[Marxism] Bard trustee Stewart Resnick: a real-life Noah Cross

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 9 09:39:59 MDT 2011

On July 26th the New York Times reported on the problems of water 
banking in California:

	Peter Key knew something was strange when the water levels in his 
tropical fish tank began to go down last summer. Then the washing 
machine took 40 minutes to fill, and the toilets would not flush.

	But even as Mr. Key and neighbors spent $14,000 to deepen their 
community well here, they had identified a likely culprit.

	They blamed water banking, a system in which water-rights holders 
— mostly in the rural West — store water in underground reservoirs 
either for their own future use or for leasing to fast-growing 
urban areas.

	So the neighbors’ small local water utility has gone to state 
court to challenge the wealthy farming interests that dominate two 
of the country’s largest water banks.

	Viewed as test cases for the size and scope of water-banking 
operations, the lawsuits claim that enormous withdrawals of water 
by the banks lowered the water table, causing geological damage, 
service disruptions and costly repairs.

	Water managers and the farmers they serve have long been major 
political players here in Kern County, a center of conservative 
political power. But even inside these tight circles, there is 
increasing friction as governments, businesses — especially 
agriculture — and a population that has swelled by 26 percent in a 
decade all compete for water. Even a trendy fruit, the 
pomegranate, plays a role in these water wars.

The minute I saw the word pomegranate I knew instantly that Bard 
College trustee Stewart Resnick had to be implicated in the 
inability of Peter Kay to flush his toilet. Sure enough, the 
article goes on to report:

	Pumping out huge amounts of stored water in dry years was thought 
to have little impact on the underground geology — at least until 
Mr. Key’s shower head sputtered. Now engineers believe it reversed 
the area’s underground hydraulic gradient, turning a hill-shaped 
water table, accessible by shallow wells, into a valley. The 
trigger for the huge withdrawals was a drought that began in 2007. 
Kern County’s allocation of water from Northern California was 
cut. Then, in the 40 months beginning in March 2007, roughly half 
the banks’ capacity was pumped out to keep fruit and nut trees alive.

	“I don’t think anyone fully appreciated the magnitude of the 
impact they would have,” said Mr. Averett of the Rosedale-Rio 
Bravo Water Storage District.

	POM Wonderful, part of the fruit-drink empire owned by Stewart 
and Lynda Resnick, makes its profits from pomegranate trees kept 
green by the Kern Water Bank Authority. The authority, technically 
a public agency, is controlled by the Paramount Farming Company, 
which like POM, is a subsidiary of Roll Global, a company owned by 
the billionaire Resnicks.

If you’ve seen Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown”, you will be reminded 
of the malevolent water utility baron Noah Cross who was guilty of 
diverting precious water resources to the benefit of agribusiness 
when he wasn’t busy screwing his daughter, played by Faye Dunaway. 
Now I have no reason to believe that Stewart Resnick is screwing 
his daughter (don’t know if he has one), but there is little doubt 
that he is just as greedy and evil as Noah Cross.


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