[mobile site, backup mobile]
[SoapBlox Help]
Menu & About Calitics

Make a New Account

Username:

Password:



Forget your username or password?

- About Calitics
- The Rules (Legal Stuff)
- Event Calendar
- Calitics' ActBlue Page
- Calitics RSS Feed
- Additional Advertisers


View All Calitics Tags Or Search with Google:
 
Web Calitics

California

Massive dumping of toxic waste water reveals Big Oil's power in California

by: Dan Bacher

Sat Oct 11, 2014 at 13:03:08 PM PDT

As the oil industry spent record amounts on lobbying in Sacramento and made record profits, documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity reveal that almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater have been illegally dumped into Central California aquifers that supply drinking water and irrigation water for farms.

The Center said the wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking (hydraulic fracturing) fluids and other pollutants. The documents also reveal that Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board testing found high levels of arsenic, thallium and nitrates - contaminants sometimes found in oil industry wastewater - in water-supply wells near these waste-disposal operations.

The illegal dumping took place in a state where Big Oil is the most powerful corporate lobby and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is the most powerful corporate lobbying organization, alarming facts that the majority of the public and even many environmental activists are not aware of.

An analysis of reports filed with the California Secretary of State shows that the oil industry collectively spent over $63 million lobbying California policymakers between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014. The Western States Petroleum Association, led by President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California, topped the oil industry lobby spending with $26,969,861.  

The enormous influence that the oil lobby exerts over legislators, agency leaders and state and federal regulatory officials is the reason why Big Oil has been able to contaminate groundwater aquifers, rivers and ocean waters in California for decades with impunity. The contamination of aquifers becomes even more alarming when one considers that California is now reeling from a record drought where people, farms, fish and wildlife are suffering from extremely low conditions in reservoirs, rivers and streams.

Hollin Kretzmann, a Center attorney, criticized state regulators for failing to do their job of protecting precious water supplies from oil industry pollution - and urged Governor Jerry Brown to take action to halt the environmentally destructive practice of fracking in California.

"Clean water is one of California's most crucial resources, and these documents make it clear that state regulators have utterly failed to protect our water from oil industry pollution," said Kretzmann. "Much more testing is needed to gauge the full extent of water pollution and the threat to public health. But Governor Brown should move quickly to halt fracking to ward off a surge in oil industry wastewater that California simply isn't prepared to dispose of safely."  

Kretzmann said the State Water Resources Control Board "confirmed beyond doubt" that at least nine wastewater disposal wells have been injecting waste into aquifers that contain high-quality water that is supposed to be protected under federal and state law.

"Thallium is an extremely toxic chemical commonly used in rat poison," according to a statement from the Center. "Arsenic is a toxic chemical that can cause cancer. Some studies show that even low-level exposure to arsenic in drinking water can compromise the immune system's ability to fight illness."

"Arsenic and thallium are extremely dangerous chemicals," said Timothy Krantz, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Redlands. "The fact that high concentrations are showing up in multiple water wells close to wastewater injection sites raises major concerns about the health and safety of nearby residents."

The Center obtained a letter from the State Water Resources Control Board to the Environmental Protection Agency stating that the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board has confirmed that injection wells have been dumping oil industry waste into aquifers that are legally protected under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

The State Water Board also concedes that another 19 wells may also have contaminated protected aquifers, and dozens more have been injecting waste into aquifers of unknown quality.

"The Central Valley Water Board tested eight water-supply wells out of more than 100 in the vicinity of these injection wells," according to the Center. "Arsenic, nitrate and thallium exceeded the maximum contaminant level in half the water samples."

The Vote No on Prop. 1 (Water Bond) Campaign responded to the Center's release of the documents by pointing out the irony of the fact that the same Legislature that nearly unanimously voted to put the water bond on the November ballot also rejected a fracking moratorium in California

"Prop 1 folks tout how it will provide funding to clean up groundwater in the SJ Valley," according to a statement from the campaign. "This is something we want to see too. But if fracking is unregulated and fracking wells are already leaking, shouldn't we work on the fracking moratorium first? Or at least simultaneously. And the legislators who passed Prop 1 voted against the fracking moratorium."

It is no surprise that the State Senators who voted no on the fracking moratorium bill received 14 times more money in campaign contributions from the oil industry than those who voted no on the measure.(thecontributor.com/senators-who-voted-no-fracking-moratorium-received-14 timesmore-money-big-oil)

Restore the Delta responded to the report also: "At RTD, we have always known that water needs to be shared from the Delta- we argue that it must be at levels that are sustainable for the estuary. When we see items like this, however, it's hard to maintain that reasonable stance. We predicted a year ago that SJ Valley fracking sites would contaminate groundwater making the region more dependent on exports."  

Long term threat posed by waste water disposal may be even worse

The Center said that while the current extent of contamination is cause for "grave concern," the long-term threat posed by the unlawful wastewater disposal may be even more devastating.

"Benzene, toluene and other harmful chemicals used in fracking fluid are routinely found in flowback water coming out of oil wells in California, often at levels hundreds of times higher than what is considered safe, and this flowback fluid is sent to wastewater disposal wells. Underground migration of chemicals like benzene can take years," the Center stated.

The state's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) shut down 11 Kern County oil field injection wells and began scrutinizing almost 100 others that were potentially contaminating protected groundwater.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which has ultimate legal authority over underground injection, ordered state officials to provide an assessment of the water-contamination risk within 60 days, and the letter from the state Water Board confirms that illegal contamination has occurred at multiple sites.

California's oil and gas fields produce billions of gallons of contaminated wastewater each year, and much of this contaminated fluid is injected underground. California has an estimated 2,583 wastewater injection wells, of which 1,552 are currently active, according to the Center.

Wastewater injection wells are located throughout the state, from the Chico area in Northern California to Los Angeles in the south, and even include offshore wells near Santa Barbara. Kern County in the Southern San Joaquin Valley is home to the largest number of oil wells in California.

The fracking wastewater poses a huge threat not only to human health, but to fish  including salmon and steelhead and wildlife as the water makes its way to rivers and streams. The last thing that imperiled salmon and steelhead populations need, as they face a combination of drought and poor management of the state's reservoirs and rivers by the state and federal agencies, is the threat of increased pollution of their habitat by Benzene, toluene and other harmful fracking chemicals

For more information, go to: http://www.biologicaldiversity...

Oil industry power and money dominates California politics

As an investigative journalist who has written many articles documenting oil industry power and money in California politics, I find it extremely important to review the latest findings on the oil industry in California.

While there are many powerful industries based in California, ranging from the computer and high tech industry to corporate agribusiness, no industry has more influence over the state's environmental policies than Big Oil. Unfortunately, most of the public and even many environmental activists have no idea how much influence the oil industry has on the Governor, the Legislature and state panels and environmental processes in the state.

An ongoing analysis of reports filed with the California Secretary of State shows that the oil industry collectively spent over $63 million lobbying California policymakers between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014. The Western States Petroleum Association led the oil industry lobby spending with $26,969,861.

"The oil industry is spending over $1 million per month lobbying Sacramento, with the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) as the second overall leading spender so far in 2014 with almost $3 million spent in the past six months," according to Stop Fooling California (http://www.stopfoolingca.org), an online and social media public education and awareness campaign that highlights oil companies efforts to mislead and confuse Californians. "Chevron, with $1.3 million spent so far in 2014, is also among the top five. If money speaks, Big Oil has the loudest voice in politics."

WSPA was California's second overall leading lobbyist spender, with $1.5 million spent in the second quarter of 2014. This is the second largest quarter going back to January 2009.

WSPA is on pace to exceed the previous annual (2012) total in 2014. So far this session, WSPA has paid over $2 million to KP Public Affairs, the state's highest paid lobbying firm, during the current (2013-14) legislative session, according to the group. WSPA spent $4,670,010 on lobbying in 2013 and $5,698,917 in 2012.

Chevron is the fifth overall spender in California through the second quarter of 2014, having spent $784,757 over the past quarter, an increase of nearly $300,000 over the prior quarter.

Yet these millions of dollars are just chump change to Big Oil, since the five big oil companies made over $93 billion in profits in 2013. This year, Big Oil's profits are estimated to be over $72 billion to date, based on information from The Center for American Progress (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2014/02/10/83879/with-only-93-billion-in-profits-the-big-five-oil-companies-demand-to-keep-tax-breaks/)

A report released on April 1, 2014 by the ACCE Institute and Common Cause reveals that Big Oil has spent $143.3 million on political candidates and campaigns - nearly $10 million per year and more than any other corporate lobby - over the past fifteen years. (http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2014/04/10/bil_oil_floods_the_capitol_4.1.14v2.pdf)

But Big Oil exerts its influence not just by making campaign contributions, but also by lobbying legislators at the State Capitol. The oil industry spent $123.6 million to lobby elected officials in California from 1999 through 2013. This was an increase of over 400 percent since the 1999-2000 legislative session, when the industry spent $4.8 million. In 2013-2014 alone, the top lobbyist employer, Western States Petroleum Association, spent $4.7 million.

Oil industry officials serve on regulatory and advisory panels

The oil industry also exerts its muscle by serving on and dominating state and federal regulatory and advisory panels. For example, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged "marine protected areas" in Southern California. She also served on the task forces to create "marine protected areas" on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and South Coast.

It is no surprise that the so-called "marine protected areas" created under the helm of Reheis-Boyd and other corporate operatives failed to protect the ocean from fracking offshore oil drilling, pollution, corporate aquaculture, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.

Ironically, while WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd served on the task forces to "protect" the ocean, the same oil industry that the "marine guardian" represents was conducting environmentally destructive hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations off the Southern California coast.  

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and media investigations by Associated Press and truthout.org reveal that the ocean has been fracked at least 203 times in the past 20 years, including the period from 2004 to 2012 that Reheis-Boyd served as a "marine guardian." (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/10/19/calif-finds-more-instances-of-offshore-fracking/3045721/)

To make matters worse, Reheis-Boyd also serves on a federal government marine protected areas panel. The National Marine Protected Areas Center website lists Reheis-Boyd as a member of a 20 member MPA (Marine Protected Areas) Advisory Committee.

In addition to the oil industry spending exerting its enormous power through campaign contributions, lobbying legislators and serving on state and federal regulatory panels, the oil industry also has set up "Astroturf" groups, including the California Drivers Alliance and Fueling California, to fight against environmental regulations protecting our air, water, land, fish, wildlife and human health.

"The set up is basically this: some Californian (who is supposed to be your proxy) regurgitates Big Oil talking points that don't resemble reality, equating protecting Big Oil's profits with protecting the people," according to Stop Fooling California.

Most recently, the Monterey Herald reported that San Benito United for Energy Independence, the oil and gas industry-funded group behind a slate of ads airing throughout the Central Coast on TV and radio, raised more than $1.7 million to fight Measure J, an initiative to ban fracking in San Benito Count that goes before the voters on November 4. "While the group touts its local ties, none of the money funding Measure J's opposition comes from San Benito County," said reporter Jason Hoppin.

"San Benito United is entirely funded by an industry-backed group called Californians for Energy Independence. Oil companies have been pumping millions into that group in the last few months, including $2.5 million from San Ramon-based Chevron, $2.1 million from San Ardo-based Aera Energy and $2 million from Houston-based Occidental Petroleum," said Hoppin. (http://www.montereyherald.com/localnews/ci_26698353/big-oil-opens-wallet-fight-fracking-bans)

Politicians like Governor Jerry Brown like to portray California as a "green" leader, but the reality is that the oil industry, along with corporate agribusiness, exerts enormous influence over the state's environmental policies, making the claims of some that California is a "green" state highly dubious.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

The water bond: A classic David and Goliath battle in California politics

by: Dan Bacher

Fri Oct 10, 2014 at 11:02:58 AM PDT

The campaign for and against Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond on the November 4 ballot, has emerged as the classic David and Goliath battle of this election season in California.

The Governor, Republican and Democratic Party establishment, corporate agribusiness interests, construction unions, corporate "environmental" NGOs, prominent billionaires and big water agencies are backing the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign. In contrast, a grassroots coalition of fishing groups, environmentalists, consumer organizations, two Indian Tribes, family farmers and Delta water agencies is enlisted in the battle to defeat Proposition 1.

The contrast between the Yes and No on 1 campaigns is illustrated by the respective money each campaign has raised. Governor Jerry Brown's Yes on Proposition 1 and 2 campaign has raised $6,621,946 and has spent $817,276, while the Vote NO on Prop. 1 campaign has raised a total of $71,000 and has spent $41,036 as of October 6, 2014, according to Ballotpedia:
http://ballotpedia.org/Califor...

The water bond proponents are divided up in two committees. The Yes on Props 1 and 2 committee, "A Bipartisan Coalition of Business, Labor, Republicans, Democrats and Governor," has raised $4,540,580 and has spent $759,649. The second committee, the California Business Political Action Committee, sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce, has raised $62,500 and has spent $57,627.

The top donor in the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign is Sean Parker, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who cofounded the file-sharing computer service Napster and served as the first president of the social networking website Facebook. He also cofounded Plaxo, Causes, and Airtime. As of September, 2014, Parker's net worth was estimated to be $3.1 billion, according to Wiikipedia. He has contributed $1 million to the Yes campaign to date.

Also noteworthy is that four members of the family that owns the Gap Stores - Doris F. Fisher, John J. Fisher, Robert J. Fisher, and William S. Fisher - each contributed $245,000 to the campaign.

Corporate agribusiness donates $850,000 to Yes on Prop. 1

Corporate agribusiness interests have donated a total of $850,000 to the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign. Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills agribusiness tycoon, owner of Paramount Farms and largest orchard fruit grower in the world, contributed $150,000. The California Farm Bureau Federation contributed $250,000, the Western Growers Service Association donated $250,000 and the California Cotton Alliance contributed $200,000 to the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign.

Resnick and his wife, Lynda, have been instrumental in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations and to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels - and have made millions off resellling environmental water to the public. Prop. 1 opponents recently held a "mock reception" outside the Resnick mansion in Beverly Hills to expose the Resnicks, who stand to benefit from the two dams funded by the latest state water bond. (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/09/28/18762178.php)

Opponents of Proposition 1 criticized Governor Jerry Brown and the backers of Prop. 1 for taking $850,000 in contributions to date from big agribusiness donors to pass public funding for water transfers to enrich them - and to enable the biggest dam-building program in California history.

Adam Scow from Food and Water Watch said, "Corporate agribusiness giants, including Stewart Resnick, are spending big to pass Proposition 1, a bloated $7.5 billion bond measure that would funnel more water to big agribusinesses at taxpayer expense. Prop 1 is a measure to quench their greed-it will not solve California's water problems."

He also noted that the Western Growers Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and the California Cotton Alliance have contributed a total of $700,000 to the Prop. 1 campaign to ensure the construction of Sites Reservoir on the west side of the Sacramento Valley and Temperance Flat Dam on the San Joaquin River.

"Proposition 1 burdens taxpayers with debt to build projects for billion-dollar farming conglomerates that make up groups like Western Growers and the California Cotton Alliance," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla of Restore the Delta, who is the No on Prop. 1 field director.

"It includes the largest appropriation for new dams in California's history that will benefit these corporate farmers who refuse to fund the dam projects themselves. Prop 1 will drive California and its taxpayers even further into debt for illusory and largely bogus 'environmental benefits'. Prop. 1 shifts the financial burden from those who directly benefit from building new dams to the taxpayers," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

These groups are making large contributions as an investment to make sure that their pet projects are passed through the California Water Commission, according to Prop. 1 opponents.

"Prop. 1 will not 'save water' as Gov. Brown claims in ads paid for by these special interests. It's a boondoggle to enrich his big ag contributors," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

The following are the donors who contributed $150,000 or more to the Yes on Prop. 1 and 2 campaign as of October 6, 2014:

Sean Parker $1,000,000
California Alliance for Jobs - Rebuild California Committee $500,000
Health Net $445,600
Laborers Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coalition PAC $400,000
California American Council of Engineering Companies $250,000
California Farm Bureau Federation $250,000
California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems $250,000
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues PAC $250,000
Reed Hastings $250,000
SW Regional Council Of Carpenters $250,000
Western Growers Service Corporation $250,000
Doris F. Fisher $245,000
John J. Fisher $245,000
Robert J. Fisher $245,000
William S. Fisher $245,000
California Cotton Alliance $200,000
Northern California District Council Of Laborers Issues PAC $200,000
Stewart A. Resnick $150,000
The State Building And Construction Trades Council of CA $150,000

Organizations backing Proposition 1 include the following:
California Democratic Party
California Republican Party
California Farm Bureau Federation
Trout Unlimited
California Trout
The Nature Conservancy
Audubon California
California Chamber of Commerce
Delta Counties Coalition
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Ducks Unlimited
American Rivers
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Natural Resources Defense Council
California League of Conservation Voters
Northern California Water Association
State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
Association of California Water Agencies
Western Growers
League of California Cities
California State Association of Counties
California Citrus Mutual

Water districts and boards:
Fresno Irrigation District
Friant Water Authority
Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
San Diego Water Authority

No on Prop. 1: Water bond enriches speculators

The campaign against the measure is led by Vote NO on Proposition 1, a grassroots coalition of fishermen, environmental groups, consumer organizations, two Indian Tribes, family farmers and Delta water agencies.

Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, summed up why it is so important for people concerned about the future of salmon, the Delta and California to vote against the water bond: "Prop. 1 is a poster-child of why California is in a water crisis: it enriches water speculators but accomplishes little in addressing the drought, solving California's long-term water needs, reducing reliance on The Delta, or protecting our rivers and fisheries."

The following are the donors who contributed $2,500 or more to the No on 1 campaign as of October 6, 2014:
Dante Nomellini $12,500
Jack Klein Partnership $7,500
Conrad Silva Farms $5,000
Del Carlo Farms, Inc. $5,000
Thomas Zuckerman $5,000
Ferguson Farms, Inc. $2,500
George Perry & Sons, Inc. $2,500
Lory & Victoria Mussi $2,500
R&M Ranch $2,500
Rudy and Toni Mussi $2,500
San Joaquin Delta Farms, Inc. $2,500
V and A Lagorio $2,500

Opponents of Prop. 1 include the following:
AFSCME District Council
Ballona Institute
Butte Environmental Council
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
California Striped Bass Association
California Water Impact Network
Coast Action Group
Center for Biological Diversity
Central Delta Water Agency
Concerned Citizens Coalition of Stockton
Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)
Environmental Water Caucus
Factory Farm Awareness Coalition
Friends Committee on Legislation of California
Friends of the Eel River
Friends of the River
Food and Water Watch
Foothill Conservancy
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations
Potrero Hill Democratic Club
Pulga Rancheria Concow Maidu Indians
Restore the Delta
Sacramento River Preservation Trust
San Francisco Baykeeper
San Francisco Crab Boat Association
Save the American River Association
Small Boat Commercial Salmon Fishermen's Association
Sherman Island Duck Hunters Association
Sonoma County Conservation Action
South Delta Water Agency
Southern California Watershed Alliance
Tar Sands Action
Wetlands Defense Fund
Wild Heritage Planners
Winnemem Wintu Tribe

Save the American River Association urges No vote on Prop. 1

Are you still not convinced yet on how to vote on Proposition 1? Well, the Save the American River Association (SARA) Board of Directors has compiled a handy list of reasons of why everybody who cares about the future of fish, rivers, the environment, the economy and the people of California should vote NO on the water bond:

• Prop. 1 does nothing to address drought relief in the near future.

• Prop. 1 adds $7.12 billion to California's debt, debt that will cost taxpayers $14.4 billion when the principal and interest is paid.

• Prop. 1 dedicates only 13% of its funding for conservation, stormwater capture and treatment, and recycling.

• Prop. 1 allocates $2.7 billion for three dams that would increase the state's water supply by only 1%. The money would flow under the provision that allows "continuous funding," meaning there would be no legislative oversight. A number of dam projects that had been abandoned because of low water yield or would not be cost-effective are now being revived.

• When the State Water Project was approved in 1960, it provided that beneficiaries of water projects -- not taxpayers statewide -- would pay for new projects. Prop. 1 reverses that principle. Taxpayers would pay the lion's share of new projects. Taxpayers, for example, would pay 73% of the cost of the proposed Temperance Flat Dam on the San Joaquin River while the beneficiaries -- agribusiness and the City of Fresno -- would pay most of the balance.

• Prop. 1 requires taxpayers to buy water the public already owns to protect fish. It's a retread of programs in force for years that allow speculators to reap huge profits by selling the public's water back to the public. And it will have the additional impact of making more water available to export from the Delta.

• Prop. 1 does nothing to address factors that have worsened the water crisis in California during the current drought: the overdrafting of major reservoirs in Northern California, inequitable distribution of limited water supplies and the failure to balance the Public Trust.

• Prop. 1 contains $1.5 billion for "conservancies" without any language governing how the money is to be spent. Nothing would prevent the conservancies from spending the money on projects that have no impact on water supplies such as bike trails or administrative costs. Critics are calling it "pork."

• Promoters of Prop. 1 note that about 6.9% of the bond will spent to provide safe drinking water and clean water programs to disadvantaged communities. That long overdue initiative should have been presented to the voters years ago as a stand-alone proposition. It is shameful that California government has never addressed the water problems of disadvantaged communities.

For more information on Proposition 1, go to: http://www.noonprop1.org

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Corporate agribusiness dumps $850,000 into Prop. 1!

by: Dan Bacher

Thu Oct 09, 2014 at 17:38:29 PM PDT

Opponents of Proposition 1, the controversial State Water Bond, today blasted Governor Jerry Brown and the backers of Prop. 1 for taking $850,000 in contributions from big agribusiness donors to pass public funding for water transfers to enrich them - and to enable the biggest dam-building program in California history.

Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaire "farmer" who has made millions off of reselling environmental water to the public, has donated $150,000 to the Yes on Prop 1 campaign. Resnick and his wife, Lynda, have been instrumental in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations and to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels. (http://www.fishsniffer.com/blogs/details/rally-outside-the-resnick-mansion-on-october-2-luncheon-with-the-koch-broth/)

Adam Scow from Food and Water Watch noted, "Corporate agribusiness giants, including Stewart Resnick, are spending big to pass Proposition 1, a bloated $7.5 billion bond measure that would funnel more water to big agribusinesses at taxpayer expense. Prop 1 is a measure to quench their greed-it will not solve California's water problems."

The Western Growers Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and the California Cotton Alliance have contributed a total of $700,000 to the Prop. 1 campaign to ensure the construction of Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat dam.  

"Proposition 1 burdens taxpayers with debt to build projects for billion-dollar farming conglomerates that make up groups like Western Growers and the California Cotton Alliance," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla of Restore the Delta, who is the No on Prop 1 field director. "It includes the largest appropriation for new dams in California's history that will benefit these corporate farmers who refuse to fund the dam projects themselves. Prop 1 will drive California and its taxpayers even further into debt for illusory and largely bogus 'environmental benefits'. Prop. 1 shifts the financial burden from those who directly benefit from building new dams to the taxpayers."

These groups are making large contributions as an investment to make sure that their pet projects are passed through the California Water Commission, according to Prop. 1 opponents.

"Prop 1 will not 'save water' as Gov. Brown claims in ads paid for by these special interests. It's a boondoggle to enrich his big ag contributors," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

Governor Jerry Brown's Proposition 1 and 2 campaign has raised $6,621,946 and spent $817,276 as of October 6, 2014, according to Ballotpedia:
http://ballotpedia.org/Califor...

The following are the donors who contributed $150,000 or more to the Yes on Prop. 1 and 2 campaign:

Sean Parker  $1,000,000
California Alliance for Jobs - Rebuild California Committee  $500,000
Health Net  $445,600
Laborers Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coalition PAC  $400,000
California American Council of Engineering Companies  $250,000
California Farm Bureau Federation  $250,000
California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems  $250,000
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues PAC  $250,000
Reed Hastings  $250,000
SW Regional Council Of Carpenters  $250,000
Western Growers Service Corporation  $250,000
Doris F. Fisher  $245,000
John J. Fisher  $245,000
Robert J. Fisher  $245,000
William S. Fisher  $245,000
California Cotton Alliance  $200,000
Northern California District Council Of Laborers Issues PAC  $200,000
Stewart A. Resnick  $150,000
The State Building And Construction Trades Council of CA   $150,000  

For more information go to http://www.noonprop1.org

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

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.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

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.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 733 words in story)

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%.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 350 words in story)

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.

There's More... :: (18 Comments, 79 words in story)

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

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

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.)

There's More... :: (10 Comments, 91 words in story)

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.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 68 words in story)

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.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

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).

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 72 words in story)

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.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 78 words in story)

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).

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 54 words in story)

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.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 392 words in story)

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...  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

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.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

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%).

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 268 words in story)

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.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 294 words in story)

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%.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 352 words in story)
Next >>
Calitics in the Media
Archives & Bookings
The Calitics Radio Show
Calitics Premium Ads


Support Calitics:

Advertisers


-->
California Friends
Shared Communities
Resources
California News
Progressive Organizations
The Big BlogRoll

Referrals
Technorati
Google Blogsearch

Daily Email Summary


Powered by: SoapBlox