EDITORIAL: Delta branding hijacked

Politics gets in the way of good description and communication.

FresnoJune 20, 2014 

Aerial shot showing the San Joaquin River joining the Sacramento River, forming the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta area, northwest of Stockton.

BART AH YOU 082099 — Modesto Bee

Quick quiz: What's the name of the watery landscape stretching from Sacramento to the San Francisco Bay?

1) The Delta

2) The Bay Delta

3) The California Delta

4) Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

5) All of the above


The correct answer, of course, is 5. That's because who you are, where you live and your level of awareness of the Delta's importance determines what you call it.

But seek to put one of those names on a logo? Then things get touchy.

That's what the Delta Protection Commission found out recently when it stumbled into the increasingly hot politics of the Delta.

The commission at its May 22 meeting considered a Delta branding proposal from AugustineIdeas, which had done extensive community review and research to come up with four ideas to promote the Delta's recreational, environmental and cultural aspects to folks far and wide.

The flashpoint was the suggested use of the brand name "California Delta." Apparently, using anything other than the official name is troubling to some.

The controversy may seem frivolous, but it does point to the deeper discord surrounding proposed twin tunnels and simmering resentment among Delta stakeholders. But still — no one is talking about changing the official name of the Delta.

On maps and official documents, it will remain the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, as it should be. This is about coming up with a brand name that people who couldn't find San Joaquin River on a map can connect with.

To quell the controversy, the commission is seeking public input in the form of a non-scientific online survey though July 7.

This begs the question: Why hire professionals if you're not going to listen to their professional advice?

We think the 15 members of the commission, who include representatives from boards of supervisors of Delta counties, city council members, landowners and state officials such as John Laird, head of the state Natural Resource Agency, are smart and informed enough to make the right decision.

What's in a name — even a brand name — does matter, especially if it can raise awareness among the many people who rely on this sensitive habitat for their drinking water. It's a decision that should not be hijacked by politics.


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