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Costa, Huffman get huffy in committee

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As first reported in the Fresno Bee, the House Natural Resources Committee approved an irrigation drainage ditch deal with the Westlands Water District in western Fresno County (and parts of Kings County) on Wednesday. The bill now goes to the full House, where it is expected to pass.

What was notable about the committee meeting was a testy exchange between Democrats Jim Costa (D-Fresno/Merced) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), which starts at the 17:18 mark. Committee chair Rob Bishop (R-Utah) eventually had to settle the men down.

Costa voted to support the bill in committee. He took aim at Huffman during debate.

“I understand why some people who always have taken issue with the farmers, the farm workers and the farm community where you have had a 40 percent unemployment level and zero water allocation would take issue with this…” Costa said during a debate of a Huffman amendment.

Huffman than interrupted complaining that he wanted Costa’s remarks be stricken from the record because they were personal insults. The request was denied.

“Excuse me!? I simply reject the notion that we ignore the plight of farm workers, farm communities and the people impacted by a zero allocation. This has been a political football that has been ignored for decades,” Costa replied.

Fellow Valley congressman Tom McClintock noted that Huffman has feuded with Westlands and supported Costa.

“Anyone who believes this was about a  personal grudge or vendetta needs to look a little bit deeper. If that’s the case, it is one shared by other water users and water districts in California who’ve expressed these same concerns by the environmental community and state authorities,” Huffman replied.

The committee approved the Westlands deal 27-12. Costa, McClintock and Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) were Valley congressman who voted in support.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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