Political Droughts (California)

WHY THIS POST? I am combining three posts into one for the person who wants to link the issue to a friend or family member in one post. Mind you this will make the post a bit long, but show clearly that the reason we are in a drought is because of the left in California kneeling before the alter of the [extreme] environmentalist political pressure groups. NOT to mention Jerry brown helped such people his first tenure (as well as other Democrat governors in California) in office to stop MULTIPLE water projects that would help prepare California for it’s droughts.

Please-please keep in mind that if you are one of the political skeptics that has a belief that greedy politicians are out to bankroll their time in office… think about this: would it behoove the State of California (primarily Democrat politicians) to fix the issue… or keep having eco-“type”-groups campaigning for and giving money to the Democrats Party in California AS WELL AS racking in tons of money via fines to a problem THEY created?

I mean, they have to pay for all the social programs in order to keep the their voters happy and voting Dem: California has 11% of the U.S. population, and about 30% of the welfare cases.

Prof. DiLorenzo

Droughts, of course, are a natural phenomenon, but governments often make them worse when government bureaucrats set water prices and allocate water usage. In 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown ordered city and county governments to enforce a reduction in water usage by 25 percent. Failure to do so would result in a $10,000 per day fine. This comes from a state that during the concurrent drought pumped several million acre feet of fresh water into the ocean in pursuit of government-mandated environmental goals.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 47.

WATER PULSING

My Fox LA op-ed:

…On March 24th of this year, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, the federal Government ordered a release of 5 billion gallons of water sent down the Stanislaus River, which eventually emptied into the ocean.

The purpose of this release or “pulse” as it’s called, was to raise the level of the river, so 23 steelhead trout could spawn.

So, in effect, just to allow 23 adult fish to possibly mate, water was wasted that could have supplied 150,000 Californians — for a year.

On April 10th, the Feds sent another 5 billion gallon pulse of water (enough water for another 150,000 Californians) down the Stanislaus, for the purpose of helping six steelhead trout reach the ocean and eventually return upriver to spawn.

It all just seems unbelievable.

In this terrible drought situation California finds itself in, it seems incredible to waste this massive amount of precious water.

It deifies common sense.

Billions of gallons of water being flushed to the sea.

This unfortunately is not the only example….

It’s hard to ask Californians to save water – when government is wasting it so needlessly.

200-YEAR LONG DROUGHTS

Don’t forget: drought, fires, and wild weather were blamed on global cooling

THANKFULLY we got out of global cooling so we don’t have to worry about droughts, fires, or wild weather any longer ~ WHEW! That was a close call.

(Real Science, also see, RPT)

Here are excerpts from Kotkin’s article that Prager is reading from in the above audio (video):

The Big Idea: California Is So Over: California’s drought and how it’s handled show just what kind of place the Golden State is becoming: feudal, super-affluent and with an impoverished interior.

….But since the 1970s, California’s water system has become the prisoner of politics and posturing. The great aqueducts connecting the population centers with the great Sierra snowpack are all products of an earlier era—the Los Angeles aqueduct (1913), Hetch-Hetchy (1923), the Central Valley Project (1937), and the California Aqueduct (1974). The primary opposition to expansion has been the green left, which rejects water storage projects as irrelevant.

Yet at the same time greens and their allies in academia and the mainstream pressare those most likely to see the current drought as part of a climate change-induced reduction in snowpack. That many scientists disagree with this assessment is almost beside the point. Whether climate change will make things better or worse is certainly an important concern, but California was going to have problems meeting its water needs under any circumstances.

It’s not like we haven’t been around this particular block before. In the 1860s, a severe drought all but destroyed LA’s once-flourishing cattle industry. This drought was followed by torrential rains that caused their own havoc. The state has suffered three major droughts since I have lived here—in the mid70s, the mid ’80s and again today—but long ago (even before I got there) some real whoppers occurred, including dry periods that lasted upwards of 200 years.

[….]

But ultimately the responsibility for California’s future lies with our political leadership, who need to develop the kind of typically bold approaches past generations have embraced. One step would be building new storage capacity, which Governor Jerry Brown, after opposing it for years, has begun to admit is necessary. Desalinization, widely used in the even more arid Middle East, notably Israel, has been blocked by environmental interests but could tap a virtually unlimited supply of the wet stuff, and lies close to the state’s most densely populated areas. Essentially the state could build enough desalinization facilities, and the energy plants to run them, for less money than Brown wants to spend on his high-speed choo-choo to nowhere. This piece of infrastructure is so irrelevant to the state’s needs that even many progressives, such as Mother JonesKevinDrum, consider it a “ridiculous” waste of money.

[….]

This fundamentally hypocritical regime remains in place because it works—for the powerful and well-placed. Less understandable is why many Hispanic politicians, such as Assembly Speaker Kevin de Leon, also prioritize “climate change” as his leading issue, without thinking much about how these policies might worsen the massive poverty in his de-industrializing L.A. district—until you realize that de Leon is bankrolled by Tom Steyer and others from the green uberclass.

So, in the end, we are producing a California that is the polar opposite of Pat Brown’s creation. True, it has some virtues: greener, cleaner, and more “progressive” on social issues. But it’s also becoming increasingly feudal, defined by a super-affluent coastal class and an increasingly impoverished interior. As water prices rise, and farms and lawns are abandoned, there’s little thought about how to create a better future for the bulk of Californians. Like medieval peasants, millions of Californians have been force to submit to the theology of our elected high priest and his acolytes, leaving behind any aspirations that the Golden State can work for them too.

(CBS) …The Sorek plant produces more than 165 million gallons of fresh water and accounts for more than 20 percent of Israel’s water consumption, according to Udi Tirosh, a director at IDE.

Factoring in several other desalination plants, an astonishing 50 percent of the country’s drinking water now comes directly from the ocean – an amount capable of supplying the entire city of Los Angeles.

Plant officials also say it offers some of the world’s cheapest desalinated water because of new technology and a series of engineering improvements that have cut down the massive energy normally required to transform seawater into fresh water.

Fountains that were once forced to dry up now are flowing again….

CALIFORNIA WATER PROJECTS

Another MUST READ excerpt by a really well written article is this one by Victor Davis Hanson:

Just as California’s freeways were designed to grow to meet increased traffic, the state’s vast water projects were engineered to expand with the population. Many assumed that the state would finish planned additions to the California State Water Project and its ancillaries. But in the 1960s and early 1970s, no one anticipated that the then-nascent environmental movement would one day go to court to stop most new dam construction, including the 14,000-acre Sites Reservoir on the Sacramento River near Maxwell; the Los Banos Grandes facility, along a section of the California Aqueduct in Merced County; and the Temperance Flat Reservoir, above Millerton Lake north of Fresno. Had the gigantic Klamath River diversion project not likewise been canceled in the 1970s, the resulting Aw Paw reservoir would have been the state’s largest man-made reservoir. At two-thirds the size of Lake Mead, it might have stored 15 million acre-feet of water, enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years. California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition. It was just as difficult to imagine that environmentalists would try to divert contracted irrigation and municipal water from already-established reservoirs. Yet they did just that, and subsequently moved to freeze California’s water-storage resources at 1970s capacities.

All the while, the Green activists remained blissfully unconcerned about the vast immigration into California from Latin America and Mexico that would help double the state’s population in just four decades, to 40 million. Had population growth remained static, perhaps California could have lived with partially finished water projects. The state might also have been able to restore the flow of scenic rivers from the mountains to the sea, maintained a robust agribusiness sector, and even survived a four-or-five-year drought. But if California continues to block new construction of the State Water Project as well as additions to local and federal water-storage infrastructure, officials must halve California’s population, or shut down the 5 million acres of irrigated crops on the Central Valley’s west side, or cut back municipal water usage in a way never before done in the United States.

Victor Davis Hanson, “The Scorching of California: How Green Extremists Made a Bad Drought Worse,” The City Journal, Winter 2015 (Vol 25, No. 1), 82.

DECADES OF WARNING

A great article by Hot Air. This is the end of it… to read the entire thing, click through.

…Southern California has been in the process of running out of water for decades (if not longer) and the current drought is simply amplifying the effects and hastening the decline. I’ve been reading dire (and accurate) predictions about this issue for decades. Nearly twenty years ago there were cautionary tales coming out which discussed the fact that the region was essentially a desert when settlers began moving in and even the relatively small population in the nation’s early history already dwarfed the available natural water supplies. (This is from 1998, long before the current drought cycle.)

Not that we aren’t preoccupied with the issue of future water supplies for a good reason. In the LA Basin alone, we have approximately 6% of California’s habitable land but only .06% of the State’s stream flow — yet we hold over 45% of the State’s population. And if the population projections are to be believed, the entire southland is “scheduled” to grow from our current 16 million to over 24 million people. When policy questions are asked about whether Southern California can support this level of growth, the issue of greatest concern is not traffic or air quality or even quality of life, it is water. And the predominant question asked is “where will this water come from?”

Our water fears are not new. Since the pueblo days of Los Angeles, the lack of local water resources has been seen as the primary problem for the southland’s economic future. All plans for the development of the region have hinged around schemes to secure new water supplies — a fact recognized by Carey McWilliams, the pre-eminent historian of the southland, who wrote in 1946 that “God never intended Southern California to be anything but desert…Man has made it what it is.”

Going back to earlier in the last century, we find that the original reason that Hollywood voted to join the municipality of Los Angeles in 1910 was to gain access to their water rights. The area was already being drained by the growing population and would require later river diversions to feed the thirst of the area. The addition of a drought is a much harsher blow for an artificially created habitable zone.

But is the drought situation something new? Actually, not only the western portion of North America, but central and South America have apparently been experiencing these same cycles for as long as human beings have been around. One of the earliest recorded, but most massive examples was the curious disappearance of the million plus strong civilization of the Mayans more than a thousand years ago. What happened to them? Yep… a series of crippling, decade long droughts.

Identifying annual titanium levels, which reflect the amount of rainfall each year, the Swiss and U.S. researchers found that the pristine sediment layers in the basin formed distinct bands that correspond to dry and wet seasons. According to the scientists, there were three large droughts occurring between 810 and 910 A.D., each lasting less than a decade.

The timing of the droughts matched periodic downturns in the Maya culture, as demonstrated by abandonment of cities or diminished stone carving and building activity.

Experts say the Maya were particularly susceptible to long droughts because about 95 percent of their population centers depended solely on lakes, ponds, and rivers containing on average an 18-month supply of water for drinking and agriculture.

And according to the lake bed core samples they’ve taken, the drought which took out the Mayans wasn’t a one time event.

Scientists have found that the recurrence of the drought was remarkably cyclical, occurring every 208 years. That interval is almost identical to a known cycle in which the sun is at its most intense every 206 years. Nothing suggests the Maya knew anything about the sun’s change in intensity.

See? If only those pesky Mayans hadn’t been burning all of that coal and oil to power their dirty, industrial factories they’d probably still be down there today chopping out the hearts of their enemies. Ah… good times, my friends.

THE RECENT DROUGHT
Global Warming

Oppose SB 1146 ~ Updated

The Threat

SB 1146, introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), seeks to eliminate the current religious exemption in California that fully protects the freedom of California’s faith-based colleges and universities to operate in ways that are consistent with their religious missions and faith tenets. The provisions of the proposed bill represent a dramatic narrowing of religious freedom in California. It would mean faith-based institutions would no longer be able to determine for themselves the scope of their religious convictions as applied in student conduct policies, housing and restroom/locker facilities, and other matters of religious expression and practical campus life. Though the free exercise of religion is guaranteed by both the U.S. and California Constitutions, SB 1146 would make religious institutions like Biola vulnerable to anti-discrimination lawsuits and unprecedented government policing.

This bill, if it became law, would diminish religious liberty in California higher education. It would unfairly harm faith-based institutions and it would weaken the rich educational diversity of our state.

Which Institutions Are Affected? As many as 42 faith-based institutions of higher education in California.

Stopping The Bill Requires Immediate Action

Right now SB 1146 is being heard by the California Assembly’s various committees. It has already passed the California Senate. If approved in committee, the bill will then move to the Assembly for a full vote. The best chance to stop it is before it reaches the Assembly floor for debate and vote. Click here for urgent action steps to take by June 30.

MORE HERE…

Albert Mohler explains more about the Bill:

L.A. City Controller Says Turf Removal Wasteful

Here is the story in part via the Los Angeles Times:

Los Angeles’ turf rebate program saved less water per dollar spent than other Department of Water and Power conservation programs, an audit released by the city controller said Friday.

Auditors found that money spent for rebates on items such as high-efficiency appliances yielded a water savings almost five times higher than turf replacement. They also found that the DWP does not prioritize water conservation projects based on which are the most cost-effective.

City Controller Ron Galperin called on the water provider to focus its conservation programs in order to achieve more sustained and cost-effective water savings.

“If money is no object, turf replacement rebates are a relatively expedient way to save water,” Galperin said. “But, of course, money is an object.”

In fiscal year 2014-15, the DWP spent $40.2 million on customer incentive and rebate programs, Galperin’s office said. Nearly $17.8 million of that went to turf rebates. Each dollar invested in turf rebates is expected to save 350 gallons of water over the estimated 10-year “life expectancy” of residential turf replacement, the audit said.

In comparison, the department spent $14.9 million on rebates for high-efficiency appliances and fixtures. Those rebates yield a per-dollar savings of more than 1,700 gallons of water over their estimated lifetimes of up to 19 years, Galperin’s office said.

The turf rebate program “had value as a gimmick that … probably spurred a heightened awareness,” Galperin said at a news conference, adding: “It’s the job of my office to look at return on investment.”…

When the government of L.A., or for that matter our one party state, uses tax-payer monies… “money is no object.” The California boondoggles of solar power and trains come to mind. Or even the Democrats teaming up with eco-fascists to create water shortages! (See the “drought” posts here)

California Scalps Racist Native-Americans

California passed the Racial Mascots Act. It bans schools from giving teams racially insensitive names like Redskins. Should the Redskins keep their name? See Democrats calling more American Indians racist in this post: “A Liberal Blogger Calls 90% of Native-Americans Racist

California’s Unfunded Liabilities

Via Moonbat!

Uh oh. California is drowning in red ink:

A financial report issued by state auditors finds that the state of California is in the red by an unsustainable $127.2 billion.

The report says that the state’s negative status increased that year, largely because it spent $1.7 billion more than it received in revenues and wound up with an accumulated deficit of just under $23 billion in fiscal year 2011-2012, the Sacramento Bee stated.

The response of the liberal bureaurats responsible for creating this crippling debt was both appalling and predictable:

A state panel on Wednesday approved a 5% pay raise for Gov. Jerry Brown, legislators and other state elected officials…

The panel’s action boosts the salary of Brown from $165,288 to $173,987 in December, and increases legislators’ pay from $90,520 to $95,291 at the same time. Raises will also be provided to the state attorney general, state treasurer and other constitutional officers.

By putting the cartoonishly irresponsible Jerry Brown back in office, California voters elected to go over the cliff; over the cliff they go. This happened because the population of the erstwhile Golden State has been permanently transformed by massive (and largely illegal) Third World immigration. Now that whites are a minority, whoever is most likely to keep the looting spree going right up to the point of total economic collapse is assured of election. Applying this phenomenon nationwide is the purpose of the current amnesty bill.

And the Sacramento Bee ended with this chilling outlook:

…The report listed the state’s long-term obligations at $167.9 billion, nearly half of which ($79.9 billion) were in general obligation bonds, with another $30.8 billion in revenue bonds, many of which were issued to build state prisons, whose “revenue” is lease payments from the state general fund.

The list of long-term obligations did not include the much-disputed unfunded liabilities for state employees’ future pensions, nor the $60-plus billion in unfunded liabilities for retiree health care. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board and Moody’s, a major bond credit rating house, have been pushing states and localities to include unfunded retiree obligations in their balance sheets and were they to be added to California’s, it could push its negative net worth down by several hundred billion dollars.

…read more…

Remember this older upload about Cali’s unfunded liabilities:

The Author of “Pluder” Interviewed from Papa Giorgio on Vimeo.

HotAir nails it!

Since it’s not a web ad featuring a super cool, hipster-celebrity making suggestive analogies about President Obama’s oh-so-dreamy and glamorous political qualities, I doubt it will get nearly the same traffic as Team Obama’s recent Lena Dunham ad — which is most unfortunate, because rather than a cotton-candy, war-on-women appeal to the youths, we actually see the real-world effect that Obama’s policies have had on hardworking, middle-class Americans.

President Obama’s policies have been brutal to the business world, and small businesses in particular. An onslaught of red-tape regulations, ObamaCare, the threat of higher taxes, generally poor economic growth — none of these have been kind to entrepreneurs or owners trying to grow their outfits. Despite the Obama administration’s several showy moves to come to the aid of small business, their vital signs just haven’t picked up, via Bloomberg Businessweek:

The measure estimates employment at independent companies with fewer than 20 employees that use Intuit’s online payroll product. Companies with fewer than 20 workers make up nearly 90 percent private employers in the U.S. …

Companies with fewer than 20 employees have actually shed jobs during the economic recovery; the Intuit Small Business Employment Index was 0.9 percent lower in October 2012 than in July 2009. Moreover, since May, the index has moved in the opposite direction from BLS estimates of overall employment, with Intuit reporting a loss of 10,000 small business jobs in each of the last two months alone. …

Compensation and hours are similarly weak. Adjusting for inflation and seasonality, monthly compensation for all employees (including the owners) at businesses with fewer than 20 employees is 10.2 percent lower than when the president took office.

California is in a worse boat that Virginia, for instance, we [California] have ranked dead last 8-years in a row as far as a business friendly environment goes:

Editorial (OC Register): CEOs rate California dead last for business, again

It was alarming the first three or four times California was ranked last among 50 states for business environment. Now, Chief Executive magazine’s annual ranking, based on a survey of 650 chief executives on taxation, regulation, workforce quality and living environment, again places California dead last, 50th of 50 – for the eighth year in a row.

Eight years in a row ceases to be alarming. It now is a defining status.

[….]

Gov. Jerry Brown insists those who say California is unfriendly to business are wrong. But Mr. Brown, of course, is not the chief executive officer of a private business. He is the top executive of a deficit-burdened, intrusive, bloated government bureaucracy that has perfected squandering other peoples’ money while botching delivery of services such as education and lavishing public employees with unaffordable pay and benefits.

California public school teachers are the nation’s highest-paid, while their students’ performance ranks among the worst. The state’s various unfunded pension and retirement health care benefits promise to bankrupt the already overextended government.

As chief executive opinions go, Mr. Brown’s are considerably less credible than CEO magazines’ private-sector leaders.

“California’s enduring place of perpetual decline continues in this year’s ranking,” the magazine said. “Once the most attractive business environment, the Golden State appears to slip deeper into the ninth circle of business hell.”

The CEOs aren’t alone in their harsh critique. The state got an “F” grade in January from Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation in a survey of 6,000 small businesses across the nation, and the Tax Foundation ranked California 48th worst on business taxes.

There is little prospect of improvement. Despite finding itself in a hole, state government keeps digging. This week the state Senate Judiciary Committee killed a California Chamber of Commerce-sponsored job-creator bill to protect employers from inappropriate litigation.

Mr. Brown’s Air Resources Board is ratcheting up costly new regulations and preparing an ill-advised cap-and-trade carbon-emissions auction to coerce private energy providers to do things the government’s way. The governor and other Big Government champions also are advancing proposals for the November ballot to extract upwards of another $20 billion per year in taxes.

As CEO magazine’s poll shows, the state’s failings are obvious to business people. But Mr. Brown and California’s other governmental leaders just don’t get it.

This entire article is imported from American Thinker, and even though it is dated, maybe many Californians missed this HUGE problem prior to the election?

California’s Half-Trillion-Dollar Pension Fund Mess: Blame Jerry Brown
By Jane Jamison

California is the nation’s shameful example of what happens when Democrats influenced by big-government labor rule the statehouse for forty years.

With 12.5% unemployment (up from 4.5% a mere three years ago) and a “recognized” budget deficit of $21 billion, California has just found that out it is in much, much more financial trouble than anyone, especially a Democrat, really wants to admit.

California’s governor Schwarzenegger commissioned a study by Stanford University, which has found that California’s three public employee pension funds (The California Public Employees’ Retirement System [CalPERS], California State Teachers’ Retirement System [CalSTRS], and University of California Retirement System [UCRS]) lost $109.7 billion in portfolio value in one year (June ’08 to June ’09) and are currently in shortfall of “more than half a trillion dollars.”

By law, California taxpayers are required to pay the public employees’ pensions shortfalls that may occur. Local governments cannot “print money” as the federal government does to cover budget deficits.

What should have been considered a huge scandal in the state pension fund system in the past year got little attention but is more pertinent now: The two largest plans, CalPERS and CalSTRS, were reportedly near bankruptcy in 2009 after it was learned the funds had lost from 25%-41% of their value due to risky investments in real estate and the stock market. Former employees of the state plans were accused in January of getting huge fees to direct pension investments to certain banks or ventures.

There are outrageous examples of abuse in the California public pension system.

PensionTsunami.com, which has been tracking the pension fund liability issue for five years, has found that 9, 233 retired members of CalPERS or CalSTRS receive more than $100,000 per year in retirement benefits, amounting to more than a billion dollars a year.

The retired city administrator of Vernon, California, Bruce Malkenhorst, receives an annual pension of $449,675 from CalPERS. Vernon, a Los Angeles suburb, has 92 residents.

California’s state employee pension fund liabilities have ballooned for years with increased numbers of state employees, many of whom can retire at age 50, can “spike” their last years’ income with overtime to increase their retirement, and can then move on to other government or private jobs without losing their pensions.

Why should Californians care about this confusing, complicated budget problem with a huge, unfathomable invoice attached? David Crane, writing for the Los Angeles Times, says that today’s pension fund shortfall is tomorrow’s budget cut to something some Californian is likely to miss.

In California’s case, past pension underfunding means reduced funding of current programs. This explains why pension costs rose 2,000% from 1999 to 2009, while state funding for higher education declined over the same period.

Californians are feeling the pain of the budget crisis, but they often misplace their criticisms.

Let’s go to the videotape this year of the many demonstrations on the many University of California campuses, where students have rioted against proposed 32% state tuition increases and program cuts.

Approximately 22,000 California teachers have just received “pink slips” indicating that they may be laid off due to budget cuts next fall. An additional 20,000 were laid off last year. California is cutting “live” teachers out of classrooms in order to pay for retired teachers.

California schools have gone from number one in the country in the 1970s to at or near the bottom in performance and funding.

Who is to blame for this ticking-time bomb of unfunded public pension liability?

“Thank” Jerry Brown. As Governor “Moonbeam” of California in 1978, he signed the “Dill Act,” which gave California public employees the right to collective bargaining.

Brown, who has been governor, Oakland mayor, and attorney general, now wants to be California governor…again. Four big, grateful government labor unions are backing him…again.

Speaking recently to the Service Employees International Union, Jerry Brown “the populist” said he was proud to have given state employees “the choice” to belong to unions in the ’70s, and he will “take a look” at the pension funds to make sure that they are actuarially sound. Big applause line.

Speaking to another union group in Sacramento, Brown was caught on videotape asking the labor leaders to “do the dirty work” and “attack” Republican candidates who oppose him in the governor’s race. (Hear it here.)

Who else is to blame?

Since Brown gave them a green light in the 1970s, public employee unions have become a muscular, dominating force in California politics. State employee unions spent a whopping $31.7 million on state races just from 2001-2006, according to the California Fair Political Practices commission — higher than any other group, including corporations. The majority-Democrat California legislature has voted accordingly.

What can be done?

Jerry Brown the rerun, who is running technically unopposed by any other candidate in the Democratic primary, has been oddly silent on his state’s dire budgetary woes. His campaign site news releases do not mention budget problems.

At the same time, it has been noted by the tabloid media that Jerry Brown has been weirdly over-involved as California’s attorney general, his current job, in the celebrity death investigations of Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson, and Corey Haim. His office spent several months investigating ACORN employees who were caught in a videotape sting organizing houses of prostitution in government housing. Brown has just determined that there will be no prosecution of ACORN in his state.

Brown also went to the unusual extra step to seal his gubernatorial records from his 1970s-’80s term for fifty years. (U.S. presidents can seal records only up to twelve years for national security purposes.)

Brown refuses to join with fourteen other states’ attorneys general in challenging the recently-passed health care reform law, even though it will mandate billions more in unfunded expenses to the financially-strapped California Medicaid program. He says that to challenge Obamacare would be to engage in “poisonous partisanship.”

Republican gubernatorial candidates are tacking the pension fund liability:

Steve Poizner says he supports a “two-tier” system for current and new state employees but doesn’t think that a new governor will be able to come in and “steamroll” the unions.

Meg Whitman has campaigned on cutting state employee rolls and advocates “401(k)” style pensions for government workers and higher retirement ages (from age 50 to 55 or 65).

What can California do?

The U.S. Constitution technically does not allow for states to go bankrupt. Vallejo, California was the first city in the country to go bankrupt and has been establishing new “tiers” of retirement plans for police and fire employees.

The newly-elected governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, is tackling government employees’ unions to some effect. Christie has announced his intentions to cut substantially from government executive positions, privatize other state jobs, and cut positions.

There has been criticism of increased funding and budget overruns for state prisons due to the influence of the California prison guards’ union.

The Citizen Power Campaign seeks to “unplug” the public employee unions and is endorsed by many of the conservative candidates for office in California, including Republican Steve Poizner for governor.

One thing California clearly does not need is the déjà vu “hair of the dog” in the person of 1970s retread Democrat Jerry Brown.

Jane Jamison is editor news/commentary blog UNCOVERAGE.net.

Water Pulsing, Insane Policies Keeping California “Back-Woods”

….Correspondence between the National Marine Fisheries Service and Congressman Jeff Denham’s office shows the Bureau of Reclamation wants to flush as much as 15,000 acre feet of water down the Stanislaus River in order to “save” six fish.

In an email Sunny Snider of the federal fish protection agency sent to Denham Chief of Staff Jason Larrabee, it indicated a previous pulse flow in March that significantly raised water levels on the Stanislaus River through Ripon despite being in the middle of a severe drought had moved out 76 percent of  the out-migrating steelhead by March 30.

The email stated that National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) only expects 29 out-migrating steelhead a year and that their plan was to release 30,000 acre feet by the end of April to help them reach the Delta.

That means there are six steelhead left that the Bureau ordered South San Joaquin Irrigation District and Oakdale Irrigation District to release water this week to help on their journey. The 15,000 acre feet of water based on a statewide per capita use average could supply 174,301 Californians with water for a year to the combined populations of Tracy and Santa Barbara. Combined with last month’s pulse flow release, the 30,000 acre feet of water is the equivalent of the combined annual water needs of the cities of Stockton, Lathrop, Ripon, and Escalon…..

(Manteca Bulletin)

My Fox LA op-ed:

…On March 24th of this year, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, the federal Government ordered a release of 5 billion gallons of water sent down the Stanislaus River, which eventually emptied into the ocean.

The purpose of this release or “pulse” as it’s called, was to raise the level of the river, so 23 steelhead trout could spawn.

So, in effect, just to allow 23 adult fish to possibly mate, water was wasted that could have supplied 150,000 Californians — for a year.

On April 10th, the Feds sent another 5 billion gallon pulse of water (enough water for another 150,000 Californians) down the Stanislaus, for the purpose of helping six steelhead trout reach the ocean and eventually return upriver to spawn.

It all just seems unbelievable.

In this terrible drought situation California finds itself in, it seems incredible to waste this massive amount of precious water.

It deifies common sense.

Billions of gallons of water being flushed to the sea.

This unfortunately is not the only example….

It’s hard to ask Californians to save water – when government is wasting it so needlessly.

A Democrat “Faux Pas” That Emboldens Kamala Harris’ Win

(Via The Blaze) Readers may remember Sanchez as the woman who said it’s “good” to seek “other answers” for 9/11 and who mocked Tea Party Republicans in a (now-deleted) video for caring about the Constitution….

…Democratic candidate literally runs away from reporters after she makes a “shocking” race-related sound effect:

California Dreamin’ of a Bygone Eras ~ Droughts vs. Politics (UPDATE)

Don’t forget: drought, fires, and wild weather were blamed on global cooling

THANKFULLY we got out of global cooling so we don’t have to worry about droughts, fires, or wild weather any longer ~ WHEW! That was a close call.

(Real Science, also see, RPT)

Here are excerpts from Kotkin’s article that Prager is reading from in the above audio (video):

The Big Idea: California Is So Over: California’s drought and how it’s handled show just what kind of place the Golden State is becoming: feudal, super-affluent and with an impoverished interior.

….But since the 1970s, California’s water system has become the prisoner of politics and posturing. The great aqueducts connecting the population centers with the great Sierra snowpack are all products of an earlier era—the Los Angeles aqueduct (1913), Hetch-Hetchy (1923), the Central Valley Project (1937), and the California Aqueduct (1974). The primary opposition to expansion has been the green left, which rejects water storage projects as irrelevant.

Yet at the same time greens and their allies in academia and the mainstream pressare those most likely to see the current drought as part of a climate change-induced reduction in snowpack. That many scientists disagree with this assessment is almost beside the point. Whether climate change will make things better or worse is certainly an important concern, but California was going to have problems meeting its water needs under any circumstances.

It’s not like we haven’t been around this particular block before. In the 1860s, a severe drought all but destroyed LA’s once-flourishing cattle industry. This drought was followed by torrential rains that caused their own havoc. The state has suffered three major droughts since I have lived here—in the mid70s, the mid ’80s and again today—but long ago (even before I got there) some real whoppers occurred, including dry periods that lasted upwards of 200 years.

[….]

But ultimately the responsibility for California’s future lies with our political leadership, who need to develop the kind of typically bold approaches past generations have embraced. One step would be building new storage capacity, which Governor Jerry Brown, after opposing it for years, has begun to admit is necessary. Desalinization, widely used in the even more arid Middle East, notably Israel, has been blocked by environmental interests but could tap a virtually unlimited supply of the wet stuff, and lies close to the state’s most densely populated areas. Essentially the state could build enough desalinization facilities, and the energy plants to run them, for less money than Brown wants to spend on his high-speed choo-choo to nowhere. This piece of infrastructure is so irrelevant to the state’s needs that even many progressives, such as Mother JonesKevinDrum, consider it a “ridiculous” waste of money.

[….]

This fundamentally hypocritical regime remains in place because it works—for the powerful and well-placed. Less understandable is why many Hispanic politicians, such as Assembly Speaker Kevin de Leon, also prioritize “climate change” as his leading issue, without thinking much about how these policies might worsen the massive poverty in his de-industrializing L.A. district—until you realize that de Leon is bankrolled by Tom Steyer and others from the green uberclass.

So, in the end, we are producing a California that is the polar opposite of Pat Brown’s creation. True, it has some virtues: greener, cleaner, and more “progressive” on social issues. But it’s also becoming increasingly feudal, defined by a super-affluent coastal class and an increasingly impoverished interior. As water prices rise, and farms and lawns are abandoned, there’s little thought about how to create a better future for the bulk of Californians. Like medieval peasants, millions of Californians have been force to submit to the theology of our elected high priest and his acolytes, leaving behind any aspirations that the Golden State can work for them too.

(CBS) …The Sorek plant produces more than 165 million gallons of fresh water and accounts for more than 20 percent of Israel’s water consumption, according to Udi Tirosh, a director at IDE.

Factoring in several other desalination plants, an astonishing 50 percent of the country’s drinking water now comes directly from the ocean – an amount capable of supplying the entire city of Los Angeles.

Plant officials also say it offers some of the world’s cheapest desalinated water because of new technology and a series of engineering improvements that have cut down the massive energy normally required to transform seawater into fresh water.

Fountains that were once forced to dry up now are flowing again….

Another MUST READ excerpt by a really well written article is this one by Victor Davis Hanson:

Just as California’s freeways were designed to grow to meet increased traffic, the state’s vast water projects were engineered to expand with the population. Many assumed that the state would finish planned additions to the California State Water Project and its ancillaries. But in the 1960s and early 1970s, no one anticipated that the then-nascent environmental movement would one day go to court to stop most new dam construction, including the 14,000-acre Sites Reservoir on the Sacramento River near Maxwell; the Los Banos Grandes facility, along a section of the California Aqueduct in Merced County; and the Temperance Flat Reservoir, above Millerton Lake north of Fresno. Had the gigantic Klamath River diversion project not likewise been canceled in the 1970s, the resulting Aw Paw reservoir would have been the state’s largest man-made reservoir. At two-thirds the size of Lake Mead, it might have stored 15 million acre-feet of water, enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years. California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition. It was just as difficult to imagine that environmentalists would try to divert contracted irrigation and municipal water from already-established reservoirs. Yet they did just that, and subsequently moved to freeze California’s water-storage resources at 1970s capacities.

All the while, the Green activists remained blissfully unconcerned about the vast immigration into California from Latin America and Mexico that would help double the state’s population in just four decades, to 40 million. Had population growth remained static, perhaps California could have lived with partially finished water projects. The state might also have been able to restore the flow of scenic rivers from the mountains to the sea, maintained a robust agribusiness sector, and even survived a four-or-five-year drought. But if California continues to block new construction of the State Water Project as well as additions to local and federal water-storage infrastructure, officials must halve California’s population, or shut down the 5 million acres of irrigated crops on the Central Valley’s west side, or cut back municipal water usage in a way never before done in the United States.

Victor Davis Hanson, “The Scorching of California: How Green Extremists Made a Bad Drought Worse,” The City Journal, Winter 2015 (Vol 25, No. 1), 82.

Water Pipeline From The North? Greens Say NO

In a GREAT article over at HotAir to compliment my Victor Davis Hanson excerpts, we see that pipelines of water from Washington State have been nixed by the Eco-Fascists!

The United States, a vast nation of near unparalleled natural beauty, might have no more stunning an environment than that which characterizes the state of California.

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of taking a brief trip to the Bay Area where I sampled some of this landscape’s agricultural pleasures, many of which came in fermented form. The people were lovely and accommodating. The weather was near perfection. The scenery was positively inspiring. But the topic not far from every local’s lips was a worrying one. A debilitating drought that has forced Gov. Jerry Brown to impose draconian water usage restrictions on the public has many in that state genuinely fearing for the future of their erstwhile paradise.

During an Easter morning brunch, I sat across from a pair of middle-aged women who, despite their contentedness, fretted mightily over the perilous environmental challenges facing their state. While staring wistfully over the San Francisco Bay, one of these conversationalists bragged with mock humility about her involvement in The Cause. She noted that she eagerly devotes her time to virtually any organization with an ostensible environmental mission; Sierra Club, Green Peace, Earth First!, and what she claimed was the laudably litigious Earth Justice.

Turning again to the bay, this individual scolded the ill-defined villains whom she has devoted her life to combatting. Corporations, she said, which “only care about profit,” have devoted their time to dredging the bay from Oakland to Sausalito in order to capture every smelt in the ocean. This, she claimed, has driven the native seal population into decline and has forced seal mothers to abandon their seal children in search of the disappearing schools. It was a tragic premise upon which you might base a Disney film. But for all her environmental education, this individual lacked an understanding of public policy, the federal regulations governing smelt, or how this corresponds to her state’s water crisis.

There was a period when the various species of smelt native to California were over-fished, but that was a time largely prior to this fish’s protection by the Endangered Species Act in 1994. And while it would be overly simplistic to lay the entirety of the state’s water crisis at the feet of environmental regulations (In 2013, the state had its driest year on record followed by its third driest year in 2014), the plight of the smelt has led Sacramento and Washington D.C. to tragically mismanage one of the few natural resources in California that is not present in abundance: Water.

In 2014, National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke filed a dispatch from California’s Central Valley, an area that was once an agricultural hub and has now been reduced to a virtual dust bowl as a result of drought combined with severe and unnecessary resource mismanagement. That misallocation of resources is not the result of a frustrating tradeoff between the needs of Central Valley farmers and the desert-dwelling populations of Los Angeles and San Diego, but the eternally threatened smelt.

“In 2007, the pumps were turned down; the Delta’s water output was lowered dramatically, contingent now upon the interests of a fish; and the farms that rely on the system in order to grow their crops were thrown into veritable chaos,” Cooke wrote of the smelt-favoring anthropogenic water crisis. “Predictably, a man-made drought began.”

This is a classic tale of activist government run amok — and, too, of the peculiarly suicidal instincts that rich and educated societies exhibit when they reach maturity. Were its consequences not so hideously injurious, the details would be almost comical. As a direct result of the overwrought concern that a few well-connected interest groups and their political allies have displayed for a fish — and of a federal Endangered Species Act that is in need of serious revision — hundreds of billions of gallons of water that would in other areas have been sent to parched farmland have been diverted away from the Central Valley and deliberately pushed out under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Pacific Ocean, wasted forever, to the raucous applause of Luddites, misanthropes, and their powerful enablers. The later chapters of “The Decline and Fall of the United States” will make interesting reading.

Make no mistake: The rare, hard-done-by, and rightly protected manatee the Delta smelt is not. According to some estimates, there are no more than 3,000 manatees left in the United States, and, when left unchecked, human beings have had a nasty tendency to maim and kill them in the service of nothing more exalted than speedboating. By contrast, when the Great Smelt Freakout of 2007 began, there were 35,000 to well over 100,000 of the little buggers, depending on whom you ask. And yet the powers that be have seen fit to decree that no more than 305 of them may be killed in a given year. As an exasperated Harry Cline, of the Western Farm Press, put it in February 2012, last year “800,000 acre-feet of water went to waste based on the science of four buckets of minnows. That is enough water to produce crops on 200,000 acres or 10 million tons of tomatoes; 200 million boxes of lettuce; 20 million tons of grapes. You get the picture?”

The present crisis is not entirely California-based; Washington also plays a role. In December, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would have pumped water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta into Central and Southern California, but it died an unceremonious death in the Democrat-dominated Senate. If the measure had passed both chambers of Congress, President Barack Obama pledged to veto it. Why? Environmental groups feared the threat it posed to the smelt.

[….]

Fiorina is right. There is a man-made component to California’s resource crisis, and it is one that has the full support of many of the state’s environmentalist residents. Our well-meaning conservationist, who bemoaned the present state of affairs over brunch while comfortably overlooking one of the planet’s most endowed natural landscapes, cannot see that reality. For her, the perennially victimized smelt are a more pressing concern than the millions driven out of a man-made paradise by man’s folly.

…read it all!…

Victor Davis Hanson on the California Drought ~ City Journal

Just as California’s freeways were designed to grow to meet increased traffic, the state’s vast water projects were engineered to expand with the population. Many assumed that the state would finish planned additions to the California State Water Project and its ancillaries. But in the 1960s and early 1970s, no one anticipated that the then-nascent environmental movement would one day go to court to stop most new dam construction, including the 14,000-acre Sites Reservoir on the Sacramento River near Maxwell; the Los Banos Grandes facility, along a section of the California Aqueduct in Merced County; and the Temperance Flat Reservoir, above Millerton Lake north of Fresno. Had the gigantic Klamath River diversion project not likewise been canceled in the 1970s, the resulting Aw Paw reservoir would have been the state’s largest man-made reservoir. At two-thirds the size of Lake Mead, it might have stored 15 million acre-feet of water, enough to supply San Francisco for 30 years. California’s water-storage capacity would be nearly double what it is today had these plans come to fruition. It was just as difficult to imagine that environmentalists would try to divert contracted irrigation and municipal water from already-established reservoirs. Yet they did just that, and subsequently moved to freeze California’s water-storage resources at 1970s capacities.

All the while, the Green activists remained blissfully unconcerned about the vast immigration into California from Latin America and Mexico that would help double the state’s population in just four decades, to 40 million. Had population growth remained static, perhaps California could have lived with partially finished water projects. The state might also have been able to restore the flow of scenic rivers from the mountains to the sea, maintained a robust agribusiness sector, and even survived a four-or-five-year drought. But if California continues to block new construction of the State Water Project as well as additions to local and federal water-storage infrastructure, officials must halve California’s population, or shut down the 5 million acres of irrigated crops on the Central Valley’s west side, or cut back municipal water usage in a way never before done in the United States.

Victor Davis Hanson, “The Scorching of California: How Green Extremists Made a Bad Drought Worse,” The City Journal, Winter 2015 (Vol 25, No. 1), 82.

An Engineered Drought

California governor Jerry Brown had little choice but to issue a belated, state-wide mandate to reduce water usage by 25 percent. How such restrictions will affect Californians remains to be seen, given the Golden State’s wide diversity in geography, climate, water supply, and demography.

We do know two things. First, Brown and other Democratic leaders will never concede that their own opposition in the 1970s (when California had about half its present population) to the completion of state and federal water projects, along with their more recent allowance of massive water diversions for fish and river enhancement, left no margin for error in a state now home to 40 million people. Second, the mandated restrictions will bring home another truth as lawns die, pools empty, and boutique gardens shrivel in the coastal corridor from La Jolla to Berkeley: the very idea of a 20-million-person corridor along the narrow, scenic Pacific Ocean and adjoining foothills is just as unnatural as “big” agriculture’s Westside farming. The weather, climate, lifestyle, views, and culture of coastal living may all be spectacular, but the arid Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay-area megalopolises must rely on massive water transfers from the Sierra Nevada, Northern California, or out-of-state sources to support their unnatural ecosystems.

Now that no more reservoir water remains to divert to the Pacific Ocean, the exasperated Left is damning “corporate” agriculture (“Big Ag”) for “wasting” water on things like hundreds of thousands of acres of almonds and non-wine grapes. But the truth is that corporate giants like “Big Apple,” “Big Google,” and “Big Facebook” assume that their multimillion-person landscapes sit atop an aquifer. They don’t—at least, not one large enough to service their growing populations. Our California ancestors understood this; they saw, after the 1906 earthquake, that the dry hills of San Francisco and the adjoining peninsula could never rebuild without grabbing all the water possible from the distant Hetch Hetchy watershed. I have never met a Bay Area environmentalist or Silicon Valley grandee who didn’t drink or shower with water imported from a far distant water project.

The Bay Area remains almost completely reliant on ancient Hetch Hetchy water supplies from the distant Sierra Nevada, given the inability of groundwater pumping to service the Bay Area’s huge industrial and consumer demand for water. But after four years of drought, even Hetch Hetchy’s huge Sierra supplies have only about a year left, at best. Again, the California paradox: those who did the most to cancel water projects and divert reservoir water to pursue their reactionary nineteenth-century dreams of a scenic, depopulated, and fish-friendly environment enjoy lifestyles predicated entirely on the fragile early twentieth-century water projects of the sort they now condemn.

[….]

We’re suffering the ramifications of the “small is beautiful,” “spaceship earth” ideology of our cocooned elites. Californians have adopted the ancient peasant mentality of a limited good, in which various interests must fight it out for the always scarce scraps. Long ago we jettisoned the can-do visions of our agrarian forebears, who knew California far better than we do and trusted nature far less. Now, like good peasants, we are at one another’s throats for the last drops of a finite supply.

…read it all… (see also: The Scorching of California)

California, where cool coastal fog is perfect for growing standard broccoli, currently produces more than 90 percent of the broccoli grown in the United States. If California were to disappear, what would the American diet be like?

Expensive and grainy. California produces a sizable majority of many American fruits, vegetables, and nuts: 99 percent of artichokes, 99 percent of walnuts, 97 percent of kiwis, 97 percent of plums, 95 percent of celery, 95 percent of garlic, 89 percent of cauliflower, 71 percent of spinach, and 69 percent of carrots (and the list goes on and on). Some of this is due to climate and soil. No other state, or even a combination of states, can match California’s output per acre. Lemon yields in California, for example, are more than 50 percent higher than in Arizona. California spinach yield per acre is 60 percent higher than the national average.

Without California, supply of all these products in the United States and abroad would dip, and in the first few years, a few might be nearly impossible to find. Orchard-based products in particular, such as nuts and some fruits, would take many years to spring back…

(Slate)

A Tale of Four Droughts

Nature

The first California drought, of course, is natural. We are now in the midst of a fourth year of record low levels of snow and rain.

Californians have no idea that their state is a relatively recent construct — only 165 years old, with even less of a pedigree of accurate weather keeping. When Europeans arrived in California in the 15th and 16th centuries, they were struck by how few indigenous peoples lived in what seemed paradise — only to learn that the region was quite dry on the coast and in the interior…

[….]

Hubris

If one studies the literature on the history and agendas of the California State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project, two observations are clear. One, our ancestors brilliantly understood that Californians always would wish to work and live in the center and south of the state. They accepted that where 75% of the population wished to live, only 25% of the state’s precipitation fell. Two, therefore they designed huge transfer projects from Northern California that was wet and sparsely settled, southward to where the state was dry and populated. They assumed that northerners wanted less water and relief from flooding, and southerners more water and security from drought, and thus their duty was to accommodate both.

Nor were these plans ossified. Indeed, they were envisioned as expanding to meet inevitable population increases. The Temperance Flat, Los Banos Grandes, and Sites reservoirs were planned in wet years as safety deposits, once higher reservoirs emptied. As population grew larger, dams could be raised at Shasta and Oroville. Or huge third-phase reservoirs like the vast Ah Pah project on the Klamath River might ensure the state invulnerability from even 5-6 year droughts.

One can say what one wishes about the long ago cancelled huge Ah Pah project — what would have been the largest manmade reservoir project in California history — but its additional 15 million acre feet of water would be welcomed today. Perhaps such a vast project was mad. Perhaps it was insensitive to local environmental and cultural needs. Perhaps the costs were prohibitive — a fraction of what will be spent on the proposed high-speed rail project. Perhaps big farming would not pay enough of the construction costs. But one cannot say that its 15 million acre feet of water storage would not have been life-giving in a year like this…

[….]

One of the ironies of the current drought is that urbanites who cancelled these projects never made plans either to find more water or to curb population. Take the most progressive environmentalist in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and the likelihood is that his garden and bath water are the results of an engineering project of the sort he now opposes.

Fantasies

The state and federal water projects were envisioned as many things — flood control, hydroelectric generation, irrigation, and recreation. One agenda was not fish restoration. Perhaps it should have been. But our forefathers never envisioned building dams and reservoirs to store water to ensure year-round fish runs in our rivers — a mechanism to improve on the boom-and-bust cycle of nature, in which 19th century massive spring flooding was naturally followed by August and September low, muddy, or dry valley rivers.

Engineering alone could ensure an unnatural river, where flows could be adjusted all year long, almost every year, by calibrated releases from artificial lakes, ensuring about any sort of river salmon or delta bait fish population one desired. One may prefer catching a salmon near Fresno to having a $70 billion agricultural industry, but these days one cannot have both. Releasing water to the ocean in times of drought was not the intention of either the California State Water Project or the Central Valley Project…

[….]

Population

Even with drought, cancellations of dams, and diversions of contracted water to the ocean, California might well not have been imperiled by the present drought — had its population stayed at about 20 million when most of the water projects were cancelled in the mid-1970s. Unfortunately the state is now 40 million — and growing. Illegal immigration — half of all undocumented aliens live in California — has added millions to the state population. And agriculture is a key route for Mexican immigrants to reach the middle class. Either the state should insist on closing the borders and encourage emigration out of state to no-tax states (which is already happening at about the rate of 1000 to 2000 people per week), or it should build the infrastructure and create the job opportunities to accommodate newcomers in a semi-arid landscape. That would mean that the vast 4-6 million-acre west side of California’s Central Valley remains irrigated, and that there is continued water made available to a 500-mile dry coastal corridor to accommodate a huge influx of immigrants.

Is it liberal or illiberal to ensure that there will be no new water for a vast new San Jose south of San Jose, or that there will prohibitions on immigration and population growth that would halt a new San Jose? Perhaps the liberal position would be for Silicon Valley grandees to relocate to the wet and rainy Klamath River Basin, where it could grow without unnaturally imported water from the Sierra Nevada. In a truly eco-friendly state, Stanford and Berkeley would open new satellite campuses near the Oregon border to match people with water.

[….]

One reality we know does not work: deliberate retardation of infrastructure to discourage consumption and population growth, in the manner of Jerry Brown’s small-is-beautiful campaign of the 1970s. Ossifying the 99 and 101 freeways at 1960s levels did not discourage drivers from using them. It only ensured slower commute times, more fossil fuel emissions, and far more dangerous conditions, as more drivers fought for less driving space.

Not building dams and reservoirs did not mean fewer people would have water or food and thus would not keep coming to California, but only that there would be ever more competition — whether manifested in tapping further the falling aquifer or rationing residential usage — for shrinking supplies.

One theme characterizes California’s attitude about water. Liberal orthodoxy is never consistent. While it may be seen as progressive to champion river and delta restoration or to divert reservoir water for scenic and environmental use, or to discourage more development of agricultural acreage, the results in the real world are hardly liberal….

…read it all…

Decades To Prepare ~ California’s Lost Opportunities

A great article by Hot Air. This is the end of it… to read the entire thing, click through.

…Southern California has been in the process of running out of water for decades (if not longer) and the current drought is simply amplifying the effects and hastening the decline. I’ve been reading dire (and accurate) predictions about this issue for decades. Nearly twenty years ago there were cautionary tales coming out which discussed the fact that the region was essentially a desert when settlers began moving in and even the relatively small population in the nation’s early history already dwarfed the available natural water supplies. (This is from 1998, long before the current drought cycle.)

Not that we aren’t preoccupied with the issue of future water supplies for a good reason. In the LA Basin alone, we have approximately 6% of California’s habitable land but only .06% of the State’s stream flow — yet we hold over 45% of the State’s population. And if the population projections are to be believed, the entire southland is “scheduled” to grow from our current 16 million to over 24 million people. When policy questions are asked about whether Southern California can support this level of growth, the issue of greatest concern is not traffic or air quality or even quality of life, it is water. And the predominant question asked is “where will this water come from?”

Our water fears are not new. Since the pueblo days of Los Angeles, the lack of local water resources has been seen as the primary problem for the southland’s economic future. All plans for the development of the region have hinged around schemes to secure new water supplies — a fact recognized by Carey McWilliams, the pre-eminent historian of the southland, who wrote in 1946 that “God never intended Southern California to be anything but desert…Man has made it what it is.”

Going back to earlier in the last century, we find that the original reason that Hollywood voted to join the municipality of Los Angeles in 1910 was to gain access to their water rights. The area was already being drained by the growing population and would require later river diversions to feed the thirst of the area. The addition of a drought is a much harsher blow for an artificially created habitable zone.

But is the drought situation something new? Actually, not only the western portion of North America, but central and South America have apparently been experiencing these same cycles for as long as human beings have been around. One of the earliest recorded, but most massive examples was the curious disappearance of the million plus strong civilization of the Mayans more than a thousand years ago. What happened to them? Yep… a series of crippling, decade long droughts.

Identifying annual titanium levels, which reflect the amount of rainfall each year, the Swiss and U.S. researchers found that the pristine sediment layers in the basin formed distinct bands that correspond to dry and wet seasons. According to the scientists, there were three large droughts occurring between 810 and 910 A.D., each lasting less than a decade.

The timing of the droughts matched periodic downturns in the Maya culture, as demonstrated by abandonment of cities or diminished stone carving and building activity.

Experts say the Maya were particularly susceptible to long droughts because about 95 percent of their population centers depended solely on lakes, ponds, and rivers containing on average an 18-month supply of water for drinking and agriculture.

And according to the lake bed core samples they’ve taken, the drought which took out the Mayans wasn’t a one time event.

Scientists have found that the recurrence of the drought was remarkably cyclical, occurring every 208 years. That interval is almost identical to a known cycle in which the sun is at its most intense every 206 years. Nothing suggests the Maya knew anything about the sun’s change in intensity.

See? If only those pesky Mayans hadn’t been burning all of that coal and oil to power their dirty, industrial factories they’d probably still be down there today chopping out the hearts of their enemies. Ah… good times, my friends.