​​​​​​​​​​​​​Delta VOICES


​​​​​​​​​​​​​Mark's Story

Mark Morais: Owner and Operator of Giusti’s in Walnut Grove

Giusti’s was opened by my grandfather in 1912 when he immigrated to Walnut Grove from Italy. We have been here more than 100 years! At the time it was a general store, toll station for the ferry and ad-hoc restaurant – mainly catering to local workers, friends and some other guests when they would gather. It wasn’t until many years later that they actually started charging people for their food and service!

My parents took over the day-to-day operations in the late 40’s and expanded the business clientele well outside of our little community. Soon celebrities were visiting for our famous food and drinks. Our walls are covered with autographs and sentiments from people who love our location, food and family. The Monday after Easter, my family and close friends got together for a “Little Easter” celebration in the restaurant – complete with a legendary selection of Italian food and wine! When I returned home from college in 1972, I took over the operations. My three children are all part of the business as well.

My family is a big part of this community. Our restaurant and bar is the oldest on the Delta and we attract visitors from far and wide. In the winter months we keep the locals fed but in the summer our place attracts visitors that are out on the water boating, skiing and enjoying the unique culture that is the Delta.

We source a lot of our ingredients from local farmers, as well as count on them for business. This tunnel project will greatly impact not only our local food source, but our clients. People come here because nothing has changed. This delta is the largest estuary on the west coast – leave it alone. Preserve our way of life and the beauty surrounding us.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Cathy's Story

Cathy Hemly: Owner of Greene & Hemly in Courtland
The Delta is more than California’s water switching yard. It is an environmental treasure and a place of stunning beauty. Its rich history, small towns and family farms give it a strong sense of place. But to the Hemly family, the Delta means home. Our family came to Courtland in 1850; our children, who run day to day operations on our farm, are the 6th generation on the same land. We care for this heritage not only to preserve it for future generations, but also because it is the right thing to do. I am opposed to the tunnels project. WaterFix is simply an underground version of the Peripheral Canal. The canal was a bad idea in 1982 and WaterFix is a bad idea today. There’s a growing list of concerns: downstream water quality, drainage disruption, over-tunnel subsidence, muck disposal, and degradation of ground water. How will the tunnels affect fish and wildlife? No one knows. Who will really pay for them? No one knows. How much will it really cost? No one knows that either. Sadly, the project won’t fix the southern Delta pumps. It won’t create more water for our state. It won’t improve deteriorating water quality within the San Joaquin system and it won’t address over--subscription of the water supply. Yes, the state needs to plan for climate change, but let’s not do it at the expense of the estuary the project is supposed to improve. The tunnels will provide higher water quality for export, but at the likely cost of poorer water quality within the Delta itself. We know the project will industrialize the western edge of Sacramento County--the same scenic stretch of the Sacramento River proposed for National Heritage status. We know that Delta businesses and communities will be hard-pressed to survive 10 to 15 years of construction. Whether or not the tunnels are built, California still needs more storage south of the Delta for those good water years. We still have to maintain and improve Delta levees. We still have to address the seismic vulnerability of the aqueduct system. California has called for reduced water reliance on the Delta but is in a frenzy, planning to divert directly from the Sacramento River. I puzzle over the notion that we can “save” the Delta by removing its largest water source. This estuary and its bay can thrive only with more, not less, fresh water flowing through it.