The Times editorial "Off to a Good Start" (Jan. 16), in referring to pending legislation to fund needed levee repairs, is appropriately complimentary and, hopefully, points the way to resolution of water controversies. It is a welcome event to have a northern senator, Daniel E. Boatwright (D-Concord), and a southern senator, Ruben S. Ayala (D-Chino), jointly sponsor a water-related bill. It is an illustration that it is possible to arrive at a common ground between Northern California and Southern California on water matters.
It may be of interest to your readers to know how the political prowess and, ultimately, the statesmanship of Ayala brought this about.
In the waning hours of the last legislative session, a levee bill authored by Boatwright, which had been supported by many as part of a combination of water-related bills, was removed from that legislative package and was pushed as a separate measure. The State Water Project contractors organization, including Southern California water agencies, while favoring a levee bill, felt that this particular bill required additional amendments.
It was only through the work of Ayala that final action on the bill was delayed, permitting the needed careful analysis and negotiated revisions. When the current session commenced in January, Ayala amended one of his pending water bills to meet the concerns of the various interests on the levee legislation and was joined by Boatwright, who became the lead author, and others in support of the measure.