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Winnemem Wintu War Dancers: Shasta Dam a 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

by: Dan Bacher

Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 11:43:18 AM PDT

For the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and National Park Service, the 602 foot-high Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River north of Redding is a keystone of the Central Valley Project and a monument to engineering skill.

"Shasta Dam, dwarfed only by Hoover and Grand Coulee dams when it was completed on the Sacramento River in 1945, is breathtaking not only for its great size, but for its majestic setting in the southern range of the Cascades," according to the National Park Service. (http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/ReclamationDamsAndWaterProjects/Shasta_Dam.html)

However, leaders of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, who recently conducted a "War Dance" at Shasta Dam to protest the federal plan to raise the dam by 18-1/2 feet, have a much different view of the dam and the reservoir it created. Tribal Leaders view the massive curved concrete dam and proposed dam raise as a "Weapon of Mass Destruction." This dam expansion plan would flood many of the remaining sacred sites of the Tribe that weren't inundated by the construction of Shasta Dam in the 1940s.

"In 2004, we held a War Dance on Shasta Dam, because that's the Weapon of Mass Destruction," said Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe before the four-day War Dance that ended Sunday, September 14. "That's the weapon that took our lands, flooded our sacred places, covered up our burials - everything. And left us with nothing."

"We gave up a lot of our homeland for the sake of the California people, and got nothing in return. Now the government wants to take our sacred places, and again we get nothing in return. How is this fair, over and over again?" she asked.  

Before the War Dance began Thursday evening, two Winnemem Wintu War Dancers, Jesse Sisk and James Ward, worked hard with their fire kit until they were able to light the ceremonial fire at the center of the dance site overlooking Shasta Dam and Reservoir.

After the fire was lit and the flames leaped into the air on the warm September night, Chief Caleen Sisk gave a blessing and talked about the war dance and four-day fast that the tribe would conduct to stop the federal plan to raise Shasta Dam.  

"We lost our homes on the river to create a better life for everybody else but the Winnemem Wintu Tribe," Chief Sisk said. "The 1941 Act was supposed to protect us, but it didn't."

The law Sisk referred to was 55 Stat 612. When Shasta Dam was first proposed, Congress passed this law authorizing the federal government to seize the lands and burial grounds that the Winnemem had for a thousand year. Unfortunately, promises were made to the Tribe in 55 Stat 612 that still have not been kept.  

"Our sacred places are still here," she emphasized. "We are putting out our way and our songs so we can continue our way of life."

"We will pray so we can have a better life not only for the Winnemem but for indigenous people all over the world," Sisk said, pointing to the battle by Native Hawaiians to stop the the building of a new telescope on their sacred mountain, Mauna Kea.  

"We pray that the spirit beings hear us and bring all of our helpers, from the high mountain meadows all of the way to the ocean," she continued. "Our concern is the health of the waterways. We are here at the dam that blocks the salmon on a river that should be full of salmon."

She said that California should finally acknowledge its unique role as one of four salmon states on the West Coast.

"We should be a salmon state, not a watermelon or pistachio state. We have the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. We have some of the largest salmon rivers in the West, but people have given these up for agribusiness, for large farms in a desert," Chief Caleen Sisk said.

She reiterated that Shasta Dam is "a weapon of mass destruction" against the Winnemem Wintu and said the idea of dams is a "horrible archaic project."

"Maybe we can't stop them - but we will have a clear conscience the Winnemem did all we could," Chief Sisk said.  

About 15 minutes later, the Winnemem War Dancers, clad in their traditional feathered headdresses and regalia, danced as the Winnemem women, wearing white deerskin dresses and wearing traditional basket hats, sang songs and prayed.  

The Winnemem invoked the War Dance in 1887 against a fish hatchery, the Baird U.S. Fish Hatchery, on the McCloud River that threatened the salmon and the Winnemem way of life.

The Winnemem again held a War Dance at the dam in 2004 to commit themselves to the protection of their land and their salmon. Now that the Winnemem face even more of their sacred sites and culture being submerged by the dam, they conducted  the dance once again this September.

Before the ceremony, I interviewed several of the War Dancers, all of whom emphasized that the Shasta Dam raise is deeply interconnected with Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and Proposition 1, the water bond, which will fund the building of Sites Reservoir.

David Martinez, who also danced during the war dances of 2004, 2009 and 2012, said, "Sites, the water bond, the tunnels and the raise of Shasta Dam are all interconnected. Without one, the others don't work. Right now we transport all of the water that we can to the San Joaquin Valley."

"We need more tunnels and aqueducts - for what? If the dam doesn't go up, Sites Dam doesn't come in and we don't need the tunnels," said Martinez.

He sees the tunnels as Brown's "Zombie Plan back from the dead." "We killed off the peripheral canal with the vote against it in 1982. He's brought it back with 'Zombie Juice' as the tunnels," he quipped.

"Since the 1800s, they've tried to wipe us out, but we're still here," Martinez emphasized. "The main thing is that we keep our sacred sites alive because we still use them. By going there, we are being with the spirits. That's the way our culture doesn't die or disappear."

Martinez noted that there are many Tribal people who don't have what the Winnemem have. "We have an unbroken connection with our sacred sites," he stated. "We do ceremony up and down the river. We were never transported out of here and we're in our original home - we've never lost our songs, culture, way of life. We're still here."

"Every water monger would rather see us drown or go away. We're fighting against almost insurmountable odds -but we will win," Martinez affirmed.

He also invoked Chief Caleen Sisk's characterization of Shasta Dam as "a weapon of mass destruction against us."

"It's just as powerful as a nuclear bomb. It destroyed our home, salmon, our way of life. Now they want to flood us out again. How many times do we have to suffer this? We're not going to go away. We've been here since the dawn of time - and we will be here at the end of time," he stated.

Gary Mulcahy, a War Dancer who served on the stakeholders group during the Delta Vision process from 2005 to 2007, said the Bureau of Reclamation is submitting an EIS/EIR for the dam raise proposal to the Secretary of Interior, set for approval in December. There are three similar alternatives, all of which propose an 18-1/2 foot dam raise and hold the same amount of water.

"If Congress approves a bill written by Congressman Jim Costa, it will fund the proposal to raise Shasta Dam. They just need the recommendation from the Secretary of the Interior to do it," he said.

"We are doing the war dance because we have to let the salmon know that we are fighting for them. The Tribe has to make sure that we bring them home and to ensure the sacred sites that would be flooded by the dam raise will be there for them and for generations to come," he explained.

The one positive development lately that Mulcahy noted is the bill, H. R. 5425, introduced in the House of Representatives last week by Congressmen Ami Beri, Jerry McNerney and John Garamendi to block the use of any federal funds for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels.

"If it is understood that the tunnels are a bad deal, maybe somehow in the mix they will understand the the dam raise is a bad deal also. If the EPA is saying the BDCP is such a bad idea, maybe they will understand raising the dam and committing cultural genocide upon those who gave their land for the lake is a bad idea also," he said.

He emphasized, "We're amazed that people don't understand that the Central Valley Project is from Shasta Dam all of the way to the Delta Estuary. To oppose one is to oppose the other. All that has been presented to the public by state officials are falsehoods and misinformation that the purpose of the dam is ecosystem restoration or salmon restoration when it's actually to provide more water to farmers growing water intensive crops in the desert."

He concluded, "Dams don't create water - I've never seen a dam rain!"

Michael Preston, Winnemem War Dancer, who graduated last year from U.C. Berkeley with a B.S. in Society and the Environment and is currently an Oakland resident, said, "The war dance is against the raising of Shasta dam. It's not against Obama. But if he comes out against us, then it's against him too."

He pointed out that the War Dance is held for both spiritual and political reasons.

"The spiritual reason is because spirits are calling us to tell us what to do to protect the salmon. Then the politics come in - the politics are what threatens our livelihood," he noted.

He strongly disagreed with the contention of Bureau of Reclamation officials that the dam raise would "help" salmon by providing cold water temperatures for Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River below the dam.

"The salmon are threatened and there is no plan for getting the salmon around the dam to swim up to their headwaters in the McCloud River," he said. "The plan does nothing for the salmon. The hundreds of miles of salmon habitat cut off from spawning are what they need, not the Shasta Dam raise."

He concluded the claim that the dam raise will "help" salmon "is just a ploy to greenwash the raising of the dam."

The Winnemem Wintu held the War Dance under a permit issued by The Bureau of Reclamation. The Tribe has held numerous meetings with the BOR to raise questions about the feasibility of the BOR's plans, the impacts it will have on the tribe and their way of life, and the troubled history between the tribe and the BOR.

However, Tribal leaders said that in spite of the numerous terminal flaws with the dam proposal, the BOR is going ahead with plans to raise the dam and will submit its final EIS/EIR to the Secretary of Interior in December. It anticipates the final project plan will be submitted to Congress for approval no later than March 2015.  

The Tribe has consistently requested that the BOR study alternatives to raising the dam such as better management practices for existing reservoirs and conservation options, as well as better protection of the fish populations.

"Any raising of the dam, even a few feet, will flood some of our last remaining sacred sites on the McCloud River - sites we still use today," said Chief Sisk. "We can't be Winnemem any place else but the McCloud River. The dam raise is a form of cultural genocide."    

Background on Shasta Dam Raise and BDCP:

Raising Shasta Dam will damage, destroy and inundate cultural resources along the McCloud River, sites that are vital to future generations and are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as Traditional Cultural Properties, according to the Winnemem Wintu.

The Shasta Dam raise takes place in tandem with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the proposal to build Sites Reservoir on the west side of the Sacramento Valley. The BDCP is an environmentally destructive $67 billion project that will export massive quantities of northern California water for use by San Joaquin Valley corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injecting operations,

The construction of the twin tunnels will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the steelhead and salmon populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. The project will also take vast tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile on the planet, out of production in order irrigate toxic, drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

"I'm still appalled that a lot of people don't make the connections between the Shasta Dam raise, the BDCP and Sites Reservoir, which is in the water bond (Proposition 1)," said Chief Sisk. "There is not going to be more water for the tunnels if Sites Reservoir isn't built and Sites can't be filled unless the Shasta Dam is raised."

"The BDCP can't exist without the Shasta Dam raise and the construction of Sites Reservoir to store water for the tunnels. It's all one project - I don't know where people think the water is going to come from," she concluded.

The Winnemem Wintu Tribe over the past 10 years has played a key leadership role in the campaign to oppose the peripheral tunnels and the water bond. The Tribe is also working on a plan to return native winter run Chinook salmon, now thriving in the Rakaira River in New Zealand, to the McCloud River above Shasta Dam. They are researching and developing a proposal for a passageway around Shasta Dam for the returning spawning salmon and the outgoing ocean bound salmon fingerlings.

For more information, visit http://www.winnememwintu.us.

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Was (Is) Six Californias a Trojan Horse?

by: steve.chessin

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 23:11:27 PM PDT

( - promoted by Brian Leubitz)

[Even though I was planning to take a break from blogging for a while, something has been nagging me at the back of my mind about Six Californias. Since a brief email exchange I had with Mr. Draper indicates he may try again - which is why I have "Is" in the title - I decided I should post my concerns.]

According to the story of the Trojan Horse, the Greek army wanted to invade Troy but couldn't breach Troy's well-defended walls. So they pretended to give up, and built a giant wooden horse as an appeasement gift. The Trojans saw the Greeks sail away, leaving the wooden horse just outside the walls, so in their joy at their apparent victory the Trojans opened their gates and brought the horse inside.

Unbeknownst to the Trojans, the Greeks had left a small band of their best soldiers inside the horse. In the middle of the night, as the Trojans, exhausted from their day-long victory celebration, slept soundly, the Greeks left the horse via a trap door  and opened the gates so that the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back, could enter Troy and take the city.

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Report #18 (and the last one) on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Fri Sep 12, 2014 at 22:58:00 PM PDT

You've probably heard by now that Six Californias failed to qualify for the ballot. You can read about it on the SoS website temporarily here and here, and more permanently here. The official announcement that went out to the County Clerks and Registrars of Voters can be downloaded from here.

Given all that, this will be my final report on the signature qualification effort of Six Californias. It will contain more information than you will read in the media.

The last five counties reported their random sampling results in Friday's final update: Inyo (validity rate 80.7%; they did a full count), Los Angeles (61.4%), Mariposa (67.0%), San Benito (63.1%; full count), and Trinity (66.7%). Raw counts were changed for Plumas County (an increase of 33) and Trinity (a loss of 15), for a net increase of 18 signatures, bringing the final raw count to 1,137,844 (was 1,137,826). In addition, Yuba corrected their duplicate count from 2 to 8, reducing their validity rate from 58.8% to 51.1%.

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Report #17 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Wed Sep 10, 2014 at 18:42:41 PM PDT

Two counties reported their random sampling results in Wednesday's update: Fresno (validity rate 75.1%) and Tuolumne (73.3%). In addition, Tuolumne (which actually did a full count, not a random sample) found an additional 29 raw signatures, bringing the total raw count up slightly to 1,137,826. The overall validity rate is up slightly to 67.96% (was 67.58%, for a projected valid signature count of 768,923, a comfortable 1,688 more than needed to qualify for a full count.

Five counties still have to complete their random sampling. They are (in order of the number of raw signatures they reported) Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Mariposa (945), Trinity (779), Inyo (616), and San Benito (350). Los Angeles has to check 3% of their signatures and San Benito has to check all 350; the other three have to check 500 (unless they want to check them all).

With the Fresno and Tuolumne numbers in, Los Angeles only needs to have a not unreasonable 66.6% validity rate for Six Californias to qualify for a full count without reports from the other four counties. On the other hand, if Los Angeles has less than a 65.7% validity rate, then Six Californias will not qualify for a full count no matter what the other four counties report. This substantially narrows the range where the reports from Mariposa, Trinity, Inyo, and San Benito would matter.

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Dam The Indians Anyway - War Dance at Shasta Dam

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Sep 10, 2014 at 14:59:52 PM PDT

Shasta Dam, on the Sacramento River north of Redding, will be the site of a "War Dance" held by the Winnemem (McCloud River) Wintu Tribe from September 11 through September 15.  

The War Dance is in response to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's proposal to raise the dam that threatens to submerge many Winnemem sacred sites and village areas, according to a news release from the Tribe, The Winnemem lost much of their homelands and their salmon when the giant federal Central Valley Project dam was first constructed.

"Any raising of the dam, even a few feet, will flood some of our last remaining sacred sites on the McCloud River - sites we still use today," said Caleen Sisk , Winnemem Chief and Spiritual Leader. "We can't be Winnemem any place else but the McCloud River. The dam raise is a form of cultural genocide."

The Winnemem invoked the War Dance in 1887 against a fish hatchery, the Baird U.S. Fish Hatchery, on the McCloud River that threatened the salmon and the Winnemem way of life, according to the Tribe. Again the Winnemem held a War Dance at the dam in 2004 to commit themselves to the protection of their land and their salmon. Now, the Winnemem face even more of their sacred sites and culture being submerged by the dam.

"In 2004, we held a War Dance on Shasta Dam, because that's the Weapon of Mass Destruction," said Chief Sisk. "That's the weapon that took our lands, flooded our sacred places, covered up our burials - everything. And left us with nothing."

"We gave up a lot of our homeland for the sake of the California people, and got nothing in return. Now the government wants to take our sacred places, and again we get nothing in return. How is this fair, over and over again?" she asked.

"This is not right," Chief Sisk said. "This is too much to ask of a people."

On September 11, 2014 at a site near Shasta Dam, just before dusk, a sacred ceremonial fire will be lit, and the Winnemem War Dancers will fast for the full four days of the ceremony. For the next 4 days, the fire, the drum, the songs and the dance will carry the prayers of the Winnemem people.

The dance is being held under a permit issued by The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). The Tribe has held numerous meetings with the BOR to raise questions about the feasibility of the BOR's plans, the impacts it will have on the tribe and their way of life, and the troubled history between the tribe and the BOR.

"Yet, BOR is going ahead with plans to raise the dam and will submit its final EIS/EIR to the Secretary of Interior in December, and anticipates the final project plan will be submitted to Congress for approval no later than March 2015," according to the Tribe.

"When Shasta Dam was first proposed, Congress passed a law (55 Stat 612) authorizing the federal government to take the lands and burial grounds that the Winnemem had for a thousand years, the Tribe said. "Promises were made to the Tribe in 55 Stat 612 that still have not been kept. The Tribe is asking that the BOR fulfill 55 Stat 612 to resolve these long standing debts as well as fully comply with NEPA, NHPA, and other laws that protect sacred and historic sites."

The Tribe has consistently requested that the BOR, study alternatives to raising the dam such as better management practices for existing reservoirs and conservation options, as well as better protection of the fish populations. "Raising the dam will damage, destroy and inundate cultural resources along the McCloud River, sites that are vital to future generations and are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as Traditional Cultural Properties," the Tribe stated.

The Shasta Dam raise takes place in tandem with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the proposal to build Sites Reservoir on the west side of the Sacramento Valley. The BDCP is an environmentally destructive $67 billion project that will export massive quantities of northern California water for use by San Joaquin Valley corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injecting operations,

The construction of the twin tunnels will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the steelhead and salmon populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. The project will also take vast tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile on the planet, out of production in order irrigate toxic, drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

"I'm still appalled that a lot of people don't make the connections between the Shasta Dam raise, the BDCP and Sites Reservoir, which is in the water bond (Proposition 1)," said Chief Sisk. "There is not going to be more water for the tunnels if Sites Reservoir isn't built and Sites can't be filled unless the Shasta Dam is raised."

"The BDCP can't exist without the Shasta Dam raise and the construction of Sites Reservoir to store water for the tunnels. It's all one project - I don't know where people think the water is going to come from," she concluded.

The Winnemem Wintu Tribe over the past 10 years has played a key leadership role in the campaign to oppose the peripheral tunnels and the water bond. The Tribe is also working on a plan to return native winter run Chinook salmon, now thriving in the Rakaira River in New Zealand, to the McCloud River above Shasta Dam. They are researching and developing a proposal for a passageway around Shasta Dam for the returning spawning salmon and the outgoing ocean bound salmon fingerlings.

For more information, visit http://www.winnememwintu.us.
Media Contact: Charlotte Berta
Cell: 916-207-2378
Email: char [at] ranchriver.com

War Dance Location Information:
Shasta Dam Bureau of Reclamation
16349 Shasta Dam Boulevard
Shasta Lake, California 96019
Lat/Long 40.7140, -122.4176

Action Alert: Urge Your Congress Member to vote against the Shasta Dam raise!

Representative Jim Costa, of Fresno, has introduced a bill, co-signed by a number of California Democratic Congressmen, to raise Shasta Dam. "There is no mention of the standing debt to our people or the destruction it will cause to our way of life.

Please contact your Senators and Congresspeople (http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml), in any state you're in, to remind them that a debt is still owed by the United States to the Winnemem Wintu people, and ask them to vote NO on any proposal to raise Shasta Dam.

Also, tell the Bureau's Commission Michael Connor to not submit his plan to raise Shasta Dam. Tell him to support Winnemem cultural survival - Michael Connor - comments [at] usbr.gov; (202) 513-0501

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Report #16 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Tue Sep 09, 2014 at 17:50:43 PM PDT

Five(!) counties reported their random sampling results Tuesday: El Dorado (validity rate 76.8%), Glenn (70.1%), Humboldt (60.3%), Lassen (65.9%), and Nevada (72.7%). In addition, El Dorado reported eight fewer signatures in their raw count than they had initially, and Nevada County reported an additional signature, bringing the total raw count down slightly to 1,137,797. The overall validity rate is up slightly to 67.58% (was 67.48%, for a projected valid signature count of 768,923, a comfortable 1,688 more than needed to qualify for a full count.

Seven counties still have to complete their random sampling. They are (in order of the number of raw signatures they reported) Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Fresno (38,382), Tuolumne (4,732), Mariposa (945), Trinity (779), Inyo (616), and San Benito (350). Los Angeles and Fresno have to check 3% of their signatures, and San Benito has to check all 350; the others have to check 500 (unless they want to check them all). I hope we don't have to wait until Friday for them all to report.

My feeling is much of it boils down to Los Angeles. While I don't think Los Angeles by itself will put them over the number they need to qualify for a full count (for that it would have to have a remarkably high 77.0% or better validity rate), it could make it mathematically impossible for the rest of the counties to put them over. That is, if the validity rate from Los Angeles ends up less than about 62.3%, then even if the other counties had 100% valid signatures Six Californias would not qualify for a full count and would not make it to the ballot. (At this point it is mathematically impossible for Six Californias to qualify for the ballot based on random sampling alone, even if Los Angeles had a 100% projected validity rate.)

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Report #15 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Mon Sep 08, 2014 at 22:23:32 PM PDT

Two more counties reported their random sampling results Monday: San Luis Obispo (validity rate 60.2%) and Yuba (57.2%). (San Luis Obispo County also found another raw signature, bringing the total raw count to 1,137,804.) The overall validity rate is down slightly to 67.48% (was 67.6%, for a projected valid signature count of 767,790, just 555 more than needed to qualify for a full count. (I had been rounding the overall validity rate to three significant digits, but as Six Californias is so close to the threshold I'll begin reporting it to four significant digits as the Secretary of State does.)

Twelve counties still have to complete their random sampling, which by law they must do by Friday. They are (in order of the number of raw signatures they reported) Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Fresno (38,382), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tuolumne (4,732), Nevada (4,322), Lassen (2,066), Glenn (1,910), Mariposa (945), Trinity (779), Inyo (616), and San Benito (350). Los Angeles and Fresno have to check 3% of their signatures, and San Benito has to check all 350; the others have to check 500 (unless they want to check them all).

Given how close to the threshold for a full count Six Californias is, if the smaller counties were hoping Six Californias would either qualify or fail to qualify without their numbers, so they could skip verifying signatures, they might have have to re-think that position. If I were them, and depending on how long it takes their offices to verify a signature, I wouldn't wait until Friday morning to start verifying.

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Report #14 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 18:02:49 PM PDT

Two more counties have finished their random sampling, according to today's update from the Secretary of State's office: one large (Orange County, with a validity rate of 67.9%), and one small (Amador County, 68.1%). The overall validity rate is unchanged at 67.6%, so with 769,154 projected valid signatures, Six Californias may be headed for a full count.

Fourteen counties still have to complete their random sampling, which by law they must do by next Friday. With Orange County having reported, the top ten (by the number of raw signatures they reported) are now Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Fresno (38,382), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tuolumne (4,732), Nevada (4,322), Yuba (3,720), Lassen (2,066), and Glenn (1,910). The top two have to check 3% of their signatures; the others have to check 500 (unless they want to check them all).

--Steve Chessin
President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)
www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

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Report #13 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 18:10:49 PM PDT

Two more counties have completed their random sampling according to today's update from the Secretary of State's office; one large (Riverside, with a validity rate of 73.3%), and one small (Santa Cruz, with a validity rate of 60.1%). I note that Riverside has a very high validity rate for a large county (74,478 raw signatures). No county with more raw signatures has a validity rate higher than 69.5%. (Of course, we still have to hear from Los Angeles County.) The largest county with a validity rate higher than 73.3% is Ventura (27,134 raw signatures, validity rate 82.2%).

The overall validity rate is 67.6%, up somewhat from the 67.0% validity rate in my previous report. That gives a projected valid signature count of 769,154 signatures, up sufficiently from the 762,328 in that previous report for Six Californias to qualify for a full count. This bodes well for Six Californias as long as the remaining counties average roughly a 67.3% or better validity count.

Sixteen counties still have to complete their random sampling. (According to the Secretary of State, they have to complete the process by September 12th, a week from this Friday.) The top ten (by the number of raw signatures they reported) are now Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Orange (52,217), Fresno (38,382), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tuolumne (4,732), Nevada (4,322), Yuba (3,720), and Lassen (2,066). The top three have to check 3% of their signatures; the others have to check 500 (unless they want to check them all).

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Report #12 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 17:29:55 PM PDT

Thursday's update included completed random samples from three more counties: Alameda (validity rate 67.6%), Calaveras (73.2%), and Tehama (66.9%). The overall validity rate is up slightly, from 66.9% to 67.0%, for a projected total valid signature count of 762,328 (up from 761,190 in my previous report), still not enough to qualify for a full count. That requires 767,235 projected valid signatures.

Eighteen counties still have to complete their random sampling. The top ten (by the number of raw signatures they reported) are now Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Riverside (74,478), Orange (52,217), Fresno (38,382), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tuolumne (4,732), Nevada (4,322), and Santa Cruz (3,742).

Jim Riley posted an interesting comment to Report #11. One of his points is (I think) that the estimate of duplicates has a wide variance, and this can cause an initiative to fail to qualify based on the sampling when a full count would show that it had sufficient signatures. It might be interesting to look at the qualification rules used by other states that have the initiative.

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Report #11 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 00:07:11 AM PDT

Good news! Tuesday's random sample update includes raw signature counts from Amador and Trinity counties! Amador reports 1,750 raw signatures, and Trinity reports 779 raw signatures. That would have brought the total raw signature count to 1,137,875, except that Kern County, which finished its sampling, reduced its raw count from 26,444 to 26,422, and Humboldt County, which hasn't finished its sampling, reduced its raw count from 7,280 to 7,230. That brings the total raw signature count to 1,137,803. (I was going to say "final total raw signature count", except as we have seen a county might change its report of raw signatures when it completes its sampling.)

In addition to Kern (validity rate of 74.9%), three other counties have also completed their random sampling. They are San Bernardino (61.4%), San Mateo (68.0%), and Siskiyou (71.2%). That brings the overall validity rate to 66.9%, down from the 67.5% in my previous report, and gives an overall estimate of 761,190 raw signatures, well below the 767,235 needed to qualify for a full count.

There are still 21 counties that need to finish their sampling (including Amador and Trinity). With both San Bernardino (it had been ranked second) and Kern (it had been ranked seventh) having reported, the top ten are now Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Riverside (74,478), Orange (52,217), Alameda (51,366), Fresno (38,382), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tehama (4,855), and Toulomne (4,732).

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Reports #8, #9, and #10 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 22:04:12 PM PDT

I apologize for getting behind; between my day job, family, and unrelated political activity I haven't been able to post any reports since my previous report until today. So this is three reports in one.

The random sample update for Monday, August 18th, was released after hours; it had a time-stamp of 5:32pm. It reported completed random samplings from the following counties: Lake (65.8% valid), Marin (76.9%), Monterey (71.9%), Santa Clara (65.6%), Stanislaus (71.9%), Tulare (72.0%), and Ventura (82.2%). In addition, the date when Inyo County reported their raw count of 616 signatures was changed from 11 August to 6 August. That correction is balanced by the obvious typo that Ventura's sampling was completed 18 July instead of 18 August. The above average validity rates of Marin, Monterey, and especially Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura counties brought the overall validity rate up from 66.9% to 69.2%. If the validity rate stays that high (but keep reading), Six Californias will qualify for a full count.

Another random sample update was released on Tuesday, August 19th. This had reports from four more counties: the small ones of Colusa (they did a full count, with a validity rate of 79.4%) and Del Norte (random sample, 59.2% valid), and the large ones of Sacramento (60.5%) and San Diego (69.5%). The overall validity rate dropped slightly to 68.3%, still high enough to qualify for a full count.

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Tribal members rally in Sacramento to stop Klamath River fish kill

by: Dan Bacher

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:23:40 AM PDT

Over 200 Tribal members and their allies from the Trinity and Klamath river watersheds held a four-hour protest at the Bureau of Reclamation offices in Sacramento on Tuesday, August 19 to urge them to release more water from upriver dams to stop a massive fish kill.

Members of the Yurok, Klamath and Karuk tribes, as well as leaders of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, displayed an array of signs and banners with slogans including "Fish Need Water," "Let The River Flow," "Give Us Our Water, " "Save The Salmon," "Tribal Rights Are Non Negotiable," "Release The Dam Water," "Undam the Klamath - Free the Trinity," "Fish Can't Swim In Money," and "Westlands Sucks The Trinity Dry."

They demanded increased water releases, known as preventative flows, from Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River, the largest tributaryof the Klamath River, to prevent a fish kill from taking place in the currently warm and low water conditions. They also asked federal officials to release more water from Iron Gate Dam on the Klamath.

Participants ranging from young children to elders protested Reclamation's recent decision to withhold these emergency releases until large numbers - approximately 50 adult dead salmon per mile of river - are documented.

They urged the Bureau to increase water releases from the dams so that a fish kill on the lower Klamath, like the one of September 2002 when over 68,000 fish perished, doesn't occur again.

"We need 25 to keep the fish alive," they chanted, referring to their demand that the federal agency release 2500 cfs to the river. After holding signs and banners and chanting slogans in front of the federal building complex, they marched to the back to try to meet with Bureau officials.

The federal officials allowed six people to meet with David Murillo, Mid-Pacific Regional Director of the Bureau of Reclamation, about releasing the flows. Murillo didn't commit to increased flows, but said he would make a decision the following day, August 20 after a meeting of state, federal and Tribal scientists about the flows in Eureka Tuesday.

Lois Moore, Bureau spokesman, said that no decision had been made at press time.

"The biologists from the different federal and state agencies and tribes had a discussion today to produce information for Murrillo to make a decision. Everybody understands how important this water flow is, not only to the fish and the environment but to the tribes," Moore stated Tuesday.

After the Tuesday meeting at the BOR offices, Danielle Vigil-Masten, Chair of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, said she was "very disappointed."

"It still feels like they gave us the run around," said Vigil-Masten. "Scientists have said that the fish need water. Hundreds of people came here today to get an answer. David Murrillo said he would have an answer tomorrow. Prevention of a fish kill is the answer and it seems like nobody cares."

Frankie Joe Myers of the Yurok Tribe Watershed Restoration Program said he was "cautiously optimistic" after the meeting.

"He listened to us as for as long as we wanted to talk, although we were originally scheduled for just 30 minutes. We told him we wouldn't leave the office until we got a response. He said we could stay in the office as long as we wanted and we wouldn't get arrested," said Myers.

Chook Chook Hillman, Karuk tribal member, said, "He heard us. We asked him if irrigators are willing to die for water like the rest of us are. He listened, but there were no guarantees. We didn't want to leave without getting an answer."

"The tribes asked for bare bones to prevent a fish kill," he said, "just flows of 2500 cfs."

"I told Murillo that if there is a fish kill, he is responsible for genocide," said Annelia Hillman, a member of the Klamath Justice Coalition and Yurok Tribe.

Emergency flow releases from Lewiston Dam would take four days to reach the struggling Klamath River salmon, according to a statement from the Klamath Justice Coalition. Fisheries biologists commonly agree that by the time the emergency flows are triggered and the water has traveled from the dam, it would be too late to prevent a large-scale fish die-off. Tribal members say Reclamation is ignoring the beginning stages of a disaster.

"Fish are pooled up at cold water tributaries because the water in the river is so warm and polluted," said Hoopa Valley Tribal member, Kayla Brown. "These fish are diseased and dying. Once the disease starts to spread, it can't be stopped and we will have a fish kill on our hands, courtesy of the Bureau of Reclamation."

The protesters said five times more water is diverted to the Sacramento Basin for Central Valley irrigators than is released into the Trinity River.

Rally organizers and participants also said they support Klamath River fisheries biologists' assertion that a minimum of 2,500 cubic feet per second be maintained near the mouth of the Klamath River. This can be achieved if the Bureau of Reclamation approves preventative releases from Lewiston Reservoir on the Trinity.

Nat Pennington, Fisheries Biologist for the Salmon River Restoration Council, emphasized, "Klamath River flows are lower than they were during the 2002 fish kill. River temperatures are consistently higher than the acute stress level for Chinook salmon at seventy-two degrees Fahrenheit. If this trend continues, a large-scale fish kill is likely and the Klamath could loose the entire run."

Karuk tribal member Molli White said, "Reclamation says they need the water for Sacramento River salmon, but our rivers are actually being exported to meet the demands of corporate agriculture like the Westland's Water district."

White noted that California's almond growers are projecting an eight percent increase in the 2014 harvest while the rest of California experiences a devastating drought year.

Recent USDA data reveals that California almond growers, one of the major recipients of exported Trinity River and Delta water, will harvest a record 2.1 billion pounds this year. The National Agricultural Statistics Service's estimate is up 5 percent from last year's crop and 8 percent from the initial 2014 forecast on May 1. If this figure hold ups as the harvest proceeds, it would exceed the record of 2.03 billion pounds in 2011. (http://www.modbee.com/2014/06/30/3417479/usda-forecasts-record-almond-crop.html#storylink=cpy)

"The argument that the Bureau makes that they need flows for endangered salmon in the Sacramento is totally bogus," said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA), who attended the protest in solidarity with the Tribes. "The water from the Trinity is shipped south not for endangered salmon, but for 'endangered' almonds."

When the dams and diversion tunnels were built on the Trinity, laws were set up to protect the river and fish before exporting water to the Central Valley, according to the Klamath Justice Coalition. These laws established that fish and the tribes that depend on them are the top priority for the Trinity River flows.

Klamath Justice Coalition members have made it clear that Tribal people and traditional fishermen will not give up until Reclamation releases water.

"We're fighting so my son, Sregon, doesn't have to worry about water being in the river," Frankie Joe Myers explained. "The Klamath fish kill of 2002 was devastating for our tribal communities and to the West Coast Fisheries. Previously, Tribes, fisheries scientists, and the Department of the Interior have worked together to avert fish kills by releasing preventative flows during drought years. We need these releases now more then ever."

Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, concluded, "It is all about showing up, standing up, and speaking up for SALMON! Salmon is water and water is salmon....we are nothing without both!"

Follow the Klamath Justice Coalition on twitter at #releasethewater #savethesalmon #stopafishkill #neveragain

For information about current river conditions and fisheries health visit:
http://www.kbmp.net/collaborat...

For more information visit http://klamathjustice.blogspot...

Video b-roll and photos are available at:
http://www.dropbox.com/sh/inlr...
VIDEO b-roll
http://www.dropbox.com/sh/jsdh...  

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Report #7 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 21:01:17 PM PDT

There was no report from the SoS Monday. In Tuesday's report (available at this website), Inyo County reported a raw count of 616 signatures. (That leaves just Amador and Trinity counties to report their raw numbers. Maybe we should have a pool on who will be last? :-)) Also, during Plumas County's full count (they didn't bother with a random sampling), they discovered that their raw count was only 1,618, not the 1,626 they originally reported. That brings the total raw count to 1,135,354 from 1,134,746. Plumas's validity rate was 76.9%. In addition to Plumas, the following counties have finished their random sampling (with validity rate as indicated): Butte (66.6%), Madera (63.5%), and Mendocino (72.3%). The overall validity rate now stands at 66.9%, up slightly from the 66.8% reported last time.

Twenty of California's 58 counties have completed their random sampling. At the current validity rate, Six Californias will need 7,797 more raw signatures to qualify for a full count. (I think they'll be lucky to get another 2,000.) The alternative is for their validity rate to increase to at least 67.6%. The largest county (in terms of raw signatures) to report in so far is San Joaquin, with 27,831 raw signatures and a validity rate of 72.7%. There are nine counties with more raw signatures than San Joaquin: Los Angeles (311,924), San Diego (97,450), San Bernardino (88,067), Riverside (74,478), Orange (52,217), Alameda (51,366), Sacramento (43,578), Fresno (38,382), and Santa Clara (38,366). If their validity rates are higher than the current 66.9% overall number, they could pull it up enough so that Six Signatures will get a full count. Whether a full count would pull it up to the 71.1% needed to qualify for the ballot remains to be seen. (I doubt they can pull it up to the 78.2% necessary to qualify for the ballot without a full count.)

The counties have another month to complete their random sampling. And at the rate the reports are trickling in, it will probably take that long.

--Steve Chessin
President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)
www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

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Report #6 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 22:07:04 PM PDT

Alameda County finally reported their raw signature count! According to Friday's update from the SoS, they had 51,366 raw signatures (a collection rate of 6.4%, the same as the state average), bringing the total raw signature count up to 1,134,746. We're still waiting for Amador, Inyo, and Trinity to report in, but with only 37,771 registered voters among them, I doubt they'll contribute more than 2500 signatures to the raw count.

Also in today's update are San Francisco's random sample results. They had a validity rate of 73.7%, bringing the overall validity rate back up to 66.8%. That gives a projection (as of today) of 758,010 valid signatures, not enough to qualify for a full count. (Throwing in my estimate of 2500 raw signatures from the remaining three counties only adds another 1670 signatures, still not enough to get a full count.)

In my previous report I discussed the concept of margin of error, so today I calculated it. If a county has a raw count of R, a sample size of S, and a projected validity rate of P (converting the percentage figure to a decimal fraction), then I calculated the margin of error in signatures as R*sqrt(P*(1-P)/S). (Of course, if S is the same as R, as it is for Alpine, Modoc, and Mono counties, the margin of error is zero.) For example, Kings County had 3,187 raw signatures, a sample size of 500, and a projected validity rate of 0.762. That means the margin of error on the projected 2,428 signatures is 61 signatures (about 2.5%).

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Report #5 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 22:49:31 PM PDT

Well, it's another slow news day in the Six Californias signature verification world. There was no update from the SoS Wednesday. The only news in Thursday's update was that the County of Santa Barbara finished their random sample, with a validity rate of 54.1%. This brings the overall validity rate down from 66.7% to 65.4%. Still no word from Alameda, Amador, Inyo, or Trinity counties as to their raw counts.

In my previous report I opined how the projected numbers made it seem unlikely that Six Californias would qualify for the ballot. It occurred to me that a random sample is subject to, well, randomness, and even if the projected number is below the number needed to qualify, a full count could reverse that. That indeed is what happened with the "State Fees on Hospitals" initiative that has qualified for the November 2016 ballot, so I thought a review of that initiative's process might be educational.

Initiative 1613 (as it is known to the SoS) was filed late last April. By May 6th enough counties had submitted their raw counts to the SoS that she was able to declare on May 7th that more than 807,615 signatures had been filed and so the counties should begin their random sampling and report back no later than June 19th.

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Report #4 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 23:30:57 PM PDT

It's a slow news day on the Six Californias signature verification front. (You can find my previous updates here, here, and here.) According to Tuesday's report from the SoS, a total of eight signatures were collected in Alpine County, of which five were valid (no duplicates), for a validity rate of 62.5%. Also, Yolo County apparently found an additional 27 raw signatures during its sampling process, bringing the total raw count to 1,083,380.

We're still waiting for the raw counts from Alameda, Amador, Inyo, and Trinity, but it may be they won't report until they finish their random sample. (This surprises me, because EC 9030(b) says they're supposed to report their raw totals to the SoS within eight days after receiving the petitions. But I guess there's no penalty for being late.)

In addition to the aforementioned Alpine County, we now have sampling reports from Kings (76.2% valid), Napa (66.0%), Shasta (69.0%), and Yolo (57.2%) counties. The overall validity rate is 66.7%, up very slightly from yesterday's 66.4%.

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Report #3 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 19:40:26 PM PDT

The SoS has released the latest random sample report for Tim Draper's initiative to divide the state into six Californias.

Calaveras, Humboldt, Kings, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, and Ventura counties have turned in their raw counts, bringing Tim Draper's total to 1,083,353 raw signatures (it was 1,038,836 in my first report). That lowers the validity rate he needs to qualify to 74.5% (was 77.7%) and to avoid a full count to 82.0% (was 88.5%). Below 70.8% (was 73.9%) and he doesn't even get a full count. We're still waiting for Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Inyo, and Trinity Counties to report their raw numbers. If they bring the raw total up to the 1.3 million claimed, then he needs 62.1% to qualify, 68.3% to avoid a full count.

Also, the following counties have completed their random samples (with validity rates as noted): Merced (66.7%), Modoc (65.4%), Mono (81.0%), Placer (72.5%), and San Joaquin (72.7%). The uncorrected validity rate is 71.8%, up from 70.7% in the first report. When one corrects for duplicates, the validity rate is 66.4%, up from 58.1%.

Speaking of correcting for duplicates, I think I've convinced myself that I now understand where the "-1" comes from in the correction factor for duplicate signatures. It's best explained with an example.

Suppose I have 100 signatures, and I pick 25 of them (one fourth of 100) at random to check. Of the 25 signatures, I find that one person (Mary) isn't registered to vote, and one person who is registered (John) has signed twice. That means I have 23 valid signatures and 2 invalid ones (Mary's and one of John's). The uncorrected validity rate, before the extra accounting for duplicates, is 92% (23/25).

Remember that these signatures were picked at random, so if I found two signatures from John in the 25 I picked, it's likely that there are three others from John in the other 75. (Well, maybe not likely, but that's the best estimate.) So John really accounts for 4 duplicate signatures, not just one. But we already accounted for one of those duplicates by calling it invalid in our sample, so we just have to account for the 3 extra duplicates in the unsampled portion.

Also, if John signed more than once in this sample of 25, we can suppose that there are probably three other people in the other 75 who also signed more than once, and the best estimate is that they each also signed five times (one of which is a valid signature in our sample). So a factor of 4 (100/25) for the four people (John plus an estimate of three others) who signed more than once, times 3 (4 - 1) for the fact that one of each duplicate is already accounted for by the uncorrected calculation, means John's duplicate signature should be given a weight of 12. 12/100 is 12%, so the corrected validity rate is 80%.

Of course, if we found two people in the sample of 25 who signed twice, or if we found three signatures from John in that sample (one that we consider valid and two that we consider invalid), we'd have twice the correction factor (24%), etc.

Now before you start thinking "Gee, if I'm against a petition, I should sign it as many times as I can instead of not signing it at all so as to drive up the duplicate rate, since duplicate signatures hurt more than plain invalid ones", I have to point out that this is illegal. Election Code section 18612 says "Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who knowingly signs his or her own name more than once to any initiative, referendum, or recall petition ...." Deliberately signing a false name, while hurting the petition less than signing twice, carries a harsher penalty. Election code section 18613 says "Every person who subscribes to any initiative, referendum, or recall petition a fictitious name [...] is guilty of a felony and is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for two, three, or four years." So don't do it.

--Steve Chessin
President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)
www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

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Update to Six Californias Signature Verification Progress Report

by: steve.chessin

Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 21:07:32 PM PDT

While the SoS hasn't posted a new report since Wednesday (there was a tantalizing broken link yesterday that implied there was an update, but that was a false alarm), I did find out why there was a discrepancy between my numbers and hers. It has to do with how one accounts for duplicates. And it isn't simple.

The regulations that describe how to verify signatures (a pdf version is available here) specify how this is done, and the SoS's office sent me a nice one-page summary of the formula. They couldn't provide me with the mathematical background for the formula, however, so I did a web search on the phrase "sampling petitions for duplicate signatures" (I prefer Yahoo! but you can use whatever search engine you like) and that led me to this paper. It's pretty heavy sledding unless you have a good background in statistics (which I do not), but the takeaway is that duplicates affect the validity rate in approximate inverse proportion to the square of the sample size. That is, if you sample 10% of the signatures, while each invalid signature in the sample represents 10 in the total, each duplicate in the sample represents 90 in the total. (This is using the SoS's formula, which may or may not be identical to the one in the paper.)

The exact formula goes like this:
Let V = (raw count) * (valid signatures in sample) / (sample size).
This is the uncorrected projected valid signatures. Note that
(valid signatures in sample) / (sample size) is the uncorrected validity rate; this is what I reported in my previous post.
Let A = (raw count) / (sample size). They call this the "value of each (sampled) signature"; it's the inverse of the sample fraction. You'll note that V is A * (valid signatures in sample).
Let B = A * (A - 1). This is the "extra value" of each duplicate. (I'm not sure where the "-1" comes from, but I'll take their word for it.)
Let C = B * (number of duplicate signatures). This is the correction factor due to the duplicate signatures.
Then V - C is the corrected projected valid signatures,
and (V - C) / (raw count) is the corrected validity rate.

In any event, when I use the SoS's formula, I do indeed get the same results. For the four counties reported so far, we have corrected validity rates of 76.4% (Sierra),  54.8% (Solano), 57.8% (Sonoma), and 75.8% (Sutter). The overall validity rate so far (calculated by adding the corrected projected valid signatures from each of those four counties and dividing that sum by the sum of the raw counts of the four counties) is 58.1%.

We'll have to wait for more counties to report their results to see if Six Californias is likely to make it to the ballot. I can't guarantee I'll report on every update the SoS releases, but I'll try.

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Six Californias Signature Verification Progress Report

by: steve.chessin

Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 18:32:58 PM PDT

The Secretary of State has begun posting the random sample updates for Tim Draper's initiative to divide the state into six Californias. You can find the most current update at http://www.sos.ca.gov/election... but I'll summarize today's for you.

According to the report, Draper turned in 1,038,836 raw signatures. He needs at least 807,615 of them to be valid for his measure to get on the ballot. That's 77.7% of his raw count. Keep that number in mind; we'll need it later.

First the SoS does (or rather, the counties do) a random sampling. Each county verifies 3% of the raw signatures at random (or 500, if greater, or all of them, if fewer) and projects from that a validity rate. If they project that he has at least 888,377 valid signatures (110% of the requirement, and 88.5% of the raw count), then the measure qualifies. If they project that he has fewer than 767,235 valid signatures (95% of the requirement; 73.9% of the raw count), then it doesn't qualify. If they project a number somewhere in between those two limits, they have to check every signature.

As of 1:24pm today, results are in from Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, and Sutter counties. In Sierra County, they checked all 208 signatures and found 159 (76.4%) to be valid. In each of the other counties they had to check 500 signatures. The validity rates were 67.4 (Solano), 64.6% (Sonoma), and 77.8% (Sutter)(*). Overall, out of 1,708 signatures checked, 1,208 were found to be valid, for an overall validity rate of 70.7%.

Now 1,708 is less than two-tenths of a percent of the signatures Draper collected, and it could be that he'll have a higher validity rate in the rest of the state. But if Sutter turns out to be his best county, Six Californias won't be on the ballot.

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