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Today the Valley is marvelously productive, with a great capital city at its center, but Battling the Inland Sea Floods, Public Policy, and the Sacramento Valley.
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Battling the Inland Sea: Floods, Public Policy, and the Sacramento Valley
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Over the course of 20 years, Kelley worked from time to time as a historical consultant on flooding attached to state's attorney general's office. Much of the research for his test resulted from those toils. He presents the story as a case study in public-policy decisions, and at times the book considers various theories of societal behavior, with the usual flutter of theses about human behavior from secondary sources.
But the main thrust of the text is the narrative of the people trying to take the valley and the rivers--the Yuba, Bear, Feather--and Sacramento trying to take it back. He outlines two core political and personal outlooks, Jeffersonian Democrat, locally based and seeking decentralized government, and Whig-Hamiltonian-Republican, worshiping education and a strong central government, and exhibiting a distrust of the actions and morals of the common man.
These two belief systems wrestle with solutions for the flooding--whether it is to be solved by the actions of individuals or by the state. For decades both fail, in part because few can grasp the enormity of the waters coming off the Sierra Nevada. As late as the first decade of this century, the government pegged the maximum possible flow in the Sacramento at , acre-feet--the flood of reached ,, and that of may have touched 1 million.
This ignorance alone doomed all plans for a solution.