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Arnold Schwarzenegger

Schwarzenegger Brags on Government Reforms

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 08:49:49 AM PST

Arnold SchwarzeneggerFormer Governor speaks out on redistricting and top two reforms

by Brian Leubitz

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had his ups and downs as governor. He peaked That's not all that abnormal, but with him it was entirely predictable. When he went toward the middle/leftish, he was up. When he veered hard right, he went down. 2005 hard-right special election? Down. AB 32? Up. And, more relevant here, redistricting measures? Up. You can check his approval rating history here.

And so he's trying to craft his legacy around the government reforms that have largely been quite popular. He'll be speaking at USC this morning about redistricting and Top-2. Yesterday, he published an op-ed that lets us know which victory lap he'll be taking.

Many of us believed, and voters agreed, that the two reforms in combination would put California on a path toward breaking up gridlock and hyper-partisanship, and making government work better for our citizens.

We were basing our efforts on common sense and a commitment to putting people over politics. And now, the early results are starting to come in, and they show that these reforms are working.

In 2012, the top-two primary yielded 28 elections that, for the first time, pitted members of the same party against one another. Also, legislative districts that previously had been gerrymandered to protect politicians were no longer "safe" for one party or the other. ... This year's races could shake things up even more, as candidates for office are forced to appeal to all voters, not just the party bosses.(Arnold Shwarzenegger in SF Chronicle)

Now, I think he has a few fair points in the op-ed. I was a strong opponent of the redistricting system when it was on the ballot, both times actually. But I'm big enough to admit that I was wrong. The system was far more responsive to the needs and desires of the voters, rather than the legislators. The process was transparent as any we have seen, and the results were fair. Sure, there were some who were disappointed by the results, but a fair system was always likely to upset some of the entrenched apple carts.

But, as for top two, the system clearly has some big flaws. First, despite his claims that somehow the primary system allowed "party bosses" to choose, the primary system was made up of voters. There is no better example of this than the Tea Party, an insurgent force within the Republican party. How many times have we now seen the wishes of party bosses completely ignored at the ballot box? And let's face it, the "party bosses" are bosses in name only these days. The bosses are really the big independent expenditure funding campaigns. Where they go, eventually our politics follows.

But the bigger issue of Top 2 is the troubling results it can sometimes yield to triumphs of game theory over the desires of constituents. There is no better example of this than California's 31st district in 2012. In that election, two well-known Republicans ran against four less well known Democrats in a district with a 15+% Democratic registration advantage. In a relatively low turnout June primary, Democrats received 33,402 votes, and Republicans received 32,265 votes. Yet there was no Democrat on the ballot. This is a brilliant play for Republicans, they picked up a seat they wouldn't have had otherwise. But, in the end, a plurality of voters in the district did not have an option from their own party. How does that make sense?

Add in the very troubling impacts of Top 2 on third parties, and you have a muddled, confusing, and anti-democratic system that favors parties that game the system with tight party boss control. If your party boss can't impose discipline, you may end up with no candidates on the general election ballot.

Finally, with all of this, Schwarzenegger's stated purpose was to create a more "moderate" legislature. In California, that really meant a less progressive, more pro-corporate body. It is hard to deny that Schwarzenegger was at least somewhat successful on that front. Despite the 2/3 Democratic control, many of these Democrats moved the caucus to the right. Now, whether you value the goal of making the legislature more moderate could lead you to differing judgments on Gov. Schwarzenegger. One would hope that a chief goal of structural government reform is to create a legislature that fairly and accurately represents the constituents, but that was never Schwarzengger's thing. Sure, he had a flair for populist rhetoric, but drifted in other directions when in office.

Schwarzenegger will be talking to the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe, so you will likely be able to see snippets of the conversation on TV. But, from a Governor who finished with an approval rating around 20% in 2010, there is a lot of work left to fully rehabilitate his legacy that a flawed government reform like Top 2 can't address.

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Ten Years On: The Aftermath of the Recall

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Oct 07, 2013 at 08:56:27 AM PDT

Election Exacerbated Issues in the Capitol

by Brian Leubitz

In 2002, California reelected Gray Davis to a second term. His future was looking bright, and was considered a possible candidate for president in 2004. But, that all changed very quickly in 2003 as the Enron-manufactured electricity crisis combined with a few budget issues to create havoc in Sacramento.  Soon after the second inauguration, a recall petition gathered steam and then took off when (the farce that is) Darrell Issa dumped a bunch of money into the recall efforts.  

Issa was hoping for the spot himself, but he eventually gave way well before the election. The election itself was a mess and made the state the butt of jokes around the world. The list of candidates included a pornography star, a former MLB Commissioner, Gary Coleman, Arianna Huffington, and a slew of randoms that would never typically make the general  election ballot.

And of course one of those randoms that would never make the general election ballot was the man who became our governor for seven years. Arnold Schwarzenegger, though something of a celebrity Republican, would have severe difficulties getting through a Republican primary in California. While we have a progressive tilt overall, the GOP is just as crazy as any other state.

The immediate impact was clearly in the wrong direction for California, and brought us a slew of reactionary policies.  However, the Governator eventually realized that even he had limits with his beating at the 2005 special election.  At that point, it was easy to think that Arnold was a blip, and that perhaps the net result could be a more progressive governor in 2006. Alas, Phil Angelides was not that governor, nor even that candidate. Schwarzenegger won, but left himself in an increasingly difficult situation with his rhetoric, killing the chance to make any big substantive reform:

Although Schwarzenegger won reelection in 2006, by then the chance was probably gone. Indeed, it may have been gone from the first day, when he canceled the vehicle license fee increase Davis had approved, and thus enlarged the state's gaping budget deficit by $6 billion by the time he left office.

And in talking like anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist about "starving the monster" of government, and about how spending alone, not revenue, was the problem, he backed himself even further into a political corner. Neither could be solved without addressing the other. As for the rest of his governorship, it was mostly showmanship and glitz.(Peter Schrag @LAT)

Schrag points to the non-partian reforms (redistricting, top-2, etc) and Gov. Jerry Brown's election in 2010 with his "restrained approach" as the reason for our bounceback from the crisis. And perhaps that is true, but that debate will linger on to let history decide. But what is clearly true is that the 2003 recall was nothing but a temporary blip that brought us the Governator, but left us with very little real reform.

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Coalition tells Salazar peripheral canal is 'enormous mistake'

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 18:05:28 PM PDT

Restore the Delta today released a powerfully-worded letter from 38 environmental, fishing, consumer, Native American and other groups alerting U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of the enormous environmental and economic perils posed by the Obama administration's support of the peripheral canal or tunnel.

The groups said the administration is "poised to make an enormous mistake...and potentially drag the American people along with it," by backing "construction of a world-record-size tunnel or pipes capable of diverting 15,000 cubic feet per second from the Sacramento River - nearly all of its average freshwater flow."

The broad coalition sounded the alarm after the Brown Administration informed them that the State intends to proceed with construction of a peripheral canal or tunnel that the groups say "would have devastating ecological impacts."

In an interview with Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning" May 18, Governor Jerry Brown called for tax hikes to bring down a budget deficit of nearly $16 billion - while promoting the construction of a budget-busting peripheral canal or tunnel. Brown's estimated the cost of the canal at $14 billion, up from the "over $10 billion" estimate he made in January, but well below the actual costs of the canal cited by Delta advocates.

"The $20 to $50 billion dollar, highly controversial project will primarily serve to deliver Sacramento River water, through State and Federal pumps, to provide subsidized irrigation water to corporate agricultural operations of the western San Joaquin Valley," according to a statement from Restore the Delta.

The letter is noteworthy in placing on record a powerful, diverse coalition that could delay or defeat the proposed water-export project. The Sierra Club California, Environmental Water Caucus, Friends of the River, California Water Impact Network, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Golden Gate Salmon Association, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Food and Water Watch, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, the Planning and Conservation League, the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water and dozens of other groups signed the letter.

"The Department of the Interior has a duty to protect the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast of the Americas," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. "Diverting its largest fresh water source through a pipe or tunnel will destroy this amazing tapestry of fisheries and family farms."

Barrigan-Parrilla emphasized, "Supporting the State of California in its aim of building a $51 billion canal or tunnel and then figuring out how to operate it later simply cannot be defended in the eyes of the public. Restore the Delta calls on Secretary Salazar to do the right thing and to ensure that the public trust is protected."

In the letter, the groups urged, "We urge you to reject these unsustainable water demands and their high public costs, and instead invest in more efficient use of our scarce water resources through cost-effective water conservation and recycling. This will not only protect the pocket books of millions of California ratepayers and U.S. taxpayers, but will help ensure that legally-required salmon doubling goals, estuary restoration, and public trust values are honored for future generations."

"The planning for California's water future must return to a lawful, science-based, inclusive, and transparent process. The San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary must not be stripped of the freshwater flows upon which so many vital public trust resources and West Coast communities depend. From its inception, this plan has been crafted by, and for, South-of-Delta exporters. They have used their economic power to influence and rush this half-baked, multi-billion dollar water tunnel," the groups stated.

Winnemem Wintu Tribe: canal will cause environmental destruction

"The peripheral canal will only cause more destruction," said Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. "Our efforts should be instead focused on cleaning up the water to the point where we can drink the water in our rivers and streams."

"The common people will pay for the canal and a few people will make millions," Sisk told me during the Tribe's recent War Dance on the McCloud River. "It will turn a once pristine water way into a sewer pipe. It will be all bad for the fish, the ocean and the people of California."

The Tribe is currently fighting to stop a federal plan to raise Shasta Dam - a project designed in conjunction with the peripheral canal to export more Delta water to corporate agribusiness and Southern California. They are also engaged in a struggle to pressure the U.S. Forest Service to close a 400 yard section of the McLoud River so they can hold a Coming of Age Ceremony at the end of the month.

In addition, the Tribe is working to re-introduce winter Chinook salmon, now thriving in the Rakaira River in New Zealand, to the McCloud River above Shasta Dam.

Delta advocates believe the construction of the canal or tunnel will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, Sacramento splittail and other fish species, based on the current science.

"The idea that you're going to commit to building a $50 billion tunnel around the Delta that current science demonstrates won't protect the estuary, and only later revise the science, develop assurances and decide how to operate it simply doesn't pass the smell test," said Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and Board Member of the California Water Impact Network. "You can bathe this pig in perfume and apply lipstick, but it still won't fly."

The complete letter is posted here: http://www.restorethedelta.org/

Restore the Delta is a 7000-member grassroots organization committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. http://www.restorethedelta.org.

For more information, contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546 steve [at] hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 barbara [at] restorethedelta.org; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

For more information about the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, go to: http://www.winnememwintu.us

Resnicks contributed $99,000 to Jerry Brown's campaign

It is no surprise that Brown is pushing so hard for the construction of the canal, since one of Brown's biggest campaign contributors is Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaire agribusiness tycoon who owns Paramount Farms in Kern County.

Resnick is a big advocate of the canal and increased water exports from the Delta - and has waged a relentless campaign to exterminate striped bass and to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt and other species. Resnick is notorious for selling subsidized water back to the public at a tidy profit.

Resnick and his wife Lynda contributed $99,000 to Jerry Brown's 2010 campaign (http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/brown-and-whitmans-contributions-glance-5779?appSession=772187602630348).

"It's ironic that the Resnicks, among California's wealthiest 1 percent, contributed $99,000, since it's the 99 percent that will pay for the peripheral canal," said Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director at Food & Water Watch.

The Resnicks are known not only for their inordinate influence over California water politics, but their deceptive business practices. An administrative law judge recently upheld a Federal Trade Commission ruling that the Resnicks engaged in deceptive claims promoting pomegranate benefits.

The FTC ruled that POM Wonderful LLC, its sister corporation Roll Global LLC, and principals Stewart Resnick, Lynda Resnick, and Matthew Tupper violated federal law by making deceptive claims in some advertisements that their POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements "would treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction."(http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=21104

For more information on the Resnicks' contributions to political campaigns, go to: http://blogs.alternet.org/danb...

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Latest shenanigans in Brown's campaign to drain the Delta exposed!

by: Dan Bacher

Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 12:48:05 PM PDT

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, on May 29 reported on the "latest shenanigans" in Governor Jerry Brown's campaign to build the peripheral canal or tunnel to export more Delta water to corporate agribusiness and Southern California - and to drain the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.

"By now, we all know that Governor Brown will soon announce a plan to build a tunnel under the Delta and worry about habitat later," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), on which $250 million has already been spent, is trailing along behind, with the document itself and an environmental impact report to be published in September."

She said the Metropolitan Water District staff told the MWD board that choice of whether to build a canal, and how big, was going to have to be a policy decision made by Brown, Resources Secretary John Laird, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

"They said the science was just too uncertain: How can we know what the environment will look like in 12 years?" noted Barrigan Parrilla.

She countered that we actually do have a "pretty good" idea of how much water the Delta will need.

"Almost 2 years ago, in July 2010, the Water Board published flow criteria for healthy habitat for fish. Exporters just don't like what the Water Board recommended," she quipped.

Commission supports Brown propose to make DSC a state agency

In more bad news for the Delta, the Little Hoover Commission recommended that the Legislature approve Governor Brown's proposal to move the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) under the umbrella of the Natural Resources Agency. "They call for preserving the independence and credibility of the DSC, but the change will make it just another state agency," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

Then on May 25, Assembly member Bill Berryhill's bill sensibly calling for an independent cost-benefit analysis of the tunnel project failed to clear the Assembly Appropriations Committee, under pressure by corporate agribusiness and Southern California water agencies.

"That's probably because the chair of the Appropriations Committee is Southern California Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes," she said. "Nothing gets out of Appropriations if the Chair doesn't put it forward."

No Surprise: The final draft of the Delta Plan is missing language requested by in-Delta interests that would allow Delta reclamation districts to continue maintaining Delta levees without being subject to "covered actions" requirements.

"When this omission was called to their attention, staff agreed to put the language in, but only for levee maintenance at the most basic level. No real improvements are allowed," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

Finally, at a Delta Science Program Brown Bag lunch meeting last week, Dr. Adrian Vogl of the Natural Capital Project at The Nature Conservancy, a corporate "environmental" NGO that steadfastly backs the canal and other adventures in greenwashing, made a presentation on prioritizing conservation and assessing trade-offs in ecosystem services across landscapes.

"This is done with modeling, and it could be used against farming and for fallowing or habitat. So we'll need to keep an eye on that," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

Bechtel Foundation funds yet another PPIC water event

Barrigan-Parrilla also reported on two upcoming events regarding the Delta and California water.

On June 5, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) will hold one of its periodic "Ask-the-Folks-Who'll-Give-You-the-Answers-You-Want" events funded by S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation. The event coincides with the release of a new report, Water and the California Economy.

The Bechtel Foundation, along with the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, has funded many of the PPIC's past studies promoting the construction of a peripheral canal or tunnel. Resources Legacy and the Packard Foundation are also the main funders of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create questionable "marine protected areas" along the California coast.

Included on the agenda are Reducing Vulnerability to Water Supply Interruptions, Improving Flexibility through Water Marketing and Banking (with a panelist from Paramount Farming Company, owned by billionaire agribusiness tycoon Stewart Resnick), and Filling Funding Gaps.

And on June 6, Barrigan-Parrilla said the Delta Vision Foundations will release its 2012 "Delta Vision Report Card" and present it at a meeting at the California Chamber of Commerce in Sacramento. The event starts at 9:30 a.m., and there will be a panel discussion with State and Federal agencies and stakeholders from 10:00 to noon.

"It will be interesting to see what the Delta Vision Foundation thinks about the way things are unfolding," she commented.

For more information, go to http://www.restorethedelta.org

Salmon Water Now begins new video series on canal

The persistent push to build a peripheral canal continues to amaze.

"Why? Because In spite of California's budget mess, the Brown administration seems intent on going forward with the plan to move the Sacramento River around the Delta," said Bruce Tokars of Salmon Water Now. "It would be a massive engineering project estimated to cost $14 to $40 billion dollars."

Reason & Realties (5:35) is the first video in a continuing series on the Peripheral Canal from Salmon Water Now.

"There is a growing understanding that the project is bad for the environment and bad for California's fiscal health," said Tokars. "We'll leave it to those who think it's a good idea to try and justify it. There are good reasons why voters, decades ago, refused to fund and build a peripheral canal."

This video looks at the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), which has become the method to make the Peripheral Canal a reality. "We include a few short clips from a 1982 Metropolitan Water District slide show in support of a YES vote for the canal, as an added bonus," he stated.

"It's time be reasonable about California's water challenges, and fiscal realities. We're going to keep using video to make the case," Tokars concluded.

Here's the first one:

Reasons & Realities (5:35)

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/42892191

http://www.salmonwaternow.org

Resnicks contributed $99,000 to Jerry Brown's campaign

It is no surprise that Brown is pushing so hard for the construction of the canal, since one of Brown's biggest campaign contributors is Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaire agribusiness tycoon who owns Paramount Farms in Kern County.

Resnick is a big advocate of the canal and increased water exports from the Delta - and has waged a relentless campaign to exterminate striped bass and to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt and other species. Resnick is notorious for selling subsidized water back to the public at a tidy profit.

Resnick and his wife Lynda contributed $99,000 to Jerry Brown's 2010 campaign (http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/brown-and-whitmans-contributions-glance-5779?appSession=772187602630348).

"It's ironic that the Resnicks, among California's wealthiest 1 percent, contributed $99,000, since it's the 99 percent that will pay for the peripheral canal," said Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director at Food & Water Watch.

The Resnicks are known not only for their inordinate influence over California water politics, but their deceptive business practices. An administrative law judge recently upheld a Federal Trade Commission ruling that the Resnicks engaged in deceptive claims promoting pomegranate benefits.

The FTC ruled that POM Wonderful LLC, its sister corporation Roll Global LLC, and principals Stewart Resnick, Lynda Resnick, and Matthew Tupper violated federal law by making deceptive claims in some advertisements that their POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements "would treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction."(http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=21104

For more information on the Resnicks' contributions to political campaigns, go to: http://blogs.alternet.org/danb...  

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Delta group says levees are better investment than peripheral canal

by: Dan Bacher

Wed May 02, 2012 at 11:52:39 AM PDT

In conjunction with the Delta Levees Standards Conference being held today in Sacramento, Restore the Delta proposed that Delta levees be upgraded as part of any Bay-Delta water solution - and emphasized that they are a much better investment than building a peripheral canal or tunnel.

The conference, sponsored by the Delta Protection Commission and Water Education Foundation, takes place at Woodlake Hotel at 500 Leisure Lane, Sacramento.

"Fat, robust levees protect the Delta," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. "An emergency preparedness plan against the greatest threat - flood - is also needed. But floods can be managed."

"We are well-positioned to deal with sea level rise - we can raise levees one to two inches per year," she noted.

Barrigan-Parrilla said levee improvements will be needed, regardless whether or not the state decides to build a peripheral canal or tunnel.

"The $1-2 billion investment is necessary to protect $20 billion in infrastructure in the Delta and 4 million urban residents," she stated. "Fattening the levees would still have to be completed, even if a canal were built. A canal won't protect state highways, natural gas pipelines, PG&E transmission lines, railroads, East Bay MUD pipes and other key infrastructure threatened by a flood."

She also said countered the argument, constantly brought up by canal proponents, that the conveyance needs to be built to counter the "catastrophic" threat of earthquakes.

"Earthquake threat to the Delta - with the Hayward Fault 45 miles away - is minimal, according to levee expert Dr. Bob Pyke, but the State Water Project and Central Valley Project cross right over some of the most dangerous faults in California from Coalinga south to LA. Large engineered projects are more vulnerable to earthquake then Delta levees," stated Barrigan-Parrilla.

Barrigan-Parrilla said funding exists for levee improvements in Prop 1E, and needs to be spent accordingly.

She also said the Department of Water Resources is proposing a lesser standard for levee protection than the higher safety standard developed by the Army Corps of Engineers (PL 84-99). "The Army Corps of Engineers' levee standard is the same higher standard found in the Economic Sustainability Plan authored by the Delta Protection Commission earlier this year," noted Barrigan-Parrilla.

"It is problematic that the Department of Water Resources is actually proposing a weaker standard for Delta protection while promoting new conveyance," she concluded. "Today's conference is an opportunity to highlight the differences between the two standards and to discuss the role that levees play in water exports, habitat for the ecosystem, and public safety for the people in the Delta and the urban periphery of the Delta."

Supporters of the conference include ATKINS, the Central Delta Water Agency, Contra Costa Water District, Kjeldsen, Sinnock & Neudeck, Inc., MBK Engineers, South Delta Water Agency, The Dutra Group, The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Planning and Conservation League.

According to an announcement by the conference organizers, the conference features "a lively discussion about Delta levee standards - the differences between the Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) Standard and the PL 84-99 Standard and what that means for Delta conveyance, habitat and public safety."

Perspectives on the standards related to these areas will be presented by California Department of Water Resources officials, in-Delta residents and water agencies, and the Army Corps of Engineers. A seven-member response panel will then have its say.

While the inclusion of Delta residents on the panels is a promising move by the conference sponsors, the absence of any representatives from California Indian Tribes or recreational and commercial fishing groups on the conference panels is in my opinion a glaring omission, since these communities are among those most directly impacted by plans to build a peripheral canal.

A coalition of Delta residents, Indian Tribes, fishermen, family farmers, grassroots environmentalists, Southern California ratepayers and elected officials is opposed to the construction of the peripheral canal because of its enormous cost and the grave threat it poses to the Delta ecosystem. Delta advocates believe the canal, by exporting more Delta water to corporate agribusiness and southern California, will hasten the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, Sacramento splittail, green sturgeon and other fish species.

For the conference agenda, go to: http://www.watereducation.org/...

For information about Restore the Delta, go to http://www.restorethedelta.org.  

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Delta Region Unites Against H.R. 1837

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 09:57:38 AM PST

Organizations throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta region have united against a horrible piece of legislation that would upend water rights in California, gut protections for imperiled Central Valley salmon and Delta fish populations, and halt a historic plan to restore salmon to the San Joaquin River.

According to a news release from Restore the Delta, sixteen Delta-region environmental, business, and municipal organizations have signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner voicing strong opposition to H.R. 1837, "The San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act," sponsored by south San Joaquin Valley Congressman Devin Nunes and scheduled to be heard by the House on February 29. (http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1102037578231-134/Sign on+Letter+to+Speaker+Boehner+opposing+HR+1837.pdf)

Opponents have also written to area congressional representatives Tom McClintock and Jeff Denham, both of whom support the measure, a water grab by the Corporate Welfare Kings of the San Joaquin Valley.

"The environmental community, fishing groups, and the Building Industry Association of the Delta all recognize how dangerous this bill is," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. "It would strip away 150 years of water rights law and public trust protections in California."

H.R. 1837 would relax water pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. These restrictions have been the last line of defense for protecting water quality for Delta farming and urban users.

"The bill would create a new system that would give a handful of southern San Joaquin Valley corporate farmers all the water they want at any time at the expense of Delta farmers, urban communities, and fisheries," she added.

Co-signers of Restore the Delta's opposition letter include the California Striped Bass Association, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, the California Delta Chambers and Visitors Bureau, the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, and the City of Stockton.

A huge, diverse coalition of 190 environmental, environmental justice, tribal and fishing organizations from around the state also sent comments in opposition to H.R. 1837 to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. California Indian Tribes opposing the legislation include the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Karuk Tribe and Modoc Nation. (http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1102037578231-135/HR+1837+Opposition+Letter+Final.pdf)

"It is rare for so many diverse groups to be on the same page about an issue," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "That's a clear indication of just how bad this bill is."

Supporters of big government subsidies and corporate welfare for rich agribusiness interests, including the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, California Water Alliance and the Family Farm Alliance, are backing HR 1837.

"Organizations from across the country are calling for passage of H.R. 1837, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, legislation to prevent future California man-made droughts," claimed a press release from Nunes' office. "This comprehensive solution will bring water supply certainty to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, protect 30,000 jobs, generate millions in federal revenue, and decrease reliance on foreign food sources."

At the same time Nunes, McClintock and Denham are attempting to ramrod HR 1837 through the House, the Obama and Brown administrations are fast-tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral canal.

If built, the canal would lead to the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, Sacramento splittail, green sturgeon and southern resident killer whales. The canal would also result in the eradication of striped bass, now officially classified as a native species by the California Fish and Game Commission.

For more information, contact: Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Phone (209) 479-2053, Restore the Delta, 10100 Trinity Pkwy, Suite 120, Stockton, CA 95219, Email: Barbara [at] restorethedelta.org, http://restorethedelta.org.

To send a quick letter in opposition to HR 1837, go to: http://www.friendsoftheriver.o

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Delta advocates blast flaws in tainted PPIC report

by: Dan Bacher

Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 14:41:10 PM PST

Restore the Delta is challenging the accuracy and value of the Public Policy Institute's controversial "report" on the Delta, "Transitions for the Delta Economy," funded by the Stephen Bechtel Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund and David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

In the report's summary, the Public Policy Institute (PPIC) proclaimed, "Enormous changes-from natural forces to management decisions-are coming to California's fragile Delta region and will have broad effects on its residents. This report finds that in the first half of this century, the Delta as a whole is likely to experience a loss of 1 percent of economic activity as a result of these changes. It also identifies planning priorities for managing the Delta's future."

The full report is available at http://www.ppic.org/content/pu...

After reviewing the report, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta (http://restorethedelta.org), commented, "It is disheartening that the report fails to fully and properly analyze Delta water quality, current project proposals, and the real Delta economy."

Barrigan-Parrilla emphasized that the PPIC report assumes that the new "dual conveyance" system, more commonly known to Californians as the peripheral canal/tunnel, will only divert 4.9 million acre feet of Delta water, despite the reality that water contractors will have difficulty justifying the sale of billions of dollars in new revenue bonds to finance the project if they are going to receive a significant smaller share of Delta water.

Conner Everts with the Southern California Watershed Alliance noted, "Southern California rate payers cannot afford to pay more and more to Metropolitan Water District for an unsustainable water supply. Regional self sufficiency, which can be achieved through conservation, storm water and reuse projects, is a much more affordable way to make more water for Southern California water users."

Restore the Delta policy analyst Jane Wagner-Tyack quipped, "The report is so out of touch with reality that it actually places the new Stockton water supply project under water because the authors have decided that the way to fix the Delta is to permanently flood it. By depriving Stockton of a water supply, it seems that someone has made a decision to relocate the Delta's largest urban population of 300,000 residents somewhere else."

Barrigan-Parrilla said that despite multiple attempts by Delta water agency representatives, Delta engineers, levee experts trained at other renowned universities, economists, and Delta advocates, the authors of the PPIC reports on the Delta have rebuffed attempts to incorporate local input into their research. The report's writers are Josué Medellín-Azuara, Ellen Hanak, Richard Howitt, and Jay Lund, with research support from Molly Ferrell, Katherine Kramer, Michelle Lent, Davin Reed, and Elizabeth Stryjewski.

"The PPIC models regarding salinity changes in the Delta and how such changes would alter our economy are flawed," Barrigan-Parrilla concluded. "If people in California want to know the real value of the Delta economy presently and how exporting water could destroy it, they should read the Economic Sustainability Plan recently published by the Delta Protection Commission - a rigorously reviewed document produced by experts who know the Delta best."

PPIC tries to hide funding by Bechtel, Packard and Resources Legacy

Barrigan-Parrilla noted that while the cover states the report was funded by The Watershed Science Center at UC Davis, page 62 of the report explains that the study was paid for by the Delta Solutions program funders, that once again includes the Stephen Bechtel Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

"So it seems this time rather than checks going directly to PPIC from these pro peripheral canal foundations, checks floated through the University and then to UC Davis," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "Restore the Delta believes this is a worsening scenario because the average person will simply believe that the study was financed by an unbiased educational institution without a hidden agenda. And if there is nothing to hide, then why aren't the funders on the cover?

According to the Bechtel Foundation's website (http://www.sdbjrfoundation.org), "Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. created the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation in 1957 to improve the quality of life for Californians by addressing selected issues that challenge the health and prosperity of the state. In addition to his leadership of the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Stephen Bechtel Fund, Mr. Bechtel is Chairman Retired and a Director of Bechtel Group, Inc."

The Brown and Obama administrations are currently fast-tracking Arnold Schwarzenegger's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build a peripheral canal in order to export more Delta water to southern California and corporate agribusiness on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. Delta advocates believe the construction of peripheral canal or tunnel would result in the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other imperiled fish species.

Do PPIC's authors live in a parallel universe?

The PPIC report's assumption that the new peripheral canal/tunnel will only divert 4.9 million acre feet of Delta water is mind boggling, considering that exports from the Delta have reached record levels well over 4.9 million acre feet annually over the past 10 years. The Brown and Obama administrations exported a record amount of water from the Delta in 2011.

The annual export total, including water diverted by the Contra Costa Canal and North Bay Aqueduct, was 6,633,000 acre-feet in 2011 - 163,000 acre-feet more than the previous record of 6,470,000 acre-feet set in 2005, according to DWR data. The annual export total, excluding water diverted by the Contra Costa Canal and North Bay Aqueduct, was 6,520,000 acre-feet in 2011 - 217,000 acre-feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre-feet set in 2005.

Are we to believe that the state water contractors are going to agree to the building of an enormously expensive peripheral canal that would actually divert less water from the Delta than the record levels that were delivered to southern California and San Joaquin Valley agribusiness in 2011? The PPIC report authors apparently live in a parallel universe devoid of science, logic and facts.

The record pumping from the Delta in 2011 - used to fill billionaire Stewart Resnick's Kern Water Bank and southern California reservoirs - resulted in a huge, unprecedented fish kill at the Delta pumps. Agency staff "salvaged" a total of 11,158,025 fish in the Delta water pumping facilities between January 1 and September 7, 2011 alone. Scientists estimate that the actual amount of fish lost in the pumps is 5 to 10 times the "salvage" numbers.

A horrific 8,985,009 Sacramento splittail, the largest number ever recorded, were "salvaged" during this period. The previous record salvage number for the splittail, a native minnow found only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system, was 5.5 million in 2006.

There is no doubt that the Brown administration has eclipsed the Schwarzenegger administration's abysmal environmental legacy by exporting a record amount of water from the Delta and killing record numbers of fish in the Delta pumps in 2011.

The MLPA/peripheral canal connection

Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird are not only continuing Schwarzenegger's mad drive to build a peripheral canal, but they have forged ahead with Schwarzenegger's privately funded Marine Life Protection Act" (MLPA) Initiative. The initiative is a corrupt process, overseen by a big oil lobbyist, marina developer, coastal real estate executive, agribusiness hack and other corporate operatives with many conflicts of interest, that creates so-called "marine protected areas" on the California coast.

And guess who is funding the MLPA fiasco? The Resources Legacy Fund and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, two of the three funders of the recent PPIC report promoting the construction of the peripheral canal, are also funding the MLPA Initiative! The initiative creates "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from oil spills and drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture, wave and wind energy projects and all other human impacts on the ocean than fishing and gathering.

In one of the most overt conflicts of interest in California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the "august body" that designed the "marine protected areas" that went into effect on the Southern California Coast on January 1. Reheis-Boyd, a big oil industry lobbyist advocating for new offshore drilling off the California coast, the Keystone XL pipeline and the gutting of environmental laws, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, as well as "serving" on the North Central Coast and North Coast Task Forces.

The Packard Foundation and four other "non-profits" donated a total of $20 million to fund the MLPA Initiative. The Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, a shadowy organization that North Coast environmental leader John Lewallen describes as a "money laundering operation" for corporate money, received the funds from these foundations to implement the unpopular MLPA process.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation contributed $8.2 million to fund the MLPA process. Julie E. Packard, the executive director and founder of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the foundation.

The Laguna Beach-based Marisla Foundation, founded by Getty Oil heiress Anne Getty Earhart, gave $3 million over several years. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation donated $7.4 million, the Keith Campbell Foundation contributed $1.2 million and the Annenberg Foundation contributed $200,000.

All of this money was dumped into the Resources Legacy Foundation to kick recreational anglers, commercial fishermen and seaweed gatherers, the most vocal advocates of fishery restoration and true environmental protection and the most fervent opponents of the peripheral canal, off the water in a disgusting case of corporate greenwashing. (http://blogs.alternet.org/danbacher/2011/02/18/the-corporate-money-behind-the-mlpa-initiative)
 

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Actor Ed Begley Jr. Narrates Restore the Delta Documentary

by: Dan Bacher

Tue Jan 10, 2012 at 20:34:30 PM PST

Ed Begley Jr., a renowned actor and environmental advocate, will narrate Restore the Delta's groundbreaking documentary film Over Troubled Waters.

"The story of the Delta as told by Delta locals is a must-see for all Californians," said Mr. Begley, working with Media Creations, a regional production company.

"We need to know why this area is worthy of protection. It is a hidden treasure, and with enough water it is a place where fisheries and sustainable agriculture can thrive together once again," said Begley.

Begley's role in the film was announced as the Brown and Obama administrations are fast-tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral canal. Delta advocates oppose the peripheral canal's construction because it would likely result in the extinction of imperiled Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and Sacramento splittail populations.

Ed Begley Jr., a veteran stage, television, and film performer, first came to public attention for his portrayal of Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the long-running hit television series St. Elsewhere, for which he received six Emmy nominations. A few of his feature film credits include Batman Forever, The Accidental Tourist, The In-Laws, and most recently Pineapple Express (a movie that I loved!)

"Having served as the past chair of the Environmental Media Association, Mr. Begley's response to pressing environmental issues is one of action and engagement personally and publicly," according to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.

A winner of several environmental awards from national and regional conservation groups, Ed Begley Jr. has endorsed Restore the Delta's work and mission.

"While I am a resident of Southern California, I support the work of Restore the Delta, a broad coalition of Delta residents, farmers, environmentalists, concerned citizens, and business people from throughout California," said Begley. "Restore the Delta is a grassroots organization that advocates for adequate water flows into the Pacific Coast's largest estuary - the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta."

"Restore the Delta is fighting to protect the primary nursery for California's coastal fisheries, including salmon fisheries that support the food chain for Orca whales. Restore the Delta is also fighting to protect water needed by thousands of small family farmers within the Delta - including some of California's oldest farming families who helped to build this state," stated Begley.

Begley emphasized that over the last thirty years, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a once thriving ecosystem that sustains salmon and other fish populations up and down the California Coast, has been in steady decline.

"One of the main causes of the Delta's decline has been the excessive export of water to other areas in the state," he explained. "A great deal of this water has been sent to large-scale corporate agribusiness on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and in Kern County. But this part of the story regarding the Delta's decline is often overlooked by mainstream media."

As a Southern California resident, Begley noted that there are "many potential programs and resources" that can be put into place to increase their water supply reliability while reducing their dependence on water taken out of the Delta - and he pointed to his own personal efforts to conserve water.

"At my home, I have installed catchment basins so that I can collect rain water each winter for reuse in my garden throughout the year. But we also need to support larger scale water conservation and recycling programs that will enable us to have the water that we need while protecting one of California's most important ecosystems," Begley added.

Over Troubled Waters, the story of the Delta told by Delta locals, is scheduled for release in Spring, 2012. "This project has been initially endorsed by over a dozen individuals and groups, spanning from John McCrae with the rock group CAKE to Congressional representatives, from California legislators to Delta business leaders, and from professional fishermen to regional musicians," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

For more details on Cake's endorsement of Restore the Delta, go to my article in the Sacramento News and Review: http://www.newsreview.com/sacr...

To see the endorsements and learn more about Over Troubled Waters visit http://overtroubledwaters.org/... Staff with Restore the Delta and Media Creations are available for interviews. For more information, contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 10100 Trinity Pkwy, Suite 120, Stockton, CA 95219, Email: Barbara [at] Restorethedelta.org, Phone:209-479-2053

2011: a record year for water exports and fish kills

The announcement by Restore the Delta follows a record year for Delta water exports. The annual export total, including water diverted by the Contra Costa Canal and North Bay Aqueduct, was 6,633,000 acre-feet in 2011 - 163,000 acre-feet more than the previous record of 6,470,000 acre-feet set in 2005, according to DWR data.

The annual export total, excluding water diverted by the Contra Costa Canal and North Bay Aqueduct, was 6,520,000 acre-feet in 2011 - 217,000 acre-feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre-feet set in 2005.

The record pumping from the Delta - used to fill the Stewart Resnick-controlled Kern Water Bank and southern California reservoirs - resulted in a huge, unprecedented fish kill at the Delta pumps in 2011. Agency staff "salvaged" a total of 11,158,025 fish in the Delta water pumping facilities between January 1 and September 7, 2011 alone.

A horrific 8,985,009 Sacramento splittail, the largest number ever recorded, were "salvaged" during this period, according to DFG data. The previous record salvage number for the splittail, a native minnow found only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system, was 5.5 million in 2006.

The fish "salvaged" at the "death pumps" of the state and federal water projects also include hundreds of thousands of threadfin shad, striped bass, American shad, white catfish and other species. DFG data reveals that 742,850 threadfin shad, 514,921 American shad, 496,601 striped bass and 100,373 white catfish were "salvaged" between January 1 and September 7 of this year.

Agency staff also "salvaged" 35,560 Sacramento River spring run and fall run chinooks, 1,642 Central Valley steelhead and 14 green sturgeon in the project facilities during the same period.

Although the salvage counts are certainly alarming, the overall loss of fish in and around the State Water Project and Central Valley Project facilities is believed to be much greater than the salvage counts. The actual loss could be 5 to 10 times the salvage numbers, according to "A Review of Delta Fish Population Losses from Pumping Operations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta," prepared by Larry Walker Associates in January 2010 for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (http://www.srcsd.com/pdf/dd/fishlosses.pdf).

At the same time Governor Jerry Brown and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird are forging ahead with the plan to build the peripheral canal after a year of record fish kills and water exports, they are continuing Arnold Schwarzenegger's privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, a process overseen by a big oil industry lobbyist, marina developer, coastal real estate executive, agribusiness hack and other corporate operatives with numerous conflicts of interest.

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Schwarzenegger statues should celebrate his 'green' legacy as governor

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 15:24:50 PM PDT

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has personally commissioned at least three statues of himself that depict the star of Terminator, Predator and other action movies in his "body-building prime."

The scandal-ridden 64-year-old, who served as Governor from November 2003 to January 2, 2011, has ordered three bronze statues that will stand eight foot high and weigh 580 pounds each, according to the UK Telegraph on September 27.

The Telegraph reported one statue is destined for the recently-opened Schwarzenegger museum in his childhood home of Thal, Austria and another will be shipped to Columbus, Ohio, where the annual Arnold Fitness Weekend is held. "The actor will keep the third one, and is considering commissioning further likenesses," the publication noted. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8791928/Arnold-Schwarzenegger-commissions-statues-of-himself.html)

Schwarzenegger said he chose a bodybuilding pose because that's what launched his movie and political career in the United States.

"It was the bodybuilding that got me to America, that got me into movies, that got me the governorship," he told the Telegraph. "That's where I learned about reaching out and helping other people."

Tim Parks, the owner of Oregon-based TW Bronze, who was hired to pour the metal for the statues, told the New York Daily News that as many as seven of the behemoth statues may be created. (http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2011/09/26/2011-09-26_arnold_schwarzenegger_plans_to_have_at_least_three_buff_bronze_statues_of_himsel.html)

"Parks, whose sculpture-casting business is located in the small town of Enterprise, says the statues are based on a 22-inch sculpture that Idaho artist Ralph Crawford created in 1980. The artwork immortalizes Schwarzenegger during his 'Pumping Iron' days when he won six straight Mr. Olympia titles from 1970-75 and added a seventh in 1980," the article continued.

The publication notes that the statue, costing roughly $100,000, "depicts a fat-free Schwarzenegger flexing in a classic body-builder pose that flaunts his football-sized biceps, chiseled abs and granite quads."

The new castings have been super-sized to "heroic" scale - roughly one-and-a-quarter times life size, according to the Wallowa County Chieftain newspaper in Oregon.

While Schwarzenegger wants the statues to commemorate the star in his body building prime, I recommend that he and the sculptor also design three statues to celebrate Schwarzenegger's "green" legacy as governor of California. There is no doubt that Schwarzenegger "reached and helped other people" - providing they were Wall Street executives, oil industry and other corporate lobbyists, agribusiness leaders, southern California water agency directors, other corrupt politicians and the rich and powerful!

The first statue, the "Fish Terminator," would portray the "action hero" standing triumphantly in a pile of thousands of dead Delta smelt, longfin smelt, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Central Valley steellhead, Sacramento splittail, green sturgeon and other fish species. This statue would commemorate Schwarzenegger's leadership role in killing millions of imperiled species in the state and federal Delta pumping facilities by exporting record amounts of water to southern California water agencies and corporate agribusiness from 2004 to 2006.

The second statue, the "Green Governor," would feature Schwarzenegger and Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, shaking hands as he congratulates her on her appointment as chair of Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative for the South Coast. The statue could either be a sickly green or oil brown color to celebrate the greenwashing that occurred under Schwarzeneggger's marine "protection" fiasco.

The big oil industry lobbyist, who has repeatedly called for the opening of new offshore oil drilling off the California coast, oversaw a privately funded process that failed to protect ocean waters from oil drilling and spills, pollution, corporate aquaculture, military testing, wave and wind energy projects and all other human impacts other than fishing and gathering.

The third statue, "Arnold, the Canal Builder," would depict Schwarzenegger outfitted in a hard hat, with a shovel in one hand and a copy of the water policy/water bond package that he rammed through the Legislature in November 2009 in the other. Schwarzenegger would be addressing a rally of the agribusiness Astroturf group, the Latino Water Coalition, at the State Capitol to campaign for the construction of the peripheral canal to divert more Delta water to agribusiness and southern California.

These "larger than life" statues should be shipped to Thal, Austria to be displayed prominently in the museum celebrating Schwarzenegger's life.

Unfortunately, Schwarzenegger's abysmal environmental legacy continues. Governor Jerry Brown and Nature Resources Secretary John Laird, rather than doing the right thing and reversing Schwarzegger's war on fish, fishing communities and the environment, have decided to forge ahead with some of the worst of Schwarzenegger's "green" policies.

The Brown administration has presided over a fish kill at the Delta pumps this year that surpasses even those that took place during the Schwarzenegger administration. Since January 1, over 11,000,000 fish, including nearly 9,000,000 Sacramento splittail, have been "salvaged" in the Delta death pumps. This year is expected to set a new record for water exports via the state and federal pumping facilities.

Likewise, rather than suspending or halting the corrupt MLPA process and implementing a policy of true, wholistic marine protection, the Brown administration has continued forward with a process that has violated numerous state, federal and international laws. In fact, the Coastside Fishing Club, United Anglers of Southern California and Bob Fletcher have to date won three legal victories in a lawsuit against the initiative.

Finally, the Brown administration has joined Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in fast-tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) process to build a peripheral canal to meet the so-called "coequal goals" of water supply and ecosystem restoration. A coalition of Delta residents, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, family farmers, the Winnemem Wintu and other California Indian Tribes, local officials and environmental justice communities is opposing the peripheral canal's construction because it would lead to the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt and other imperiled fish species.

Not only will the BDCP lead to the extinction of endangered and threatened fish populations, but it will take large tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile and productive on the planet, out of production in a fake "habitat restoration" scheme so that water can be delivered to irrigate drainage-impaired land on the San Joaquin Valley's west side.

So while Schwarzenegger may now commission statues to commemorate his "heroic" status, his legacy of corporate greenwashing and environmental destruction sadly continues in the water and environmental policies embraced by the Brown and Obama administrations.

For more about Schwarzenegger's "green" legacy, go to: http://www.counterpunch.org/20...  

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Cigar-Loving Arnold's Environmental Legacy: A 'Smoking' Ruin!

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Aug 10, 2011 at 16:47:11 PM PDT

An Associated Press report on Tuesday, August 9 revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Governor from November 2003 through 2010, could face legal action for recently smoking a cigar at Salzburg Airport in Austria.

"Was it lit or was it cold?" the article asked. "The status of a cigar in Arnold Schwarzenegger's mouth at an Austrian airport could decide whether or not he faces legal action."

"Smoking at airports is banned in Austria and an anti-smoking lobby said Tuesday it plans to launch a suit against the former California governor for puffing on a stogie after arriving in June at Salzburg Airport," AP continued (http://www.sacbee.com/2011/08/09/3826143/was-it-lit-arnie-could-be-charged.html).

It is doubtful whether anything will come of this latest episode of the long, sordid saga of the "Governator," arguably the worst Governor in California history for fish, fishing communities and the environment.

"Salzburg municipal legal expert Josef Goldberger told state broadcaster ORF that Arnie can ignore any requests from authorities in his homeland to respond since the charge is not covered by treaties," AP noted.

Mainstream media refused to cover Schwarzenegger regime's biggest scandal

While the mainstream media makes a big deal out of this latest "scandal" about Schwarzenegger and the covert relationship with his maid that resulted in the birth of a son, AP and others persistently neglected to cover the much more newsworthy and scandalous war that Schwarzenegger waged against Central Valley salmon and Delta fish populations, fishing communities and Indian Tribes during his regime.

Instead, the mainstream media and corporate environmental NGOs falsely portrayed Schwarzenegger as the "Green Governor," greenwashing his abysmal environmental policies that violated numerous state, federal and international laws.

Schwarzenegger in 2010 received awards for his "green" leadership from NRDC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the "Beautiful Earth Group," and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper, and others in a carefully orchestrated campaign to greenwash his legacy before he left office.

In spite of the claims of his collaborators, Schwarzenegger's true legacy is the unprecedented collapse of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, young striped bass, Sacramento splittail and other fish populations spurred by record water exports out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta from 2003 to 2006.

Rather than taking the necessary measures to restore these imperiled fish populations, Schwarzenegger tried to make things even worse by attacking the biological opinion protecting Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River spring and winter run chinook salmon, green sturgeon and southern resident killer whales, along with the biological opinion protecting the endangered Delta smelt.

He relentlessly campaigned for a peripheral canal through the Delta Vision and Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) processes and the November 2009 water bond/water policy package. Meanwhile, he fast-tracked a corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative that does nothing to "protect" the ocean from water pollution, oil drilling and spills, military testing, corporate aquaculture, habitat destruction and other human uses of the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

When Schwarzenegger left office on January 2, 2011 after waging an unprecedented war on California fish populations and fishing communities, millions celebrated his departure.

Arnold's true environmental record exposed

Schwarzenegger's real environmental legacy is much different from how Schwarzenegger and his collaborators portray it. What was his actual environmental record? (http://blogs.alternet.org/danbacher/2011/05/18/schwarzenegger-screwed-fish-fishermen-and-tribes/)

• Schwarzenegger allowed the Department of Water Resources to pump record levels of water out of the Delta from 2003 to 2007, resulting in the Central Valley salmon and California Delta pelagic species collapses.The largest annual water export levels in history occurred in 2003 (6.3 million acre feet), 2004 (6.1 MAF), 2005 (6.5 MAF) and 2006 (6.3 MAF). Exports averaged 4.6 MAF annually between 1990 and 1999 and increasing to an average of 6 MAF between 2000 and 2007, a rise of almost 30 percent, according to the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.

• He constantly attacked two federal biological opinions, released in 2009, protecting Delta smelt, Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, green sturgeon and southern resident killer whales.

• His administration did nothing while tens of thousands of striped bass, Sacramento blackfish, Sacramento splittail and other species perished during a levee repair project at Prospect Island in the California Delta in November 2007.

• He vetoed numerous environmental bills, including vetoing a badly needed bill sponsored by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) in 2008 that would provide for emergency fish rescue plans on the Delta.

• He consistently slashed funding for game wardens in the field while California has the lowest ratio of wardens to residents of any state in the nation.

• His administration directed the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board to continue to grant waivers to agricultural polluters, in spite of the dire condition of Delta fisheries.

• Since 2004, he fast-tracked the controversial, privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, a fiasco ridden with conflicts of interest, institutional racism and corruption. Rather than creating marine protected areas that truly protect the ocean, this initiative kicks sustainable fishermen and gatherers off the water while refusing to deal with pollution, coastal development, military testing, wave energy projects and other human uses of the ocean that imperil marine life and ecosystems.

• As Schwarzenegger fast-tracked the privately-funded MLPA fiasco, he twice vetoed two crab pot limit bills needed to preserve California crab fisheries.

• Schwarzenegger introduced a bill that would allow the lame-duck Governor to choose 25 development projects each year that would be exempt from the state's strict standards under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (http://www.ecovote.org/blog/?p=1674).

• The Governor's Office of Pesticide Regulation on December 1, 2010 inexplicably approved methyl iodide to replace the soil fumigant methyl bromide, even though methyl iodide is even more toxic to animals, fish and people than methyl bromide (http://www.sacbee.com/2010/12/04/3231811/inexplicably-state-approves-new.html).

Schwarzenegger's water policies led by peripheral canal campaign

However, the "crown jewel" of Schwarzenegger's water policies was his campaign to build a peripheral canal/canal and new dams through his Delta Vision and Bay Delta Conservation Plan processes. This construction of a canal/tunnel, estimated to cost anywhere from $23 to $53.8 billion, is likely to lead to the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon, Sacramento splittail and other species.

In his zeal to build the canal, Schwarzenegger tried to sabotage the campaign by the Klamath, Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes, fishermen and environmentalists to remove four Klamath River dams by including $250 million for Klamath River dam removal in an unpopular water bond that creates the infrastructure for a peripheral canal and new dams. Because it would have faced certain defeat at the polls last November, Schwarzenegger and the Legislative leadership postponed the water bond until November 2012.

In addition, the Schwarzenegger administration granted agribusiness permits to divert water from the Scott and Shasta rivers, resulting in the de-watering of these Klamath River tributaries at tremendous risk to endangered coho salmon. Schwarzenegger's "scorched earth" policy towards the Scott and Shasta forced Earthjustice to file a lawsuit against the Department of Fish and Game on behalf of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, Klamath Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club, the Quartz Valley Indian Tribe, Northcoast Environmental Center and Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC).

While his record regarding fishery and water issues is arguably the worst of any Governor in California history, Schwarzenegger's portrayal by the mainstream media and corporate environmental NGOs as a relentless advocate for "clean energy" is also very deceptive. Former Senator Sheila Kuel eloquently exposed the myth of the "Jolly Green Giant" in her article, "A Lame Duck Governor Fabricates A Hoped-For Legacy," in the California Progress Report on July 29, 2010 (http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/?q=node/8010

Brown administration continues Arnold's policies

Unfortunately, Governor Jerry Brown and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird are forging ahead with the three most notorious environmental policies of the Schwarzenegger regime - the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build a peripheral canal, the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create questionable "marine protected areas," and the massive export of northern California water to corporate agribusiness and southern California water agencies that has resulted in record numbers of Sacramento splittail and other fish species perishing at the state and federal water project Delta pumping facilities this year.

An astounding 8,966,976 splittail, 35,556 chinook salmon, 430,289 striped bass, 54,412 largemouth bass, 69,383 bluegill, 76,570 white catfish, 28,301 channel catfish, 233,174 threadfin shad, 264,171 American shad, 1,642 steelhead and 51 Delta smelt were "salvaged" in the state and federal water export facilities from January 1 to August 2, 2011, according to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) data.

However, the overall loss of fish in and around the State Water Project and Central Valley Project facilities is believed to dwarf the actual salvage counts, according to "A Review of Delta Fish Population Losses from Pumping Operations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta," prepared by Larry Walker Associates in January 2010 for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (http://www.srcsd.com/pdf/dd/fishlosses.pdf).

The staggering losses of Sacramento splittail and other fish species in the death pumps of the state and federal water projects on the California Delta are taking place as the Brown and Obama administrations export record volumes of water to corporate agribusiness and southern California water agencies, continuing the fish killing legacy of the Schwarzenegger administration.

To read an excellent investigative piece by Patrick Porgans and Lloyd Carter about the legacy of Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown and his two children, current Gov. Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown and Kathleen Brown, and their connection to public bonds, budget deficits, the Bay-Delta Estuary conflict, and the November 2012 water bond measure, go to: http://www.lloydgcarter.com/co...  

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Closed-door meetings to fund construction of peripheral canal exposed!

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 19:23:53 PM PDT

Representatives of the Metropolitan Water District, State Water Contractors Association and San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority are holding closed-door meetings with Brown and Obama administration officials to create a finance plan for construction of the peripheral canal or tunnel, Restore the Delta revealed today.

This canal/tunnel, a key component of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), will divert Sacramento River water away from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and southern California water agencies. Schwarzenegger relentlessly campaigned for the canal through the BDCP and Delta Vision processes while he was Governor - and the Brown and Obama administrations have decided to continue Schwarzenegger's abysmal environmental legacy.  

In a public meeting of the BDCP in Sacramento on April 25, John Laird, Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, committed the agency to making the BDCP more inclusive of all of the stakeholders - and acknowledged the problems with the Schwarzenegger administration's requirement that participants sign an agreement agreeing to support the construction of the peripheral canal/tunnel.

"I believe that we cannot move forward without listening to the stakeholders around the state," said Laird. "The status quo on the Delta is unsustainable. There is no one from any group that believes in the status quo."

As recently as June, Jerry Meral, who has been given charge by the Brown Administration to lead the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, assured public participants that all processes underway through the BDCP were "open and transparent," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.

However, video from the June 28, 2011 Metropolitan Water District Special Committee on the Bay Delta confirms that water contractors, including Metropolitan Water District's General Manager Roger Patterson, are already working with Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation officials to create the finance plan for new conveyance, said Barrigan-Parrilla. The meeting can be heard athttp://mwdh2o.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=12&clip_id=1630 , minute 36.

Barrigan-Parrilla points out, "The BDCP website describes work on project financing as not beginning until the fall of 2011 after determinations are made regarding benefits of new water deliveries for State and Federal Water Contractors. However, as we have always suspected, those who want to take additional water away from Northern California and the Delta are crafting a finance plan without California tax payer and/or rate payer input."

"How much more are urban water users in San Diego and Los Angeles willing to pay for water in order to finance this project?" asks California Delta Chambers Executive Director Bill Wells. "Can Central Valley farmers afford to farm if the price of water triples and quadruples to pay for a canal? And how much of the financial burden will be shifted to tax payers to cover the astronomical costs for environmental mitigation to the Delta?"

Barrigan-Parrilla maintains that Californians are being "hit very hard with cutbacks in education and essential services due to budget cuts." Therefore, Californians should have a say when it comes to large expenditures like building a canal or tunnel through the Delta - even if they will be asked only to finance a part of the project.

"The conflict between the Brown Administration's assertion that the Bay Delta Conservation plan is an open and transparent process and the real ongoing practice of dealing with the most important aspects of the BDCP in private is alarming," she states.

Barrigan-Parrilla asks, "Shouldn't these types of meetings on financing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan be noticed and open to the public? Why the secrecy if there is nothing to hide?"

As an independent investigative journalist who has uncovered conflicts of interest and violations of numerous laws under Schwarzenegger's BDCP, Delta Vision and Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative fiascos, I concur with Barrigan-Parrilla. If the water contractors indeed have nothing to hide, they should abide by Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act, the Brown Act and other state laws and open all of their meetings to the public.

A broad coalition of recreational and commercial fishing groups, Indian Tribes, grassroots environmental organizations, family farmers, environmental justice advocates and Delta residents oppose the construction of the peripheral canal - "Arnold's Big Ditch" - because it would likely lead to the extinction of Central Valley salmon and Delta fish populations.

"Most Delta farmers and residents oppose the BDCP not only because it would devastate fish populations and the fishing industry, but because it puts ALL of the burden on the Primary Zone of the Delta and Sacramento River watershed for habitat restoration and mitigation for Southern California's diversion of water," added Karen Medders, a resident of Clarksburg in the North Delta and peripheral canal opponent.

The BDCP process to build a peripheral canal is a parallel process to the MLPA Initiative to create a network of controversial "marine protected areas" off the California coast. The promoters of both processes claim that they are "open and transparent" - when they are anything but.

The Brown and Obama administrations are going ahead with Arnold Schwarzenegger's plans to build a peripheral canal/tunnel by meeting with water exporters in closed-door meetings. Meanwhile, the Brown administration continues to forge ahead with the MLPA Initiative, in spite of the violations of state, federal and international laws that have occurred under the process, funded privately by the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund Foundation.

George Osborn, spokesman for a coalition of recreational fishing organizations, presented a 25 page document documenting illegal private, non-public meetings of Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) officials to the California Fish and Game Commission during its meeting on February 2 in Sacramento. United Anglers of Southern California, the Coastside Fishing Club and Bob Fletcher, members of the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO), filed suit in San Diego Superior Court in late January, seeking to overturn South Coast and North Central Coast MLPA closures, alleging violations of the State Administrative Procedure Act.

During his brief public testimony, Osborn exposed the corruption and violations of law by the MLPA's Blue Ribbon Task Force (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7_04BC1acA).

"After reviewing the documents turned over to us, which previously the BRTF had improperly withheld from the public, we now have evidence, indicating that the public meetings of the BRTF have been an elaborately staged Kabuki performance, choreographed and rehearsed down to the last detail, even to the crafting of motions, in scheduled private meetings held before the so-called public meetings of the BRTF," said Osborn. "Clearly, this has not been the most open and transparent process, as it has so often been described."

In both the case of the BDCP and the MLPA, we are definitely seeing a classic case of, "Meet the new boss - same as the old boss," as The Who sang many years ago.

As these two controversial processes proceed, the carnage continues at the state and federal water export pumps on the Delta. An alarming 8,538,859 Sacramento splittail and 35,202 Central Valley chinook salmon were "salvaged" in the Delta pumping facilities from January 1, 2011 to June 26, 2011. The number of splittail, a native minnow, salvaged to date is greater than in any previous years since the federal and state governments started keeping records on splittail in 1993.

You can see the BDCP website description of financing at: http://baydeltaconservationpla...

For more information, contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Phone: 209-479-2053, Restore the Delta, 10100 Trinity Pkwy, Suite 120, Stockton, CA, 95219, web: www.restorethedelta.org, email: Barbara [at] Restorethedelta.org

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Arnold Achieves 'Post Partisanship' With Uniform Disapproval In New Poll

by: Consumer Watchdog

Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 17:34:22 PM PDT

The quote of the week goes to Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, which is just out with a poll that shows Arnold Schwarzenegger with a 75% disapproval rating among voters and with 90% of Los Angeles residents rejecting him.
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California Democratic Lawmakers Revive Schwarzenegger Scam To Sell Off Historic State Properties In

by: Consumer Watchdog

Wed Jun 15, 2011 at 13:44:44 PM PDT

Today California's Democratic state lawmakers announced a budget plan to keep their paychecks coming that included one of the worst ideas Arnold Schwarzenegger had since impregnating his kids' nanny.
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Arnold to Meg: You Kinda Stink

by: Brian Leubitz

Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 12:00:00 PM PDT

Gov. Schwarzenegger has been pretty quiet since he left the Horseshoe.  However, that doesn't mean the muscle builder doesn't have some pretty interesting thoughts running around that very interesting brain.  Fortunately, after his first interview went to Entertainment Weekly about his Governator cartoon/comic book project.  He sat down for another interview in London recently, and Newsweek got some interesting dish out of the the "Governator" on a few more items of interest to us here.  

While this is basically rehashing what we already know, that this is coming from Arnold makes it interesting, I suppose:

"She kind of took herself out of the game," Schwarzenegger said. "What she did was play to the right, and she couldn't come back for the general election to grab the center .... Brown was very smart to do exactly the opposite of what she did - which was to say, 'I'm not a rich guy, all I have is my knowledge and experience, and I don't need to cater to anyone, I will do what is right for California.' She was not as effective as a communicator, and her ideas were too extreme." (Newsweek, via LAT)

What he is basically saying is that Whitman just didn't manage expectations as well as he did.  Now, by the end of his time in the Horseshoe, the people of California were pretty much done with him.  Perhaps it would have been interesting to see a showdown between Brown and Schwarzenegger, but the odds would surely be as least as stacked against the incumbent as they were against his perceived logical ideological heir, Whitman.  While we all now understand that Arnold was kind of hissing at her behind her back, the Brown campaign did an extraordinary job at tying her to the incumbent.

Elsewhere in the interview, beyond the effusive praise from former Secretary of State and longtime Arnold confidante George Schultz and the suggestion that he become the next President of the European Union, he tried to explain the situation with former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez's son and the fact that Arnold commuted his sentence down to seven years.

"I understand people's disappointments. I understand the parents' anger. I would probably feel the same way," Schwarzenegger tells me in his first public comment on the commutation, which he granted hours before leaving office, arguing that his friend's son didn't inflict the fatal wound. "My office definitely made a mistake in not notifying the parents beforehand ... and I'm ultimately responsible." But, Schwarzenegger adds, "I feel good about the decision ... I happen to know the kid really well. I don't apologize about it ... There's criticism out there. I think it's just because of our working relationship and all that. It maybe was kind of saying, 'That's why he did it.' Well, hello! I mean, of course you help a friend."

In the end, Arnold was close to Fabian, so it's no real surprise.  He did it on the last day, well, because that's when that sort of stuff happens.  But at this point, unless something extraordinary comes along, I just can't see Arnold getting back into politics.  He'd have to be some sort of superstar executive. Perhaps the only place left for him is the EU presidency, because he's sure not going to win any elections around here anytime soon.

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Brown Declares End to California Drought

by: Dan Bacher

Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 14:49:34 PM PDT

Since 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger repeatedly used wildly inflated claims of a "drought" to campaign for the peripheral canal and new dams to facilitate the export of California Delta water to corporate agribusiness and southern California water agencies.

Schwarzenegger and the agribusiness lobby also used the "drought" and the alleged creation of a "New Dust Bowl" on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley as a major talking point in attacking the federal government plans (biological opinions) to protect Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River winter and spring-run chinook salmon, green sturgeon, Delta smelt and the southern resident population of killer whales from extinction.

Now Schwarzenegger's successor, Jerry Brown, today finally proclaimed the official end of the drought.

"Following significant increases in statewide rainfall and mountain snowpack this season, Governor Jerry Brown today proclaimed an end to the state's drought, but urged Californians to keep conserving water as we move into the spring and summer months," according to statement from the Governor's office.

"While this season's storms have lifted us out of the drought, it's critical that Californians continue to watch their water use," Brown said. "Drought or no drought, demand for water in California always outstrips supply. Continued conservation is key."

Brown said today's announcement follows the fourth snow survey of the season, conducted by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), which found that water content in California's mountain snowpack is 165 percent of the April 1 full season average.

A majority of the state's major reservoirs are also above normal storage levels. Lake Oroville in Butte County, the State Water Project's principal reservoir, is 104 percent of average for the date (80 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity).

Lake Shasta north of Redding, the federal Central Valley Project's largest reservoir with a capacity of 4.5 million acre-feet, is at 111 percent of average (91 percent of capacity).

DWR estimates it will be able to deliver 70 percent of requested State Water Project (SWP) water this year. The estimate likely will be adjusted upward as hydrologists make adjustments for snowpack and runoff readings.

"Given the heavy water inflow from the series of storms that have swept across California, the state's flood managers are monitoring high river flows and making flood control releases from reservoirs to maintain storage space," Brown noted.

Governor Brown's Proclamation officially rescinds Executive Order S-06-08, issued by Schwarzenegger on June 4, 2008 and ends the States of Emergency called by Schwarzenegger on June 12, 2008, and on February 27, 2009.

Now that Brown has officially declared the drought over, corporate agribusiness, southern California water agencies and their political allies will no longer have the "drought" to use in their fear-based campaign to build the peripheral canal/tunnel and new dams, to strip Endangered Species Act protections from Central Valley salmon and Delta fish and to increase export pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Now that the drought is officially over, they will have to use a new excuse for building the peripheral canal and new dams at a time when California is in its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. What will be their new battle cry in their campaign to build the canal and new surface storage: the "urgent" need to stop the threat of catastrophic flooding from too much water going down the Central Valley and other rivers? Will their new slogan be: "Prevent Flooding: Build the Peripheral Canal And New Dams"?

For additional information on California's water supply, please visit the Department of Water Resources website at: http://www.water.ca.gov.

The Governor's proclamation, signed today, is copied below:

A PROCLAMATION BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

WHEREAS on June 4, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-06-08, which proclaimed a statewide drought, and ordered executive branch entities to take immediate action to address the water shortage; and,

WHEREAS on June 12, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger proclaimed a State of Emergency for nine Central Valley counties because the drought had caused conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property; and,

WHEREAS on February 27, 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger proclaimed a State of Emergency for the entire state as the severe drought conditions continued and the impacts were well beyond the Central Valley; and,

WHEREAS the Department of Water Resources today conducted the fourth snow survey of the season and found that water content in California's mountain snowpack is 165 percent of the season average; and,

WHEREAS a majority of California's major reservoirs are above normal storage levels; and,

WHEREAS Lake Oroville, the State Water Project's principal reservoir, is 104 percent of average, and Lake Shasta, the federal Central Valley Project's largest reservoir, is at 111 percent of average; and,

WHEREAS the Department of Water Resources estimates it will be able to deliver 70 percent of the requested State Water Project water this year, and this estimate is likely to be adjusted upward after additional snowpack and runoff readings; and,

WHEREAS I am advised by the appropriate agencies of the State of California that current conditions warrant the termination of Executive Order S-06-08 and ending the States of Emergency called on June 12, 2008, and on February 27, 2009.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the statutes of the State of California, do hereby PROCLAIM THE DROUGHT TO BE AT AN END.

I FURTHER DIRECT that state and public agencies cease all further activities in reliance on Executive Order S-06-08 and the States of Emergency called on June 12, 2008, and February 27, 2009, and that Executive Order S-06-08 and the drought State of Emergency proclamations are terminated.

IT IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED that all Californians continue to minimize water usage and engage in water conservation efforts.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this proclamation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 30th day of March 2011.

__________________________________
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor of California

ATTEST:

__________________________________
DEBRA BOWEN
Secretary of State

###

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Delta Stewardship Report from Restore the Delta

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Mar 23, 2011 at 22:18:23 PM PDT

This special Delta "Stewardship" Council report by Brett Baker, along with editorial comments by Restore the Delta staff, is very enlightening about what is going on with the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. "It certainly shows that if Delta residents don't speak up about their homes, farms, communities, fisheries, Delta related businesses and their way of lives, all could be lost to a bunch of people more interested in selling water and growing low value crops and crops for export at our expense," said Roger Mammon Restore the Delta board member.

Fishermen, family farmers, Indian Tribe members, environmentalists and other concerned people are fighting efforts by the Brown and Obama administrations to build a peripheral canal to export more water to southern California water agencies and corporate agribusiness on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. We must not allow the state and federal governments, under pressure by water privateers, developers, agribusiness and other corporate operatives, to build a canal that is likely to result in the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other imperiled species.

Dan

"Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
-Tears for Fears

Special DSC report by Brett Baker; Editorial comments by RTD staff

Grab a cup of tea. This is a detailed rocounting of what is happening with the Delta Stewardship Council. We have tried to define acronyms to best of our ability.

Choose your words carefully

The Delta Stewardship Council held its most recent meeting in the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg. Maybe they heard that it was a cool hangout.

From the Council side of the discussion it was apparent that they were still trying to come to grips with their time line and legislative directive to produce a meaningful, defined and beneficial Delta Plan. There is still a substantial amount of uncertainty regarding the Council's role in regulating California's water system, and folks on both sides of the table are struggling to gain a better understanding of the scope of the council's authority under the language of the legislation.

Two panel discussions were scheduled for the Thursday meeting. They were listed as "Focused Panel Discussions" on the agenda, so I will try and keep this summary and analysis as focused as possible.

The morning panel's discussion was to focus on the Ecosystem of the Delta. The discussion in my opinion was more focused "around" the ecosystem as panelists were questioned, rather explicitly, on building a northern intake, determining the agricultural value of the Delta as a place, and deciding how best to carry out restoration efforts in the Delta.

The Panel consisted of Roger Patterson (Metropolitan Water District), Carl Wilcox (California Department of Fish and Game), Bill Bennett (UC Davis), Gary Bobker (The Bay Institute), and Leo Winternitz (The Nature Conservancy). Russell Van Loben Sels, a local Delta farmer, was listed on the agenda, but wasn't able to attend.

(Van Loben Sels has been out of the country and doesn't recall being invited to participate. He doesn't appear to have been a confirmed speaker, and there doesn't appear to have been any attempt on the part of panel organizers to find another Delta farmer for the panel. That's too bad. Plenty of Delta people in-the-know could have provided a local perspective on the Delta ecosystem to balance all those outside-the-Delta views.)

Fish Guru Bill Bennett of UC Davis Spoke most freely and directly addressed the flawed premises behind much of the science the BDCP and other faux scientific reports that have been coming out about the Delta. Each individual body has a view of the Delta in the future, and that view biases their reports. Bennett told the Council that they need to define what it is that they want for the Delta.

Bennett prefaced his remarks with a statement of his own assumption that we intend to have Chinook Salmon in the system in the future. He was serious, and I commend him for it. He suggested many areas where there is room for improvement. As an example, he mentioned the current status of our hatchery techniques and the potential for improvement, citing a need for expanding the diversity in techniques for releasing and acclimating fish into the river system.

Some of the panelists brought outlines of their talking points.

Carl Wilcox (CDFG) brought in a list of Fish and Game's top three priorities:
Change the point of diversion for water exports from the Delta to the Sacramento River
Improve and increase tributary inflow to provide more natural hydrology within the Delta
Increase the amount of intertidal and floodplain habitat within the Delta as identified in Bay Delta Conservation Plan and Ecosystem Restoration Program Plan (ERP, formally CALFED ERP).

But when council members noted that both BDCP and CALFED seemed to lack justification for their goals and objectives, and asked Wilcox for some scientific or biological justification for DCFG's objectives, Wilcox responded that these were longstanding policies of the Department. When asked for a graph, figure or page number where such justification could be found in any of the millions of pages of scientific literature or bureaucratic reports, he could provide none. "It doesn't exist" was his only response.

Leo Winternitz (The Nature Conservancy) brought in some "Draft recommendations to address Delta Habitat Restoration Needs (Based on BDCP Habitat Restoration Objectives)." The two pager contained numerical acreage targets for restoration, with timelines for implementation, but was silent on the mechanism by which the lands should be obtained and what the justification for the targets was. They may just as well have been conjured out of thin air. It also made me question their math skills.

But let's go over the targets for kicks:
90,000 acres of aquatic habitat:
65k acres tidal marsh
10K acres floodplain
5K acres Riparian Habitat
40 miles of channel margin habitat
at least 10K acres Seasonal and Managed Wetlands
up 200 acres vernal pool complex
As for terrestrial habitat:
· 2K acres Grassland communities
· up to 32K Agricultural habitat, mitigation and preservation
At one point in the discussion, the Council solicited examples of regulations the panelists would implement if they were in the Council's position. Oddly enough, panelists struggled and balked. When asked for some scientific backing for the recommendations he had spent the last half hour expounding upon, Winternitz was only able to point to a picture from the Delta Vision Report (as if he had forgotten that the DSC chair's name was on the by-line of the report) and spout some thoughts on what could be extrapolated from the photo, which seemed hardly enough to justify continuing the conversation.

I find it worth noting that when questioned about the appropriateness of the Legislatively-created Delta Conservancy being the exclusive body to carry out restoration projects, it was quickly pointed out that the law said "a" and not "the" body responsible for the work. This was supported by CDFG saying they didn't see the Conservancy as being the "exclusive" body either.

[Restore the Delta is vehemently opposed to the governmental taking of lands for the use of habitat restoration or mitigation for past or future project operations. We believe that Delta communities are as deserving of protection as Delta fisheries. We maintain that the best plan for the Delta is the creation of a world class region where profitable, sustainable agriculture and habitat thrive together. The Delta holds the blueprint for sustainability within its past and its future.

Government agencies and other non-governmental agencies involved in the "Delta planning industry" bring nothing but economic harm to the Delta community by talking endlessly about taking 100,000 acres of Delta farmland out of production and by waving their maps and plans around at press conferences and agency meetings. Perhaps this is their intent - transforming the Delta from a unique and thriving region with need for some improvement (like most places)-into a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. But we also know that this approach will backfire on its promoters.

We recommend to the DSC and other governmental agencies that existing state lands (about 60,000 acres) be used first for wetlands habitat for fisheries. In addition, we find much merit in Dr. Robert Pyke's idea that sunken islands like Frank's Tract should be restored for fish habitat purposes.

Beyond those efforts, which would go a long way toward creating habitat, Restore the Delta believes that opportunities exist over time for habitat creation as part of upgraded levees. (It seems that most other countries in the world have figured out how to put habitat on secure levee banks along rivers; we should be able to do the same.) And if local farmers voluntarily make land sacrifices for habitat creation on their levees or elsewhere, they should be compensated.

We have spent years and may millions of dollars supporting Central Valley farmers with cheap water deliveries and other subsidies for growing cotton and almonds for export. Compensating farmers for helping with the restoration of Chinook Salmon, which we once canned at 5 million pounds per year in the Delta, seems to us a better use of public money. After all Delta fruit and veggies, wine, and salmon is the food of the gods - or at least the food of California culture - and are essential to a safe, secure, and sustainable local food supply.]

Back to the DSC story, Roger Patterson of Metropolitan Water district was on the panel as well, and as he was on the outer reaches of his expertise (I was unaware he qualified as an ecosystem expert), he kept his comments limited but focused. He promoted the findings of the most recent PPIC report and repeatedly urged the council to "ensure BDCP get plugged in." He pointed out that there were restraints on the Council's Authority with respect to a conveyance recommendation, saying that in his view the Council's Delta Plan should be a backdrop for BDCP. You can't blame the guy for doing his job.

The gravity of the law in the enabling legislation brings this discussion back to Earth. The Council seems well aware of the fact that they have been handed a monumental task to be completed on a ludicrously truncated time schedule. The guiding legislation did not sufficiently empower the Council to tackle all of the issues that face California's water system

Solving California's water problems is a task some on the council have watched go uncompleted for the better part of three decades (CALFED) at an astronomical cost to the taxpayers of our state and nation. Solving them in less than a year just isn't possible, and if the initial drafts of the Delta Plan are any indication of what they intend to produce, I would suggest that they try and be a bit more selective with the quality of their words and less focused on the quantity. It would be a shame should all this time, money and resources go into yet another empty report that summarizes what is wrong with the system but offers no real world, on-the-ground.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

The afternoon panel contained five folks chosen to lead a focused discussion on their thoughts on Providing a More Reliable Water Supply for California. Although much of what folks had in the way of recommendations sounded good in theory, there was a real lack of specifics that could be utilized by the council.

Recommendations from Ellen Hanak (Public Policy Institute of California) were a bit too grandiose (i.e. regulate ground water use, urban/ag conservation, conveyance), shifting the focus away from tangible goals and dragging some of the discussion into an economic Never-Never Land. In this fantasy realm, as long as you can sell water at a profit, it is economically beneficial and therefore intrinsically "good."

So the Council should aid in facilitating the long-term sale of water from agricultural uses to urban allocations, phasing out and reducing the production of what Hanak describes as low value agriculture crops. Later on, Phil Isenberg pointed out that having government facilitate the transfer of water from one region to another to be sold to the highest bidder might just sound bad to some people.

Council member Randy Fiorini asked Hanak why she recommended the State Water Resources Control Board be the body to implement groundwater regulation as opposed to more local and voluntary compliance as in AB 3030. She responded that things would have to get really bad before there would be sufficient participation in voluntary compliance. She said that what she was proposing wasn't an adjudicatory action, but conceded that that might be the end result.

David Guy (Northern California Association of Water Agencies) spoke of optimization of public resources while adding that restoring a historic hydrograph was unrealistic. He called for "stabilization" of the Delta. I'm not sure what he meant by that, but I'm also pretty sure that isn't what the legislation called for. He promoted the most recent PPIC report, then went on to give some lip service to promoting regional sustainability and the role of "supporting actors" outside the legal Delta.

Guy also talked about stabilizing the Delta, this time on levees, and prompted an inquiry from Gloria Gray about levee prioritization, which made me wonder:

There is some logical difficulty for arguing that the Delta is such an invaluable hub of the vast network that is California 's water system, worthy of all the attention, public resources, and political debate and gridlock, while Delta Levee Maintenance funding sits in limbo. Improving the reliability of Delta levees and therefore the conveyance of water down our state could be achieved at a fraction of the cost of all the studies, reports, theoretical discussions, and public outreach.

The panel agreed that nothing is going to happen on the ground in the way of constructing conveyance for some 15-20 years at the very least (I'd say indefinitely, but everyone's entitled to their own opinion). Delta levees need maintaining in the future, so I would think that it would be in everyone's best interest to continue the funding of ongoing projects in the Delta. I hope to hear the Council recommend the same.

Jonas Minton (Planning and Conservation League) spoke well on his outlined "Top Four Actions To Achieve Co-equal Objectives."

Get the SWRCB to start updating flow standards now for existing conveyance and set standards for new conveyance.
Prioritize Delta levees for improvement and approve funding consistent with those priorities.
Call upon BDCP and other stakeholders to conduct due diligence review of a 3,000 c.f.s. conveyance.
Work with Delta interests and other including Metropolitan Water District and Westlands on phased restoration projects.

Kamyar Guivetchi (DWR) spoke on the need for increased government oversight and data in pursuit of actually getting something accomplished. Good Luck! He also went on to lobby for the creation of what he referred to as the "Water Resources Investment Fund" to increase system wide efficiency and leverage funds in Integrated Regional Water Management Planning (IRWMP) to promote regional self-sufficiency.

Jason Peltier (Westlands Water District) took time to critique the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and regulatory cutbacks of water deliveries. He had a graphic showing CVP Storage vs Agriculture Service Allocation (1952-2010). Initial and final agriculture service allocations lined up nicely until 1989.

Then the effects of a drought kicked in; winter run salmon were put on the ESA list; and the Central Valley Project Improvement Act re-allocated over one million acre feet from historic uses to the environment. CVP operators and managers have been skittish ever since, delaying allocation decisions. On the surface, this seems to affect cropping decisions, but not enough to slow down Westlands' replacement of annual crops with permanent tree crops.

DSC member Patrick Johnson requested total water use (project and ground water) data and cropping patterns from Peltier, who agreed to provide them.

Peltier then started out with a promising commentary on Delta levees, conceding that there has never been a levee failure in the Delta due to an earthquake, that risk potential and figures in DRMS may have been exaggerated, and that a Do Not Resuscitate list of Delta islands was helpful only for the sake of discussion. Then he digressed to a contradictory discussion about the inevitability of a changing delta landscape and "letting islands go" in the future, just as we have in the past (i.e. Franks Tract).Peltier defended the construction and design of a 15K cfs facility because " We're settled on 15,000."

He went on to urge the council to divide their Plan into two sections: 1) a report and recommended actions in the Delta, and 2) other recommendations for areas outside the Delta. I believe that's where issues like groundwater regulation and selenium impaired agriculture run-off would get lost in the discussion if he were full in charge.

At the end, Peltier appealed to his base one last time. He called for existing agencies to "do their jobs," lashing out at fish agencies for having a narrow-minded pump-centric view of the world and expounding that the "little genius" to be found in BDCP was their earth-shattering ability to look at a suite of stressors. Genius? In BDCP? Well I guess, if genius is about holding onto dated ideas from the past. And, of course, we must consider the source.

For more information about Restore the Delta, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org.

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51% of Californians Support Marriage Equality as Majority Wishes a Do-Over on 2003 Recall

by: Brian Leubitz

Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 15:00:00 PM PST

This is fairly consistent with numbers that we've seen in the past, but PPP has just released their own data showing a majority favoring full marriage equality.

-The tide is turning in support of gay marriage in California. 51% of voters in the state now think it should be legal while 40% think it should remain illegal. It was just a little over 2 years ago that the state passed Proposition 8 but these numbers are reflective of a general liberalization in the views of Americans toward same sex marriage. (PPP)

The numbers get even better when you pull out senior citizens at 53-38.  It is only a matter of time before we have full marriage equality in California and, eventually, the nation.

Oh, and they also tested a retrospective on the 2003 recall, and guess what, Californians wish they hadn't done that.  By a 42-32 margin, voters would have refrained from recalling Davis.  Too bad we can't take back the past seven years and the havoc the Governator wrought.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Who will be GOP's sacrificial lamb against DiFi?

by: Lucas O'Connor

Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 11:05:52 AM PST

Last week, PPP polling asked the Twitterverse what challengers they should test against Dianne Feinstein for her 2012 re-election campaign. It solicited a wide range of suggestions -- some serious, some decidedly less so -- including testing other Democrats given our state's new top-two primary.

The results rolled out yesterday, finding to (hopefully) nobody's surprise that DiFi "stomps the field." The full pdf of results are here, where PPP doubled down on the dire, declaring "No hope for Whitman, Fiorina, Arnold, anyone."

Before abandoning us for the Emerald City, Robert had an excellent series breaking down the long-term realignment that's settling in in California, and these PPP numbers certainly reflect that. But it goes beyond simply an overwhelming lead for DiFi due to her perpetually superhuman support. PPP, through their own calculations and twitter suggestions, couldn't come up with a single potential Republican candidate that hasn't already run a statewide campaign.

And of all those tested- Tom Campbell, Carly Fiorina, Darrell Issa, Steve Poizner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Meg Whitman- only Campbell managed a net positive approval rating (+3). And he only pulled that off by being notably less known than the rest of the field.

Arnold's at negative 40. eMeg a solid minus-22 and Fiorina at minus-19. A bare majority have an opinion of Steve Poizner, putting him at 13 points to the negative. And of the 48% who have an opinion of Darrell Issa, it's an unfavorable one by a 2-1 margin.

In other words, it's impossible to run statewide as a Republican without alienating people faster than you win them over. It hasn't just left all recent GOP contenders in a deep hole, but it should scare off anyone thinking of using a doomed DiFi challenge as a boost to higher office- just running statewide from the right is a career-ender. The half-dozen California Republicans with leadership positions in the House have no reason to come back and end their careers, and the new House members ought to see these numbers as reason not to bother.

It's a cycle that'll feed on itself as long as the Republican party is set on a dead-ender agenda of hyper-conservative purity.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Legislature Hopes to Save CalWorks Day Care Subsidies from Arnold's Wrecking Ball

by: Brian Leubitz

Fri Jan 14, 2011 at 09:15:00 AM PST

Sure, Arnold Schwarzenegger has left the Horseshoe, but that doesn't mean that we can just forget about him or what he did to the state.  In this case, we're talking about the child care subsidies for parents who have recently left welfare.  For this one, there at least seems to be a remedy that gets us through to the next budget. (hopefully)

Assembly Speaker John Pérez will announce today that state officials have found a way to save child care subsidies for 55,000 low-income families - a program that then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to eliminate last year.

The subsidies are available to parents who were formerly on cash assistance but now have jobs or are in school. Supporters had argued that eliminating the subsidies was shortsighted and could ultimately cost taxpayers more than keeping it, because many parents would quit their jobs and apply for welfare if they were unable to afford day care.

Under a plan Pérez will announce today, state officials will use $60 million in child care funds left from previous years to fund the subsidies through March. The program's funding would be restored April 1 under Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal unveiled this week.(SF Chronicle)

Now, clearly this is a stopgap gimmick, but a necessary one.  We really cannot afford to let this program just die for three months.  If we are really attempting to get people off of welfare rolls and back in jobs, we can hardly pull the rug out on them so quickly.  There has to be an effort to transition off of being a full-time child care provider as a parent to a place where the parent can reasonably afford child care expenses.  We can't say we want people to work while at the same time presenting a net loss in money coming into the household if they are working a low-wage job.

CalWorks has been a pretty successful welfare to work program, and that's what the Right has been clamoring for.  But, when times get tough, better to squeeze the poor than the rich, right?

UPDATE: Just got the word that the effort worked. Find the full press release (with a timeline) over the flip.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 657 words in story)

Just Who Are The People Trying to Buy Our State Buildings?

by: Brian Leubitz

Thu Jan 13, 2011 at 15:30:00 PM PST

The deal would sell the building that houses the California Supreme Court
Photobucket
Arnold Schwarzenegger was quite keen to get the sale of buildings through before he left office.  That's no surprise, considering that Jerry Brown was never really a fan of the deal.  His latest statements have been somewhat ambivalent, essentially saying that he wants 30 days to review the deal before he does anything.

But the deal is now rapidly losing investors, and the Bay Citizen (a website you should be reading), notes that in addition to the shrinking pool of investors, there is also the question of who the investors are that are left paying the up-front costs.  Well, turns out it isn't that easy to find out:

Most of the members of a shadowy investor group that agreed to finance the sale of tony state office buildings last year appear to have dropped out of the deal, and those that remain are tight-lipped about their involvement in the transaction, which is being challenged in court as an illegal gift of state assets to a group with political pull in Sacramento.
*** **** ***
The identities of the people and companies behind California First LLC have been a mystery. And the increased public scrutiny and court challenges have done little, thus far, to shed light on them. The group declined to participate in the legal battle to close the deal, a stance that Renne finds "extraordinarily unusual. I think, frankly, they cannot stand to see the light of day on their transaction."

The Bay Citizen reporter continued to follow the trail of money, but ended up with more questions than answers.  People avoided her calls, said they weren't really helping, merely advising, and generally being unhelpful.  That being said, the three "main partners" in the deal have long history in government and ties to past administrations.

Even if you were to look at this deal from a totally outside perspective, without this information, the deal would look like a bad one.  We aren't really getting enough money to make this worthwhile.  It's a short-term fix for a long-term problem. Oh, and it leaves us with a huge pile of debt to deal with over the next generation.  Adding on the mysterious and rather shady nature of this deal, you really have to question Schwarzenegger's motives for this deal.

We still have a while before we get a decision from Gov. Brown, but one hopes that we can once and fully put this stinker of a deal behind us.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)
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