View Mobile Site

Restore the Delta makes chamber pitch

Text Size: Small Large Medium
Restore the Delta makes chamber pitch

Bennie Gatto was presented a Lathrop Chamber of Commerce lifetime membership by chamber vice president Melissa Robinson. At right is chamber president Mary Kennedy-Bracken.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin/

POSTED July 22, 2009 3:00 a.m.

LATHROP – Restore the Delta - a group dedicated to finding an alternative to the Peripheral Canal – made a pitch for support at the third annual Lathrop District Chamber of Commerce luncheon Monday that drew some 80 members to the Mikasa Japanese Restaurant in the Save Mart Shopping Center.

Chamber president Mary Kennedy-Bracken lauded the 100 percent volunteer effort the chamber enjoys with 13 members making up the board of directors.  A total 344 businesses are represented by the Lathrop chamber, she added.

“July is Lathrop Chamber of Commerce month,” she said.  “We are going to increase our membership.”

She laid out a list of chamber sponsored events for the year including coffee with Mayor Kristy Sayles every month where citizens can voice their concerns, monthly coffees on the first Tuesdays and business mixers on the third Wednesdays, Kennedy-Bracken noted.

Plans are in the works for a Casino Night on October 10 at Lathrop’s Best Western Inn at $20 each.  It will be another first for the Lathrop community.

Luncheon speakers included Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, campaign director for the Restore the Delta effort and Sidney Singleton, representing the Corporate Tax Recovery Services speaking on the tax savings’ potential for business owners hiring employees in the Enterprise Zone.

Singleton said the Enterprise Zones were established in California in 1986 noting that less than 10 percent of statewide businesses are making use of the tax-saving tool – only three businesses in Lathrop.

California has a total of 42 zones that offer a tax credit in the hiring of qualified individuals.  Based on full-time employment of 2,080 hours in the first year – based on a $12 hourly wage – the savings amount to $12,480, he said. Hiring three qualified applicants would save the business owner $37,440 the first year, he added.

The employees who meet the required qualifications are veterans, low income families, those who have been laid off or with long-term unemployment, TEA residents and ex-offenders.

Businesses in the Enterprise Zones are also eligible for sales tax credits on purchases of up to $20 million on certain equipment each year for corporations and up to $1 million on qualified equipment for individuals.

Singleton said up to 100 percent net operating loss deductions are also allowed with a 15-year carry forward.

Speaking on the restoration of the San Joaquin Delta by 2010 to reestablish a fishable, swimmable, drinkable and farmable water source, Barrigan-Parrilla asked for the support of every chamber member.  

The Restore the Delta campaign began with 70 members and has now grown to some 3,000 being kicked off in Stockton nearly three years ago, she said.  “This is a very important situation and we want all of your participation to do something about it,” she said.

Restore the Delta is currently running a lobbying coalition with other organizations throughout the state.  They are preparing a media campaign to focus on the water issues in California.

“It’s not fish versus people, but the people in this area need access to fresh water,” she said.   

The group works with environmentalists, chamber members, developers, farmers, and is probably one of the most broad-based coalitions in California, she said.      “We are working right now, day to day, monitoring what is happening with the legislation as it pertains to the Peripheral Canal, and unfortunately I am here to tell you today that things are difficult, but from my point I feel like the Marines have landed,” she said.

The Restore the Delta campaign chair said this past year five bills were introduced in the California Legislature to create the package to restore the Delta, to figure out what is needed for conservation and how it would affect the Peripheral Canal.

Those five bills have gone through their series of hearings – but pulled last week in the middle of the night – replaced with shell bills with one sentence each.  Sometime in August they are expected to determine what bills they are going to move forward, she said.

“What is on the table for the Delta Conservation Plan I find very, very disheartening.  They are looking at the description of a canal that would be equivalent to a 100-lane freeway – a canal that would be over 50 miles long.  That’s bigger than the Panama Canal,” she explained.

It would divert 15,000 feet of water per second, starting at Clarksburg around the Delta – matching the flow of the Sacramento River, she added.  “If this is diverted we are going to have some real serious ecological problems in the Delta that are going to continue to have a devastating impact on the fisheries.”

She added that it will have a negative impact on agriculture, future development, the ability to treat waste water, access to water through water projects proposed by various cities within San Joaquin County.  And, looking at the estuary as the largest fish hatchery on the Pacific Coast for both North and South America – it is facing its elimination through this project.

For further information, the website on the subject is



Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...