that, too, went directly to the supreme court? 


Yes. Same thing. 

[looking through papers] Well, what do you know. I have an 
interesting note on here: "Given to the state printer on 
October 30 at 4:00 p.m. Completed by the state printer at 8:00 
a.m. November 1." Which is an insight into how you actually 
practice law. 

The state printer at that time was a man named Ralph Titus. 
He was the assistant state printer, I believe. I d gotten 
acquainted a little bit with Mr. Titus, so I armed myself with 


Goldberg: a bottle of quality bourbon whiskey and went over and had a 

little heart-to-heart with him and said, "Ralph, I need this in 
an awful rush. Can you put a crew on it?" [laughter] 

Chall: They worked all night on it? 

Goldberg: Yes. The Metropolitan Water District wanted all kinds of things 
in there and we fought them on that . 

Interesting on that, I d forgotten about it. Preble Stolz 
also worked on that case . 

Chall: Was he in the attorney general s office, or he was hired? 

Goldberg: No, I think he was then on the faculty at Berkeley. But I I 
think, actually, that I hired him in effect, as a consultant. 
I remember this. I had the state printer do a plate showing the 
effect of bond ratings on bond prices. 

Chall: Who had to research that information, or did that come out of 
Standard & Poor, or something of that kind? 

Goldberg: That came out of Standard & Poor. By way of help on that, we 

then had the state s financial consultants, Dillon Read Company. 
The prime mover in Dillon Read was a man who just died last 
winter, John Fowler amazing man. He was the man who literally 
had written a book on revenue bonds way back in 1927 or 28. I 
won t say that the revenue bond was his original idea, but 
certainly much of the crystalization of the thinking about 
revenue bonds is attributable to Fowler. The idea of issuing the 
revenue bonds may originally have come from Fowler in the form 
of the question: Couldn t we use the revenue bonds? 

Chall: Oh, I see. Yes, because they d been hired again in 1961. 
Goldberg: They were still working with us when I left in 1966. 

I ve often thought to myself that if any one person were 
entitled to credit for the success of the state s financing 
scheme, it was Mr. Fowler. 

He was a remarkable character. I recall an incident with Mr. 
Fowler. We had a big meeting over at the Sacramento Inn; all 
sorts of engineers from the department and consultants, I think. 
It was still back in the days of the Charles T. Main Company, 
which did some study on the project. 


Goldberg: It s getting late in the afternoon and someplace there are 
$10 million that we can t account for. And everybody takes 
his turn at trying to figure out what has happened to this 
$10 million that has just gone irretrievably lost somewhere, 
[chuckles] Finally, Fowler says, "Oh boys, let s forget about 
it. In a project this size, $10 million is a mere bagatelle." 
[laughter] That was the kind of man I like. 

Chall: Used to dealing in billions. 
Goldberg: Fowler was a highly original thinker. 

Chall: Well, the State Water Project, as I understand it, seemed to 
have some financial difficulties right from the word go. 

Goldberg: Now, here in one of the briefs is an opinion I wrote Preble and 
I wrote. Both our names are on it. "Could the department issue 
revenue bonds under the Central Valley Project Act of 33? Our 
conclusion is the department now has, and after the adoption of 
the Burns-Porter Act, will continue to have authority to issue 
the revenue bonds... The two acts must be read together." 

The pledge of revenues. "By this pledge, the revenues under 
the Burns-Porter Act" I m reading from the Attorney General s 
Opinion which appears in 36 Opinions of the California Attorney 
General, 160.* I m reading from page 162. "By this pledge" 
meaning the pledge under the Burns-Porter Act "it was hoped to 
protect the contracts against legislative change under the ruling 
Mallon against the City of Long Beach." [pauses to continue to 
read the opinion to himself] 

You ve got to consider the effect of the Burns-Porter Act, the 
various interpretations of the Burns-Porter Act on future financ 
ing. And I say, "It is, of course, proper to consider the 
consequences of a proposed construction of a statute. Pearson 
against the State Social Welfare Board, 54 Cal. et cetera, 1960." 

Pearson against the State Social Welfare Board was a case I_ 
had under the Social Security Act involving this problem of 
federal/state conformity. You see how all this stuff ties 

Chall: Yes. But I thought that case had started out long before. You 
say 1960? 

Goldberg: That s when it was finally decided by the Supreme Court. 
Chall: And which Pearson would that be? 

36 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 160 (1960) 



Chall : 

Chall : 

Goldberg : 
Chall : 
Goldberg : 

Chall : 

Goldberg ; 
Chall : 

Chall : 


[spells out] P-e-a-r-s-o-n. No, that was not a long case. It 
was a case on what kind of assets could be used in determining 
aid to the disabled, or some such. 

Were these all decided on a unanimous basis in the state supreme 
court, do you recall? 

I don t remember. 

Well, that s easy to find out. But you did have enough friends 
on the court, if one wants to put it that way. Justice is blind 
and all of that, but... 

Yes. The court was sympathetic to this point of view. 
Gibson, Traynor 

You d have to look. I don t recall the exact composition in 
1960 or 63. 

Were you aware, because you were handling the Marquardt, and the 
Betts, and the Harkness cases, of the concern on the part of the 
Department of Water Resources that the funding was not all that 
generous by the time the bond issue was written and Prop 1 had 
been passed? They didn t allow them a great latitude then, 
building what they planned to build? 


How did this concern show itself in the administration? 

One thing, there was this concern over the San Luis project. We 
needed that San Luis project. We needed the federal participa 
tion. If we had built a, for example, small facility at San 
Luis simply for ourselves, it would have cost us much more than 
going in with the federal. 

And also you needed the Kern County group in there, 
signed a contract yet. 

They hadn t 

No. We needed them. There was another one. I can t recall, 
[pause] ^My hunch is that we were also concerned with the 
construction of a power plant down around the general area of 
the Kern County pumping plant. Which, in fact, was not built. 

Oh, yes! We were also very much concerned with the use of 
the flood control allocated money, for construction of Oroville. 
The federal government had a flood control allocation there. 
Actually, it was relatively small, but it was important. 


Chall: Every ten million really did count. 

Goldberg: Yes. And we were also concerned with the allocation of money 
from tidelands, which again was relatively small but highly 
important . 

Chall: Yes. And some of that money eventually was put into education 
rather than what had been anticipated as the total amount going 
into water. Do you recall any kind of controversy inside the 
administration as well as with the legislature over that? 

Goldberg: I don t recall any inside the administration, no. I don t think 
I was particularly involved in that actual allocation. 

Chall: What about the development of the rate structure? First, of 
course, was just the prototype contract with the Metropolitan 
Water District, those very trying months. It took quite a while 
before that contract actually came out so that the Metropolitan 
Water District could even argue it, although I think they had 
been working on it for quite some time. But there wasn t anything 
developed by the state. Did you have anything to do with the 
development of that? 

Goldberg: No, that contract was negotiated through the Department of Water 
Resources before I joined the department. The contract had been 
negotiated by the time I came on. That is the sort of thing that 
you might speak to [Porter] Towner about, because I recall Towner 
complaining about the Metropolitan Water District contract, that 
the Metropolitan district wanted to say everything twice, which 
accounts for the inordinate bulk of that contract. 

Chall: So you don t know who might have been working on that? 

Goldberg: Well, Bill Berry, Jr. worked on it. He s a lawyer. Where he is 
now , I don t know . 

Chall: A while ago, you told me about a Mr. Burton having worked on some 
thing. I don t remember what it was. 

Goldberg: Yes, he worked on Rank against Krug. 

Chall: What about the rate structure with the Kern County Water Agency, 
which provided for a special rate allowing the farmers surplus 
water during the build-up of the project, at a varying rate from 
the so-called firm rate? Did you have anything to do with that? 


Goldberg: I may have had something to do with it. But my recollection of 
that is that that is something I fundamentally disagreed with. 
Because of my disagreement with the theory, I avoided working on 

Chall: Can you explain your disagreement with it? 

Goldberg: My recollection is that I thought that it was a device to give 
credence to selling the water at a cheap rate. 

Chall: In other words, it was giving them a subsidy of some kind? 

Goldberg: Yes. 

Chall: And you disagreed with that? 

Goldberg: That is my recollection. 

Chall: And you think that was giving favor to large landowners, that they 

could afford to pay that they didn t need the subsidy? 

Goldberg: I don t know that they could afford to pay. What can you afford 
to pay? They re in a competitive position and if they paid that 
much for water, maybe they could have afforded to pay it in the 
sense that they had the cash. But if it had put them at a 
competitive disadvantage, there s no point in going into that 
kind of business. 

No, I think my disagreement was based more on the idea that I 
favored the Metropolitan Water District, the use of water for 
municipal and domestic purposes across the hill rather than using 
it for agriculture. 

Chall: Other than that, was there a philosophical point of view with 

respect to agriculture? 

Goldberg: [pauses] I really can t say. As I say, my impression is that I 
didn t like it and I stayed away from it. 


Chall: I have come to the end of the questions which I had laid out in 
my outline to talk to you about, and I just wonder whether you 
would like to add anything here. You can add more when you 
review, but even now, you re so full of interesting anecdotes 
and recollections, I d like to have them while you think of them. 


Replacing the Tracks of the Feather River Railroad 

Goldberg: Well, we haven t talked about our acquisition problem with the 
Feather River Railroad, which took a good deal of my time. 

Chall: No, we haven t. What about the acquisition of the railroad? 

Somebody has indicated to me that the railroad could have paid 

for moving its tracks without the state having to give them any 
money for it. This may be a different matter. 

Goldberg: The railroad couldn t pay to push a peanut. 
Chall: [chuckles] It couldn t? 

Goldberg: No. The railroad as such, but the railroad was the wholly owned 
subsidiary of the Georgia Pacific Company and virtually its only 
customer. One of my flanking attacks on the railroad was that it 
wasn t really a public utility. It was just a utility in name 

Chall: Was this a suit? 

Goldberg: Oh yes, yes. The condemnation power existed under the Central 
Valley Project Act. One of the things that had gotten into the 
Central Valley Project Act and I think this is explained in 
Montgomery and Clawson s little pamphlet was a provision that the 
state could not condemn public utilities outright, but had to 
replace them in kind.* The railroad was ostensibly a public 

What were we going to do about that railroad, to replace what 
ever it was seventeen miles of railroad track through the 
mountains there used to pull maybe two, three trains a week, if 
that much, and for this sole customer, Georgia Pacific, the owner 
of the railroad? I don t know what it would have cost. I know we 
eventually saved about $10 million. Let s say it would have cost 
$12 million to replace the railroad. 

*Mary Montgomery and Marion Clawson, "History of Legislation and 
Policy Formation of the Central Valley Project," (Berkeley: 
United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural 
Economics, 1946). 


Goldberg: This was a thorn in everybody s flesh. During the course of 

investigation, somebody pointed out that the railroad was built 
across certain sections of the public domain and had a license 
from the Department of the Interior to use those sections of 
public domain, but the license had been allowed to lapse in the 
1920s and had never been renewed. 

These sections of the public domain had been set aside as power 
reserves, I think, by Theodore Roosevelt. We succeeded to the 
United States rights in these sections when we got our federal 
power license. Since the railroad wasn t licensed to use them 
any longer, the railroad had its tracks on our land. That gave us 
the idea: Why should we be condemning something that we already 

I used to threaten Schwarzer from time to time he represented 
Georgia Pacific I used to threaten him from time to time, "Some 
day we ll send a crew out there and just pull up the tracks on 
section whatever; you d better get your locomotives out or you re 
going to have an awful job getting them down the hill." [chuckles] 

Chall: What was the final determination of that case? 

Goldberg: Well, it started out to try to force the abandonment of the rail 
road, before the Interstate Commerce Commission. No luck. No 
luck. Brought a proceeding in the U.S. District Court to review 
the action of the Interstate Commerce Commission; regret to say, 
lost in the U.S. District Court should have won. 

I must have made some mistake in the handling of that case, but 
anyway, we lost that one. We had a pretty good U.S. Supreme Court 
case there. I don t think I actually prepared a petition for writ 
of certiorari, but the case was good enough, with this really 
fictitious railroad fictitious public utility the railroad was 
real enough, but its public utility status was certainly nothing 
but nominal. That was obscure enough so that we entered into 
intensive negotiations and arrived at a contract whereby the 
railroad agreed to get out, and we agreed to pay them something 
I don t remember how much. And they agreed, and this was very 
important they agreed to keep the mill at Feather Falls operating, 
I think, for five years. 

That was important to us for a totally collateral reason. That 
mill up at Feather Falls was the second largest employer in Butte 
County, and we didn t want to create a situation of creating mass 
unemployment. So we paid them I can t recall how much; we got rid 
of the railroad; we got out of the obligation of building a bridge 


Goldberg: which would have been heavy enough to have supported the rail 
road instead we built a regular highway bridge and they agreed 
to keep the mill going. As far as I know, they complied with 
their agreement; we complied with ours. 

Somebody figured out that by this arrangement, the state had 
saved some $10 million, and everybody was very happy.* 

Chall: So you settled, in effect, out of court. 

Goldberg: Yes, yes. I was particularly pleased with the settlement even 

though I d lost the case before the U.S. District Court, because 
of this unemployment feature. That would have been a serious 
economic and social problem up there. 

Chall: So that was added in later when they negotiated, is that it? 

Goldberg: Yes. That was part of the settlement. I think it generally 
worked out satisfactorily. But what a workout I had on this 
business of abandoning railroads and trying to work with the 
Interstate Commerce Commission. If ever a person felt he was 
wandering around in the great labyrinth of Crete, it was I at 
the Interstate Commerce Commission. What a mystic maze that was! 
Oh, I did a lot of work on that railroad. That took a good part 
of my time, maybe two years off and on. Sometimes nothing but. 
Let s see, what else? That s a very poor question what else? 

Bill Warne and Governor Brown were so happy that they named the 
bridge after me because it didn t have railroad tracks. Governor 
Reagan changed the name from "B. Abbott Goldberg Bridge" to the 
name of the old bridge, "Enterprise Bridge." But on October 6, 
1979, the Department of Water Resources honored me by dedicating 
a handsome bronze plaque at the southeast corner of the bridge 
memorializing my efforts. My wife says, "That s just like you 
getting a bridge named after yourself on a road that doesn t go 
anywhere." [B.A.G.] 


Some Observations on Administrators and Administration Relating 
to State Water Issues 

Chall : All right . Then let me ask you something in the what else 

category. What kind of relationships, or did you have any, as 
an attorney in the attorney general s office, or as Pat Brown s 
counsel, with the legislators? For example, would you come in 
contact much with George Miller, Jr. or Carley Porter or Pauline 
Davis ? 

Goldberg: Oh, yes. 

Chall: Would legislators come in to you with their problems on water or 
land legislation? 

Goldberg: Yes, they d come in with their problems, but I was never one for 

socializing much with them. Brody did much more of that sort of 

thing than I did. My contacts with the legislature were by and 

large mostly formal. I didn t develop and really didn t try to 
develop any close personal relationships over there. 

Chall: With Pat Brown, did you have a close personal tie over the years? 

Goldberg: Yes. With Pat, I had a close personal tie because, after all, I 
had worked for him since really beginning with his election in 
1950, and very closely after he went into- off ice. I really 
developed an affection for Pat, because whatever one says about 
him, he was a man of complete good will. He wanted to do what 
was good for the people of the state of California. Now, it was 
sometimes a little hard to tell what s good for the people of the 
state of California, but Pat wanted to be right. 

He was really a highly motivated and highly dedicated man. I 
think that was the secret of his success. I think that attribute 
of his personality came across to the public. 

Chall: And did it manifest itself in all of his administrators wanting 
to get to work and do what was good for the state? 

Goldberg: I don t know about all of his administrators. It certainly was 
entirely compatible with what Bill Warne did. Bear in mind, I 
didn t work for any director but Warne. I knew Banks, but I had 
never worked for him. 

My next closest tie in the upper echelons of the administration 
was Hale Champion. Hale was as politically astute as anybody I 
have ever encountered, but Hale, too, was motivated in the same 


Goldberg: fashion, so that what he did was I suppose we could find little 
intersticial details here and there where there may have been 
disagreements but what he did by and large, as I recall it, was 
always conformable with what Brown would have wanted done. 

Chall: Water problems, especially pollution, overlapped the jurisdiction 
of the Resources Agency, which Hugo Fisher directed. How did you 
work with him? 

Goldberg: My present recollection is that I had more of a personal than 

professional relation with Hugo. I would occasionally help him 
with a speech or some small problem. But I was so occupied with 
my own work that Hugo had to get his substantial legal advice 

Chall: Governor Brown was also caught up in the questions of water 
pollution, particularly that at Lake Tahoe. In the earlier 
stages of trying to develop some state and bi-state policy on 
this, the governor appointed you chairman of a committee to 
review the problem. This was in October, 1963. What do you 
recall of the Tahoe problem as you reviewed it? 

Goldberg: I do not think I was ever involved in any substantial pollution 
problem as a legal adviser. Of course, I was aware of the 
problems pollution could cause as you can see from my references 
to the Frying Pan-Arkansas Project on the Colorado. 

Chall: I noticed in reading some editions of Western Water News that 
your plain-spoken opinions, especially about the role of the 
federal government in state water matters, often incurred the 
hostility of spokesmen for the water users Burnham Enerson for 
example. How did you react to this and did it affect your work 
in any way? 

Goldberg: Of course this sort of thing affected my work; it reinforced my 
feeling of self -righteousness . If Burnham Enerson had ever 
agreed with me, I would have thought I was wrong. He was a 
proponent of federal bills that would have made the United States 
subject to state water laws in such a fashion that the United 
States would have had to operate its projects in accordance with 
state law. I took the position that the United States only had 
to pay for rights that were property within the meaning of the 
due process clause that were interfered with by project opera 
tions but that the operations were to be as federal law provided. 
This is the Rank v. Krug problem and it ties to the definition of 
water rights as means of getting rid of the acreage limitation. 
There was actually a case out of Wyoming to this effect, Owl Creek 
Irrigation District v. someone, or In re Owl Creek I.D., and the 
first bill I knew of was sponsored by a Wyoming Senator. It 


Goldberg: failed and Senator Kuchel then sponsored a similar bill. I 
appeared in opposition to the bill and was rewarded with the 
disapprobation of Senator Kuchel and Burnham Enerson. I was 
exercised enough by this problem to write an article for the 
Stanford Law Review, "Interposition Wild West Style," I think 
in 17 Stanf. L. Rev. I got to the point that any time I heard 
anyone say "states rights" I thought they were trying to 
resurrect John C. Calhoun, keep little black kids out of public 
schools or, more to my purposes, get their fingers into Uncle 
Sam s pocket book when the law said they shouldn t. Burnham, 
I think, prophesied that the West would blow away in dust if we 
didn t have some sort of western water rights settlement. We 
have not, but the earth still seems to be revolving once every 



Chall: You were telling me earlier, and I thought we might get this 
on tape, that water was a very important and pervasive topic 
during the years, let s say 50 to 66 perhaps that regardless 
of which side you were on as an engineer or attorney, there was 
a deep and strong emotional commitment, a high dedication. 
Could you explain that? 

Goldberg: I don t recall what I said to you before. Let me think about 

that for a minute and see if I can recapture what we were talking 
about this morning. I think what I told you about this morning 
was this: that when I came into this, we were all very highly 
motivated. These were all what I would call high morale outfits. 
Everybody was an idealist. 

The boys from the Bureau of Reclamation, they re idealists. 
The fellows from the Division of Water Resources, the group whom 
I may have described to you as a group of disappointed old men 
they were idealists. Now, their ideas may have been somewhat 
different from those of the Bureau of Reclamation, but these were 
highly, highly dedicated men. 

They had come up and they had transmitted to me, certainly, 
the tradition of the Old West, that water is the limiting 
resource and that by bringing water to the thirsty land, you were 
in effect doing the Lord s work and that there was nothing more 
important for the people of California than providing an adequate 
water supply. 

As I said, when I told you about Friant Dam and the fish 
adequate water supply. We thought in terms of water supply and 
only very tangentially in terms of other uses of the water 
recreational, fishing, et cetera. Of course, the fish at Friant 
Dam that was really an academic problem, because if you go back 
historically, you ll find that the fish runs had been destroyed, 


Goldberg: certainly by the 1920s and perhaps before then, by the operations 
of Miller and Lux. So it was not so much a problem of maintaining 
a fish run as really reviving one. 

Chall: I see. 

Goldberg: The economics of these projects was figured in terms of the cost- 
benefit ratio and the project was sized to get the lowest cost 
per acre-foot or per kilowat hour; decisions were made accord 
ingly. Indeed, no power plant was installed at Friant because it 
was figured that the flows would be too irregular to make a power 
plant financially feasible. Well, you can see that would have 
left a mighty slim margin for fish. 

We had no doubts, really, as to the correctness of our position. 
Not that efforts were not made to maintain fish life, provide for 
wildlife and so on, where it was compatible with the project. For 
example, look at the rather elaborate installation that was put in 
up at Oroville to provide for the fish in the Feather River, but 
the Feather River had a real live fish run. 

At some point in time, we put a man out in the San Joaquin 
River to count fish. I remember they built a little structure 
out there a couple of boards, and there was a slot between the 
boards, and this fellow was there all day [chuckles] and he 
counted the fish! I don t remember the exact figure, but I think 
in one week he counted seventeen fish or something like that. 

Chall: You can t say you didn t do your research carefully. 

Goldberg: I do know that some of these problems kind of surfaced. I don t 
know where I got the idea, but someplace along the line, the 
idea began to dawn on me that really Southern California was an 
environment essentially hostile to human occupation. [laughs] 
This was interesting, but what are you going to do about the 
millions of people already down there? 

I do recall, as I said to you this morning I wish I d put it 
in a speech now but I do remember saying to someone that really, 
the only solution to the water problem was birth control. 

Then, of course, we ve had the whole change in thinking. The 
environmentalists had some impact, but very modest. Actually the 
environmental impact, the recreational and wildlife and fish uses 
of these projects, were seized on really by the water users from 
time to time. Well, if we could allocate some of the costs to 


Goldberg: recreation or to environmental protection or what have you, 
that would cut down the cost of water. But that was their 
interest. Or, if you could allocate it to flood control. 

Chall : Early on, the so-called non-reimbursable cost of fish and game, 
wildlife, and recreation had to be absorbed by the general fund. 

Goldberg: Yes! And as far as I know, that s the situation today, too. The 
bottom line, as I said to you this morning with regard to Friant 
Dam, yes, you could have built Friant Dam bigger, but who would 
pay for it? It was not necessary for the water users. And the 
bottom line is always, who comes up with the bucks? You have the 
same thing keeping the Stanislaus a wild river. [talks slowly, 
thoughtfully puffing on his pipe] Sure, you can keep it a wild 
river, but you re charging a group of power users more than they 
would otherwise have to pay. The wild river user is going to 
pay that difference? Of course, they couldn t. 

Chall: Rather expensive way to sail a raft down the stream. 

Goldberg: Yes. Another thing. When you talk about environmental impacts, 
you cannot physically build projects of this magnitude without 
having an enormous environmental impact. I ve even heard such 
things as the fact that there s been a change in humidity in the 
southern reaches of the valley because of the extent of irrigation 
down there. Now it s an environmental impact whether it s good 
or bad, I can t say, but it s certainly there. If it s adverse, 
who is to be held accountable for that? 

One of the things that I am disappointed to see is the lack of 
emphasis on planning that I think it was initiated by Governor 
Reagan; I haven t followed whether it was continued by Brown, Jr., 
but one of the most important parts of water project development 
is long-range planning . 

I once figured out it s in one of these briefs somewhere how 
the construction pattern of these dams followed the unit cost of 
water. The cheapest one was built first. As a matter of fact, 
the very best sites were those originally occupied by the power 
companies, way back around the beginning of the century, which is 
not due to malevolence on their part, but it s simply a fact of 
life. If you re going to build a hydro plant, you re going to 
build the most favorable one first. 

The best dam on the Sacramento River was Shasta. Shasta was 
built first. Then you can go right on down. Oroville the 
possibilities there were known way back in the twenties, if not 
before then. Oroville didn t come on the line until it became 
financially feasible. 


Goldberg: Now these things take a good deal of planning. My feeling is 

that it s about twenty-five years from planning to construction, 
when you consider all the financial and political problems that 
have to be gotten out of the way and that the state has made a 
great error by de-emphasizing planning. You see, if you want to 
cut the state budget, it s an easy thing to cut out planning 
money. You re not going to reap the effects of that until some 
future generation. You re not going to be around. I think it is 
a great disservice to cut back on planning funds. 

Chall: Do you think the state has done that in the water field? 

Goldberg: I m sure they did it under the Reagan administration. I m not 
close enough now to know what has been done under the Brown 
administration . 

Talk about imaginative things such as atomic power. In the 
state at one time, we considered the construction of an atomic 
power plant. Right there, you run into a host of problems: 
Should the state be in the power business? What is the influence 
of PG&E, Southern California Edison, and so on? The technical 
problems of the atomic plants well, [the plant] didn t go 
through, and the way things have shaped up, maybe they just 
lucked out on that one. 

Chall: That was the power to get it over the Tehachapis. 

Goldberg: Yes. I don t know where they re getting their it doesn t matter 
where, but by the time the power arrangements were initiated, I 
had left. 

One thing that struck me. Remember the drought year we had 
what year was it last year or the year before? [1976-1977] 
All this talk of drought. There wasn t a murmur about a shortage 
of domestic water in Southern California. There also wasn t a 
murmur about the fact that that shortage didn t exist was due 
in part, at least, to the State Water Plan. I didn t find anybody 
beating the doors down to thank us for what had been done . 

See, you get it there; once it s there, it s just accepted. 
The fact that it took some forty years to achieve it was just 

Chall: Turn on the tap and there it is. 

Goldberg: Yes. Well, I ll tell you one other story for the record and then 
let you go . 

Chall: I think we have just enough tape for it. 




Goldberg : 



Okay. We were involved in the trial of Rank against Krug. The 
plaintiffs were represented by Claude Rowe of Fresno, of whom 
Arvin Shaw said, "Oh, he can t be that stupid. He must have 
somebody helping him." [chuckles] And the United States 
defendants were represented by Joe McPherson, who was short and 
fat and just recovering from a heart attack. 


I was tall and kind of gaunt, and I think I was going through one 
of my bowel problem episodes. Rowe stands up in the courtroom 
one day and he points across the courtroom at McPherson and me 
and says, "Here I stand, Little David, assailing those two 

I stood up and said, "Judge, that man can t get anything 
straight, not even his Bible stories. He is Sampson and we are 
being slain with the jawbone of an ass." 

Oh, dear. 

I thought Judge Hall was going to put me in the jug. 

He was so 

How did you have the nerve to say that in the courtroom? 
I don t know. I don t know. 

The witness on the stand was a man by the name of Charles Lee, 
a forensic engineer, and he testified [chuckles] that the more 
water that went down the river, the greater the rate of seepage 
into the underground; not the greater the quantity but the greater 
the rate! 


Goldberg: Let s say, If we had a case where the flow was X, you have one 
percent; when flow is X plus Y, you d have twenty percent. So 
not only the quantity increases, but the rate increases. 

We had an engineer who said to me, "Ask him how much we have 
to put down before the river disappears." [laughter] 

Well, Charlie Lee was the witness on the stand. He had a 
daughter who, unfortunately, died young. And he had a daughter 
who worked in the state library here; she was assistant librarian, 
as a matter of fact. 

I met her on the street one day and she said to me, "That was 
a terrible thing you said about my father." I said, "What?" She 
said, "The jawbone of an ass." I said, "I wasn t talking about 
him; I was talking about Claude Rowe!" [laughter] 

Chall: And your point wasn t even well taken. [laughs] 

Goldberg: There was another anecdote out of Rank against Krug. 

Chall: How many days did you say it was in court? 

Goldberg: Two hundred and twenty-f ive odd trial days. 

Chall: I guess there ought to be some interesting stories. 


Goldberg: The witness on the stand was a man by the name of Lee Hill, and 

he was being examined by Joe McPherson. McPherson asked him some 
question. Hill answers it. Rowe says to McPherson in a whisper, 
"I bet you re sorry you asked that." McPherson turns to Rowe and 
replies, in what was intended to be a whisper, "Horse shit." 

They had two court reporters. They say to be a court reporter, 
you ve either got to be a drunk or a moron, though this time we 
had the lady. She was not a drunk. The transcript comes out. 
Question: Mr. McPherson. Answer: Mr. Hill. Mr. McPherson: 
Horse shit. 

Judge Hall made us physically return the transcripts and cut 
that out. [laughter] 

I suppose I should tell you about the day we got the writ of 
prohibition on Judge Hall. It went something like this. Each 
summer, beginning about 1951, I think, the river had been 
operated under a consent injunction. That was in 51, 52, and 
I think this was 53. 


Goldberg: Comes 53 and negotiations are started for another consent 
injunction. By this time, I had been learning a little bit 
about federal practice and I didn t like the idea of a consent 
injunction anymore. But my districts were very timorous and 
afraid that if we didn t have a consent injunction, Judge Hall 
would require the release of the whole natural flow, which would 
leave them short of water in the mid-summer. 

They pressured me into saying that I would consent to an 
injunction, too. So a form of injunction is drawn up, and it 
comes out that Rowe agrees to waive findings of fact and conclu 
sions of law, and the rest of us consent. So I said, "Well, if 
it s good enough for him to waive findings of fact and conclu 
sions of law, it s good enough for me, too." Judge Hall says, 
"Well, you said you d consent." I said, "So did Mr. Rowe. If 
he can now only waive findings and conclusions, so can we." 

Hall says, "If you don t consent, I ll require the release of 
the full natural flow, and I won t let you waive findings of fact 
and conclusions, because you would take an appeal." 

I couldn t appeal from a consent injunction, but from one 
that was really jurisdictionally improper on its face, I wouldn t 
need the findings of fact and conclusions. I could attack that 
directly. I thought that one over and replied to the effect: 
"As it were under those circumstances, I have no choice but to 

I called up my then-friend, J. Lee Rankin, who was the 
solicitor-general, told him what had happened. He said, "You 
better come back here. I think we can get a writ of prohibition 
on that one." So I went back to Washington intending to stay a 
day or two. I actually stayed there, I think, six weeks . 

We got into this thing. It took a little work to draft it up. 
Presently I get back to Fresno and I am accompanied now by 
William Veeder of the Department of Justice. Veeder was a small, 
wiry man who had been a championship featherweight boxer in 
college. I want you to get the personality: This is a very, 
very feisty guy. Veeder had been the principal object of every 
body s venom in the Fallbrook case. He is the man who began the 
Fallbrook case. Veeder and I get back to Fresno. We stop off 
in San Francisco and we get an order to show cause out of the 
U.S. Court of Appeals as to why a writ of prohibition should not 
be granted. That has to be served on Judge Hall. 


Goldberg: So, it s early in the morning. I said, "Bill, let s get that 
order over to the mar shall and have the marshall serve it." 
Bill says no, no, no, he s not going to have the marshall serve 
it. He says, "You know these country marshalls; they never do 
anything right, anyway. I m going to serve it myself." 

I said, "Now, we re going to have a bad enough day as it is. 
Let s not make it worse by getting personally involved." 
[chuckles] No, he wouldn t listen to me. Finally he did listen 
to me, but by that time it was so late that we couldn t find the 
marshall. He was out feeding his prisoners or something. And 
we had no choice but to serve Hall personally. 

I take Veeder into Judge Hall s chambers and Hall looks up. 
As I say, he really had very little use for me because I kept 
telling him he had no jurisdiction. [chuckles] He looks at me 
and says, "Humpf , you re back." I said, "Yes, Judge. And this 
is Mr. Veeder of the Department of Justice." 

Hall says [in a scornful manner], "I ve heard of you." Veeder 
says, "I ve heard of you, too. And I have a message for you." 
He reaches into his inside pocket, pulls out this order to show 
cause, and slaps it against Hall s chest." He says [slowly and 
deliberately], "You [pause] are [pause] served." 

Chall: What a dramatic confrontation! 

Goldberg: Hall takes the order, looks at it, and _! thought he was going to 
have a stroke on the spot. He turned from his usual color to 
red to about the purple of your blouse. I thought he was going 
to fall dead in front of our eyes! [chuckles] 

Chall: That s rather unusual procedure here. 

Goldberg: But he eventually recovered his composure and he says to Veeder, 
"I have never in my life been the victim of such an act of gross 
impoliteness," and he proceeds to excoriate Veeder for a while, 
and then he turns to me. 

He says, "And as for you, you fomented this damnable maneuver." 
But we got the writ and we got rid of those consent injunctions. 
That was a fair leg up in the eventual success in the Supreme 

I always remember that case, and it resulted in one of my 
favorite quotations. Judge Pope I don t know whether this was 
a concurrence or whether it was the actual opinion of the court, 
or what but Judge Pope, who was a fine judge on the court of 
appeals, in analyzing our case said, "I am reduced from the 
high ground of authority to the low ground of principle." 


Chall: You can t say it hasn t been a rather exciting career that you ve 
had. Many interesting cases. 

Goldberg: It was interesting. It was interesting. I hope it s been useful. 
I sometimes wonder, maybe it would have been better to let Cali 
fornia dry up and blow away, and keep it the way we used to know 
it. Maybe the house we live in should have remained a hop yard 
instead of being a home. 

That s one thing we haven t discussed in planning, to think in 
terms of water planning. Really, of course, we should think in 
terms of total environment planning. Should . Of course, we can t 
do anything about things already built, but should we allow choice 
agricultural land to be diverted to other uses? Like where we 
live, the land is so fertile, if we have a barbecue in the back 
yard and somebody drops a tomato seed, you re liable to find a 
little plant growing. It s a shame that land of that sort was 
not kept in agriculture, because certainly we could have lived in 
the foothills just as well. 

Chall: That needs to be resolved before it s too late. 

Goldberg: And you find the way it was when I left, the resistance to state 

planning. The boards of supervisors want to keep their authority. 
How long can we endure that kind of fractionation of land-use 
planning? I don t know. Lots of problems here. And they don t 
get any easier as time goes on. 

Chall: Well, that seems to conclude our interview. I do want to thank 
you for devoting your entire day to the project and for the 
valuable background on law and administration you ve provided 
for our growing oral history material on water. I wish we could 
have had more time to devote to the court cases, but you have 
provided researchers with quite a bit to work with. 

Final Typist: 

Marie Herold 
Marilyn White 


TAPE GUIDE B. Abbott Goldberg 

Date of Interview: May 10, 1979 

tape 1, side A 1 

tape 1, side B 9 

tape 2, side A 17 

tape 2, side B 27 

tape 3, side A 36 

tape 3, side B 44 

tape 4, side A [side B not recorded] 55 


INDEX B. Abbott Goldberg 

acreage limitation, 18-19. See also specific cases dealing with the issue 
Arizona v. California, 30-32, 34-35 

Barry , Frank J . , 21 

Berry, William, Jr., 43 

Boke, Richard, 19 

Bold, Fred, 36 

Brody, Ralph, 38, 48 

Brown, Edmund G., Sr. (Pat), 3, 16, 19, 21, 48 

Burton, Robert, 17, 28 

California State 

Department of Water Resources, 16, 42 

Water Project Authority, 5-6 
California [State] Water Project, 20-23, 30, 43-47, 54 

litigation relating to, 36-42 
Carter, Oliver, 21 

Central Arizona Project, 4-5, 24-25, 28-30. See also Arizona v. California 
Central Valley Project, 2, 5, 14 
Champion, Hale, 48-49 
Corker, Charles. 34 
Cox, Archibald, 28 

Edmonston, A.D., 5 
Ely, Northcutt, 4, 31 
Enersen, Burnham, 4, 49-50 
Engle, Clair, 22 

Feather River Project. See California [State] Water Project 

Fisher, Hugo, 49 

Fowler, John, 40-41 

Frankfurter, Felix, 10-12 

Friant Dam, 3, 24, 51, 53 

Frying Pan Arkansas Project, 35 

Georgia Pacific, 45-47 
Gerlach case, 26-27 
Gleason, Walter, 4 
Goldberg, B. Abbott 

experiences arguing Ivanhoe case before U.S. Supreme Court, 10-12, 14-16 

philosophy of on water issues, 17-19, 30-31 
Green, Denslow, 12 


Hall, Pierson, 25-28, 55, 58 

Harlan, John Marshall, 10 

Hart, Henry, 8-9 

Holsinger, Henry, 5, 6 

Horton, Harry, 4, 6, 11-12, 15, 31 

Imperial Irrigation District, 4, 5, 24 
Ivanhoe Irrigation District v. McCracken, 2-20 

Jones, Benjamin, 6 

Kern County Water Agency, 43-44 
Kronick, Stanley, 3 

Lee, Charles, 55-56 

McPherson, Joseph, 55 

Metropolitan Water District, 30, 40, 43 

Mosk, Stanley, 34-35 

Moskovitz, Adolph, 3, 11, 14-15, 17 

Pacific Southwest Water Plan, 34 

planning and environmental concerns, 52-54, 59 

Pope, Judge , 58 

Price, Francis, 10-11, 14 

Rank v. Krug, 23-30, 55-58 
Rankin, J. Lee, 27, 57 
Reagan, Ronald, 53-54 
Rockwell, Alvin, 4, 12, 16 
Rowe, Claude, 25, 55-57 

San Luis Reservoir Joint Service Contract, 20-23, 42 
Shaw, Arvin, 3, 25, 31-32, 55 
Shenk, JohnW., 13-14 

Stolz, Preble, 11, 40-41 
Straus, Michael (Mike), 5, 19-20 

Towner, Porter, 43 


Udall, Stewart, 21-22 
Veeder, William, 57-58 

Warne, William, 33-34, 48 
Warren, Earl, 6, 10-12 
Weinberger, Caspar, 16, 17 

ECT, 1959-19CO; 

An Interview Conducted by 
Malca Otall in 1980 

Copyright (cj 1981 by tb* Regents of ti*e Qiiversity of California 






Appointment as Special Counsel on Water Problems 1 

First Concepts of the State Water Project 6 

Overcoming Historical North-South Concerns 11 

Moving the Burns-Porter Act Through the Legislature 18 

Acreage Limitation as an Issue 22 

Assistance and Opposition in Passing the Legislation 24 

Appraising the Legislation 31 

Developing the Contracting Principles 34 

Trying to Convince the People 37 

An Historical Perspective on the State Water Project and 

the Vote on the Proposition 40 

The Question of Large Landholdings 46 

The Contract with the Metropolitan Water District 49 

Agriculture and the Pricing Policy 50 


The San Luis Reservoir Contract 56 

Evaluation of the California Water Commission 62 

Negotiating the First Contracts for Westlands, 1963-1965 67 

Congressional Hearings 73 

The Administration Recommends Contract Revisions 76 

The Question of Evasions of the 160-Acre Limitation Law 79 

Relationships 85 

Westlands and the Current Debates in Congress, 1979-1980 91 




By the time Edmund G. (Pat) Brown was inaugurated as governor of 
California on January 5, 1959, Ralph Brody had agreed to a dual appointment 
as deputy director of the Department of Water Resources and as the governor s 
special counsel on water problems. 

Brody was certainly very familiar with land and water issues in the 
United States and California, having been, between 1939 and 1952, on the 
legal staffs of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Bureau 
of Reclamation. While the bureau .s assistant regional counsel in Sacramento 
he had been directly involved in contract negotiations for the Central Valley 
Project. By 1958 he was well established in a private law practice in 
Sacramento specializing in water and power and was also serving as counsel 
to the state senate s Joint Committee on Water Problems. So, when the newly 
elected Governor Brown sought him out and asked him to join his staff to help 
develop policy for the California Water Project, Brody at first refused. 
But, intrigued by the challenge and the opportunity to help resolve the 
divisive water issue which for so many years had had the state embroiled 
in controversy connected with equity in the distribution and financing of 
the planned water system, he agreed to join the governor. 

Two exceptionally challenging years ensued during which, despite 
difficult administrative relationships and a legislature and public polarized 
regarding almost every aspect of the projected water plan, Ralph Brody, 
along with others, managed to pull together many of the guiding principals, 
the unique theoretical framework for building and financing the project, and 
the strategy for getting the Burns-Porter Act through the legislature. That 
bill laid the basis for the distribution of water from Oroville Dam in the 
north to Perris Reservoir in the south. It is also accepted as the founda 
tion for the Peripheral Canal, the Drain, and the eventual development of the 
north coast rivers, about which, some twenty years later, there is controversy 
so reminiscent of that initial struggle for the Feather River Project during 
the 1950s. Although Brody gives credit to many others for the successful 
passage of the water project legislation, he is considered its principal 

Following the seven months of intensive work moving SB1106 through the 
legislature, Brody and others began a year traveling from one end of the 
state to the other. They talked to editors, businessmen, large and small 
landowners, and the average dubious citizen to win their votes for the 
$1.75 billion bond measure, Proposition 1, on the November 1960 ballot. It 
did win of course, by a narrow margin. 


Now, with the building of the project assured, Brody left the governor s 
staff but he remained close to the state water project through his appoint 
ment in 1961 as chairman of the California Water Commission, a position he 
held throughout the Brown administration. 

But he did not return to his law practice. Instead, at the invitation 
of the board of the Westlands Water District, he moved to Fresno to assume 
another major challenge manager and chief counsel of that 350,000-acre 
irrigation district preparing plans to receive water from the San Luis Dam 
and Reservoir, another unit in the federal Central Valley Project. 

Here Brody was again on familiar turf, making contacts with Bureau of 
Reclamation and other Department of Interior personnel, negotiating contracts, 
meeting with congressmen on behalf of appropriations and contract provisions 
for the district. He assisted the state in its lengthy and finally success 
ful efforts in 1961 to insure that in the joint construction of the San Luis 
project, the 160-acre limitation would adhere only in the federal Westlands, 
but not to those lands served by the state project. 

Westlands, however, was a district comprised of many very large land- 
holdings, far in excess- of the 160-acre parcels to which the federally 
subsidized water was to be allotted by terms of the conditions imposed by 
the Reclamation Act of 1902. How these holdings were to be broken up, who 
were to receive the benefits of the land and water were issues which caught 
the district and Ralph Brody in strong cross-currents between vocal proponents 
and opponents of enforcement of the 160-acre limitation inside and outside 
of the Congress, several state and federal administrations, in the courts, 
and among present and would-be farmers in the Westlands district. It has 
proved an enduring subject for scholarly journals and for the print and 
television media. 

In 1977, after sixteen years in the district, Ralph Brody retired, 
ready to defend his record regarding compliance with the acreage limit, 
to argue the case cogently for new approaches to the question of large land- 
holdings and the family farm, and to refuse portrayal, coming from some 
quarters, that he has been a traitor to the principles of the Reclamation 
Act. Today, he is a consultant" to several small water districts in California. 

Mr. Brody and I first met on May 9, 1979 in Sacramento, where he was 
attending a conference on water. Over lunch in the dining room of the 
large motel we discussed my tentative outline for his upcoming interviews. 
Interviewing sessions were delayed until January 23 and 24, 1980. During 
those two days in Fresno we recorded five hours of his well -remembered 
experiences. We worked, following lunch the first afternoon, in the study 
of his home, a crackling fire in the fireplace helping to dispel the cold and 
fog outside. We frequently referred to a folder of background material culled 
from many sources to help pinpoint many difficult to retain facts. Mr. Brody 
met me for breakfast the next morning after which we completed the taping in 
my motel room. Regrettably the noise level prevented my recording our 
conversations concentrated on the water project during our meals. Mr. Brody 
had been thinking a great deal about this past history, hoping to set it down 
as clearly and fully as possible for the benefit of historians. 


By December, 1980 he had completed review of his lightly edited tran 
script and had returned it with addition of a few details and revision of 
some sentences to insure clarity. At that time, and again, in a subsequent 
conversation, he indicated concern that he had left out important historical 
background; that if he had had more time he might have told his story 
differently underemphasizing some details and giving more emphasis to others 
thus providing additional information on the practical, political, and 
emotional factors behind the reasons the California Water Project developed 
as it did. 

Despite this concern, in this forthright review of his activities on 
behalf of the project, his analysis of the California Water Commission, 
and his brief survey of the background of current state and national debates 
centering in Westlands, Ralph Brody has offered a vivid picture of the blending 
of theory, idealism, and pragmatism, and of the years of enjoyment, challenge, 
and frustration which have characterized his career dealing with land and 
water issues in California. 

Malca Chall 

6 May 1981 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 

Room 486 ^ v 

The Bancroft Library 

University of California 

Berkeley, California 94720 

Governmental History Documentation Project Interviewee 
Your full name " < /Q U P H (V\ . K 

Date of birth If - 1- I -~ 

Father s 
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Mother s 

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place of birth \\ \J \ S j -f~j 

full name PE^-K/tT > D&A S^Hx. 

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Employment after leaving state government -- 

[Interview 1: January 23, 1980 ]## 

Appointment as Special Counsel on Water Problems 

Chall: What I want to find out first is how it was that you got into 

Governor Brown s administration in 1959. Where were you when he 
appointed you deputy director of the Department of Water Resources? 

Brody: When Pat Brown was elected in 1959, I was nicely ensconced in the 
practice of law in Sacramento, specializing in water and power law 
and representing a number of counties in Central, Central Coastal, 
and Northern California, and a considerable number of water 
districts as well as private individuals. 

I had become acquainted with Pat Brown a number of years before 
when I was with the Bureau of Reclamation as Assistant Regional 
Counsel in Sacramento. The issue over acreage limitation in the 
so-called Ivanhoe case had arisen, and I worked with him, after 
he had reversed the state s previous position with respect to 
acreage limitation, and its validity under California law, in the 
attorney general s opinion, and later on in the litigation which 
took place. I participated together with others from the Bureau 
of Reclamation, and with Abbott Goldberg, and with Pat Brown. Then 
when he was elected governor, he contacted me on a number of 
occasions (there were three or four different occasions) and asked 
me to join his staff as special counsel on water matters and as 
chief deputy director for the Department of Water Resources. 

// //This symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has begun 
or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 97, 

Brody: Fundamentally the position of deputy director was given to me merely 
for salary purposes. He didn t want to pay me out of the governor s 
office budget if he could avoid it. That was at least the reason 
he gave me for putting me on the staff there. That was the reason 
that I had the title of deputy director. However, my real title 
and function was special counsel to the governor on water problems. 

I originally refused the appointment. I had a nice law practice 
I was happy with and didn t want to leave. The governor is a very 
persuasive man. He convinced me that as a matter of civic duty, 
if nothing else, I might make a sacrifice. Certainly there was no 
advantage to me because I took a considerable cut in income to join 
his staff. I have always been intrigued by challenge and by 
controversy . 

I might add that prior to that time and at that time I was 
serving as counsel to the Senate Joint Committee on Water Problems 
which was comprised principally of those who came to be designated 
as the "river rats." The northern senators predominated on that 
committee. I worked with that committee for several years it was 
not a full-time position while I had my private practice. I resigned 
from that when I joined the governor s staff. 

Of course, at that time he was flush with the victory in his 
election and quite expansive. I remember him saying to me, "Ralph, 
come with me and if we can solve this water problem why I could 
become president and you could become Secretary of the Interior." 
I had no faith in the prospect of either of those eventualities 
occurring and I certainly had no appetite for the bait he held out 
for my own prospects. I do believe, however, that he was convinced 
that his own prospects for political advancement to the White House 
were very good and I must say he was encouraged in that direction 
by others. 

I finally did agree to go with the governor, as I say, because 
I thought there was a job to be done and not for any reward of 
office since I told him then and on later occasions, I just wanted 
to get back to private practice. I felt the challenge was great 
and I had been embroiled in this north-south controversy already. 
I felt that it could be worked out and should be worked out in the 
interest of the state and all the people of the state, so I decided 
to go with him. 

Chall : About when was that, have you any idea? 

Brody: It was right after his election. I took over my duties I think in 
January. Although I did some work before that time. It was rather 
fast. I mean when I say that he contacted me several times, this 

Brody: may have happened over a period of maybe a week or ten days. I m 
not talking about a protracted period of time. It was certainly 
between the date of the election and the date on which he took 

Chall: So you came in at the very beginning of his administration? 

Brody: Yes. Perhaps if I had reflected on it more or over more time I 
would not have done it because I made a number of sacrifices in 
doing it that I wish now perhaps that I had not done. Although 
I m gratified by the way things turned out in terms of the program. 
Another and this is something that I m not sure that I want to 
have in the sealed records. Another element was involved, and it 
has to some extent been gone into in Grody s article.* One of the 
points that was made to me was that the governor did not think that 
Harvey Banks was necessarily the man to head up the department. 
Harvey was described as indecisive and tried to please everybody 
with the result of accomplishing little as a result of it, although 
he was popular. But also he was popular in that as an engineer he 
was a sound engineer and a likeable person. But they did not have 
confidence in his policy making ability, or his willingness to make 
policy, or to develop a program that required firm action. 

What I was told was that they wanted me to direct the policy 
of the department; they wanted me to really head up the department, 
except in engineering matters Harvey was to handle that. They felt 
that public acceptance of Harvey was such that it would be undesir 
able from a political standpoint or strategic standpoint to name 
me as director of water resources. I didn t want that spot anyhow. 
But they did want me, they said, to be the decision maker in other 
than engineering matters. I told them I would not do that unless 
they cleared it with Harvey, that Harvey was my friend and I was 
not interested in getting into something where there would be a 
melee of some kind or to hurt Harvey. 

I was told that it would be done. I m not confident at this point 
of time that it was ever done because things just didn t work out 
completely that way. Harvey was not to blame in this regard. It 
was simply poor administration on the governor s part. A similar 

*Harvey P. Grody, "From North, to South: the Feather River Project 
and Other Legislative Water Struggles in the 1950s," Southern 
California Quarterly, Fall, 1978, p. 296. 

Brody: problem existed with respect to others in other departments. He 
would give nominal authority and then proceed to undercut it. 
Harvey and I never got into any serious wrangling, but then I could 
see where Harvey was going off his own way and there was nothing I 
could do about it really, no matter how I tried. It didn t make 
for the most facile kind of arrangement for the department or of 
getting the job done. 

Chall: Administratively it would have been very difficult. 

Brody: Yes, and I can t blame Harvey for it, but nevertheless I m not 
so sure that that s something that I would care to publicize at 
this particular point of time because it could be embarrassing 
to Harvey, because of the initial attitidue of the governor and 
his top staff toward Harvey. I think, suffice it to say, that 
Grody s statement goes about far enough in that direction. 

Chall: Pat Brown in his interview with me did say that it was very difficult, 
the working arrangement between the two of you Banks and Brody 
and at times he would have to try to smooth the waters and tell 
you both to go ahead and get your work done. "But he did feel that 
it was essential to keep Banks where he was and to have you as his 
advisor. He knew that it wasn t easy but it was essential for him. 

Brody: Well, Brown was right. It was very difficult the working arrange 
ments between the two of us. But had the governor done what he 
originally said he was going to do (tell Harvey that I would have 
a policy role as deputy director) it would have been avoided. I 
did not want to come into the department and try to develop a 
program of this type, feeling that I was going to have to be under 
the supervision of anybody, other than the governor, because that s 
not the way this kind of thing works. You have to be able to deal 
with people and make that decision and feel confident that you can 
go directly to the top man and get an answer, or else feel that 
you could make the decision and be backed up by the top man. More 
than that, you could not have two leaders and have each making 
commitments (some of which might be contrary to each other) . But 
to have to go through someone else I would not have taken the job 
had I felt I had to do that. Although once I was there I would not 
have left if the governor had defined our respective authorities 
and told me I was to have lesser authority. And I probably would 
have stayed on the job, frustrating as it was, to try to work in 
the atmosphere which the poor administrative ability of the governor 
unnecessarily created. 

Chall: So you think it was a matter of the way you were put in rather than 
the fact that you were there that caused the difficulty? 

Brody: No, I think the fact that I was there had I don t know that there 
were necessarily difficulties. I was proceeding on the theory that 
I_ had the responsibility. Harvey was probably proceeding on the 
theory that he had the responsibility. Nobody had ever made it 
clear to Harvey if it was indeed true: that he didn t have it. 
So even for the governor to say now that he had to set it straight 
he didn t set it straight at any point in time, not even on any 
given issue. 

Pat Brown had weaknesses and one of his. weaknesses was that and 
I found this to be a difficult thing to work with when I was with 
him again this is something that I m not sure I willbut he would 
listen to everybody. If somebody wanted to talk to him about the 
water program, he d have them come into his office. He d talk 
to them. He d make commitments to them. But I wouldn t know 
anything about it. Yet he was telling me that it was my respon 
sibility to execute these things or to execute a program and he may be 
saying things to them that were contrary to what I might be working 
on. I believe he did the same with Harvey. It made it extremely 
difficult in that respect. Other people were advising him. He d 
never tell me that he was getting advice from anybody else. I d 
find out indirectly. 

For example, Jim [James] Carr I gather used to see him. One time 
Bill Warne as director of fish and game was giving advice I found 
out. Finally I wrote a memorandum to Bill Warne. I said, "Look, 
Bill" I had known him for many years "if you have any advice to 
give it seems to me it would be appropriate to send it to me before 
it goes into the governor. Let s get together on it; it should come 
to me. The governor has given me this responsibility." It was 
easy for these people to give advice to the governor on isolated 
matters when they had no responsibility for the total program or 

Well, I m not so sure how that worked, but in any event, those 
were the kinds of things that were difficult to cope with under the 
circumstances. But there was to have been there was supposed to 
have been delineation of areas of authority between me and Harvey. 
But it was never done and there was a promise to me to do it and 
I was told that it had been done when I took the job. I would not 
have taken it under the circumstances. There was never any real 
serious friction between me and Harvey. I became irritated and I m 
sure he became irritated at times the way things were going. And 
I may have complained to the governor. But I was complaining not 
because of Harvey but because the governor wasn t doing what had 
been promised, and he interfered with the job. 

Chall : Philosophically, though and I guess we may get into that later 

when we come to the contract and developing the bond issue, or the 
legislation itself were there philosophical differences between 
you or was it just a difference in methods of working? 

Brody: Both. I suppose there were philosophical differences. I can think 
of one area and that s acreage limitation. I was more supportive 
of that in principle than Harvey was. In terms of the contract I 
think, as I look back on it, I may have had the feeling that Harvey 
would make different promises in different areas to people, and 
was anxious to be a good guy. But I m sure that there were other 
philosophical differences. Right at the moment I can^t think of 
any, but I know darn well that there were. 

But what I did finally was to go ahead with the legislation, go 
ahead and do it as if that were my responsibility and nobody else 
had anything to do with it, and if they didn t like it they could 
come to me and ask me about it or talk to me about it, and that s 
about the way it went. 

Chall: You took that over as your area? 

Brody: I was told that that was the primary thing. I saw that as something 
that needed to be done, and I was told that s what had to be done, 
and I was to do that. But I had no confidence in the fact that 
when I was told that, that somebody else wasn t told the same 
thing, because of the way that Harvey s and my situation developed. 
But I just went ahead and did it, and was firm about it, and more 
or less succeeded. 

First Concepts of the State Water Project 

Chall: Now if you came in in early January, can you think back at what 

stage Brown was in his thinking, at that time, with respect to what 
ultimately came out as the water plan, the legislation? 

Brody: When the governor took office, he had no specific plan conceptually 
or anything else. He saw the Feather River Project and he saw that 
what he wanted to do was get water distributed in the state. He 
wanted to see a water program developed. The first thing he did 
was to call me and Harvey and others together. 

Chall: Do you remember whom the others might have been? 

Brody: Well, Fred Button was in on it, I might say in going back to this 
business about the working conditions too. Fred Button, to a large 
extent, I felt, didn t have the background and yet he attempted to 
control all the activity too. I felt that I was in terms of this 
kind of thing, the most knowledgeable person there and that, there 
fore, I shouldn t be interfered with in the way that I was at the time. 
It was difficult, although there was never anything serious about 
it. I used to go to Button, for example, in terms of channels of 
communication about Harvey and me and I would complain about things 
Harvey was doing or not doing. And I am sure he did the same as 
far as what I was doing was concerned. This was the nature of the 
problem the governor had created. They agreed: the staff in the 
governor s office agreed with me, in terms of what was happening 
as far as Harvey was concerned. 

But going back to the governor s concept of the program. There 
was no physical program that he had in mind at that point in time. 
What had actually happened was he got Harvey and me together, and 
I don t recall precisely at this point whether anybody else was 
present or not. I think probably Button was, maybe even Hale 
Champion or somebody like that Charlie Johnson. 

Chall: [William] Gianelli? 

Brody: Gianelli wasn t called in that early. I believe I was the one who 
got Gianelli involved in this, more or less and more active in it. 
Gianelli was the only man in the department I felt I could really 
rely on for assistance. By [saying] "rely on" I meant that I think 
that Gianelli f s thinking went along more with mine in that Gianelli 
didn t feel as bound to Harvey as the rest of the people in the 
department might have felt, that s what I mean by that statement. 

Chall: Some people have said that Gianelli was a very important factor in 

the development of the water plan. Someone has said I think it was 
a Republican that Francis Lindsay and his staff, Mr. Gianelli, and 
other Republicans really had set up the basic thinking on the water 
project, and laid the basis for Proposition I, but that the Bemocrats 
came along and got the credit. 

Brody: Well, Gianelli was pretty far down the line in the department at 
that point of time. No, I can understand people saying that, and 
people did say, at that point in time, that Republican administrations 
in terms of [A.B.] Edmonston, and [Edward] Hyatt, and others, 
and under Warren particularly, had developed a physical plan. The 
Republicans did develop what were the major engineering elements 
of the ultimate program. However, the previous administrations 
had been unable to work out the solutions to the hostilities that 
had existed between the north and the south for more than twenty years 
to the extent necessary to put the engineering plans into effect and 
to provide for the financing of the project. 

Brody: The Feather River Project that was developed earlier. Of course, 
the state water program was something more than that. But that 
project was developed earlier and I have no doubt that Gianelli 
had some major part in the engineering of that, except that he was 
quite far down the line in the hierarchy of things at that point 
even when Brown came to office. Gianelli s big contribution was 
later when he became director of the Department of Water Resources. 

Chall: But did you find him helpful? 

Brody : I found him helpful in getting information for me in detail and 

I ll come to a point later on where you ll see where this occurred. 
But I felt that I could always rely on Gianelli to get information 
for me, to assemble data that I needed. I valued his engineering 
judgments too and other judgments. I think Gianelli had really 
more of a policy kind of a mind than Harvey did. 

I agree with the statement that was made about the Republicans 
having their own state program. I used to tell the story about 
the man trying to sell automobiles. The fellow says, "There are 
three reasons why I won t buy your car." He said, "What are they?" 
He said, "The first is I have no money." The salesman says, "To 
hell with the other two." Well, that s exactly what the situation 
was with the state water program. They had a program. But they 
couldn t find a way to finance it or to put it across and they 
couldn t resolve the issues that existed. Its genesis was there 
previous to the Brown administration and there s no way of denying 

Chall: Okay, then we ll go back and you can tell me about it. I ve inter 
rupted you a couple of times. 

Brody: Then what happened was when he had us there together, we agreed that 
Harvey was to develop a program an engineering program to meet 
the water needs of the state. Harvey came back ultimately with, the 
$4 billion program. Before this we had never gotten into the 
mechanics or anything else. A $4 billion program. And we said, 
"The people will never approve a $4 billion water bond issue." 

His program was for the ultimate needs of the state which was 
beyond the year 2020. So we said, "Look, technologies may change. 
There may be other means of developing water supplies. What we want 
is for you to select the reasonable point of time in the future 
not ultimate and meet the needs as of that particular point in time, 
preferably for a project under $2 billion. But then that is not the 
criteria. The criteria is to select a reasonable point in time and 
come up with a project which will meet the needs as of then." 

Brody: Harvey then came back, and that s how you remember in the statement 
someplace in the material that you have they talk about the fact 
that Brody and Brown told him to come back with a project under 
$2 billion. Well, we didn t tell him that. We told him instead 
of going to the ultimate needs of the state to come back with a 
specific program for funding, for building, which would do what I 
just described a moment ago. 

Harvey came back with a project that was $2.25 billion and that 
would have met the needs as of 1985. Now, that s the same program 
that was adopted. The $2.25 billion took into account all of the 
money that had been spent up to that point in time. If you subtract 
that from the other, you came to $1.75 billion. That s the bond 
issue that was the money that was needed to build the project. 

I guess it had to be after that when legislation was developed 
in the governor s office by Charlie Johnson which I can t remember 
the context of. I don t think it was ever introduced. I m not 
sure, but it was out, and it just created a furor. I can t remember 
what the principal objections were but in any event it was just 
completely unsatisfactory. As I think about it I believe it called 
for a general obligation bond issue which implied that everyone 
in the state would be paying for the project. 

At that time, I was physically located in the Department of Water 

Resources, in the offices with Harvey. I think Johnson prepared the 

first legislative draft; and that sort of surprised me because I 

thought that was going to be my function, to prepare the legislation. 

Chall : How do you explain Johnson? 

Brody: This was further evidence of the problems created by the governor s 
administrative shortcomings in terms of assuming authority and 
responsibility. Johnson was a legislative secretary to the governor 
and whether he was told to do it or whether he did it on his own or 
whatever it may be, I don t know. But in any event, it did create 
quite a reaction. 

Chall: A reaction among whom? 

Brody: Oh, among legislators; among everybody involved. It scared a lot of 
people for some reason, but I can t remember now why. So I was then 
asked to move across the street to the governor s suite of offices 
and start working on the legislation. It was then that I started 
working on the bond legislation. Let s stop and think a while 
here. [tape off a few minutes] 


Brody: I want to go back to when you asked me what the grounds of the 
program were. One of the things he emphasized with me and he 
emphasized this with me when I was- asked to take the job; he 
emphasized it with me all the time thereafter, and I m confident 
that it was a sincere feeling on his part. He felt, and I certainly 
agree, that water was the most vital element necessary for the 
then existing economy of the state, and to sustain it, and to 
develop an economy for the future; that the welfare of the people 
was critically dependent on the water supplies and we were running 
short of water; that people were going to be moving into southern 
California they were moving into southern California and to 
California and you could put signs around the city of Los Angeles 
or southern California and say, "There s not enough water here and 
don t move here," and people would still come in. 

People move and create the need for water. They follow where 
water is. As long as you can turn on that tap and see the water 
coming out, why, people are going to come there and use it. He 
felt this was a very serious problem and one, which, in addition 
to being a serious problem, I think I more than think, I know 
that he felt that if he could resolve it, this could put him well 
on the way to the presidency. 

As I stated earlier, there was an interest in the presidency at 
one point, as you may or may not know. He went back and spoke to 
the National Press Club and made a big hit back there. I know that 
he did feel something along that line. But in any event, he had 
a sincere desire to meet the water needs of the state. 

The number one industry in this state was agriculture. He wanted 
to provide enough water for that. He wanted it because he saw it 
as necessary for the future growth of the state and to meet the 
existing needs within given areas. So that was what prompted his 
strong interest. 

To go back now to the matter of the legislation, the question 
was how you were going to fund these projects. The other thing 
was to take into account the needs and fears of the various areas 
of the state. It may be well by way of background to state here 
most simply that on the one hand, you had the northern part of the 
state, north of San Francisco, where you had two-thirds of the water 
and one-third of the land, and south of San Francisco you had one- 
third of the water and two-thirds of the land. Nature had played a 
trick on California in that respect, both as to the time of occur 
rence and the place of occurrence of water. Precipitation for the 
most part occurs in the winter months and the major need occurs 
in other months of the year. It also occurs in the northern part 
of the state whereas the greatest areas of need are in the central 
and southern parts. 


Overcoming Historical North-South. Concerns 

Brody: At that time, it was estimated there were about 27 million acre-feet 
of water running off to the ocean of northern California. As I 
recall the projections, it was estimated that if you took the most 
favorable projections for northern California as of a hundred years 
thence, they could only use about 12 or 13 million acre-feet of water 
in northern California. Therefore, you had about 14 million acre- 
feet of water which at least was running out to sea, a portion of 
which should be available other factors being equal for use 
elsewhere. So it was conceded by all that there was water available. 

However, northern California was concerned that despite the fact 
there were county-of -origin statutes, despite the fact there were 
watershed protection statutes, despite the legislation which existed, 
that once water went out of northern California to southern California, 
that if the need ever rose in northern California they never would 
be able to pull it back. 


Brody: On the other hand, southern California was fearful that if you built 
a project and southern California committed itself to pay for that 
project, whether there was water in it or not, that northern 
California might, at sometime in the future, pull back their water 
supplies and therefore leave them with the facility for which they 
had to pay but for which there was no water. So that was a curious 
kind of fear that existed because on the one hand you had the north- 
fearful that they would not be able to take the water back and the 
south fearful that they were going to take it back. The question 
was how you could meet those kinds of fears. 

Part of California s fear was also stimulated by the so-called 
Mallon decision which dealt with tidelands oil revenues in Long 
Beach, where the state had made a contract with the city for 
tideland oil revenues and then reneged on the contract. The 
Supreme Court upheld the action; and the MWD and others were afraid 
that if they made contracts with the state that those contracts 
could be changed during the life of the contract. So these were 
the fears we had to combat. 

You had to raise money and the only effective way of raising it 
was through a bond issue or out of the general fund of the treasury. 
We knew that if you raised it out of the general fund of the treasury, 
you would never get a program approved because all of the taxpayers 
would be fearful that they were going to have to pay for it. If it 
came out of general funds, they would be paying for it. It would 
eventually be paid back, but they would be paying for it. 


Brody: As I stated, the alternative to the general fund was a bonding pro 
cedure. Now, if you had general obligation bonds, that meant that 
everybody in the state was liable for it. However, we developed a 
procedure to have a general obligation bond issue, but the project 
would be required to produce revenues to pay the bonds and the revenues 
would be pledged to such payment. Thus, there was very little 
likelihood or possibility of the people of the state as a whole ever 
having to pay on those bonds. 

In any event, the puzzle at that point was how do we develop 
legislation by which we can fund this? How can we assuage the fears 
of the north, assuage the fears of the south, and get the money 
necessary to get the job done? And how do you bring all of these 
divergent interests together? I considered that to be my task and, as 
it turned out to be, it largely was. 

First, the question of how to overcome the Mallon decision. Certainly 
a straight general obligation bond issue would not work because that 
was too fearful a thing for the people of this state to have to consider. 
We poured over the matter and came upon the provision of the state 
constitution whether this was done through discussions with people 
or whether I did it through research in the constitution I don t recall 
at this particular point in time but the thought developed that we 
could use the article of the constitution providing that, when approved 
by a majority vote of the people, a debt (in this instance it would be 
a bond issue) may be authorized by the legislature and incurred in 
excess of the dollar limitation contained in the constitution. That 
meant that you had to have a vote on this $1.75 billion. 

It further stated, in the constitution, that the statute authorizing 
the debt might prescribe the ways and means by which the money was 
going to be arranged to pay off that debt, in principal and interest, 
and that during the existence of the debt, the legislature cannot 
change those. Well, that immediately seemed to me, if we could satisfy 
the people with it, would take away the sting of the Mallon decision. 

So we developed the bond legislation, at least in this aspect, to 
provide that you would authorize a bond issue, which was the debt that 
we re talking about here, that there would be contracts with the water 
users that the revenues from the contracts would be dedicated to the 
payment of the bond and the operation and maintenance of the project 
(the cost of the project). By so doing, you made a contract with the 
water users, you made a contract with the bond holders it wasn t 
expressed but the bond itself was the contract that could not be 
changed during the life of the debt. Ultimately, that satisfied 
southern California insofar as that particular issue was concerned. 

Now the question was how do you solve the problem of the fears of 
the north, that they wouldn t be able to get the water back, and the 
fears of the south that the north might take it back? We were going 


Brody: to use tidelands oil revenues as is well known. We had a bond issue 
for $1.75 billion which was enough to build the facilities of the 
project that would provide the water necessary to be exported, also 
some well, we ll come to that. 

We had also provided some money for some projects in the north, 
which would go to satisfy in t/art the need of the north, to eliminate 
the necessity for pulling back more water. But we also I claim credit 
for this concept we said, "We re using tidelands oil revenues. There s 
$1.75 billion in the bond authorization itself. Therefore, if our cost 
estimates are right, if you use tidelands oil revenues, then you don t 
need all those bonds for these initial facilities. So we ll say that 
to the extent that we use tidelands oil revenues for the construction 
of facilities for the main system, that we ll set aside the bonds to 
be used to construct facilities necessary to meet the needs of the 
north, or to augment supplies of water in the Delta for export." This 
meant that when the time came to exercise the county-of-origin rights, 
you d have money available, either to replace the water in the north 
for water that is being taken out, or to replace the water in the canal 
for what the north was pulling out. 

Chall: That s that so-called offset feature. 

Brody: Yes, set aside or offset. Now, I have had some concern in recent years 
that the emphasis has been placed on augmenting supplies in the Delta 
to go beyond what the legislation intended. Bear in mind, we re 
talking about the 1985 demands in the south. But [today] they talk 
about using (and< I think they have used) some of those set-aside funds, 
not to make up for deficiencies caused by exercise of the county-of- 
origin rights, but rather to go beyond the year 1985 in meeting demands 
to enlarge the yield of the project rather than to meet these 
deficiencies. It wasn t part of the insurance program. 

Chall: Were they offset to build beyond 1985? You say they weren t. 

Brody: I say they weren t intended to when we drafted them. You see, what it 
did say was, and it came along as an afterthought (in effect, this was 
what was intended to be said, whether it was done artfully and success 
fully enough is another question), we said, "You re going to build these 
projects either to augment supplies in the Delta for export or to build 
projects in the north essentially for the purpose of meeting these 
deficiencies created by county-of-origin needs." But there was something 
added in it that said, "If when you do that you have a surplus of water, 
then you can send that out of the Delta in addition to the 1985 demand." 
Do you see what I mean? 

Chall: This may be a figure that you can t pull out, but the 19.85 or thereabout 
demand was going to be for the whole four million acre-feet of water, 
but the whole four million acre-feet of water couldn t come just from 

Chall: from the Feather River Project, could it? It had to come from the areas 
like the Eel River and maybe the Mad, the Van Deuzen, Those are all 
written in that material that you have there. It s not spelled out but 
indicated that we would have to go up there to the north coast and 
get the water. 

Brody: Ultimately, but not as a part of the $1.75 billion. 
Chall: But as a part of the four million acre-feet of water. 

Brody: I could be wrong on that but I don t recall that now because as I 
understood it, the facilities which were being funded here would 
provide the yield necessary to meet the 1985 demand. Now I ve 
forgotten whether it was 2.2 or what. I think it was only 2.2. I 
think the four million was that original $4 billion project. I m 
not positive. I believe the four million acre-feet figure included 
the federal San Luis demand* 

Chall: I ll have to check back then. 

Brody: Now, the four million may have been the ultimate figure which we 

embodied in all the works covered by the Burns-Porter Act. But don t 
forget, only a part of them were funded in the Burns-Porter Act. You 
see, the water resource development system, as distinguished from the 
state water facilities I think that may have been the four million 
the 1985 demand was to be met by the state water facilities which I 
think was 2.2; approximately 1.1 million to go north and 1.1 million 
to go south. 

Chall: I think so, but I ve always been a little unclear (I ll have to go back 
and check the records) as to whether or not the Burns-Porter Act 
envisioned, in setting up the contracts, that ultimately southern 
California and all of the major contractors would be in the system for 
four million acre-feet, and that if we can t build those other projects 
within the next number of years, then the state will be defaulting on 
its contracts. 

Brody: No. I d almost swear to the fact that is not the case. What happened 
was that we wanted to provide the vehicle, first of all, to fund the 
state water facilities which I think yielded only 2.4 or 2.2 (something 
like that), but that we also didn t want to have to go back to the 
legislature for additional authorization only for financing, for the 
facilities necessary to complete the state water development system 
which was broader than the 1985 demand. The state water facilities 
only take care of the 1985 demand; the funding was only for that, and 
to provide the assurances that were necessary in order to get these 
people together. It was not to provide funding to go beyond that 1985 
demand. There was certainly no assurance to give to anybody that there s 
going to be any more water ever to come out of that project on the basis 
of those facilities, on the basis of that funding. 


Brody: As a matter of fact, I was very upset about one thing that did happen. 
Do you remember that shortly before the bond election the Charles T. 
Main Report was completed? It said that they were short of funds by 
about $300 million. This Charles T. Main Report this was the first 
time I had ever seen any reference to it. If you go back and look at 
all those speeches that were made by Schultz, and by Banks, and by me, 
and by the governor, and if you look at the presentations made to the 
committees, they re always talking about 1985 demand. But the Charles T. 
Main Report talked about meeting the 1990 demand. That s the first 
time I or, as I understand it, the governor had ever heard of the 1990 
demand. So I was so incensed by that that I got hold of Bill Gianelli. 

It was obvious that the department had increased that capacity. I 
said, "I want to know the difference in cost between meeting the 1985 
demand and the 1990 demand." I still have in my possession a longhand 
memorandum from Bill Gianelli that said to me that the difference in 
cost was $287 million which is the difference between the Charles T. 
Main Report and our cost figures. Somewhere along the line, the 
department had increased that capacity to meet the 1990 demand. 

Chall: You didn t have enough money for it and it created a lot of fuss? 

Brody: It sure did. Well, I mean they ultimately built it to that, I guess. 
That was one of the problems that existed. 

Chall: Just the casual use of dates and figures? 

Brody: Well, no, it wasn t casual. That was the plan, 1985. 

Chall: Twenty-twenty [the year 2020] was also bruited about for a number of 
years, wasn t it? 

Brody: Twenty-twenty was bruited about until the time that the governor told 

them in two weeks to decide on the 1985 demand. You remember I mentioned 
earlier that the 2020 demand was just too remote. Technologies would 
change maybe, as they did change. 

Chall: Yes, they have. So that took care of the Charles T, Main Report except 
that it would have been difficult for you now to go around explaining 
the difference. 

Brody: That s right, and also I think that it was not the right thing to do, 
particularly without discussing it with the governor. 

Chall: I forget whether it was the Charles T. Main Report that recommended 

that you not build the Oroville Dam [in the first stage of the project]. 
Was that it? 

Brody: Yes. That s another reason why I keep going back again. We talked 

about why the governor was interested, what he thought about the program. 
He was very concerned about flood control up in that area too and that s 
the reason he would never have consented to eliminating or reducing 
capacity at Oroville. 


Chall : You re giving me some background that I haven t read anywhere else. 

You researched and found the way to develop the bond issue was through 
the statute, through a majority vote in the legislature and a majority 
vote of the electorate on the bond issue. This was considered a 
unique approach, something that hadn t been thought of before. 

Brody: In order to meet the objections that were being made. 

Chall: It satsified other needs too, with the South Bay Aqueduct, the North 

Bay Aqueduct. We haven t come to Davis-Grunsky yet but that s part of 
it. The investment fund commitment that s the tidelands oil revenue 

Did you advise the governor to commit himself, in that January 
[January 22, 1959] speech to the legislature and then ultimately again 
and again, that all of the investment fund money would go into water 
resources? He made that commitment in his speeches. 

Brody: Well, that was something evolved. I mean I undoubtedly urged him to 
put it into that speech. The concept grew. I think there was a 
common philosophy there that what you were developing by means of one 
resource should be used to develop another. 

Chall: But ultimately that was not done. Some of that money was put into the 
field of education within a few years. That also changed the funding 
available to put into the offset program. 

Brody: You see, that s another thing. One of the struggles we went through 
in the legislature was that we originally provided unequivocally for 
that to go in there. Then we had to compromise and say, "It goes in 
there unless in a given year the legislature elects to take some of 
it out." 

Chall: I noticed that that was a change. There we are then with most of the 
blocks in place in terms of the legislation, initially. 

Brody: [laughs] This is a thing I wrote here for the Western Water News.* 

Chall: Oh, that s excellent. That s the best thing I have found. It s so 

Brody: I d like to keep this and make a copy of it because I don^t have one. 
I do have a file here. 

*"The Proposed Water Development Program in California," Supplement to 
Western Water News, 11:9, September, 1959, pp. A-D, 


Erody: I think it might be well to go through some of these things in this 
article.* [paraphrasing] The north wanted that the possible effect 
of the Mallon decision would be overridden to protect the water 
contracts; that the bond authorization be a sufficient amount to 
cover the entire sum necessary to complete the Feather River facilities 
notwithstanding the fact that other funds might be available for 
construction purposes for example, tidelands oil revenues. They 
wanted to make sure that if they did not get tidelands oil revenues 
there would be sufficient funds, and that was done. (Although the 
fund was invaded to some extent by Davis-Grunsky . ) [continues to 
read] That facilities for which the bond money is to be spent were 
to be described in the bond legislation which we did do. 

The north wanted that there be no constitutional amendment and 
we didn t have one; that the watershed protection and county-of- 
origin statutes not be modified or changed, and we didn t do that. 
We kept the commitment. [continuing] 

That funds be made available for contruction of projects to serve 
the north and that was Davis-Grunsky and others; and that the 
Feather River facilities and the funds made available therefor should 
not be a single shot deal, and that funds be assured for construction 
of additional water storage to augment supplies of water in the Delta 
for export. Well, that was what I mentioned to you a little while 

Chall : That s right, the offset. Okay, now I guess the next problem you 
had then was to get it through the legislature? 

Brody: Strangely enough, let me say that the greatest influence (.this is 
going to sound sort of fishy coming from me) that the people who 
had the greatest impact on me and the governor at that time in terms 
of meeting the demands of the north because they were the most 
persuasive and the most emphatic were people from this area and 
people who are now in Westlands or were. J.E. O Neill, Russell 
Giffen, and some of these other people were concerned about 
protecting the interests of the north. It was because of them 
that we finally developed the concept of the set-aside funds. 
That s strange. I never could really understand why they had that 
major interest, but they did. I remember J.E. O Neill coming to 
Sacramento and sitting in the governor s office and insisting that 
this be done before we could get support out of the San Joaquin 
Valley, from most people, for the water bond issue. 

*Ralph M. Brody, "Essential Provisions of the Bond Act," in Supplement 
to Western Water News, September 1959, p. A. 


Chall: Is that because it assured them the water 

Brody: No, because they were part of the export area, too. 

Chall: It didn t have anything to do with San Luis? 

Brody: No. Well, San Luis was going to be a part of this but I don t 
think that it gave them any advantage in that regard. No, they 
wanted to see a solution. I think that was probably the reason. 
They wanted the San Luis Project, but they wanted to see a solution. 
They were distrustful of the south and so they were leaning in the 
direction of the north, I guess. That s about the only way I can 
describe it. 

Chall: I guess some of them were afraid the Metropolitan Water District 
would just go off and get the water for itself. 

Brody: Yes, and underlying this whole thing, all the way along as far as 
agricultural communities were concerned, was the fact that they 
felt that in the last analysis you re going to let fields go 
thirsty before you let people go thirsty and if they wanted to take 
the water away, they were going to take it away from agriculture. 

Moving the Burns-Porter Act Through the Legislature 

Chall: At the time that you were developing this, and you had to get that 
bill through the legislature, perhaps we should discuss the reason 
for selecting [Hugh] Burns and [Carley] Porter to help carry that 
act. Whose judgment was that, do you think, and how much weight 
did it have, utilizing them, or their names Burns and Porter in 
getting that through the legislature? 

Brody: It was more than just their names. Carley Porter was chairman of 
the water committee in the assembly. Hugh Burns was presiding 
officer of the senate, plus the fact he was so well thought of 
throughout the state, and he came from an area where it was in 
between. So his name, and his position, and the esteem all those 
things affected that. Porter was active and interested and able. 

I think as I look back on it that Porter particularly was the 
logical man to select. He was chairman of the water committee. If 
he s willing to support this program or he could be persuaded to 
support it, then he s the logical man to have. Burns was not that 
apparent as a possible sponsor. You had to think about it. Porter 
was from the south. You wanted to get somebody north of the 


Brody: Tehachapis. Maybe the preference would have been to get somebody 

even farther north if they could have. But we needed his prestige, 
plus his physical location among other things, and as it turned out 
it was an excellent suggestion. 

Chall: Was he helpful? 

Brody: Yes, Hugh Burns was very helpful, although Hugh Burns left it up to 
the experts and [pause] I think Hugh Burns had confidence in me as 
far as this thing was concerned. I don t know. It s just a feeling 
I have had. Maybe I enlarge my own importance in this thing, magnify 
it in my own mind, but I think that is true to a large extent. I 
think he was influenced in that thinking partly because of 
J.E. O Neill and some of these people who ultimately asked me to 
come down here. I had been working with them in the valley on 
other matters. Well, on this north-south issue one time when I was 
in private practice; they had seen me when I was with the Bureau 
of Reclamation. So I think that that was partly it, too. 

Carley Porter had confidence in me because we had a good personal 
relationship over the years that had developed when he was with the 
committee before I took this assignment. So, I don t know, that s 
the best I can say about that process. 

Chall: Somewhere I had read that Hugh Burns sort of held out on his 
affirmative vote for the bill. 


Chall: You don t know whether he was 

Brody: I don t recall him ever being after any particular substantive pro 
vision of the bill other than those things which would have concerned 
his own constituency here, such as J.E. O Neill and others and they 
got those. That was relatively early on. 

Chall: What kind would they be? 

Brody: Well, I m saying about this business about the offset funds. Don t 

forget also that Burns had more of a relationship and a closeness 

with the so-called "river rats" he was closer to the people in 
the north than he was with southern California. 

Chall: Grody makes a point of the fact that it was a very wise decision 
to go into the senate first with the bill.* Do you recall 
discussions about the strategy? 

*Grody, "From North to South," p. 298. 


Brody: Yes, we felt that there was more strength in the senate. [pause] 
I m trying to remember now. Let me think about that. [further 
pause] No, I think that it was the other way around. I think that 
they felt that if they got it through the senate, there was more 
likelihood of getting it passed in the assembly than it was the 
other way around. So they felt that the main battles would be 
fought out in the senate and then if we could stick to that (which 
we ultimately did) then we had more chance, tactically, of being 

Chall: So that was done by just thinking it through in terms of strategy? 

Brody: Well, I m trying to remember now whether there were two separate 
bills introduced originally, one in the assembly and one in the 
senate, and they were combined in the form of the Burns-Porter Act. 

Chall: I can tell you that. From reading Grody, it would seem as if it 
were just one. 

Brody: I m not sure. I think from his article it sounded like just one; 
but that may be something he didn t catch. I don t know. 

Chall: One of the bills there were a couple that went through the assembly 
while SB1106 was going through the senate was Bruce Allen s bill on 
the use of the tidelands oil money investment fund. But I m sure 
that there was no offset feature in his bill. 

Brody: There wasn t. That was put into the 1106 at the time. 

Chall: So you just used that as a jumping off point then, revising it, 
amending it? 

Brody: Do you mean his bill? 
Chall : Yes . 

Brody: No. His bill dedicated funds to water resource development, as I 
recall. Was that the essence of his bill? You see our bill said 
that with respect to the funds that you use for water resource 
development, you re going to offset bonds. 

Chall: Now, his bill was just called the California Water Fund Bill. 

Brody: Didn t that merely put tidelands oil revenues in this special fund 

for water resource development? It didn t authorize any construction. 
That merely set up the fund as a separate fund in the state treasury 
and was dedicated to water resource development. Now, the water 
bond act said that you must use a special amount of money from that 


Brody: fund and use it for these facilities, and if you use it for these 
facilities then you d have to set aside the bonds to insure the 
availability of funds to build added facilities needed to meet 
county-of-origin needs or deficiencies. 

Chall: And pay it back with interest? 

Brody: As I recall, yes. The Water Bond Act dedicated the funds to these 
particular facilities. They had already been dedicated to water 
resource development. That s as nearly as I can reconstruct it. 

Chall: In the end Bruce Allen did not go along with the act at all. In 
fact, I think he argued against it even during the Proposition I 

Brody: I don t recall now why he did. Partly I think it was political. 

I remember when we went in on the final day of debate in the assembly, 
on every member s desk was a reprint of an article or gossip column 
from one of the papers that said that Brody was out to get Harvey 
Banks job. [chuckles] He had it put on everybody s desk. 

Chall: Who put that on everybody s desk, Bruce Allen? 

Brody: Bruce Allen distributed it, yes. I didn t want Harvey s job and 
certainly Harvey knew it and didn t believe the story. He knew 
how unhappy I was with the way the governor had manipulated us. 
I remember I d be so disgusted, and I d go into Pat Brown s office 
to tell him to take the job and chuck it, and I d walk out. You 
know, Pat Brown was the kind of man and is the kind of man that 
wants to be liked. He s like the kid who wants to be a good boy. 
Not for political reasons, he just wants people to like him. He 
had a way with him in that respect. I remember going into his 
office with that expressed intention of mine, and I d walk out 
without having mentioned it, and feeling guilty for having thought 
about it. 

But the important thing is that I remember he used to say to me, 
"Ralph, what do you want? Do you want a judgeship?" I said, "Look, 
I didn t ask to come with you and I didn t ask for anything when I 
came. All I want is to get back to private practice." But he 
couldn t understand somebody who didn t want something. But I didn t 
want the directorship of the Department of Water Resources or any 
thing else. I wanted to get out of there. I wasn t particularly 
happy anyhow, [laughs] I enjoyed the actual work; I really loved 
it. I shouldn t say that. 

Chall: It must have been challenging. Did you have anything to do with the 
appointment of [William] Warne? 


Brody: To this job? The original appointment, to fish and game, yes, when 
he first came in. I suggested him as or early I can t remember 
what program I forgot when it was. I suggested him as director 
of Water Resources when Brown was considering not reappointing 
Harvey and asked me for names. I suggested Bill Warne as a man that 
would be good on the governor s staff; and he turned out to be so. 

Acreage Limitation as an Issue 

Chall: There were attempts to defeat the bill or revise it by putting in 

the 160-acre limits and various other matters that were successfully 
sidelined. Do you recall working with anyone? Virgil Sullivan 
and those "rats?" 

Brody: Yes, now that you mention Virgil Sullivan. He wanted the federal 
acreage limitations imposed. But you see before that I can t 
remember the chronology in advance but as I recall the San Luis 
Authorization Act came up before the Water Bond Act was passed. At 
the time of the San Luis authorization (bear in mind now that that s 
a partnership act; there s a federal and a state portion of it), at 
that time [George] Ballis and Paul Taylor and all of these people 
were saying, that by virtue of the fact that it was a partnership 
arrangement that the federal acreage limitation was applicable to 
the state service area. 

Well, I just didn t see that from a legal standpoint and I didn t 
think that it should be that way. If there was going to be an 
acreage limitation it should be state-imposed. Because of the fact 
that they are in partnership is no different than if the state had 
built its own project and the federal government had built its own 
project. The federal government had no more right to tell the 
state that it had to have acreage limitation than the state had 
the right to tell the federal government that it should not have. 

Secondly, the original basis was and this partly goes back to 
my philosophy about limitation there was supposed to be no subsidy 
in the state project. There being no subsidy and no interest-free 
money I didn t see the justification for acreage limitation in the 
state project. But in any event, certainly federal limitations should 
not apply. So we fought that out in the Congress. As a matter of 
fact, there s a letter in the transcript of the hearing in the 
San Luis authorization from Governor Brown to the chairman of the 
House committee, saying, "I intend after the project is authorized, 


Brody: to develop and present to the legislature legislation which would 
prevent unjust enrichment and limit farm size." This was never 
done, not even by his son who used to spout off about this a lot. 

But at the time we were discussing it originally, I had no 
concept there was any subsidy involved in the state project. When 
it came time to debate this thing, I was strongly of the view that 
there was no justification for acreage limitation as long as there 
was no subsidy in this bill. Afterwards it developed that and I m 
not sure but what the legislation of Virgil Sullivan we are 
talking about was not subsequent to the passage of the bill. They 
wanted a special bill on it. I m not sure of this. But in any 
event, when this topic did come up, it was pointed out that in 
the early years of the project, rates for water would be reduced by 
virtue of the fact that there would be a sale of power which could 
be used for that purpose. So it was at that point I said, "If that s 
the case, then we should have a surcharge, either an acreage limi 
tation or a surcharge, so that the excess landowner would have to 
pay the full cost of water if he wanted it for his excess land." 
That was made a part of the contracting principles and that was 
a part of the contract. 

Chall: Yes, that couple of dollars. 

Brody: Two or three dollars which represented the value of the power, at 
least I was told by Harvey that s the way they computed it as to 
what that value was. So it was on that basis that we imposed that 
surcharge. That was only supposed to be for a couple of years but 
I understand it s been continuing and I don t know whether they re 
enforcing that or not. 

Chall: I don t know. There really isn t much electricity. It s being 
used to send the water over the Tehachapis, I believe. So I m 
not sure that even exists anymore. I don t think that it was ever 

Brody: It was not ever expected to be a permanent subsidy, no. Oh, no. It 
was just in the early years. But you see today, if you look at it 
though, if the present Governor Brown thinks that acreage limitation 
Cas he says he did) , is something that is good for the country, 
and it s good to break up large landholdings there are many more 
large landholdings, and the real conglomerates, in the state service 
area, not in the federal service area. There are no conglomerates 
in Westlands. The conglomerates are down south Tenneco and the 
others. But if he believes in that as a matter of principle, 
maybe he ought to be suggesting programs to the legislature to 
encourage the breaking up of large holdings. You don t have to do 
it through interest-free money. It it s desirable to break up the 


Brody: large landholdings , if he believes in the principle of small farms, 
then he should be entertaining programs in his own state service 
area before he starts complaining about the federal service area. 

But it s strange to me (this is an aside), that since he got 
on the campaign trail, there s been legislation pending in 
Washington to change acreage limitation, and despite the fact that 
the governor took all the trouble to come down to Fresno to testify 
on federal acreage limitation when Westlands was being attacked a 
couple of years ago, despite the fact that he felt it was important 
enough for him to come down here, personally, and testify, not a 
word has come from him in terms of what changes should be made in 
acreage limitation; not one word has been said as to whether what 
was being suggested was good, bad, or indifferent, or whether 
anything should be done at all. Now, if this weren t another one 
of his changes in position, which he should also indicate if it 
is, then he should be back to testify, or somebody from his office 
should be, and making suggestions. But that s the hypocrisy that 
you see there. 

Assistance and Opposition in Passing the Legislation 

Chall : I m picking up information from other sources; I wonder if you 

remember whether other members of the senate gave you assistance 
during the passage of this act? 

Brody: Oh, I m sure there were. 

Chall: Do you remember [Joseph] Rattigan, [Albert] Rodda 

Brody: Rattigan did. No, Rodda was 

Chall: He was new. 

Brody: I think he was trying to decide which way to go. But Rattigan 
did. Who was the guy that ultimately became a judge in the far 
northern part of the state? [pauses to recall] The far northern 
county did he come from Eureka? I think it was [Carl L.] 
Chris tens en. 

Chall: Oh, way up there. Well, I can find that out in one of the legisla 
tive handbooks. Another one who helped in the senate at that time? 


Brody: Yes, and then ultimately Luther Gibson helped. But I m trying to 
think of the guy in the north who switched positions. There were 
two senators 

Chall: [Eugene] McAteer, was he 

Brody: No, there s an interesting event which occurred with respect to 
McAteer. We touched on it in Grody s article, but [he] didn t 
tell the complete story. What happened was, McAteer was originally 
leaning in the direction of the "river rats." If you remember, 
they locked in the senate; maybe they weren t locked in at this 
particular point in time; ultimately they did. 

Chall: Over this bill? 

Brody: Yes, I think so. As I remember, that s what happened. 

Chall: Oh, really? I know it took a couple of days 

Brody: In any event, the governor wanted to get McAteer s vote so he called 
me on the telephone. I was on the senate floor. He called me on 
the telephone and he said, "I want you to get Gene to come up to 
my office." I got hold of McAteer and he said he couldn t leave 
the floor at that time. So the governor said, "Get him on the 
telephone. We need that vote." So I went to McAteer and I said, 
"The governor wants to talk to you on phone." McAteer said, 
"I m busy at this time." I said, "The governor is on the phone." 
I grabbed him by the arm and I virtually pulled him up to the 
telephone! The governor starts talking to him. They were very 
close personal friends, as well as Gene owed a lot to the governor. 
Finally, in that conversation he committed himself. But I almost 
had to drag McAteer up to the telephone to get him to talk to the 
governor because he didn t want to be confronted. [laughter] 

I m trying to think who was in the senate at that time. I don t 
know when Ed Regan switched over as he did. 

Chall: Was he opposed most of the time? 
Brody: Yes, but I think that he 
Chall: Switched? 

Brody: Let s see, coming down the line, [Edward C.] Johnson of Marysville 
gave quite a bit of help. [pause] Of course, in the south Hugo 
Fisher. It s difficult for me to remember now. 

Chall: That s all right. What about J. Howard Williams? 


Brody: I can t remember much, about Howard on this thing, 
Chall: He was the head of 

Brody: Water committee, yes, and I knew Howard pretty well. I think 

Howard went along mostly with Hugh Burns. But don t forget that 
while he was chairman, George Miller and some of these others 
dominated that group. Ed Regan was vice chairman, wasn t he? 
But before the senate vote on this thing before the senate commit 
tee vote we bargained with George Miller and finally got his well, 
we supported finally his Delta protection statute and he then was 
going to interpose no objection to the Water Bond Act. But after 
he got his water bond legislation, he double crossed us on the thing 
and continued to oppose. 

Chall: What was his legislation? It wasn t in the bond act, was it? 

Brody: No, no it was a separate bill. It was called Delta protection 

Chall: Was he a difficult person to work with? 

Brody: George Miller was a bright man and when you dealt with him on an 

individual basis, you could deal with him. You get him in a forum 
and he was blustery and bullying, somewhat demogogic. I had always 
got along with him. 

One of the reasons that I think that the governor hired me and 
I think one of the reasons that I have been reasonably successful 
on controversial issues is that I can be firm about what I want, 
but I can understand and respect the other party. Don t forget 
that when I was with the Bureau of Reclamation, the issues were just 
as great then on other subjects for example, the Army Corps of 
Engineers versus the bureau, the flood control issue, acreage 
limitation a number of items were just as volatile at that time. 

When I first came to California I started negotiations with the 
Contra Costa County Water District. I remember that after the first 
couple of meetings I got word from Washington that the commissioner 
of reclamation had been called by counsel for the Contra Costa 
County Water District who said he had been instructed by the board 
of directors there to call the commissioner and say that he wanted 
to compliment the commissioner on Ralph Brody because he had smoothed 
over what had been theretofore, for a period of years, a highly 
difficult situation. I ve always had the ability until very recently, 
I m afraid! [chuckles] to work with people, to disagree with people, 
and at the same time be able to have their respect and they knew how 
I worked. 


Brody: I ve always followed my own maxim in terms of negotiating with people 
and dealing with people in controversy that I would always say what 
I would have to have. I would say that I have to have this and I d 
point out the disadvantages to the other side. But I would put the 
complete picture on the table. I think I gained respect of other 
people by doing that. They knew that I wasn t asking for more in 
order to get something less. They knew that I understood what their 
position was and what their interests were, and I would ask only for 
what I had to have. I ve been able to resolve controversy in 
practically every place I ve been by doing that kind of thing, by 
being firm, and just being respectful, and regarding the position 
of the other party. I think that s another reason why Brown wanted 
me on this job. 

Chall: When you were working in the senate and again in the assembly and 
allowed to sit on the floor with Harvey Banks the two of you can 
you describe that kind of a scene? How did you get there? How 
did you get the privilege? 

Brody: It requires special consent. But first it occurred in the senate 

and since Hugh Burns was presiding officer of the senate, we didn t 
have any difficulty getting it. Since he had set the pattern, it 
wasn t difficult to do over there in the assembly. But the pattern 
was that they were introducing these amendments, or they were 
presenting these amendments for introduction. We d have to look 
over these amendments and look up at Burns and say yes or no. You 
had to decide right on We knew what these guys were aiming at. 
We knew that most of these amendments were intended to be destructive. 
So it wasn t as difficult as it might sound. We knew we had to have 
essentially what we we had made a deal with the north and the south. 
We knew what we had to have in order to make this thing work if it 
were going to work at all. We couldn t afford to yield up on a lot 
of these points. 

Chall: You had your votes counted anyway? 

Brody: Yes, but there were a lot of holdouts and undecideds. 

Chall: You never were sure? 

Brody: We never were sure. 

Chall: It was close, of course. 

Brody: It was very close. We felt that we were reaching a point where a 
lot of them couldn t afford to go against their own constituency. 
That s where the partisanship had to disappear because this was a 
very important issue for the people in the south. They couldn t 
afford to have partisan politics. 


Brody: One of the strongest people, and one for whom I have the greatest 
respect and admiration, and a man who ultimately lost out as a 
result of it on a partisanship basis, was Norrie [Norris] Poulson, 
the mayor of Los Angeles. The man was a tremendous help. I don t 
think we would have gotten the south or gotten the Metropolitan 
Water District without him. Yet the Republicans were so sore at 
him after the thing passed that they virtually ran him out of the 

Chall: Is that right? 

Brody: That was one of the most harsh things oh, yes. When he was in 
Congress I had no regard for Poulson at all. But over the years 
he developed, he changed. I came to be very, very fond of him. 
He was on the water commission with me after that. I don t know 
whether he s still alive. I feel badly that I haven t been in 
touch with him. But there s a man that really believed that this 
was good for the state and good for his area. He fought for it 
despite the fact it was an unpopular issue when he undertook it. 

Chall: Yes, I guess it was in Grody that I read that Brown had credited 

Brody: Oh, he deserves tremendous credit. I think that he was as 

instrumental in getting this thing through as the governor was. 

Chall: That s the legislation and Proposition 1? 

Brody: Yes, yes. Because, you see, he was the only person in the south 

that would stand up to Joe Jensen. He threatened to fire Joe Jensen. 
He had the power to do it. 

Chall: Oh, really? 

Brody: Yes. 

Chall: [laughs] I didn t know anybody could do that. That s interesting. 

Brody: I think Joe Jensen may have challenged him to do it but 

Chall: But it could have been done? 

Brody: You researched it and hadn t found that? 

Chall: Let me check and see what else I ve got here. [pause] We talked 
about George Miller, who was one of your opponents in the senate. 
What about Pauline Davis, who never came around in support of the 
bill, although the Davis-Grunsky Act was a significant part of 


Brody: You see, Pauline Davis and to some extent Randy [Randolph] Collier 
were interested in two things, small projects that were needed then 
in the north Well, let s start in a little different fashion here. 
My basic belief is that the "river rats" so-called were really not 
that worried about the program. They were much like, I think, 
Senator [Henry] Scoop Jackson is about exporting water out to the 
northwest. That to a politician, unless he can point to some 
specific benefit to be gained on a particular piece of legislation 
for his own area by specific benefit I mean that if it means 
taking something out of their area, unless it gives them a specific 
benefit the only thing they can do in terms of getting some political 
gain on this thing is to oppose it and say we re protecting the 
interest of our area here. 

So I have a feeling that a lot of the objections that were raised 
were raised simply because they wanted to show what they were doing 
for their own area. If they said, "Well, we f re going to approve 
this. I can take this water here without raising any fuss, without 
trying to get something out of it for us, then people are going to 
think we re not doing a job for them." 

Chall: But even when he did get George Miller when he did get his bill, 
the Delta Protection Act, it still didn t 

Brody: I m saying that the mere act of opposing and fighting is a benefit 
to the politician as such, not necessarily to his area but to him. 
I think a lot of that influenced I think that influenced George 
Miller a lot and I think it may have influenced a lot of others. 
But there were also those who felt that there were tangible gains to 
be developed too and I think that Randy Collier and that Pauline 
Davis were two of them. She, as you probably know, was a darn good 
fighter and she really represented her area. So she wanted the small 
projects to be assured, and to get funding for them, and in addition 
she was attracted by the idea of the kind of protection that we gave 
in the set-aside funds. So with that in mind then came the Davis- 
Grunsky Act. Well, we set aside the money in the bond act and the 
Davis-Grunsky Act was one that provided the execution of the program. 

Chall: Do you have any recollection of how the whole concept of Davis-Grunsky 
came? Was that historically just in the wind? 

Brody: No, I think it developed. Well, there were two things. One is 
obviously you needed to get some more support out of the north 
which essentially had to provide the funds necessary for this thing. 
The second thing is that it was recognized that at the same time 
water was necessary in the south, water was also necessary in the 
north, and in the San Joaquin Valley, and that the multi-purpose 
projects we were putting in through export were not necessarily 


Brody: those which would I mean you needed other kinds of local projects, 
higher up or wherever it may be, to provide the water for the areas 
in the north, the county of origin. So it was a necessary step in 
the logical water resource development program to do that. 

Now, whether all of the projects which ultimately came out as a 
result of Davis-Grunsky the funds which were set aside for Davis- 
Grunsky what was it, $50 million? 

Chall: It was $130 million. 

Brody: These were largely thought of as to be those necessary to meet the 
needs of the north. As I remember it now, a bulk of those funds 
went to a lot of projects outside the north. I was always disap 
pointed that so much of the money was spent outside of the northern 
part of the state. 

Chall: Well, there it was; the money could be taken advantage of for 

specific kinds of projects. I don t know that it defined it as 
the north s. 

Brody: No, it didn t but that was the purpose. As a matter of fact, I 

couldn t at the time conceive of small projects any place else. I 
thought that was the only place we could spend the money. For 
example, they used it to construct distribution systems, as I recall, 
and even for distribution systems for federal water in some areas. 
I m not sure, but I think so. Well, to me that violates the 
purpose of the provision. Somebody is at the door. {tape inter 

I think it would be important to go back and do a history of 
major water resource development in this state since the thirties, 
since the Depression, or during the Depression, because there is 
so much to be told in terms of that and it is important. 

Chall: Well, our office has been in existence since 1954. They have been 
doing interviews on state water for many years and I think some of 
them go back into the period of the thirties . 

Brody: But that overlooks the fact that water resource development was not 
considered astate function, it was viewed as a federal function. 
I think one of the reasons why we re getting poor legislation, for 
what people think of as corrective legislation, is the fact that 
people don t know what actually transpired, what went into the 
original basis of these things. This is why I think only a small 
number of us are the last of the people who are familiar with what 
happened in the development of the contracts. I developed all of the 
contracts in the Central Valley Project, or most of the initial ones, 
on the east side. The whole concept of how they contracted was 
largely mine there also . 


Brody: So much phony stuff can come out and of course be history too, 

because people who go back and try to reconstruct I don t say they 
do it deliberately but I think they try to reconstruct and they 
develop what they think history should have been or history as they 
interpret it. 

Chall: This certainly should be a concern of historians and legislators 
to understand the roots of water legislation, and get it down 
accurately. Maybe you should try to do that. 

Appraising the Legislation 

Chall: If you have anything more to say on the legislation, we can do that 
now, if something comes to mind. Otherwise, we might move on. 

Brody: I m trying to think of something else that might be said about the 
legislation. [pause] I was about to praise the legislation. But 
I think conceptually and mechanically the legislation turned out to 
be ideal for the situation and for what was wanted to be done and 
what could be done. I don t know of any better vehicle that would 
have been developed to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish. I 
think it still is good for the purpose. [pause] 

There was one thing that was lacking, now that I think about it. 
One of the things that always troubled me was you see, when I first 
undertook this, when I was thinking about this in my mind before 
Johnson even got his bill drafted I was thinking that maybe we 
ought to draft a body like reclamation law, a body of law to cover 
this thing. I felt that we ought to have a statute governing the 
contract, the method of contracting, the policy envisioned, instead 
of a broad policy for the state, how the program should be executed 
whether they were going to have acreage limitation or not many 
other facets of the thing in terms of power and public preference 
and all these other things. Well, it didn t come out that way. 


Brody: If you go back in the history of the Bureau of Reclamation, at one 
time, despite the fact that the reclamation law was enacted with a 
highly noble purpose, ultimately it became, in the early years of the 
program, something that was really an engineer s plaything, in that 
dams were being built and projects were being built more with the 
idea that, well, these were monuments to the engineering profession. 
It wasn t a question of what they would do for people. I felt that 
you needed these other things in the law in order to say what you 


Brody: want to accomplish in terms of public good and public benefit, and 
not to be merely a vehicle for putting a lot of steel and concrete 
together. This is what I had had in mind originally. 

Out of necessity it didn t turn out that way the time element 
and everything else. Fundamentally what happened was that we had 
gotten the mechanics for getting the thing built there. We settled 
some policy questions, but not many, with the result that when it 
came time for the contract, we ran into a barrage of problems. 

Chall : Of course, that was one of the great criticisms among the criticisms 
that you were handing the governor and the state a blank check and 
that no policies had been set. I guess that did prove to be diffi 
cult; I suppose it would have been just as difficult to get any 
policy matters through the legislature. 

Brody: Yes. As I look back on it now, I don t think we would have succeeded 
if we had done that because we would have been fighting over policies 
still. You know, one of the things that Pat Brown used to say in his 
speeches [laughs] one of his typical Brownisms was that it s 
better to have problems with water than problems without water. Well, 
I put that in one of his original speeches and he liked it. 

Chall : That s a great slogan. How about his speeches? Of course, we have 
the copy of the one to the legislature. I think it was about 
January 20, at the beginning of his term, when he really outlined 
the major ideas of this water legislation that was coming through. 
Is that something that you worked on? 

Brody: Yes. 

Chall: So that really developed the whole plan. You had it in mind by that 

Brody: I had a_ plan in mind by it was still pretty general. 
Chall: It was general but it was coming to a head. 

Brody: Yes, we were actually talking more about principle there than we did 
in the legislation itself. 

Chall: That s why I was concerned about when you came in, just so that I could 
see how his thinking had developed. Now, in terms of the bill 
itself, Pat Brown told me that when the Burns-Porter Act passed the 
senate, there were some imperfections in the bill that were dis 
covered later. I asked him what kind and he said he couldn t remember 
what they were "maybe Ralph or Abbott [Goldberg] would remember." 
He couldn t remember whether they were legal or technical imperfections; 


Chall : but they were, he said, in the act itself. There were some things, 
he said, that you all would have liked to have cleared up but when 
it went over to the assembly, you passed it intact; you didn t want 
to change one syllable in it. 

Brody: I have a vague recollection of that but I don t remember specifically 
what they were. 

Chall: He said also that he jammed this bill through with all the power of 
a governor with a million vote plurality "I just gave it everything 
I had." So I guess you all felt the need to get that thing through. 

Brody: We knew that if we did not get it early on we wouldn t get it. 

Chall: Still, it took a lot of time and a lot of maneuvering from when it 
first went in until July, I guess, when it was finally signed. 

Brody: Yes. We were working day and night on it. But I don t recall Abbott 
as having much of a part to play in this thing at that point. 

Chall: No, I don t think he did, but I think that Governor Brown just 

probably felt maybe he would remember something. I don t know why. 

Brody: I can t remember what the technical 

Chall: Right before the bill was signed, and immediately after, there 

appeared articles in the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Democrat, 
and there were statements by Bruce Allen, Samuel B. Morris, and 
others on various aspects of the bill, indicating concern that the 
bill left out policy questions, particularly in the matter of pricing 
and rates. I ll let you see the article by Morris.* 

Brody: [pauses to read the article] Well, what h.e was talking about was 

something that was always the intention, that was always the assurance 
that had been made, that is that taxpayers in the state as a whole 
were not going to be expected to pay any cost of the project. 

Now, Sam Morris is one of the most supportive of the group there. 
But southern California was always maybe it was because they couldn t 
be trusted, that they didn t trust anybody else. But they always 

*Samuel B. Morris, "Comments on the California Water Plan: Financing 
and Repayments of State Water Projects," Western Water News, 11:9, 
September 1959, p. 3. 


Brody: wanted to have things in writing. For the state to declare something 
as a matter of policy wasn t enough for them. So they wanted an 
official declaration that each area would be paying its own share 
of the cost plus interest. They were afraid they would be asked to 
subsidize the agricultural areas. To some extent, some thought 
was given to that at one time but it never prevailed. As the out 
growth of comments like See, the Met was yelling for a formal 
contract before the election. We said, "That s not possible; you 
can t work that out." So finally we agreed that we d issue a set 
of contracting principles to cover the kinds of things like Sam 
Morris was raising and others. 

Then the problem was, internally, getting that thing out. If my 
memory serves me correctly, I finally drafted them myself and sent 
them over to the department and said, "Look, this is what they re 
going to be unless you can show some reasons for change." 

Developing the Contracting Principles 

Chall: The contracting principles? 

Brody: I think that was what it was. I don t know what else it could have 
been. I remember this event. I got it back and there was nothing, 
no change, so we issued them as they stood. Do you have a set of 

Chall: I ll tell you what I have in terms of contracting principles, 
[tape interruption] We re talking now about Skinner s * 

Brody: No, I m talking now about the contracting principles. Southern 

California wanted to know the principles on which contracts would be 
executed. They really wanted a formal contract but that was not 
possible because we said we d have to have a framework, we couldn t 
commit ourselves to everything that was going into a contract. But 
we did agree to provide a set of contracting principles, those major 
items which would govern what went into the contract. As I say, 
we tried for some time to get it out of the department, unsuccessfully, 
So I finally undertook to draft something and send it to the 

*Robert A. Skinner, "First Contracts for Feather River Water Become 
Effective: A Summary of the State Service Contracts," Western Water 
News, 13:10, October 1961, pp. 1-3. 


Brody: department and said, "What changes to you want to make?", and they 
came back and I don t think there was any other than maybe a minor 
rhetorical change. So we went ahead. 

Now, about that same time the governor was going to go on the air 
and make a speech about this very matter and finally, I think we 
got the response, or finally we got these drafted, the night before 
he was supposed to make the speech. We sat up all night working on 
the speech for him to give on television the next day. I don t 
have for you the content of those principles but I would suggest 
that you d want to get them or the speech that the governor made. 

Chall : You think that was very close to the time of the election? 

Brody: Oh, yes. 

Chall: Well, I m sure that I haven t seen them. 

Brody: Is there nothing in that file I gave back to you? 

Chall: [goes through papers] I don t think this is it, but again I think 
this is a prototype contract. I ll check that out, I think that s 
different. There may be something here. 

Brody: Harvey should have a copy of that. 

Chall: I m sure that I can get it out of archives. 

Brody: I think it s important that you do. The Met wasn t entirely happy 
with that, but it placated them to a large extent so that I think 
that finally we got the vote out of the board of directors to 
support the project. 

Chall : Did I give you a copy of this from Aqueduct on how the Met finally 
came around to accepting this contract? They claimed it took ten 
months before they got [pause]* 

Brody: I guess they did sign a contract before the election? 
Chall: Yes. 

*Fiftieth Anniversary: Metropolitan Water District," Aqueduct, 46:1, 
pp. 58-64. 


Brody: I had forgotten about that. Well, then when did we get out the 
contracting principles? 

Chall: Here is a speech that Governor Brown made on the radio and television 
January 20, 1960. That would be just about the beginning of the 
campaign and I have copied pages four to six, which I think are 
the primary statements regarding the water project. 


Chall: Here he is discussing the question of unjust enrichment and the 
power price differential. And he goes on to say, "Tomorrow, 
therefore, I shall release in Sacramento a detailed statement of 
contract principles recommended by the Department of Water Resources 
and approved by me." 

Brody: [reads] "The statement will cover such basic matters as assurances 
of continuing supplies of water to all contracting agencies, water 
rate estimates, and a number of other provisions. The people of 
the state of California will then have a comprehensive picture of 
what we are going to ask them to approve in November. I shall 
therefore not call a special session of the legislature on the water 
program. " So it was issued on 

Chall: January 21, then. That s January 20. 

Brody: I think this is the speech we sat up all night to write. 

Chall: When you say "we," who were the we? 

Brody: Fred Dutton, Hale Champion, and myself. 

Chall: And Brown? 

Brody: No. [laughter] Brown never did get much into the details of the 

legislation. I am not certain how much of it he knows to this day. 
He knew he wanted a program and would use all of his political power 
to get it, but I don t think he ever really knew more than a general 
knowledge of the physical and financial problems involved and 
certainly very little about how to solve them. He did know it would 
take political power to get any program through and he was prepared 
to and did use it, and successfully. As for the development of the 
program itself, this occurred more in spite of rather than because 
of him as an administrator. 

Chall: Now, in this 1960 Metropolitan Water District prototype contract, 
that s not the principles?* 

*Skinner, "A Summary of State Service Contracts." 


401 Public Woi ks Bldg., Sacramento 
January 21, I960 

These principles will establish the framework and terms 
under which the state will negotiate water delivery contracts 
with local agencies. Obviously minor derails of contracts which 
may be peculiar to. given districts cannot be included in these 
principles . 

The policy to be established on power marketing and acreage 
limitation is included in a single statement of principle. Because 
of the fact that the pro.ject, under full operation, will consume 
more power than it will produce, power will be sold at market 
value in order tc reduce the cost of water. The value of the power 
will be determined by the difference between the actual cost cf 
producing it and what it will bring on the open market. 

This value, estimated at between two and three dollars per 
acre-foot, will be applied to reduce the cost of water for all 


purposes, agricultural, municipal and industrial, except for use on 
land in excess cf loO acres (320 acres in the case of community 
property). Water will be furnished to lands in excess of 160 acres 
but the price will be the cost of delivering the water, including 
pricing of necessary power at its market value. 

All water in and above the Delta will be sold at the same 
price, which will reflect the capital costs and operation and 
maintenance costs of works constructed in and north of the Delta. 
Water exported frcm the Delta will reflect the Delta price plus 
each area s proportionate share of capital costs and operation and 
maintenance costs of transportation facilities (aqueducts, pumping 
plants, etc. ) 

In the event of a shortage the water supply will be 

prorated among all export contractors. 

Provision is made for the accumulation of funds to finance 
additional storage facilities to insure a continuity of supply of 
water for local needs and for export from the Delta in the event 
area of origin statutes are exercised and to provide for increased 
demands . 

The State Department of Water Resources will proceed 
immediately to negotiate water delivery contracts, based upon these 
principles, with local agencies. Local agencies will be required 
to sign contracts guaranteeing recovery by the state of at least 
75 per cent of the cost of transportation facilities necessary to 
furnish water to them before construction financed wholly cr partly 
from sale of bonds will be initiated. 

The State will make every effort to encourage the 
formation of comprehensive contracting agencies in order to insure 

that project benefits are spread as widely as possible and also in 
the interest of guaranteeing a sound market for project water. 




FOR 36c 




January 20., I960 

1. Cost allocations shall be on the separable costs- 
remaining benefits basis for multipurpose facilities and on a 
proportionate use basis by areas for water transportation 

2. For purposes of project commodity pricing, costs 
will be allocated among water supply, flood control, recreation, 
enhancement of fish and wildlife, drainage, quality control, and 
such other functions as may be axithorized and performed by the 
particular facility or facilities under consideration. 

3. Rates for water and power and for other reimbursable 
items will be established so as to return to the State all costs 
of project operation, maintenance and replacement, all principal 
and interest on (l) bonds, (2) expenditures from the California 
V/ater Fund, and (3) other monies used in the construction of the 
project works. Those costs declared by the Legislature to be non 
reimbursable and the federal contributions for flood control and 
for other items will not be included in the rate structure. 

4. The project will require more power for pumping 
purposes than it will produce. Power required in the operation 
of the project must be paid for by the water users whether it is 
obtained from project or non-project sources. Therefore, the 
costs of the project facilities producing the power is properly a 
cost of water supply and in the project cost allocation no 
separate allocation of the capital costs of power facilities will 


be made. The capital cost of power will be included in the costs 

allocated to water supply. The difference between the actual cost 
of power, that is, the amount necessary to repay the capital and 
operation and maintenance costs of the power facilities, and the 
market value of the power provides an economic benefit. A cost 
allocation study will be made with reference to power facilities 
for the purpose of determining the economic benefit to be derived 
from the use of project power for project purposes. 

In addition, to the extent that from time to time any 
power is available for sale, it will be sold at its market value. 
Preference will be given to public agencies in such sale as. 
required under existing lav;. The difference between the actual 
cost and the market value of such power will result in income 
to reduce project costs. This added income (power credit) will 
be applied, and the computed economic benefit will be made avail 
able, to reduce the cost of project water except for water used 
on land in single ownership ^n excess of 160 acres (320 acres in 
the case of community property) . 

5. Under the Delta Pooling Concept, there will be a 
single price for state project water at the Delta and for state 
project service areas above the Delta which will be referred tc 
as the Delta Water Rate. The Delta Water Rate will consist of 
an annual (l) capital cost component, (2) necessary minimum opera 
tion, maintenance and replacement component; and (3) an operation 
and maintenance component which will vary with the amounts of 
water furnished. 


The Delta Water Rate will be based on the cost of con 
struction and the cost of operation, maintenance and replacement 
of these conservation facilities allocated to water supply up 
stream from and within the Delta, The capital cost component 
and the minimum maintenance and replacement component will be 
collected irrespective of the amount of water furnished. The 
operation and maintenance component will be collected from the 
contractors receiving water jn proportion to the amount of water 
furnished. Increases and decreases in the capital cost component 
of the Delta Water Rate will be made from time to time to reflect 
the then outstanding unpaid reimbursable cost incurred in the con 
struction of facilities necessary to make water available at the 

6. Those contracting for water from a project aqueduct 
will pay, in addition to the Delta Water Rate, a charge herein 
referred to as the "Transportation Rate." The Transportation 
Rate will consist of an annual (l) capital cost component, 

(2) necessary minimum maintenance and replacement component, and 

(3) maintenance and operation component which will vary with the 
amount of water furnished. 



The capital cost component, and the minimum maintenance 

and replacement component will be allocated to service areas by 
reaches of aqueduct, using the proportionate use method of cost 
allocation and will be collected annually irrespective of the 
amount of water furnished. The maintenance and operation compo 
nent which varies with the quantity of water delivered will be 
computed for the same reaches of aqueduct as used for the other 
components of the Transportation Rate and will be allocated among, 
and collected annually from, the contractors receiving water in 
proportion to the amounts of water received. Provision will be 
made for reserve funds to be used for the purpose of meeting 
large, unforeseen cost of operation and maintenance, repair and 
replacement of works. 

The total annual charge to project water contractors 
will be the sum of the Transportation Rate plus the Delta v/ater 

7. The following is a breakdown of the Delta Water Rate 
and the Transportation Rate. The Transportation Rate is stated 
for reaches of the aqueducts where the rate will be set by 
reaches. These rates are based upon estimated costs. Provision 
will be made in the contracts for revision of the rates when 
actual costs become known: 



Areas of Water Service 


Aqueduct Reaches 

Areas within and upstream fron Delta 
(Delta Water Rate) 

Entire North Bay Aqueduct to terminus 
in Marin County 

Entire South Bay Aqueduct (includes cost 
of possible future extension to 
Airpoint Reservoir in Santa Clara 
County if later found necessary) 

Pacheco Pass Tunnel Aqueduct 

San Joaquin Valley 

5 San Luis Reservoir to Avenal Gap 

6. Avenal Gap to Euena Vista Lake 

7- Buena Vista Lake to Wheeler Ridge 

8. Wheeler Ridge to Tehachapi Tunnel 

Coastal Aqueduct 

9- San Joaquin Valley east of Devils Den 

10. San Joaquin Valley vest of Devils Ben 

11. In San Luis Cbispo and Santa Barbara 


West Branch Aaueduct in Southern California 

Operation and 
Maintenance Costs 
Plus the Delta 

Water Rate, 
in Dollars per 
Ac re -Foot 

$ 3-50** 






Capital Cost 
Component* , 
in Dollars 



2, 610, CCO 




12. Entire service area 

East Branch. Aqueduct in Southern California 

13. Tehachapi Tunnel to Pearblossom 

14. Pearblossom to Perris Reservoir 





* Average annual payment necessary to repay, with interest, 
the portion of the aqueduct systea capital cost allocated 
to each service area, based on a 50-year pay-out period. 

*-* E^lta Water Rate shown includes capital cost cccponsnt for 
conservation facilities vithin and above Delta. Power 
credit has been deducted. 



S. Contracts for dependable water supply shall be for 

at least 50-year terms , but shall contain provision for changes 
in rates and operating provisions. Upon expiration of the term 
of the contract, the contracting agency shall have the option of 
continued service on terms and conditions prescribed by the 
State, but at no greater cost than would have been the case had 
the original contract continued in effect. Should the terras and 
conditions provide for the furnishing of such continuing water 
service for only a specified period of years, the contracting 
agency shall have a like right to continued service at the 
expiration of such succeeding term during which it was receiving 
project water. 

9. To insure continuity and dependability of water 
supplies the contracts will provide: 

(a) That contracts for dependable water supply 

will aggregate no more than a stated amount based upon the yield 
of the project. This amount, which will be approximately 
4,000,000 acre-feet annually, is to be increased by the yield due 
to added storage facilities when and as constructed. In addition, 
contracts may be executed for interim or nondependable water 
supply subject to reduction or termination by the State at any 

(b) For the furnishing of stated maximum annual 
amounts of project water. The time and rate of furnishing of 
water delivery during any year by the State will be pursuant to 
schedules and amendments thereof submitted by the contracting 
agency for such year. The Stata will comply with such schedules 



consistent with its delivery ability taking into account all such 
schedules submitted by agencies entitled under contract to a 
dependable project water supply. 

(c) That in the event of a shortage in the depend 
able project supply available in any year for export, project 
v;ater will be prorated among all export contractors. Each con 
tracting agency will receive an amount of water which bears the 
same relationship to the available supply , computed on the same 
basis as the project yield studies,, that the amount called for in 
the agency s contract for a particular year bears to the total 
amount of v. ater required to be delivered pursuant to all contracts 
in the respective year. However, the Department will reserve the 
right to prorate en some other basis if required to meet necessary 
demands for domestic supply, fire prevention, or sanitation in 
the respective year or season. 

(d) That bond funds will be used to construct 

added storage facilities and related facilities for local needs 
to meet commitments to export from the Delta to the extent that 
California Water Fund monies are used for construction of the 
original facilities and to the extent such added construction is 
required by virtue of a reduction, occasioned by operation of 
area of origin statutes, in the amount of water available for 
export. This will be subject to the proviso, however, that to 
the extent that the Director at any time after 1985 finds that 
any such funds are not then required to meet such reduction and 
v;ill not be required for such purpose within the next succeeding 
10 years, any such funds may be used for the construction of added 


storage facilities cc meet increased demands for export to or 

from the Delta and to meet local needs. 

(e) That the State v/ill plan the availability of 
water from the Delta 30 shat deliveries car. be made at th-a time 
and in the amounts scheduled in the contracts. To the extent 
possible, five years notice shall be given of any reduction in 
deliveries which v/ill occur as a result of operation of area of 
origin statutes. 

10. Construction of any transportation facility 

financed wholly or in part through the sale of bonds, will not be 
started unless water service contracts have been executed which 
will insure recovery of at least 75 per cent of the cost of such 

11. Local contracting agencies may make funds avail 
able for construction or completion of construction of initial 
or ultimate facilities and will be credited to the extent of 
such contributions. 

12. As a general policy, contracts for project water 
will be executed with public agencies having the taxing, assess 
ment or equivalent pov;er and all other powers required in order 
to comply with the terms of the contract. Contracts will be 
executed with others not having the taxing, assessment or 
equivalent power only when the State can be provided with security 
sufficient to insure that the obligations incurred v/ill be paid. 

13. Each contracting agency will agree that, in the 
event in any year it is unable cr fails through other means to 
raise the funds necessary in any year to pay to the State the sum 
required under the contract, it will use its taxing or assessment 

power to raise such sum. 



Brody : No . 

Chall: So it s something else, 

Brody: That had to come after the principles. 

Chall: All right. Then all during 1960 (this was January when the principles 
are enunciated) , from that time until November you had to fight on 
two sides. One was to get out there and get the vote, and the other 
was to persuade the Metropolitan Water District to sign a prototype 
contract. In this folder that I gave you [brief chronology of the 
campaign for Proposition I] you can see what you were doing here. 
Do you want to look that over or just give me some of your recollec 

Brody: I would like to look it over, although not right at the moment. 

Trying to Convince the People 

Brody: The one thing that stands out in my mind 
Chall: Yes, what were you doing? 

Brody: Well, among other things, the governor and I and Harvey Banks were 
calling on all the newspaper editors and their staffs, I ll never 
forget going to the San Francisco Chronicle and sitting there with 
the editorial staff and Scott Newhall. We were halfway through our 
presentation and Scott Newhall got up and walked out of the room 
saying, "I don t care how good the program is. I don t want to see 
any water go south of San Francisco period." Now here is a man who 
is publishing a paper in a city that is dependent on the economy of 
the entire state. I was so irritated by that when I got back to 
Sacramento, I had some research done (probably by Bill Gianelli, 
I m not sure, or through Bill), as to the number of jobs in San 
Francisco that were dependent on the economy of the San Joaquin 
Valley and southern California, and it came to 169,000 jobs, as I 
remember the figure. 

I was always preaching up and down the valley in terms of speeches 
I was making of the interdependence of the various areas of the state 
with each other. Northern California wanting to secede, in a sense, 
but they needed the tax base of southern California. Southern 
California needed markets for their products, and the wood, and the 
timber, and everything else necessary for building that came out of 
northern California. It just didn t make sense to see these two 
areas fighting each other when in reality they needed each other. 


Brody: I think that s true between the Northwest and the Southwest, I 

once had a study made when we were talking about getting water out 
of the state of Oregon. There are more car loadings going out of 
Oregon and Washington into California than there are to any other 
place in the union, and yet these people isolated themselves. 

Anyhow, we were calling on these various people, making speeches 
and generally trying to convince people of the worthwhile nature of 
the program two or three speeches a day, meetings at night. It 
was a mad sort of thing, but interesting, and fun. 

Chall : Did you rely a great deal on this statewide water development 
committee with Thomas Mellon? 

Brody: Oh, yes, Tom Mellon, Preston Hotchkis, and Ed Day were all people 
who contributed greatly to this and they really believed in it. 
Oh, one of the things that I neglected to mention was that early on 
in the development of the legislation, because we knew we were 
going to have a bonding program and what it meant to the state, we 
appointed a bonding committee of private citizens consisting of 
representatives of banks, and bond outfits, and bond counsel to 
advise with us as we went along on this thing. I remember Alan 
Brown, vice president of Bank of America, and George Herrington, 
the prominent San Francisco bond attorney being very attracted and 
very helpful. 

One of the things we were concerned about initially was whether 
the bond market could absorb $1.75 billion of California bonds. 
We found that California was very favorably situated in the bond 
market and that the bonding capacity in California was tremendous 
as contrasted with the number of bonds outstanding, even taking 
into account local bonds in the state. So it wasn t anything that 
was going to be a drain on the bonding capacity of the state or the 
growth of the state. 

Chall: That was one of the arguments that was used by Bruce Allen and others 
that you couldn t afford to do this. 

Brody: Yes, but it just was not true. And the other thing was that we wanted 
to be in a position of assuring that the beneficiaries of the 
project would pay for it and not anybody else and this we succeeded 
in doing. The thing was we had to convince the public in these 
speeches that that was the case, and by a somewhat slim margin we 
did convince them. 

Chall: But that slim margin it s hard to say may have depended on getting 
that contract signed by the Metropolitan Water District. 


Brody: I have always thought that was overestimated. I think that getting 
the approval of the board was important, but I think the project 
would have sold to the people. I think where we carried the election 
was in central and northern California. That s where people felt 
it was a project essentially for southern California, why should 
they support it? 

Chall: That s right, and I don t think they did very much. 

Brody: No, they didn t, but whatever votes we got there were enough to 
put us over . 

Chall : There was always some concern that if the Metropolitan Water 

District didn t sign that contract, then the opposition would say, 
"Nobody will buy this water." 

Brody: Yes, and if they didn t sign the contract, people would be fearful 
that the cost of the project would fall back on the taxpayers. 
However, we provided in the acts that construction would not start 
until at least a certain percentage of the water had been contracted 
for it. 

Chall: Did you have anything to do with any background work with the 

Metropolitan Water District? Were you able to deal with them or 
did Governor Brown and Harvey Banks deal with them? 

Brody: I dealt a lot with them, but Harvey did most of it on the contract. 
I think a number of those people Joe Jensen, some of the others, 
[W.C.] Farquhar, Warren Butler, I ve forgotten who else. Joe Jensen 
used to be very, very candid with me and so was Farquhar. Actually, 
there s a man who is no longer living who was an attorney in 
Riverside, Jim Kreiger, who was Farquhar s son-in-law. We got in a 
heated debate one time in public and it was really tough. I always 
felt he was working against the best interests of his own people on 
the thing. I had a feeling that he was somewhat political about 
the thing. 

Anyhow, afterwards I went up to him and sort of apologized, saying 
we had both sort of lost our heads. But after that, Farquhar became 
quite friendly with me and so did Kreiger. No, I worked with the 
Met and all of these groups. Well, people have told me in the 
San Joaquin Valley that if it had not been for me the San Joaquin 
Valley would not have gone for it. This is true of people in 
northern California up around the Redding area. Most of my clients, 
when I was in private practice, were in northern California north 
of Sacramento the districts I represented. I had some in the 
coastal area and a few down here. But they believed me and they 
knew I would tell them what I thought was against their interests 
and what was for their interests. 


Chall: I think I had you looking at that [anniversary] booklet that came 
out for the Metropolitan Water District, just to see if you can 
use this as a take-off point. I d like to have you do that. 
[tape interruption; telephone rings] 

An Historical Perspective on the State Water Project and the Vote 
on Proposition 1 

Brody: I think it s important to note that recorded history has a way of 
creating the impression, to some extent in the historian, but 
certainly in the reader of history or the listener that there s 
a continuity, a continuum, that takes place. That really isn t 
factual, particularly in a program such as the development of 
the state water program, and the development of the legislation, 
and getting it approved. You didn t see one problem and then resolve 
that and go on to another problem. Or in drafting the legislation 
do a similar kind of thing. 

What happened was that you saw the broad program and you tried 
you put a sort of skeleton together. Then you tried, within that 
framework, to detect its flaws and see what filling in needed to 
be done. But a problem might develop in a given area of the state 
with respect to a portion of the thing at the same time another 
problem develops someplace else. Or you may have a period of time 
elapse between individual problems being raised. The whole process 
took a relatively, very surprisingly short period of time between 
the assumption of the office by the governor and the ultimate 
approval of the program and the development of the contracts. But 
even though that occurred rapidly, a lot of things took place and 
went off in a lot of different directions from time to time. It 
resulted from meetings of give and take, compromises, dealing 
with one area and then another, and finally satisfying to the best 
you could, what they were concerned about. But in any event, I 
want to dispel the notion of some kind of real continuity or 
logical sequences developing there, because it wasn t done at all. 

I also want to mention that many, many people played a role in 
this. I don t think any one individual ever did the complete job. 
I know that in the drafting of the legislation, there were many 
people who contributed to that. But there was one man in particular 
who never did get enough credit for it. But a man who worked with 
me almost constantly was a man named Gilmore Tillman, who was the 
counsel for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Gilmore 
Tillman was a brilliant man, particularly in the field of bonding 
law; he had a considerable amount of experience. He was a part of 


Brody: the city attorney s office of the city of Los Angeles but was assigned 
to the Department of Water and Power and had been with them for a 
number of yearsa very, very able attorney, a very brilliant man. 
To me, he provided immeasurable assistance in developing the concepts, 
particularly in the bonding phases of the legislation. He had a 
knowledge of water and water law that was invaluable. Since I 
mentioned the L.A. Department of Water and Power, I want to point 
out that in the last analysis that department was a very potent 
force in this whole picture and perhaps as important in many respects 
as the Metropolitan Water District, but less vocal. 

Chall: The Metropolitan Water District was important in what way? 

Brody: The Metropolitan Water District covered a larger territory, but the 
L.A. Department of Water and Power embraced a lot of people the 
city of Los Angeles specifically. It had a kind of relationship 
with the Metropolitan Water District, as a part of that district, 
so it had votes on that board, but then no more than anybody else. 
But the people they represented were numerous. 

Chall: It was important to get their approval. 

Brody: That s right. 

Chall: Did you get their approval early, do you recall? 

Brody: Well, I don t think it was early on, but we got it before we got the 
Met s approval. 

Chall: Oh, yes, you got everything before then. 

Brody: Quite a while before then. There was another man who I think deserves 
mention who was on the board of commissioners of the L.A. Department 
of Water and Power and that was a man named Nate Friedman. In 
southern California, in addition to the L.A. Department of Water and 
Power, another very important force was the water resource committee 
or water committee of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. They 
worked fairly closely with the Metropolitan Water District but 
after the Department of Water and Power, as I recall, approved the 
project then it was not too long after that that they the chamber 
committee went along with it. But their philosophy was closer to 
that of the Metropolitan Water District, and when both the L.A. 
Department of Water and Power and the Chamber of Commerce went with 
the program it was very difficult for the Met to stand out alone 
against them. I think that those items were important. 

Considerable support for the program was obtained through labor 
organizations, too. For example, as I recall, the laborer s union 
was one. 


Chall: Which union? 

Brody: The building trades and also the operating engineers came along and 
that was helpful. Now, until the end, on the other hand, the AFL- 
CIO opposed the project. 

I ll go back an little bit and jump around here. Illustrative 
of the fact about sequence and how these things develop, there are 
a few items, maybe, or at least one, that I can recall that is 
illustrative of what I m talking about. The original draft of the 
bill, as I recall, was prepared with a description of what now is 
defined as the water resource development system in the legislation 
that is, it was the whole program for the ultimate water needs of 
the state. It shortly became apparent, both from the standpoint of 
state interest and protection everyone s protection and particularly 
in view of the concerns expressed by the Metropolitan Water District, 
that you didn t want to get into what might be untenable positions. 
You had $1.75 billion in bonds identified here and limitation as to 
amount in that particular point in time particularly as far as 
authorization was concerned and you wanted to be sure that it was 
going to be spent on the works that you had in mind when you computed 
the figure. So as a result of that, we broke out the specifics 
from the ultimate plan. 

Harvey Banks and I worked on this as well as Bill Gianelli and 
others. We broke out specific facilities which now are defined as 
the state water facilities in the legislation, for which the money 
was to be spent, and the basic framework of that was the old Feather 
River Project Oroville Dam and the other things plus the other 
items, so that that was an evolutionary kind of thing. Do you want 
to turn it off for a minute? I m marshaling some thoughts here, 
[tape interruption] 

I ll mention as an aside here in that connection, that I recall 
that after the Charles T. Main Report came out, southern California 
was concerned about the adequacy of the funds, to some extent, and 
they wanted to be sure that the project wouldn t be started and part 
way through then run out of money and they d have to pay for a 
project for which there wouldn t be any facilities to serve them. 
As a result of that, while there was no change in the legislation, 
the program was changed in the sense that you started building a 
project at both ends so that we knew that if we did run short of 
money, you d have to go back and get the money necessary to fill 
in the gap. That provided some kind of reassurance to those people 
and there was a certain amount of logic in doing it that way, 
particularly from a political standpoint, because the public would 
be more receptive to finishing an unfinished project in that sense 
than they would in any other. 


Chall : 
Brody : 
Chall : 

Chall : 


Chall : 




Was that a general promise? Was it a political promise? 
It was a general promise. 
It wasn t in the bill. 

No, it wasn t made a legislative matter. This was after the legis 
lation was was approved. But nevertheless, there are the kinds of 
things that develop as you go along. [pause] Each phase of the 
bill was developed with the assistance of people like Gilmore 
Tillman and others Harvey Banks, Bill Gianelli. Everyone had a 
hand in it. 

What about Richard Richards? 
assistance in the senate? 

Did you say he had given you some 

Oh, yes. Richard Richards, I think, was a very powerful force in 
the state senate in getting the approval of the legislation for the 
bond measure, in the senate, and in aligning forces for the south. 
I think he and Hugo Fisher were outstanding in their work in the 
senate. I think Fisher s work was more covert. I don t mean that 
in a disparaging sense. I think his activities were less conspicuous 
than those of Richards. But I think that great credit has to go to 
Richard Richards and I don t hear it given in these times. 

In marshaling the forces of the other senators from the south and 

Yes, plus public approval, and working with the Met and trying to 

get them. He played the role in the south essentially as I see 

it, similar, in the senate, that Carley Porter played in the assembly. 

I think that if it had been anyone other than Hugh Burns, as one 

of the authors of the bill, it might have been Porter-Richards, 

except that I think politically that would not have been a desirable 

thing, both coming from the south. But the fact his name wasn t 

on the bill doesn t mean that he didn t contribute a lot toward 

its success. 

That s worth putting on the record then because I don t think it s 

The important parts of the legislation, as I think I ve said earlier, 
were one, describing the state water facilities; two, providing the 
authorization for the comprehensive program of the water resources 
development system which as I see it would tend to render unnecessary 
specific authorization of a peripheral canal if they wanted to 
build it. They can do it under this act. 

Chall: Yes, it s there. 


Brody: But the other one was the matter of how you avoided the necessity 

for a constitutional amendment and having the funding and providing 
the assurances which you would have gotten if you had the 
constitutional amendment. 

Chall: Yes, that was a brilliant stroke, I guess. 

Brody: The other was the matter of how we assuaged the fears of the two 
areas. We did that ultimately by providing the money for the 
facilities necessary to make up for any deficiencies that might 
have been created by the county-of-origin usage of water. 

Chall: But you still had the problem, the fears in the north and the south, 
when it came to the proposition, didn t you? 

Brody: Oh, yes. Well, I don t think people completely understood that 
program. These emotional things without any logic at all become 
deep rooted and not only that, you can t reach every segment of 
the public. I find in most public issues, as I ve lived over 
these years, that the public in general does not become informed 
or educated at least in the United States on these issues and 
their reactions are for the most part visceral. The emotions 
They say, "They re taking our water out of the north. We may need 
that some day." They don t look to see what protections are given 
to them about hanging onto it. The south says, "We re building 
a project and we see the north has some protections up there. 
What protection do we have that we re not going to pay for an empty 
canal?" Those things are played upon by the opposition of the 
project. It is commonly accepted among people who work in govern 
ment programs that it s easier to get "no" votes on propositions 
like this than it is to get "yes" votes. The natural reaction is 
to vote "no." So what you have to do is to convert people in order 
to get approval of these programs. Most bond issues, when you 
start out, are "no" propositions. 

Chall: Or you have to phrase it so that no means yes. 

Brody: Well, I don t think that. I think that what you have to do is 
convince the people. I don t believe in this business about I 
don t like the way these propositions are worded in California 
where they deceive people. I think if a person really wants to 
vote no he should be entitled to vote that way, and he should not 
be fooled into voting for something. What I m saying is, though, 
that I think that you have to do your best toward educating the 

I guess what it boils down to is this, that in my judgment, if 
the people of the state of California had completely understood the 
program and all that it contained, my personal judgment is that the 


Brody: vote would have been much larger for the program than actually was 
the case. I think they were educated against it and that s another 
element of this thing. You would have thought that there was a lot 
of money that might be available to advertise and to have a program, 
and it was a miserably small amount. That s one of the reasons why 
I think there was a low vote. We had no opportunity to educate the 
public on this thing, but yet we had a very vocal press against it 
in the form of the San Francisco Chronicle and others. We got the 
San Francisco Examiner for us, but you had a potent force in the 
AFL-CIO against us. The paid ads against us were fantastic as 
contrasted with any paid support that we might have had. 

So I say that it s a part of one of the weaknesses of our 
legislative or democratic process that people can t or don t become 
completely educated on the issues and vote on them in the fashion 
that they might otherwise do, at least as I see it. 

Chall: You were one of the main spokesmen all around the state from time 
to time. 

Brody: Yes, I think I made more speeches than anyone else. 


Brody: In support of what I have just finished talking about a moment ago, 
I would say that at least as far as I was concerned (and maybe I 
was more enchanted by my own words than anybody else was) but I 
felt that whenever I left a group, when I had completely explained 
the pros and cons and I always tried to set out the adverse side 
of the picture too in this thing and not only the pros that when 
I left, I always felt that the group was substantially in support 
of the program, when they may not have been or they may not have 
had any opinion before they came. I felt that when they understood 
the program and what it stood for and what it could do for the 
state of California, I felt that they supported it. And it turned 
out that the votes supported that not by an overwhelming majority 
but I think that the speaking tours, of all of us, are what put it 
across. Afterwards the governor said that to me that he felt we 
had done well. He himself went out. 

Chall: Yes, I know. 

Brody: I want to say also that there s no gainsaying the fact that the 

political leadership of Pat Brown, and the interest he expressed, 
and the effort he put forth on this whole thing in terms of putting 
it across, was largely what made it a success in the legislature 
particularly. I don t think he had I know that he wasn t as 
familiar with the details of the program or in the working out of the 


Brody: details of these things except in its very broad aspects, as one 
might think. But without his political suasion, it couldn t have 
succeeded in the legislature. I think the people of this state 
owe him a great debt for that. 

But I would not have called him an expert on that legislation. 
While he was generally familiar with it and we d go to him for 
approval in general of what we were doing, I don t think that 
there was a great amount of detail. His assistant or his then 
executive secretary, Fred Button, I think was more familiar than 
he was. I worked much more closely with him than I did actually 
with the governor, although I did work with the governor in explaining 
it to him. 

Chall: Was Fred Dutton easy to work with and helpful? 

Brody: In a way he was. I felt that Dutton got into it more than what 
either his knowledge or his time would have warranted. 

Chall: Why did he do that do you think? 

Brody: I think one, because he was interested. In one area, for example, 
I think that Dutton felt, as I originally did, that perhaps acreage 
limitation might have played a greater part in the program than 
it did. 

The Question of Large Landholdings 

Chall: Can you explain that, how you felt that you could utilize acreage 
limitation in this program? 

Brody: Don t misunderstand. I was not convinced at that particular point 
in time because I felt it needed a good deal of study. But I felt 
that there should have been groundwork laid for further legislative 
consideration of the question. I felt that one, there should be 
an examination of the general policy of whether you wanted to 
encourage small farmers and farming or if you wanted to discourage 
it. I felt it was more a matter of wanting to discourage the 
accumulation or retention of large landholdings more than it was 
a matter of I wanted to provide the opportunity by having a 
dissemination of title to the land so that there would be more 
opportunities for somebody to buy land if they wanted to and 
operate it themselves. However, I did not see a justification 
for it in terms of the traditional reasons for having acreage 


Brody: limitation justification for having it because in the state 

project, you didn t have any subsidy and th.e whole justification 
for it in the federal program was the subsidy. 

Therefore, that is why I say that there should have been more 
study to determine whether, if it was a sound policy to encourage 
small farms , then perhaps there is some other kind of attraction 
that could have been put in a legislative program, whether it be 
in bond legislation or something else, in some subsequent point of 
time, which would have encouraged a break-up or prevented the 
accumulation or the retention of those holdings . Independent of 
the subsidy question. 

I mean if it was a desirable policy (and that s what I feel 
about reclamation law today) that if small ownerships are important, 
and living on the land, and all of these other things are important 
as a matter of policy for the United States then they re not 
important because you put water on the land, they are important in 
terms of the general policy. That s one way of applying it. 
Therefore, I feel, that in the federal programs and this, that 
Congress ought to be looking at means by which you can encourage 
small ownership, or discourage the retention or accumulation of 
large landholdings and it should be attacked as a policy or at 
least studied in that manner. 

That s the way I felt basically about the state program. There 
was a state constitutional provision in effect at the time for 
nonexcess landholdings . 

Chall: Yes, I think I remember that. It started (as an initiative] and 
never went very far. 

Brody: No, it was in the constitution. 

Chall: Where was this? 

Brody: In article 17 of the constitution a few years ago 

Chall: Was it a proposition or was it in the constitution? 

Brody: No, it was in the constitution. It said that the state shall 

discourage the accumulation or retention of large landholdings or 
something like that, and in the distribution of public lands. But 
it was in the state constitution. But I didn t feel that it was 
justified in the context of what the traditional reasons for 
applying acreage limitation were for. I think that Dutton felt 
essentially the same way. He perhaps may have felt even more 
strongly that it should have been put in the state legislation. 
I said that I didn t think at that point we knew enough about the 
broader aspects of this. 


Chall: Do you think that you could have passed that legislation with it 
in it? Was that a consideration? 

Brody: I don t know whether you could have gotten it through the 

Chall: That s what I mean. 

Brody: I think you could have gotten the approval of the voters for the 
simple reason that a majority of the people voting were urbanites 
rather than fanners and they wouldn t have been as disturbed by 

Chall: But getting it through the legislature ? 

Brody: But that wasn t the reason it was not done. The reason it was not 
done was because there was no justification for it in the 
traditional sense. 

Chall: Getting back then to this matter of subsidy, did you tell me 
yesterday that you had written this letter that Brown signed 
that went to Grace McDonald? 

Brody: Yes. 

Chall: In that there is the justification for the surcharge this is because 
of the power as I understand it. One of the statements made is 
that, "This means therefore that the production costs from the 
standpoint of water allowance on lands in excess of 160 acres will 
be from eight to twelve dollars more per acre than it is for the 
smaller owner. This in my judgment will tend to discourage the 
retention or accumulation of large landholdings . " Did you really 
believe that at that time? 

Brody: Yes. 

Chall: Do you think that it has? 

Brody: No, because I don t think it was applied or really administered. 
But I also believed that again, this is where inflation plays a 
part eight to twelve dollars an acre at that time was a substantial 
amount of money in terms of the farmer. Today it isn t. Don t 
forget, there was already high cost water. 

Chall: Yes, so this would be extra. 
Brody : Yes . 


Chall: I just wondered about that because I ve never been quite clear 
whether this would really have worked or whether it was a small 
bone to those people who wanted to curtail what they termed unjust 
enrichment . 

Brody: No, I think that it did two things. One was it removed the element 
of subsidy which was done in the federal legislation, the Engle 
bill, the federal Small Projects Act. If you removed the subsidy, 
then you remove the acreage limitation. The second thing was that 
I felt that it would discourage these people and those two things 
coupled were there. 

Chall: This was to be administered by 

Brody: By the Department of Water Resources. It wasn t a legislative thing. 
Of course, the governor also sent a letter at the time Congress 
was considering the San Luis Project authorization in which he 
stated that he intended to present an excess land program to the 
legislature and therefore, the Congress should not attempt to 
apply the federal excess land law to the state project. 

Chall: It was a policy statement. Was it to be administered by the 

contractors, let s say the Metropolitan Water District or the Kern 
County water agency? 

Brody: Don t forget that at the time this was done, we were thinking in 

terms of what the framework of the legislation was and the principle. 
Now, underlying my thinking was that in the contracts you d have 
specific detailed provisions about how it was to be administered 
and you placed the obligation on the local agency to do it. 

Chall: Yes, I thought that that was one of the sticking points with the 

Metropolitan Water District. They didn t want to do this, but I m 
not sure. There were so many problems there. I just wanted to 
make sure that I understood what this was all about. 

Brody: Now that you mention it, it strikes a sort of familiar note. 

The Contract with the Metropolitan Water District 
[Interview 2: January 24, 1980 ]## 

Chall: I wanted to be sure that I understood what we were talking about 
yesterday, that there was this statement of contract principles 
which the governor was sending to the legislature the day after 


Chall: you had worked up a sort of general speech that he gave on the 

radio outlining them very briefly. Then there were the contract 
provisions themselves with the Metropolitan Water District, the 
prototype contract. Now, did the prototype contract develop from 
the contract principles that you laid out? 

Brody: They were supposed to. 

Chall: Did you have anything to do with the actual development of the 
Metropolitan Water District s contract? 

Brody: Very, very little if anything. In the first place, I m not so 
sure I was completely happy with what was being done. I don t 
remember now why or what it was. I may have felt that there was 
an abandonment of the principles. I don t know. But you see, 
the principles really were developed because of the Met. They 
were developed because the Met wanted a contract. We couldn t 
give them a contract at that particular point of time, and we 
wanted to get some kind of support, so we said, "We ll tell you 
what the principles are going to be on which we re going to 
contract." Now, it may be that I felt that they were being ignored 
to some extent, because they really were the policies that should 
have been followed. They may not have been. I don t know. 

Chall: Reading over that article by Skinner * 
Brody: I got nothing from that. 

Chall: Okay, because all I have is what was finally determined in general 
about the agreement. 

Brody: Skinner s article lays them out principally to the matter of pricing 
and I don t know that I had any reaction to it. If anything, I 
didn t like the way the general pricing procedure was, myself. 
I guess, now that I think about it, if anything I leaned toward 
agriculture and I felt that they weren t getting a fair shake out of 
it. I don t know why at this point, I don t know why but I felt 
that there was such a desire to get the Met s name on a contract, 
that agriculture to some extent was being sold out. 

Agriculture and the Pricing Policy 

Chall: That agriculture would have been where, in Riverside, the San 

Joaquin Valley? That s the Kern County area that ultimately got 
much of the water? 

*Skinner, "A Summary of the State Service Contracts" 


Brody: Yes, but I wasn t thanking in terms of Kern County. I was thinking 
of whatever area might be contracting for water in the future, 
because I felt that Kern County interests from time to time might 
have been asking for much, too. It affected what might be done 
in the northern part of the state, too. 

But those kinds of things are judgmental. Well, they were more 
than judgmental. It is a judgmental question whether what was done 
was appropriate to be done. But I was also concerned with some of 
the policy considerations that were involved, in that, should your 
policy be to say that... The urban user of water, if you doubled 
the cost of water to the urban user it doesn t make a significant 
dent in his picture. But if you double the cost of water to the 
farmer, it makes the difference between survival or not, and this 
was the kind of thing that concerned me. 

Chall: My impression has always been that the urban dweller I guess it s 
now termed the M. and I., municipal-industrial that they really 
are bearing the cost of the water project. 

Brody: The state water project? 
Chall : Yes . 

Brody: Well, certainly not on the basis of which cost allocations go. If 
the cost allocation procedure that they established was legitimate, 
then they are paying for the facilities that are necessary to get 
them that water, plus the interest. I think in federal programs 
the urban users pay more because the interest they pay is used to 
reduce to cost of water to the farmer. But that s not done in 
the state project as I see it. 

Chall: But these are criticisms that people have. I am in no position 
to know. This matter of pricing then that we talked about at 
breakfast this morning the proportional use you had nothing to 
do with establishing that. 

Brody: I think initially I made some efforts in the other direction but 
I gave up on it . 

Chall: How would you have done it? 

Brody: I would have established a postage stamp rate for water. 

Chall: Which means that 

Brody: The same rate throughout. You might establish rates for regions 
I felt that this goes back to the concept I was talking about in 
terms of federal programs to the extent you were able to do so 


Brody: within the bonding limitations, they should try to establish rate 
procedures that more nearly met the needs and abilities of the 
various areas. In other words, not to try to strike the best 
bargain for the Metropolitan Water District. You had to have the 
other elements of the project in order to justify even the Met s 
portion of this. Therefore, something more than just the bare cost 
might be involved here, if they could afford to pay it, in order to 
get the facilities for the other area which they both needed to have. 
Do you see what I mean? 

Chall : I think I understand. 

Brody: I m saying that if the Met had built its own project, it would be 
tremendously expensive. Therefore, they needed the other part of 
the project as a partnership arrangement. Therefore, if the other 
area needed some assistance, you should not necessarily say, "We ll 
take only what it actually cost to supply this water to the Met 
physically." You have to take into account these other factors 
existing as justification. That s assuming, of course, that the 
other area needs assistance or does want it. Then I see nothing 
wrong with it. I think inflation has saved the agricultural portion 
of the state project. I don t think that without inflation that 
they can survive the prices for water that they now can. I think 
it s just too high. I was afraid that they were killing the 
project by killing the agricultural aspects of it. 

Chall: But eventually they did come around to giving some type of subsidy. 

Brody: Yes, they did but that was a temporary kind of thing and I wasn t 
sure that I approved of doing it in that way. To me, that seemed 
to be a little bit devious. I felt it could have been done more 
directly and honestly. 

Chall: Harvey Banks in his interview did say that he felt that there were 
some problems or maybe errors -that were made in pricing but they 
didn t really know enough in those days to make a decision.* 

Brody: Not only that, they didn t know what was going to happen to the 

Chall: He says he was always concerned with the agriculture. 

*See interview with Harvey Banks, California Water Project, 1955-61, 
Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of 
California, Berkeley, 1967, pp. 41-43. 


Brody: Well, he was concerned in the sense that he knew that agriculture 
had a limited capacity to absorb cost. I think if he had been 
really concerned about the future of agriculture, he would have 
done more about it than he did. 

Chall: I gather then that in those ten months of jockeying between the 

Department of Water Resources and the Metropolitan Water District, 
that you were not involved closely? 

Brody: I can t remember. It seems to me that that was going on at the time 
we were campaigning and my efforts were directed more to getting 
this thing approved by the people generally. 

Chall: Do you have any knowledge about whether someone like Porter Towner 
in the Department of Water Resources may have helped on those 
prototype contracts? 

Brody: Well, he did. There s no question about it. He did a major portion 
of the drafting, but the concepts, I think, were Harvey s and he 
worked more closely with him. 

Chall: The principles upon which all of this was supposed to have been 
based then, you feel they emanated from you? 

Brody: Yes. Now, the context went beyond the principles. By that I mean 
they covered more than just what was involved in those principles. 
But I m saying that these contracting principles were supposed to 
govern the essence of the contract. They were intended to reflect 
broad policy. 

Chall: Sometime in September that was before the Bond Act was passed 

Pat Brown told me that he announced that William Warne would be the 
head of the Department of Water Resources and Harvey Banks announced 
his resignation but did not retire until the end of December. 
William Warne himself doesn t know exactly why Pat Brown chose to 
make the announcement . 

Brody: I don t recall that the Warne announcement was made in September. 
I know that it was made after I left, which was after the bond 
election and I believe the Warne announcement was made after Harvey 
retired. I think Pat s memory is bad on this. I don t think the 
announcement was made at that time. The reason I say that is that 
I left the department after the election. 

Chall: In November or December? 

Brody: No, I think I left later than that, didn t I? 


Chall: Well, the election was in early November, I don t remember the date 
right now-, the eighth, I think, 

Brody: Yes, but I left that same year, I guess 1960. So it had to be 
in December if I did, but I thought it was much later than the 
election. That s the thing as I recall it, but apparently not. 
But at the time _I left, I didn t think the announcement had been 
made. I know that the announcement had not been made that Bill Warne 
was going to succeed Harvey, and before I left Pat asked me if I 
would take it, before he announced it. 

Chall: Is that right? 

Brody: Yes, I remember him stopping me in the hall. I said, "No, I wasn t 
interested in the job." I never was interested, 

Chall: That close to the time? 

Brody: Yes. And that s why I m confident that the announcement couldn t 
have been made before then. I just can t conceive of my_ having 
decided before the election. I can t conceive of him having made 
that announcement then, and I know that he offered me the job before 
!_ left. I can t remember whether it was after I had told him I was 
going to leave or not, but I know it was before he made any announce 
ment about Bill Warne. 

Chall: I ve always wondered why it was made at that time Mr. Warne thinks it 
was made. 

Brody: I think you might want to check the press and see because I would 

be interested in knowing myself, but I don t think that he announced 
it at that time. I think Harvey announced possibly I can t even 
remember whether Harvey announced he was going to leave before I 
did or after. 

Chall: I understood it was before but then maybe I should get back into the 
press. That s the best place for it.* I think that s all I wanted to 
do on that. 

Brody: We didn t say anything about the Charles T. Main Report. 
Chall: Yes, you told me about the Charles T. Main Report, yesterday. 

.. *Announcement was printed in Western Water News, 12:9, September, 
1960, p. 2. 


Brody: Did I mention Gianelli on the record the other day? Do you 
remember I told you about the cost overrun? 

Chall : Yes . 

Brody: Was that on the tape? 

Chall: Yes, the Oroville Dam. 

Brody: I said that I got the memo showing it was $287 million. 

Chall: Yes, we got that yesterday. 



The San Luis Reservoir Contract 

Chall : I would like to talk to you about San Luis . You were already 

working, I guess, for Westlands Water [District]. When did you 
begin to work for Westlands? 

Brody: I went immediately from the governor s office to Westlands. 
Chall: It was 1961 at least. 

Brody: Yes. Was it 61 or 62? I was in the governor s office almost 
two years so that would be 61, wouldn t it? 

Chall : I would guess so . 

Brody: I thought it was November but that doesn t sound right. 

Chall: You could have left immediately after the election, or the end of 
November. The election was early November. 

Brody: Gee, I thought I was around there longer than that after the 
election, but I guess not. 

Chall: During the whole year of 1961, January right through to very last 
day of the so-called deadline, you, and members of Pat Brown s 
staff, and the attorney general s office, and the Department of 
Water Resources were working very hard to get the San Luis contract 

Brody: Do you mean the legislation? 

Chall: No, the legislation had passed. The legislation had authorized the 
Department of the Interior to enter into agreement with the state 
of California {by December 31, 1961]. 


Brody: But I think it may be true that I was with Westlands at the time the 
contract was being negotiated. 

Chall: Yes, I think you were. I wanted to establish that. Let me give 
you this. I think we have another copy but look that over, 
particularly this last page. [brief chronology of actitivies of 
state officials leading up to signing of San Luis contract prepared 
for the interview] You can see your name in there as one of the 
people who was very actively going along, with the state people, 
to insure that that contract was signed without the 160-acre limit 
in it for the state. 

Brody: What you ve handed me apparently covered activities that took place 
after the San Luis authorization was passed by Congress while 
they were talking about the contract between the state and the 
federal government. Hardly anybody there talked against the 160- 
acre limitation. The question was whether it should be included 
in the state contract, even though not required by law. This has to 
be examined in the context of the authorization of the project it 
self. There was a lot of debate in the Congress as to whether 
acreage limitation should or should not apply. 

From the beginning it was always contemplated that you would have 
a state project and a federal project. There could have been a 
separate project build by the state in which event, unless the 
legislation expressly said so, acreage limitation would not apply. 

Now, the fact was that the state s position, in the authorization 
discussion, was that the state, by entering into a partnership with 
the federal government was not yielding any of its authority. The 
beneficiaries of the state, project were still going to have to pay 
the full cost. Only the federal beneficiaries were getting a 
subsidy. The subsidy was cited as justification for the acreage 
limitation. Therefore, from a legislative standpoint, it should 
not be specifically imposed upon the state and it was not specifically 

Now, people like George Ballis, Paul Tayor and others got involved. 
I think you have to go back to the legislation in order to arrive 
at the point of the contract. I want to mention as an aside here, 
the fact that I or a number of other people like [Abbott] Goldberg 
and others were saying that legally it was not applicable, or 
should not be made applicable in this instance based on the histori 
cal reason for the imposition of it in the federal picture, did 
not mean that we were against the principle of acreage limitation. 
Our position was that as lawyers and as administrators of the 
project, that unless the same reasons existed the justification 


Brody: existed for imposing it in the federal service area it should 
not be imposed in the state service area. Secondly, it was a 
matter for state concern, that the state legislature should impose 
it if it s going to be imposed and not as a matter of imposition 
by the federal Congress. If there were two separate projects 
one federal and the other a state project, obviously federal law 
would not be imposed on the state project, and the fact of their 
joint partnership did not change the matter. 

On the other hand, I remember Ballis s testimony and Paul Taylor s 
testimony saying [that] all people in the Central Valley should be 
treated alike. I want to come back to this when you and I get 
around to talking about Westlands. They were using that argument 
to say that acreage limitation should be imposed upon the state 
service area. They were contending that they wanted an express 
statement. Well, the colloquies that took place in Congress made 
it clear that it was not intended to apply and it was not legally 
applicable in the state service area. 

Chall: Even though they left Section 7 out of the bill which would have 
indicated that Congress had intended that it would apply? 

Brody: As I remember Section 7 

Chall: It was 7 in one of the House bills [H.R. 7155] and 6 (a) in one 
of the Senate bills [S. 44], but ultimately it was removed. 

Brody: Yes, but I think it applied to other subject matter than acreage 

Chall: My basic understanding is they managed I think it was in the House 
to eliminate 7 and thus not specifically exempt the state service 
area from the acreage limitation.* 

Brody: For the reasons I have stated, it could have been imposed only 

by specifically legislating it. In other words, it would require 
specific legislation to make it apply. It did not require 
legislation to exempt it. 

Chall: Why did it take a whole year then? What was the problem with [Frank] 
Barry and [Stewart] Udall? 

*Paul S. Taylor, "Excess Land Law: Secretary s Decision? A Study 

in Administration of Federal-State Relations," UCLA Law Review, Vol.9, 

No. 1, January, 1962, pp. 1-43. 


Brody: Do you mean afterwards? 

Chall: Yes. 

Brody: I want to come back to that. 

Chall: What was their problem? 

Brody: If I recall correctly, they were arguing that since the Congress 
said nothing, pursuant to federal reclamation laws, that it was 
intended to apply. They were taking the position contrary 

Chall: That Congress meant it to apply? 

Brody: They were leaning in that direction. They weren t persuaded. 

You have to bear in mind that Barry philosophically wanted it to 
apply, as did these other people. We felt that it did not apply 
and that the justification for application was not there. So when 
it came time for the contracting my recollection is hazy on it 
but I think that I was making the same kinds of arguments to Barry 
as to why Congress did not intend that it should apply, that was 
made to the Congress, and that I made to you just a moment ago. 
Those were the presentations that were made. 

To me, it was abundantly clear that Congress did not intend that 
it should apply in the state service area when it enacted this 
legislation, and that Congress would not be justified in doing it 
in any event. But if they had done it, even though they were not 
justified, I would have supported it. But in my judgment, they did 

As far as I was concerned as an advocate for Westlands it made 
no difference, because we were in the federal service area where it 
applied. Interestingly, you ll find in the record of the San Luis 
authorization hearings, a letter from the governor indicating that 
he intended to do something about acreage limitation on his own, 
after study, and make recommendations to the legislature, although 
it was not done. Maybe they felt it was enough to provide for the 
surcharge. In the state contract, he felt that was adequate for 
the purpose. 

But the meetings with Barry. I think there is no question in my 
mind but that there was an attempt to put it in the contract. There 
may have been discussion taking place too as to whether they could 
do it administratively even though Congress did not require it. 
I can t swear to that, but that s the only way I can rationalize 
it in my own mind, as of this point, that Barry was saying, "We ll 
put it in the contract." That s why I think the secretary [Udall] 
was drawn into this as appears to have been the case. 






Brody : 
Chall : 
Chall : 
Chall : 

Brody : 

Brody : 

So there was the question of administrative imposition of it in the 
contract itself, but the same reasons would prevail against inclusion 
administratively as inclusion through legislation. 

I guess it was uncertain. The state people certainly didn t want 
160 acres included in the state project through the federal govern 
ment, so there must have been a considerable amount of concern. 
You, I think, were working for Westlands at the time, so you would 
come over then and discuss this with Brown or Abbott Goldberg. Do 
you recall? 

This is in October or November of 61 and I think that I was still 
with now, if I look at this chronology, I think I must have still 
been with the state. I know there was a period of time when I was 
commuting to some extent back and forth. 

You would have some dates, wouldn t you, somewhere in your own files 
about when you left the state? 

I keep the poorest records of anyone you ever saw. 

We really ought to know when you became director of Westlands. 

Oh, when I started working there? 


I left after the bond election and before Warne took over. 

Yes, the election was November 60. 
January 1961. 

Warne took over as director 

Then this was after I was at Westlands. But I went back there, 
I m sure, for Westlands, as its interest in the contract. That s 
the only way I can figure this. I think probably my memo that 
you refer to here in September 61 that I gave to [James] Carr 
and Button must have been an earlier memo. Do you have a copy 
with you? 


That I prepared when I was with the governor s office? 

Whatever I ve got there was material that I found in Pat Brown s 
files [in The Bancroft Library] . That information came from a 
letter or a memo that either Abbott Goldberg or most likely 
William Warne wrote to Brown when they returned from Washington. 


Chall: So it doesn t indicate what you wrote. It s just a matter of my 
knowing that you were all there together. I do think, now that I 
recollect, that this was from a letter or a memo that Warne wrote 
to Brown at the time. 

Brody: So it is his memo. 

Chall: You probably went back with a memo. Since all this is in the record, 
what I m really concerned with is what your reasonings were, how you 
dealt with Barry particularly, people whom you ve known, worked with, 
and continued to work with. Their attitudes and yours. 

Brody: Just as I was accused well, I don t know whether I was accused of 
distorting my legal judgments. But it seemed to me that Barry let 
his own philosophical views becloud his legal judgments, and I 
was concerned about that at times. I felt he looked the answers up 
in the back of the book, and then justified them. I don t know. 
I may be doing him an injustice. He was really very strongly pro- 
acreage limitation, tremendously so. Some of my experiences with 
him when I was with Westlands it just seemed to me that his positions 
were completely unreasonable in terms of the law. 

Chall: Let s see, so we got the San Luis contract signed I think it was 
about twelve hours before the deadline [laughs], but it was a 
tough year and I just wondered what you were doing during that year. 

Brody: Now that points up things that I don t recall. I didn t recall that 
I played that much of a part in the negotiation of that contract. 

Chall: How much you did I don t know, but obviously you had something to do 
in there, and it is interesting because you were then working with 
Westlands and, as you say, it wouldn t matter to you one way or 

Brody: As a matter of fact, Westlands might have been better off if 
acreage limitation had been imposed on state service area. 

Chall: Why? 

Brody: Well, I don t know. It just seems to me that people feel an element 
of unfairness. They feel they are treated differently. 

Chall: Well, they definitely are, of course. 

Brody: As it turns out, particularly in the cost of their distribution 
system, they end up paying almost as much, for water as they re 
paying in the state project and yet they don t get the benefit of 
being free of acreage limitation. 


Chall: But there is a subsidy which must provide some relief. 

Brody: There is a subsidy, but if they had gone the state route, they would 
not have been subject to acreage limitation. As it turns out now 
with inflation, they are paying what would have amounted to full 
costs in the state service area anyhow. 

Evaluation of the California Water Commission 

Chall: When you left the Department of Water Resources, you were put on 
the California Water Commission and a year or so later became the 
chairman when Carr went off. 

Brody: As a matter of fact, I was put on in Carr s place. [January, 1961] 

Chall: You said you didn t want to spend too much time discussing the 
California Water Commission? 

Brody: I didn t say I didn t want to. I say that I don t think there s 

anything there that really contributes to the history of this thing. 
Then after that I thought of some things, but I don t remember now 
what they were. They weren t significant. Oh, one thing was, the 
water commission at that point served as a kind of watchdog over 
Warne during the state project construction. But we didn t always 
get along with Warne on a lot of these things. I don t remember 
what about. 

Chall: Serving as watchdog, what would be your relationship with the 

project or with the director? Did you have to look at contracts? 

Brody: To some extent, as I recall, we did look at contracts. Our function 
at that time was to advise the legislature on policy and to look 
at the department s activities, among other things. We were also 
responsible for the assignment of state applications water applica 
tions for use on the project. Those all affected what could be 
done with the project. Warne used to report to us. By report, I 
don t mean in terms of being responsible to us; but he used to make 
reports to us and we were there to comment. We would comment on 
it. We d take issue with him on some policy matters as they came 
along. There were some areas where he needed our approval. 

Chall: But there was nothing specific? 

Brody: There was nothing major that really transpired. 


Chall: I was interested in Harvey Banks comment about the water commission.* 
This was discussion anent the fact that when the department was 
reorganized in 56, I think, the commission was set up as an 
advisory commission rather than what it had been before a policy 
board and he felt that it would still be better if there were a 
policy-forming board within the department. He wasn t quite sure 
how it should be set up, but he did feel that it would be better 
than this advisory system. 

Brody: I agree with him. Yes, you see, if you go back in history in 

California remember I talked about the state applications for water? 
Originally in the 1930s when the Central Valley Project which 
included what is now a State Water Project was to go ahead, the 
legislature directed the director of finance, not the state 
engineer who was the predecessor to the director of water resources 
they directed him [director of finance] to file on all of the 
unappropriated waters of the state necessary for comprehensive 
development of the water resources of the state. Now, they turned 
it over to the director of finance to do that to be in charge of 
these water supplies for two or three reasons. One is that they 
didn t want a lot of projects being developed out here by others 
which would dissipate those supplies on a narrow basis and which 
would not be part of the comprehensive plan. Two, they wanted the 
director of finance to do it, and to require assignments to the 
state project, because they didn t want the guy who was going to 
be building the project Cwho they thought was going to be building 
the project at that time and who would need the water supplies) to 
be making the decision with respect to the water rights. They 
wanted some check on him. So they required that the state engineer, 
or the director of water resources, go to him to get his water 
rights. That was later turned over to the commission. 

Now in addition to that, originally, the predecessor to the water 
commission was the state Water Project Authority and it wasn t all 
left to one man. You had an authority an ex-officio member, I 
remember, was the attorney general, the director of finance, the 
state treasurer, and then they had public members. Well, they were 
to oversee the policy of the state water program and I think that 
was sound, rather than have it be one man. 

Chall: But at the time they didn t really have a program like the kind you 

Brody: That s right. There was nothing going forward, and ultimately the 
Water Project Authority was done away with and you had the water 
commission and they advised on policy. Then you stripped the water 

*Harvey Banks interview, pp. 43-44. 


Brody: commission of its policy-making function. But in reality I think 
you do need an overseer of the State Water Project in terms of its 
administration in policy matters and comparable items. So in con 
cept I think it s good and I agree completely with Harvey that you 
need some kind of watchdog over the director of water resources 
and particularly since you could get a director of water resources 
who was a very ambitious man to build more projects and to operate 
them in a particular fashion. 

I think, for example, in terms of whether you should have an 
acreage limitation or not, or recommend to the legislature about that; 
you should have some larger body or different body than just the 
director of water resources. Do you see what I mean? 

Chall: I do, but I m wondering if that would come about since most of 
the people who were ever appointed to the water commission and 
the [water] authority before that were generally people who were 
interested in agriculture in some way. 

Brody: I don t think that needs to be. Don t forget that originally, at 
the time the Water Project Authority and the water commission were 
first developed, most of the comprehensive plans for the develop 
ment of water resources of the state were related to agriculture. 

Chall : Yes , they were . 

Brody: Municipal water supply was a minor, insignificant matter. Now, 
times have changed and the composition may have to be different. 
That s all the more reason, I think, for having the board than 
having one man do it. Now can the one man represent the interests 
of both? 

Chall: You think that wouldn t 

Brody: Maybe the result wouldn t have been different. But I think that you 
get a more objective kind of consideration and a comprehensive 
consideration by having different people on it. I like the concept 
of an authority. I like the concept of the TVA. I think if you 
get the right kind of people on there, it can be run much more 
efficiently. I think the director of water resources should be an 
engineer. But I think that engineers are famous for not being 
able to be policy makers. 

Chall: So you put policy then in the hands of some board representing 
various interests that would be concerned with it? Almost at 
this stage then it goes back to the way it was before, to some 
degree, in f 56. 


Brody: Well, I would prefer it. 

Chall: At the time that the State Water Project was being developed the 
Feather River Project 

Brody: I thought of this as a possibility. 

Chall: But do you think that that whole project could have been developed 
the way it was without somebody like Warne at the head of it moving 
it through? Do you think a policy board would have been able to 
direct the construction? 

Brody: It would leave the engineering aspects up to the engineer. 

Chall: I see, it would be an engineering project. 

Brody: But Warne wasn t an engineer. 

Chall: No, he wasn t. 

Brody: Leave that up to the administrator. It s the policy aspects of the 
thing I think that were important, that need to be considered by 
this. I would certainly have welcomed seeing a board establish 
the pricing policies more than I would Harvey, and I think I would 
do it more than I would see Warne, although I had great confidence 
in Warne s judgment in those lines. I would have had more confidence 
in having a number of people like that. Warne would sit on that 
authority. To me it makes a great deal of sense. 

Chall: Then you would have had a staff person who would have been helping 

to develop this pricing and come back to the board for consideration 
of the policy. 

Brody: I don t care if the Department of Water Resources itself would 

prepare that. I just want it to be considered by people other than 
just the director, and people who were informed not mere political 
hacks . 

Chall: So even as you sat on that board you gave this some consideration. 
Is that right? 

Brody: Yes. Even when I was with the governor s office I thought about 
the idea. I didn t think it would succeed at that point in time, 
of having this handled by an authority. I didn t think it could 
be successfully completed the other way. I know what would have 
happened if Harvey had stayed on. Harvey is a personal friend of 
mine. But I think his talents are different and his thinking is 
different. I think he suffers from a lot of human weaknesses that 


Brody: any one man on the job would suffer from, and I think that if you 
had a number of people there, it s a sort of check and balance 
situation. But I think the contractual program could have been 
a better one. I think that the administration of the project 
from a policy standpoint L would have been fearful about at the 
time. As it turns out, I don t know the administration hasn t 
been too bad as I see it. 

But I think that you could have gotten broader policies and more 
out of the program than has been gotten in terms of general, as 
distinguished from purely local, benefits. I don t think these 
projects are built to serve particular individuals and I don t think 
they re builts as monuments or just to get water to the land. I 
think they re built to promote the comnon good and broader public 
benefit, and it seems to me that the administration of these projects 
should be done on that kind of basis with that kind of philosophy 
in mind. What s the greatest general good that can come out of this 
thing. The direct good to the immediate beneficiaries is important 
certainly because it s from them that a lot of the public benefit 
flows, I think. But I also believe that there might be other ways 
in which you could better distribute these benefits. But at least 
you need somebody in charge who has that kind of philosophy in 

Chall: As you say, whether that would be considered as you would want it 
to would depend on who was on the board, who was the governor. 

Brody: That s right. You have to have a good selection process for that. 
Implicit in democracy in these things it is the faith in the fact 
that the people who are appointed to the jobs are going to be 
capable of doing them, and that if the appointing power doesn t 
do it right, then you throw the rascal out. Now, we don t pursue 
that but that s the ideal. 

Chall: Can you cite any ideas you have about how the benefits of the state 
water project could be 

Brody: No, that would require some time for thought. 
Chall: You just feel that? 

Brody: I just feel that way about it. At times I may have had thoughts on 
the subject. I just think that all these things if they don t have 
to potential of providing a broad basis, then query whether there is 
a justification for the state or the federal government to be in 
in the first place. 

Chall: Well, I m glad that we brought up the subject of the commission! 
There s quite a bit there; more than I would have expected. 


Brody: That s not historical, that s philosophical. 

Chall: I think that philosophy has a great deal to do with history. 

Brody: That s why I sometimes have reservations about my value to you as 
an historian. I get off on my own philosophical dreams. 

Chall: No, I think it all has value. 

Negotiating the First Contracts for Westlands, 1963-1965## 

Chall: I ve jotted down a few questions to help me keep up with you! You 
know this article that was in the California Journal.* 

Brody: The author of that and I have had problems in the past. It started 
when I responded to an article he wrote for the Fresno Bee. He 
didn t like my response because I accused him of distortion of the 
truth. You saw my response to that article, didn t you? 

Chall: No, I haven t. 

Brody: It was published in either the same issue or a subsequent issue. 

Chall: It may have been a subsequent one. I should have it then. I ll go 
back and look at it.** 

Brody: It wasn t given the prominence that that was. 

Chall: Yes, they re usually in the back somewhere. I wanted to establish, 
first of all, when you went in as director of Westlands, but we re 
not absolutely sure of that, are we? 

Brody: No. Well, it was immediately upon leaving the governor s office. 
Chall: Then I suspect it was January of *61. 

*George L. Baker, "Westlands Ralph Brody the $81,500 Public Servant," 
California Journal, VII :9, September 1976, pp. 293-296. 

**"Westlands Brody Replies," California Journal, VII:9, pp.362 and 392, 


Brody: I was still with the governor s office when J.E. O Neill and a number 
of other people from Westlands came to me and asked me to join 
Westlands. I had contemplated going back into private practice, 
which was my primary concern. They had mentioned that they had a 
challenging project and I knew it. My whole professional career 
has been involved in projects where there was some unique problem 
involved and I have attempted to resolve it. 

The problem that they were describing to me about Westlands was 
not the question of acreage limitation we ll come to that in a 
moment but just the idea of getting the thing going. They were 
still suspicious of southern California and one thing and another, 
and they wanted me, I think, to watch over this contract that was 
going to involve that. These were the matters that they said they 
wanted me to come to handle. 

Now, one thing that I mentioned to them at that point in time as 
far as acreage limitation was concerned I knew about the issue 
taking place in Congress. I said, "If I accept this job, I will 
come only on one condition that you not ask me to do anything to 
subvert or change acreage limitation." They said, "We will not do 
that." And they kept their word throughout. They never asked me 
to do anything as far as acreage limitation was concerned, and I 
can confidently say that I did nothing to subvert acreage limitation 
or to change it. Now, bear in mind that during the course of the 
hearings on the authorization, practically all of the large land 
owners in Westlands, with the possible exception of Southern 
Pacific, which at that time said, "We don t know what we re going 
to do," all of them said that they were willing to sign recordable 

Chall: Now at that time Westlands was a district with X-number of acres 
of land? 

Brody: Yes, with 350,000 acres. That was what was the original Westlands 
and essentially the land in the San Luis service area which lies 
east of the canal. 

Chall: That all had to be built, so they expected you then to get the 
contracts, to be the builder? 

Brody: Yes, and to negotiate the contract with the United States. The 
United States was going to be the constructor. [pause] So I 
agreed to go with them. I anticipated that I was only going to 
stay there for five years. That was my original plan. I had no 
great desire to move to Fresno. A number of years previously I 
had been offered a partnership, before I went with the governor s 
office, a parternship in a leading law firm in Fresno and I turned 
it down because I didn t want to go to Fresno. 


Chall: Was Fresno too small a town? 

Brody: I don t know what it was. I just didn t care for it. But the 

challenge of this job, as always before, challenges like this have 
attracted me, and I accepted. I came to Fresno and my first task, 
as I saw it, was to negotiate a contract with the United States. 

Chall: By that you mean whom and what department? 

Brody: The Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior. Now, 

the reason why it was important was because the United States policy 
was that they would not start construction of the canal until they 
had a repayment contract or a^ contract. I didn t want to hold up 
construction. The second thing was that the district needed 
contracts for these purposes: one, for water supply, and two, for 
the construction of a distribution system which would transport the 
water from the canal to the individual parcels of land within the 
district. Normally they would have both been executed as one 
document, but the planning for the distribution system had not 
progressed to the point at that time where we could do it. So we 
went ahead and negotiated a water service contract. That was a 
contract for water supply. That would give us the water at the 
main canal, but it wouldn t provide for the construction of the 
distribution system. 

Historically, the Bureau of Reclamation had the power under an 
act of 1939 to contract for water in one of two fashions. It could 
enter into a contract with a district under which the district 
agreed to pay the capital costs, without interest, for a period not 
to exceed forty years, plus the operation and maintenance costs of 
the system. Normally, the operation and maintenance would be taken 
over by the district. That was one method. So there was a fixed 
capital obligation without interest. That was the so-called Section 
9(d) of the Reclamation Project Act of 39 and that was called a 
9(d) contract. 

The next succeeding section Section 9(e) says, in lieu of 
entering into a repayment contract a repayment contract was 
specifically defined in the act as being one by which the entity 
assumed a capital obligation. This section says in lieu of doing 
that (.in place of doing that), the secretary was empowered to enter 
into short or long-term contracts for water service or water supply 
to districts on a water rate basis, on a per acre-foot charge. That 
charge was to include two components. One was such fixed charges 
as the secretary might deem proper leaving it up to the secretary 
taking into consideration, without saying that you had to get it 
back, it said that he bears in mind that there was a construction 
cost of the project. But the district didn t assume the capital 
cost obligation. It assumed a water rate charge. This was a charge 
for service. 


Brody: I was still with the governor s office when J.E. O Neill and a number 
of other people from Westlands came to me and asked me to join 
Westlands. I had contemplated going back into private practice, 
which was my primary concern. They had mentioned that they had a 
challenging project and I knew it. My whole professional career 
has been involved in projects where there was some unique problem 
involved and I have attempted to resolve it. 

The problem that they were describing to me about Westlands was 
not the question of acreage limitation we ll come to that in a 
moment but just the idea of getting the thing going. They were 
still suspicious of southern California and one thing and another, 
and they wanted me, I think, to watch over this contract that was 
going to involve that. These were the matters that they said they 
wanted me to come to handle. 

Now, one thing that I mentioned to them at that point in time as 
far as acreage limitation was concerned I knew about the issue 
taking place in Congress. I said, "If I accept this job, I will 
come only on one condition that you not ask me to do anything to 
subvert or change acreage limitation." They said, "We will not do 
that." And they kept their word throughout. They never asked me 
to do anything as far as acreage limitation was concerned, and I 
can confidently say that I did nothing to subvert acreage limitation 
or to change it. Now, bear in mind that during the course of the 
hearings on the authorization, practically all of the large land 
owners in Westlands, with the possible exception of Southern 
Pacific, which at that time said, "We don t know what we re going 
to do," all of them said that they were willing to sign recordable 
contracts . 

Chall: Now at that time Westlands was a district with X-number of acres 
of land? 

Brody: Yes, with 350,000 acres. That was what was the original Westlands 
and essentially the land in the San Luis service area which lies 
east of the canal. 

Chall: That all had to be built, so they expected you then to get the 
contracts, to be the builder? 

Brody: Yes, and to negotiate the contract with the United States. The 
United States was going to be the constructor. [pause] So I 
agreed to go with them. I anticipated that I was only going to 
stay there for five years. That was my original plan. I had no 
great desire to move to Fresno. A number of years previously I 
had been offered a partnership, before I went with the governor s 
office, a parternship in a leading law firm in Fresno and I turned 
it down because I didn t want to go to Fresno. 


Chall: Was Fresno too small a town? 

Brody: I don t know what it was. I just didn t care for it. But the 

challenge of this job, as always before, challenges like this have 
attracted me, and I accepted. I came to Fresno and my first task, 
as I saw it, was to negotiate a contract with the United States. 

Chall: By that you mean whom and what department? 

Brody: The Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior. Now, 

the reason why it was important was because the United States policy 
was that they would not start construction of the canal until they 
had a repayment contract or a_ contract. I didn t want to hold up 
construction. The second thing was that the district needed 
contracts for these purposes: one, for water supply, and two, for 
the construction of a distribution system which would transport the 
water from the canal to the individual parcels of land within the 
district. Normally they would have both been executed as one 
document, but the planning for the distribution system had not 
progressed to the point at that time where we could do it. So we 
went ahead and negotiated a water service contract. That was a 
contract for water supply. That would give us the water at the 
main canal, but it wouldn t provide for the construction of the 
distribution system. 

Historically, the Bureau of Reclamation had the power under an 
act of 1939 to contract for water in one of two fashions. It could 
enter into a contract with a district under which the district 
agreed to pay the capital costs, without interest, for a period not 
to exceed forty years, plus the operation and maintenance costs of 
the system. Normally, the operation and maintenance would be taken 
over by the district. That was one method. So there was a fixed 
capital obligation without interest. That was the so-called Section 
9(d) of the Reclamation Project Act of 39 and that was called a 
9(d) contract. 

The next succeeding section Section 9(e) says, in lieu of 
entering into a repayment contract a repayment contract was 
specifically defined in the act as being one by which the entity 
assumed a capital obligation. This section says in lieu of doing 
that (.in place of doing that), the secretary was empowered to enter 
into short or long-term contracts for water service or water supply 
to districts on a water rate basis, on a per acre-foot charge. That 
charge was to include two components . One was such fixed charges 
as the secretary might deem proper leaving it up to the secretary 
taking into consideration, without saying that you had to get it 
back, it said that he bears in mind that there was a construction 
cost of the project. But the district didn t assume the capital 
cost obligation. It assumed a water rate charge. This was a charge 
for service. 


Brody: The second element was appropriate share of operation and maintenance 
costs as he deemed proper. In no respect did this say that there 
was to be a capital obligation or that there was contemplated a 
return of the money within a period of forty years of the capital 

Chall: This was a rate forever? 

Brody: It could be. No for that term of the contract. It might be a 
different rate with the next contract. 

Chall: It takes in both the building and the service. 

Brody: That s right. But as an element to consider. A utility doesn t 
recover the cost of its plant. The utility gets a return on its 
investment taking into account the cost of that plant, and that s 
what I think that they had in mind when they did this. Unfortunately, 
there s no legislative history. But that was the basis on which 
the $3.50 rate was predicated on the Friant-Kern Canal. Whatever 
the rate turned out to be, if it was inadequate, if they felt they 
wanted to get back capital costs, they could do that in succeeding 

Now, the difference between the two contracts as far as the 
water users were concerned was and originally the CVP [Central 
Valley Project] contractors on the east side of the Valley didn t 
like the 9(e) concept; it had to be sold to them. But the difference 
between the two was that under the capital cost procedure, in effect 
while it s true the titles of the works didn t pass to the people 
except by act of Congress they paid out the project in forty years 
and it was their project. They had a permanent water right, 
appurtenant to the land, forever. 

Under the 9(e) procedure, all they got was the contractual right 
to water for a period of years. It might be ten years or forty 
years, whatever the terms of the contract turned out to be. The 
government didn t necessarily get back the cost of" the project. 
It got back a_ rate and it might use that rate to finance other 
projects if it wanted to. The government got into the water 
business. We called them utility type contracts. 

All right. As I say, the rate was established at $3.50 on the 
east side of the Valley, but in the San Luis deal when we went to 
contract, the cost allocation report which is required as a part of 
procedure set up a rate at $7.50 an acre-foot. It described that 
as the appropriate charge for water. The circumstances had not 
changed from the time that report was written and the time we were 
negotiating the contract. 


Chall: Was the report written before you 

Brody: Oh, yes, before I went with the district. It was a part of the 
Westlands authorization process. You had to have a feasibility 
report in order to go to Congress in order to get it authorized. 
It is before Congress. Congress was aware of it presumably. I 
don t know whether it was mentioned in the debate or not. 

So we started negotiating on that basis. I might say in the 
subsequent years, before we were discussing amendatory contracts, 
the bureau did approach me on the basis of trying to get an 
escalation figure in the contract and I refused, and I ll tell 
you why later. But anyhow, the rate was not brought into question 
really at that point. That was the rate set up in the feasibility 
report. We didn t ask for any less despite the fact that it was 
more than twice what they were paying on the east side of the Valley. 

Chall: But thirty years had gone by. 

Brody: That s right and we weren t objecting to that. All I m saying is 
we thought that we could have made an argument to try to get a 
lower rate and say, "Look, we ll pay a third more than what these 
other people on the east side are paying." It was a negotiable 
kind of thing. Certainly on the east side it wasn t predicated 
on the same kind of basis. So we agreed to go along with that 
rate. So that goes for the rate element in the original 1963 

When we sat down to negotiate, of course the question of acreage 
limitation came up, and I had made up my mind to one thing. During 
the debate, as you recall, I said that Ballis and these other people 
said they wanted everybody in the Central Valley treated alike. So 
I said to the bureau, "Look, we want to be treated no better and 
no worse than anybody else in the Central Valley, in the federal 
Central Valley Project. We want the same acreage limitation pro 
visions in our contract that you ve had in every other contract 
that you have in the Central Valley Project." And that was done. 

Chall: Which was that? 

Brody: The elaborate, detailed provisions for the application of acreage 
limitation that no landowner could get water for more than 160 
acres of his land unless he signed a contract agreeing to dispose 
of his excess holdings, within ten years, at a price to be approved 
by the secretary of the interior. All of the details, 

Chall: So it was just like the old fashioned one that they still were 
arguing about? 


Brody: No, there was no argument at that point. There was no argument. 
If anything, the argument was on the other side from the people 
who were subject to it. They didn t like the provisions of the 
contract. And another thing they didn t like was the fact that 
the federal government kept interpreting the contract differently 
all the time. There was no certainty in the thing. 

Let me go back. I negotiated the original contracts in the Central 
Valley Project and the reason all of the detail was put in the 
original contracts was because the farmers wanted to know and they 
were entitled to know where they stood with respect to the enforce 
ment of these things, how it was to be applied. The same thing 
was true here. So there was no at that point of time- there was 
no controversy about the provisions, and 1*11 give you evidence of 
this. So we agreed on the form of the contract, with that language 
in it, unchanged. 

I was so proud of this fact, that we had not asked for any con 
cessions, and were given no concessions, and everybody seemed to 
be happy with the acreage limitation provisions of the other 
contracts I was so pleased with this that I sent a copy of the 
contract to George Ballis, to Paul Taylor, to Don Vial, and to 
everybody who was involved in this thing. I didn t hear a comment 
from anyone of them, neither adverse or favorable, and I assumed 
that there was nothing that they complained about. That was fine. 

So the contract was signed. This contract the water services 
contract didn t have to rest before Congress ninety days. It 
didn t have to be submitted to the Congress. But in any event, 
they knew what was in the contract or they should have known. I 
sent them copies of it. 

All right, so that contract was in effect and they started 
building the San Luis Canal. Then came time, a year or two years 
later, when we were ready to go ahead for a contract for our 
distribution system. That Section 9(e) that I was telling you about 
said that when it comes to a distribution system you can only 
execute a 9(d) contract. The local agency had to assume the 
capital obligation. It could only be a 9(d) contract, which further 
delineates the distinction between paying the capital obligation 
and paying rates for water. They said you have to have a 9(d) 
contract for that, which didn t bother us particularly. Now, bear 
in mind that under the main supply works, even where you have a 
capital obligation, the cost is reduced to the ability to pay. 
In other words, the power subsidy pays part of it. 

In the case of our distribution system, we agreed to pay the full 
capital cost which at that time was estimated to be $157 million. 
Now in drawing up the contract again we had already agreed to excess 


Brody: provisions I said, "Well, we re not asking for any changes. Let s 
incorporate the provisions which were in the 1963 contract in this 
contract- by reference." In other words, we would say, "No deliveries 
of the water should be made from this system to lands which are not 
eligible under the 1963 contract." And that s the way it was 

Nobody had ever objected in the two years or one year, I ve 
forgotten what the period of time was, between the execution of 
the previous contract and this one. Now, that contract had to 
rest before Congress for ninety days under an expressed provision 
of the law. The authorization act said that contracts for the 
distribution system shall be submitted to Congress for ninety days. 

Chall: What year was this then? The first one was 63? 
Brody: This was 65. Am going into too much detail here? 

Chall: No, that s all right, go ahead. I have information about a series 
of hearings at about 1964 so it must have been about then. 

Brody: That s correct, but it was signed in 1965. I ll come to that in a 
minute. So that contract was submitted to the Congress. Now, it 
had been before Congress for about a month, I guess, when appropria 
tion hearings were coming up. We wanted to get started on building 
the distribution system right away. With the committee hearings 
coming up on the budget, if we waited the full ninety days, without 
any action by the committee, then it would be too late to get money 
in that year s budget. So I went to the House Interior Committee 
and I said, "Look, it s still going to have to rest here ninety 
days, but this has been before you for thirty days (or whatever the 
period of time was) and there has been no objection. If you have 
no objection to our contract, let us have a resolution that we can 
submit to the Appropriations Committee, to say that it appears that 
there is nothing wrong with this contract and go ahead, it s all 
right to appropriate funds for it." And they gave me such a 

Congressional Hearings 

Brody: I was going to go to the Senate side to do that and all of a sudden 
I find that Senator [Gaylord] Nelson has called for hearings on 
this matter, on the contract. It appears that Ballis, or others, 
had asked for the hearings, asked Nelson to ask for the hearings. 
This was 65. Now, [Tom] Kuchel was on the committee. Nelson was not. 


Brody: They weren t specifically objecting to the terms of the excess land 
provisions of the contract. They raised some of the most ridiculous 
kinds of questions about it. They even had water running uphill in 
effect in this thing. But they said that Congress should not 
build a distribution system until the people signed recordable 
contracts. That was the burden of their argument. 

Chall: That s right, sign the contracts. 

Brody: Before we started construction of the distribution system. Other 
wise that they would fail to sign recordable contracts, and the 
large landowners would continue to pump and the small landowners 
wouldn t take the project s supply, and thereby the large landowners 
wouldn t have to sign recordable contracts to dispose of their holdings, 

The absurdity of that argument was so apparent. I remember 
during a recess Father [James] Vizzard was there I said, "Father, 
if you d walk over to the board here, I d like to show you what the 
facts are. These things are not in accord with the facts." He 
said, "I don t care about the facts. It s the principle I m 
concerned about." 

But let me give you an example of what they said. Bear in mind 
that the safe yield of the ground water supply was only 300,000 
acre-feet of water. If you pump out more than that, the same 
condition was going to prevail that prevailed before. The water 
table was going to go down; water would become economically, if 
not physically, unavailable. 

Now, 76 percent of the land in the district was ineligible under 
acreage limitation. So if they didn t sign up, you d continue to 
have the overdraft no matter what these other people applied for 
water. Do you see what I mean? It wouldn t be enough to offset 
that overdraft. The second thing was that they still had to pay 
for the full amount of water the district did. The little guy 
couldn t afford to pay all that cost, so it meant then you d have 
to collect by assessment, from the people who weren t getting the 
water, for the cost of water they weren t going to be using. Do 
you follow my thoughts? 

We re going to get 900,000 acre-feet or water, in 783, and we had 
to pay for it whether we used it or not. The little guys couldn t 
use all of it, but we still had to pay for 783. Therefore, we had 
to pay for it through taxes. We could tax the land we had to tax 
the land of everybody. Therefore, these people were not only not 
taking water and had to pay more for their water that they were 
getting from the ground, but they had to pay for that water that 
they couldn t get. 


Brody: Our studies indicated that the cost of the existing supplies of 
water which were going to be pumped from the ground would have 
increased per acre-foot by three or four times as a result of this 
thing. My argument was and it later turned out to be largely true 
not completely true. Well, I don t know whether this was the 
influence, but I said that the economic compulsion would be there 
for them; they couldn t get out of signing recordable contracts 
once they were in the district. But the best thing that could 
happen to the large landowner would be for them not to build the 
system. They wouldn t have had to pay for the system they couldn t 
use too. The best thing that could happen to them would be for 
them not to build the system if they didn t intend to comply because 
then they escaped the necessity of paying for that cost. This was 
one of the arguments that went on there. 

But every argument they raised was a specious kind of argument. 

Chall : But what was the reason for not having them sign recordable contracts 
right away? 

Brody: Because there s no incentive for a man to sign a recordable contract 
until the water is available for his land. What s the purpose of 
him signing at that point? The real incentive is for him to get 
water for that land, and that would certainly have frustrated the 
acreage limitation provisions, I think, because they would have 
resisted. You ll get a revolt in the district and they ll say, 
"To hell with the whole thing." 

Chall: But they knew it was coming. They knew that if they got the water 
that they would have to sign. 

Brody: They would have to sign the recordable contracts. But I don t 

care what it is. My experience on the Friant-Kern Canal was that 
the people didn t want to sign contracts for water until they saw 
the water in the canal. That s not unreasonable. Secondly, they 
didn t want the terms to start running on these recordable contracts 
until they could use the water for the full ten-year period. That s 
another reason for it. 

During the course of the hearings, I might say (I was told this 
afterwards by Senator Kuchel) , during the course of the hearings, 
Gaylord Nelson leaned over to him and said, "Gee, I thought I had 
another Teapot Dome scandal. I don t see anything wrong." He got 
up to go out and get a haircut and didn t show up for the next two 
days. He didn t show up again for several days, as I recall. In 
any event he did make that statement. 


Brody: There was the area in West Plains a water storage district, which 
was another couple of hundred thousand acres of land to the west 
of the canal. They were also concerned about the fact that if 
Westlands got a water supply, then West Plains would benefit from 
it. That s where water would be running uphill in some fashion and 
they would pump. 

Chall: West Plains would pump from underground? 

Brody: Well, physically you ll just have to take my word for it it 

would not occur. Secondly, there is very little water you can get 
in the ground in Westlands simply because of a heavy layer of 
Corcoran clay that underlies the district. As a matter of fact, 
it creates a drainage problem. So they were insisting that the two 
districts be merged into one unit. 

Chall: Who were the "they" insisting? 

Brody: Ballis and the other opposition witnesses. When I say "Ballis" 

throughout here I m talking about them. The Department of Interior 
was supportive of our position. This is one of the things that made 
me so angry with the department. They supported our position 
completely, or rather we were supporting their position. They were 
the ones to defend it; we weren t. They made a beautiful case. 
I can show you charts and things that made it so apparent that 
none of the results that they were concerned about could have 
happened . I certainly think my theory is valid and certainly the 
result was there, whether it came from that or not I don t know 
that the economic pressures were the one thing that would force 
these people to sign up, and I pointed it out in terms of dollars 
and cents to them. 

Well, the hearings ended. 

The Administration Recommends Contract Revisions## 

Brody: As I say, no objections were raised by Congress and we were prepared 
to go ahead and sign the contract. (This is the distribution system 
contract.) I was in my office one day and I got a call from the 
then commissioner of reclamation, [Floyd E,] Dominy, and the then 
I don t know whether he was solicitor of the Department of Interior 
of whether he was chief counsel of the Bureau of Reclamation, 
Ed Weinberg. They were in Sacramento and they said, "Ralph, we d 
like to talk to you." I said, "Okay." I don t remember if we 
talked on the telephone or if I went to Sacramento. They -said, 


Brody: "Ralph, we want you to understand, nobody sent us out here. Nobody 
asked us to talk to you. But feel that in order to placate these 
people the Ballises and the others we ought to make changes in 
the contract to suit them." 

I said, "In the first place, it seems to me that it s very 
extraordinary that a third party should be dictating the terms that 
go in a contract between the United States and the district. 
Secondly, it seems to me to extremely inappropriate since you 
people defended this contract and all of its provisions so ably 
before the Congress, and showed that there was no reason for their 
concerns, and that there was no justification for it. If you make 
changes now, it s going to make it appear that your hand was in 
the cookie jar. Nevertheless, you go back to Washington and you 
tell whoever it was that didn t send you, and say that, Yes, 
we ll go along with the changes. We may be asking for some conces 
sions if you do, but we think it s a serious mistake to do it, 
and all it will do is aggravate the situation further. You re in 
a defensible position. There s nothing here that s untoward and 
the support for the contract was there in the Congress. " 

Chall: What changes did they want to make? 

Brody: Well, I ll come to that. I heard nothing more. I was back in 

Atlantic City for the Democratic convention [1964]. I was in my 
room and I got a call. It was from Assistant Secretary [Kenneth] 
Holum. He was down in the lobby and he said he would like to see 
me. He raised the same point. He said, "Ralph, these people 
object to the contract. I think maybe we ought to make some 
changes." I said, "Ken, if there was something wrong with the 
contract I could understand it." I told him the same things I 
told these other people. I said, "Who discussed changes with you?" 

So we agreed to make changes. One was that we would merge 
Westlands and West Plains. The United States was asking for it, 
pursuant to these other changes. We agreed that we would take 
certain steps and I ve forgotten specifically what they were. 
We weren t going to change the existing drafted contract. What 
we were going to do was enter an operating agreement. We knew 
we were going to have an amendatory contract when the two districts 
merged. So we said we d have the operating agreement and then put 
them into the new contract. We said that until 76 percent of the 
land became eligible certain things would happen. We d pump a 
certain amount of water, for example, and we d collect our money 
by means of assessment rather than toll charges, trying to make 
sure that the noncomplying landlords were paying. 


Brody: Now, this was unfair in itself because they couldn*t get water if 
they wanted to because of the fact that the- system wasn t complete 
at that point. But there were a number of things that we agreed 
to. We agreed to take over the operation and maintenance of the 
Pleasant Valley pumping plant and canal, which we did do. 

Chall: Pleasant Valley being where, up in West Plains? 

Brody: Yes, the West Plains area. And service to the city of Coalinga 
also. Anyhow, we agreed to do those things. So Holum wrote a 
memorandum to the secretary of the interior describing these 
things and the way he couched it was, "I suggest that you insist 
these be done before the contract a condition to the execution 
of the contract." Well, that was a memorandum. That was the so- 
called Holum memorandum. 

Chall: That s all in the public record then? 

Brody: Yes, not only that, but the memorandum was sent to the Congress 

and was printed as a part of the hearings in the appendix to the 

In the meantime, I had been talking to the large landholders. 
You asked me how I feel, and I told you yesterday that I felt that 
I had done more toward application of acreage limitation than 
anybody else. I had been working on the Southern Pacific, on 
Russell Giffen, and these other people to sign recordable contracts, 
with the result that when the time came for signing the operating 
agreement we had the 76 percent eligibility which made it unnecessary. 

Chall: They signed their contracts? 

Brody: They did, just as they promised the Congress. The lands had become 
eligible, through either sales, but mostly through the signing of 
recordable contracts, so that it wasn t necessary to implement it 
further. We went ahead and we completed the merger of the two 
districts. We took over the operation and maintenance. 

Now, we insisted that we be given and this was in the Holum 
memorandum that we be given the additional 250,000 acre-feet of 
water necessary for the project and at the same price that we got 
for the rest of Westlands, $7.50 an acre-foot. 

Now, to bring that up to date, one of the things that disturbs 
me completely is (and I told you yesterday elsewhere), I felt that 
if there had been a breach of faith, here anyplace, it s more of a 
breach of faith on the part of the federal government, in what it 
has done, than on the part of Westlands Water District. In every 


Brody: respect, these people have complied with every promise they ever 

made to the federal government. They signed recordable contracts. 
Congress knew of the condition of the excess landholdings in this 
district when the project was authorized. Congress knew there were 
large landholders . They knew what the rate for water was going to 
be. Congress knew that it would require signing recordable 
contracts. These people represented they would sign them and 
they did do it. And then for Congress to come along later and 
delay the project to the tune of costing the district an added 
$150 million for the distribution system, as a result of inflation 
prompted by the delays of Congress, and for the Department of the 
Interior (the same Department of Interior, although it s a different 
secretary) to come along now and say, "We will not abide by the 
Holum memorandum. We will not give you the 250,000 acre-feet of 
water. We will not charge you only $7.50 an acre-foot for it. We 
will not give you the benefit of the same acreage limitation 
provisions that were in that contract" they want you to change 
the whole thing I think is a breach of faith that is scandalous. 
This is what happened in Westlands and to suggest that it is the 
deviousness of Westlands is one of the most unfair things I ve 
ever heard in my life. There s been no breach of integrity on the 
part of Westlands in any respect. Where there s been a breach is 
on the part of the federal government. 

Chall: At what point in this whole period of time it s been nearly twenty 
years did they hold up the project? Where is the project now? 

Brody: Well, you see the distribution system was being constructed and 
it took annual appropriations. During the course of that time, 
there were times when I was back there every year pleading with 
them to give us more money. But they were conscious of the budget 
and they kept back. They didn t give us as much as we needed. In 
some years, the president by executive order froze the funds and 
wouldn t let them spend them not because of acreage limitation or 
anything else, but because of the budgetary picture, which we went 
along with. We had to. We didn t like it, but we went along with 
it. But if there s anything dilatory, it wasn t the district that 
did it and they had to pay for it by the tune, as I say, of another 
$150 million. 

Now, the opponents, Ballis and these other people, claimed as 
far as acreage limitation is concerned, that there s been an evasion- 

The Question of Evasions of the 160-acre Limitation Law 

Chall: Yes, they do attack the Jubil Ranch. Now, that looks like an evasion 
on paper. 

Memorandum Oct. 4, 1964 

To: Secretary of the Interior 

From: Assistant Secretary, Water and Power Development 

Subject: Amendment of water service contract, Westlands Water District, Central Valley Project, 

The form of contract to provide water service for the Westlands Water District from the San Luis 
Unit of the Central Valley Project, California, was executed on behalf of the United States and the 
District on June 5, 1963, and was later confirmed by court decree. The contract provides for delivery 
to the District of not to exceed 1,008,000 acre-feet through 1979 and up to 900,000 acre-feet annually 
thereafter during the term of the contract if joint Federal-State ground water studies indicate the 
need therefor. 

To utilize the water allocated will require facilities to distribute water to the lands of the District 
and for necessary drainage. Federal facilities to provide these services are estimated to cost 
$157,048,000. A contract providing for the construction and repayment was approved as to form on 
April 23, 1964, and was submitted the next day to the Congress to begin the required 90-day wait 
ing period prerequisite to the appropriation of construction funds. The House Committee on Interior 
and Insular Affairs approved execution of the proposed contract by resolution adopted May 6, 
1964. The Senate Subcommittee on Irrigation and Reclamation held a hearing, but neither approved 
nor disapproved the proposed contract. 

At the hearing I led a group of witnesses representing the Department, Solicitor s Office and the 
Bureau of Reclamation testifying in favor of the proposed contract. Mr. Ralph Brody, Manager and 
Chief Counsel, supported the contract on behalf of the District. Senator Kuchel also expressed his 
support. Witnesses representing the AFL-CIO, Farmers Union, National Grange, and other organi 
zations opposed the contract. Senator Gaylord Nelson also voiced his disapproval. Opponents re 
quested that the proposed contract be returned to the Department for revision to include additional 
provisions to insure that the benefits arising from the use of project water are not passed on to 
excess landowners. Concern was also expressed lest the excess landowners maintain control of 
the District and operate its revenue program to the disadvantage of the small landowner. 

The contract provisions attacked by the witnesses have been repeatedly used in other contracts for 
15 or more years in the Central Valley Project. They are not new. However, in the Westlands 
Water District almost 70 percent of the land is in excess ownership and this fact causes me suffi 
cient concern to recommend further contractual provisions to encourage the development of family- 
sized farms. I have carefully reviewed this matter and suggest amending the water service contract 
in several respects as a prerequisite to your executing the distribution system repayment contract. 
The proposed amendments are discussed below and if approved by you, the Commissioner of Rec- 
clamation will be authorized to initiate negotiations on these amendments with the Westlands 

Contract recitals. In two places, recitals state that an additional water supply (project water) is 
needed to replenish depleted ground water supplies. The recitals are unnecessary and should be 
stricken. It is anticipated that the addition of project water and the reduction of pumping will im 
prove the ground water situation as an incident to the primary objectives of the project. 

Unavoidable clause. This clause provides that a district will not be in violation of the excess land 
laws if it delivers project water to eligible lands and a portion of the water delivered thereafter un 
avoidably percolates into the ground water aquifer and is pumped by an excess landowner. The 
unavoidable clause was inserted in the 1949 contract with the Orange Cove Irrigation District at the 
insistence of the California Districts Securities Commission as a condition precedent to its approval 
of the contract. In subsequent Central Valley Project contracts this clause became a standard pro 
vision. Previously, during hearings in May and June 1947, before the Senate Subcommittee on 
Public Lands, Mr. Clifford E. Fix, Chief Counsel for the Bureau of Reclamation, presented a formal 
statement in which he quoted with approval portions of the Commissioner s letter of April 30, 1947. 



The substance of the portion quoted by Mr. Fix is included in Secretary Krug s letter of January 25, 
1949, to the Board of Directors of the Orange Cove Irrigation District. Secretary Krug said in part: 

"It is my understanding that you were informed (1) that if project water should augment the 
underground supplies of excess land owners * * *, and (2) if such supplies should not be dis 
tinguishable from project supplies, neither the United States nor the District could, as a legal 
matter, enjoin the landowner from pumping such mingled waters and, further, that at the pres 
ent time the engineers of the Bureau of Reclamation know of no way by which project water so 
mingled with natural supplies could be identified or segregated. I am in accord with this view 
and it was never the intention of this Department that the situation would or could be other 

I see no reasonable ground for the California Districts Securities Commissioner s insistence on the 
inclusion of this clause and it should be deleted. 

Limit on Water Use. The present water service contract provides a total water quantity limit for the 
District; for example, 1,008,000 acre-feet annually through 1979, but it does not limit the quantity 
supplied per acre. This could be done by citing the maximum average number of acre-feet that 
could be applied annually and providing for adjustment depending on crop pattern. This would be 
consistent with the Bureau s longstanding policy of limiting water application to reasonable bene 
ficial use. 

Ground water use on eligible lands. Plans call for the conjunctive use of ground and surface water 
supplies. In the long run it is expected ground water levels will be stabilized and the safe yield will 
be pumped for use on District lands. The District is expected to operate a number of wells to 
accomplish this objective. Present contractual arrangements contemplate substituting project 
water for ground water wherever possible during the early years of the contract. The intent was to 
accelerate natural recharge of the ground water basin underlying the District. Opponents of the 
Westlands contract contend that a considerable portion of the recharge would come from project 
irrigation water percolating into the ground water basin. It is this benefit to which opponents to 
the Westlands contracts most object. Under the circumstances, a scaling down of the share of the 
irrigation requirement met by project water and the acceptance of a lesser rate of ground water 
replenishment is preferable. It is estimated that between 10 and 15 percent of the project water ap 
plied on the surface will percolate into the underlying ground water and be pumped for use on Dis 
trict lands. To insure that this pumped water made available by the project is utilized on eligible 
lands, amendments in the contract should require that the District pump an equal quantity of water 
for application on eligible lands. 

Ad valorem taxes. District officials have on several occasions stated that the District expects to 
vary water tolls and ad valorem tax levies inversely to control ground water pumping as necessary 
to maintain a safe ground water yield. Taxes on land must be paid by the owner regardless of 
whether or not project water is used on his land. When part of the revenue to meet project water 
charges is derived from ad valorem tax revenues, it tends to increase the total irrigation costs of 
those farmers depending on pumped water. Also, the more ad valorem revenues are applied 
toward project water, the less that the water toll charge must be for such service. To evidence De 
partmental endorsement of the procedure, we should seek a provision in the water service contract 
to assure that ad valorem tax revenues are used to make ground water pumping relatively expen 
sive in terms of project surface water supplies until the lands of the District have been placed under 
recordable contract. 

Municipal and industrial water deliveries. Project plans contemplate that about 45,000 acre-feet 
annually will be used from the San Luis Unit to satisfy water requirements of communities like 
Coalinga and to meet demands of the Leemore Air Base. In amending the water service contract, 
provision should be made for the District to furnish municipal and industrial water to communities 
and installations for which service is planned. This will require the determination of an appropri 
ate M&l rate. Reclamation advises that the $15 an acre-foot rate proposed in the 1955 Feasibility 
Report for the San Luis Unit would be sufficient to meet the costs of the added facilities associated 



with the San Luis Unit allocated to municipal and industrial service. This rate would not, however, 
provide payment for the use of the Delta-Mendota Canal or other facilities previously constructed as 
a part of the Central Valley Project which may be used to provide service in the San Luis Unit Ser 
vice area. Therefore, in accordance with recent recommendations of Reclamation, a $2 participation 
charge is added and a San Luis canal side rate of $17 an acre-foot is recommended. In addition, 
there will be a drainage service charge of 50 cents an acre-foot. 

Consolidation of Westlands and Westplains Districts. The proposed contract amendments associ 
ated with irrigation water service are expected to reduce annual project water demand in the 
Westlands District for at least several years. We know that other contractors are anxious to obtain 
project water service; one of these is the Westplains Water Storage District which borders West- 
lands on the west. There are advantages to the Government in the combining of these two Districts. 
For example, it will make ground water "safe yield" determination easier and excess land adminis 
tration more effective. The water rate question arises because approximately 30 percent of the land 
in the Westplains District lies above the upper elevation of the Federal service area as conceived in 
the San Luis Unit 1955 Feasibility Report. In that report an irrigation water service rate of $7.50 an 
acre was accepted. This is the same rate used in the water service contract with the Westlands 
Water District. We would like to hold to the concept of a uniform rate for service to the combined 
Districts. At the same time it must be recognized that the United States must incur proportionally 
higher costs for pumps and power to serve the higher lying lands outside the originally conceived 
Federal service area. It is proposed that the contracting District assume the annual cost of OMSR 
for the Pleasant Valley Canal and Pleasant Valley Pumping Plant and in the consideration therefor 
a uniform rate of $7.50 an acre-foot apply for all water service in the enlarged District. In addition, 
there would be the 50 cents an acre-foot drainage service charge. 

The uncommitted water available from the Federal San Luis Unit for agricultural purposes is suffi 
cient to meet only about 35 to 45 percent of the water needs within the area of the present West- 
plains Water Storage District. This available water can be contracted on a permanent basis. The 
additional water required to meet the area s needs is expected to be supplied under a specifically 
stated contract provision and understanding that such water might later have to be withdrawn to 
meet prior commitments. These commitments are generally for the proposed East Side Division of 
the Central Valley Project. It is hoped, however, that withdrawal will not be necessary and that addi 
tional project water supplies will be developed on a permanent basis in time to avoid such with 
drawal action. Meanwhile, contracting for the delivery of water on an interim basis would be of 
benefit to the District and the United States. The United States would benefit from revenue received 
for the marketing of this nonpermanent water supply; the District would benefit from the use of the 
water and would assume the risk of its withdrawal. 

In reopening negotiations to amend the executed water service contract between the United States 
and the District, the District may seek other adjustments. Because of the possibility of having to 
again submit the water distribution system contract to the Congress for the required 90-day wait 
ing period, it seems desirable, if possible; to avoid amending that contract. 

Your approval of the proposal to amend the water service contract is recommended, with the 
understanding that execution of the contract will be withheld until negotiations have been success 
fully completed and until we have reviewed the outcome of these negotiations and have approved 
the contract. 

Approved: Oct. 7, 1964 



Brody: I ve forgotten now what the circumstances were there. 

Chall: Well, it seems that Giffen sold land to a number of people and they 
were friends, relatives 

Brody: All right, let s go into that. Let s discuss that. Giffen had 

42,000 acres of land. He sold every acre of it, except maybe 100 
or so acres. Out of the 42,000 acres, he sold 3,000 acres to 
employees or former employees. Now, I don t know that there s 
anything wrong with a man selling land giving the benefit of that 
to employees who helped build up that or any employee. 

Chall: But they claimed these are not farmers. That these people to whom 
he sold land are not farmers. They are "paper" farmers and not 
really [land] farmers. 

Brody: In the first place, they are farmers. But let s suppose that they 
are not. 

Chall: All right, because I always see that they are not farmers. 

Brody: I know that they are but I don t think that necessarily is relevant. 
You see what they imply. The implication of what they say is 
that Giffen somehow retained control. 

Chall: That s right. Or the control is not really dispersed. 

Brody: Which is ridiculous and untrue. It s. an implication they give rise 
to but they never support it in any respect. Now, these people are 
getting the benefits of that land there s no question about that 
the people who bought it. Giffen gets nothing out of it. If he 
did, then I would say, yes, there s a breach. But that is not true. 

Chall: But are they farmers living on or near the land? 

Brody: No, they re not living on it in some cases; but then there s 

Chall: That s the other aspect of it. 

Brody: They are not, but then I m not so sure that _! agree that the law 
requires that. 

Chall: I see. I thought it did. 

Brody: Secondly, it had never been oh, for fifty years it had never been 
applied in that fashion. 


Chall: Ah, that s where the opposition, where the Ballises and the 

Taylors are concerned, because they say that the law has never 
been applied administratively it has never been upheld and 
the residence requirement is part of the deal with respect to the 
160-acre limit. 

Brody: Well, you see that s his interpretation of the law. Now, the 

fact of the matter is that there s ample basis for saying that it 
was not intended to apply in those situations. That s a 1902 
provision and there have been many enactments since then. But 
whether they are correct or whether I am correct is irrelevant 
at this particular point in time. Until or unless a court says 
so, then you can t say at this point. I think it s sufficiently 
uncertain to say that. 

Chall: Until it goes to the Supreme Court this issue? 

Brody: Yes, but you can t censure Westlands or the people in it for 

adhering to the policy that had prevailed for over fifty years. 
When they embarked upon the thing, nobody contemplated, nobody 
ever said anything about residency applying. 

Chall: Really? 

Brody: No! No one had ever done anything like this, elsewhere in the 
Central Valley Project or here. If Ballis was so conscious of 
this thing, why wasn t he raising it thirty years ago in the rest 
of the Central Valley? 

Chall: Well, I m not so sure that he wasn t. 

Brody: No, they weren t raising the issue. If the issue had been raised 
in the same fashion then, we would have known where we stood in 
Westlands. But it was never raised as an issue. Nobody considered 
it as applying, neither the government nor us. So it wasn t a 
question of evasion. It was not an element to be considered. 

Now, let s go back to Giffen. So the law and the contract as 
it had historically been administered and as I believe the law 
provides, does not require you to sell it to anybody who is 
necessarily going to farm that land himself. It s to require you 
to break up this large landholding, that s what they wanted to do, 
and diffuse the titles so the opportunity was there. 

Don t forget and this is something I kept telling these people 
these large landholdings did not grow up overnight and they re 
not going to be broken up overnight. You can t tell me that when 
you have 42,000 acres of land formerly owned by one man and it s 


Brody: transformed very quickly into over 300 ownerships, that that isn t 
a step in the direction of getting it out in the area where you 
want. And it has to happen by evolution, not by revolution. That 
was an important thing to take into account there. 

Now, let s go back to the 3,000 acres. I see nothing wrong with 
a man selling it to employees. Now, 1,500 acres were sold to 
relatives out of 42,000. And again, I see nothing wrong with a 
man selling the land to his relatives so long as it is a bona fide 
transaction. I don t know why you should make ineligible the 
brother or the son of a man who owns land, anymore than you do a 
stranger. Now, the land was sold to the relatives on the same 
terms as was sold to everybody else. But when you take the 
infinitesimal part of this out of this over 42,000 acres, look 
at the significance of the disparity of the figures. It s just 
like that twenty acres I was telling you about owned by the 

Another thing I want to mention and this goes to the question 
of good faith in the arguments they raise they keep talking about 
how the large corporate farms are getting the benefit of the project. 
Everyone of those corporate farms they re talking about has signed 
recordable contracts agreeing to dispose of their land. The 
corporate farms were there before the project was even conceived. 
The large landowners were there. Congress knew they were there. 
Now they come along and they re saying, "Well, we want you to 
break up your holdings." There has to be an incentive for the 
man to break up his holdings, and that incentive was giving him 
a ten-year period within which to use the water while he was 
disposing of his holdings or pending disposition of his holdings. 
Now, that s the benefit that s going to the corporate landholders. 

Chall: So what time is that supposed to all be done in? 

Brody: Now we come to that point. Many of them have expired already. 

Chall: The ten-year period? 

Brody: Yes. And many of them would have sold their lands in this ten-year 
period. But Mr. Ballis brought this to litigation which enjoins 
the sale of the land and precludes them from selling it. And the 
secretary of interior issued regulations holding up the sales 
not approving the sales of these lands pending issuance of new 
regulations by the department. So these people, on the one hand 
they criticize them for [using] the project water. On the other, 
they precluded them from selling it. 

Chall: Why have they enjoined them? 


Brody: The lawsuit was brought because they said the regulations of the 
secretary had not been issued for the sale of the land. That s 
another interesting element. I mentioned this to Ed Weinberg. 
They said there were no regulations these people. I remember 
from the beginning of the contract negotiations, I pleaded with 
the Department of Interior to issue regulations so people would 
know further how they stood on the project in terms of acreage 
limitation. Ed Weinberg, I remember, he characteristically put 
his feet up on his desk and sat back and said, "We don t have 
time" or "it s not a good idea" or something like that. I spoke 
to Secretary Udall about it and he agreed with me but nothing 
was ever done about it. I ll never forget in the later hearings 
held by Nelson, the second more recent ones 

Chall: In about 72. 

Brody: Yes. Weinberg and Udall both sat at the table and testified, 
"By golly, there should be regulations issued on this thing." 
But they themselves failed to do [anything] and it was as if 
we were part of a nefarious plot for not having them when in 
reality _!_ was the one who was pleading with them for regulations . 
So I could go on and on about this . 

But the point I want to make in terms of accomplishment in 
acreage limitation, you ve had more land put under recordable 
contract, which is no small step. When a man gives the power of 
attorney to the secretary of interior to sell the land for him 
if he does not do it himself you have more land put under 
recordable contract in Westlands Water District than has been 
put under recordable contract in the entire history of reclamation 
law in all of the other projects cumulatively. You have had more 
land sold pursuant to recordable contract and made eligible. 
Secretary Cecil Andrus testified within the last month or so there 
has not been an illegal sale or illegal transaction in Westlands, 
that there had been more land sold than cumulatively had been 
sold in the entire history of reclamation law. They ve increased 
the number of owners of land in Westlands Water District by four 
times, as I recall, or more. Now, admittedly all are not farming 
the land; admittedly, they are not. But you certainly are breaking 
up the land monopoly. I might say whereas when they started out 
there was only 24 percent eligibility of land in the district, 
when I left that district, within the areas where the distri 
bution system was completed (in other words, where they could get 
water), we had over 96 percent eligibility. Now, the people were 
complying and were meeting the requirements of the law. But all 
of this is so distorted in this whole picture. [pause] 

There was never a decision made for the benefit of Westlands. 
Every decision that the department has ever come down with has made 
things more strict. 


Chall: Well, there are all of these other matters in here [the article] 
and I don t know whether you want to discuss them. 

Brody: Yes, I d be happy to go into them with you if you want to take the 

time. But the point is that I don t think there was one transaction 
that got to court, the Bonadelle case. But in that case, the man 
was found guilty, but he wasn t found guilty of violating acreage 
limitation. He was found guilty of misrepresenting to the federal 
government, to making mistatements . 

Chall: What was the name of that person? 

Brody: It was called the Bonadelle case. What the man did or was accused 
of doing was using straw men in the purchase of land. 

Chall: Yes, I think I have read about that one. 

Brody: I want to go back to this business about what happened at the time 
the project was authorized. You see, the impression that even 
exists in Congress now that Ballis has succeeded in creating 
is that the large landholdings grew up as a result of the project. 
They didn t. They were there as the project came along and they re 
being dismantled as a result of the project. 

This is why I get so irritated when people call me a turncoat. 
In reality, I think that I ve done more to accomplish the objectives 
of the law than they ever thought about doing. But again, I go back 
to the statement I made yesterday to you. If you analyze what is 
happening in terms of the statements Ballis makes and these others 
(and I testified to this, in fact, one time), that they re more 
interested in hurting the -big guy than they are in helping the little 
guy. They keep talking about "the benefit the big guy : is getting" 
and all these other things. They don t talk about what can be done 
for the little guy or what is being done. 

Chall: Do you think that anything is actually being done for the little 

guy or can be because of the cost of the land now? Could somebody 
come in and buy 160 acres? 

Brody: Oh, sure assuming that 160 acres is adequate to support a family. 
The price of the land isn t look, let me tell you something. The 
price for land that was approved in Westlands Water District was 
very, very low. It was higher than what the people paid for the 
land, I mean the original purchase price. The price that was 
charged for the land (it was approved by the secretary) was almost 
identical with the price for land in the Pleasant Valley Water 
District, which is not a part of the San Luis project, which has 
the same water conditions that Westlands had without the project. 


Chall: It was supposed to be a pre-water price. 

Brody: Yes. It really isn t a pre-water price because it can t be that. 
It s the present value less that added benefit of the project. 

Chall: It has been stated that there is a so-called Iron Triangle I don t 
know whether you ve seen that statement used the Iron Triangle of 
western congressmen, western farmers, and the bureaucrats, the 
bureaucracy of the Department of the Interior particularly with 
respect to reclamation that this Iron Triangle is so strong and 
that it has always supported whatever has gone on in the West with 
respect to getting water and retaining some of the power of the 
large landed interests. 

Brody: I haven t heard that, but I don t believe that is true. I ll tell 
you why. If you look right now, there are attempts being made to 
change acreage limitation in the Congress. There s a great 
divergence of view among the various farming areas of the country 
with respect to that. If you look also, you ll find that California 
virtually stands alone in terms of being opposed by other states 
in terms of the smaller farmers not liking large ownerships and 
secondly, because they feel that California gets a lot of the money 
that is involved. I just don t believe that s true and I don t 
think there is anything to support it in terms of a cabal or 
whatever it may be on this, because I don t think that farmers can 
get together that well. I don t know if you ve ever had any 
experience with it, but trying to get a bunch of farmers together 
to be united on any issue is very, very difficult. 

Chall: Even in California? 
Brody: Yes. 

Chall: I want to go back a moment to the 9(d) contract. In your opinion, 

after forty years, could the water users then establish landholdings 
larger than 160 acres and still get proj.ect water? What is the 
interpretation of that contract since it was established and during 
the years it has been used by the bureau? 

Brody: It has always been considered that when construction costs have been 
repaid the limitations would no longer apply. 


Chall: I know that you worked with a board of directors in Westlands. 

Were there any particular members of this Westlands Water District 
that is, the landowners and attorneys that you were particularly close 


Chall: to in terms of working out some of these problems? And Congress, 
too. I m interested in knowing something about the relationships. 

Brody: Let me just say this. As far as what I said before, that Westlands 
had never asked me to do anything to subvert acreage limitation. 
If any criticism and I don t think there is but if any criticism 
is to be leveled against Westlands for what is contained in the 
contract, as far as acreage limitation is concerned, or what was 
done under the contract in terms of district responsibility I say, 
if there is any criticism to be leveled it should be leveled at 
me because the board left up to me, to a large extent the largest 
extent what was to go into the contract, and it kept its faith 
with me on that matter of not getting this acreage limitation deal. 

I think they had confidence in me as an administrator. Therefore, 
I just wanted to say that if any criticism should be leveled, I m 
the one. I don t think any is merited because I think we did a 
good job with this thing in terms of the law, and what the law 
intended, and what it required. They may not have liked it. They 
didn t like it but they went along with it because they had given 
their word. 

This recurred many times in meetings. Russell Giffen was president 
and he was a strong president. He said, "We gave our word that we re 
going to sign recordable contracts and we re going to do it. We 
made pledges when we took this project on and we re going to abide 
by them." He and I were the ones primarily, I think, who interested 
SP [Southern Pacific] for which they may not be grateful today 
because of all the problems that it has introduced for them. I don t 
blame them in view that there has been a breech of faith that s gone 
on on the part of the federal government and the criticisms which 
have been leveled against them. But they did sign recordable 
contracts on all the land that was of agricultural value. There s 
about 300,000 acres of their land which is of potential commercial 
value which they intend to hold onto along freeways and whatnot, 
not for farm purposes. 


Brody: Russell Giffen would talk to you about all of this if he had confi 
dence in the fact that you re not going to distort. He doesn t like 
the press. He has had a bitter experience with them in terms of 
what he has said to them and what they ve printed. But Russell Giffen 
was one I worked with and J.E. O Neill who died shortly after I 
came into Westlands. 

Chall: He was the power behind the original project. 


Brody: I think Harry Baker is another. But Louis Robinson of the Boswell 
Corporation, who has since died, was a very, very knowledgeable man 
in the water field and a man who all these people that I have just 
mentioned had something more than their own personal welfare in 
mind. They were interested in what was good for the community as 
a whole. I don t care what anybody says about this. I know this 
to be a fact. 

Then in the federal picture, B.F. Sisk, Thomas Kuchel (former 
Congressman Sisk and former Senator Kuchel) . I suppose you want 
living people. 

Chall: No, they need not be living. 

Brody: Do you mean that I worked with in Congress? 

Chall: No, that you worked with in Westlands. You said you had to go 
back every year for appropriations and all of these hearings. 

Brody: On behalf of Westlands? 
Chall : Yes . 

Brody: Oh, yes, they re almost too numerous to mention in Congress Mike 
Kerwin, a congressman from Ohio who was on the Appropriations 
Committee; Wayne Aspinall, who was chairman of the Interior Commit 
tee; Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico; Senator Scoop Jackson; 
Senator Fritz Rollings of North Carolina. These are all people 
and there are many, many more. 

Chall: There were people on appropriations 

Brody: On appropriations and the interior committees. On the House side, 
there was Wayne Aspinall, Clair Engle, of course, Congressman 
[John] Saylor, Congressman "Bizz" Johnson, Congressman John McFall, 
Harlan Hagan. Let s see there was a one from Florida but the name 
has escaped me now. I was very close to a lot of those people. 
You see, a part of it too was I was active in Democratic circles 
and I got to know a lot of people. 

Chall: Were you active in Democratic circles in the Fresno community then? 
Enough to be a delegate to the national convention? 

Brody: Yes. Well, I wasn t that active. 
Chall: Did you just go back as an observer? 


Brody: No, I was an alternate. I was appointed by Sisk. But in Sacramento 
I was active. I was active in the right-to-work issue. I was with 
labor. As a matter of fact, I was once in the senate race. I was 
going to be in it when Al Rodda ran. 

Chall: Oh, the state senate. 

Brody: That was when I became disenchanted with the CDC [California 
Democratic Council] . 

Chall: They didn t support you? 

Brody: No, what happened was that Senator [Earl] Desmond died and there 
was going to be a sudden-death election with no primary. I had 
been active I had supported labor on the right-to-work issue, 
and had made speeches and one thing and another, and I had been 
active a little bit, not very active in political circles but I 
was reasonably well known. Some of the women s clubs and other 
organizations came to me and asked me to run for the office. I 
wasn t particularly interested. I ve always felt that any man who 
has ideals, if he runs for public office, soon after he s elected 
he sublimates his ideals to the concept of perpetuating himself in 
office and I didn t want to do that. 

Anyhow, I finally said, "Okay, I ll run." Then Al Rodda announced 
that he was going to run and three other candidates. Well, some 
representatives from the CDC came to me and said, "Look, we recognize 
that you re the most able candidate but Al Rodda has been such a 
loyal party worker, we think you should withdraw in his favor." 
I said, "Look, the CDC is supposed to represent good government." 
Oh, and they were concerned about, with so many Democratic 
candidates there was only one Republican they would elect a 
Republican. So I said, "If you had come to me and said to me that 
Al Rodda was the better man, and asked me to withdraw in the light 
of this, I might have considered that. But for you to come and tell 
me, noble organization that you are, that you want the better man 
to withdraw, it doesn t sound right to me. So I ll make up my own 
mind on this . " 

Well, they went away. They came back later and they said, 
"Suppose we have an endorsing convention. Will you agree that if 
you don t get the endorsement that you ll pull out of the race?" 
I said, "Look, you re asking me the same thing. What you want is 
for me, in order to solicit your endorsement, to agree to withdraw 
under those circumstances. I won t tell you what I will do. I ll 
make up my own mind at the endorsing convention. I ll come to your 
convention. I ll make up my mind whether I m going to withdraw 
afterwards." [chuckles] 


Brody: We went to the convention and I lost by half a percentage point. 

It was very, very close. But I knew darn well I knew Al wouldn t 
drop out. This had nothing to do between Al and me, we re friends. 
I knew that Al wouldn t drop out. He was a very stubborn guy. I 
knew I could get the endorsement of labor. I knew I could get the 
endorsement of the Sacramento Bee. But I also knew that while I 
could beat Al, that with all five of us in there it was very likely 
that the Republican would be elected and he was a no-good candidate 
if there ever was one. So after the endorsing convention I did 

But I ve always been upset with the CDC. I remember Roger Kent 
came to see me and others. I said, "You people, it seems to me, 
are as two-faced as can be." I had been somewhat active in that 
organization. I don t think Alan ever came to me about it. I 
don t remember whether he did or not Alan Cranston. 

Now that I look back some of these things are an interesting 
part of life. 

Chall: They really are. Could I ask you when did you leave Westlands? 

Brody: Two years ago last November. 

Chall: November 77? 

Brody : Yes . 

Chall: Would you tell me why? 

Brody: Why? 

Chall: What happened? Did something happen at Westlands? 

Brody: No, no. Well, there was one thing that happened that was incidental. 
More than anything else, it influenced me to some extent. But not 
I had made up my mind. I had planned it had become a grueling job. 
I wanted to retire while I could still enjoy it. I had worked hard 
all of my life. Whenever I had a job I always dedicated everything 
to it. I wanted to travel, I wanted to do things. It had disrupted 
my family. I lost my family as a result of working, and so many 
things, that I wanted to get out and enjoy life. 

When I first made up my mind to retire it was around 63 or 64. 
I was going to retire and they asked me to stay on another year. 
So I did. But I said, "At the end of the year I m going to retire." 
[pause] During the interim in that year Oh, I might say when I 
got ready to leave [1977] they asked me to stay on but I refused to 


Brody: do it. I ll tell you why I refused to do it in a moment. Anyhow, 
in that year, some of the other members one man died and another 
man resigned and one thing and another the old composition of the 
board changed somewhat. A new president of the board had come on, 
the present president. 

Chall: Who was that? 

Brody: His name is Jack Stone. 

Chall: Does he represent some 

Brody: No, he represents himself. He has fairly substantial holdings. My 
appraisal of Mr. Stone is that he reminds me of a man who said he 
once had an uncle who played piano in a house of prostitution for 
ten years before he found out what was going on upstairs. Anyhow, 
Stone was going back to Washington and talking all over Washington 
about how Westlands should be paying more for water and doing 
things that I felt were not in the best interests of Westlands 
and certainly not consulting me. It seems to me that he should 
have talked to me about these things before he went back. So 
finally I decided I didn t think I could continue on with him 
much longer. But the main reason I wanted to get out, to get back 
to your question, was that this whole thing had become such a 
nervous strain on me. That s the reason that I didn t want to 
stay on a second year, because it was a considerable strain. Again, 
I wanted to get out and enjoy life a little bit before I completely 
collapsed and I felt I was getting nearer a kind of collapse from 
such a sense of frustration. 

But then when this happened with the president of the board, 
they asked me to stay on even longer, a few months longer. I 
said, "No, I think I should say to you that if the president of the 
board continues to do with the new man what he did with me, you re 
going to have difficulties in the future." Well, that didn t endear 
me to him either. To this day he doesn t like me very much. I have 
been under contract with them, as a consultant for three years 
for two years it s a three-year contract and they ve never asked 
me for anything. I think they re going the wrong path. 

Chall: Do you want me to turn the tape off? 
Brody: Yes. [tape interruption] 


Westlands and the Current Debates in Congress, 1979-1980 

Brody: Senator Nelson would have abandoned the hearing process after the 
first days he held hearings in Washington I m confident because 
Gay lord Nelson s interest in continuing hearings is in direct 
relation to the amount of publicity he gets out of newspaper 
coverage, and he got very little out of that in Washington until 
[Governor Edmund G. Jr.] Brown announced he would appear at the 
hearings in Fresno. As a result of that Jerry Brown s decision 
I m talking about Nelson agreed to hold hearings out here and 
they got a lot of coverage and publicity. 

As I mentioned to you yesterday, one of the curious things about 
this whole situation is that Jerry Brown was down here as a staunch 
advocate of acreage limitation and insisting it should be applied 
in Westlands, when he was making no effort to do anything at all 
in terms of pursuing a small farm policy in the state service area. 
But above all, he was down here talking about the federal law and 
the continuation of that policy, but now that legislation is being 
considered in Washington (contemporaneously, I might add, during 
the presidential campaign) Brown is not back there, and no 
representative of Brown is back in Washington, making any suggestions 
as to what the law is, or should be, or whether it should be retained 
in its present form or not. 

Chall: What do you think brought to a head all of this legislative activity 
within the last year or so? Is it partly the court cases having 
to do with residence requirements that are finally getting up to 
the Supreme Court, or is it the administration, or what? 

Brody: No, I think what happened was that after trying to for years, Ballis 
got a platform from which to speak, and as a result the press took 
these things up. For example, the San Francisco Examiner ran that 
series of articles. I might point out that I sent to the Examiner 
a list of thirty-nine misstatements of fact in those articles and 
listed the actual facts along side of them. I sent it to every 
other publication in the state of California. Not one of them 
mentioned these misstatements of fact. But nevertheless, the 
publicity that he got and everything else created a public atmo 
sphere. You became familiar with it. You wouldn t ordinarily 
have done so. Other people and this spread. There was some 
national press on it. It was a complete distortion of the facts 
as I see it but nevertheless. And this is what concerns me and 
I said something before about the visceral actions of the public 
and that s exactly what is happening on this issue. But in any 
event, it achieved a kind of conflagration idea. 


Brody: The secretary of the interior then felt the legislation was necessary, 
so they started to hold hearings . But it all emanated as a result 
of what took place in Westlands. The strange part about it is 
that it all grew out of the fact that Westlands was complying, not 
because they weren t complying. 

Let s look at what happened here. First, Ballis and Taylor 
insisted that there should be no contract unless recordable 
contracts were signed and that nothing would happen the law would 
not be complied with. But they were proven wrong on that. Secondly, 
they came along and they say there should be no construction 
because they wouldn t sign recordable contracts. They were proven 
wrong on that. But their ultimate objective was getting the break 
up of the large landholdings . That s what they said. Then when 
that is all done and Westlands did all of these things the land 
was indeed committed under recordable contracts and much was broken 
up then they change their line of attack because that is no longer 
a valid argument for them. They say, "Yes, it s signed up but they re 
selling to the wrong people. We don t like the people that they 
are selling to." That s the net effect of what they were saying. 
"We don t like the people they are selling to." If you put to one 
side the residency even there you don t, because a good many 
of the people who bought the land are resident farmers. Most of 
them are farming it. Most of them fit the definition of 

Chall t Of a small farmer on the land? 
Brody: Within the fifty-mile radius. 

Chall : So basically then, as Taylor and Ballis have been saying, the law 
has never been or the ideals, as set forth in 1902 have never 
been totally followed or administered by the Bureau of Reclamation. 

Brody: As they construe them. 

Chall: And that s what the court cases are all about? 

Brody: They ve never said that the law has been violated. They said, "The 

intent of the law has been violated" and what they say is the intent 
of the law. 

Chall: So is it a good thing, do you think, now, that all of this is 

coming to a head, that if there is going to be acreage limitation 
that it be looked at differently? I m thinking of S 14 which is 
just so different from anything in the 1902 law. What about S 14? 
Can you make some comment about that? 


Brody: Well, it seems to me now, there s no review really only indirectly 
of legislative policy and the legislation that is being suggested. 
What they are doing is making proposals and then trying to adapt 
a. policy to suit that legislation and that s a bass-ackwards way 
to go about legislating, I think. 

Chall: So we really aren t changing anything; still we re changing a lot 
of things? 

Brody: Oh, no. We re changing. We re making a lot of changes but we don t 
know what they are. We don t know what policy changes we re 
making. We know we re making mechanical changes. To me ideally, 
the legislative process envisions that you only have laws in order 
to accomplish a kind of policy. But in order to draft that 
legislation, you have to know what that policy is going to be. The 
law is in furtherance of that policy. That isn t what happened. 

Chall: Do you think they re just reacting to a lot of pragmatic considerations 
and pressures? 

Brody: And what people consider to be possible. You ll end up with a kind 
of policy, but whether it s the policy you wanted or not is another 
question. A guy says, "I want leasing to be permitted." All right, 
you may end up with the leasing. Then you re saying that you don t 
necessarily want resident farmers. Now, personally I believe that 
leasing should be permitted. 

You see, one of the things is that if you talk about this in 
terms of subsidy, it seems to me that it s wrong to say that only 
a resident owner can get water. Because if the subsidies are being 
provided by the taxpayers as a whole, shouldn t at least some 
consideration be given to the fact that maybe a guy in New Hampshire, 
who is helping to pay the cost of this project, should be able to 
get something by way of return by owning the land or leasing it 
off to somebody? Do you see what I mean? I say, "Let s find out 
if that s the kind of policy " 

Chall: From the standpoint of economics farming economics it might be 
all right. But if you take the stand that you want small farmers 
on the land then you ve got a whole other matter to consider. 

Brody: That s exactly what my point is. I m saying, let s look at these 
things and see what is going to be our policy. Let s not say it s 
based upon the equitable distribution of subsidy if our objective 
is going to be to establish holds for farm families. 

I m not confident that that s the most desirable thing for this 
country in the present picture. I could see it in a frontier type 
of economy. I could see it perhaps in Australia or Western Canada, 


Brody: but I m not so sure [of It] in the United States today. Don t forget 
that when you had farm holds for farm families, the man raised the 
food for his family on that farm, the man supplied his own equipment 
and his own labor, and he clothed his family with that farm. Today, 
on 160 acres or a small farm, a man has to get some other source 
of income in order to augment those things. He has to go out and 
buy his clothing for his family; he has to go out and buy a good 
deal of the food; and that makes a substantial difference. 

You see, to me it s not so much the desirability of small farms, 
as looking at it from the standpoint of the undesirability in what 
respects are large farms undesirable? No longer to me, at least 
is the concept of small farms necessarily desirable for our country. 
But I do consider that there may be objectionable features to the 
large farming operations and if that is the case, let s attack those 
problems . 

Chall: By some other means? 

Brody: By something else. Maybe this is what we have to come up with. 

But at least let s look at those problems and attack them for what 
they are, not to use the sham of saying, "Well, we think this is 

Chall: What about the idea that has been proposed that there should not be 
anymore subsidies for water, for land, that water should pay for 
itself or just about? At least pay more than has been paid up to 
now, in the contracts? 

Brody: Well, I can only answer you by saying I don t think you burn down 

the barn to get rid of the rats. The question is whether you should 
abandon all governmental subsidies or none. 

Chall: And not just water? 

Brody: Yes. I think if there is justification for a subsidy from govern 
ment, then I think it exists with respect to water as well as it 
does somebody else, someplace else, but query whether in all 
instances the subsidy is merited in the case of water or anyplace 

Chall: Or how much subsidy rather than subsidy per se. 

Brody: Yes, that s right. I think it s ridiculous to say we should cut 
out all water subsidies. Maybe you do end up that way, but I m 
saying to approach it from that standpoint is wrong. I think 
you say, "Let s look at each project and see whether a subsidy is 
required. " 


Chall: Do you think the Bureau of Reclamation can do that? Do you think 
the way it s set up that they would ever be able to take a look at 
it case by case? As you said before, when you asked them to set 
down general regulations, to consider broad policies, they said they 
didn t have time. Would they have time to look at anything on a 
case by case basis or would they care? 

Brody: Do you know what the law not provides and what actually occurs? 
The law, since 1926 maybe or 1939 at least, provides that before 
the secretary can construct a project, he must determine the cost 
of the project. He must divide that cost among the various functions, 
He must ascertain what revenues he might reasonably receive from 
power, let s say, which may be more than the share of the cost. He 
must see how much of the project cost is attributable to flood 
control, which is completely written off, so you put that off to 
the side with the power revenues. 

Chall: And recreation. 

Brody: Then recreation and one thing and another. Then you come down to 

M and I uses and you see how much of that cost you can get back. Then 
you come to irrigation and they say, "How much are the farmers able 
to pay?" I think that s reasonably ascertainable. You put that 
here, and you add all of those up the income on this side. Now, 
theoretically, assuming that the irrigation cost is more than what 
he is able to pay, some of the revenues from power will be So you 
add all of these up. If the total you get is equal or exceeds the 
actual cost of the project, then you have what is determined to be 
a feasible project, and the secretary is authorized to construct that 
project without going to Congress. That s the law. If you add it 
up, and the cost exceeds these revenue figures, then he cannot 
construct that unless he goes to Congress because Congress has to 
write off that additional cost. 

Now, as a practical matter no project is ever started even though 
the most favorable feasibility report is done without going to 
Congress and getting approval because Congress has insisted on that. 
So in the last analysis the bureau is not necessarily making that 
complete determination. There is a review of it in Congress and 
people who want to attack it, can do it at the time of the project s 
authorization. They can say that the farmers are able to pay for 
it. There is a review process. 

Chall: How does it work? 

Brody: Well, I don t think people have taken an interest in it up until this 
point in time. I think that maybe they will now. I don t know. You 
see, the bureau establishes its own criteria in saying you take the 


Brody: farmer s payment ability and you leave him an incentive. In other 
words, you take out these water costs and everything else you leave 
him something over or else there is no incentive for him to engage 
in a farming operation. 

Transcriber: Michelle Stafford 
Final Typist: Matthew Schneider 


TAPE GUIDE Ralph Brody 

Interview 1: January 23, 1980 

tape 1, side A 1 

tape 1, side B 11 

tape 2, side A 19 

tape 2, side B 31 

tape 3, side A 36 

tape 3, side B 45 

Interview 2: January 24, 1980 

tape 4, side A 57 

tape 4, side B 67 

tape 5, side A 76 

tape 5, side B 86 


INDEX Ralph Brody 

acreage limitation, 22-24, 46, 49, 57-62 

in Westlands Water District, 68, 71-72, 74-85, 91-96 
Allen, Bruce, 20, 21, 38 
Andrus, Cecil, 83 

Baker, Harry, 87 

Ballis, George, 22, 57-58, 72-73, 76-77, 79, 81-82, 84, 91 

Banks, Harvey, 3-9, 21, 37, 39, 42-43, 52-53, 63, 65-66 

Barry, Frank, 58-59, 61 

Brody, Ralph, 

and the Central Valley Project contracts, 30 

and the Democratic party, 87-89 

and the theory of working with others, 26-27 
Brown, Alan, 38 

Brown, Edmund G., Jr. (Jerry), 23-24, 91 

Brown, Edmund G., Sr. (Pat), 1-10, 15, 21-23, 25, 32-33, 35-37, 45-46, 49, 53 
Bureau of Reclamation. See United States Department of Interior 
Burns, Hugh, 18-19, 27 " 
Burns-Porter Act, 12-14, 16-18, 38, 40-49 

California Democratic Council [CDC] , 88-89 
California State 

California Water Commission, 62-67 

Department of Water Resources, 63-65 
California [State] Water Project, 1959-61, 1-67 
Carr , James , 5 

Central Valley Project, 30-31, 71-72, 81 
Champion, Hale, 7, 36 
Christensen, Carl L., 24 

Davis-Grunsky Act, 17, 29-30 

Davis, Pauline, 28-29 

Day, Edward, 38 

Dominy, Floyd E., 76 

Dutton, Frederick, 7, 36, 46-47 

election campaigns, state 

1960, Water Bond Issue, Proposition 1, 28, 37-42, 44-46 


Farquhar, W.C. , 39 
Fisher, Hugo, 25, 43 
Friedman, Nathan, 41 

Gianelli, William, 7-8, 15, 42-43 
Gibson, Luther, 25 
Giffen, Russell, 17, 80-82, 86 
Goldberg, B. Abbott, 32-33, 57 
Grody, Harvey P., 3-4, 19-20, 25 

Herrington, George, 38 
Holum, Kenneth, 77-78 
Holum memorandum, 78-79 
Hotchkis, Preston, 38 

Jensen, Joseph, 28, 39 
Johnson, Charles, 7, 9 

Kern County Water Agency, 50-51 
Kuchel, Thomas, 73, 75 

labor unions and California Water Project, 41-42, 45 

Lindsay, Francis, 7 

Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, 41 

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, 41 

McAteer, Eugene, 25 
McDonald, Grace, 48 

newspapers, 37, 45, 67, 91 
Mellon, Thomas, 38 

Metropolitan Water District, 18, 34-39, 41-42, 49-50, 52-53 
Miller, George Jr., 26, 29 
Morris, Samuel, 33-34 

Nelson, Gaylord, 73, 75, 91 
Newhall, Scott, 37 

O Neill, J.E., 17, 19, 68 

Oroville Dam, 15 

Sullivan, Virgil, 22 


Peripheral Canal, 43 
Porter, Carley, 18-19 
Poulson, Norris, 28 
power, electric, 23, 48-49 

Rattigan, Joseph, 24 

Republicans and the California Water Project, 7-8 

Richards, Richard, 43 

Robinson, Louis, 87 

Rodda, Albert, 24, 88-89 

San Luis Reservoir Joint Service Contract, 22, 49, 56-62 
Skinner, Robert A., 34 , 50 
Stone, Jack, 90 

Taylor, Paul, 22, 57-58, 72, 81 
tidelands oil funds, 11-13, 16, 17, 20 
Tillman, Gilmore, 40-41, 43 
Towner, Porter, 53 

Udall, Stewart, 58-59, 83 
United States 

Department of the Interior, 76-83, 95 

Vial, Donald, 72 

Vizzard, Father James L., 74 

Warne, William, 5, 21-22, 53-54, 60-61, 65 
Weinberg, Edward, 76, 83 

Westlands Water District, 17-18, 23, 56-62, 67-96 
Williams, J. Howard, 25-26 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr. , Era 

William E. Warne 



An Interview Conducted by 
Malca Chall in 1979 

Copyright (cj 1981 by the Regents of the University of California 


The San Francisco Chronicle 

TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 1996 


William E. Warne 

William E. Warne, a former di 
rector of California s water re 
sources department, has died at 
the age of 90. 

Mr. Warne died Saturday of 
pneumonia at a convalescent 
home in Menlo Park. 

He was appointed to the water 
resources department in the 1960s 
by Governor Edmund G. (Pat) 
Brown after serving as Brown s ag 
ricultural director. 

Mr. Warne oversaw the state s 
huge water project, a 444-mile net 
work of aqueducts and dams de 
signed to bring water to Southern 

A native of Seafield, Ind., Mr. 
Warne grew up in California s Im 
perial Valley, where he worked for 
newspapers in the 1920s. He also 
worked for the Associated Press as 
a specialty writer focusing on agri 
culture and water issues in the 

In 1932, he went to work at the 
U.S. Department of Interior and 
rose to assistant secretary oversee 
ing the management of irrigation 
and power dams on the Missouri 
River, and also the Hoover Dam, 
the Grand Cooley Dam and the 
Bonneville Dam. 

In 1952, President Truman ap 
pointed Mr. Warne to head the for 
eign assistance program in Iran. 
He also directed programs in Bra 
zil and South Korea. 

Mr. Warne is survived by three 
brothers, two daughters, a son, six 
grandchildren and three great 

Associated Press 




California Water Issues, 1932-1951 1 

Economic Coordinator, Korea, 1956-1959 5 

A Visit with Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr., 1958 6 

Director, Department of Fish and Game, 1959 10 

Director, Department of Agriculture, 1960 24 


The Appointment 36 

Organizing the Department to Build the Project 41 

The Staff 47 

Keeping Track of the Building Program 51 

Financing the State Water Project 60 

Some Revisions in the Plan 66 

The Drain 67 

Electric Power 70 

Desalination 75 

The Need to Complete the State Water Project 76 

The Legislature and the Project 81 

The Kern County Water Agency 86 

The Metropolitan Water District 94 

Relationships with the Associations of Water Users 101 
Plans for Augmenting the Flows of the Sacramento River System: 

The North Coast 103 

The Pacific Southwest Water Plan and the Colorado River 114 

Changing Views of Water Needs and Uses of the Colorado River 123 

Relationships Among State Staff Personnel 128 

The San Luis Reservoir and the Joint-Use Contract: The 

160-Acre Issue 130 

The Significance of Governor Pat Brown s State Water Project 141 


INDEX 144 


After the 1.75 billion dollar California Water Bond measure was approved 
by voters in November, 1960, the next major step in the lengthy water develop 
ment process, which had begun with planning in the 1940s, was the construction 
of the State Water Project itself. To direct this gargantuan task, one on a 
scale never before undertaken, even by the federal government, Governor Edmund 
G. (Pat) Brown chose William E. Warne. 

Prior to his appointment as director of the Department of Water Resources, 
Mr. Warne had had a long career in administrative posts dealing with land and 
water issues: sixteen years with the United States Department of the Interior; 
approximately eight years in Iran, Korea, and Brazil with the Department of 
State administering economic assistance programs. In 1959 Governor Brown 
called him back to his native California from Korea, assigning him first as 
director of the Department of Fish and Game, and next as director of the 
Department of Agriculture, both considered agencies in serious need of 

By September, 1960, feeling sure that the water bond measure would pass, 
the governor decided to entrust Warne with full authority to build the multi- 
billion dollar water project. Warne was ready and eager to undertake what he 
knew would be the major challenge of a career which already had its share of 

His first responsibility was to reorganize the Department of Water Resources 
so that it could build as well as plan a project of the scope envisioned in the 
Burns-Porter Act: the massive Oroville Dam and a series of smaller dams, 540 
miles of aqueduct, the pumping plants and power plants, the San Luis Reservoir 
in partnership with the federal government, all designed to provide water for 
urban, recreation, and irrigation uses from Plumas County in the north, over 
the Tehachapi Mountains to Riverside County in the south. 

A highly trained staff had to be hired and its responsibilities clearly 
delineated; legal and financial hurdles required innovative solutions. 
Eventually routines were established to keep track of the program weekly 
staff meetings and sophisticated control programs and reports, always under the 
continual scrutiny and final direction of William Warne. 

Building the California Water Project was not, however, solely an adminis 
trative task. There were concomitant sensitive political relationships: On 
the state level he was in touch with the governor and his staff and with 
state legislators on various administrative, financial, and legislative 
matters. On the local and regional level he dealt with large and small 
landowners and water users, and with officers and staff of the Metropolitan 
Water District about construction plans and water rates as well as with 


San Joaquin and Delta agricultural and industry interests concerned with the 
Drain and the Peripheral Canal. On the federal level he met often with 
congressmen and officials in the Department of the Interior about the San 
Luis Reservoir, the Pacific Southwest Water Plan, California s projected loss 
of 500,000 acre-feet of water from the Colorado River, and the eventual 
building of Auburn Dam and other adjuncts to the Central Valley Project. 
He was, furthermore, a member of many committees and commissions, one of 
which was the State Water Pollution (later Water Quality) Control Board 
where he was concerned with ensuring the quality as well as the quantity of 
water along the California Aqueduct. 

We held our first meeting on February 14, 1979, on the Berkeley campus in 
the conference room of The Bancroft Library to discuss the topics we should 
cover in a planned six hours of interviewing. Following this, using a detailed 
outline, we had two three-hour interview sessions in his large, second-floor, 
book-lined study and office in the Warne home in Sacramento. The first took 
place on February 28, the second, a week later on March 13, 1979. Mr. Warne 
was well prepared for the interviews. He had done careful research in the 
areas we had planned to discuss, marking and laying out for our use many of 
the documents and reports which would enliven his story as well as ensure 

Mrs. Warne, on each of these days, graciously prepared lunch, providing a 
pleasant break to the three hours of concentration on the complex water subject. 
During this interim she also showed me around the first floor of their spacious 
home beautifully decorated with furniture, rugs, lamps, and other accessories 
collected during the years they lived in and traveled around the Middle East, 
the Orient, and South America. 

When I returned the lightly edited transcript to Mr. Warne for his review, 
I also asked him to answer some additional questions, knowing that with his 
background as a writer and his concern for covering a subject thoroughly, he 
would be willing to provide the answers and thereby enrich the memoir. He 
carefully checked the transcript, slightly revising some sentences for greater 
clarity, filling in some names and dates and other explanatory details. In 
answer to the written questions, he returned an essay, partly typed, partly 
handwritten, on the background and development of California water history as 
it related to the water plan. He also sent along many photographs and slides 
showing himself, Governor Brown, and other colleagues at times when they were 
relaxing and at times when they were on official business. Some of these have 
been placed in this volume; all the originals have been returned to Mr. Warne. 

Students of water history will be grateful for the time and effort which 
Mr. Warne put into this brief overview of his highly demanding six years 
administering the construction of the California Water Project, He has 
demonstrated his patience in explaining what to him are the simple a, b, c s 
of a subject which so often appears laden with incomprehensible political, 
economic, and scientific complications. 


Those seeking additional background on Mr. Warne during this period will 
find it among the papers of Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown in The Bancroft 
Library and in the Water Resources Archives on the Berkeley campus, which has 
a collection of Mr. Warne s speeches, a few of his articles, and some miscel 
laneous correspondence arranged chronologically covering the years 1961-1966. 

Though colleagues and water interests may not always have agreed with Mr. 
Warne nor felt comfortable with his strong administrative style, they agree 
that he was an exceptionally capable director of the Department of Water 
Resources, in place at precisely the right time in the building of the water 

Malca Chall 

11 September 1980 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 

Room 486 

The Bancroft Library lv 

University of California 

Berkeley, California 94720 

Governmental. History Documentation Prolect Interviewee 

Your full name \A If /// A tf /- . )/</ A R. AJ U 

Date of birth 

Father s full name 

/ / / / A /~7 f\. /V/4 

Father s place of birth ?/K (-Q,., OhlO. 

Mother s full name /i4"7"/Vfc OTAfC? \\l/K/f\ 
Mother s place of birth ?/kk (. cj <. 

Where did you grow up? /frpLR I ft L- )/A L. u IT y . <f A 
Education // /? // // 1 1C 

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Positions held in state government j)/ g-* fCh 3 <o 7> 


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Otf*^i~&i*.sJ^ ,4ji^c-9. h***i I *7 6 ? . 


[Interview 1: February 28, 1979]//// 

California Water Issues, 1932-1951 

Chall: I wanted to begin at the beginning with you. That is, how you 
happened to come in from Korea to become the director of the 
Department of Fish and Game in 1959. How did that come about? 

Warne: Really, when you want me to go back to the beginning, I have to go 
back a long way, since it was my interest in water resources in 
California and various contacts with Pat [Edmund G., Sr.] Brown 
that brought the request to me in Korea to come back. 

Chall: How did that come about? 

Warne: Let s go into it just a little bit, just for the fun of it. 

Chall: Yes, some of your background. I think you said you d stopped in 
Sacramento on your way to Korea or back. 

Warne: Yes, in San Francisco. 

Chall: To meet him while he was campaigning. 

Warne: Edward Hyatt was the office engineer of the then Division of Water 
Resources from July 1, 1920 to August 20, 1929. He was state 
engineer from August 14, 1929 to February 1, 1950. It was actually 

////This symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 143. 

Warne: through Ed Hyatt that I first got interested in the water problems 
of the state. I was in San Diego as the correspondent for the 
Associated Press in 1932, when Ed came down there with Governor 
[James] Rolph and began the campaign for the first Central Valley 

Chall: Is that right? 

Warne: Yes. We became acquainted and got along well. I went on to 

Washington, D.C., in September, 1933. While the Central Valley 
Project was approved by the California voters in 1933, the state 
couldn t sell the revenue bonds in the Depression and it became 
necessary for Ed to try to get the federal government interested 
in the project. 

Hyatt came back to Washington with A.D. Edmonston. Edmonston 
succeeded him as state engineer on February 2, 1950 and served in 
that position until November 1, 1955. But Bob was Ed s assistant 
in 1935. I was very much on the que vive as far as California news 
was concerned. My assignment with the AP was to cover, regionally, 
Washington news for California, Arizona, and Nevada. The CVP was 
big California news. Ed tried everything in the world to get the 
federal government to finance the Central Valley Project by taking 
the revenue bonds couldn t make a sale to the Reconstruction 
Finance Corporation or the new Public Works Administration. 

So in the end I helped him and Bob Edmonston to write an applica 
tion for a public works project that was taken over to [Harold L.] 
Ickes, who was both secretary of interior and PWA administrator. 
He approved the Central Valley Project for PWA financing, but for 
construction by the Bureau of Reclamation as a federal project. 
About that same time, within a month, I was asked by the Department 
of the Interior to join the staff of the Bureau of Reclamation under 
Commissioner Elwood Mead. My association with the bureau began on 
June 1, 1935. 

Chall: As what? An information officer? 

Warne: My first title was associate editor, I believe. Later, I was chief 
of information, and also co-director of the planning program with 
Harlan [H.] Barrows, of the University of Chicago, for the Columbia 
Basin Joint Investigations. We called it the Joint Investigations 
of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project, in which we engaged more 
than two score agencies, public and private. That was from about 
1938 to 42. 

I became assistant commissioner in charge of planning and 
administration in the bureau in 1943 and served in that capacity 
for four years while Harry [W.] Bashore was the commissioner. Then 

Warne: I was appointed assistant secretary of the interior for water and 
power development, at the suggestion of Secretary Julius Krug, 
taking that position on July I, 1947 and holding it until sometime 
in November of 1951, when President Truman sent me to Iran as the 
head of the first Point Four mission. 

Chall: Because the Eisenhower administration was coming in? Was that 1951? 

Warne: This was before the campaign, really 1951. When the Eisenhower 
administration did come in, things were so tough in Iran that Mr. 
[John Foster] Dulles and Harold Stassen, who became the AID [Agency 
for International Development] director, in an around- the-world trip, 
couldn t get into Iran. We had a meeting with them Ambassador Loy 
Henderson and I down in Karachi. 

Despite the fact that Dulles and Stassen were dispensing with 
most of the AID [country] directors in the world and appointing 
new ones, they couldn t dispense with me because of the situation 
in Iran, I guess. 

Chall: I see. You were important there. 

Warne: I stayed on with them, and Stassen and I became good friends. He 

sent me down to Brazil in 1955. Then later, [John B.] Hollister, " 
who succeeded Stassen, sent me to Korea as United Nations Command 
economic coordinator. That was the USAID country director title in 
Korea in that period. I went to Korea in July of 1956. That s 
where I was when Pat Brown made his successful run for the governor 
ship in California in 1958. 

Chall: So you really knew the California water situation well. I guess 
Edmonston and Hyatt were water. 

Warne: They were. But, of course, there were others. They brought most of 
the others to Washington at one time or another during the period 
that I was there. Senator John McColl, Senator Oliver Carter, 
Clarence Breuner. As a matter of fact, the first time I met Pat 
Brown I can t remember the exact year it was, but it was while he 
was attorney general and he was with Hyatt and Edmonston, or perhaps 
only Edmonston. I believe it was after Hyatt had left the depart 
ment, which would make it 1950, I suspect. Brown came to Washington, 
D.C., with a group led by one of them. I remember a couple of 
meetings there on some issue involved in the Central Valley Project, 
and Edmonston was introducing Pat Brown around as a new enthusiast 
for water development in California. 

Warne: Many years later, one time I asked Pat how it happened [chuckles] 
that he got interested in water, making it a major plank in his 
campaign for the governorship, really, and also a major activity 
during his administration. He said that Bob Edmonston had. . .1 
believe he was on some commission on which the attorney general 
served, and Pat was being quite aggressive about a number of 
things. Edmonston was appearing before the commission on some 
matter having to do with water, and Pat took an interest in the 

Pat said that Bob took him aside and said. "Look here, young 
fellow, you want to run for governor some day, you better get on 
this water wagon fast." [laughter] He was a great guy, that 
Edmonston, so Pat followed up the suggestion and became expert on 
the CVP. Okay. Well, this ties in with the fact that Edmonston 
did bring him to Washington at about the time I recalled. Pat was 
very enthusiastic and made quite an impression on those of us who 
were in the Interior Department as an up and coming official in a 
great state, who was really interested in what was going on in the 
water resources field. 

I didn t have many contacts with Brown in the interim between 
those meetings and the time it must have been eight years later, 
really that he called me out in Korea. Seven or eight years 
anyway. But I had a few. 

I used to come to California at intervals rather frequently, 
really, for meetings when I was in the bureau and also when I was 
assistant secretary. Frequently these meetings involved government 
officials here. As a matter of fact, Earl Warren was one who also 
was interested in water and in the Central Valley power development 
project. I think I used to meet with him while he was governor more 
frequently than anyone else in those days except perhaps Ed Hyatt, 
and Edmonston. 

Earl Warren never lost his interest in the CVP nor California s 
water problems when he became Chief Justice nor after he retired. 
He was just as interested in the State Water Project. I think this 
was one of the the ties that bound him and Pat Brown together in 
firm friendship. They were together often, and several times when 
I was with them as at the Shriners game one year in San Francisco 
water was a subject that bobbed up frequently in their conversation 
water projects and California politics. I remember with appreciation 
that Chief Justice Warren, then retired, pushed the master of cere 
monies aside and took the microphone at the dedication of Oroville 
Dam in 1967, which the new Governor [Ronald] Reagan had apparently 
organized as a one-man show for himself. Warren reviewed his long 
interest in California water developments and mentioned Governor 

Warne: Brown s part in them, which Reagan did not in his remarks, which 

were the only scheduled talk on the program. Pat did not come when 
he discovered that, although he and I had built 95 percent of the 
dam, neither he nor I was to be acknowledged in the program. 

Economic Coordinator, Korea, 1956-1959 

Warne: But there were some occasions in the intervening years when I met Pat 
Brown. When he ran for the governorship in 1958, I was in Korea. I 
was the economic coordinator for the United Nations Command, which 
was a peculiar sort of an arrangement, organizationally, since I was 
on the payroll of the USAID [ICA] . I think it was called the ICA 
International Cooperation Administration at that time (its name 
changed frequently), but I was on the staff of General George Decker, 
the UN commander, and not the staff of the American ambassador, as I 
had been in Iran and in Brazil, since the UN Command was under the 
U.S. military. Decker, who also commanded the U.S. Eighth Army, and 
Ambassador [Walter "Red"] Dowling and I were very good friends. 
Despite the fact that the organization looked like it wouldn t work, 
we got along fine and things worked fairly smoothly. 

Chall: This was after the end of hostilities, wasn t it? 

Warne: Yes. Hostilities had ended. In 1956 when I first went over there, 
we were just getting into the reconstruction period, really. It was 
a terrible situation; that is, the country had been devastated. I 
wasn t familiar with Europe at the end of the Second World War, but 
Dowling had been there in Bonn before he came out to Korea. 

He said that in his judgment, Korea had been devastated to a 

degree greater than any other country, even those which had suffered 

most in the Second World War, with the result, for example, that 

there wasn t a single bridge intact in South Korea. We had to 
rebuild the whole of them. The Han River Bridge right at Seoul 

was a pontoon affair when I first got over there. It was a pretty 
rough period and a very interesting and exciting one. 

I had been abroad, by 1959, about eight years. I felt that if 
I stayed with the AID program, most likely, they were going to 
reassign me in the very near future to another three- or four-year 
stint, and I thought it probably would be in India. By the time I 
finished that, there wouldn t be any possibility of ever coming 
home and being again a part of an ongoing program here. I thought 
it would be a good idea if I... Our work in Korea was at the point 
where I felt, at least, that it was successful. 

A Visit with Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr., 1958 

Warne: I was in Washington the day after the election had been held. Brown 
had been elected over Bill [William] Knowland. I sent him a telegram 
of congratulation and suggested that I might stop in San Francisco on 
the way back to Seoul. I said I would like to see him. I did stop 
in San Francisco and went to his office the attorney general s 
office down in the city and he was very busy making preparations to 
assume the command in Sacramento, though the prospect was still a 
little new to him and he was still the attorney general. I remember 
being ushered into his office very quickly and talking with him 
rather generally, reviewing when we had met before and what our 
situations were that kind of thing. 

I told him that if he wanted me to, I would be glad to come back 
to California to help him out in his administration. I wasn t par 
ticularly seeking an appointment, I said, and I hadn t done anything 
politically for him that would make it important that he reward me, 
or anything of that sort. But I had a good track record and felt 
that I could really drive a program through. 

He said, well, he was interested he said, "By the way, there s 
a whole group of people out there right now. I just had a telephone 
call from my secretary. It s the Metropolitan Water District and a 
bunch of Southern California water leaders. Why don t you just sit 
here?" I said, "Pat, I ll go on back and" He said, "No, why 
don t you just sit here; you know some of them, most of them, anyway. 
I d kind of like to have you here while they re in here." 

In .they walked. Must have been ten, maybe even a dozen of them 
they always hunted in a pack. [laughter] 

Chall: They knew what they wanted. 
Warne: They really did. 

I remember that Joe [Joseph] Jenson was there. I don t remember 
the names of most of the rest of them, but I met them many times 
later. At that time I remember Pat said, "You all know Bill Warne." 
I thought they all looked at me as though well, very calculatingly . 
I suppose most of them jumped to the conclusion that Pat was parading 
me as the potential director of the Department of Water Resources. I 
can t remember much that transpired at that meeting except that they 
were very much interested in the promotion of a state water project, 
a general program to augment the water supplies in Southern California. 

Warne: Pat was not discouraging. As a matter of fact, I think he had 
already made up his mind that that s what he was going to drive 
for. The discussion went on for thirty-five or forty minutes, 
maybe a little longer. The meeting broke up. They left and I 
shook Pat s hand and said, "Well, remember, if you want me, give 
me a call." I went on back to Korea. 

Brown had been inaugurated in January and I didn t hear anything. 
As a matter of fact, I didn t particularly anticipate anything not 
pressing anything, really. Our agency, the AID agency, had set up a 
meeting in Saigon for all of the directors in East Asia. I don t 
recall exactly the date, but I believe it was I saw that date the 
other day it must have been about the first week of February some 
thing like that. 

I had made preparations to go down there. General Decker was 
taking his plane to Manila and he asked me to ride along with him to 
Manila. I could fly commercial over from Manila to Saigon. We had 
made these arrangements. About a week before our departure, I got 
a call from Pat Brown a telephone call from Sacramento. Transpacific 
calls were infrequent and not very satisfactory to Korea at that time. 
He said he was interested in wanting to know whether I was serious 
about coming back to California, and I said, "Sure. If I could come 
back to do something significant for you, I d be glad to." I thought 
I d had about enough of this foreign business. I did not want to 
become an expatriate. 

The governor said that in a few days I ought to hear from Charles 
Johnson. Now, I had never met Charlie Johnson at that time, though 
I met him later. He was Pat s they changed those titles in the 
governor s office he was the governor s principal administrative 
assistant. I think he had served similarly for Goodwin Knight. 

Charlie later was appointed to the superior court bench here. 
Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, he died. He was a very good 
man at keeping track of a great number of things all at once. I 
had a call from Charles and he said that the governor wanted me to 
come back and take a directorship and take it right away. Right 
away; he was in real trouble, and he needed someone for this position. 
I said I had received a telegram from Pat saying that he wanted .me to 
come back and take the toughest job he had at the present time. I 
said, "What s so tough about this water resources job?" He said, 
"Oh no, it s fish and game we re talking about." I said, "My God! 
Fish and game!? I don t know anything about it. He didn t talk to 
me about that!" 

Warne: I said, "I was in charge of the federal Fish and Wildlife Service 

once, as assistant secretary of the interior, and I also spent some 
time on the fish and game problems in Alaska while assistant secre 
tary, but," I said, "that hasn t been my major activity." 

"Well," he said, "this really is a job that demands an adminis- 
trator as much as anything else someone who knows the field, but 
an administrator." I said, "What is involved? What s the pay?" 
"Well," he said, "the pay is" I believe he said $16,000 a year. 

Chall: I think it was something like $16,500, I read somewhere. 

Warne: They raised it on me after I d been back a few months. And I said, 
"Holy smoke! That s going to be difficult for me." My salary was 
about $24,000 at that time over there. However, at various times in 
my career, I had changed jobs for lesser money, having always been 
convinced that there are other things more important than the amount 
of money just so long as you get enough to live on. 

I said, "How about a car?" He said there were government cars. 
But he said, "We don t have any drivers." I guess he knew I had a 
personal driver then. He said, "There are no perquisites as you 
might have in the foreign service." I said, "I ll have to give at 
least thirty days notice if I come." He said, "Well, we need this 
right away. How about letting me know by" I think it was the twenty- 
eighth day of February that he set as a deadline. I said, "Okay. 
I 11 give you a telephone call. Can I get through?" "Yes, if you 
call between certain hours" which I had to transpose into Asiatic 
time "you can get through all right." I said, "All right, I ll let 
you know." 

I went back to the house and packed a suitcase for the trip to 
Saigon, which was just about ready to start. I told my wife that I 
was strongly under the impression we were going back to California. 
Well, she said, she wanted to live in Southern California. 

I said to Margaret, our little girl who was getting ready to go 
to high school the following year, "Margaret, where do you want to 
go to high school?" She said, "I don t care, Daddy, just so it s the 
same school." I figured that she had been she d never finished a 
grade since second grade in the same school that she started it that 
we had moved or that she had had to be evacuated from various posts 
that we were in owing to unrest and disturbances. So here we were. 
She was finishing her grade school , I believe it was the ninth 
grade, and I was about to disrupt her program again by leaving in 
February with several months of the term to run. No wonder she 
wanted to go to the same high school. 

Warne: I said, "If we go back, we ll move into the house in Altadena and 
you can go to the Pasadena school high school." That was the 
arrangement I had with my family when I flew down to Manila. I 
called Johnson from Manila. We got really down to brass tacks on 
what this assignment was that I was coming back for, if I did. I 
didn t say for certain then. I went on to Saigon and sent a cable 
into Washington, resigning effective the thirty-first day of March, 
1959, and sent a cable to Johnson, accepting the position in Sacra 
mento . 

Chall: So that would be April, or could you leave before then? 

Warne: No. Actually, the way we worked it out they [in Washington] were 

very much hurt. They wanted me to spend six months making a transfer 
and a whole lot of other stuff that is, the Washington group did. 
But I pointed out to them that they had told me that they would, if 
they wanted to make a change, give me thirty days notice. I said, 
"Now I ve been over here more than two years and it s strictly within 
my authority not only to leave, but also to write my own travel 
orders and termination orders, and that s what I m going to do." And 
that s what I did do. 

They asked me then, please could I arrange in Sacramento to come 
into Washington to help them for a week or so with the budget prepara 
tion and presentation after I got to California? I agreed to do that 
if the governor would let me. I made the week s trip to Washington 
a condition on accepting the post here. 

My wife and I flew home. We left Margaret over there with Ed and 

Mrs. Cronk of the embassy to finish her school a thirteen-year-old 

could come home by herself. The Cronks had a daughter in Margaret s 
class at school. 

Chall: That s interesting. 

Warne: She did come home alone when school was out a few months later. She 
told me that some Indonesian student, who was about twenty-five years 
old, was on the plane; sat next to her. He was scared to death of 
all these unusual things, so she, in effect, had to guide him through 
all of the procedures in Tokyo, Honolulu, and San Francisco. Thirteen, 
but she was an experienced traveler. 


Director, Department of Fish and Game, 1959 

Warne: In any event, we came home and landed in San Francisco on March 31, 
in the evening. I was met there by someone from the governor s 
military office. The governor had a National Guard colonel who had 
an automobile over in San Francisco and they sent him to meet 

Chall: The VIP. [chuckles] 

Warne: great dignitaries. He took me into San Francisco. Walter Shannon, 
who was my deputy later, was at that time deputy in fish and game. 
He came to the hotel and drove me to Sacramento on the morning of 
April 1. I went into the governor s office and was sworn in that 
same day as director of the Department of Fish and Game. Then was 
when I discovered why they wanted me to take that job. 

Chall: I don t know very much about it, but it seems as if that department 
was in some kind of difficulty. 

Warne: They had a problem. Seth Gordon, who had been the director of fish 
and game, was a very distinguished conservationist. He lives here 
in Sacramento. He s a good friend of mine and I see him every once 
in a while even today. As a matter of fact, I have worked with him 
some since then. 

Seth was not a very strong administrator. He was trying to 
elevate the scientific qualifications of the department by bringing 
in some wildlife biologists and fisheries biologists and people 
interested more in the management of the resources than in the law 
enforcement elements of the work of the department, which had always 
been the key function of the department before his time. As a result, 
there was a very deep cleavage in the staff, with the new element on 
one side and the wardens, who had very firm associations with a 
constituency in the field in each case, on the other. There was a 
warden in every county and he lived with the people of the area. 
Wardens had been looked upon like Smokey the Bear, as parts of the 

When they got their noses out of joint... They got their noses out 
of joint with Gordon as well as with the young whippersnappers from 
Humboldt State and Woods Hole and other places that were producing the 
kind of scientific game manager and fishery biologist that Seth 

Someone had decided that they ought to run an experiment to see 
whether the sheepmen were right that coyotes were eating little 
lambs so they put bells on some coyotes and turned them loose and 


Warne: tried to follow them around. The press, which was pretty much fed 
up with the whole controversy by that time, made a terrible stink 
about it. Ridicule. All the outdoor writers picked it up and they 
actually laughed Seth out of the office and Brown had to let him go. 
The wardens had a major role in the ouster campaign, not openly, of 

The office was vacant when I got there. 

Chall: So he resigned then, as a result. He just couldn t take it any longer, 
is that so? 

Warne: Yes, that s right. I didn t realize until I got into it, what the 
situation was exactly. I remember the first thing that came before 
me, the first question that I was asked by the newspaper people when 
the governor and I met the press after I was sworn in. The first 
question was, "Are you going to keep Walt Shannon as the deputy?" 
I said, "Yes, that was my intention. I have no other intention. 
I ll keep Walt Shannon as deputy director. I haven t talked this 
over with the governor, but I think this is within my authority, so, 
yes, I plan to keep Walt." 

I didn t know how fortunate I was in having made that decision 
since Walt had been a game warden himself. He was a very good man, 
really. When I left the department a year later, it was on my 
recommendation to the governor that he appointed Walt as the director. 
Walt did an excellent job. And he was very loyal to the governor, 
too. He stayed there until the next administration came and then 
they cut his throat. A very unpleasant finale, really. 

In any event, later on, on several different occasions, I 
talked with Pat about how it was that he had happened onto me to 
come back to get that darn fish and game job. He said that when he 
went down to Sacramento, he quickly saw that several of the depart 
ments needed more experienced administrators to give them a sharper 
administration than they had been having. He didn t have anyone 
quickly in mind . 

He said he was discussing this problem with some of his 
advisors, including Senator George Miller. Jr. I had known George 
quite a while, also, from our contacts when I was in the Bureau of 
Reclamation and in the Department of the Interior in Washington. 
They were discussing this and that and George said, "Why don t you 
get some people out of the Department of the Interior who have some 
experience in these fields?" Pat said he didn t know very many of 
them. He said that he knew Bill Warne. 

He said, "Well, why don t you get Bill Warne?!" George said 
this. Many people would not have guessed that, since George and I 
had a lot of controversies later, but he said George was very much 


Warne: of the opinion that it would be a good thing to get me into the 

administration. When this fish and game deal hit him in the face, 
he wasn t ready yet to move on the Water Resources Department. 

Pat thought of me and the fact that I had had experience in the 
Department of the Interior, actually with some of these same resources 
and problems. So, that s the way that it came about. 

Chall: I see. 

Warne: What I did in fish and game 

Chall: I wanted to ask you about that, what you might have had to do, 

because, as I got it, just from reading the Blue Book, it looked as 
if it didn t really have what you d call a normal administrative 
structure. There seemed to be a commission at the top over a 
director. I wondered whether that could have created some of the 
problems. Also the department was almost entirely self-supporting, 
so I suppose they felt they didn t have to take direction from 
anyone. That doesn t make for good administration. 

Warne: That was a part of the situation, not all of it. 

The Fish and Game Commission actually set the fishing and hunting 
regulations after receiving recommendations from the staff of the 
department and after holding public hearings. It also fixed all 
policies. Various members had some doubts about Gordon s program 
and the establishment of district managers. Several were accessible 
to the disgruntled wardens. My attitude from the start was that the 
director was to run the program, and I met with the commission on 
that basis. There was also the fish and game conservation fund, by 
which the legislature appropriated $750,000 a year for little 
projects that were under the not the Fish and Game Commission, but 
under a special conservation board , which consisted of the director 
of the Department of Fish and Game and two other functionaries. I 
think maybe the director of the Department of Finance, who always 
sent someone else. I ve forgotten who the members were other than 
the department director. 

But the legislature had written into that law a provision that 
there would be an advisory board of legislators appointed by the 

Chall: That was the Wildlife Conservation Board? 

Warne: Yes. There d be an advisory board appointed by the legislature, and 
this advisory board attended all meetings. The first meeting I went 
to, I was just shocked beyond comprehension. I d been in office only 


Warne : 

Chall : 
Warne : 

Chall : 
Warne : 

Warne : 

a few days. I found that several projects amounting to about 
$300,000 were brought in. I never saw a better illustration of 
logrolling in my life: a $50,000 fishing access project in this 
assemblyman s district, and so forth, with the advisory board 
members obtaining the plums. 

They brought this in, the staff did. It wasn t the Fish and 
Game Department staff. It was a separate staff. The advisory 
board said to me, "We can t vote on approval of this. That is your 
job. But first, the way we proceed here, we take an advisory vote 
to decide what to advise you to do." [bitingly] 

And you d better do it? 

No, they didn t say that. But the meaning was clear, 
the fish and game committees. 

They were on 

So they took a vote on how to advise me to allocate these monies 
and then they sat back. I said, "Well, you know, I haven t had time 
to look these projects over. And I want to know you only take care 
of $300,000 with this kind of an operation at this time; I want to 
know what we did last year, and what we re going to do with the other 
$450,000 this year. I m not going to act on this at this time." 

Well, I tell you, it was like declaring war, apparently, on the 
legislature. Our good friend Pauline Davis was chairman of the 
Assembly Fish and Game Committee. 

Yes, she was. 

Also, she was on the Ways and Means Committee, and on the subcommittee 
dealing with our program. She was on this advisory commission. Well, 
she was kind of mad. However, I went over to see her and I said, 
"Look, now, what I want to know is whether we know what we re doing 
on this program before I act. You know, I m brand new at this. You 
can t expect me to act without some information. I think it s 
inappropriate for that advisory committee to take a vote. I decided 
to ask the staff to bring in the whole annual program at once, so we 
would know whether these projects fit into a sound program." 


I got acquainted with Pauline Davis through that method, and [Lloyd] 
Lowrey, who was a member of the committee and also a member of the 
advisory board. Both had been members with whom the Fish and Game 
Department had had extraordinary trouble earlier. But I found that 
I got along with them fairly well, as a matter of fact, quite well. 
They re both good friends of mine. Neither one was ever easy to work 
with, but we got along. I worked on it. 



Warne : 

Was that because they had strong opinions, or just difficult people? 

Oh, yes. Not only strong opinions but were never temperate in their 
statements. [chuckles] It was pretty hard to move them when they d 
declared themselves in some intemperate manner. However, we got 

One of my very first experiences was with a young man named Ed 
Capps, who was a reporter for the Capitol News Service. He had 
been the principal needle to the department and also the principal 
antagonist of Seth Gordon, apparently. 

As a member of the news staff. 

Yes. His boss, Henry McArthur, had a service that went to a great 
number of papers in the state, most of them rural papers. Ed s 
principal forte was the Fish and Game Department, and he d been 

playing it to a fare thee well. He had exploited the belled-coyote 

story at great length. 

Immediately after the board meeting at which I had postponed 
action, Ed asked if he could talk with me. I said, "Okay, let s 
have lunch. Where will we go?" He said, "Well, let s go over to 
Frank Fat s," so I went down to Frank Fat s with him. We sat in one 
of the little booths right next to the bar and Frank Fat eyed us. 
I was very naive. Ed said, "What is the reason you didn t adopt 
those projects?" I said, "Well, I wanted to review that whole 
program. That s the only money we ve got for capital improvements 
in the fish and game business. I just didn t like the way the 
legislative advisors after, in effect, delegating the responsibility 
to the department, to the director, to allocate these funds, came 
over to tell the director exactly how to allocate them. I don t 
want to allocate the funds piecemeal. I want to see how the whole 
works, to know whether as a whole the projects make a program for 
the year." 

He said, "You know, that makes a lot of sense to me." I said, 
"Well, that s the reason why." We finished lunch and I said to the 
girl, "I d like to have the ticket." She said, "Oh, there s no 
ticket for this booth." I said to Capps, "Did you pay for this 
lunch?" He said, "Oh no, I didn t pay for it." I said, "Well, this 
was my lunch." So I called the girl back and said, "Look, I want to 
pay for this!" She said, "I m sorry, it s already paid for." I 
said, "Who paid for it?" She said, "That gentleman who walked by 
here a minute ago." "Capps," I said, "who was that?" "Oh," he said, 
"he s a lobbyist for the tuna canners." [laughter] 

Chall: How interesting! 


Warne: I said, "That s the last time I ever come in to Frank Fat s!" 

Chall: What a way to work it! 

Warne: And that s the last time I did go to Frank Fat s. 

Chall: I wondered about the relationship of the director and lobbyists. 

Warne: The funds for the conservation projects were not from licenses, as 
were the operating funds of the department, but were directly 
appropriated by the legislature. Perhaps that is why the legislative 
advisors thought they had a special role in their administration. 
They were happy enough to leave the business of fixing the regula 
tions to the Fish and Game Commission, because of the hot-potato 
character of that job. 

I didn t have much trouble after that first meeting of the 
board. The advisors never pressed me after that, that is, that 
board. I, of course, had many, many conferences with legislators, 
some of them in my office and some in theirs. Sometimes they were, 
in effect, lobbying, and sometimes I was there beseeching them to 
carry a piece of legislation or to modify one that they had turned 
in, or something of that sort. 

I suppose actively, through the years, I had more such meetings 
with Pauline Davis than anybody else. She was on the Water Committee 
too, and was more or less a maverick at all times. But I got along 
very well with her. 

Several of the bills that she carried, while they might not have 
started out as acceptable to the department, were modified in a way 
that the department not only approved but supported them the Davis- 
Grunsky Act and the Davis-Dolwig Act are examples . 

Chall: That s fish and game, or water 

Warne: No, water resources. In fish and game, I don t recall any very earth- 
shaking bills. Most of it was well, there wasn t any very earth- 
shaking. . . 

Chall: It was really getting it into a proper administrative frame? 
Warne: Yes. 

Chall: Did you change any of that? Did you change the relationship of the 

commissions to the director or did you just try to organize it within 
the framework that was already there, which certainly looked like a 
difficult framework? 


Warne: It was a difficult framework, but I didn t try to modify the frame 
work. What I did do, not only with the Wildlife Conservation Board, 
which I just described, but also with the Fish and Game Commission, 
was to take a leadership role. I didn t find that too much resisted. 

Several members of the Fish and Game Commission [Henry] 
Clineschmidt, Jamie Smith, [William P.] Elser from down in San 
Diego I had at least met before, one way or another, and they 
proved to be very good friends and staunch supporters. Tom 
Richards I never found him to be at all obstreperous. Carl Wente 
was a little more reserved. I think they all responded, actually, 
to a little leadership. It relieved them some, you know. 

Their meetings were most uncomfortable not for me nearly so 
much as for them because there was a group who was very vocal, 
and vociferous, and aggressive, who came to every meeting and 
attacked them [the commissioners] personally on almost everything 
they did. It was rather uproarious at times. They didn t attack 
me nearly as much as they did the commission, itself. No hunting 
regulation was ever satisfactory to them. 

Chall: They represented interests, then. 

Warne: Yes. The interests the protesters represented were the ones that 

might be called the outer fringe of conservation: the no shoot, no 
kill , no gun 

Chall: They did? They represented that? 

Warne: Yes. 

Chall: All of them? 

Warne: The ones that were the most difficult to handle. So it was a very 
interesting period. 

I remember one of the no-kill advocates, who was in violation 
of the regulations by penning up and feeding wild deer on his ranch 
on the shoulder of Mt. San Jacinto, called Mr. Wente "the most 
atavistic lout on the commission" during one meeting. Wente was a 
high official of the Bank of America and active in Ducks Unlimited. 
Clineschmidt wanted to fight the guy, but Carl knew what atavistic 
meant and let it pass . 

I, myself, decided that the biggest job of all that I had as the 
director of the Department of Fish and Game was to get the staff 
working together and also to get these biologists and game managers 
more closely related to the areas in which they were assigned to 


Warne: Walt Shannon and I, Harry Anderson, who was then my manager, and 

Bob Calkins, who was the information officer, set out a program in 
which we were going to go I_ was going to go into every county in 
the state and there are fifty-eight of them and hold a meeting 
with the people interested in local fish and game problems, with our 
staff representatives present. That is, each time I would have some 
one from the district office, someone from the biological staff, and 
the local game wardens present, and we d hear the local people out. 

We started out in San Francisco with the Tyee Club, which was 
very... Well, I got through it and the staff told me that we had the 
problem licked now that we had survived the Tyee . 

Chall: If you got through that one all right? 
Warne: That s the worst one of the lot, they said. 
Chall: That s boating, isn t it? 

Warne: Yes. Oh, they re everything boating, off-shore fishing, sport 

fishing, protect the bay. At that time their leadership was very 

We went on and I was out holding these meetings in every place 
you could think of Bridgeport down to towns that you had to hunt 
for on the map, lots of times. And I found it a very useful exper 
ience, not only for me but for the staff, which hadn t really ever 
had that experience in depth managers and wardens meeting with their 
constituents and it was also good for the people out there in the 

Chall: That nobody had ever come to see? 

Warne: Nobody had ever come to see them. They could holler as much as they 
wanted to, but usually they turned out to be fairly reasonable people 
after you got around to listening to them. Some of the commissioners 
started to come to some of those meetings, too. It gave them a little 
more exposure. It helped to improve their own hearings, which were 
always held in the cities, mostly in Sacramento. 

Chall: What staff did you take with you? The wardens in the area? 

Warne: I took the wardens in the area and the district game managers, plus 
someone from the Sacramento staff. 

Fish and game has a couple of little airplanes they use for 
patrol work. They can be rigged also to plant fish from the air. 
We flew those around quite a lot on this kind of deal. I felt fairly 


Warne: secure flying with them until one time I remember trying to get into 
the Burbank airport and letting down, letting down, letting down, and 
Leo Singer, who was flying the thing he was a warden-pilot stationed 
at the time in San Bernardino when we finally broke through the 
cloud here was the airport right in front of us and he went [sharp 
intake of breath] aahhh hehhhhhhh, with such relief that I got a 
little nervous belatedly. [laughter] 

Mentioning Capps a little earlier and his part in stirring up the 
fish and game controversy reminds me that some elaboration of the 
role of the newsmen might be interesting. In 1959, Ed and Wilson 
"Bill" Lythgoe, outdoor writer of the Sacramento Bee, were the most 
influential reporters on fish and game matters in the state, but all 
of the big papers had special outdoor writers, such as Ed Neal, of 
the San Francisco Chronicle, and they covered our activities like a 
blanket. In agriculture and water resources, later, I did not find any 
such knowledgeable reportage by specialized writers. The hunters and 
fishermen of California are a special breed, regardless of their other 
interests. They like to think that they pay for the Department of 
Fish and Game and through the Fish and Game Commission that they run 
it. Ed Capps and Bill Lythgoe had very wide and avid readership among 
the sportsmen. 

The department had an unusual program afoot in 1959. The golden 
trout, which since then has been designated as the California state 
fish, has a limited range in the High Sierra near Mt. Whitney. Our 
fisheries managers wanted to capture a breeding stock and transplant 
it to safe havens, since Whitney Meadows, which contained the largest 
golden trout population, was beginning to be the back-packing paradise 
it has now become. We were afraid the golden trout might be fished 
out of the little streams in the meadows. Shannon and Calkins 
mentioned that Ward Gilliland, of our Los Angeles office, who was in 
charge of the transplant, thought that I might like to take part in 
the caper. I said that the governor talked frequently of his trips 
into the Sierra as a young man, and might want to go, too. We 
decided to invite Lythgoe and Capps, and I added my old friend from 
AP days, Paul B. Zimmerman, who was then sports editor of the Los 
Angeles Times. The party grew some when the governor accepted my 
invitation. This was to prove to be another means of pulling our 
staff together and of obtaining a better understanding of our programs 
by the press and public. 

This pack trip was the first, as it turned out, of seven or eight 
that the department hosted during the Brown administration. Pat went 
on all but one of them, as I remember it. One year he had broken a 
leg playing golf and could not ride. Those were pretty rugged trips. 
Each time the goal was a wilderness area and the ride was on horseback 
over several miles of rough trail. 


Warne: That first trip was a lulu. The boys had hired a wrangler, who 

turned out to be a young, inexperienced kid. He took the wrong fork 
in the trail and lengthened the ride by two miles or more in Whitney 
Meadows. The governor and I were getting pretty sore, not having 
ridden for a long time, and he kept hollering down the line, "Where 
is that camp, anyway?" and "Are we lost?" He said, "I can see the 
headlines tomorrow: Brown missing in the Sierra, out on a lark 
with his fish and game experts." 1 

When we topped a little rise and had a good view of the meadows, 
sure enough we had been lost. Our camp was barely visible, far to 
the north. 

"Are you a Republican or something?" the governor shouted at the 
guide. "Trying to kill the governor!" 

Someone already in camp, seeing us coming from the wrong direc 
tion, had thoughtfully prepared a pitcher of martinis, which made the 
ride in seem like fun again. But we searched around for a forest 
service landing strip and had grasshopper planes come in to take us 
out after a couple of days of fishing. We caught innumerable golden 
trout with barbless hooks and put them quickly into ten-gallon milk 
cans, which were iced and loaded onto mules and taken to new waters. 

This gave me and the governor an opportunity to talk with the 
outdoor writers about what the Department of Fish and Game was trying 
to do with its programs statewide. Capps and Lythgoe went on each 
of the trips in succeeding years, and despite the fact that I left 
fish and game after 1959, we remained close friends until Ed, 
unfortunately, died. 

I was no longer in the state government when one day I happened 
to meet Ed Capps in a bar. He apologized for drinking coffee. "Had 
a little trouble with my ticker," he explained. He and Lythgoe had 
been combat officers in the Pacific in the Second World War, and on 
our camping trips he always dressed in black and wore a pistol at the 
hip. He liked to refer to himself as Black Bart on these occasions. 
He said you never knew when you would meet a rattlesnake. We all 
thought of him as physically very rugged. His sudden death was a 



Those summer trips always had an objective. One was made to 
demonstrate the aerial planting of trout fingerlings in high 
mountain lakes. It was quite a show. Planes plummeting out of 
clouds to tree-top level. One or more members of the Fish and Game 
Commission usually went. Sometimes a member of the legislature. 
Tom Lynch, the attorney general, who was a close, long-time friend 
of Pat s, went on many of them. DeWitt "Swede" Nelson, director of 


Warne: the Department of Conservation, was frequently along. Hugo Fisher, 
after he became administrator of the Resources Agency, went a time 
or two. Assemblyman Jerry Waldie. Judge Stan Arnold, a personal 
friend of Pat s, went at least once, into the Trinity Alps with us. 
Bill Peterson of the United States Forest Service was along more than 
once. There were others, but the hard core of the group that made up 
the packing trips consisted of fish and game people, Shannon, Calkins, 
et al, and myself and Governor Brown. The governor loved those 
outings and talked about them for months. He never won very much at 
poker, but he tried. He was the only one who consistently plunged 
into the icy waters of whatever lake we were camped beside before 
breakfast each day we were in camp. "You a sissy or something?" he 
would ask, splashing around like a walrus, those who managed to dip 
a foot in and pull back. 

In any event, at the same time this was going on in fish and game, 
Governor Brown set up a task force, a series of task forces, under 
Charlie Johnson, really, to plan the reorganization of the state 
government. I remember that I was drawn into that business right 
away. There s where I first worked with and got well acquainted with 
Jim Wright, who was in the Department of Water Resources and who was 
working on this, and with Neely Gardner, who at that time was with 
the personnel board, training officer for the state, and whom I later 
brought into the Department of Water Resources as a deputy director. 

We brought in the report that set up the agencies, including the 
Resources Agency which eventually I headed for its first sixteen 
months. I didn t have that in mind at the time that we set up the 
plan. I served as administrator simultaneously with my service in 
water resources. 

Chall: That was called the Winton Bill. Were you working with Gordon 
Winton to get that through? 

Warne: Yes, I appeared, I think, on all of the hearings of it. Gordon and 
I became good friends . 

Another thing I did that year was very interesting to me. I said 
that there wasn t any legislation particularly important to the 
Department of Fish and Game. However, fish and game at that time 
was the major force in the anti-pollution programs of the state. 
They brought in someone brought in the water pollution control 
legislation of 1959. This got into a terrific controversy. 

What was his name from down in San Francisco? Assemblyman 
Chall: Still assemblyman? 

Fish and Game Operation Golden 
Trout. William Warne, director 
of the Department of Fish and 
Game, issues a fishing license 
to Governor Edmund G. (Pat) 
Brown at Lone Pine. August, 1959, 

Fish and Game Operation Golden 
Trout. The Governor s party 
at camp in Big Whitney Meadow. 
August, 1959. 

Governor Brown s party at the 
annual pack trip, camped beside 
the lake in Marble Mountain 
Wilderness Area. September, 1965. 


Warne: No. He s been out for a long time, 
the committee or a subcommittee. 

But he was then the chairman of 

Chall: We re talking about year, maybe 1961? 
Warne: No, I think it was 59. 

I ll find him in a minute. Looking through here, you see some 
of your old friends that you haven t thought of in a while. [looking 
through Legislative Handbook] Meyers! Charles W. Meyers! He had 
this bill in charge, and he got into such a terrific controversy with 
the Manufacturers Association, water users, and sportsmen, that he 
couldn t make any headway with it. So Charles asked me to get all of 
the interested people together and work out some amendments to his 
bill. I remember a meeting that was held in one of the hearing rooms 
in which we rewrote that blooming bill. I said, "Yes, that will be 
acceptable; no, that won t be acceptable. No, this can t be done; 
yes, that can be done." They wanted to amend out fish and game s 
right to blow the whistle on polluters, I remember, and we said 
emphatically, "No!" 

We gave the revision to Charles and he amended the bill and it 
passed, which amazed me since the opposition had been lined up at 
the outset, manufacturers associations everybody! Every special 
interest in the state was in there one way or another. But it was a 
pretty good piece of legislation when we got done. This grew out of 
two things, really: the Department of Fish and Game s insistence 
on a more aggressive program to clean up the waters, and the fact 
that everyone involved accepted me, a newcomer, as a third party, I 
guess, a referee. 

This legislation retained the old policies of the 1949 act and 
strengthened the hands of the State Water Pollution Control Board, 
as it was then called, and of the regional boards to control waste 
disposal to maintain the highest quality consistent with maximum use 
of the waters. Technically, the regional boards were authorized to 
revise waste discharge standards in the light of new demands on the 
water resources, to demand that under certain conditions no discharges 
would be permitted, and at the boards discretion to limit discharges 
short of the full assimilative capacity of the receiving waters. I 
thought that it would have been better if the state board had been 
given a stronger role. I served on the state board for eight years 
as director, first, of fish and game, then of agriculture, and finally 
of water resources. I was vice-chairman for a year or two and always 
took a significant part in the board s activities. Our [state board s] 
principal function was to allocate federal loan and grant monies to 
local agencies interested in cleaning up their wastewaters or so it 
seemed to me. The regional boards had most of the operating authority, 
and all of the initiative. 


Chall: Then are you talking about a change that was made in 1959? Because 
there was another change in, what, 1963? 

Warne: I can t tell you for certain. 

Chall: It was the Meyers Bill that you re talking about. I ll check into 

Warne: There was another one later on. 

Chall: The one later changed the water pollution control board to the water 
quality control board, changed the name and, I guess, as a result of 
that, some policy. 

Warne: That was a later one. 

Chall: That was 63. I wasn t familiar with the one that came between. Did 
it try to upgrade the quality of water? 

Warne: Yes. The big fight was whether we kept intact the fish and game s 

right to enforce the water pollution restrictions in order to protect 
the fisheries, and whether we gave authority to the regional boards 
to act more forcefully and with more discretionary leeway. 

Chall: But weren t there already committees set up within each region? 

Warne: Yes, the regional boards nine, I believe already existed. That s a 
very interesting story, though. We had these regional boards and no 
one in Sacramento paid much attention to them. I found later on that 
one of my little headaches was going to be to go through all of those 
regional boards and reconstitute them. That is, we found that some 
people had been appointed to four-year terms and they d been on the 
board ten years without anyone paying any attention to their assign 
ments. These people were most unresponsive to any influence whatsoever 
from Sacramento. I did this for Pat later on. We went through the 
whole list. 

The state board s chairman was A N Rawn, who philosophically was 
committed to local control of the water pollution program. He was 
not interested in having any effective review at the state level of 
the regional activities. The California Manufacturers Association, 
represented by Lou Nichols, whom I had known slightly in university 
days he was a star member of one of Cal s football Wonder Teams was 
adamant that the regional boards should remain the scene of initial 
and, he hoped, all action in controlling water pollution. The regional 
boards were easier to influence since the law required them to repre 
sent special interests, including industry, and because many of the 
members were over-term and cared very little about what went on in 
Sacramento in the way of policy formulation. 


Warne: Members of these regional boards were subject to appointment by the 

governor. After their four- year terms ended, however, they continued 
to serve until their successors were appointed. But for years no 
successors were ever appointed. The governor wanted, and I wanted, a 
stronger control exercised over the program. I looked into the status 
of the regional boards and found that, with very few exceptions, all 
the members of all of them were serving beyond the limits of their 
terms, and some of the boards had been reduced to bare quorums by 
deaths and the moving away of old members. I talked to Pat about it, 
and he said that I should go through the lists and make recommendations 
for the appointment of new members who might be more active and more 

It took months to make the reviews. I had suggestions from Paul 
Bonderson, who was executive officer of the state board, and some 
alert individuals in the regions. It must have been years, and the 
1963 water pollution control law was enacted and the regional boards 
were expanded by the inclusion of public members, before the governor 
was able to act on recommendations for reconstitution of all of the 
regional boards. We looked for Democrats, but highest on our list of 
qualifications for candidates was a willingness to serve and apply an 
independent judgment to the problems encountered in the regions. 
Neither I nor Pat Brown knew what the politics were of a considerable 
number of his appointees to these boards. 

Chall: I see. Was that while you were Resources Agency administrator? 
Warne: No, that s while I was the director of water resources. 

I went over to see Pat. By the way, I call him Pat when we re 
talking here, but I never called him Pat, except when we were alone, 
while he was governor. I always addressed him as Mr. Governor or 
Governor Brown. That s without exception if anyone else were 

Chall: Was the formality generally what it was in Washington? 

Warne: It s not that formal, but no, it isn t as formal as it was in 
Washington. But I used the same protocol that I had used in 
Washington. I think it had an influence on the way... 

Chall: On Pat Brown? Or the way other people looked at him when you were 
working with him? 

Warne: On the way other people looked at him. I think it also influenced 
how other directors acted toward him too. 

Chall: That s a good point. 


Director, Department of Agriculture, 1960 

Warne: Well, I went over to see him. I had made up my mind that I had done 
all in fish and game I was going to be able to do [chuckles] and so 
I went in. It was early December, 1959. Hale Champion was there, 
too. Before I had any opportunity to say anything, Hale said to the 
governor, "I think, Governor, it s time to put the bee on Bill to go 
over and take that job in agriculture." 

I said, "I don t know what s going on here. I came over here to 
say that I thought, really, that I had about exhausted the possibil 
ities of me doing anything further in fish and game, and I thought 
perhaps another assignment would be better." 

The governor said, "Well, you know, [W.C. "Jake"] Jacobsen is 
director over there and has been for so long a time, he s talking 
about retiring, and he ought to retire. I d like to put someone 
over there, but I just don t like the names that they keep coming 
up with. Would you go over and take that job?" 

I said, "What am I to do over there?" He said, "The outfit is 
just absolutely dead. It needs straightening up. You know, it s 
just a tool of certain of the agricultural interests and it needs 
the kind of input that a real strong director might make and give it 
a little personality of its own." 

"Well," I said, "you know I m not an agricultural expert. I ve 
done a good deal of work in land reclamation. I ve administered 
agricultural programs abroad . I worked some in Washington with the 
Department of Agriculture or against them when I was in the Department 
of Interior." 

"Okay," he said, "why don t you go over on the first of January 
and take that job over?" I said, "You talk to Jacobsen about this? 
[laughs] You tell him." "Well," he said, "I ll talk to him right now 
and I ll also talk to the committees." So that s the way it turned 
out. Jake was a fine old man and he had been in agriculture in one 
capacity or another at least since 1917. I went in on the first of 
January . 


Chall: So Pat Brown really was giving Jacobsen only about a month s notice. 
But Jacobsen would have expected this anyway because he was a Knight 

Warne: Well, yes. But I discovered those people who stay on from one 

administration to the next never expect what happens to them. Now, 
I had gotten pretty well acquainted with Jacobsen. He was in the 
governor s council and I was in the governor s council, a fairly 


Warne: active member. I don t recall specifically, but we had worked 

together some. He was on a couple of the same commissions I was, 
water pollution control among them. 

I went over to see him. It must have been near the end of his 
tour. I wasn t so sure after that meeting that he was as anxious 
to retire as I was before I went. [chuckles] I remember I went 
into his office. He had an office about as big as this, with two 
tables large you know, those fairly long tables, ten feet long or 
so piled up with papers [shows stack about one foot high] whew! 
stacks that covered both tables! 

I said, "Jake, are you going through your papers?" "Oh no," 
he said, "those are some of the things that I keep in here to work 

After talking with him a while, I went out. Didn t have much to 
talk about. I went out and said to Ethel Richer t, who was his 
secretary, "Mrs. Richert, do you want to stay on as my secretary?" 
She said, "I d be glad to, Mr. Warne." I said, "What are all those 
papers in there on those tables?" She said, "I don t know. I have 
strict instructions not to touch." 

I didn t say anything more. I went down to Pasadena. Mrs. Warne 
was ill, between Christmas and New Year s. I came back up here on 
the first, or maybe it was the second I ve forgotten and was sworn 
in. And that office was just cleaned out completely! 

I said to Ethel, "What about those papers?" "Oh," she said, 
"you know, he cleaned off his desk and left two or three days before 
the end of the year. I was so glad to get the opportunity! I got 
three of the girls; we went in there and took all those papers off 
the tables. I looked at them and they were all from the files. Some 
of them had gone back to 1917!" [laughs] 

Chall: He had been piling them up? 

Warne: I said, "What happened to them?" She said, "I just sent them around 
to the file room." 

Chall: So much for historical material. 
Warne: It wasn t historical material. 
Chall: Just bulletins mainly? 

Warne: Oh, correspondence and bulletins, little reports, all sorts of 

things that he always thought he d get around to. If he did get 
around to them, he wanted to have the whole file right there. Of 


Warne: course, that meant that material wasn t available to anyone else 
in the department. That s about the way the department had been 

Charles Dick was the assistant director. I was very pleased to 
work with him. I think he had some problem of adjusting at first 
because my style was quite different from that of Jacobsen. But we 
got along fine, and Charlie worked well. 

Now, there is a California Farm Board, too. I think it s now 
called the Commission on Food and Agriculture. It s quite a different 
functionary from that in the Fish and Game Department. The Fish and 
Game Commission actually makes the regulations. While its administra 
tive authorities are not very positive, it directly influences a lot 
of activity in the Department of Fish and Game, whereas the farm 
board . . . 

Chall: I guess I call it the State Board of Agriculture. 
Warne: State Board of Agriculture. 

Chall: All right. 

Warne: The State Board of Agriculture is strictly advisory. The director of 
agriculture makes a report to it once a month and the university makes 
a report on economics and labor conditions , which I always thought was 
a rather silly arrangement. 

Chall: Is that what their concern was? I know they always had a university 
person on that board. 

Warne: Not only that. They had a staffer to that board. 
Chall: Yes. And that was Romain Young? 

Warne: Romain Young was with the Agricultural Extension Service. He was 
actually on the staff of the department. 

Chall: He was the executive secretary 

Warne: of the board. 

Chall: You said there was also somebody else from the university? 

Warne: Thorn. What was his name? [musingly] He was an agricultural 

economist who reported every month right along with the director of 
the department. 


Chall: What was he? Where did he come from? 

Warne: He came from the university at Davis. 

Chall: I see. 

Warne: The university is an amazing bureaucracy. 

The state Department of Agriculture has nothing to do with research 
and extension, unlike the United States Department of Agriculture. 

Chall: That s done by the university. 

Warne: That s done by the university. So in effect, you ve got two depart 
ments of agriculture: the university, of course, since it s outside 
the state government, keeps an arm s length position in Sacramento. 
It reports to the Board of Agriculture just the same as the director 
of the department does. 

Now, the Department of Agriculture here in California, most casual 
observers think, is a state counterpart of the federal department. 
"Tain t so." It has virtually no functions that aren t regulatory in 
nature marketing and regulating are its functions. The Soil Conser 
vation Service is not in the Department of Agriculture; the state 
forestry is not in the Department of Agriculture; the extension and 
research functions are not in the Department of Agriculture. 

Chall: That hasn t been changed at all, has it? 

Warne: No. What is in the Department of Agriculture are the marketing 

agreements, cooperative crop reporting, regulatory functions over 
pesticides, crop dusters, et cetera, et cetera, weights and measures 
supervision, and brand regulation. The department had fifty-four 
boards, as I remember it. One of them was the brand board. On each 
one of these, membership was avidly sought by farm politicos. 

I, one time, decided that so many people were trying to get on the 
brand board that I ought to go and see what the hell it did. So I 
went to one of its meetings. [chuckles] That s the last one I ever 
went to . 

Chall: What were they interested in? Just brands as such? 

Warne: I found people whose grandfathers had a ranch and established a brand. 
Though the land had all been subdivided, now still they wanted to 
maintain their brand and protected this with. .. [laughs] It s just 
amazing . 

Chall: It s really an anachronism. 


Warne: It s an anachronism without any question. But then, the whole darn 
department is an anomaly, if not an anachronism. 

Chall: That department, as I recall, was not brought in under the Resources 
Agency . 

Warne: Yes, as a matter of fact, it was. 
Chall: Was it left out in the final plan? 

Warne: It managed to get out from under it. It was taken out. This is the 
first meeting of the Resources Agency staff. [shows picture taken 
from wall] What s the date October 10, 1961. Here s Charles Paul, 
who was the director of agriculture at that time, in the meeting. 
Now, here s Charlie Dick, who was his deputy; my deputy when I was in 
agriculture, and later Paul s deputy. So they considered themselves 
a part of the agency at that time, and I did too. The governor, 
however, yielded to the pressures of the agriculture community and 
took agriculture out. 

The farm interests wanted the director of agriculture to be a 
member of the governor s cabinet and have direct access to the 
governor and not to report through anyone else, which was a very 
silly thing, at that time at least, since the governor s cabinet 
seldom met. Also Pat Brown was always available to department 
directors, so far as I observed, before and after the agency was 

I told Paul, and I think he agreed with me, that he d be better 
off in the agency where he d have a closer relationship with the 
Department of Conservation, the Department of Water Resources, and 
the Department of Parks and Recreation, and some others that had 
programs and problems that impinged on agriculture. I think he 
agreed. Some of the other elements in the state wanted what they 
thought was a more direct avenue to the governor, and they prevailed. 
The fact that I was the agency administrator might not have sat well 
with some farm leaders; I do not know. 

Chall: What were you able to do with this department? You were in there 
for about a year. 

Warne: The thing I did with the Department of Agriculture was to reorganize 
it, which I didn t do in fish and game. In this department, we 
reorganized the staff completely. I simply made fish and game s 
organization effective. Two things I did in agriculture: first, I 
sort of broke the umbilical cord to the agriculture council, which 
was not the Board of Agriculture, but was a meeting of all the 


Warne: specialized interests in agriculture, by declining to go over the 
annual budget with them before it had been submitted to the legis 
lature. This collapsed somewhat their influence over the department. 

Chall: The council was made up of growers? 

Warne: Growers associations, right. Farm Bureau. Grange. 

Chall: I see. Representatives from these various groups, is that it? 

Warne: Yes. 

Chall: And it was informal, yet formal? 

Warne: Informal, but it really thought it was in charge. And I guess had, 
actually, been, apparently. Theretofore, each individual element in 
the department had cleared its proposed program for the coming year 
with the lobbying organization most affected by it before the program 
was made up, before the budget was completed. 

Well, I wouldn t do such a thing, nor permit it to be done by 
offices within the department. I didn t mind discussing what the 
program was in general terms, but to show them the individual 
budget items... It was kind of an icy meeting before we got through, 
since these people thought they were pretty important. They 
protested to the governor. I got a call from Hale Champion, "What 
goes on, Bill?" I said, "I m just protecting your right to review 
the budget before it is made public." He said, "They really raised 
hell at the governor s office." [laughs] I said, "I don t believe 
in working that way. I m working for the governor and not for the 
Farm Bureau Federation." 

Chall: What were your relations with the Farm Bureau Federation? 

Warne: Very cool thereafter. 

Chall: It was? Was Alan Grant, at the time, or someone else the president? 

Warne: I think Grant was the president or the coming-up president. 

I attended a couple of their board meetings down in Berkeley. 
They had their offices down there. [George] Sehlmeyer, who was in 
the Grange he and I were old friends from the days when we fought 
the 160-acre battle down there together in Washington. But most of 
the movers and shakers in this were people who were chairmen of one 
of these advisory committees or marketing order governing boards, 
that kind of thing. 


Chall : And the cooperatives . 

Warne: Co-ops. Sunkist. I even went down to one of their meetings, I 

remember, in Los Angeles. I never went to a Diamond Walnut meeting. 
I wonder why? I m a member of Diamond now. 


Warne: The Department of Agriculture, as I now recall it, was made up of 
twenty-four bureaus. When the department was set up by some legal 
reorganization in 1927 or some such time, the bureaus were collected 
from various and sundry places within the government. I guess most 
of them were just independent agencies, and made into a department. 
But they didn t put any superstructure on it, so that, in effect, 
the director was about the only thing above the bureaus, excepting 
the old agricultural board itself, the farm board. 

Then when they changed the function of the farm board, which used 
to run the place, strictly to an advisory group, that left a depart 
ment, as I viewed it, without any real structure at all. It was just 
a collection of agencies. What I did, I read a little study made by 
one of the bright young men over in the Department of Finance and by 
the personnel board. We came out with a plan to group these various 
bureaus into divisions. We established four divisions as I remember 
it four program divisions plus an administrative division within the 

Chall: That you did. 

Warne: Yes. Let me tell you something else about that department. When 
these bureaus were drawn into the department, they apparently had 
somewhat of a reorganization in almost each of the bureaus at that 
time, because I found that almost every bureau chief and not only 
that, but most of the assistant bureau chiefs had been in the same 
bureau from the time the department was organized. 

Most of them were of retirement age, optional retirement. Some 
of them actually were at the point where they were at forced retire 
ment. In setting up these four divisions, I picked four of the most 
active bureau chiefs, whom I deemed to be alive, and advanced them 
to division chiefs, which gave them more money and prestige and which 
emptied four bureaus. Eight other bureau chiefs retired at that 
point. Some of the assistant bureau chiefs retired too. 

I think that in the year that I was there, more than half of the 
old hierarchy was either moved or left the department. This, for the 
first time, opened the department up so that people had a means of 
professional advancement, could see some kind of opportunity ahead. 


Warne: While I suspect some of those old bureau chiefs didn t like it so 

well since they put on their hats and left, there wasn t much regret 
in the lower levels of the department at this. 

As a matter of fact, to this day, I meet people still with the 
department who remember with great pleasure the fact that we modern 
ized the department and it was nearly twenty years ago. 

Chall: Did that change the relationship with the farm groups on the outside, 
do you think? 

Warne: In part it did because this put a different reporting procedure on 
several of these advisory committees or marketing order committees. 
It removed them a little farther from what they thought was a direct 
relationship through the director with the governor, which they never 
had anyway . Not with Brown, at least. He never met with any of them. 
I ll tell you, I don t think Pat Brown saw Jacobsen once in the year 
that he served there, except in such formal meetings as the governor s 

Chall: How about other governors? Do you think that Warren or Knight or 

was it pressure that they could put on governors even if they didn t 
see them a lot? 

Warne: It might have been pressure. It might have been pressures too. Or it 
might have been that this gave them an opportunity to pressure com 
mittees of the legislature without anyone being the wiser concerning 
their relations with the governor. 

Chall: So there was a lot of independence then. 

Warne: Yes. Even independence from reality, as near as I could see. 

Chall: Did they think you were anti the agricultural interests? 

Warne: I don t know that they did. No. Because I at least tried to assure 
them that I was interested in the same things they were. I believe 
they understood that. I know that some of them greatly appreciated 
my work. But some of them didn t like to have these old forms changed. 
The agricultural interests in this state are pretty highly organized 
and for the most part are not responsive to any influence except their 
own personal objectives. 

It always surprised me to observe the degree of attainment, the 
self-satisfaction, that a member of one of these many boards, not only 
in agriculture, but elsewhere in the government, associated with his 
membership, regardless of whether the board had any importance, or 
whether it ever did anything at all. 


Warne: The governor took a few of the boards seriously, and deliberately 

tried to enhance their prestige, but only on the fishing trips could 
I arrange a meeting with Pat for members of the Fish and Game Commis 
sion. I don t think he ever met with the Board of Agriculture, the 
Water Pollution Control Board, or the California Water Commission, let 
alone the lower echelon commissions , such as the Reclamation Board , 
and the subsidiary boards and commissions in agriculture. In rare 
crises it might be possible for a director to get the chairman of his 
commission in to see the governor in his corner office in the Capitol. 
Pat Brown was a gregarious man and generous with his time, too. He 
simply had not the time to preen the pinfeathers of these boards. At 
times I introduced him to members of one or the other of the commis 
sions with which I worked during those years when the governor was 
present at some public meeting which we attended. 

One board, however, with which I was somewhat remotely associated, 
the one we called the State Fair Board, Pat recognized each year 
during State Fair Week in Sacramento with a formal dinner at the 
Governor s Mansion. These people were politicos with some agricultural 
association. Edith, my wife, and I were invited to nearly every one of 
these dinners. The governor was a good host and Bernice Mrs. Brown 
was a charming hostess. We thought the old mansion was a lovely, 
stately old building. Pat usually had a number of people climb up two 
flights of stairs to see his bedroom where he had a rope curled up 
handy under a window to slide down and escape if the place caught on 
fire at night. There was a good number of other occasions when Mrs. 
Warne and I were entertained at the mansion. 

In later years, I would go over at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast with 
the governor he and I alone eating in the kitchen pantry when I had 
a problem to discuss with him. He was ready to work anytime. Early 
morning. Late at night. I remember when I was director of water 
resources and the Feather River flooded at Christmastime, 1964, the 
situation got very critical. The director of water resources was 
vested with the authority, if an emergency were to be declared by the 
governor, to breech levees to direct flood flows away from cities and 
populated places and to take other actions, such as hiring large crews 
to fill and place sand bags, obtain the release of prisoners for such 
work, and such things. My daughter, Margaret, was home from college, 
and had gone with me to the flood emergency center that we operated 
jointly with the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation in 
the Resources Building. The staff said we might have to dynamite 
some levees. The partially completed Oroville Dam was holding, but 
tremendous flows were nevertheless being discharged into the stream 
through the by-pass tunnels . I called the governor on the telephone 
and he said that he would sign an emergency order if I would bring it 
right over to the mansion. Margaret and I went over carrying the 
order. It was a five-minute drive. The Browns had a family Christmas 


Warne: Eve party in progress. I remember that Jerry Brown was there all the 
children, I think, and many grandchildren. Margaret sat with them at 
the Christmas tree while Pat and I went into the dining room. He read 
and signed the order. Fortunately, the flood crest passed and we had 
to take no emergency action. But it was a close call. 

Edith and I invited Pat and Bernice to our house to dinner. It 
must have been in 1965. We had the Emil Mraks and the Ira King Wilkins 
as guests. Wilkin was president of Zellerbach Paper Company, and a 
friend of mine from Cal . Mrak was in the class ahead of us at Berkeley. 
We were all Old Blues. The governor and Bernice were sociable and out 
going, as usual, and it was a great evening. Pat told me later that 
it was the first and only time since he had become attorney general 
that they had attended such a private, family dinner party. He 
enjoyed it, he said, but he doubted whether he could ever do it again 
while in public life. No time to spare for such relaxations. 

Now, one thing more I did during that year 1960 which I spent in 
agriculture, an action which had wide impact. This was at a time when 
the campaigns against pesticides first were beginning to surface. 
There was rising opposition to the use of pesticides. Our department 
had the authority, the obligation, the authority and the obligation, 
to certify the use of these chemicals. I use "pesticides" here as we 
did then, as a term to cover all of the agricultural chemicals 
fungicides and everything else the growth regulators all of them, 
they all came under the one classification. 

I found, however, that our bureau that had charge of this didn t 
do a blooming thing didn t think it was qualified to do anything, or 
authorized to do anything more than to see that the same chemical was 
in the bottle that the guy alleged he had put in it. 

Chall: The purity of it. 

Warne: That s all. You see, didn t make any appraisal of the efficacy or 
appropriateness of the pesticide, relying on the manufacturer s 

I suggested, and the governor appointed, a blue-ribbon committee 
which was headed by Mrak over at Davis, and had representatives of 
many of the interests in the state, for general review of pesticide 
programs and their appropriateness. We held a number of hearings and 
in the end brought out a report which was in part reassuring . I think 
it led to some modification of the state program. It didn t forestall 
the eventual elimination of DDT, but it led toward it. 

Chall: I see. You found that there were some environmental problems resulting? 


Warne: Yes. And also I don t think we could have taken the jump from full 
endorsement of DDT to its 

Chall: total withdrawal. 

Warne: total withdrawal without going through some kind of step in between 
and I think this was a pretty useful step in between. I remember we 
had the representative of the I believe he was immediate past presi 
dent of the California Medical Society on the commission, and people 
with some degree of credibility. It helped, it helped. Now, that 
probably was outside of the reorganization of the department, which 
was thorough-going, with the change of more than half of the bureaus 
in a single year the most important thing I did that year. 

Chall: How did you hire the others? Some you promoted from bureau chief to a 
division head, and others you could go out and find on your own. Did 
you do that? 

Warne: Yes. The department also had then, and I believe it still does have 
the responsibility of nominating to the counties the county agricul 
tural commissioners. So we had a very elaborate process of examination, 
selection, and whatnot. In fact, that process was working fairly well. 
I didn t see any reason to change that. I never , in all of my associa 
tion with government, tried to go outside of the system in the 
appointment of subordinates. 

I discovered overseas, where I had all the authority in the world 
and no restrictions in hiring, that I couldn t do any better than the 
system could do, and as a matter of fact, I didn t think I did as 
well, so I would rather follow the system. As a consequence, all of 
the people that were advanced were people who took the necessary 
examinations and were reviewed, many of them, not even by me but by 
panels of people acquainted with our responsibilities. 

Chall: These were all civil service people then. 
Warne: We made them all civil service. 
Chall: Even division heads? 

Warne: Even the division heads, yes. Maybe I had the right to appoint them; 
I did select the division heads, but I selected them out of the 
department, without exception. 

Chall: That makes them more loyal, too, I m sure. 

Warne : Yes . 

Chall: As well as providing the expertise that you need inside. 


Warne: It was an interesting year. I got acquainted with a lot of people 
that I didn t know before. I remember making a speech to the hay 
growers they took over the Biltmore Ballroom, or maybe it was the 
Ambassador, or the Coconut Grove in Hollywood. 

Chall: You wouldn t believe there were that many hay growers, would you? 

Warne: No, and my God, they had movie stars on the program. Here is a poor 
little director of agriculture, coming down and making a dry speech 
to them, following Milton Berle. 

Chall: Is that right? 

Warne: It was funny! [laughter] 

And the seed growers meet at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. I 
really got around that year. I refused to go to the meetings that 
state farming organizations held in Las Vegas. I was opposed and still 
am to California organizations meeting in Las Vegas or other Nevada 
resorts . 

Chall: Oh yes, out of state, that other state 

Warne: That other state, especially Las Vegas. But many of them did meet 
over there, you know. 



The Appointment 

Chall: Did you think that you might stay there forever in the Department of 

Warne: Oh no, I didn t have any intention of staying there, and the adminis 
tration didn t intend for me to stay there either. Even more than in 
fish and game, it was understood that well, I think Hale Champion 
said, "Bill Warne is the doctor of sick departments" [laughter] and 
Pat said, "I don t want to change Harvey Banks over there in water 
resources until after the bond election. And therefore, I d like to 
have you take on this agriculture assignment." 

Chall: So you knew that ultimately you were going to get over there to the 
Department of Water Resources, assuming that the bond went through. 

Warne: When I first went to agriculture, it really wasn t anything more than 
that kind of discussion. However, in July, 1960, Pat called me over 
to his office one day and said, "Look, I want you to move over to 
water resources. But I don t want you to move over there until after 
the election. I think that Harvey s been doing the negotiating with 
the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and others, 
and I think it might be disturbing if we made the change before the 
election. But, I don t want the impression to get out that he s going 
to be the one in charge when we build this project. I want someone 
over there who can handle it." So, he said, "What I would like to do, 
I would like to announce about September first that Harvey is going to 
retire after the election and you are going to be the director of water 

I said, "Now, look, Governor, don t do that unless... It would be 
self-defeating if you did that before Harvey has agreed to it. He s 
in Spain right now on some kind of a trip." He said, "Yes, that s 
part of the trouble! He s over in Spain; he ought to be here fighting 
this election campaign!" 


Warne: I said, "Nevertheless, you ought to take advantage of the fact that 
he s committed on this bond issue and he s got a following that is 
lined up on it. Let s make sure that he s in agreement with this 
before any announcement is made." 

So he said, "Okay, we won t announce it until he gets back. 
He ll get back about the first of September." This was maybe in 
mid-August. So we held a meeting in the governor s office just 
before Labor Day. Harvey was there. I was there. I don t think 
anyone else was there. The governor said, "Harvey, we d like to make 
the announcement that you re going to retire and Bill Warne is going 
to become the director." The governor said, "I d like to make that 
change about December 1." 

Harvey said, well, he d been thinking maybe he wanted to retire. 
He wanted to take advantage of the fact that he had some marketable 
abilities, to get out where he could do something more, make a little 
more than he could just as a director in the department. But he 
didn t want to retire in December. He wanted to retire after the 
first day of January. I believe that is the way he put it. It had 
something to do, he said, with his retirement pay. 

Chall : I wouldn t blame him for protecting that. 

Warne: It meant something in his retirement. So the governor said, "Is that 
okay with you, Bill?" I said, "It s all right with me." So that s 
the way it was arranged. 

Between the time of the election, which was in November, and the 
first of January, Harvey used to consult with me quite frequently on 
the telephone. He said that he didn t want to do something as the 
outgoing director that was going to embarrass me. He completed a 
couple of very significant operations in that time. I guess the Met 
[Metropolitan Water District] contract was signed a few days before 
the election, but the question about whether there would be another 
contract in Southern California was very hotly debated. Met didn t 
want another one with a water service agency down there south of the 
Tehachapis . 

Harvey had negotiated with the San Bernardino Valley Municipal 
Water District and they had a contract ready to go. He called me and 
said, "Well, San Bernardino is ready to sign this contract. I d like 
to sign it since I negotiated it and carried it this far. But I don t 
want to sign it if you want to sign it. You might find it advantageous 
to have me sign this one. It will take some of Met s heat off. Are 
you agreed we .should have more than one contract in Southern California? 
South of the Tehachapi Lift." 


Warne: I said, "Yes. I don t want to undermine the Metropolitan Water 

District, but at the same time, I don t want to give them a monopoly 
on the project in the south." He said, "Okay, then, I ll go ahead 
and sign this contract," which he did. Of course, that left me with 
the problem of fighting with Met for six years on the east branch. 

Chall: Oh, that s what the East branch was all about. 

Warne: But, at the same time, I think he was right and I was right, that we 
ought to have done it that way. I signed several other contracts in 
Southern California, later, which irritated the blazes out of Joe 
Jensen, particularly. 

Chall: Did Brown think that there were enough people in the state water 
people and in the government who really were concerned about who 
was going to manage the water plan and direct the department after 
1961, that he wanted to make this announcement prior to the day of the 

Warne: He never told me, for certain, all of the considerations that were 

driving him at that time. However, I had the feeling, was given the 
impression, that he had intended all along that I was eventually 
going to be director of water resources. I think he had the feeling 
I got the impression that immediately after the election, if he 
didn t have the announcement out, he felt there would be a lot of 
pressure on him to appoint somebody or other, and he wanted to avoid 
such a situation. He might already have been importuned. He didn t 

We were going to be dealing with some very big programs and he 
wanted to make sure that at least, this is the way I thought about 
it he had the program under control, that he didn t have to accept 
someone as water resources director for political reasons who had 
either started taking the project apart or who would let the fact 
that he was dealing with very big sums of money go to his head. I 
had handled big programs. The governor, I thought, didn t want some 
one who would be unduly influenced by some of the special "interest 
groups in the legislature and at large. 

Chall: Yes, because it was still touchy. 

Warne: It was still touchy then, really touchy. That was really the 
hardest year that we had. 

Chall: That s right, the year following the election. That was astute, 
thinking ahead. 


Warne: You know, Brown is a very good man. I think of all the people that 
I ve worked with, and that includes Ickes, [Julius] Krug, [Oscar] 
Chapman, secretaries of the Interior Department; and [Henry Garland] 
Bennett, Stassen, Hollister, and Jim [James H., Jr.] Smith in foreign 
aid; Elwood Mead, John C. Page, Harry W. Bashore, and Michael W. 
Straus, commissioners in the Bureau of Reclamation I think that Pat 
Brown was the best administrator among them. 

Chall: How do you define a good administrator? What do you look for? 

Warne: I look for one who has in mind, and is able to convey it to you who 
are trying to get the job done, what it is he s seeking, and then 
permits you to go ahead and achieve it, who holds off any of the 
pressures that may be applied, and supports, and follows, and under 
stands what s going on in your program, and if he has to make his 
contribution, which Pat did from time to time, makes it in a way that 
is constructive. He s very good. I tell you, I learned very early 
that he had the good lawyer s trait of being able to read and under 
stand and retain material sent to him. 

While he was a. very busy man, not once or twice, but many times, 
I sent a memorandum over to him, presumably trying to keep it reason 
ably brief but nevertheless succinct to cover the subject, and I 
never found the time later in talking with him, when he hadn t read 
my memorandum, understood it, and remembered it. That s pretty good, 
pretty doggone good. 

Chall: Gratifying to an administrator, to know that the chief was paying 

Warne: I asked him what he wanted me to do when I went over to the Department 
of Water Resources. He said he wanted me to build that project, the 
State Water Project. 

Chall: [chuckles] A minor matter. Just build the project. 

Warne: I said, "Okay. That s what we ll do. I will build it in accordance 
with the plan that has been adopted and if we make any changes in 
the plan that are significant, I will let you know and check them out 
with you beforehand. Nothing is going to be changed without your 

I don t know how many memos I sent over when project decisions 
were imminent, but there were many of them. And he reacted to them. 

Chall: So he was familiar at all times with not only the basic plan but 


Warne: About anything that indicated a change. 

Chall: It had to be a significant change, but there were many that were 
being offered at the time, I guess, that he considered... 

Warne: Lots of things that were changes. For example, when to start con 
struction of the Oroville Dam was one. The plan was that the Oroville 
Dam should be started as a matter of fact, Harvey Banks had obtained 
authorization earlier than the Burns-Porter Act for construction, and 
he started relocating the railroad and the highway in the Feather 
River canyon. 

Here we had an investment already in the dam of maybe $37 million 
it s a figure that quickly comes to mind. It may be wrong. But it 
was a substantial amount. When the Charles T. Main report was made, 
the consultants indicated that we might not need the Oroville Dam as 
quickly as the department had originally planned. The department was 
pretty nearly ready on Oroville. 

The governor, on January 1, 1961 it might have been a week later 
than that advised the legislature. They were still uproariously 
debating whether we should have the project or not, despite the fact 
that the electorate had just voted the bond issue to build the initial 
facilities of the State Water Project. Our law constitutional 
provisions had been interpreted to mean that if we sold one of those 
water project bonds, the legislature could not amend the Burns-Porter 
Act in any way that would materially affect the program to the point 
of jeopardizing the security of the bonds until after the bonds had 
been repaid. That was going to be quite a few years, seventy-five or 
so years during which the project could not be tampered with. 

So, Governor Brown told the legislature that he would give them a 
session to amend the Burns-Porter Act, the review it and to see if any 
changes ought to be made in it, before bonds were sold and the final 
commitment was made. That session went, I believe, through August the 
twentieth something like that of that year, 1961. Well, this was 
the most controversial period I ever experienced. I announced that, 
until the waiting period was over, we re not going to start any 
construction. We will not sell the bonds until after adjournment, so 
that if you want to modify the law in the meantime by striking out or 
putting in some facility or otherwise, you can do it. That isn t to 
say that we won t come over to the legislature and oppose you. That 
I did. I spent the whole darn spring over there opposing these silly 
things, the most dangerous of which was a move by George Miller to 
deny us the use of the provisions of the Central Valley Project Act. 

But in any event we had Oroville Dam ready to go and then waited 
until this kind of thing was out of the way before we advertised for 
bids on the construction. Then the question came up whether we ought 
to delay the dam in view of the Charles T. Main report. 


Chall: I see. There was still that... 

Warne: Still that question whether the dam construction ought to be delayed. 
That wasn t the question before the legislature. The question regard 
ing the dam was pending after the way was cleared for marketing the 
bonds. I remember the governor talking to me about it, and he 
understood what the issues were. I said, "Well, Governor, we ve 
already got that money spent up there. You ll never build it any 
cheaper than now. The longer we delay, the more the dam is going to 
cost. If we re going to delay it to save money, that s wrong. We d 
better build it now. Furthermore, we re ready on it, and it s the 
key feature of the whole bloomin project. So my recommendation is 
that as soon as we get all of this out of the way, we go ahead with 
Oroville Dam." He said, "Okay!" [crisply] 

So I sent him over a memo and he signed it and that was that. 
It s darn fortunate. We saved the whole Feather River Valley in 
that flood in 1964-65 with the partially completed dam. Just 
fortunate, really. 

Organizing the Department to Build the Project 

Chall: I wanted to stay today with the organization of the department. Now, 
I have a letter which you wrote to Preston Hotchkis outlining the 
reorganization of the department. 

You said, [reading from letter] "I m sending you the enclosed 
brochure to describe the organization of the Department of Water 
Resources because I think you ll be interested in the past year s 
progress in making the department a growing organization." And then 
you went into that. I didn t see the brochure, but I thought that 
perhaps during that first year, when the legislature was taking its 
time to go over the project, you were probably reorganizing the 
department, getting ready to build. 

So I thought I d like to find out what your plan was before you 
got into some of the problems that you then had to face. What did 
you do about the department, since you were the director of sick 
departments? I don t know that that was a sick department; it just 
hadn t been geared up to build the project. 


Warne: The Department of Water Resources was not sick, but it was not 

organized or staffed for the new job. I mean, it was like dropping 
a ton of bricks on the department to give them a project of this 


Warne: The first thing we did was to set up a chief engineer. I talked 
that over with Harvey before he left and he had actually started 
the personnel processes on recruitment of a chief engineer. It 
seems to me that the personnel board got to the point of interviewing 
chief engineers, even before I went over to the department. 

I was made the principal interviewer. And you know how those 
maybe you don t how those personnel board interviews go. They select 
from people who are deemed to be qualified and then call in the top 
three or so. In a really important job of this sort, the director, 
and at least two other people who are knowledgeable in the general 
field, will be on the committee to do the interviewing. 

I don t remember how many we interviewed. I remember one general 
who had just retired from the Corps of Engineers and Al [Alfred] Golze, 
who was then the assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. 
I had worked with Al many years before. Al had set up, for the 
Bureau of Reclamation, a program control operation and had also spent 
time in the Bureau of the Budget, now the OMB [Office of Management 
and Budget] in Washington, in program review for all of the public 
works agencies, primarily the bureau and the corps. 

I could see that our biggest job in building this project was 
going to be that of formulation of the construction program and the 
control of it, not only the fiscal control but the management of the 
work, keying in the various elements into the construction program: 
personnel, land acquisition, getting out the contracts, and executing 
them. It was to be quite a job. So, I was very much interested in a 
chief engineer who had the technical qualifications that you d look 
for in that position, in the construction field, but also who knew 
his way around in those program management and control operations. 

Chall: That s quite an order, isn t it? 

Warne: Yes, it is and there were very few men who could have done the job 
as well as Golze did. None, probably. 

Chall: Golze was the one you hired? 

Warne: He was the one we hired. He was there as chief engineer throughout 
my administration. Oh, maybe he came in a couple of months after I 
got there. Then he stayed on. [William] Gianelli, who succeeded me, 
reorganized the department some, feeling that he wanted to be the 
chief engineer himself, or at least obtain engineering control. 
Golze stayed on as assistant director after that until he retired. 


Warne: The program control operation was one of the primary points that we 
had reference to in this letter to Pres Hotchkis. Another one was 
the organization of the department under Golze with a brand new 
design and construction branch. There we had to people it, and we 
had to organize it. We had to set up all of the rules and regulations 
and procedures and everything concerning the construction program. 
It was one terrific job. 

Chall: Who helped you with it? This was even a greater kind of organization 
than even you had done before. 

Warne: Yes. Well, I had set up some things when I was overseas that somewhat 
matched this, but there again, the job was not as pervasive. I had 
the experience, however, of setting up complex organizations and jobs. 

Chall: You knew what to look for. 

Warne: Yes. But we didn t have the detailed responsibility overseas clear 

down to seeing that the stuff was placed in the site that we had here 
in the department. 

Chall: And this was only part of your work as a director. 
Warne: Well, it was an interesting part. 

Chall: Yes, but now, this particular program, building the aqueduct. How did 
you go about even formulating what you needed, formulating your 
organizational structure and your procedures? How did you determine 
this? With whom? 

Warne: I knew I wanted an organization that would function, and I was 

familiar with the Bureau of Reclamation chief engineer s office, 
having served in the bureau for twelve years, and part of the time 
at a pretty high level assistant commissioner. So I knew the kinds 
of things we needed. However, the bureau never had as sensitive 
program control as I thought we needed here. 

The best thing I ever saw before we organized our own program 
here was one that the chief of engineering showed me that they had 
in the Corps of Engineers. It was more general and not as precise, 
but it did have in it the elements of what I thought we needed here, 
so that each month they had a measure of progress and a statement of 
problem, if any new ones arose, on each project. 

Sometimes, their projects were so big that this was like broad 
landscape. We had to get down to the crops that are growing in the 
field, you know. So we had to set up a program control system. 
Golze was very active in that, so was Neely Gardner, who by that 
time was on board, and Jim Wright. They made a first stab at a 


Warne: solution very early and then took about six months of very earnest 
work to develop the plan in all of its specifics. They had staff 

We instituted the plan of program control and set up an office 
of budget and program. [searches through papers] I was just looking 
through this this morning. That s one of the things that we did which 
was new. Then we organized the chief engineer s office so that he had 
charge of all engineering in the department, with a planning division 
that was already well developed, pretty well left on its own, but the 
construction and design sections were matters of primary concern. 

Al brought in some experienced people like Charles Carter, who d 
been the supervisor of construction on the Upper Colorado River 
project of the Bureau of Reclamation, and whom I d known for thirty 
years myself, from the early days in the bureau. And he brought in 
H.G. Dewey, Jr., commonly called Admiral Dewey, who was from the 
Corps of Engineers. We had about forty new people, and only two or 
three of the top echelon in D. and C. [Design and Construction] were 
old-line department people. 

Chall: They d been doing it for years. 

Warne: They had done designing and they kept it. The design was under the 
direction of Donald P. Thayer, who had been in the department. But 
the construction section was new. We had to recruit people over the 
country. We got special permission from the personnel board to do 
our own recruiting of engineers. 


Warne: We set up a recruitment program and sent some of our best people out: 
an engineer, a personnel representative, someone from the personnel 
board, not only to interview, but also to interview and hire, 
directly, associate engineers or assistant engineers right out of 
the colleges. 

We went all through the East and Midwest and 
Chall: [shows ad] I have an ad here that must have been put out by you. 

Warne: Yes, that s one of them. [reads from ad] "Campus interviews will 
be held March 19 and 20, 1963." Where was this? 

Chall: It s been in our files for so long, I really don t know. 

Warne: Well, I don t know where this one came from. 

Chall: It isn t the college newspaper, maybe the Berkeley Gazette. 


Warne: You think this is in California? 
Chall: Oh yes, I think so. 

Warne: We put these in the Tennessee Valley. We put them anywhere there was 
a good engineering school or a cluster of them. 

Chall: The back of this would indicate: corner of Telegraph; I think 
that s Oakland. 

Warne: It s either the Gazette or the Oakland Tribune. 
Chall: Right. 

Warne: Okay, that s one thing we were doing [enthusiastically] that was 
utterly new. It had not been done by our department or the state 
government. But we had quite a ways to go. Not only did we recruit 
widely across the country, but we put those people in special programs 
when we got them. Our supervisory engineers said it took about six 
months on the job before the recruits became productive, so that we 
put a terrific investment into building up the department. 

Chall: It s worth it, though, I m sure. 

Warne: Well, it made all the difference in the world. 

Chall: Did you have a good budget right away for getting all of this 
accomplished, hiring and... 

Warne: We had the right to use water funds for project purposes, including 
administration, so that the legislature did not appropriate our 
administrative budget except that which was devoted to non-project 
activities within the department. So our budget was under our 
control insofar as the project was concerned, the management and 

We had to take our appropriation requests over to the legislature 
for departmental activities. I ll tell you about one of my efforts 
to organize the department. I had a lot of trouble with it in that 
regard. Well, we can come back to this general question of what did 
we do. 

I decided that with the department undertaking these programs all 
up and down the state, new relationships with water-user organizations 
and groups would develop from one end of the state to the other. 
Construction activities and, obviously, activities related to land 
acquisition, and that kind of thing, would be scattered. I thought 
we needed representation that would be closer to the people than 


Warne: So I thought we should set up district offices. We had a district 
office in Los Angeles. The department worked very successfully in 
Southern California. I wanted to get district offices in the other 
places, too. 

Chall: They hadn t been there before, though. 

Warne: No, no district offices except in Los Angeles. 

We talked it over with the staff and we put it in the budget. 
Since these were not necessarily strictly project-related activities, 
we had to take this request for funding the district offices to the 
legislature. We set up new offices in plan in Red Bluff, Sacramento, 
Fresno, and San Jose. The budget was moving through the legislature 
without any hitches. I even announced who was going to have the jobs, 
circulated the staff to see who wanted to go to these various places 
to fill the new positions. Some of the men had sold their houses and 
were getting ready to move. 

This matter got clear into the conference committee on the budget 
the last days of_ June! [laughs] Unbeknownst to me, old George Miller 
thought he saw a way of getting even with the department, I think, or 
getting even with Bill Warne, because we had prevented his efforts to 
make changes in the project act in 1961. 

George announced that they were going to kick our district offices 
out of the budget. Right at the end! I was dismayed. Suddenly a big 
furor arose. The local chamber of commerce said, "You re going to move 
your people out of Sacramento!" Terrible. Terrible. The Bee ran an 
editorial against our decentralization. I mean, it was a good propa 
ganda operation that someone organized against us. Just sprung into 

being like that. 


There was a senator named [James J.] MacBride who was from Ventura, 
who was chairman of the conference committee. I protested to Governor 
Brown and he got MacBride in. Here s the last meeting of this confer 
ence going to be held that night! MacBride said, "Well, George is 
insisting. Anyway, Warne has never been down to my district." 

I said, "Why, Senator, I had lunch with you at the so-and-so 
Beach Hotel down there." "Oh," he said, "yes, I remember that now." 
The governor said, "Don t you think you could get this item in?" 
MacBride said, "I ll see what I can do about it." Poor old guy. 
He died of a heart attack before the meeting was held, and they kicked 
this item out of my budget. And there I was, without any authority to 
go ahead with this plan. I really had to eat crow. The staff was 


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Warne: All the legislature did was to say you couldn t spend any of the money 
that they were appropriating to transfer anybody out of town, or some 
thing like that. In other words, their language didn t prevent me from 
setting a district office up here in Sacramento, so I did set that one 
up. Then I set one up for Red Bluff, here in Sacramento, without 
moving anybody up to Red Bluff until considerably later. 

Then it developed that the building that we had already rented for 
our district office in Fresno was owned by one of the principal sponsors 
of Senator Hugh Burns, and he commenced to petition me to move my men 
down to Fresno because otherwise we d have to cancel that lease. I 
said, "Nix. No. We must abide by the direction of the legislature." 

So the next year he himself sponsored 
Chall: Burns? 

Warne: Yes the office in Fresno. The one in San Jose, I couldn t find anyone 
to sponsor. But my good friend [Luther] Gibson said, "Well, you know, 
you should have put that one in Vallejo to begin with." Which is his 
home town. So I said, "Well, Vallejo is good enough." So we moved it 
to Vallejo and he got _it approved. [laughs] So, little by little, we 
got it done. But that is one of the problems that I ran into in trying 
to reorganize the department. 

Since then, the Reagan administration moved the Vallejo office back 
here and combined it with the Sacramento office. These other offices 
are well established and functioning as we had intended. 

The Staff 

Chall: What about the choice of your deputies? The people who worked directly 
with you. B. Abbott Goldberg this is out of the 1963 Blue Book,- which 
I guess is probably close to the beginning, although you came on in 61, 
I don t have a 1961 Blue Book. [reading] B. Abbott Goldberg is the 
chief deputy director; Reginald Price is the deputy director of policy; 
Neely Gardner, the director of administration; Alfred Golze, the chief 
engineer; and John Teerink, assistant chief engineer. Then there were 
the counsels, Frederick Rupp and Porter Towner . 

Was that your primary administrative staff? People who reported 
directly to you? 

Warne: Harvey Banks had appointed Fred Rupp as special representative, which 
was a title which I think he used throughout his tenure there, on 
July 15, 1959. Harvey had Bill Fairbank that s William Fairbank 
as assistant director and he served until January 3, 1961. That s 
just about the first day that I was on the job. 


Chall: Did he resign? 

Warne: He was on the job. I offered to keep him as chief of planning. He, 

I think, already had made an arrangement to go with Metropolitan Water 
District as their chief lobbyist here in Sacramento. So, he resigned, 
yes, at that time. 

Now, Jim Wright was appointed by Governor Knight on October 1, 
1958. He served as deputy director during the first year that I was 
director; that s till April 30, 1962. He resigned to take the job 
as commissioner of the Delaware River Commission back in Trenton, New 

Ralph Brody was special consultant to the governor and also deputy 
director of water resources for a period that ended December 7, 1960. 
He wasn t in that position when I became the director. By that time, 
the governor had decided to appoint Brody to the water commission 
[California Water Commission] . 

I got there early in January 1961, and B. Abbott Goldberg was 
appointed to succeed Brody and was designated chief deputy director 
in the department on January 9, 1961. That s just a few days after I 
got there. The governor called me and said that he wanted Abbott to 
be there and wanted him to take Brody s place as special counsel to 
him on water resources matters. 

I told the governor that I wouldn t have any objections, provided 
he let me make the announcement, which, of course, meant that it had 
to come after I was the director. Abbott had worked with the governor 
when he was in the attorney general s office. He worked on water 
matters and problems. < 

Abbott didn t want to have an office in the governor s office, as 
Brody had had. He wanted to be realistically a member of the Depart 
ment of Water Resources staff, and that s the way we worked it out. 
He stayed in that position until he was appointed to a municipal 
court bench about the last year of Governor Brown s administration, 
maybe the last two years. Brown advanced Abbott to the superior 
court bench before he left the governorship. 

Reginald Price was appointed deputy director by me in that one 
position we had in which the director could name his own man. That 
was the position that Fairbank had in the Harvey Banks administration 
of the department. 

Chall: When you say that his was the one position that the director could 
name, actually you could have named the chief deputy director if 
Governor Brown hadn t put somebody in there. 


Warne: The director could name only one position. 

Chall : Really? 

Warne: Yes. It doesn t make any difference which one it is. 

Chall: Where were the others supposed to come from? 

Warne : They came from the governor . 

Chall: Is that so? That s the way it is, that the governor could have named 
all of these people, including the chief engineer? 

Warne: No, not the chief engineer. 
Chall: But the deputies. I see. 

Warne: However, the director has the right, under the civil service law in 
our administrative law, of naming one, and I named Reg Price. Now, 
Reg had been I d known him so long that memory runs not to the 
contrary, almost. I first met him way back in 1936 when I was on 
loan from reclamation to the National Resources Planning Board. He 
was a member of the staff of the NRPB. 

Then when the National Resources Planning Board was done in by the 
Congress, Price joined, somewhat at my suggestion, the staff of the 
Bureau of Reclamation. When I became assistant secretary of the 
interior for water and power in July of 1947, I took Reg down there as 
my principal assistant. Reclamation was on the seventh floor; the 
assistant secretary was on the sixth. I then had the right to one 
appointment, too. I appointed Reg as my assistant and we set up an 
office called the Office of Water and Power. 

That office is still there, though it s gone through several name 
changes since. It s the staff office to the assistant secretary. 
When I left the department, Reg stayed on and then went with the UN 
or somebody before the year was out in 1953. He was in Thailand when 
I ran into him the next time, with the UN on the Mekong River project. 
I hired him in Korea as my program officer. 

After I came back here, Price transferred to Washington. He was 
in one of the principal jobs in the AID in Washington. I asked him to 
come out to Sacramento in 1961 and join me in water resources. And he 
did. As my personal appointee in this particular position, he was the 
only one who was authorized to sit and vote in my place on all the 
various commissions that I sat on. 

Chall: He was really your personal deputy? 


Warne: He was my personal deputy, yes. Reg was a very fine man and his 

death recently has been regretted by all his old friends here, and 
in Washington, and abroad too. 

Neely Gardner was appointed deputy director for administration on 
May 1, 1962 after Jim Wright left on April the thirtieth. He, in 
effect, took the position that Wright had had. Neely had worked with 
him in the agency planning assignment. They were an effective team 
on that job. I had worked with them, but they did much more of the 
staff work than I did. 

Wes Steiner was appointed deputy director for program and planning 
on April 5, 1966 and he served until November thirtieth of that year. 
He replaced Abbott Goldberg, though with a different title, when 
Abbott was appointed to the municipal court on April 4, 1966. 

[Porter A.] Towner was well known to me from the days when I was 
with the Bureau of Reclamation. We were both in the bureau at the 
time. But Pat Towner had been in the department for a number of 
years. I kept him in the position of chief counsel. 

Abbott Goldberg, being very much of an expert in the water law 
business himself, did a lot of our high-level legal work as a sort 
of counsel to Porter Towner and representative of the governor. 
Towner never really felt that he reported to Abbott, however. I 
mean, he had his distinct position in the department. I don t think 
Abbott ever took on any of the duties of the chief counsel except 
those that related, for example, to the petitions before the Supreme 
Court and the various litigations, and then he and Towner worked 

But Abbott had many things to do and he did them very well. We re 
getting ready to dedicate a bridge to him near Oroville. 

Chall: Are you? 

Warne: [chuckles] Yes. I was talking to him about it this morning. 

Chall: His primary responsibility, then, was not administration. You used 
Abbott Goldberg then for legal work? 

Warne: For administration and special work. In addition to these, people who 
served there included Fred Rupp. He stayed on throughout my period 
and he was, in effect, our liaison with the legislature. Our engineer 
ing group has been described. 

Then we set up a Land Division to acquire rights of way. This 
was headed by Tom Morrow. I set up an internal audit group under 
[Richard] Wilson, which was new; our program planning office was new. 
All of these district offices, except the Southern California district, 
were new. 


Warne: After the Baldwin Hills Dam failure when was that, 1964? we 

completely overhauled the Safety of Dams Division, in a way that, 
in effect, made it a new division. 

Chall: A new division called the Safety of Dams? 
Warne : Yes . 

Keeping Track of the Building Program 

Warne: We set up an orderly reporting system of which I was very proud, 

really. It has been copied very widely. One of my old associates, 
Walter Halset, has been implanting it in various governments abroad 
for the USAID and for 

Chall: Reporting is that fiscal reporting or program reporting? 
Warne: Program reporting, yes. 

Here s the November 1966 progress report November was the last 
one completed during my term in office. This is the one we were 
reviewing in my last staff meeting in December before I left. [shows 
copy] * 

Chall: How often did these come out? 

Warne: Every month. 

Chall: Every month!? 

Warne: Every month. 

Chall: Did you use the PERT [Program Evaluation and Review Technique] 

Warne: We used a thing called PROMPT [Program Management Technique], which 

was a modification of PERT, and they re still using it. Here are some 
recent progress reports. They re putting them out only every two 
months now. Here s December 78 to January 79. You see they re much 
thinner now. There is less action in the department these days. 

Progress Report," November, 1966, Department of Water Resources. 


Chall: Maybe they don t have as much to report. 

Warne: They don t have as much to report. [chuckles] Here are September to 
October 78 and August to September 78. 

Chall: That s fascinating. 

Warne: June to July 78. I thought I had a copy of the first one we ever put 
out, but I don t seem to find it in my library. We called it the 
Command Report at that time. You see, Jim Wright had been an officer 
in the U.S. Marines. 

My own view is that the system of interlocking staff meetings that 
I set up, plus this program reporting procedure these two things 
together were the greatest contributions, outside of the organization 
of the department, that I made while director. We were able, through 
these procedures, through these operations, to keep the project on 
time and within the plan. In the year 1965, I think we spent in 
construction work, more than $1 million a day throughout the year. 

Chall: That s a lot of money. Working with finances like that is really 
mind-boggling, and I wonder how you kept track of money. So many 
bureaus don t seem to know at any time what they have. I m never 
sure whether they actually can t keep track of money through their 
fiscal accounting procedures or whether they re hiding something 
money which they find when it is necessary to do so. 

Warne: They re very few of them that are as good or have a system as sensitive 
as this method we developed . 

Chall: How could you do it? Was it because you insisted upon it, or what? 

Warne: [emphatically] Oh, yes! Not only insisted on it, but I insisted on 
following through every darn month. You just let one month go by... 
And not only that, but I went through every page of every one of those 
reports and I was able to put my finger on every problem that this 
report revealed. Now, that mark meant that we were behind schedule, 
see? [points to document] 

Chall: That little dot? 

Warne: Yes. And that little triangle over there beyond .. .These are right on 
schedule as marked by the triangles . 

Chall: I see. The triangle means that. This is the planned schedule. 

Warne: That s where we d planned to be and that s where we are. Now let s 
find one that s behind schedule enough so that it s got a black mark 
on it. Here! They had to explain every one of those black balls. 


Chall: If you wanted this every month, at what time of the month did the 

department or bureau people come in and give the report to whomever 
had responsibility for it? 

Warne: I believe there was a five-day lead time. 
Chall: So you were pretty much on top of it. 

Warne: Oh, yes. Look at this. Here s a note. [reading] "Oroville Power- 
plant: Late delivery of 114-inch spherical valves and the initial 
powerplant contractor s concrete placement progress are the most 
critical activities in this program."* They couldn t install the darn 
valve because they didn t get it on time. 

But now, on our PROMPT, the critical path chart was so long that 
it went clear around the room, this big a room. You could see from 
the critical path chart that we had a little float time in there, and 
so we had to get this back on schedule before we used up the float. 
They had to explain each one of these and say what they were doing 
about it to avoid encroaching on the critical path. 

If it was a problem that went across to some other fellow s 
responsibility, why, then we had to find out why he wasn t getting 
his job done expeditiously. If you couldn t move in to build a stretch 
of the canal because the real estate office hadn t acquired the right 
of way, then we had to find out why that office hadn t acquired the 
right of way. If the right of way hadn t been acquired because the 
water commission hadn t approved the declaration of taking, it was my 
job to go get the water commission to approve that declaration of 
taking right now. 

Actually, we never had that problem, but I m giving you an example. 
It is hypothetical. The water commission never encroached on the 
critical path by delaying its decisions on our requests, though members 
at times were distressed when we asked them to approve condemnation of 
a neighbor s land . 

Chall: How often did you meet with the staff? 
Warne: Every month. The first Monday of each month. 

Progress Report," p. 14. 


Chall: Over this report? 

Warne: Over this report. I met with the principal staff every week, but the 
first Monday of every month was devoted to the review of the progress 

Chall: You met with the same staff once a week, too? 

Warne: I met with the principal staff. Someone asked me, "Can I be excused?" 
I said, "You don t have to come. Of course, the meeting is for the 
principal staff." No one ever was excused. [chuckles] 

Chall: Just have to be there. 
Warne: Yes. 

Here, let me show you this. [searches room for object] Here s a 
little plaque that the principal staff gave me, and these are the 
names of the people who considered themselves 

Chall: Oh, ye gods! 

Warne: the principal staff and who attended these meetings regularly. 

Chall: Every week? All those people? 

Warne: Every week. 

Chall: My goodness! That s a big meeting. I see there were women there too; 
they were secretaries? 

Warne: Well, my secretary kept minutes. Isabel Nessler was manager of the 
mail room and assignment of materials. Martha Dressen and Jeannette 
Hart were administrative people. Here s Neely, of course. 

Chall: [looking at plaque] Here s an interesting signature. 

Warne: Do you know who that is? That s Russ Kletzing, the blind lawyer. He 
was Pat Towner s assistant, but in addition to that, he was supervisor 
of contracts. 

Chall: This is a large group. It looks like about forty people or more. 
How did you have a meeting with forty people once a week? That s 
just quite an undertaking. What was the agenda? 

Warne: We had a large circular table with a hollow center. The agenda was 
made up and circulated in advance. [brief interruption as phone 


Chall: We were just discussing what kind of an agenda you would have set up 
for meeting once a week with the principal staff people. 

Warne: I would have an agenda in which people reported on matters that we had 
identified on a review of the program report. That might be three or 
four items five minutes and they usually brought in a written report 
and summarized it for the staff. 

Then there was a period in which anybody could raise any issue 
that he thought was upcoming. We never permitted the staff to discuss 
administrative matters or personal matters in the staff meeting. 
It was not permitted ever to degenerate into a gripe session. If 
someone had a complaint, he made it through regular channels. Anybody 
on the staff could see me who felt he must and my secretary had instruc 
tions to let him in without insisting on knowing why he wanted to see 
me. Some people took advantage of this offer. Mostly they wanted to 
discuss embarrassing personal problems. I don t recall of anyone making 
an accusation against a fellow employee or his superior, but if anyone 
had reason to do so he could have with impunity. 

This picture is not of my staff meeting, but the other day I was 
down at DWR and they gave me this picture of our negotiation with the 
power company people on the power purchase contract. It shows the 
circular table. Now, keep in mind, there were about five rows of 
chairs across here in which lesser staff sat. 

The principal principals sat around this circle, which was called, 
rather irreverently, the bull ring. [laughs] 

Chall: I see. So that all of your fifty weren t sitting around the table. 

Warne: Not all of them were at the table. 

Chall: Were they listening in back here? 

Warne: Oh, yes. 

Chall: Were they also speaking? 

Warne: They would speak, too. Oh, yes. If they had something to report or 

to say. They were not just observers. No, they were all participants. 

Chall: And you felt this was necessary to keep the staff in touch with the 
progress of the program. What other reason was there for a weekly 
staff meeting? 

Warne: In order to get a program like this moving ahead on a tight schedule, 
and sensitively, it s necessary to communicate from the top down, 
across the divisions columns, and upward in the hierarchy. Each one 


Warne: of these people went back to his staff and held a staff meeting and 
covered the same points that we covered, or if they had to dredge up 
some information to bring back up to the principal staff meeting a week 
later, they set in motion that dredging up process. 

Some of those organizations were so big that they, in turn, had 
subdivision staff meetings within them. I called this a system of 
interlocking staff meetings. 

Chall: Monday was a day of staff... 

Warne: Monday was ours and then they had the rest of the week to get through 
their interlocking meetings. Now, our district people came in to 
headquarters from the various districts, and if they had a problem 
that ran across some internal divisional line within their district, 
they d bring some of their staff up too. 

Chall: How long did that meeting last on a Monday? 

Warne: I tried to keep it to an hour. I figured that was best. 

Well, I had a little scheme. It was the first hour in the morning 
on Monday morning. Goldberg protested this until the day he left the 
department. But I never yielded and he still cries about it every time 
I see him. 


It surely got him and everyone else to work on time on Monday, di,dn t 

Warne: We would meet at 7:45 in the morning. The department was opening in 
the summertime at 7:45 a.m. At eight o clock, otherwise. We started 
on time and ran the meeting for one hour, so people were present at the 
beginning and they stayed through to the end. 

Chall: Everyone was familiar with the report? 

Warne: They were all supposed to have read it. And they had to. I spent 

several hours on the report before the review meeting, myself. Most 
of the others had done the same. And not only that, but they had 
composed their parts of it, so they knew what they were going to have 
to answer to, and frequently they brought their little memos of 
explanation right in with them. 

These meetings sometimes turned up inter-agency, even inter 
governmental problems. Task forces would be established to attack 
them. I remember once I had to involve Governor Brown in a joint 
meeting with the Department of Highways and he had to referee a 


Warne: squabble between us. We involved the Department of Finance in that 
one, too, since an exchange of funds and an amalgamation of right- 
of-way acquisition staffs were in question. Pat sat through it 
and said, "Well, what do you want me to do?" I shoved a paper across 
to him and said, "If you will sign this, we ll move ahead." The 
governor said, "You, Bill Warne, always have a paper for me to sign. 
How about Highways? Shall I sign it?" 

They agreed with some reluctance and Brown signed the memorandum. 
Hale Champion said, "Here, give it to me and I ll promulgate it." 
And it was done. 

Chall: How much outside work, then, did you have to do, besides making sure 
that all of this was moving? You were out speaking a great deal? 

Warne : Yes . 

Chall: Or dealing with the legislature? Or did you have Rupp doing this? 

Warne: No, Rupp never dealt with the legislative committees. He dealt with 
individuals over there. He did the backstairs work. However, 
Gardner, Price, Goldberg, and while he was there, Jim Wright, did 
quite a lot of the committee work. Now, Wright did most of the 
budget presentation in the year that he remained with me. However, 
after that, I decided that owing to the surprise I got on the 
district offices, I was going to take that job on myself, and I did, 
with Gardner s assistance. 

We had a system of delegation within a department so that not 
only did the deputies each have certain assigned responsibilities, 
but there was a rotating or a receding line of delegation so that if 
I were out of the office more than twenty-four hours, Goldberg 
signed as acting director. He had full charge. If he and I were 
both out, Price had the next assignment. Then Gardner. Whichever 
level you were on, you had to make sure that the ones that preceded 
you in the rotation were not absent before you could make any trip. 
Otherwise each deputy controlled his own time. Now, I didn t ask 
anyone to confine his activities. The only time I ever ran into 
difficulty with this system of delegation was one time we were 
holding a big meeting down in Fresno. I looked around the room at 
the crowd and all of my deputies were present. 

I said to Gardner he was the last one on the totem pole "Who s 
in charge back home?" He looked at his watch and said, "_!_ will be 
before five o clock!" He got up and went back to Sacramento! 


Warne : 
Chall : 
Warne ; 

Warne : 

Warne ; 
Warne ; 


You had quite a few commissions and you were on many boards. 


How did you handle that? Did you attend them all? 

We had a staffer assigned on the work of each one of them. But in 
addition to that, I attended all of the meetings that I could. Reg 
was supposed to, and he was the only one who was really entitled to 
attend and to vote in the others when I was absent. The District 
Securities Commission; the Water Pollution Control Board, which had 
various names at various times; the Interstate Commission on the 
Klamath River. The Interstate Commission on Tahoe, the Interstate 
Commission on the California-Arizona Boundary, the Committee of 
Fourteen on the Colorado River. My golly, and that wasn t all. 
The Western States Water Council. The Four Agency Coordinating 
Committee. Still more. 

You didn t try to go to them all of the time? 

I tried to go to one meeting of each of them at least. But then I 
turned Tahoe and Klamath over to Reg completely, and he had a 
staffer who did the work. 

But the water commission, I never missed one of its monthly 
meetings unless I was completely out of the country. Actually, 
several of us went to them. I tried to get the presentations made 
by the people who were most knowledgeable. That might be Towner, 
or Goldberg, or Price, or Golze", or Dewey, or someone else. 

That was the important commission. 
We used it as a sounding board. 
I see. 

That s where we put our information out and got reaction. The 
commissioners were friendly and so it was always a good forum. 
Usually there was press coverage of the water commission. Not of 
most of the others. 

The Resources Agency I noted that Hugo Fisher had a meeting of all 
directors of departments who were part of this agency. Weekly, I 
think. Did you attend those? 

Warne : 

I attended I can t say most but some of them. 


Chall : Did you think that they were supposed to do the same thing as your 
weekly meetings? 

Warne: No, they never were that well organized. As a matter of fact, the 
Resources Agency staff meetings spent most of their time on what I 
would call administrative matters, which I kept out of my meetings 
entirely. I wouldn t have kept out a problem having to do with the 
strike of the operators on the canal, for example. But we never had 
a problem like that when I was director. We didn t keep out the 
negotiations with the contractors or the labor unions. But internal 
administrative gripes were verboten at my meetings. Not so at Hugo s. 
I did not feel that I could make a contribution to the discussion of 
most of the problems discussed there. I always had a staffer present 
and we received a report at our weekly principal staff meeting, 
usually from Rose Nonini, who was my liaison with the agency after 
I gave up the administrator s job. 

[Interview 2: March 13, 1979 ]## 

Chall: I wanted to say, first of all, that the material that you developed 
in your bulletins and your speeches and that final report is really 
very good from the standpoint of getting to know what the problems 
were. We don t often see how they were resolved, but the problems 
are laid out. 

Even in the last report, you weren t trying to hide anything 
you and your staff.* 

Warne: That s right. I wanted to set the pace, as I told the staff, and 
leave tracks so that someone could follow the whole process and 
program through. I was perfectly confident that the program would 
have to go forward to completion after I left. So I wanted everyone 
to know what we had done and what some of the things were that 
remained to be done. 

*"Progress of the Department of Water Resources, 1961-1966," 
Department of Water Resources, 1966. Verbatim transcript of a 
meeting of the Executive Staff of the Department of Water 
Resources, December 20, 1966, reporting on accomplishments of 
the department, 1961-1966. 


Chall: There seemed to be some concern in certain areas that the staff who 
were going to carry on through, because they were civil service 
people, might have to or want to effect certain changes, and it 
seemed as though you were concerned, because this was really your 
organization, and you didn t want to see anything happening too 
abruptly. I gather a certain reluctance on your part even to 
part with this organization which you had to, of course. 

Warne: Yes, I did regret leaving. I thought it was a classic organization, 
really. We had, I thought, competent men, well-qualified men in 
every position, and I thought the organization was properly laid out 
to get the job done. However, I wasn t that regretful about leaving 
it. I ve always had the philosophy that a job like that didn t belong 
to the individual. I think I even told the staff that, that these 
were jobs that men held while things were appropriate and the job 
holders ought to leave them willingly in a way that someone else 
could carry them on. 

Chall: You had moved from one major job to another frequently, so you 
understood that the cords could be cut. 

Warne: Looking back on it, I was director of the Department of Water 

Resources for six years precisely, and I believe that s the longest 
I ever stayed on any job. I never left one except of my own accord. 

Chall: If Pat Brown had won reelection, do you think you would have stayed 
on? Were you planning to? 

Warne: I certainly would have stayed on. But I doubted at the time of the 
election whether I would stay on another four years, if Brown won. 
I wasn t sure of that. I would have stayed on, however, for a time. 
We would have started the Peripheral Canal but that wasn t to be. 

Chall: Do you think you could have started it, whereas the Reagan people 
didn t start it? 

Warne: That s right. There isn t any question about that. 

Financing the State Water Project 

Chall: Is that because of a different way of looking at financial arrange 

1966 senate trip to Oroville Dam. 
From left: William Warne, State 
Senator Jack Schrade, and Assem 
blyman Carley V. Porter. 

Fifth Annual Inspection of the 
work at Oroville Dam. Director 
of the Department of Water 
Resources, principle staff 
and their wives, standing near 
"the monster." March 27, 1966. 

Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown 
and William Warne in front of 
the 58 county plaque at Oroville 
Dam, December 1966. 


Warne: In my final staff meeting, there was some discussion by [John] Hunt 
of financing, but I thought that we had resolved every one of those 
issues as we met them and we had made preparations to resolve the 
issues that were to arise in the future with respect to financing 
the construction. I had confidence that the problems would be 

As a matter of fact, Reagan had to find something to call the 
Brown administration about. He lit on the subject of under financing 
the State Water Project. 

Chall: You don t think that was an... 

Warne: I think that was an unreal issue as they demonstrated themselves 
because they continued to finance the State Water Project in 
exactly the same way that we had proposed, with one exception. 
That exception was the elimination of the requirement to offset the 
bonds. We might have happened onto that ourselves. I don t know. 
It hadn t been considered when I left. But the idea of issuing 
revenue bonds is one of the main issues that I had with the legis 
lature from the very first. We d won that issue, to the undying 
chagrin of George Miller. 

Chall: That s the old Central Valley Project revenue bonds. 

Warne: The right to use the authority of the Central Valley Project Act to 
issue revenue bonds, yes. Gianelli eventually used the authority, 
but the idea was not generated in his administration. 

You were going to ask me next about this... 

Chall: I have a variety of questions starting from there. We could get into 
that financing matter while we re on it. 

As I gather from reading your material and Aqueduct Empire, there 
seemed to be a problem almost immediately with respect to financing 
as you looked over the engineering plans and recognized what really 
was there and the methods by which you could spend the bond money 
without the crunch coming up right away.* I wondered how you 
reacted to that when you discovered it. 

*Erwin Cooper, Aqueduct Empire, (Glendale, California: The Arthur 
H. Clark Company, 1968). 


Warne: I didn t anticipate a crunch right away. We didn t have a crunch 
right away . 

Chall: No, not right away, but down the pike a bit. 

Warne: Down the pike, yes. However, at the outset, I felt that the plan 
was whole. In other words, that if carried out as originally set 
up, the project would come out all right. We anticipated issuing 
revenue bonds against the power facilities, particularly, of the 
project, and our calculations showed that we were going to come out 
all right with the addition of these funds. 

However, very quickly, within a short time, it was indicated that 
the cost of construction was going up. The more the cost of construc 
tion went up, the more difficult it was to bring all of these things 
out even at the end. 

I remember our staff, I think it was Hunt, suggested that we 
ought to go for additional financing very early because the 
projected cost of construction in the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth 
year was going to be unmanageably high. I did not agree with that 
proposal. I thought that no one knew how much the cost of construc 
tion was going up, and the surest way to find out what the cost of 
building the Oroville Dam or the California Aqueduct was going to 
be was to build them. 

So, instead of suspending and seeing how we were going to get 
more money, I said, "Go ahead and build the dam and build it fast. 
Nail the costs down. Get your contracts out on the aqueduct and 
you ll know what it s going to cost to build that facility. When 
we get closer to the time when we have a problem, if we ever do, 
we ll take care of it. And there are means of taking care of the 

Depositing the funds from tidelands oil in the water fund was 
one means. The revenue bonds were another. Participation by the 
local agencies in the financing of any feature that required the 
construction of facilities in excess of those we had planned was 
another. For example, when the Metropolitan Water District wanted 
increased capacity in the aqueduct below San Luis and in the west 
branch, they put up the monies for the additional costs. 

By the time I left, it was pretty clear that we were right. 

Chall: What happened with the tidelands money? Hadn t you anticipated 
something like $30 million a year, and it finally got down to 
$11 million? That s quite a difference, isn t it? 


Warne: Yes, that s quite a difference, and the reduction was somewhat of a 
disappointment to me. It came about in this manner. The management 
of the state finances imposed a heavy burden on Governor Brown and 
on Hale Champion, who was the director of finance. The tidelands 
oil monies were one of the incoming funds that might be made avail 
able without increasing taxes. Allocation of these monies was under 
the control of the legislature. These funds weren t tied up by 
constitutional amendment as the highway fund was, for example. 

As I recall it now, there was a need for more money for educa 
tion. Hale proposed to the governor that we get part of this money 
by reducing the amount that was going to the water fund from the 
tidelands oil revenues. I didn t like this suggestion and protested 
I ve forgotten the manner I think I wrote a memorandum objecting. I 
know I met with Hale several times. Finally, our differences got to 
the point where it became necessary for the governor to settle the 

I remember he called Hale and me in. Champion stated his reasons 
to the governor, quite eloquently. I could not debate the fact that 
they needed the money for school purposes. Then I stated the reason 
why I thought we ought to keep the monies in the water fund, namely 
that looking ahead, we could see a time when there might be a crunch, 
and that we had previously all agreed that revenues from non-renewable 
resources should be used in developing other resources of the state. 

Hale objected to my proposal. He pointed out that if we spent 
the water funds, we were simply offsetting more of the bond monies 
and, in effect, reducing the amount of bond money that otherwise 
might be available for construction of project facilities then 
planned. He thought it would be better to spend the bond money first. 
Second, that we had more money than we needed in the immediate years 
ahead and it was not fair to other programs in the state to tie up 
these tidelands revenues in the water fund in that way. 

Then I said, "Well, we ve got more money than we need right now, 
maybe, but not over the longer run." He said, "If we can decrease 
the tidelands revenues going into the water fund now, we can increase 
the amount of tidelands money going into the water fund later, and I 
agree that s what we ought to do when the need arises." I made a 
strong pitch that we oughtn t to use the funds that came from the 
exploitation of a resource except to develop another resource. 

I ve forgotten exactly what the clincher was. I believe it 
was a statement of Kale s that the education construction program 
is also a resource development program. He said, "This, which also 
is a resource development program, can t go forward without these 
monies." I said I was in a poor position to argue that point, 
though I had never considered education as a resource development 
exactly on a par with the water project. 


Warne: But the governor said, "Okay, we ll go along with what Hale proposes 
and, Bill, you have your means of coming back for money when you 
need it." 

Chall: But you never could. 

Warne: No. When I left, we had not reached the point at which going back 
was required. Now, this was the only time in the whole six years 
that I was director ever that a ruling went against me when I went 
to the governor s office. 

Chall: I recall something that Governor Brown said, I believe during the 

battle over Proposition 1, that you were going to be taking from one 
resource, tidelands oil, and putting it back into another resource, 
namely the water program. But hadn t Governor Brown made a commit 
ment during his 1962 election campaign that he would not raise taxes? 

Warne : Yes . 

Chall: And wasn t this a whole part of that problem of shifting monies from 
one fund to another in order to keep that promise? 

Warne: That s right. He had decided on I ve forgotten whether it was a 

flat-out promise. He d certainly indicated he didn t want to raise 
taxes. Hale was threatening him with the necessity to raise taxes 
if this weren t done or with giving up one of his prized education 

I think the director of finance and the governor have a right to 
manage the finances of the state. They never dipped into, or 
attempted to, in any way, the monies that were in the Water Resources 
Department for its programs. I m not at all sure that the water fund 
would have had the amounts from tidelands that were originally 
pledged to it if we had other means of financing some of the projects 
at that time. In other words, if a bond issue had been passed earlier, 
I m not sure that the water fund would ever have been given that big 
a cut of tidelands monies in the first place. 

Now the tidelands allotment has been raised back up again, but 
it does not offset bonds. 

Chall: That s really the reason, isn t it, why with the Porter-Cologne bill, 
in the first year of the Reagan administration, they came up with 
some rescue money? It was mainly because of the crunch over the 
water bond money. In fact, they changed the rule about the offset. 


Warne: Yes, they did. They had S 261 in 1968, which did three things. It 
raised the amount of the allotment from the tidelands monies to go 
into the water fund from $11 million, which it was at that time, to 
$25 million starting in the fiscal year of 1970-1971. 

Then the act provided that the $11 million that had already gone 
into the water fund would be, for that particular fiscal year, trans 
ferred to the Central Valley Project Construction Fund, which meant 
that it would not be offset against the remaining bonds. 

Then it provided further that the remainder of the allotments 
from the tidelands oil to be made into the department, through the 
fiscal year 1971-1972, would go into the Central Valley Project 
Construction Fund. 

Chall: Central Valley Construction Fund? 

Warne: That is the fund which we used actually to build the project. Do 
you see? We transferred all the monies into the Central Valley 
Project Construction Fund for construction purposes. Now, the water 
fund had some more flexibility than the construction fund. The 
water fund could be used to pay interest and redeem bonds. 

Chall: Oh, it could? 

Warne: Yes. But the Central Valley Project Construction Fund could not. 

Chall: Those were revenue bonds, weren t they? 

Warne: No. The construction fund was established simply to construct the 

facilities. It was established in the old law, and it had connected 
with it all the authorities to issue contracts and administer them. 
One of the reasons why we were so. adamant that the Central Valley 
Project Act should not be eliminated from use by us in the construc 
tion of this program, as some of the legislature wanted to do, was 
because the Central Valley Project Act, way back in 1932, when it 
originally was passed, was very thorough in its consideration of 
the provisions for the administration of construction programs. We 
used the construction fund, the Central Valley Project Construction 
Fund, all the way through. 

Now, the principal advantage of putting these monies for a 
limited period into the construction fund rather than in the water 
fund was that the construction fund did not have to be offset 
against bonds. The reason this act was written, apparently, so 
that it applied only through the 1972 fiscal year, was that by 
that time all the bond revenues would have been spent, so there was 
no possibility of offsetting them anymore. 


Chall: I see. 

Warne: As a matter of fact, by the end of that fiscal year, all the bonds 
except for the bonds that were allocated to the Davis-Grunsky Act, 
which originally was $130 million, had been sold. All of the bonds 
have now been sold except about $20 million of the Davis-Grunsky 
allotment of bonds that still remain. 

Now, by that little tricky bill, S 261, the Reagan administration 
managed to spend $80 million, approximately, of tidelands oil 
revenues without offsetting them against the bonds, so they, in 
effect, increased the available bonds for the construction of the 
initial facilities of the project by $80 million. 

Let s see [musingly], $167 million, I believe yes, $167 million 
had already been offset. 

Chall: That offset was to be used for building 

Warne: additional facilities. That sum had been offset and, of course, 
those bonds are still unsold and they can be sold and used only for 
the construction of additional facilities. That $167 million is 
almost precisely the amount that had been used out of the water 
fund by the time I left the department, so that virtually no_ monies 
were offset after I left. 

Chall: The main problem was just finishing the California Water Project as 
it had been designed at the time, without the augmentation. That 
was their main concern, just the completion of what was on the 

Some Revisions in the Plan 

Warne: I can t say what their main concern was. I can say that JE had 
every expectation of building the Peripheral Canal and, at the 
appropriate time, of proceeding with Dos Rios Dam and diversion 
works on the Eel River, and of building the master Drain. 

Actually, of these three the Dos Rios, I thought, would have 
been the first of the additional facilities. The new administra 
tion fairly quickly took three actions which modified the forward 
planning that we had done and the program on which we were pro 
ceeding. One was they set aside the Drain completely, cut all 
work on it. 


Warne: The second was they postponed the completion of the designs for 

the construction of the Peripheral Canal on the grounds that they 
didn t think it was urgently needed immediately. And the third 
was that they actually reversed the finding that I had made on 
the need for the Dos Rios Dam on the Eel River and eliminated my 
authorization of it as an additional facility of the project, 
leaving the whole question of where you re going to get the 
additional waters that are going to be needed in limbo, and that 
question still is in limbo, and it grows more troublesome every 

Now, they didn t reverse the finding of authorization that I 
made on the Peripheral Canal, however, and the Peripheral Canal 
still stands as an authorized initial facility of the State Water 
Project. As you know, every effort is being made by a host of 
people, many of them in part conflicting in their efforts, to get 
the canal moving again. It is late. 

The Drain 

Warne: The Drain is still in limbo. 

Chall: Yes. Could the Drain have gone forward during the time you were 
there if you could have gotten those San Joaquin farm groups 
together on the payment? 

Warne: Yes, yes. As a matter of fact, I was desperately anxious to get 
the master Drain going because the Bureau of Reclamation had the 
obligation to build the interceptor Drain for the Westlands unit 
of the Central Valley Project. Obviously, the logical solution 
to the whole drainage problem in the San Joaquin was to join the 
master Drain, which would pick up down south in Kern County, into 
the interceptor Drain of the Bureau of Reclamation and dispose of 
the effluent together . This would have been highly desirable. It 
still would be highly desirable. 

However, we had a lot of trouble with the Drain. I thought that 
the Drain ought to be underwritten by all of those who contributed 
to the problem of drainage in the San Joaquin Valley, and Senator 
Jim Cobey, who was from that area and who was chairman of the 
Senate Water Committee, agreed with me. 

He once carried a bill to put the whole of the San Joaquin 
Valley into a drainage district and with that district we were 
going to contract for the repayment of the master Drain. It would 


Warne : 

Chall : 

Warne : 

Chall ; 

Warne : 
Chall : 

Warne ; 

Chall : 

Warne : 

have placed an infinitesimal charge against the individual land 
owner if we had been able to carry through on it. But there was 
tremendous objection coming not only from some of the farm land 
owners in the periphery that is, around the edges who thought, 
"My golly, it s only those fellows down in the valley who are 
going to need the Drain" but it also came from the cities which 
thought, "Why should we cooperate with the countryside?" 

Jim told me that he never would carry that bill again, 

You ve gotten right back to the same point, and that s the point 
the whole water project had been involved in for so many years 
before SB 1106, I guess. It s this infighting. 

So we did not get the Drain. However, that didn t discourage me 
well, it discouraged me, but I didn t give up on it. We continued 
to work at that as long as I was there, worked on the preparations 
for the construction of the Drain. It was only after we left, that 
the department, under a new director, said, "We ll just quit working 
on that Drain," and the Bureau of Reclamation built its interceptor 
Drain alone. 

There s no use asking why they did that, 
interview them. 

We ll just wait until we 

Someday you can find that out. 

I ll talk to Mr. Gianelli when we do the next step. 

This is just one of those very hypothetical ifs, but if you had 
been able to get those people together, you might have built the 
Drain before, do you think, the environmentalists became more 
concerned about the drainage into the Delta than they are now? 
Or were the Delta groups as strong as they are now George Miller 
and the rest? 

I m pretty sure we could have handled it if we could have built 
the Drain at that time. You know, this is an "iffy" question, and 
my answer, I can t be certain about that. 

I see. You were willing to start with the land owners in the San 
Joaquin Valley and then tackle the Delta. 

At that time, we didn t have the problem in the Delta to the same 
degree. We had already indicated where we were going to put the 
outlet, and the intense opposition to an outlet near Antioch 
developed later. Not then. 


Chall: In terms of where we are in our thinking today it s maybe some 
what changed because of environmental factors or understanding 
more about them, perhaps would you still be in favor of a drain 
that sends the water up into the Delta under the Antioch Bridge? 
Is that still a feasible sort of solution to the problem of 

Warne: Well, where do you think those wastewaters are going now? 

Chall: I don t know where the San Luis drainage is going into sumps 
nearby, I think. 

Warne: The San Luis drainage is going through a series of ponds in the 
lower San Joaquin Valley. 

Chall: It s going under the ground somewhere, I suppose. 

Warne: It s all going underground or it s going out through the Delta and 
the Bay. What goes out, and eventually all of it will go out, is 
goin g out right through the present water systems in the Delta. 
We are simply letting these degraded wastewaters poison the land 
on their slow way to the sea. 

I think we ought to give consideration now to a second level of 
consideration on the Drain, and I believe we ought to clean those 
waters up so that they can be reused in the valley. What we then 
would have to dispose of might be a very small portion of the 
total, and perhaps it would be feasible to dispose of that remainder 
through a series of evaporation ponds in perpetuity without damaging 
much land very much. Perhaps eventually we could clean out these 
ponds and recover minerals that might be useful somewhere, I don t 

But in any event, I think our situation is such now that it 
would, from a resource point of view, pay us to. reclaim and recycle 
those wastewaters. I think it s an extravagance simply to dump 
them. And it sinful to permit them slowly to destroy our best 

Chall: Is anybody giving any serious thought to this? I see it raised 

Warne: The department yes, they ve got a little desalter up at Firebaugh 
that they ve been working with for years and it has demonstrated 
the feasibility of agricultural wastewater recovery. However, the 
matter of costs is still presenting a problem. But there s no doubt 
they could use those waters for industrial purposes or for cooling 
a power plant. The costs would be manageable for those uses. 
Certainly they could use the reclaimed water in agriculture for 
more irrigation, though costs might be high. 


Chall: So the simple solution, which is also an expensive one, building a 
drain and an aqueduct to bring the water into the Delta is not 
necessarily the only or the best. 

Warne: No. You could intercept the waters and at least reduce their 
quantity if quantity is what is worrying you. A proposal was 
made that those waters be put into the ocean directly through a 
pipe south of San Francisco Bay, which would get them out of the 
Delta. Well, if you reduce the amount through the reclamation of 
the wastewater, of that which must be dumped, it would not be such 
a great problem to pipe the dregs to the ocean. We re doing that 
same kind of thing along the Santa Ana River in Southern California 
now. A discharge line that handles waters that simply can t be 
used again, separating those waters from the river itself, runs to 
the sea and the main flow of the river is used and recycled. 

Electric Power 

Chall: While we re on some of the sticky problems that still remained in 
1966, what about the matter of power? As I read your material and 
also some of it from the Metropolitan Water District, there was a 
great belief then in nuclear power. There were some pilot plants 
being talked about I don t know if they actually started them at 
that time in cooperation with the federal government, the AEC then. 
I guess the major project was to get the water over the Tehachapis. 
Now has any of that come to pass? Is there any nuclear power in 
the water project? 

Warne: Our power program had several different elements to it. In the 
first place, we had considerable power-generating capacity at 
Oroville and Thermalito on the Feather River. Then we were going 
to recover power at San Bernardino Devil s Canyon Drop and at 
other places in Southern California. We worked out various and 
sundry plans and programs including an arrangement with the city 
of Los Angeles. A pump-back power drop system was put in between 
Pyramid and Castaic reservoirs down there. 

But it was clear that before we went very far with the develop 
ment of our uses of the waters, more energy would be required than 
we could develop. Also, our power plants were not in a system 
which would provide the necessary backup. I thought it would be 
best to work it out in the way in which we began to work it out, 
namely, with a power service contract with California utilities. 
First, we entered the arena and obtained a power allotment from the 
Pacific Northwest-Pacific Southwest Intertie. 


Warne: We took capacity in the Intertie and got an allotment of what was 
called the Canadian Entitlement Power on the Columbia River . This 
necessitated several appearances in Washington before the congres 
sional committees and many meetings with [Charles] Luce, who was 
then the Bonneville Power administrator. All of the power companies 
in California didn t want the state mixed up in the northwest 

Chall: The PG&E and Edison? 

Warne: Yes. Edison particularly. The PG&E too. And San Diego Gas and 
Electric. Nevertheless, we carried that particular petition and 
won it with the help of men like Senator "Scoop" Jackson and 
Secretary Stewart Udall. 

Chall: Did it help in all your necessary contacts with Washington that you 
had been in the administration prior administration so that you 
knew some of these congressmen and Senators and Department of 
Interior people? 

Warne: Yes, in those days I knew nearly all of the people involved in 

Chall: And was this an important help? 

Warne: I think it was an assistance. I knew "Scoop" Jackson from the day 
he first came to the Congress. Stewart Udall I knew, but not so 
well, since he came in much later into the Congress, before he went 
into the Interior Department. But Stu and I were good friends. 

I never asked for anything particularly of them, but they always 
heard me with what I thought was respect and sympathy when I 
described California situations. Not only they , but that would go 
for Senator Clair Engle and Congressman George Miller, for "Bizz" 
[Harold] Johnson. My good friend, Congressman [Richard J.] Welch. 
Senator Thomas Kuchel. Though I didn t have a long association 
with Kuchel before, I had a pleasant association with him when I 
was the director of the department. 

Chall: It would have been necessary. 

Warne: Bernie Sisk. John McFall. Many, many. 

Chall: Were there many you would go to initially? Or did it depend on the 
problem? "Bizz" Johnson was an important person in water matters. 

Warne: I always talked everything over with "Bizz", and with Sisk. And 

some congressmen who were not from California, too, were long-time 
friends of mine from the days when I was in the Interior Department. 


Warne: They were like Mike Kerwin from Ohio, who was chairman of the 

Interior Department Appropriations Subcommittee, and some Senators 
such as Mike Mansfield, of Montana, with whom I worked much 
earlier. Carl Hayden of Arizona was a staunch friend of mine. 

Chall: Yes. We ll probably talk about him later when we get to the 
Pacific Southwest Water Plan. What about Mr. Aspinall? 

Warne: Aspinall was a I always got along all right with Wayne. I hadn t 
known him from earlier times. Well, I d known him before I became 
the director of the Department of Water Resources, but not at the 
time I was in the Interior Department. 

Chall: Now, you had some background in power, hadn t you, so that when it 
came to moving in the direction you needed to go, you knew where 
the ties might be. 

Warne: I had been the assistant director of the Office of Power for the 
Interior Department, under Ickes that was the office that Abe 
Fortas originally set up and when he became under-secretary, 
[Arthur] "Tex" Goldschmidt, who was Abe s assistant, moved up to 
the chief of the office and I moved in as assistant to him. These 
were the days at the start of the Second World War. I remember 
negotiating Project X an agreement to supply power from Grand 
Coulee Dam. 

Chall: X or hex?. 

Warne: X, which turned out to be the Hanford Nuclear Energy Plant, but we 
were not told and did not ask what Project X was until the war was 

Chall: Oh, is that right? 

So this establishes the fact that you probably knew your way 
around when it came to dealing with the problem of power here. 

Warne: Yes, and I negotiated some power contracts in the Bureau of 
Reclamation and had worked closely with my chief electrical 
engineer, L.N. McClellan. 


Chall: We were talking about power. You developed your inter tie with 
Bonneville at the time. 

Warne: Yes. We also had to have a wheeling agreement with the utilities 

since the intertie was actually to be owned by them. And we needed 
a power service contract, so we negotiated a power service contract 


Warne: with the public utilities, that is, the Pacific Gas and Electric 
Company, the Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and 
Electric, and the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and 
Power . 

These four utilities entered a single contract to deliver power 
to the department at the various take-off points where we were 
going to have our big pumping plants. In that particular contract, 
our law said that we couldn t have a contract extended more than 
x number of years I think fifteen years or something like that. 
It came out to 1983. 

I asked for a provision in that contract that the department 
could build its own power plant. On five years notice, we could 
put power into the system as well as take power out. This was a 
highly controversial issue. We called it "the window." We kept 
a window open in the contract through which the department could 
see into the future. 

Chall: What had you in mind? 

Warne: I had in mind building a nuclear energy plant or a very large 

thermal power plant. At that particular time, we thought we might 
build a seed and blanket breeder reactor. We selected the site 
down near the Tehachapi pumps, which is in southern Kern County. 
Good friend, Admiral [Hyman] Rickover, who was the chief of 
the navy s Nuclear Power Division, and also was the director, 
simultaneously, of the Atomic Energy s research program, was 
advocating the construction _by_ the federal government, in conjunc 
tion with some responsible public power user, of a demonstration 
plant of a fast breeder reactor. 

He thought that the technology was ready. He had been conducting 
a number of experiments at Arco in Idaho, and he came down and met 
with me on several occasions and also with Governor Brown. I went 
to Washington and met with the Atomic Energy Commission and with 
Admiral Rickover at various intervals, and we entered a little 
agreement to proceed with this. That was the reason I kept the 
window in the contract and the reason we went ahead and selected 
sites and so forth. It was Christmas Eve it must have been 1965 
that I had a call from Admiral Rickover. He said he had to see me 
immediately. Could I meet him at an airport hotel in Los Angeles? 

I went down there 
Chall: Christmas Eve, right then and there, is that it? 


Warne: Yes. I went down there and he said that he hated to tell me this, 
but that he had not approved the technology and he would have to 
cancel out on the breeder reactor. 

Now, I had been to Arco. Golze, the chief engineer, and I went 
up there and visited the place and observed the experiments with 
Rickover, which at that time seemed to be going fairly well. But 
the problem was that the cladding, the zircon cladding, I believe, 
the cladding on the fuel rods, was not long-lived enough. The 
cladding tended to break, and in that manner pass radiation pollu 
tion into the coolant waters. And he simply said that they weren t 
ready, couldn t do it, now. 

As a result of this, I had to sacrifice all of the momentum that 
we had gained on that project, which was quite a lot. I mean, I 
had appeared before the Joint Atomic Energy Committee of the 
Congress. We had gained authorities in the federal law. It seems 
to me we d even gotten a pledge of federal funds. Since it was 
going to be a joint project, we were willing to put up part of the 
money . 

It was quite a setback, really. And, of course, before I could 
work out an alternative, which was bound to be a conventional plant, 
I left the department, so that window in our contract has never been 
used. However, the present administration has revived the plan for 
the department to provide its own power. They are proceeding, not 
with the breeder reactor or even a nuclear plant, but they re talking 
about a coal plant. They have actually undertaken some contracts 
for geothermal developments in the Geysers up in Sonoma County and 
at Honey Lake, and also in the Imperial, so we re moving, though 
it s kind of late 1983 is pretty close at hand and the power supply 
contract will be terminated in that year. 

Chall: Nuclear seems not to be the promise. It was your material and the 
Metropolitan Water District material that hailed this as the great 
feature in power development. 

Warne: Yes. Met, you recall, set up the Bolsa Chica Island plan to set up 
a joint water manufacturing and nuclear energy project. Southern 
California Edison was in it with Met. And that fell through, too. 
They were going to build an island in the shallow offshore waters, 
which, of course, was never done. 

The project fell through for several different reasons. One of 
them was a general diminishment of the enthusiasm for atomic energy 
as a cheap source of energy. 

Chall: Cheap and safe. 
Warne: And safe. 



Chall: What about the whole matter of desalination? That seemed to go 
hand in hand with this new power source that was supposed to be 
cheap. Has desalination moved in any major direction? 

Warne: I keep making speeches these days about desalination. I_ think the 
time will come soon when all of our water systems will consider 
the use of desalters as integral parts of their supply facilities. 
I think the State Water Project is included in that prognostication. 
In other words, I think we ll have desalters on the Drain and will 
provide fresh water for the project supply. I don t see any reason 
why the state shouldn t develop desalination in Southern California, 

The present indications are that it will be as cheap in energy , 
which is a cost that needs to be measured more carefully now, to 
desalt at least brackish waters in Southern California as it will 
be to take new water supplies south through a series of pumping 
plants such as those that will be necessary for any additional 
diversions from distant sources. 

Now, what the cost of energy is going to be for the Tehachapi 
pumps after 1983, I don t know. But it scares me to think about 
it. It really does. 

Chall: It would raise the cost of water considerably, I guess. 

Warne: We probably can afford it, but I think it would be a shame, really, 
to overlook the use of the new water sciences and the parts that 
they can play in meeting our water requirements. 

We started some desalination way back when I was director. We 
weren t soft pedaling that; we were trying to get into the new 
fields. I think there s been some relaxation on the part of some 
of our water planners since then, but I believe the idea is being 
revived now. 

Chall: Actually, while you were the director, not only were you building 
aqueducts and dams and all the rest, but there seemed to be a 
great deal of scientific concern about desalting, perhaps nuclear 
power, all manner of concerns at that time for the future. 

Warne: That s right. Well, this was part of my philosophy and, I might 
add, I was supported in this very strongly by the governor. I 
mean, he never was one to be afraid of the future or of innovations. 


The Need to Complete the State Water Project 

Chall: This whole matter of financing and constructing almost simultaneously, 
really, was both exciting and, I would guess, occasionally a real 
problem. Figuring out what might be reimbursable and what might be 
non-reimbursable, what the federal government might give you, what 
the federal government might not give you, this must have caused 
quite a problem for the accountants in terms of knowing, at any one 
time, how much the whole water program really was going to cost. 
The figures vary every year or so, depending on who s sending them 

Warne: I don t think they ever went down. 

Chall: Oh [pauses] no. It depends on whether you were considering interest, 
or leaving out interest, or... 

Warne: Interest during construction. You know, we had all of these organ 
izations like Metropolitan Water District of Southern California 
looking over our shoulder at every decision that we made that had 
anything to do with the allocation of costs or with repayment. 
Their interest they were pretty careful to keep us from over- 
" loading the repayment ends of the contracts. We were just as 
absolutely adamant that we had to have ways and means of getting 
the repayments back to meet the bond requirements . 

I deliberately set up the Water Service Contractors Council in 
the hope of getting everybody to move along together. I had a plan 
that we never let the members of the council take a vote on any 
issue. They could holler, and if they made points that were serious 
enough, we could consider them, or reconsider our own decisions, or 
try to work the problem out more carefully. 

But very shortly, they wanted to set up an audit committee. 
Chall: The council itself? 

Warne: Oh, yes. And today they have one. They raise all sorts of questions. 
I don t think it s too bad, but I don t think I would have permitted 
it to go exactly the route that it has gone. 

The question of accountability is one of major concern. I think 
the project is soundly conceived, was soundly financed, and I think 
the repayment programs are sound . However , some of the things that 
have happened since raise issues that may be of great concern in 
the future. For example, the failure to proceed with the Peripheral 
Canal, the failure to develop additional water supply features north 


Warne: of the Delta, some of the decisions that have had to be made as a 
result of lack of waters during the drought about the delivery of 
surplus waters, excess waters, have caused real problems and 
concerns about whether the water service contractors are going to 
be able, forever, to meet all of the costs, all of their payments 
to the state. 

Chall: Why is that? Because they won t be getting the water to sell? 

Warne: We had a plan. Have you ever seen the water build-up plan? We had 
a plan that the contractors would get so and so much water each 
year, and their payments were based on the amounts to be taken en 
toto. These build-ups represented the amounts the water service 
contractors expected their future growths to require them to take. 
The present capability of the initial facilities of the State Water 
Project amounts to only about half of the ultimate demand. The 
present capability still exceeds the combined requirements of the 
water service contractors build-ups to the present date, but soon 
the expected build-ups will require more water than the project can 
produce without additional works. That is when expected repayments 
may be contested and fall short of the bond funding plan. 

Chall: I see. A fifty-year plan of some kind. 

Warne: Yes. And when you get up to this point where demand equals supply, 
you may find that you haven t developed the waters that you re going 
to need in the future to meet growth requirements . 

Chall: But you ve been charging them all along on a sort of prorated basis. 
I see. 

Warne: But they may not get the water that they have counted on contracted 
for if it isn t there. Then there could be defaults. I don t think 
it will happen. I hope it won t happen, but I do_ think that the 
state has an obligation that it ought to consider almost sacred, to 
meet the water delivery schedules that the water service contractors 
have set up. And the state has delayed and procrastinated and 
temporized throughout the Reagan years and has not been able to 
revive the program fully under Jerry Brown [Governor Edmund G. Brown, 

Chall: Weren t some of those schedules already in the original not the 
schedules themselves, but the route by which you arrive at them 
in the original Burns-Porter Act? Wasn t that pretty specific as 
to the fact that the augmented waters were to come from the Eel 
River and the other rivers in the north coast? 


Warne: It didn t actually say where the supplemental waters were to come 

Chall: Some of those rivers or plans for them have been changed by the 
Wild Rivers Act. That has made a difference. 

Warne: Yes, yes. [softly] I think the Wild Rivers Act is a great mistake. 

Chall: That won t allow some of the plans that were considered at that time 
to be fulfilled as far as the additional waters are concerned for 
the project. 

Warne: We didn t have the plans down to such specifics, except on the Eel 
itself, and the Wild Rivers Act does not actually preclude the 
construction of the project on the Eel, although Governor Reagan 
disavowed intent to build the Dos Rios project on the Eel, which 
may preclude it unless it s reinstated in the future in some manner. 

But one way or another, I think the state is obligated to deliver 
the waters under the planning program that was adopted, all of it 
adopted specifically under the authorities of the Burns-Porter Act. 
The whole financing/repayment program was worked out on the basis of 
carrying through a 4,230,000 acre-foot project. We signed those iron 
clad contracts with the water users, and carefully went through all 
of the processes allocating the waters and making sure that needs 
at least as they were forecast by the user groups were met, and 
setting up in each contract a program for a fifty-year period which 
has been followed fairly well, up to now. We sold the bonds and 
they must be redeemed. But the second half of the water supply is 
not being developed and we are almost twenty years nearer the end of 
the century than we were in 1960 when the Burns-Porter Act was 
approved by the electorate. 

Chall: Has the population increased to the extent that it was thought it 
would increase, and is the water needed as much as they assumed it 
might be? We might have a little slack in there. 

Warne: By the time that I left the department, January 1, 1967, the popula 
tion was increasing at a more rapid rate than we had planned, so 
that, at that time, it was said that instead of 1990, the project 
would provide waters only for increases expected by 1985. However, 
the population growth dropped off quite rapidly in I ve forgotten 
68, 69, maybe even in 67, and in 1970. So a part of the justifi 
cation of the Reagan administration for knocking out the north 
coastal project, delaying the Peripheral Canal, was that if you took 
the rate of increase in one of those low years and projected it 
unchanged into the future, we had enough water to last until about 
2005, or something like that. 


Warne: I thought then that if it were as foolish as they said for us to use 
the figures of the rapid increases of the late mid-1960s in the 
prognostication of what our demands would be, it was equally silly 
of them to use the record low of all time in the growth of the state, 
when a lot of us felt that no Democrats were coming to California 
[laughter] , to prognosticate what the water requirements are going 
to be in the future, and to adjust long-range programs against such 

Now, absolutely, we were right. It might have been perhaps not 
appropriate for us to say we re going to use all of the entitlement 
water by 1985 instead of 1990, but certainly, now that the popula 
tion increases have resumed largely through inmigration, but not 
exclusively we re going to run out of water much sooner than Reagan 
thought. And the time when the construction should have been under 
way has been lost irretrievably. 

I don t think it makes much difference, really, whether it s 
1985 or 1990, or even the year 2000. The project certainly is going 
to be needed in the whole in the future at a date that grows nearer 
every year. Having kicked loose the advanced planning and construc 
tion programs for a period now of more than twelve years is going to 
put us in a bind. That bind is either going to come earlier than 
1990 or later than 1990, because if we resumed the program full force 
right now, we couldn t catch up with the construction till about 

Chall: So your feeling is that the plan that was established in the sixties 
was a good plan, that it should have stayed in place. 

Warne: I don t think there s any question about that. That was not only a 
good plan, but it was a legally authorized plan, and it was effected 
in an obligation that the state made, after approval by a vote of all 
of the people, with the water users organizations which serve two- 
thirds of all the people in the state. Maybe the project won t serve 
Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo now, as we expected, since they 
seem to have backed out of their promises to take project water, but 
even if they are excluded, the quantities involved are very small and 
other water service contractors already are seeking to acquire them. 
As you know, that election they had down there seems to have signal 
ized the final withdrawal of Santa Barbara County. 

Chall: What was the function of the California Water Resources Development 
Fund? Was that a sort of pro forma? Would any of those people in 
that fund really understand all the complications of bond financing 
and the financing of the water plan, or did you have to rely on 
people like Dillon Read or people in the controller s and treasurer s 
offices to assist in determining how the bonds should be sold? 


Warne : 
Chall : 

Warne : 
Chall : 
Warne : 
Chall : 
Warne : 
Warne : 
Chall : 
Warne : 
Chall : 
Warne : 

Chall : 

Warne : 

Actually, the California Water Development Bond Committee what did 
we call it? 

California Water Resources Development Fund. That was the group 
let s see, there was you, and 

Yes, it was me 

the controller and the treasurer 

Brown, the director of finance 

I think that was it. 


Was there somebody else? 

Oh, wait a minute. No, we had both Porter and Burns on it. 

Oh, did it? 

Yes. And the controller. 

The controller, yes. That was Cranston at the time. 

Yes. And Cranston even attended once in a while. Governor Brown 
attended the first meeting. 

Was it pro forma? 

It was a legal requirement. With the aid of Dillon Read and our own 
staff, we made up a schedule of proposed bond sales to meet our 
projected construction requirements. We had to clear them through 
the Department of Finance. The Department of Finance sat on all of 
these bond fund commissions. I mean, every bond fund had such a 
commission. Finance was controlling, really, on when you went 
forward with a sale, because it didn t want all of us who were 
authorized to issue bonds to start selling them on the same day, 
so they spread the sales out. 

They really decided, I think, more specifically than anyone else, 
on the precise time that the call would be made. We made our recom 
mendations. When you went before the commission, it was pro forma. 
I don t recall that it took five minutes to conduct one of those 
meetings, except for the first one when we had a picture made. I 
don t recall that many of the members attended regularly. 


Chall: What apparently you did in the Department of Water Resources is to 
sell bonds early. I ve forgotten that first set of bonds that you 
sold out of $50 million. 

Warne: Those were bond anticipation warrants. 

Chall: That was a unique approach that you had to take at the time, however. 

Warne: It was a unique approach. We got the money for almost no interest 

at all. An exceptionally good deal. Right now I can t remember why 
it was that. . . 

Chall: There was a case in the courts, so you couldn t sell the hundred 
million until the case was argued . 

Warne: I guess that s right. 

Chall: I wondered who might have helped in figuring out this solution which 
was never tried before. 

Warne: Dillon Read, and B. Abbott Goldberg, and perhaps John Hunt. It was 
a highly successful 

Chall: Did you all attempt to Oh, it s twelve o clock, 
[break for lunch] 

The Legislature and the Project 

Chall: Let s see how far we can get today. I wanted to go back and get 

some information about those first couple of years when you had to 
make sure that the State Water Project was going to function as it 
had been planned. That first legislative year 1961 I think you 
told me once that the legislature was arguing the whole water issue 
all over again as if nothing had passed. 

Warne: Yes. 

Chall: I noticed in the Western Water News that column by Robert Durbrow 

about that 1961 session. It seemed that Senators [Stephen] Teale 
let s see who else [James A.] Cobey and others were attempting to 
pass bills that would require the Department of Water Resources to 
have budgets for bond fund expenditures approved by both the 
California Water Commission and the legislature, and there were 
other bills of this kind which would have made it very difficult 
for the department to operate with independence. How did you 
manage to keep those from passing? 


Warne: We opposed them as vigorously as we could, which was sufficient, 
really. The governor stood firmly with us. We had the full 
support of the governor, who was also twisting arms here and 
there, and I think we had the support of most, if not all, of the 
water service contractors there were about thirty water service 
contractors and they represented important constituencies of many 
senators and assemblymen. 

We attacked that kind of legislation from every place that we 
could reach. I spent far more time than I like to remember over 
there in front of committees during that period. That was the 
whole session, really, which ran, it seems to me, from January to 
August or early September in 1961. 

Chall: Much of it was devoted to holding back, at least on your part, 
any major changes in the Burns-Porter Act. 

Warne: Yes, the governor had agreed the legislature could have this 

particular session before we sold any bonds. So everyone in the 
legislature, and perhaps every interest that had an axe to grind 
outside the legislature, made a run at us during that period. 
George Miller s run in an effort to keep us from using the Central 
Valley Project Act was, I thought, the most serious one, the most 
difficult, the most arduous series of hearings that we had. 

Chall: But ultimately, you won that in the court, so it didn t matter. 

Warne: Yes, we won it in the court, actually. The fact that we had it in 
court, and the fact that we won it in court, finally quieted them. 
They didn t think they could get a law through that would reverse 
us after that. What they hoped to do was to keep us from going to 
the court and getting that decision or to obstruct it. 

Chall: Was Senator Miller always difficult with respect to any water action 
that you had before the legislature in those years? 

Warne: George Miller was I don t know whether I mentioned this in our 
first session, that he was greatly opposed to the State Water 
Project. Also, he was, in those early years, a very great supporter 
of Pat Brown and also, I think, of me, as an individual. But he was 
much opposed to the State Water Project and he hoped to be able to 
frustrate it, even after the election when the voters endorsed the 
Burns-Porter Act. 

He was dinging on it so hard that I remember an occasion or two... 
We had several different meetings with George in the governor s 
office, some of them on constructive issues like the Contra Costa- 
South Bay Aqueduct, which he did not oppose, as a matter of fact, 


Warne: but others on more general subjects related to the State Water 

Project. Finally the governor said, "Oh George, you re embarrassing 
me with this. Can t you lay off, you and Hugh Burns?" 

George said, "Well, we don t want to embarrass you, Pat. Why 
don t we turn and throw our rocks at Bill Warne? He can take it. 
This won t affect you." 

I said [laughingly], "Hey, hey, hey!" And the governor said, 
"Okay, go ahead, do that." 

So he did turn thereafter and instead of addressing these various 
objections to the governor, he addressed them to me. This had gone 
on some time and at times the criticism was rather personal and 
bitter. I finally went over to see him, and I said, "George, you 
know, this water project we re going to build it and I would suggest 
that you be a little less personal in these attacks, since I think 
you might destroy my usefulness in the program, and I don t know of 
anyone else who could carry this project through." So he did; he 
did tone down his attacks and depersonalized them. 

Also, at the very time, in part through his own agitation, the 
county board of supervisors in Contra Costa County reversed itself. 
It had agreed to take some water out of the South Bay Aqueduct. 
They reversed themselves, in part owing to George Miller s objection 
to the project as a whole. 

This left me with the proposition of having some capacity in that 
aqueduct that wasn t contracted for and, therefore, with no means 
of assuring that the project was going to get the costs of the 
construction back, get the money back in full. I went over to see 
George and said, "Hey, George, what shall I do? Shall I now trim 
down the size of that aqueduct and save the money, which will 
preclude Contra Costa County ever participating in the project, or 
shall I keep the capacity in and run the risk that we will have a 
relatively small amount of our construction costs that is not going 
to be covered by reimbursable contracts? If Contra Costa County 
never comes around and takes the water, that portion of our invest 
ment in the aqueduct will not be reimbursed." 

He said [softly], "Ah, Bill, we need that water. We surely will 
contract for it. Don t trim the project down." 

I said, "Okay, with that understanding with you, I will go ahead 
and build the aqueduct to full size." However, Contra Costa County 
did not change its mind and hasn t to this time, and there is a 
small amount of that capacity that isn t covered. But George never 
raised and never permitted anyone else to raise that as an issue, 
as an objection to the water project thereafter. 


Chall: What was his primary problem up there? 

Warne: The fact is, Contra Costa County was a very rapidly developing 
county and it has these large industries along the estuary, or 
rather, along the strait and the lower Delta. They all benefited 
from having fresh water flow past them. They did not want flows 
reduced by diversion through the aqueduct to the south. They 
didn t want to have to contract for water through a canal system. 
The amounts they actually needed could be efficiently supplied by 
canal, but their supplies would no longer be free in the river for 
their taking . 

However, these desires put them in a position where they had to 
object to the diversion of water out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin 
River systems by reason of the fact that if they didn t, the quality 
of the water that flowed past their intake pumps might be reduced 
to the point where it might become unusable by them for the purposes 
they had in mind. 

Now, I d met several times with those industrial people and I 
thought that they themselves were willing, finally, to see a 
contract for services from the project made. But by that time, they 
had so thoroughly set the political attitudes in Contra Costa County, 
especially among those new residents in the Walnut Creek area, that 
they couldn t change the public attitudes. 

The Contra Costa Water District, the one that contracted 
originally for water from the Central Valley Project, for the 
Contra Costa Conduit, has always been in favor of Contra Costa 
County participating in the State Water Project. On several 
occasions, we had even a majority of the board of supervisors, but 
before they could get to the point of signing a contract, there was 
always a flip flop because of the political pressures within the 
county . 

Chall: My, that was a tough act always. At the time when he [Miller] felt 
it really might harm getting the water, then he would back away? 

Warne: Every time. Every time. 

Chall: Because he knew they wanted the water. 

Warne: Every time. I remember telling Goldberg one time, "You know, George 
Miller is a friend of mine and he s not going to push that too far." 
Goldberg said, "Well, with friends like George, you don t need any 
enemies." [laughs] 


Chall: That s the way it seemed. 
Warne: That s the way it seemed. 

Chall: What about [Carley] Porter? There are times when, apparently, he 
was not always on the side of the governor. 

Warne: I don t know of a single time when the governor couldn t rely I 
don t remember now, of any- time when we couldn t rely on Carley 
Porter s assistance where the State Water Project was concerned. 
No, I can t remember such a time. He was always helpful. Now, 
sometimes he advocated, "Go slow," or "Don t do this now," but I 
think without exception, he had good reason for the cautions. I 
mean, he knew the political situation within the legislature, or 
the conference committee, or whatever it was we were working with, 
better than an outsider. I had full confidence in Carley Porter, 
and I think he did in me, too. He resisted pressures of the MWD 
and stood with us on the east branch. 

Chall: You mentioned Hugh Burns a little while ago as one of the opponents 
along with Miller. The fact that he had had his name on the main 
bill Burns-Porter of course, that was probably a political move. 

Warne: It really was. 

Chall: Was he never for water then? I mean, was he always an opponent or 

Warne: He was not always against us. You just couldn t count on him, 

especially if the "river rats" were running, the "river rats" being 
that coterie of senators led by George Miller. Hugh Burns was a 
member of the "river rats." 

Chall: [laughingly] That s what you called them? 
Warne: That s what they called themselves. 
Chall: Oh, they did? I see. 

Warne: If the "river rats" were running, you couldn t count on Hugh Burns 
one hundred percent. But now -he thinks he supported me all the 
time. I see him once in a while. Even then, maybe he thought so. 
But when the chips really got down, especially in the political 
infighting, he yielded to another. 

Chall: Oh, he did. Miller was that strong in the senate then? 
Warne: Miller was that strong. 


Chall: [musingly] He was a strong man. 
Warne : Yes . 

Chall: On water, or on other issues, so that they always had to work 

Warne: On water and on finance and anything else he was interested in, 
which was most everything. 

Chall: I understand he was a very tough man. 

Warne: Yes, he was tough. I remember the first time I met him, he was 
running for the state senate and he came back to Washington. 
The other George Miller, the congressman from Alameda, and I were 
very good friends, and had been for years. I got a call from that 
George Miller and he asked me to come down to the capitol immediately, 
which I did, and he said, "I want you to meet George Miller, Jr." 

I said, "My gracious, George, I didn t know you had a son." He 
said, "Oh, he s not a son of mine, but he s in my district." At 
that time his congressional district incorporated Contra Costa 
County. George Miller was from Alameda. "And he s going to run 
for the state senate and he s going to be a good man." So from 
that time on, really, _I counted George Miller, Jr., the state 
senator, as a friend. While he was a tough man, I really think, 
when I told him, "Look, lay off," he did. 

Chall: These behind-the-scenes activities are really so interesting and one 
would never know them unless one were there. There s no way to know. 
No way. 

The Kern County Water Agency//// 

Chall: How did you work things out between 1961 and 1963 with the Kern 
County Land Company? 

Warne: No, Kern County Water Agency. Let s not confuse the two. The 
Kern County Land Company was never a friend of mine. 

Chall: Oh, it wasn t? 

Warne: Kern County Water Agency, I suspect, was organized in large measure 
by reason of the fact that I insisted that someone develop a single 
program for all of that group of water users in Kern County. 


Warne: Baker sfield, or parts of Bakersf ield, was under the influence of 

some political leader, I guess . I never was able to say for certain 
who it was who was throwing the bricks down there. But they were 
never quite in line. 

The Kern County Water Agency was organized under the county board 
of supervisors, originally. I ve forgotten how they elected their 
first board. I believe the supervisors elected them. It was a 
specialized agency. It was to contract with the state and wholesale 
water to all needed water districts in the valley lands of the 
county. The Kern County Water Agency obviously wanted to get water 
for agricultural purposes. 

I insisted that there wasn t going to be any special consideration 
for agricultural water, that they ought to be able to pay the full 
price for water down there. At that time, I think we calculated the 
costs at about nineteen dollars an acre-foot. 

However, there was an element that insisted that Kern County land 
owners ought to abide by the 160-acre law, which was not a part of 
our State Water Project Act, the State of California Central Valley 
Project Act, or the Burns-Porter Act. 

When we negotiated the contract with the Bureau of Reclamation 
for the San Luis Dam, the joint-use facilities, which included 101 
miles of the California aqueduct as well as the San Luis Dam and the 
forebay, we had obtained the agreement with the secretary of the 
interior that the 160-acre law wouldn t go with the state project 
water because of our participation in the joint-use facilities. 
I felt, however, that if we were going to give any subsidy to Kern 
County farmers at all, we ought to have a land limitation on our 
project waters. (I remember Pat Brown and I, in the final negotia 
tion with Pat Dugan, of the Bureau of Reclamation, signed it on 
December 31, at the governor s office in San Francisco. It was 
done just in time to go out and see the Shrine game with 
Earl Warren, who came for the game.)* 

Chall: Wasn t that also what Pat Brown had campaigned on, that there would 
be no undue or unjust enrichment? 

*For additional detail on the San Luis Joint-Use Agreement, see 
pages 130ff. 


Warne: That v s right. No unjust enrichment. It was a major point in the 
1960 campaign for approval of the bonds. And that meant that 
either you sell the water for full price or, at least in my 
judgment, that if you had a subsidy, the farmers ought to return 
the subsidy as well, or abide by a 160-acre limitation, or limitation 
similar to the 160-acre limitation of the federal government. 

So we figured out that the nineteen dollars an acre-foot, which, 
as I remember it now, was our calculation of what that water would 
cost, was actually being subsidized about two dollars an acre-foot. 

Chall: Oh, really? 

Warne: By reason of the Oroville power sales, or would be subsidized to 
that degree when the power plant was fully operating. So we said 
that the contract ought to have a land limitation in it or carry an 
additional two-dollar charge to non-complying farmers. 

The negotiators for the Kern County Water Agency these people 
were several of them, I had worked with or against, or they had 
worked with or against me, for many years, since numbers of them 
were the same ones we negotiated with on the Friant-Kern canal 
contracts in the old Central Valley Project when I was in the 
Bureau of Reclamation. 

Chall: Weren t they all pretty big land owners in here? 

Warne: Yes, there were big land owners down there. Most of the people who 
were involved in our negotiations, however, were not big land 
owners, but they were the same ones who had represented the area in 
the days when they were trying to repeal the 160-acre law in its 
application to the federal Central Valley Project, back in the 
Congress of the United States. 

They came to me and said that they needed some kind of assistance. 
They said nineteen or twenty-one dollars an acre-foot was , in the 
early years , a lot more than they thought the farmers could pay in 
the period during which they were developing their lands. I said, 
"All you have to do is read the prototype contract of the Metropolitan 
Water District of Southern California and you ll see that all water 
service contracts have to carry through on the same principles that 
are incorporated in the provisions of that contract. It doesn t say 
anything in there about special rates for agricultural users." 

They said, "Well, you know, it would be advantageous to put the 
project to use earlier. No one is going to be taking anywhere near 
his full water entitlement in the early years. Why wouldn t it be 


Warne: appropriate if we could take the surplus waters for agriculture 
during these years? The amounts would gradually diminish as our 
developments matured. We d take it at, let us say, the cost of 
operation and maintenance, and maybe the Delta water rate, or 
something like that, and meld the costs of these excess waters 
with the costs of our entitlement waters, so that we d have a rate 
that s somewhere between the two, and that gradually rises during 
the development period." 

I thought that was a good idea. I thought it would be a good 
idea to get the added efficiency out of our system and to assist 
them if they were going to develop an irrigation project down 
there irrigation systems require a lot of front-end financing. 
It would be helpful to get the mature pro j ect ready by the time 
the full price was levied on all of their entitlement waters. 
They would be that much better able to carry the full cost of the 
water when their entitlements matured. 

I know we talked this over with the governor, and the governor 
was not opposed to the plan. But I said to them that the chances 
of getting the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California 
to agree to anything like that are remote indeed. 

Chall: They were opposed to it right from the start, as indicated by the 
editorials and other written materials. 

Warne: I thought MWD would be opposed to it. I took it up with MWD on 
several occasions without any success. I finally told the Kern 
County people that I didn t think it was going to be possible to 
work out a contract on the basis of melding excess and entitlement 
water prices for the benefit of farmers. 

At that time, Stan Kronick, Stanley Kronick, an attorney here 
a long-time water lawyer, used to work for the Bureau of Reclamation, 
an old staunch friend of mine for many years was the attorney for 
the Kern County Water Agency. Stan and Abbott Goldberg had worked 
together actually on the trials of a couple of those landmark cases 
on the Central Valley Project, in support of the 160-acre law, and 
sustained in the United States Supreme Court the application of the 
160-acre law in the federal Central Valley Project area. 

But Stan on this occasion [laughs] was, in effect, arguing the 
other side of the issue. I said to Stan we had many meetings I 
said finally, "Now, look, I tried to work this out with the Met. I 
didn t get anywhere." He said, "Would you have any objection if I 
should go down there alone, taking only two or three of the board 
members of the Kern County Water Agency? You and I, the department, 


Warne: have agreed pretty much to the contract we could have if Met would 
agree. How would it be if I just went down there alone and tried 
this out on them?" 

I said, "Stan, you aren t going to get anywhere, you know. Joe 
Jensen is adamant and most of the rest of the board have got their 
heels dug in. I ve been over this a dozen times." He said, "Well, 
you don t have any objection though?" I said, "No, go ahead!" 

He came back in a couple of days, maybe a little longer, and 
said, "They agreed!" Now, I don t know to this moment what it was 
that caused them to agree. 

Chall: It was the same contract that you d been working on. 

Warne: Yes. I suspect [pauses], though I don t know, that Kern County Water 
Agency had to agree with Met that they would support Met in some 
political issue that Met foresaw might be arising. But for the life 
of me, I don t know what issue was serious enough to cause Met to 
shift on this issue. But the board did. 

So I took the matter up with the governor, as I always did when 
we were varying the plan. I sent the agreement over a memo to 
explain what it was we were doing to the governor. I told him that 
Met had withdrawn its objections, the other water service contractors 
were agreeable, and that therefore I proposed to go ahead with the 
Kern County Water Agency contract, if he had no objections. 

Then he called me over and I found that I guess I might just as 
well tell you the whole story. 

Chall: I wish you would. [chuckles] This is for the record. It s history. 

Warne: I found that Abbott Goldberg and Hugo Fisher, who had then succeeded 
me as the Resources Agency administrator, were in the governor s 
office. And they were there when I got there, which meant that they 
had been talking with the governor before he called for me. 

They raised objection to the Kern County Water Agency contract 
despite the fact that at least Abbott had worked on it, on the 
grounds that it represented the excess water provisions represented 
an additional subsidy to the large land owners down there. 

I told them that I was in a very difficult position, that we were 
going to include in there the 160-acre provision to represent the 
power subsidy and that we had had this up before and had agreed that 
if Met could withdraw its objections, we would go for the excess 
water provisions. And I said that I thought this was a pretty rough 


Warne: time for anyone, especially one on my staff or connected with me, 
to be raising this kind of objection. It would embarrass me and 
might embarrass the governor. 

Chall: You mean the objection was on the fact that you were going to 
provide this excess rate regardless of acreage. Is that it? 

Warne: No, we weren t going to provide it regardless of acreage, but the 

objection was that the acreage provision ought to be more stringent 
as a result of this additional concession, the meld of rates to 
lower the cost of water in the early years of irrigation develop 

Chall: Oh, is that right? 

Warne: Yes. 

Chall: I see. State it somehow. 

Warne: Yes. The governor, as I said a minute ago, supported me every time 
except on one issue and that was the one on the water fund. So he 
supported me on this occasion. I never had any more difficulty on 
this point. It was the only time I had a real problem as a result 
of Abbott Goldberg serving both as a counselor to the governor and 
as my deputy. 

Abbott and I were then, and are now, very good friends, but I 
thought that was a pretty rough go. I had lots of differences with 
Hugo Fisher from time to time and this wasn t the only one of them. 
They grew out of his ambitions to operate in the department s 
program areas from his position as agency administrator. 

I don t know. Abbott might have been right that maybe we should 
have had a stronger provision, a 160-acre law, than the one we got 
into the contract. But, if so, it should have been done earlier. 
It would have made no difference anyway. 

Chall: What kind is in the contract? 

Warne: Nothing s in there now because Mr. Reagan took it out. 

Chall: Did he change the rate or just change the concept? 

Warne: Just took out that provision about the acreage restriction or price 
increase as a result of the subsidy from the Oroville power. If we 
had had a more stringent provision, I m sure it would have been 
taken out even more quickly in the next administration, because 
that s the kind of administration it was. If there is unjust enrich 
ment, Reagan, not Brown, is responsible for it. 


Warne: Nevertheless well, that s the way it turned out. 

Chall: What actually was the acreage provision in this Kern County contract? 

Warne: The water users on lands in excess of 160 acres would have had to 
pay a two-dollar premium on their water. This might have been an 
influence on subdivision and compliance, especially if the nineteen- 
dollar charge proved to be about all the irrigators could afford to 

Chall: What was the Metropolitan s objection to the Kern contract? Was it 
just that this was a different type of contract than the rest of the 
state was going to be setting up for its water agencies? 

Warne: No. I didn t participate in the negotiation on Met s contract. 

But obviously, their intent was since they figured they were going 
to be paying more than half the cost of this project, their intent 
was to set the pegs, lay out the financing plan, and nail it down. 
They wanted no one to get an advantage over them. And that s what 
their contract tried to do. 

So when some other outfit came along, which, while it was taking 
a good deal of water, didn t expect to pay anywhere near the amount 
the Met was paying, they opposed it. To this day, there s no real 
good feeling between especially the Kern County interest and the 
Metropolitan Water District, and probably there never can be. Met 
suspects the agriculture interests of trying to get advantages and 
shift the burdens onto the municipal water users. 

The only way we ever got an accommodation at all was by getting 
them both into the State Water Project. It is an uneasy alliance. 
They have even fallen out recently on the Peripheral Canal, though 
they both need it desperately. 

Chall: That was quite a problem there for a while. They ultimately, and 
probably by now, are paying top price, aren t they? There s no 
surplus water, is there? 

Warne: At the present time, I think they have a lawsuit against I m not 
sure but they have a lawsuit against Ron Robie because he charged 
them full price for water. 

Chall: Didn t they know that was going to come? I mean, everybody said 
that this would only be good for a certain amount of time. 

Warne: No. There would have been surplus waters. 


Warne: It gets pretty complicated. In 1977 [during the recent severe 

drought] the Met gave up some of the water it was getting and that 
water was brought north. Kern County felt that that water ought 
to have been allocated to agricultural users and not to Marin 
County or somewhere else where the state had no contractual obliga 
tion to provide service. That released water turned into surplus 
water according to their claims. No, it hasn t really worked out 
the way it might have been anticipated to evolve. 

This is the kind of controversy that is probably always to be 
expected in the long-range operation of a complex project. You 
can t foresee all of the circumstances, you know. Kern County 
thinks it s paying more than it should now. I cannot pass judgment. 
Times and attitudes have changed. The terrible drought of 1976- 
1977 has influenced the thinking. 

Chall: The way these water rates and water contracts are determined all 
the variations in it about reimbursable and non-reimbursable, and 
flood control, and power it s incredible to me that anybody 
[chuckles] can figure it out at all. 

Warne: It really takes a battery of computers and accountants to do it. 

Chall: And an assumption you make along the line, and if the assumption 
changes . . . 

Warne: We try to get the assumptions made at the outset. 

Chall: But if the assumptions change at all, everything changes along with 

Warne: Yes, I m sorry to say that that s true. All kinds of assumptions 
are being made. Here, for example, our contract with the Santa 
Barbara Flood Control and Water Conservation District, which is an 
instrument of the county board of supervisors the provisions were 
that by 1980 they had to make up their minds whether they were 
going to take the water allotted to them in the coastal aqueduct or 
not take it. In the meantime they were to pay certain costs 
associated with their privileges as participants in the project. 

Just within a month, they have put a vote to the people for a 
bond issue to construct the facilities needed to bring the aqueduct 
to Santa Maria, and it was turned down. Now they re saying, "We ve 
been paying $700,000 a year, something like that, for the ultimate 
privilege of getting water. We re not going to get it, so we can 
sell this water to somebody. We ll sell the water to Kern County 
Water Agency or to someone else. We can recover our investment." 


Warne: No, no. Not in my judgment. No one can sell project water but the 
state of California. 

Chall: Isn t that an interesting concept? That they think they own the 
water now. 

Warne: They think they own the water. If they ever establish this, then 

these water service contractors will be bargaining with one another, 
all up and down that canal. No, no, not so. 

The control of the water, as we said when we were negotiating 
those contracts you have to contract with us. You won t get this 
water any other way! You contract with us. We are responsible 
for the integrity of the project and redemption of the bonds. And 
the contract says what water you get, when you get it, and the 
amount you get. It says what you as water users must pay. 

Chall: That does open up a can of worms, a whole new what is it called? 
First in sight, then in right, or something? 

Warne: First in time is first in right. [chuckles] 

Chall: Now you ve got a whole new area. Instead of the river bank, you have 
the canal bank. 

Warne: The contract provisions of the law are the same, we believe, in the 
State Water Project as they were for the Bureau of Reclamation on 
the Central Valley Project. No one can barter or bargain for the 
Central Valley water except that he bargains or barters with the 
secretary of the interior. No one can bargain or barter for water 
on the State Water Project except that he bargains and barters with 
the Department of Water Resources and, ultimately, the governor. 
Ultimately the state government, which has pledged its credit to 
make up any deficiencies in the repayment of the bonds, is 
responsible. It must guard the integrity of the project and it must 
carry through the plan. Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown, and any future 
governor had or will have to share this responsibility. 

The Metropolitan Water District 

Chall: That will be something interesting to watch. 

What was the whole problem over the east branch about. Was that 
a really serious matter? 


Warne: Yes, it was serious and it still is serious. In theory, it seemed 
to me still does the bulk of the water going into Southern 
California should have moved through the east branch to the Ferris 
reservoir and to outlets along the channel which brings it to the 
"high side" of the coastal plain. It is a more natural distribution 

We discussed earlier the making of a contract with the San 
Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District. We also made a contract 
with the Desert Water Agency, one with the San Gregornio Pass Water 
Agency, one with the Coachella Valley County Water District, and I 
think I m not sure whether we contracted with anyone else. Well, 
we did. We contracted with the San Gabriel Valley Water District, 
which consisted of three towns down there, right in the middle of 
Met s service area. These other contractors were on the periphery, 
or outside of Met s service area. 

Joe Jensen thought that Metropolitan Water District service area 
ought to include everything south of the Tehachapis, no matter. 
However, that bridge was really crossed when the contract was made 
with the San Bernardino agency. There was one other south of the 
Tehachapis to be served under a contract made before I became 

However, Jensen thought that by limiting the amount of water 
that went through the east branch, he could control any spread of 
water outside the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Water District 
of Southern California. He tried to force San Bernardino to annex 
to MWD, and the state to drop the east branch to preclude service 
to San Bernardino, which, alone, could hardly justify such a canal. 
So he turned and wanted most of the water, all of it really, to 
come through the west branch. This has involved the building of 
$850 million worth of tunnels and all that kind of thing by the 
Metropolitan Water District to distribute the water it receives 
from Castaic reservoir at the end of the west branch. 

It would have been a lot more efficient, I believe, had most of 
the water been brought in through the east branch the major part of 
it through the east branch. Jensen was insistent; he controlled his 
board; they fought like cats and dogs. Even his engineers though 
obviously they saw the logic of the east branch they never quite 
caved in fully to Jensen. They never wanted the east branch 
eliminated entirely, but they did finally cave in so that the east 
branch is not as large as it was originally expected to be by the 
department . 


Warne: So Met did such things as put a resolution in the legislature 

against the construction of the east branch. They never got it 
through. Instead we got one endorsing the east branch. And lots 
of other things of that sort. They brought fifteen directors and 
all the big shots of Southern California up to Sacramento and sat 
around the governor s office on at least one occasion, and they all 
spoke in turn to the governor. It was a formidable display of 
strength. The governor sat there and listened; we sat there and 
listened. He had called me in, being forewarned of the subject to 
be taken up . 

Finally, the governor turned to me. I was the only one in the 
room except for the Met people. He turned to me and said, "Bill, 
can you do that?" And I said, No!" He said, "See, gentlemen, he 
won t let me." [chuckles] That ended the conference. He knew 
darn well we were going to build the east branch, but he was 
hearing them out. [laughs] Joe, almost to his dying day, retained 
his opposition to the east branch. 

The Ferris reservoir was the terminus of the east branch and we 
hadn t quite finished the construction by the time I left the 
department. We hadn t reached the Ferris reservoir; it was 
finished by the next administration. The water was delivered 
through the east branch in 1972 to the Ferris reservoir and they 
had a great occasion down there. 

It was the only occasion that both Pat Brown and I were invited 
to appear and participate, by the Reagan administration, when they 
dedicated a State Water Project facility. The reason that this was 
the case at Ferris was because they turned the invitation list over 
to a citizens committee down in Southern California. 

We went out to the barren hills above the intake to the reservoir 
on this occasion. I remember that I was seated in the front row. 
Next to me was Joe Jensen, just as proud as punch of the completion 
of the east branch and the Ferris reservoir. He was there to receive 
the plaudits. 

Chall: What was the primary problem there? Was it a matter of control? 

Warne: Yes. Met wanted the control. They did not get it. They don t have 
it today and largely by reason of the fact that we did not yield on 
two or three of their most bitter points. One of them three of 
them one was that you don t make any contracts south of the 
Tehachapis with anybody but Met. Another one was you don t build 
the east branch, or you delay it, or something else. And the third 
one was all contracts have to be exactly like the Metropolitan 
Water District contract. 

William E. Warne at Windgap Pumping Plant, California 
State Water Project, Bakersfield, California, 1970. 

At Ferris Dam, State Water Project Dedication, 
May 18, 1973. From left: Mrs. Banks, Harvey 0. 
Banks, Mrs. Gianelli, William R. Gianelli, William 
E. Warne, and Mrs. Warne. 


Warne: Now, on the other hand, when the Supreme Court case was lost, 

Arizona v. California, Met suddenly found itself without 500,000 
acre-feet of water that they had, I think foolishly, counted on 
in perpetuity. I had tried on several occasions before the court 
acted to get the MWD to consider the increase in their state 
project water allotment to take up the slack in their system that 
they were going to experience if they lost that case and the 
Central Arizona Project was to be built. 

They refused to consider it. They thought they might weaken 
their case before the Supreme Court. I didn t think they would. 
As a matter of fact, I didn t think they had much of a case to 
begin with. But they thought they did. 

When they lost the case, I immediately got in touch with them 
and said, "Now, look, let s make these adjustments." So they 
revised their estimates of the water needed from the State Water 
Project. We had some amount within the four million acre-feet of 
the project it seems to me it was 270,000 acre-feet that hadn t 
been sold as yet. We hadn t made contracts for that water as yet 
under our original four million acre-foot ultimate requirement 

We probably, I think, could have marketed that water in several 
different ways. We hadn t completed our marketing program in 
Southern California. Towns like Needles and others were in need 
of water, and certain exchanges might have been worked out so that 
we could have allotted that water. And other areas with water 
service contracts might have taken more. I offered to Met, since 
we didn t have any potential contractors avidly pressing us, that 
they could have the uncommitted portion. I suggested that we would 
also increase their original allotment by enough to make up the 
remainder of what they were going to lose as a result of the court 
decision. That amount turned out to be 230,000 acre-feet. I said 
I would take the requests for an increase in our ultimate water 
deliveries to the water commission for permission to increase the 
project yield by 230,000 acre-feet per annum, which would make our 
total allotment for the State Water Project 4,230,000 acre-feet. 

I took this up with the governor to make sure that he didn t have 
any objection to it. He didn t. So Met agreed they wanted it that 
way; the increase of a total of 500,000 acre-feet was their figure. 
I took the matter before the water commission, had it approved, and 
we amended their contract to increase their ultimate entitlement to 
cover the lost Colorado River water. And that is how we believe we 
assisted in working out the real emergency situation that they were 
faced with down there. 


Warne: They are still getting water, the full amount that they were taking 
before the court acted, from the Colorado River, but as soon as the 
Arizona Project [Central Arizona Project] is completed, which will 
be in another two years, then under the Supreme Court ruling, Met 
will be automatically cut back to just about half what it has been 
taking the past several years from the Colorado River. 

Chall: But they do get that 4.4 million acre-feet that they that some bill 
finally gave them. 

Warne: No, they never did get four point... 

Chall: Did the bill it was one of the final bills on the Pacific Southwest 
Water Plan. I m not really sure, but I thought that finally they did 
get full entitlement of 4.4 million acre-feet. 

Warne: They didn t get 4.4 million acre-feet. Water users in the state of 
California got it! The California legislature passed the self- 
limitation act in order to clear the way for construction of 
Boulder [Hoover] Dam, which set 4.4 million acre-feet as the limit 
of all diversions from the Colorado River to California water users. 

Chall: Oh, I see. 

Warne: And the Imperial Irrigation District gets 3.9 of that. 

Chall: I always thought this 4.4 always meant the Met. They argued so much 
for it. 

Warne: Oh, no! Met s allocation never was more than 520,000, as I recall 
it, under the self -limitation act. But they built their aqueduct 
to a 1,200,000 acre-foot capacity. And they actually built up their 
uses in the aqueduct to 1,200,000 acre-feet several years before the 
Supreme Court acted. 


They tried to insist that they had the right to continue using 
that amount. That s when Arizona took California to court. The 
Met and other California diverters opposed the authorization of 
the Arizona Project for many years. Carl Hayden finally got the 
project through the Congress in the last months of his long service, 
historically long service, in the Senate, and Arizona made their 
claims stick in the Supreme Court. At that point, the Met somewhat 
changed its tune. 

Chall: What was Mr. Jensen like? We talked about the tough bargaining 
stance of George Miller, Jr. How much of Joe Jensen s was tough 
bargaining stance and personality? What was it a combination of? 


Chall: Everybody speaks of him, or you always read about him, as such a 
tough bargainer. He represents the Metropolitan Water District, 
or at least did, for all those years. 

Warne: Until his death not quite. I mean, the last two or three years 
before his death, he did not control his own board with the same 
iron hand that he had earlier . 

Chall: What gave him that iron hand? 

Warne: What gave him that iron hand, I was never able to figure out 

completely, except that he had an unwavering block of votes, and 
he was ornery. He controlled the Los Angeles vote on the board, 
and while the Los Angeles votes did not make a majority, they were 
something like forty percent of the total. If someone voted 
against him, he saw that the first time that fellow had something 
up before the board, it got pretty rough treatment. He maintained 
almost an absolute dictatorship of the board. 

He did it through getting outfits like the San Diego County 
Water Authority, which had the next largest number of directors to 
the city of Los Angeles, and several others in his camp. He held 
them awfully hard I thought then and think now, on a board as big 
as that and with such a complex weighting of votes, it is next to 
impossible for someone who has only a lightly weighted vote to 
overturn any solid organization within the board. 

Now, it wasn t until Joe obviously became too old to function 
properly that his control lessened. And even then, they wouldn t 
replace him as the chairman. He did a lot of very fine things 
do not misunderstand me and very few people could have represented 
that diverse area down there with any greater success than he did 
through that whole period. In a large measure, Joe was responsible 
for the way MWD met the needs of the region, and the record shines 
with achievement . 

He just got to the point where he thought that if he could run 
the Met, he could run the state, too. Some of us didn t think he 
could. But that was his attitude. If more cautious heads had not 
restrained him, Jensen would have kept the state out of the water 
project and tried to build a project into Nothern California of 
MWD s own. 

Unlike George Miller, who had certain warm or malleable facets 
to his character, I never found one in Joe Jensen. 

Chall: Is that right?! [laughter] 


Chall: So whenever he and the fellows came up from the Metropolitan Water 
District, you always listened carefully, I guess. But you didn t 
give in. Was that a political problem? 

Warne: I never gave in on any point to him where I thought...! didn t 
think, for example, that there would be any success in getting 
that Kern County thing worked out, because I tried it and I met 
Joe s opposition. 

Joe tried to get us to design a different kind of pump lift at 
the Tehachapi crossing and he never yielded on that at any time. 
But we went ahead and built the single lift Tehachapi crossing. 
He tried to get the east branch knocked out and he didn t succeed. 
Now, he never came to me at any time and said, "Well, I think you 
were right," although all of his engineers did. You go down there 
and they say even his board members say, "Boy, we sure wish we had 
more water coming in through the east branch." But Joe never 
yielded that. 

However, that didn t inhibit his participation in the celebration 
of the completion of the east branch and taking all the bows. No, 
not at all. 

I think I told you he called me on the phone one time and said, 
"Bill, if you won t believe what people say about me to you, I 
won t believe what people say about you to me!" [laughter] 

Chall: There must have been a lot of talk! 

Warne: I talked with him many times. When I announced my resignation, he 
called me and said he was sorry that I had done that . He asked me 
really to consider with him some suggestions of who might succeed 
me. He was the first one to suggest Bill Gianelli. While I don t 
think Bill yielded to Joe Jensen, I think Joe was quite influential 
in his eventual selection by Governor Reagan as the director of the 
Department of Water Resources . 

Chall: It s interesting that you were the only non-engineer in charge of 
this department, or whatever it had been in the past. Throughout 
most of its history, engineers have run this department. I guess 
that puts a different stamp on the department, doesn t it? 

Warne: The department hadn t been in existence very long as a department 
when I became the director. Four years. The fact that I wasn t 
an engineer was not raised as an issue. Just between you and me, 
I m a better engineer than a good many of those other directors. 
I worked all my life in engineering organizations after I joined 
the Department of Interior in 1935. 


Warne: I don t think I ever thought exactly like an engineer. The only 
difference between being an engineer and a non-engineer, if you 
stack both up with twenty-five or thirty-five years of administrative 
experience, is that the non-engineer is a little more likely to look 
at some of the other disciplines: economics, sociology, and some of 
the other things that are involved in resources development than the 
engineer is; a little less likely to think that you can always 
arrive at a technical solution to any problem that is brought up 
and resolve all issues with a slide rule. 

Relationships with the Associations of Water Users 

Chall: What were your relationships with the major water users associations, 
like the Feather River Project Association, the Irrigation Districts 
Association, the Chamber of Commerce? Were they different from 
those of your predecessors in the department Hyatt, Edmonston, 

Warne: Hyatt and Edmonston had departed at least four years before I came 

on the scene. I had worked congenially with each of them when I was 
in Washington. 

California had grown quite a lot in that time, and changed quite 
a lot in the immediate post-World War II years. I always approached 
any one of these jobs with what I considered as the appropriate 
stance for the public administrator. I listened to all of the 
interest groups and organized water people, but I made up my own 
mind in the light of what the public policy as enunciated by the 
legislature or the governor, or both, dictated. 

I had not known Harvey 0. Banks, my immediate predecessor and 
the only director of water resources before me, when I was with the 
federal government. We worked together on some matters of mutual 
interest when I was director of fish and game and director of 
agriculture and he was director of water resources. We had an easy 
and pleasant relationship and still have today. 

The Feather River Project Association, I felt, should have gone 
out of existence after we got the Burns-Porter Act through. I even 
told them that. They didn t like it. Now I m on their advisory 
council several years after I ve ceased to be director. They wanted 
me on their advisory council and I have gone to a couple of their 
meetings. They now have a different name; they re no longer the 
Feather River Project Association. My fear was that an advocacy 
group would find it difficult to remain on the sidelines after it 
achieved its primary purpose. I was afraid, it if continued, it 
would nit-pick and oppose the action agency in response to special 
interests who would gradually take control. It would fall prey to 
narrower influences. 


Warne: But the IDA, the old Irrigation Districts Association, which is now 
ACWA [Association of California Water Agencies] , I thought really 
represented and still represents the basic interests of agricultural 
water users. Now they ve tried to expand under ACWA to represent 
all water users and all water users are members of ACWA today. 
They re a very conservative group but also very real. They really 
represent water users and not promoters of any other more esoteric 
program that has to do with water. [chuckles] 

I always answered every call I got from the IDA to appear and 

to discuss with them any subject they wanted. I made a report on 

what we were doing, how we were progressing, at every one of their 
meetings, all the time that I was the director. 

Chall: They always felt, then, that they could get a fair hearing from you? 

Warne: I don t think there was ever any question about it. As a matter of 
fact, I think we had a closer rapprochement than maybe they had with 
some other directors. Many of these people were real good, old 
friends of mine, dating back to Bureau of Reclamation times. 

Chall: I suppose they were. 

Warne: Then also there was the state Chamber of Commerce. Now, I didn t 

have so much to do with them. I thought they were I don t know how 
to put this I don t want to be unfair. 

I thought that the state Chamber of Commerce had a little too 
much of a San Francisco attitude. And I never appreciated the 
Chronicle, except to read. 

Chall: [chuckles] I see. That goes back to the days of the Octopus? 

Warne: Yes. 

Chall: In terms of their stance on the water project? 

Warne: On the water project, yes. 

Chall: They had a strong was it a strong subcommittee on agriculture, or 
water resources? 

Warne: They had a water resources subcommittee, now, I believe, the natural 
resources and environment subcommittee, but it is still the water 


Warne: However, during that period, I didn t think their water resources 
subcommittee was as effective as perhaps it is now. I m a member 
of that committee today and I do participate some in its work. I 
think they try to do a pretty fair job. However, they have to 
filter everything through the state Chamber of Commerce board and 
that sometimes temporizes the action. 

I was not nearly so impressed at that time, while I was director, 
with the work of the state Chamber of Commerce subcommittee as I was 
with either the old IDA or the Feather River Project Association. 

Chall: At least for the others, you knew exactly where they stood and what 
they wanted, and you could discuss policies and issues with them 
on that basis. 

Warne: Yes, and every once in a while some outfit flying under the banner 

of the Chamber of Commerce...! remember the Greater Bakersfield Area 
Chamber of Commerce took out after me in a very personal way on one 

Some members of the state Chamber of Commerce deliberately 
circulated, during the Brown-Nixon campaign for governor, literature 
that attacked me, and through me, Brown. 

Chall: Attacked you as being too liberal? Corrupt? 

Warne: No. Attacked me as being the last of the great spenders. 

Chall: Oh, is that so? 

Warne: The time that I was in foreign aid. 

Chall: Just anything? 

Warne: Yes. And here I was, spending California s money on the State Water 
Project. They figured people would be against spending even if they 
weren t against water. But we licked the pants off them. [laughter] 

Plans for Augmenting the Flows of the Sacramento River System; 
The North Coast 

Chall: As I understood it, one of the reasons you were able to offer the 

additional acre-feet of water to the Metropolitan Water District 

was because of a plan at that time to augment the water in the 
Delta from the north coast. 


Warne: Our expectation of augmenting the flows of the Sacramento River 

system that expectation dated clear back to the Burns-Porter Act 
itself. That didn t arise simply by reason of the fact that we 
were going to up the four million acre-feet per annum to 4,230,000 

We were only in a position to guarantee, even with Oroville Dam, 
about half of the four million acre-feet without additional works. 

Chall: Only half; I didn t realize that. 

Warne: Unless we could augment the supply. Now, there were several ways 
the supply could be augmented. We could augment it in part by 
getting better control in the Delta, which the Peripheral Canal 
would do. We could augment it by developing some additional waters 
in the Sacramento Basin itself, such as on Cottonwood Creek, which 
was one of the proposals . 

We even had a dam named Ishi up there. They haven t built it yet, 
but it s there. Then we could augment it by bringing water in from 
the Eel River or through the Glenn complex. The Glenn complex was 
planned at that time and is still planned to capture some additional 
water in the Stony Creek Basin and also to make it possible to bring 
more water in from some tributary of the Trinity, or eventually, the 
Klamath itself. Also, it could be used for off-stream storage to 
conserve more Sacramento River flood waters. 

We had a multitude of plans, some of them far out. Some of them 
not involved in any way in supplying the necessary roughly two 
million acre-feet more water that we were going to need by the time 
the State Water Project got to its full maturity. 

Chall: May I just interrupt you a minute? I want to see if I can understand 
this completely. In 1980, was it, when the initial California Water 
Plan is supposed to have been completed out of the Burns-Porter Plan? 

- - 
Warne: Not completed. That was the year the water was all going to be used. 

Chall: All going to be used. And is that amount of water only two million 
some acre-feet, or was it supposed to be four? 

Warne: No, that amount of water was 4,230,000 acre-feet. 

Chall: And that was supposed to come from...? 

Warne: About half of it would have to be through augmentation 

Chall: From the Feather River? From the Oroville and its conduits? 


Warne: No. The Oroville reservoir didn t produce anywhere near that much. 
The Oroville reservoir and the unallotted waters in the Sacramento 
Basin only provided about half of the four million. We always 
intended the law itself says that you re to build additional 
facilities. The law requires the offset of certain bonds in order 
to have money to build the additional facilities. 

Chall: Yes, I understood that, but I always thought that that was in 
addition to the four million. 

Warne: No. Oh, no. Oh, no. Not in addition to the four million. In 
addition to the yield of the initial facilities, which provide 
about half of the total amount. 

Chall: I see. 

Warne: So when we went for 230,000 more, we were only increasing frac 
tionally, really, something over ten percent, the additional amount 
that was going to have to be developed. 

Now, mind you, as long as the federal Central Valley Project 
isn t using all of its allotted water, you have the same situation 
that you had on the Colorado River. Arizona wasn t using all its 
waters, so someone else could use it in the interim. 

Chall: When Pat Brown announced a $3.7 billion expansion of the $1.7 

billion project, a fifty-year plan, that was the north fork of the 
Eel River and the other. You had announced a plan for the middle 
fork of the Eel River. That s what we were just talking about, 
the Glenn complex? 

Warne: No, the Glenn complex is north of that. Dos Rios Dam is the Eel 
River project we first contemplated to build. 

Chall: But the $3.7 billion expansion, how was that to be financed? Not by 
offset bonds? 

Warne: Oh no, no. I don t even know what you re referring to. That never 
was a part of an adopted project. 

Chall: I see. You announced it in 1963. I always thought that was sort of 
interesting, just about the same time he was withdrawing funds from 
the tidelands oil. Well, now, this comes from Western Water News. 
There it is; that s my note. 

Warne: [reading] September 29, 1963, Governor Brown announced proposed 
fifty-year, $3.7 billion expansion of the present $1.75 billion 
State Water Project; would develop additional twelve million acre-feet 
of water in California with a coastal area exclusively for state use. 


Warne: I guess that s it. That was in State Bulletin 136. That s the 

state forecast. That fifty-year water program was something that 
was introduced for consideration. But Bulletin 136 that s the 
north coast area investigation that plan was in anticipation of 
determining how much water was available out there and how much it 
would cost to develop it. 

Chall: That s in addition to the 
Warne: That would be in addition to the 

Chall: four million acre-feet of water that you had planned for in the 
Burns-Porter Act? 

Warne: Yes. This was up to twelve million acre-feet. 
Chall: So there was lots of planning afoot and still is. 

Warne: Still planning, though they re not working on the Trinity and the Van 
Duzen or the Klamath now, on account of that Wild Rivers Act. Even 
the Wild Rivers Act did not preclude planning on the Eel, but really 
asked the state Department of Water Resources to bring in their plan 
for development of the Eel in a ten-year period. 

Chall: What was the California State Federal Interagency Group? I think 
that came in during your regime. It was supposed to adopt a joint 
working program to formulate a single plan of water resources 
development for the Eel River Basin. Wesley Steiner brought that 
forth; [shows document] that s Western Water News, September, 1966. 

It seems that gradually not only the state but the federal 
government, the Bureau of Reclamation, I m not sure about the 
Corps of Engineers, but all these agencies seemed to be trying to 
get a foothold and develop plans for these rivers. How did that 
come about? 

Warne: The Bureau of Reclamation had in process the planning of a dam at 
the English Ridge site on the south fork of the Eel. They went 
quite a ways with that. The purpose was to bring water through into 
the Lake Berryessa project and to supply some, I think, in the Napa 
Valley, too. This was to be a general augmentation of the Central 
Valley Project supply. 

The corps had done a great deal of work and is still doing the 
work over there on the control of the floods, especially in the 
Russian River Basin, and has done some work on the Eel. The Eel is 
a terrible river, very bad. They had done work in the Klamath, 
Trinity I think every one of those rivers Van Duzen- and Mad. They 
haven t abandoned this work yet. 


Warne: However, the bureau pretty well has ceased to work on the English 
Ridge project as a result of rebuffs it has gotten. The state 
Department of Water Resources has the responsibility, under state 
law, for planning the ultimate development of the water resources 
of the state, both for flood control and for use. We have had a 
State Water Plan since 1921. It has been reviewed constantly and 
updated several times. 

As that one article there indicated, we had a comprehensive 
plan for the development over a very long period of the north 
coastal rivers. About forty percent of the waters in the state of 
California flow in those rivers, and it is not being controlled. 
Obviously, to develop any appreciable new waters in the state, one 
must go to the north coastal streams. There isn t that much 
undeveloped water left in any other of the streams of the state. 

The Burns-Porter Act anticipated that we would have additional 
projects even beyond full development of the initial facilities of 
the State Water Project. Our initial problem was to choose among 
several alternatives that one or the ones which seemed to be the 
best for earliest development in order to conserve the needed water 
for the State Water Project. We narrowed the choice down to the 
Glenn complex and to the middle fork of the Eel, the Dos Rios 
project. We spent quite a lot of money on those two. 

Chall: On engineering planning. 

Warne: On engineering planning, and drilling for geological exploration of 
a tunnel to see whether the diversion tunnel would be okay, and on 
that kind of thing. I even went to the extent of designating the 
Dos Rios Dam and its diversion tunnel as the additional project 
contemplated on which we would spend those offset bond monies. 
That decision was reversed by Reagan without substituting anything 
else for the project. It was done simply on the guess that it was 
going to take longer to develop the full needs for water in the 
State Water Project than we had foreseen because the population 
growth had dipped at that time. So they set that Dos Rios project 
on the shelf. That is why we face a perilous future today, not 
knowing where the water is coming from to meet the second half of 
the expected yield of the State Water Project. 

Then they passed the Wild Rivers Act, which did not preclude 
planning, but did preclude construction on the Eel until a later 
plan was reviewed. It did pretty much preclude planning and 
construction insofar as the state was concerned for diversion of 
additional waters out of the Trinity and the Klamath. 


Warne: Now, the California Wild Rivers Act does not impede the Bureau of 
Reclamation or the Corps of Engineers. They have continued to 
work on the coast, though they haven t brought forth anything, 
and the bureau dropped the English Ridge, and the corps has had a 
devil of a time trying to get Warm Springs Dam going. 

Chall: Is part of the problem the internal dissension among land owners 

and water users in those areas? I had a feeling that they couldn t 
agree, that some of them wanted projects built by one or another of 
the agencies for various reasons . 

Warne: That s all resolved. Early, early days, perhaps, some of that. But 
the truth of it is, in my view, that we in the state of California 
hold the north coast as our colony. We have a colonial attitude 
toward it. We exploit their resources. We give them nothing back. 
We let those rivers wreak their havoc and do not develop them so the 
valleys can be protected and the waters used in assisting north 
coastal industry and development. 

As a consequence, the people in the area react as colonial people 
are wont to do. They re opposed to everybody ! They re opposed ! I 
mean, you say, "Well, look here. The rivers just washed away in 
1964 all these little towns in the flood." And they say, "That s 
all right. You stay out of here. We ll build the town right back 
in the same place." And they do. They build Weot right back in the 
same darn place. It s been washed out two or three times, and it ll 
be washed out again. No one is going to invest very much in Weot 
who comes from the outside. And the people there are assigned the 
roles of the deprived for all time to come. 

They complain, "You re taking our jobs away when you set up the 
Redwood National Park." But they won t consent to the proposal to 
provide any other resource development up there that might substitute 
for the logging of the big redwood trees. I mean, you can t put in 
a power plant, develop some control on those rivers so they can 
safely use some of the bottomlands for agriculture. 

No one s going to invest very much in those flood plains along 
the Eel or the Klamath or the Trinity, unless they re out of their 
minds, except after the rivers are controlled. 

Chall: I see. Nothing s being done. 

Warne: Nothing is being done. And it s fairly easy for anyone who is 

opposed to the growth or water resources development, for theoretical 
reasons, to go up there and excite all kinds of opposition. Who do 
you think financed those loggers who took their trucks all the way 
back to Washington to oppose the Redwood Park? They didn t do that 
out of their own pockets. 


Chall: Who did it? The lumber companies? 

Warne: Well, I don t know who did it. But if you find the ones who did, 
I ll tell you who is opposed to the water resources development up 

Chall: The same group, is it? 

Warne: They come from the same stem. The exploitation of the region and 
its resources is at the bottom of it. The people of the region 
share with the people of Appalachia the same history of deprivation 
and below-average incomes. 

Chall: I guess it was one of your speeches later, just about the time you 
left, which indicated that there was so much dissension up there 
that none of these agencies knew which one should be building on 
which river or which part of it. 

I wonder how much of that stemmed not just from the opposition 
that you mentioned, but from the whole problem of the 160-acre 
limit if the Bureau of Reclamation were to develop a project. If 
it s a portion of a river, isn t it still a problem? Wouldn t you 
just be going through that battle all over again? 

Warne: The 160-acre law wouldn t worry anybody on the north coast. 
Chall: I see. There s no land there. 

Warne: There are no big irrigation projects over there, and there are not 
about to be. The 160-acre law comes into play when you get into an 
area like the San Joaquin Valley. They re all in favor of the water 
development in the San Joaquin Valley. They just don t want to have 
to take the 160-acre law along with the subsidized water. So that 
wasn t a factor in the north coast. There isn t that much farming 
and very few large ranches that conceivably could be irrigated. 

I have always thought that the corps and the bureau at times one 
impeded the other, and quite deliberately. I don t think that the 
Department of Water Resources engaged in that kind of battling with 
other agencies very often. But I always tried to get the agencies, 
federal and state, together. I think I was the moving spirit in 
setting up the four-agency operation. And we put an awful lot of 
emphasis on that endeavor when I was in the department. 

I found that there was a whole lot less opportunity for one of 
the federal agencies to frustrate the other, or us, if we got 
together from time to time and laid the cards out on the table 
where everybody could see who was playing what kind of a game. 


Warne: Our water commission, under the authority it had been given, had 
the responsibility of passing on the compliance of all the water 
resources developments, no matter by whom proposed, with the 
California Water Plan. The commission did a pretty good job of 
coordinating activities once the planning had advanced to the 
point of producing a project plan. What we tried to do in the four 
agencies was to get the planning all at the same level, based on 
the same objectives, and then produce compatible proposed projects 
that could be cleared by the water commission. 

Perhaps I should explain how the state and federal projects are 
meshed . 

The federal Central Valley Project, as developed by the Bureau 
of Reclamation, has been an extensible project; that is, new units, 
after congressional approval, could be added to the basic facilities 
that made up the project as it was originally planned by the state 
and as it was taken over by the Bureau of Reclamation. These new 
elements have been incorporated into the CVP financing and repayment 
plans and the expanded and expanding project has been operated as a 
unit. When additional water rights have been sought by the bureau 
from the state they have gone to the CVP and the waters are managed 
by the bureau through allocations to the various units and water 
users who contract for service from the CVP. 

The state of California has consistently maintained its authoriza 
tion of the Central Valley Project and retained on its books the 
Central Valley Project Act, now more than forty years old. Provisions 
of that act were relied upon by the Department of Water Resources for 
construction, contracting, and operating authority for the State 
Water Project, since the Burns-Porter Act did not repeat elements of 
the existing enactment. 

As the Bureau of Reclamation added new units to the original 
Central Valley Project, the California legislature consistently 
added these same units to the California authorization of the 
Central Valley Project. The state has a legally constructed 
Central Valley Project that is identical with the federal Central 
Valley Project. 

The State Water Project was conceived as an extensible project, 
too, just as the federal Central Valley Project was. The Burns- 
Porter Act simply authorized the initial facilities to be constructed 
from the bond funding. Not only were some of the initial facilities, 
such as the additional conservation facilities north of the Delta, 
left specifically vague, though authorized and funded through the 
offsetting of the bonds, but later elements of the State Water 
Project were anticipated. The funding of the construction, however, 
was not provided for later elements. The revenue bonding procedures 


Warne: of the State Central Valley Project Act, however, were available to 

the Department of Water Resources for added units. Some power plants 
are being added that were not specifically included among the initial 
facilities through the use of this authority at this time. The 
Burns-Porter Act clearly authorizes the construction of power 
facilities to meet the requirements of the project s pumps and the 
revenue-producing capacities of power plants, even when their outputs 
are sold to project water service contractors through the method of 
paying for the transportation of their water entitlements, are easily 
recognized and form sound bases for the issuance of revenue bonds. 

So, the units that the Bureau of Reclamation developed for incor 
poration into the Central Valley Project were eventually added by 
the legislature to the California Central Valley Project. The same 
was true of Corps of Engineers projects that were designed to become 
parts of the reclamation program in the Central Valley. Not all 
bureau and corps projects in California are incorporated into the 
CVP. They have different authorizations and stand on separate 

Chall: What about the augmentation, then, of the Central Valley Project? 
Did you have much to do with these problems that I guess Kuchel 
was having or whoever was Senator at any one time or Bizz Johnson, 
with respect to the Auburn Dam, the Folsom Canal? 

Warne: Folsom South? 

Chall: Yes. That just seemed to take many, many years of putting it into 

the hopper and getting nowhere. Was that because of opposition from 
Senator Hayden? Or was there other opposition to that which took it 
so long to get finally authorized? 

Warne: I don t know. The Folsom South project hasn t been build yet, you 
know. Just the first part of the canal to serve the Rancho Seco 
nuclear power plant of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. 

Chall: Have they not built part of the Auburn Dam? 

Warne: They ve built some of the foundation. The bureau has spent about 
$157 million up there, but they haven t got the dam designed yet 
now to meet the... The state has taken the part of the environ 
mentalists with regard to Auburn Dam. The state more recently 
this doesn t really go back to my time has taken a pretty adamant 
position with regard to the bureau s early refusal to participate 
in meeting the water quality criteria for the Delta and the lower 
American River. After adopting the New Melones Dam as as a part of 
the state s authorized Central Valley Project, official opposition 
to operation of the project has been generated by Governor Jerry 


Warne: Only in the last few months has the Department of Interior come 

around a little bit. Secretary Andrus has said the CVP will provide 
some water to meet the outflow requirements established by the State 
Water Resources Control Board s Delta decision #1379. Just between 
you and me, I think the feds are playing a very tough political game 
as they recede from their previous position. They may be trying to 
stir up additional difficulties in the state for our own state 
administration, through some of the decisions that they re making 
with regard to the distributions of water out of the Central Valley 

This contest isn t over yet by a long way. I never approved of 
the bureau making a contract with the East Bay Municipal Water 
District, for example, to take water out of the Folsom South Canal. 
We offered the East Bay Municipal Water District a contract of water 
out of the State Water Project. East Bay MUD was one of the 
contractors that I hoped would contract with us. I mean, what the 
thunder, we built the canal right across their present pipeline. 

I thought the bureau was a little difficult. I thought it tried 
to make a better financial deal for EBMUD, just in the hopes of 
embarrassing the department. 

Chall: That just sounds like a terrible game for water agencies to be 
playing . 

Warne: I think the East Bay Municipal also wanted to have a peripheral 

canal. They did not want to take state water because it would have 
to pass through the Delta. They wanted to get their water without 
passing through the Delta. Their contract with the bureau for 
American River water would give them their own peripheral canal and 
they could join the recalcitrants in their service area in opposi 
tion to a peripheral canal for the State Water Project fatuous, 
unconscionable, and abetted by the bureau. 

Where do you suppose the opposition to the Peripheral Canal is 
coming from? 

Chall: I know part of it s coming from the Delta. 

Warne: Most of it s coming out of areas associated closely with the East 
Bay Municipal Water District and the city of San Francisco. Most 
of it. In other words, here are two outfits, each having its own 
peripheral canal and one of them wanting an additional peripheral 
canal, opposing the Peripheral Canal of the State Water Project 
designed to keep the waters pure for other water users. They have 
gone even to the point of refusing on the part of the East Bay 
Municipal Water District to take state water at a more convenient 
and less costly place than the Folsom South Canal. 


Warne: Only you people down there in these benighted places like Hayward 
would agree to anything like that. 

Chall: [laughs] How little did we know what was going on in the East Bay 
Municipal Water District, until recently. It s been just as closed 
as can be. 

Warne: I had a contract under negotiation with the City of Hayward for 

water from the South Bay Aqueduct. San Francisco came in there and 
persuaded them to take water out of the Hetch Hetchy system. Now, 
on what basis? On the basis that it would be of higher quality than 
that which had to come through the State Water Project and be 
transported through the Delta. And they charged Hayward a terrific 
price. And when they had the drought, they didn t have the needed 
water, either. The whole Hetch Hetchy system was under severe stress, 
I mean, it would pay a bit for everybody to consider what they have 
been doing. They re all playing politics. 

Chall: What do you think, in the past, held up the Auburn Dam? I think 
Senator Kuchel said at one point that he d been putting in a bill 
for five or six years. I don t know whether I have that note at 
hand now. 

In addition, there s that east what do they call it? 

Warne: East Side Canal. A proposed canal down the east side of the San 
Joaquin Valley. 

Chall: Which doesn t seem to be anything yet but a dotted line. 

Warne: What held up the Auburn for quite a while was that it was tied in 
with the East Side Canal. The East Side Canal was a proposal to 
take waters from the American River on the Delta and move them from 
one watershed to another south to augment the waters all the way 
down, again, to Bakersfield, through the system of exchanges. 

Chall: What held that up? Was it just the cost? Was Congress holding that 
back or were some of the local water people holding it back? 

Warne: I think as much as anything else what held it back has been the 
feeling that the agriculturists are asking too much. 

Chall: That was true, then, back in 63, 64, 65, when these bills were 
attempting to get through Congress? 

Warne: Very costly. And they wanted to get the vast transfer project under 
the Reclamation Act where the subsidy is about fifty percent. No 
interest is charged on the capital investment. Lots of people in 




the East, at least, and some out here too, think that agriculture 
ought to bear the full costs in a developed area, especially in 
view of water-user opposition to other provisions of the reclamation 

The bureau pretty well abandoned the East Side Canal and is going 
for a cross-valley canal, conduit, which will use the state facilities 
and the federal facilities down as far as San Luis Dam and take a 
canal across to Fresno and on south from there. 

That ll be Bureau of Reclamation water? 

They re talking about it fed through the state project facilities. 

That s that old partnership again. 

I don t object to partnerships, but I do object to yielding the 
jurisdiction because I think that the state alone has the interest 
in fair distribution of its own state waters among all of the con 
testing uses and potential users. The Bureau of Reclamation never 
would have proposed a state water project; the bureau may propose a 
lot of other things, but never one that would meet the needs of the 
whole state. And neither would the corps. They are project- 
oriented, with a further restriction that gives functional dominance 
to the uses of their facilities irrigation on the part of the 
bureau, flood control on the part of the corps. 

So, if you re going to take care of the state s problems, then 
it s necessary for the state itself to do it. I think, as a part 
of the price that is charged these federal and other agencies for 
participating, we ought to and must insist that whatever they do will 
conform to a comprehensive state plan. 

That s been our state stance at least since we adopted the 
State Water Project plan, which was in 1957, I guess no, in 59. 

The Pacific Southwest Water Plan and the Colorado River 

Chall: I don t know if we re going to have time now to go very far into it, 
but let s discuss the Pacific Southwest Water Plan. Now, as I under 
stand it, that was first, as they say, unveiled by Stewart Udall in 
1963 and you were given ninety days to respond to this plan. I 
think those must have been very hectic days. That was the one that 
required I think it was that 1,200,000 acre-feet of water would go 
from the California water plan to Arizona, among other things. Do 
you recall that? 


Warne: Oh, I recall it, but I didn t take it very seriously then and I don t 
yet. That Colorado River controversy boiled up into a steaming 
issue, and Udall s plan to take Northern California water into 
Nevada and Arizona and the NAWAPA plan to go into Canada with an 
aqueduct got a lot of attention for a while. Would you believe it, 
almost nothing has come of it, and the California Colorado River 
Board, our watchdog agency, is rather complacent about it in 1979. 

Chall: Why do you think it was proposed? Eventually Mr. Udall said, "Well, 
I didn t really propose it expecting you to accept it, but just to 
come up with another idea." But I still wonder, with Mr. [James] 
Carr there in his office and everybody, particularly Mr. Carr, 
knowing California well why they would have even tried it, unless 
it was a way to indicate to the Arizona people that we were trying 
something with California. 

It was withdrawn very quickly and modified many times. 

Warne: This was an era, you know, when fantastic flights of fancy were 

being engaged in, and it wasn t above the Bureau of Reclamation to 
try to outdo the state Department of Water Resources, or it wasn t 
above Parsons [Ralph M. Parsons Co.] to come up with NAWAPA [North 
America Water and Power Alliance] to outdo everybody in the country. 
With the MWD and the city of Los Angeles crying "calamity" over the 
Arizona v. California case, a considerable credence was given to 
outrageous flights of fancy. 

Chall: Did anybody take NAWAPA seriously? 

Warne: Well, you d be surprised how many people took it seriously 

Chall: It was a great plan! 

Warne: and are still talking about it. You can t estimate how much 
damage it s done to the more rational planning of the water 
resources development not only in California but throughout the 
West. During the 1977 drought, Congressman Rhodes of Arizona came 
over to San Francisco and in a speech tried to revive NAWAPA. 

Chall: What about the Pacific Southwest Water Plan? 

Warne: I m sure it hurried along the legislature s act of setting up the 
wild rivers on the north coast, because that s where they were to 
get the water to run up through Death Valley and through the chain 
of aqueducts and lakes to Lake Mead on the Colorado River. We 
didn t really take that too seriously. Perhaps at first it did 
occupy a lot of our time. The water establishment in California was 
boiling in 1963 and 1964. 


Chall : 
Warne : 
Chall ; 

Warne : 

Chall : 
Warne : 


Warne : 

You did have to respond, of course, within the ninety days. 
I m not sure what our response was establishment or 

The commission held a few hearings and the Metropolitan Water 
District had quite a number and in their material it s all laid 
out why they don t accept it one, two, three, four, five, six. 
So that material is available, but I was just curious about the 
notion, would it fly and what did they anticipate? Of course, 
it set off a spate of bills later from 1964 until at least 1968 
perhaps longer. 

I don t know why they did that. Probably Jim Carr had a hand in 
it. I m not sure. I remember Pafford presenting that thing, that 
series of lines drawn on a map. And that s all it was, you know 
clear across the. . . 

Who presenting it? 

Pafford, Bob Pafford, who was then the regional director in 
Sacramento of the Bureau of Reclamation, Robert J. Pafford. 
almost forgotten that. 

I d 

At the same time and gradually, these bills for the Central Arizona 
Project, the Southwest Water Project, came together with the whole 
matter of state water rights, which went back to some court cases 
in 1960 and before, having to do with federal water rights. I 
think the major one was the Pelton Dam case. Do you recall that? 


Without going into every single bill, I m wondering what you were 
doing. First of all, your final report claims that the Department 
of Water Resources urged Pat Brown to cooperate with the western 
states on this whole matter of working the problems out with 
Arizona. I think that s when you established the Western States 
Water Council as a way of cooperating rather than fighting over it. 

Progress of the Department of Water Resources, 1961-1966, page 53. 


Warne: That s right. We did do that. The governor suggested the formation 
of the Western States Water Council to the Western States Governors 
Conference. With Washington, and Oregon, and even Montana scared 
stiff of NAWAPA and suggestions of a Columbia River Diversion, the 
Western States Water Council was virtually paralyzed from the start. 
The governor asked me how we were doing after a year or so, and I 
told him that our finest achievement was our continued existence. 

Chall: About the only time they say California buried the hatchet with 

Arizona and got these bills through is when instead of arguing about 
how much water California should get from the Colorado River, the 
states began to look to the Columbia River. [laughs] 

Warne: You couldn t bury the hatchet as long as that court case was extant, 
though I was probably the only Calif ornian almost literally, the 
only Californian to whom Senator Hayden would speak on a water issue 
because of my long association with him while I was in Washington. 
He knew that I always felt that California had limited herself to 
the amount of water that she was going to take out of the Colorado 
River and that eventually Arizona should be able to take the amount 
that had been allotted to her. 

So I was quite quiet in all of these contentions that we get an 
allotment greater than 4.4 million acre-feet out of the Colorado 
River. I was one of the leaders in trying to develop a common 
program. We really thought we might get to the Columbia River to 
augment the flow of the Colorado. The attitude today is that it is 
not going to be necessary in the near future, and both the economics 
and environmental considerations are against it in 1979. Even 
Scoop Jackson has quieted down, because the bureau s planning has 
virtually ceased to consider diversions into the Colorado River Basin 
from any source. 

Actually, this thing that Udall brought in about taking water 
out of the north coastal streams was an effort to meet the objection 
that [Senator Henry] Jackson had made to the westwide water plan. 

Senator Jackson got a provision in the authorization for the 
development of the westwide water plan that no diversion could be 
made into the Colorado River from any area outside of the region 
and no planning could be done that might lead to such diversions 
for a ten-year period. The north coast of California, by reason 
of the nature of the Colorado River Development Act, is in the 
Colorado River Basin, or at least California is a part of the 
basin; therefore, under Jackson s amendment, one could divert 
water from other areas of California into the Colorado. 

Chall: But not the Columbia River. 


Warne: But not the Columbia River, since it was not in any way affected 

directly by the Colorado River Basin. That was one of the reasons 
that Udall brought in that silly plan. I surmise that Arizona, 
having felt that California had been trying to raid its Colorado 
River sources, considered it a sort of poetic justice to suggest 
that California sources contribute not only to other regions of 
California, but also to other Lower Colorado River Basin states. 
I think he wanted to shock California into thinking a little more 
seriously about what it was getting itself into in its fight 
against Arizona. You know Udall was from Arizona. 

Chall: This plan included originally building dams on Marble afnd Bridge 
Canyons . 

Warne: I have a beautiful picture I made of Marble Canyon dam site while 
we were really planning to build it when I was in the Interior 
Department. We even went down. I took the principal officers of 

Chall: It hasn t been built? 

Warne: [emphatically] No. It s been outlawed now. 

Glen Canyon s been built. I went to the site with Mike [Michael 
W.] Straus when he was commissioner of reclamation and I was 
assistant secretary for water and power development. Glen Canyon 
Dam provides the second most important reservoir on the Colorado 
River, following Lake Mead, which was created by Hoover Dam. It is 
in place now. When I was director of water resources, I took the 
California Water Commission to Page, Arizona, for an inspection of 
Glen Canyon Dam and the reservoir, which is named Lake Powell after 
John Wesley Powell, who made the first run through the canyons of 
the Colorado River and, in fact, named Glen Canyon on his first 
trip from Green River to Las Vegas Wash. Way back then plans were 
being considered for the construction of a dam in Marble Canyon 
and a dam at Bridge Canyon, which is upstream a few miles from the 
headwaters of Lake Mead. These two dams would have been more 
important for added power generation than for water conservation 
storage. Udall s plan included both of these. Marble Canyon has 
been incorporated into Grand Canyon National Park, which is extended 
downstream as well so as to make the construction of Bridge Canyon 
Dam unlikely. Senator Hayden used to include Bridge Canyon Dam as 
a feature of his Central Arizona Project, but he had to take it out 
finally in order to get his project authorization through the 
Congress. But when I was director of water resources, I took 
several of the ranking officials of the Department of Water Resources 
down to visit Bridge Canyon. We were all in favor of the Bridge. 
I still am. But, of course, it s now gone too. 

Chall: What was accomplished by the Western States Water Council? You 
were the chairman of the California delegation. 


Warne: It was useful in that it provided the opportunity for those of us 
from California both from the north and the south and from the 
executive departments and the legislature to get together and 
jointly consider California problems in the Colorado River Basin. 
That was important. We made very little progress with the region 
as a whole because the northwestern states were jealous and 
desperately afraid of California. We were not able to reassure 
them in the time I had. 

[In response to the interviewer s written- in questions and a request 
for further information on some of the water issues which there had 
not been time enough to cover during the interview, Mr. Warne, after 
reviewing the transcript, wrote out the following material.] 

Chall: We had run out of time, tape, and, I think, energy while we were 

discussing the issue of negotiations relating to the Pacific South 
west Water Plan. Although you claimed not to have taken it 
seriously, I noticed as I was going through Governor Brown s 
papers in The Bancroft Library that you and many others in the 
administration, both in California and Washington, were actively 
involved. It wasn t resolved until after Pat Brown left office, of 
course, but I would appreciate your providing some additional 
information about your activities. 

Warne: Well, I may have answered your earlier question as a result of my 
making a too narrow interpretation of what you referred to as the 
"Pacific Southwest Water Plan." I at first thought of the series 
of lines on the map which Pafford had displayed. The plan was not 
supported very well by any studies or even any discussions. When 
Secretary Udall subsequently unveiled it, despite the flurry of 
activity that it generated and the plethora of reactions that it 
drew from California agencies and water interests, even despite my 
involvement in its review, I thought it was half-baked and not much 
more than a ploy. 

It seems to me now, however, after reading some of this material 
that you have dug out of the library and files, you are really 
asking about the whole Colorado River controversy, and I certainly 
took that seriously enough, both before and after the Supreme Court 
decided Arizona v. California. I think from some of our earlier 
discussions it is clear that I was deeply involved in Colorado River 
Basin matters virtually since 1935 when I joined the staff of the 
Bureau of Reclamation. You know, I grew up on my father s farm in 


Warne: the Imperial Valley and since I was old enough about ten years 

old to go with my father to my first public meeting in the school 
house at Alamo it was a two-room country school and I attended it 
for five years I was interested in and excited by the Boulder 
Canyon Project. I knew about dry years, because during August our 
ditches were almost empty, and I knew about floods on the Colorado 
River, because our neighbors still talked about the 1905-07 flood 
when the river turned into the valley and formed the Salton Sea. 
My father did not go to the valley until 1913, so none of my 
family had experienced that flood personally. Each year, however, 
when the river rose with the snow-melt flood in June, there was 
anxiety that it would break into the valley again. 

At that first meeting that I attended, Mark Rose, an active 
water leader in our part of the valley, made a speech which thrilled 
me. He said we had to have a dam in Boulder Canyon and if we all 
got together the Congress would authorize it and the bureau would 
build it. I never forgot that. 

When I left the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. and joined 
the Bureau of Reclamation, the bureau was just finishing the con 
struction of Boulder Dam, which was what we still called it at that 
time. Dr. Elwood Mead, who was commissioner of reclamation, took 
me with him on a tour of projects in the West during the summer of 
1935. We visited the Imperial Valley and Yuma, Arizona, and spent 
a few days at Boulder City, Nevada, inspecting the great dam, which 
had just been topped-out. When we got back to Washington, Dr. Mead 
asked me to prepare a memorandum about the dam so that he could 
send it over to the White House. President Roosevelt was going out 
in late September to dedicate Boulder Dam. I wrote the memorandum, 
and Dr. Mead turned it back to me. "Let s put it in the form of a 
draft of speech," he said, "It might be more useful to him." I did. 

You can imagine my surprise and delight when we listened to the 
dedication speech on the radio in the back of the file room in the 
office in Washington. More than half of the president s speech 
seemed to be word for word what I had set down. I read that speech 
in a compilation of FDR s important pronouncements again a few years 
ago, and I still got a thrill out of it. It did not seem to me, 
however, on this rereading after several decades had passed, that my 
memorandum made up quite half of it. The president had put a lot of 
power policy in the speech that I was not capable of writing at that 

For sixteen years in the Interior Department, quite a lot of my 
work revolved around the Colorado River, the basin, water and power 
matters stemming from the Boulder Canyon Project, comprehensive 
planning for the further development of the waters, the 1944 treaty 
with Mexico, et cetera. 


Warne: When I became California director of water resources in 1961, one 
of the first issues I faced was the uneasy relationship of the 
department with the California Colorado River Board. I felt, with 
some justification, I think, that I had special qualifications to 
deal with Colorado River matters. I found that although the 
department had a Southern District headquartered in Los Angeles, 
it had virtually no contact with the Colorado River Board, which 
was set up by law to represent California before the Department of 
the Interior and elsewhere, including the California legislature, 
on Colorado River matters. The board was composed of five repre 
sentatives of Colorado River water-user agencies, appointed by the 
governor but only after nomination by their own agencies. It was 
Joe Jensen s domain. I remember that Munson "Mike" Dowd of the 
Imperial Irrigation District was serving on the board. He was a 
friend of mine through long previous association. 

Several times both before and since I became director, abortive 
efforts have been made to eliminate the Colorado River Board and 
to put its functions in the Department of Water Resources, to 
place the board under the department, move it into the Resources 
Agency and otherwise to bring the administration of California s 
Colorado River affairs into closer coordination with the handling 
of other water and resource matters of the state. When Jerry Brown 
became governor, he was going to eliminate the Colorado River Board; 
he succeeded only in adding three public members to the board, but 
that was the greatest incursion made on the citadel of its power in 
something like fifty years. 

Because of my previous relationships with Colorado River matters, 
I think that the Colorado River Board expected me to move in on it 
when I became director of water resources. Governor Brown looked 
to me on all water resources matters, and we talked about our 
isolation from the Colorado River, but he did not want a political 
fight that might alienate the big Southern California water agencies. 
We needed the support of the Met, San Diego, and Los Angeles in our 
running battles with some of the northern legislators over the 
State Water Project. I always prided myself on the fact I believe 
it to have been a fact that as an administrator I could, on entering 
a new job, work but administrative problems within the existing 
organizational structure on an amicable basis. I told the governor 
I thought I could work with the Colorado River Board . 

Very early, among the first things I did after becoming director, 
I went to Los Angeles and met with the Colorado River Board. I 
remember that Ray Rummonds, of the Coachella Valley County Water 
District, was there. We had not met often before that time, but we 
got on well and became close friends. We are warm friends today. 


Warne: Dowd was there. Joe Jensen was there. I think Sam Nelson of the 
City of Los Angeles, the director of the Department of Water and 
Power, was there. I am not sure now who represented San Diego. 
The staff was present. I began by assuring the board that I had 
no intention of attempting to take over it or its functions, but 
intended to work with and through the board. The reticence that 
was evident at the start vanished and we got along fine. 

Afterward, when Joe Friedkin (J.F. Friedkin, chief engineer of 
the U.S. Boundary and Water Commission, headquartered in El Paso, 
Texas) called on the governors of the seven Colorado River Basin 
states to reactivate the Committee of Fourteen, two representatives 
from each state, to work with him in the administration of the 
Boundary Commission s minute, I believe it was Minute 242, with 
respect to supplying Colorado River water to Mexico, I suggested 
that Governor Brown appoint Dowd and me as the California members. 
He did. I think that this was the first time that a state director 
got equal billing with a member of the Colorado River Board on any 
matter relating to Colorado River water problems. There had been a 
Committee of Fourteen way back in 1922 when Herbert Hoover was 
chairman of the Colorado River Commission. The commission suggested 
the original seven state compact that was to lead to the construction 
of the dam that eventually was named for Hoover, by that time an 
ex-president, in recognition of his role in the settlement of the 
Upper and Lower Basin controversy. The Committee of Fourteen had 
gone into eclipse and finally fell into disuse after the project 
was operating. 

In any event, Mike and I attended the first meeting of the 
reconstituted Committee of Fourteen in the back yard of a member s 
house in Yuma one extremely hot summer night. I don t recall that 
I attended many other meetings, since I delegated to Wesley Steiner 
the task of handling Colorado River matters within the department, 
which he did very well. That first meeting came soon after the 
riots in Mexicali protesting the salinity of the water that we 
were delivering under the 1944 treaty. Well, this has been by way 
of background, explanation, really, of my approach to the Pacific 
Southwest Water Plan. 

By the way, I do want to add this that Northcutt Ely made the 
principal California argument before the Supreme Court in Arizona 
v. California and it was one of the most masterful presentations 
that I have ever heard. He had the details of the entire history 
of the river, its development, and the controversies over its 
waters at his finger tips and he provided them extemporaneously 
from memory clearly and understandably in response to questions 
from the bench. I was most impressed. I was familiar with most 


Warne: of the background. It was so complex that I would not have thought 

that anyone could achieve such ease of command of all of the details. 
I hardly expected that California would win the case, since it seemed 
to me that the self-limitation act, which was a requirement of the 
Congress before it would authorize Boulder Dam in the absence of the 
signature of Arizona on the seven state compact, pretty well precluded 
California from perfecting a right to divert more than 4,400,000 
acre-feet of Colorado River water per year. But when the decision 
came down and was adverse to California s claim to a larger amount, 
the result was not because Mike Ely s argument had been deficient. 
It was an adjustment back to the original balance between Arizona and 

Changing Views of Water Needs and Uses of the Colorado River 

Warne: Everyone, as I remember it, objected to Udall s plan to augment 
the Colorado River by transporting water from the north coastal 
streams of California to Lake Mead. This was designed to guarantee 
sufficient water for both California water users and Arizona water 
users, including those in Phoenix and Tucson who were to be served 
by Senator Hayden s proposed Central Arizona Project. 

It was clear by 1964 that the waters of the Colorado River had 
been overcommitted by the Seven State Colorado River Compact of 
1922 and the 1944 Mexican Water Treaty. Hayden s project was 
designed to divert the full remaining Arizona entitlement as 
adjudicated by the Supreme Court. This meant that not only was 
California to be limited to 4.4 million acre-feet of Colorado River 
water per annum once the Central Arizona Project was operating, but 
also that subject to allocation by the secretary of the interior, 
in dry years when the Colorado River did not meet all of the 
legitimate demands made upon it, California water users could be 
cut back even more. 

The MWD, infuriated by the loss of right to waters it had been 
using in excess of what the court ruled was the normal entitlement, 
developed strong positions for a declaration in any Central Arizona 
Project authorization that if deficiencies developed they would be 
borne by Arizona water users and that California s 4.4 million 
acre-feet would be guaranteed in perpetuity. 

Hydrologic studies, based on estimates that the Central Arizona 
Project would not become operative for ten or twelve years, indicated 
that with water already in storage, deficiencies were not going to 
arise, even with the CAP operating and calamitous droughts descending 


Warne: on the Colorado River Basin, for another twenty-five years, at least. 
It is, by the way, interesting to note that in 1979 the Central 
Arizona Project, authorized in 1968, is not expected to begin 
operating until 1985, some twenty-one years after the alarm was 
sounded, and that in the meantime fifty-two million acre-feet of 
active storage has been filled in reservoirs in the Colorado River 
Basin principally Lake Mead and Lake Powell. There is only space 
for another four million acre-feet of water to be stored. After 
that, water will have to be spilled and wasted downstream into the 
Gulf of California. With wise management of this storage by the 
secretary of the interior, who in the past through, one administration 
after another has been conceded to have done a good job on the 
Colorado River, California water experts see very little danger of 
a deficiency ever arising in the future, at least not for a very 
long time, and the danger is no longer calculated. 

The insistence of the MWD on protection of California s 4.4 
million acre-feet a fall-back position from its original contention 
that it should be allowed to use the full capacity of its Colorado 
River Aqueduct was for a time a sticking point that held up Hayden s 
bill authorizing the Central Arizona Project. Eventually, Arizona 
water users who already had perfected diversions from the Colorado 
River joined California and a compromise was worked out. The 
Central Arizona Project, as finally authorized in 1968, will bear 
the brunt of deficiencies in the Lower Colorado River Basin, and 
prior Arizona diverters and California s 4.4 million acre-feet will 
stand together, not to be diminished until the CAP is dry, and then 

If the Upper Colorado River Basin states had developed uses of 
their allotted waters as rapidly as once it was expected that they 
would, then the huge reserve storage that can only be used in the 
Lower Basin would not have swollen to such magnitude. 

Efforts to develop plans for interbasin transfer projects to 
supplement the flow of the Colorado River have waned in the passing 
years. Several factors are responsible. One, the MWD has accepted 
the fact that eventually it will have to reduce its annual diver 
sions from the Colorado River so that they will fit under the 4.4 
million acre- foot California limitation. _ Two, the timely construc- 
tlolf of "Glen Canyon Dam and the JDuild-up of a huge stored-water 
reserve has eased the anxiety over deficiencies occurring in the 
Lower Basin. And, three, the Bureau of Reclamation and the United 
States Forest Service appear to be on the verge of technological 
breakthroughs that will enable them to increase the flows of the 
Colorado River from within the basin. 


Warne: The bureau s Project Skywater using cloudseeding to increase pre 
cipitation appears ready for a practical demonstration project in 
the San Juan Basin in 1980. The Forest Service has conducted 
experiments and contends that it can materially reduce the losses 
to evaporation of snow and rain over the mountainous forests of 
the Upper Basin by the introduction of practical forest practices 
and cutting programs that will increase the runoff to the streams 
without detriment to the trees and brush cover. 

In the days when we were scurrying around trying to find ways 
to improve Udall s Pacific Southwest Water Plan, no one would stand 
still long enough to consider the possibilities that have evolved 
and may in the future evolve further to make interbasin transfers 

I thought when I was director of water resources that a trans 
fer of water from the Columbia River Basin to the Colorado River 
Basin would be practical and useful and that the transfer could be 
made without detriment to the states of Washington and Oregon. A 
project to effect such a transfer would have to be built by the 
federal government. At that time some Southern Calif ornians were 
advocating that they build an aqueduct to the Snake or Columbia 
River. It has always been obvious to me that no state can so 
invade another. Only with the powers of the federal government 
can such regional projects be worked out. The history of the 
development of the Colorado River fully demonstrates this. 

We thought it was a disaster when Scoop Jackson had written 
into the authorization of the development of the westwide water 
plan a provision that for ten years no consideration could be 
given by the Bureau of Reclamation to proposals to transfer water 
into the Colorado River Basin from streams outside the basin states. 

The bureau s plan, as it evolved, was of little interest, and 
the Office of Management and Budget finally cut out the annual 
requests for appropriations. No one seemed to care very much. 
Myron Holburt, chief engineer of the Colorado River Board, recently 
reminded me that that board had passed a resolution declaring it 
was no longer interested in going to the Columbia River for more 
water. That was the Southern California Colorado River water users 
speaking. Shades of Joe Jensen. What a difference fifteen years 
have made. 

Chall: Would the suggestion that keeps bobbing up that it would be cheaper 
for MWD to acquire some of the water allocated to Imperial Valley 
farmers, when it needs more than can be supplied to it from within 
the 4.4 million acre-foot allocation to California cheaper than 
building new water diversion projects would that offer any 
practical solution? 


Warne: That suggestion has been around a long time. Joe Jensen said some 
thing like that to me seventeen or eighteen years ago. I even saw 
that suggestion recently in a University of California paper that 
purported to summarize and evaluate California water history and 
programs. The suggestion leaves me cold. Most of the time the 
source criticizes the city of Los Angeles for building an aqueduct 
to the Owens Valley in 1913 and taking water to the San Fernando 
Valley and the coastal plain. Owens Valley was undeveloped at that 
time. The diversion of its waters destroyed nothing, only permitted 
and fostered growth and development in a different region, the 
environs of Los Angeles instead of those of Bishop and Independence. 
Efforts of the city of Los Angeles to increase the take from its 
properties in the Owens Valley are being resisted at this time. One 
gets the impression that the sympathies of a great many Californians 
are with the few people in the Owens Valley rather than with the 
millions in Los Angeles today. 

All right. Now what would be the public reaction if the eleven 

million jpeople who are served by the MWD should take the water away 

from one of the most productive agricultural areas of the state, the 
Imperial Valley? To force a reduction in the area farmed by irriga 
tion in California with waters from the Colorado River to provide 
water for lawns and swimming pools in Beverly Hills would be a 
serious blow to the economy of the state as well as an invasion of 
the rights of the farmers and townspeople of the affected area. 

There are still many unused waters in the state. The cost of 
their conservation and development should never be used in an attempt 
to justify raiding the water supplies of developed areas. 

Chall: Wasn t that something like what MWD said when its diversions in the 
Colorado River Aqueduct were threatened to be cut back? 

Warne: The situation was not the same. Met built the Colorado River 

Aqueduct deliberately to twice the size needed to carry her allot 
ment of water under the California 4.4 million acre-foot allocation. 
Met has not lost her allotment; what she has lost is the right to 
use the excess capacity of the aqueduct when the excess waters are 
needed by other rightful users in the Lower Basin. The issue was 
focused by the Central Arizona Project. As a matter of fact, the 

*Richard Walker and Michael Storper, "The California Water System: 
Another Round of Expansion?" Public Affairs Report , Bulletin of 
the Institute of Governmental Studies, (University of California, 
Berkeley, Vol. 20, No. 2, April 1979). 


Warne: MWD has been diverting more than a million acre-feet of water a 

year from the Colorado River every one of the fifteen years since 
the Supreme Court decree became final. She will undoubtedly 
continue to take double her allotment until 1985 when the CAP 
begins operating. Nobody will object. The way storage has built 
up in the big Colorado River reservoirs, it may be a very long time 
indeed before the MWD suffers any curtailment, even after the CAP 
diverts water to Phoenix. 

It may seem to you that I have justified the delay in the 
construction of the Peripheral Canal and the additional conserva 
tion facilities of the State Water Project. I really don t think 
so. The Peripheral Canal is seriously needed for proper management 
of the waters in the Delta. Even though the build-up of the use of 
the entitlement of the MWD to waters from the State Water Project 
should be slowed down by unexpected, continued availability of 
excess Colorado River water, the total of the entitlements of all 
water service contractors will shortly build up so that they exceed 
the capacity of the present facilities. The augmentation of the 
delivery capacity of the Peripheral Canal will be needed at that 
time. The Peripheral Canal will enable the State Water Project to 
deliver through the California aqueduct about 700,000 acre-feet per 
annum more water than can be delivered without its construction. 
That amount greatly exceeds the amount of excess water that MWD may 
continue to get from the Colorado River. In other words, the excess 
from the Colorado River will not offset the needs that are pressing 
for immediate construction of the Peripheral Canal. 

Chall: We have discussed Senator Hayden s interest in the Colorado River 
and his key position in the Senate insofar as he could hold up 
California projects until he could get assurances for building the 
Central Arizona Project. Now, Congressman Wayne Aspinall came from 
Colorado. As an Upper Colorado River Basin representative, did he 
also have interests to protect which made it difficult for California 
water interests to get their projects through Congress? 

Warne: Wayne was never a Hayden. Also, he had nothing that was being 

jeopardized in the Upper Colorado River Basin. We always helped 
with the development of Upper Basin storage dams. Aspinall had 
strong California members on his committee Bizz Johnson, Craig 
Hosmer, others, too. Not so much during the time I was director, 
but later, I detected in Congressman Aspinall some generalized 
resentment of California. He revealed that he thought that 
California demanded and got too much of the resources development 
pie; that the less populous western states, of which Colorado was 
one, got too small a share to divide among them. He indicated also 
that he thought that comparatively the less populous states needed 


Warne: more help than California did. This attitude probably was shared 
by other representatives from the other states, and it may operate 
against California programs now, even though Aspinall is gone. I 
don t think, however, that it has ever been a strong factor influ 
encing congressional action on our programs. 

Relationships Among State Staff Personnel 

Chall: Did the differences of opinion between your staff and that of 

Attorney General Mosk regarding Colorado River entitlements affect 
working relationships in this and other areas, or are these kinds 
of differences just part of the job in a political position? 

Warne: I have never been one to want to put a lot of effort into finely 

drawn, legalistic water right controversies. Goldberg and I thought 
that project solutions were best. If a project could settle the 
issue for both parties to a water rights dispute, the project was 
preferable to a lawsuit. Lawsuits over water rights never produce 
any new water; they simply divide up deficiencies or reward one side 
while depriving the other. Some of that philosophy was involved in 
differences of opinion with Mosk. Stan and I worked together fairly 
well on most occasions. He was ambitious and did not want to be 
submerged in Pat Brown s retinue. He had a right to stake out a 
personal position. I never at any time was interested in seeking 
higher office. I told the governor at the outset that I would never 
run for anything against any of his friends. In the political arena 
one must expect, however, that differences will appear between 
important figures. As an administrator, you just have to work 
around them. 

Chall: How did Irvine Sprague serve the state during this period? Did he 
assist Pat Brown in negotiating with Senator Hayden, Governor 
Fannin, and others in the legislature to get the legislation moving 
forward? How did you work with him on other issues requiring federal 
approval like the attempts to get Congress to fund the Peripheral 
Canal, or provide funds for other projects in California? 

Warne: At the urging of Porter A. Towner, chief counsel of the Department 
of Water Resources, I engaged Timothy V.A. Dillon, a lawyer in 
Washington, to represent the department and help us with such 
things as prodding the federal agencies for action on matters of 
interest to the State Water Project, such as the flood control 
allocations. He was involved in arranging appearances before 
committees, et cetera. I took the matter of employment of Dillon 
up with Hale Champion, who was then director of finance, and with 


Warne: the governor. Hale was somewhat reluctant to have me engage Dillon 
because, as I now remember it, he was about to send Sprague to 
Washington for general lobbying purposes. Towner and I pointed out 
the nature of our work, the many details to be watched, and the time 
that it would take to attend to all of them, and Hale and the governor 
agreed that we could make a contract with Dillon. We certainly did 
not use Dillon full time, but he took a big load off Sprague that we 
otherwise would have generated for him in connection with the State 
Water Project and the various reclamation matters that were cascading 
around Washington in those days. 

I am not sure that Sprague ever liked our arrangement with 
Dillon. It meant that a number of lines of communications on 
matters of some importance did not go through his office. I 
developed the habit, however, of making Sprague s office my head 
quarters on my fairly numerous trips to Washington, and I never, I 
think, worked out of Dillon s office. In the last year or two of 
our administration, Irv grew more and more demanding that I work 
through him, which I found hard to do. I thought that he lacked 
background in our particular work. He was getting a much tighter 
control, however, of California s Washington representation. He 
once berated me for going directly to some congressional office 
without reporting to him, even though I used his office telephone 
to make the appointment, and when I brushed his complaint off, he 
got quite angry. I was never criticized by Champion or the governor, 
however, in connection with this instance and I don t remember the 
details anymore and I am sure that Sprague must have complained to 
them about it. I thought at the time that Resources Agency 
administrator Hugo Fisher might have had a separate negotiation 
going on through Sprague on the subject of my interest, unbeknownst 
to me. I considered this kind of situation unpleasant, but with 
large and complex organizations trying to operate in two environ 
ments, that of Sacramento and that of Washington, coordination 
difficulties can be expected. 

Sprague was ambitious and he was a beginning empire builder in 
those days. I considered myself an old hand and operated with full 
confidence in my purposes. If Sprague helped Governor Brown with 
negotiations with Senator Hayden or Governor Fannin after he went 
to the United States Senate, it was not known to me. Sprague was 
never very deeply involved in the legislative work that grew out of 
the State Water Project, unless it originated in some other 
Sacramento office than mine. Finance might have had him look into 
some appropriation matters or something before the Bureau of the 
Budget that bore on our programs. Fisher worked with Sprague on 
many programs of the Resources Agency that arose from departments 
other than water resources, and he may have called upon Irv for 
some help on a water problem now and then, but I was not aware of 
it, if he did. 


Chall: Was there any specific strategy regarding who would see whom in 

Washington, or did you make decisions depending on what was needed 
at the particular time? And how were these decisions made? 

Warne: If a controversial issue is to be presented to the secretary of a 
department or a congressional committee, it is always best to have 
the governor do it, if he can spare the time and has sufficient 
interest. Next, the presentation should be made by the department 
head. For detailed negotiations and presentations before the 
regulatory commissions, one should send the best qualified technical 
expert. When I was in the department, many congressmen and Senators 
were well known to me personally because of my recent federal 
services. I felt I should go and at least introduce my staffer to 
them. Most of my old friends are gone now Hayden, Engle, Mike 
Mansfield, Senator O Mahoney, Hubert Humphrey so it wouldn t be 
the same if I were entering on the work now. 

The San Luis Reservoir and the Joint-Use Contract: The 160-Acre 

Chall: We did not have time to discuss the controversy about the San Luis 
Reservoir. I noted that you were often in Washington on behalf of 
the state, trying to insure that the joint-use agreement would be 
approved by Secretary Udall without the application of the 160-acre 
limit to the state project. 

Were you ever seriously worried that the agreement would retain 
the 160-acre clause because it was in the legislation which Congress 
had passed? 

Why did it take Udall and his staff an entire year to make 
their decision? What concerns did they discuss with you when you 
went back to Washington to talk to them? 

Warne: I think that the 160-acre provision was always of greater concern 
to the Interior Department, especially its solicitors, than to us. 
Stu Udall assured me repeatedly that we would work out a San Luis 
joint-use agreement. Why it took his staff an entire year to do so, 
I do not know. The 160-acre provjsion undoubtedly was a part of it. 
Our insistence on state operation was a big factor. Settlement on 
the forty-five percent federal, fifty-five percent state sharing of 
the costs of the joint-use facilities also was involved. There were 
a lot of obscure technical details to be disposed of, as well. The 
bureau and the Department of Water Resources had to come to terms on 


Warne: the design criteria to be applied. We might have fretted over 

the year then, but knowing how difficult it is to move a complex 
matter through a ponderous administrative machine, I do not think, 
looking back on it, that a year was so unreasonable. Anyway, the 
results were good. 

Chall: You might go into some of the matters discussed in that memorandum 

you wrote to the governor on January 26, 1962, regarding water issues 
which you had written about in a letter to C. Thomas Bendorf who was 
he? You sent a copy of that letter to Governor Brown covered by a 
memorandum dated January 26. There seemed to be a lot of activity 
in Washington at that time. Do you remember these? 

Warne: Tom Bendorf was from the Department of Finance the governor s lobby 
ist in Washington. Irvine Sprague followed him a couple of years 

Yes, there was a lot of activity in Washington at that time. 
Pat Brown was there and we went together to Secretary Udall s 
office. He also spoke at a luncheon at the National Press Club. 
I have been a member of the NPC since my old newspaper days and I 
took Abbott Goldberg with me to the luncheon. That was the year 
that Pat was going to run for reelection. I don t think that Nixon 
had come out against him that early. Pat made a very good appearance 
before the club. He was always good at all sorts of meetings and 
conferences in Washington. I did not accompany him to most of his 
meetings, however, for I was working my own side of the street on 
such matters as the flood control allocation by the Corps of 
Engineers on Oroville Dam, the hearing before the Supreme Court on 
Arizona v. California, which Goldberg and I attended, the proposed 
Pacific Northwest-Pacific Southwest Power Intertie, the joint agree 
ment on the San Luis Unit, Auburn Dam, the Central Arizona Project, 
et cetera, et cetera. 

I mentioned that Governor Brown and I had signed with Pat Dugan, 
of the Bureau of Reclamation, the joint agreement for the cooperative 
construction of the San Luis Dam, forebay, and 101 miles of the 
California Aqueduct, which would become joint-use facilities of the 
state and the bureau. That was in San Francisco on December 30, 
1961. This agreement called for the state to pay fifty-five percent 
of the cost of the construction, which was to be performed by the 
Bureau of Reclamation, that representing our estimate of the propor 
tion of our use of the facilities by the state of California. The 
contract also called for the bureau to turn the joint-use facilities 
over to the State Water Project for operation, once the construction 
was completed. This was the most controversial and toughest provi 
sion of the contract, as I remember it. The bureau was reluctant to 
have the state operating a part of its Central Valley Project. We 



Interdepartmental Communication 

Honorable iidmund G. Brown _ 

Governor of California Date: January 26, 1962 

State Capitol / . 

Sacramento, California / /? rile IN o. 

L \sVr ^ 

From: Director of Water Resources 

Stt&jVc/- Report on trip to Washington 
January 7-11, 1962 

I have reviewed for Mr. Tom Bendorf in a letter, a_copy of which is 
attached, the present status of important water resource items that are of 
critical interest to .the State of California and are presently pending in 
Washington. This letter constitutes my report on the trip to Washington. 

In audition to work on the items indicated, I attended your excellent 
luncheon at the Press Club and wau greatly encouraged by the reception you were 
given there. 1 also attended the opening hearing and other sessions of the 
Supreme Court, hearing of oral arguments on Arizona v. California. 

There were many representatives of California water interests in VJashington 
during this period, including 14 Directors of the Metropolitan Water District 
of Southern California. Mr. Goldberg, who accompanied me, and I met with 
virtually all of them on several occasions and assisted in the presentation of 
several natters to members of the California and other congressional delegations. 

In our conference with Secretary Udall, the Pacific Northwest-Pacific 
Southwest Powar Intertie was discussed. I have oriented the staff of the 
Bepartnisnt of water Resources in accordance with your remarks to the press 
after tnat conference. We are endeavoring to follow up with representatives 
of the municipal utilities in California and the Department of the Interior 
in the preparation of legislation to be proposed to the Congress . In this 
latter .-natter, Mr. Ken Davis, of the SMUD, is taking the lead and is working 
closely with Under Secretary Carr. 

William E. Warne 

. .,,-, . . 

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January 25, 1962 

llr* C. Thoc&s Bendorf 
Rooa 71A 

1725 "K" Str*t. litf 
n, D. C. 

Dear Tor:: 

Thio is a brief pro~reos report on tho situation us I !^-.ov it of our 
St*t Uater Project in relation to the riattcrs bofore th9 Fedoral Covorn;r.ont. 


Tha Pro-iidor.t s budget calls Tor tho a^propriaticn of about S 13 ::u_llior. 
Tor tha Bureau of Keclmrjition sharo of ccnstructicn in tlia forI:c<uJ^v; fiscal y^ar 
of tho San Luis Unit. The iitauo is proj^rod to put up its nocoocary siiara. TMJ 
I3uroau of Lecla;^ation now has procorstracticn nonoy and the iitac.a iiag advanced a:;d 
ic now continuiAl to advance procor.ctruction aor.Oi 3 to tha Dureau for tiis r.urposo 
of making the noccesar/ plans and drauinc specif ications, Tho Duroau of Rocls-iaticn 
has $500,000 in construction runds that \.-cro apprcpriatad by a opocial acondtr.or.t to 
the Appropriation Act handled by Soruxtcr i-ln^lo last year, 

No construction can be started on the San Luis Project, under tha torua of 
tho law authorizing the unit for construction by tlia Federal, until the 
San Luis Project a^reasent between tha of Califomia and t!n Coimrt..iar.t of 
Interior lias beon before tho llouoa and Jonato Interior and Ino olar Affairs Ck>:j- 
nittjec and neither of than has disapproved it durinj a poriod of 90 days wV.yn tia 
ia in session. 

This joint a,;roerjant, a copy of vidch is attached, vaa co;.:plotJd 1^, Covorr^or 
Brown and no with Pat Dujar., of tha Duroau of Iioda...ation, in Sa.i Francisco cu 
DocaJoor 30, 1961. SccraUiry Udall ejnt it to tho Ccncraas ar.d it has bocn -.or- 
bofcra the two ccirdttoea since the opening day of tiu present session. P 
if there are no adjournments lon^or tlian 3 days, the ( /O-day poriod will tartJj 
about April 10. ^e l^ve urjed the Bureau of r.oclacation to proceod to construction 
ac scon thareaftar as possible. 

. ...- ^- " -* " -. T^ ^ 

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Vhile in Vashincton a coupla of weeks *L_ o, I talked with Chairnan Wayne 
Aspinail of the Isouse Interior and Insular Affairs Cccaittee and he told ce he : ; 
favorod the contract that tha Secretary had oont to his consittee. Ha said also 
that ha did not sea any occasion for his cooaittee to hold any hearings with regard 
to tha contract* Ha said ha did not anticipate any nove or at least any successful 
effort to cet a resolution through his cosnittee disapproving this contract. He askec 
whether we wanted a resolution appro vine the contract and I said that although this 
aicht shorten the waiting period, we would be satisfied to let it remain quiet throu^J 
the 90 days. 

I did not see Senator Clinton Anderson of New Maxico, the Chairoan of the 
Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Cocnittee, because he arrived only as Conjress re 
convened. I did talk to his staff, however. Secretary I d ail read to us a letter 
that Senator Anderson had sent to him, and in that latter Senator Anderson endorsed 
the San Luis A~reenent. The staff of Senator Anderson and his coanittee did not 
think there would be any hearing . I Jiave written to Senator Anderson sattinj fcrth 
our hope that the natter can be teminatod without a hearing. A copy of that latter 
is attached for your information. 


The President approved, as you know, the report of the Chief of &i^inoers and 
the Secretary of the Army by which #(.. ni 11 ion was allocated for the flood control 
share of the cost of Oroville Dasi. In addition, tho President included in his budget 
vl$ nillion for the initial payaent to the State undor that allocation. Gc varnor 
Brown and I had indicated willingness to accost tl.j allocation timt tha President 
approved. Deputy Director ELier Ctaata, of t.ia Bureau of Budget, was rjost I.elpi ul 
in woricinj with me and with Frod Button at various tir.oa in brin^ir^ about this 
rather favorable conclusion of the negotiation that went forward nost of last year. 


I anticipate that deleijations of California flood control and- reclanuticn 
water project proponents, as usual, will cone to l.ashinjton under the win,- of r^ 
and the Water Con^iission whert hearings are set up. We will try to make whatever 
preparations are necessary to allot tho tiiaa allowed to California and to present a 
solid front. If you jet worl of whan tho hearings are likely to be held on tne 
Public Works Appropriation Bill, it would be usoful to us. 

^ D-XI&ATIOK riFcrj^p 

I kept key ce;Jbers of the C-lifornia delegation ini orued. These included 
Senators Sn^le and Kuchel and Con;;reoc:.;cri Harry S.iappard, Barnie Sisk, Bizz Johnson, 
Judc Saund, and Ceor^a lliiler. it C.iain:ian Aapinall e requast, I also wont over 
the San Luis contract situation with Conj.r^sssan Crai^ >2osuar. 


Another item that nay be of interest to you is the Auburn Dan, Folsoa 
South Canal, Forest Ilill Divide, and Kalby Unit Project. The Department of tha 
Interior has cocapleted its report and raoosuiandation with regard to this project 

. ., 

it now is before the Congress vith a r^cozzaendation, cleared by the rat ion, that it b authoris&d. Governor Drovn and I have ondoraod 
it. Tha Forest Hill Divide and the Ilolby Units wore added Tor snail upstream 
developments after the oain project vas propored. I do not know vhothar 
hoirir^-a vill be held on the authorization of this project* 
Bit 2 Johnson is interested in it* 


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Warne: had provided in the contract that the provisions of the 1902 Reclama 
tion Act would not apply to state project water simply because the 
State Water Project water flowed through the joint-use facilities. 
I think that was logical enough. We were paying more than half of 
the cost of these facilities and we were going to operate the 
project. The federal government benefited proportionately with the 
state because of the economies effected by combining our two 
facilities at San Luis Dam. 

I have never been able to see the logic of the argument that 
has been revived since that time to the effect that the 160-acre 
law ought to apply to the Kern County Water Agency and other 
irrigators who use state project water simply because the state 
project water may be stored in San Luis Dam along with Central 
Valley Project water and may flow with CVP water for 101 miles in a 
great canal that was jointly financed. I am not sure, however, that 
the fact that the joint agreement specifically provided that the 
state project water would not carry the obligations of the 1902 
federal act was not a factor in enlisting support from some of the 
San Joaquin Valley irrigators for state rather than bureau operation 
of the facilities. Some of the irrigators to be served both by the 
federal project and by the state project may have felt more secure 
under state operation procedures than they might have under the 
bureau s thumb. 

In any event, under the provisions of the federal authorization, 
of the San Luis Unit, the joint agreement a contract, really had 
been transmitted to the Congress and was pending before the Interior 
and Insular Affairs Committees of both the Senate and the House of 
Representatives when we went to Washington in January, 1962. No 
construction could be started under the federal authorization until 
the joint agreement had lain before the committees for ninety days. 
If neither the House nor the Senate had taken action to disapprove 
of the contract in ninety days, the bureau could begin the construc 
tion. We advanced State Water Project funds to the bureau so that it 
need not wait for the Congress to act on its appropriation bill. 

I called on Chairman Wayne Aspinall of the House committee. He 
said he planned no hearing and he thought the contract was safe. I 
told him that I had briefed a whole string of California congress 
men, George Miller, Harold "Bizz" Johnson, Harry Sheppard, Bernie 
Sisk, Judge Saund, specifically, and he asked me to talk with Craig 
Hosmer, who was the minority member from California highest up on 
his committee. I promised to do so, and did, finding Hosmer fairly 
comfortable with the joint agreement and more interested in Colorado 
River matters since his Orange County district got most of its water 
through MWD s Colorado River Aqueduct. 


Warne: Senator Clinton P. Anderson, of New Mexico, was chairman of the 
Senate committee, but he was out of town, had not returned from 
home as yet, but his staff assured me that we would have no problem 
with the contract in the Senate committee. To be on the safe side, 
I wrote to Clint when I got home and explained our position and 
expressed the hope that no hearing would be required. The chairman 
let the contract pass. In mid-April the bureau was cleared to begin 
construction of the San Luis Unit joint-use facilities. 

I talked with Senator Hayden on that trip, also. He was slyly 
holding the Auburn Dam project hostage, not permitting anything to 
be done on it in the Senate, until he got some satisfaction on his 
own Central Arizona Project authorization. Bizz Johnson was the 
sponsor of Auburn Dam, which is on the American River in his con 
gressional district, and he was highly placed on the House committee 
that must pass on the Central Arizona Project. The Senator had ways 
of keeping the California congressional delegation off balance, but 
he was not going to throw any monkey wrenches into the machinery so 
far as the San Luis Unit joint agreement was concerned. Pat Brown 
and I, as director of water resources, had approved Auburn Dam and 
several small adjuncts that make up the project. The delays enforced 
by Senator Hayden and the questions related to the exotic design for 
the dam, first adopted by the bureau, and to the site, which was 
belatedly found to be close to an earthquake fault, have prevented 
Auburn Dam from making the progress that the Central Arizona Project 
has made. The dam is being redesigned now, but some doubt that it 
ever will be completed, despite many millions spent in excavating 
the foundation and in building appurtenances. 

This is a somewhat rambling review. Oh, yes, of course, I saw 
both Senators Engle and Kuchel while I was in Washington on that 
occasion. Clair and I were close friends, dating back to his 
arrival in Washington as a bright and brash young congressman from 
Northern California. He and Jim Carr, then undersecretary of 
interior, were boyhood friends, and my close personal friend from 
college days, Phillip P. Dickinson, was water consultant on the 
Senator s staff. Jim and Phil had both worked on the Central Valley 
Project when I was in the bureau in Washington. I remember that 
afterward Clair came out to Sacramento to a political meeting in 
the Capitol some time later. The Bee reported that he had to leave 
the meeting because of illness. I walked over to the Capitol with 
him the next morning from the El Mirador Hotel. Concerned, I asked 
him about his leaving the meeting the afternoon before. He said he 
had had several sudden little attacks involving headaches that made 
him dizzy, but it was nothing. He died some months later. Phil and 
Jim and I went to his funeral in Red Bluff. His death was tragic for 
California. Clair Engle had already attained a leadership position 
in the United States Senate on matters pertaining to water and 
resources. Had he lived, he would have made great contributions to 
water and power resources programs and legislation. 


Chall: Among all the pressures exerted by California on behalf of the 

state s position, which ones personal, legal briefs, arguments, 
party loyalty do you suppose finally convinced Udall and [Frank] 
Barry to exempt the state from the 160-acre limit? On whom was 
the pressure most helpful Udall, Barry, President Kennedy; and 
by whom, if any one or two people were thought to count most? 

Warne: I do not think that the state was ever exempted from the 160-acre 

law. So far as I am concerned, it never applied to the State Water 
Project and it still does apply to the federal Central Valley 
Project. In my view, it was more a case of Barry trying to get the 
state to accept the 160-acre law on state project waters, which we 
never were inclined to do. The pressure was exerted by the lapse 
of the time the Congress gave the Interior Department to enter a 
joint-use agreement with us. I think President Kennedy and Secretary 
Udall both felt the joint-use facilities were the only way to go, 
and that trying to force the federal 160-acre law onto the State 
Water Project must not frustrate the joint project. 

Let us review the history of the joint-use facilities a little 

President Dwight Eisenhower, on June 3, 1960, signed the bill 
authorizing the construction of the San Luis Unit of the federal 
Central Valley Project by the Bureau of Reclamation under the 
Reclamation Act of 1902, which contained the family farm limitation, 
now referred to as the 160-acre law. This authorization act con 
tained in it the authority for the Bureau of Reclamation to build 
the facilities jointly with the state of California so that the 
joint-use facilities would serve both the Westland Irrigation 
District s lands under the federal Central Valley Project, and also 
would serve the purposes of the California State Water Project. 

As the bill was making its way through the Congress in 1959 and 
1960, provisions were incorporated in it that an agreement with the 
state must be completed by January 1, 1962 or the bureau would build 
its project alone, not including capacities in the San Luis Reser 
voir and the 101-mile canal that would be needed to serve 
simultaneously the State Water Project. To build two parallel 
projects in this area, one for the Westlands district and one for 
the water service contractors of the State Water Project which 
required deliveries to be made south of Los Banos, would be more 
costly for everyone. This was not a prospect that anyone viewed 
with favor. Two newly built parallel canals along the coast range 
foothills from Los Banos to Lost Hills would confirm the most 
cynical criticism of our federal system, demonstrating that the 
federal government and the state government could not work together. 


Warne: Two such canals serving parallel purposes would be lasting accusa 
tions. I think everyone, including Jack and Robert Kennedy and 
Udall and Barry of the administration that succeeded Eisenhower 
and [Frederick] Seaton, felt that such a monumental failure must 
be avoided. 

While it was being considered in the Congress, the San Luis 
Unit authorization bill was encumbered with specific provisions 
that the federal acreage limitation would not apply to the state 
project waters because of joint construction of the facilities. 
These provisions, inserted in committees on both sides of the 
Capitol, were eliminated on the floor of both the House and Senate. 
The argument was made in the House that the provision was surplusage 
since no claim was made that the acreage limitation would apply to 
lands served by the state project anyway. 

Arguments could be and were made that the legislative history 
indicated (1) that the Congress expected the 160-acre law to be 
applied to the State Water Project and (2) that, exactly the 
opposite, the Congress had determined that the 160-acre law need 
not be applied to the State Water Project water deliveries if the 
facilities were built jointly. This ambiguous situation was still 
prevailing when the Kennedy administration took office, and felt 
the need to review all pending problems inherited from its predeces 
sor . 

The requirement that the bureau-state contract be brought back to 
the Congress and pend ninety days before the House and Senate Com 
mittees was previously inserted by the Congress obviously to insure 
that the intent of the Congress should be effected in the negotia 
tions between the Interior Department and the state of California. 
Since the agreement that was completed on December 30, 1961 between 
Pat Brown and myself, for the state of California, and Pat Dugan, 
for the bureau, and Secretary Udall of the Interior Department, did 
not seek to apply the 160-acre law to the State Water Project water 
to be distributed south of Los Banos and since it was submitted to 
both the House and Senate committees, neither of which raised 
objections to its automatic confirmation at the end of the ninety- 
day waiting period, one must assume that the contract was found to 
conform to the intent of the Congress. 

You know from my own account of my meetings in Washington in 
January of 1962, that Chairman Aspinall knew about the contract 
which was pending before his House committee and that he was willing 
to accept it. Aspinall told me that he had heard of no objections 
and expected none to be raised on the House side. Senator Anderson s 
staff reported no objections and assured me that the Senator, per 
sonally, would not disapprove of the contract. I had known Clint 


Warne: Anderson when he was in the House of Representatives and had worked 
with him when he was secretary of agriculture and I was assistant 
secretary of the interior. He was completely familiar with both the 
state s rights issue as it affected western water resources develop 
ment and the family farm issue. I don t recall that I ever discussed 
the contract with him after it became effective in April of 1962. I 
do not know of any effort on the part of the Senate committee to take 
issue with the contract while it was pending during that ninety-day 
period. There were a couple of senatorial voices raised, but the 
committee seemed to ignore them. 

When the administration changed in Washington and President 
Kennedy brought in Bob Kennedy as attorney general, Stu Udall as 
secretary, Jim Carr as undersecretary, and Frank Barry as solicitor 
of the Department of the Interior in January of 1961, we had a joint- 
use facility agreement under negotiation with the federal government. 
Those negotiations continued with the new team and I was hopeful that 
they could be completed and a contract signed by August 16. We 
learned, however, that reluctance had developed, particularly on the 
part of Barry, to completion of a contract that did not apply the 
160-acre limitation to the state project water. 

Ralph Brody was chairman of the California Water Commission at the 
time. He had been Pat Brown s original water counsel and had served 
as deputy director of the Department of Water Resources simultaneously 
under Director Banks, my predecessor. Brody had had a long history of 
service as a solicitor in the Sacramento regional office of the Bureau 
of Reclamation. He and Goldberg, then in the attorney general s 
office with Pat Brown, had prepared and argued those landmark cases 
on the application of the 160-acre law on the federal Central Valley 
Project. Brody and I went to Washington in September, 1961. Brody 
discussed the legal aspects of the contract with Barry. I met with 
Udall, Carr, Barry, and Associate Solicitor Ed Fisher, who I learned 
had been assigned to prepare a brief for Barry. Ed was a lawyer in 
the bureau when I was assistant commissioner, and we were old friends. 
We had fought many a battle together. As I remember it, we had been 
negotiating with him during the Seaton administration of the Interior 
Department . 

I told Fisher that we thought efforts at that late date to insert 
the 160-acre limitation into the joint-use agreement were unfair to 
Governor Brown and to me, and that they would be interpreted in 
California as attempts by the ruthless federal government to dictate 
to the state in an unwarranted fashion on an issue that had been 
settled in the Congress and had been revived by the new administra 
tion more or less whimsically. Ed was very cautious in what he said 
on the subject of his assignment, and I could see that he was treading 
on eggshells. 


Warne: The negotiations continued through October, and Barry finally 

challenged Goldberg to prepare a legal brief stating the reasons 
that the 160-acre limitation should not be included. The brief 
was prepared, sent to Barry on November 29, and transmitted to 
Udall by Governor Brown on December 1, 1961. In my judgment, 
Barry had decided to approve the contract without the 160-acre 
provision, but wanted Goldberg and the state to bear the onus, if 
there were any, of making the justification for the omission. In 
this way, he had the governor of California, his director of water 
resources, and Senator James Cobey, now a justice of the California 
Appellate Court, then chairman of the California Senate Water 
Committee, lined up in positions from which they would have to 
answer any criticism of the omission that might develop in 
California, in the Congress, or elsewhere. 

As you know, Barry did approve, the contract was made ready, 
and it was executed on the very last day of the grace period that 
the Congress had allowed the Interior Department. 

Senators Wayne Morse, of Oregon, and Proxmire did make some 
effort to have Senator Anderson s committee hold a hearing on the 
contract before the ninety-day period of its pendency had elapsed. 
Morse, who frequently had gone out of his way to show political 
friendship with Governor Brown, was particularly vocal on the subject 
of the omission of the 160-acre provision. He was always a staunch 
advocate and protector of the acreage limitation provision in the 
federal reclamation law. This agitation, however, did not stir much 
response in the Senate, and Anderson did nothing about it. 

I shall remember always and with the greatest of pleasure August 
18, 1963. That was the day President Kennedy came to the site and 
broke the ground for the construction of San Luis Dam. A great 
crowd had assembled before a hastily build platform on the dry, 
grassy slopes looking toward the saddle in which the great dam now 
stands across the intermittent wash known as San Luis Creek. The 
wash was dry at that time. It never flowed, except during the short 
rainy season. San Luis reservoir, you know, is an off-stream storage 
facility. Flood waters in the Sacramento-San Joaquin river systems 
are led by the California Aqueduct and the federal Delta Mendota 
Canal to the O Neill Forebay and pumped into the reservoir, where 
they are stored until needed by project water users farther down 
stream. Such reservoirs are conservation features. They are vastly 
out-sized with reference to the water courses on which they are 
built. San Luis Creek was hardly noticeable in this landscape at 
the time of the groundbreaking. In order to explain visually how 
big the dam was going to be, the engineers had planted varicolored 
smoke bombs along the center line of the dam clear across the 


Warne: The president arrived from Yosemite by helicopter, and the choppers 
stirred up a great cloud of dust which swept through the crowd of 
spectators. The people did not seem to mind. They were in a gala 
mood. Cheers resounded through the dust cloud, although I suspected 
that none of the people could see the president until he mounted the 
platform and went to the forward rail, waving his hands. They really 
roared then. 

I was already on the platform when the president arrived. Governor 
Brown followed him. To my amazement, the president said, "Hello, 
Bill, glad to see you," without us being introduced. I had met him 
casually during the campaign many months before. He might have been 
coached before he climbed those stairs, but I do not think so. He 
was in an enthusiastic and happy frame of mind. If there ever had 
been any reluctance on his part concerning the arrangements made 
with the state for the construction of San Luis Dam, it was in no 
way evident on that day. 

The president made a fine, short speech, and then said, "Come on, 
Governor, let s blow up this valley," motioning to Brown to step 
forward and take one side of the handle of the plunger that had been 
prepared for him to detonate the blast. They pushed the plunger 
down, and the colored curtain of smoke instantly appeared from abut 
ment to abutment of the dam. I think the show impressed and 
pleasantly surprised the president. I know it did the governor, 
for he told me so later. The crowd cried out in amazement. It was 
a most spectacular sight. The people were still shouting and rushing 
around taking pictures when the formalities were concluded. Some got 
through and surrounded the president. It was all done in the highest 
of spirits. There was some difficulty in clearing the chopper pads 
for take off for the departure of the official party. The pads were 
just cleared ground, from which the brown grass and weeds had been 

It was the last time any of us saw Jack Kennedy. He was assas 
sinated in Dallas a short time later. I remember that I was address 
ing the California Water Commission at the Disneyland Hotel in 
Anaheim when Hans Doe, a Southern California water leader from Vista, 
brought a note in from the lobby to Ralph Brody, who was presiding 
Brody had presided at the groundbreaking, too. Ralph interrupted me 
to announce that the president had been shot. I asked for a minute 
of silent prayer, and then continued, but at the conclusion of my 
presentation, which seemed so utterly unimportant then, it was 
announced that Kennedy was dead. I felt shattered. We all did. I 
left immediately, driving with Mrs. Warne up Highway 101, listening 
to the radio in the car, and feeling more and more certain that 
nothing would ever be quite the same again. Our loss was 
irretrievable . 


Chall: Coming as you had from long years in the Bureau of Reclamation, 

what went through your mind as you argued on the other side of the 
land limitation issue? 

Warne: I am not conscious of arguing on the other side of the land limita 
tion issue. Certainly, I strongly supported the 160-acre law when 
I was in the bureau and while assistant secretary of the interior. 
I did not then and do not now subscribe to the belief that only 
large farms can succeed on irrigated lands in California. Family 
farms can be, and many of them are, social and economic successes 
in California. My view is that efforts to perpetuate the family 
farm in California, using only limitation of the application of 
irrigation water on some projects as a means of doing so, cannot 
succeed while numbers of very powerful influences are exerted else 
where and in these same projects toward enlarging and commercializing 
all farming enterprises. I think the 160-acre law is too little and 
it has come on the California scene too late. The family farm if 
properly defined can stand on its own bottom, but our universities, 
banks, and marketing institutions except for some marketing 
cooperatives are promoting other types of agricultural enterprises. 
The agribusiness types continue to gain dominance. The 160-acre 
law, applied to only some areas, will not stem the trend of commer 
cialization and enlargement. 

There have been many fatuous arguments made against the 160-acre 
law. I remember Senator Sheridan Downey insisted that large land 
owners in the San Joaquin Valley would not come into the Central 
Valley Project, but would continue to pump irrigation water from 
their receding water tables, if the bureau insisted on applying the 
160-acre law. I did not think they would not participate because 
the project water was needed by them and the economics of the situa 
tion strongly favored participation in the project. Downey said the 
big owners by non-participation would pass the costs of the project 
on to the small, family farmers who remained and that the little 
fellows would be crushed by the weight of their obligations. I did 
not think you could bankrupt a farmer by providing him low-cost 
water. Well, the big landowners did accept the contracts with the 
160-acre limitation in them, and they did take the water from the 
Central Valley Project. They signed the hated recordable contracts 
to subdivide their holdings in a ten-year period. 

It is asserted now that most of them have only achieved technical 
compliance with the reclamation law, that they have done so by 
parcelling lands among relatives, et cetera, and that the bureau s 
administration of the 160-acre law has been a failure of public 
policy. If this be true, however, then Senator Downey s parting 
accusation in his book, They Would Rule the Valley, also was in 
error. He contended that the bureau s real objective was not land 
reform but political control of the Central Valley. He contended 


Warne: that by enforcing the 160-acre law and other federal enactments in 
direct association with local water districts and farmers, the 
position of the state was undermined, and political control would be 
passed to ambitious bureaucrats responsible only, if to anyone, to 
the distant federal establishment. When I first read the Senator s 
book it was just before he bowed out of the race for reelection, 
to be succeeded by Richard Nixon, who won his seat in a bitter 
contest with Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas I thought Senator 
Downey s thesis was incredible. Certainly, I, as an official of the 
Interior Department, had no designs on the political control of the 

Having viewed the relationship of the Department of Water Resources 
with the Bureau of Reclamation from the state s standpoint decades 
later, I have detected some dangers to effective administration by 
the state government of state resources development and management 
programs, dangers that grow out of dictation by the Congress of condi 
tions that states must meet if parallel national programs are to be 
carried out within their boundaries. 

California for more than fifty years has commanded her own water 
destiny. The state planned the Central Valley Project. The state 
planned and carried out the California State Water Project. The 
state alone is conscious of the need for an integrated and compre 
hensive plan for the development and use of its own water resources. 
The federal Reclamation Act directed the Bureau of Reclamation to 
file on waters for its projects under state laws, the Congress 
recognizing that in the arid West the control of the life-giving 
resource should be in the local government of general jurisdiction. 
Several times in recent years, however, the Department of the 
Interior has asserted superior jurisdiction in water rights matters. 
The United States Supreme Court now seems to be developing a 
consistent line of decisions, however, that recognize the supremacy 
of state water rights. 

California was irked by the fact that the Bureau of Reclamation 
insisted on operating the Central Valley Project facilities, despite 
the fact that the federal authorization act clearly authorized the 
making of contracts with the state. The bureau contended that it 
could not trust the state to enforce the 160-acre law, because many 
state officials at that time were arrayed against the application 
of the limitation on ownerships within the Central Valley Project 
area. The state felt that the bureau was becoming an increasingly 
arrogant bureaucracy, which attitude was reflected in Senator 
Downey s book. 

There is no denying the fact that, even as late as 1961, a part 
of the state s adamant insistence on inclusion in the San Luis 
joint-facilities agreement of provision for operation of the facil 
ities by the state and a part of the resistance to the efforts of 


Warne: the Department of the Interior to extend the dominion of the 160- 

acre law over the State Water Project came from those earlier roots. 
A state s rights issue is involved in all of the clashes between the 
Department of Water Resources, and now the State Water Resources 
Control Board, and the federal agencies which operate in the field 
of water resources development the Bureau of Reclamation and the 
Corps of Engineers, particularly among the latter. 

California is strong enough to manage her own water affairs, and 
I advocate that the state continue to do so. 

The Significance of Governor Pat Brown s State Water Project 

Chall: I am really grateful for the addition of the historical and philo 
sophical background on water in California. Now is there anything 
you want to add concerning the history of the water programs in Pat 
Brown s administration, your period as director of the Department 
of Water Resources? 

Warne: Not much, certainly. It has been an exciting experience for me to 
review and to relive those years. I think that I teamed rather 
well with Pat Brown. I consider him a great leader. I worked in 
effectuation of his water program, not my own nor that of Hyatt, 
Edmonston, Banks, or anyone else that went before us. At all times, . 
the governor took the point position in the advance guard. I tried 
to administer the program, to build the State Water Project, within 
the guidelines that he laid down. I think that Pat Brown will agree 
with me that I and our Department of Water Resources succeeded fairly 
well in doing that. 

During a rather long career in the federal and state governments, 
I had several quite a number of fairly important jobs. After 
being out of government for more than twelve years now since 
January 1, 1967 I look back on the State Water Project as the most 
challenging and its construction as the most fulfilling achievement 
of my career. I know Pat Brown shares my pride in the Oroville Dam, 
the California Aqueduct, and the A.D. Edmonston Pumping Plant. Each 
of these elements involved pushing the technical frontiers into new 
territory; each was unique in its time. 

Edmund G. Brown, Sr. set out to bind the state together, north 
and south, with a comprehensive water development plan under the 
slogan, "One state." The Burns-Porter Water Bond Act referendum 
was Proposition One on the ballot in 1960 and not by accident, 
either. Perhaps the unity of purpose that was achieved by the 
governor has been somewhat eroded in these later years. That does 


Warne: not diminish the achievement of the governor. The State Water 
Project will go into history as Pat Brown s water project. The 
facilities will continue to serve millions of Californians so far 
into the future that archaeologists of some future era will be 
cataloguing element by element the initial facilities of Pat 
Brown s water project, just as we catalog the aqueducts of classical 
Rome, naming them after the Roman governors who built them. They 
were spread through more than four centuries . 

I have full faith in the future of California. Variations in 
growth rates, changing attitudes toward the use of our resources, 
fading enthusiasms and diminishing influence of certain dominating 
personalities, all and any of these may modify details, but long- 
range in an arid land nothing will occur to eliminate the need for 
water nor the significance of such projects as Pat Brown s 
California State Water Project. 

Transcriber: Marie Herold 
Final Typist: Marilyn White 



Independent Consultant Service, 1969 

Appraisal of Type 1 Framework Studies of Water 

and Related Land Use in Pacific Southwest for 

Region IX, HUD, 1971-72. 
Agribusiness Development of Dez Irrigation Project 

and negotiation of $30,000,000 International 

Bank for Reconstruction and Development loan for 

construction of DIP, Iran, 1967-69. 
Formulation, Financing, and Launching of 

California State Water Project, 1961-1967. 
Stabilization of economy of South Korea 1957. 
Resumption of economic development of Iran, 


Missouri River Basin Development, 1944-1951. 
Federal Alaskan Development Program, 1947-1950. 
Development Plan, Columbia River Basin Irrigation 

Project, 1938-1941. 


General Petroleum Co., Egypt, and I ESC, Western 

Desert Croundwater Studies, 1977. 
Orange County Water District, Peripheral Canal 

Research; Desalination and Conjunctive Use of 

Water, 1969-1975. 
Development and Resources Corporation, Dez 

Irrigation Project, Khuzestan, Iran, 1969-1970; 

Hopchung Project Studies, Korea, 1972. 
WAPORA, Inc., Investigation of geothermal energy 

potential, Imperial Valley, Calif., 1972-1973. 
Department of HUD, Region IX, appraisal of Water 

Resources of Southwest, 1971-1972. 
Eastern Montana College, Economic and Social 

Outreach, Mountain-Plains Educational 

Center, 1971. 
State of Montana, Coal Symposium, February, 

1970; a Case for Regional Development, 

U.S.C. School of Public Administration, United 

Nations Trai