Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mother Jones Magazine: California's Drought Could Be the Worst in 500 Years

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You do know that our illustrious political leadership, both statewide and local, is just kinda jackassing around with the consequences of one of the most severe droughts in California history, right? Apparently their first reaction was not to come to grips with what is an extraordinarily severe weather disaster, rather it is to protect the interests of some of their most generous political benefactors. It is a revealing look at how they do their business.

In unscrupulous pay-to-play Sacramento, the center of political power in our one party state, those benefactors would be the development, Realty and construction trade lobbies. Believe me, they are very generous to Governor Jerry Brown and his perpetually cash hungry political allies.

And that is what is currently playing out in California during our worst drought in centuries. Here is a report from NBC News out of San Francisco that helps bring the mountain range out into the open:

Gov. Brown Declares Drought Emergency for California (link): Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency on Friday, citing a need for conservation efforts and a fingers-crossed message that he "hopes it will rain" soon during what looks like it will be the driest year on record in the history of California.

He asked Californians to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent, adding that his request was "voluntary." Still, he urged residents to do what they can in terms of watching their water consumption. He noted that Angelenos are "doing better" than the rest of the state, but he asked everyone to stop taking such long showers and stop watering their lawns.

The significant statistic is that 20% water consumption reduction figure. It is the same one they've been messing around with here in Sierra Madre. At 20% business pretty much goes on as usual. You get a lot of chat about short showers, Water Wise Owl and drought resistant plants. But not very much more.

But should that water consumption reduction number go up to 30%? Things get much more serious. The applicable laws would then require that things such as six month renewable building moratoriums be put into place. Something that the fine folks who have bought and paid for so many of the politicians in this state just don't want to hear about. Not one bit.

Here in Sierra Madre there is a serious fiscal problem on the horizon. That being, to quote from the latest Rachelle Arizmendi postcard, city employee pensions. "The city's unfunded pension liability is a growing problem that must be solved." Unfortunately, those who are currently running our City can only see one solution to the problem, and that is demanding more and more money from the people who actually live here. No matter what the consequences. City Hall employees wish to retire well, and are working hard to fund that dream. On our dime.

That is why there is so much institutional opposition to a building moratorium here in Sierra Madre. What City Hall cares about most is funding pensions and benefits. It is also what has been driving this April's UUT eight year extension do-over vote.

In their eyes a building moratorium, which is clearly called for in a drought as severe as the one we are experiencing now, is a threat to such things as development impact fees and the additional property taxes building McMansions in some of our last remaining open spaces would bring. No matter what the consequences to our near vanished water supplies, or the now at risk future of this community.

Mother Jones Magazine has published a frightening report about the drought here in California. They are now claiming that it could be among the very the worst in recorded history. Here is a portion of that article (link).

California's Drought Could Be the Worst in 500 Years - Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency on Friday, citing a need for conservation efforts and a fingers-crossed message that he "hopes it will rain" soon during what looks like it will be the driest year on record in the history of California.

This is “perhaps the worst drought California has ever seen since records began being kept about 100 years ago,” Brown said at a news conference on Friday. "We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas."

He asked Californians to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent, adding that his request was "voluntary." Still, he urged residents to do what they can in terms of watching their water consumption. He noted that Angelenos are "doing better" than the rest of the state, but he asked everyone to stop taking such long showers and stop watering their lawns. The immediate forecast shows no rain in sight.

The proclamation is a public relations tool and a way to streamline the rules for water agencies to transfer extra water around the state. And it also gives Brown a little boost when asking for federal funding, which he stated he'd like.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated portions of 11 drought-ridden western and central states as primary disaster areas, including the three Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara. That means eligible farmers can qualify for low-interest emergency loans from the department. But that declaration did not include the entire state of California, just portions of it.

Specifically, the order mandates that the Department of Water Resources execute a statewide water conservation campaign to be publicized through the Saveourh20.org, drought conditions should be updated through the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture at cdfa.ca.gov/drought, and local urban supplies are ordered to implement their water shortage contingency plans, among other things.

California’s rivers and reservoirs, including the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, are below their record lows, according to the state's water managers. Manual and electronic readings record the snowpack’s statewide water content at about 20 percent of normal average for this time of year.

So I have to ask you this. Is the worst drought in 500 years enough to get waterless Sierra Madre the building moratorium it so obviously needs? If not, exactly when would that threshold be crossed? What would trigger it? Armageddon? The Zombie Apocalypse?

Councilmember Chris Koerber has raised this matter, and the City Council will be talking it over on March 11.

I would not be surprised if this City Council pulls a Jerry Brown and sticks with that 20% water consumption reduction figure. And in the process reveals just how beholden they are to developers, certain politically aggressive local Realtors, and especially this city's government employee organizations.

And not us.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

Live blogging for tonight's City Council meeting starts at the 6:30pm curtain time.

108 comments:

  1. If the City Council was acting in the best interest of the residents they are supposed to serve they would declare a building moritorium immediately. How can that "temporary" emergency connection to the Metropolitan Water District, where we get our inferior and more expensive water, remain temporary when we continue to allow housing projects like One Carter and maybe some day over at Mater Dolorosa. This drought is serious and could last a long time. Why put all the current Sierra Madre residents' water needs at risk by allowing continued over-development. What's the goal: overcrowding, pollution, traffic, McMansions, Sierra Madre's first traffic light? I think I get it. Let's reduce our quality of life so that City Government has more money for inflated salaries and benefits for City Workers. I'd call that a bargain.

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  2. It is all about the money. Nothing more than that. Even the worst drought in 500 years won't stop it.

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  3. Having a little piece of an inferno makes me real proud of our, over paid, brain dead politician's who are owned and used like a tool by developers.

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  4. Regarding the question about write in candidates that was asked the other day: The Municipal Election Calendar notes the Feb. 10 - March 25 is the filing period for write-in candidates. So, get on it!

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    Replies
    1. I am going to write in anonymous.

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    2. Anonymous. Yeah, that'll help.

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    3. Any vote that goes to anonymous will not go to a Pro-Measure UUT politician

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    4. 8:25 you are now entered in the "dumbest comments on the Tattler" contest.

      I'll type slowly for you: 4 running, 3 positions, at least 1 pro-tax hike Goose Goss or No Noah gets on without a write-in.

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    5. Aww, now you are just being crabby. You vote for the two candidates opposed to Measure UUT. When you get to your third vote, you write in anonymous. That was you don't have to soil your vote card with a pro-UUT vote.

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    6. And you still get a pro-tax hike Know Nothing Noah or Goose Goss. duh.

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    7. Sure. And that is bad. But this way you don't cast a vote that could result in both of them winning.

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    8. DVD - Don't Vote Dirt

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  5. Watch our sneaky city manager sneak around and say for Sierra Madre, 30% means from after we started conserving....which would put us at 50%.

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  6. Speaking of Arizmendi, I'm behind her 100%. She's our best shot at getting this city back in order. Let's hope she gets in and can have an influence.

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    Replies
    1. I liked her card. It is good to see that the pension funding problems were mentioned. Until now that was a secret or something.

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    2. Our best hope is Denise Delmar. She has a proven track record of dealing with unions, schools, 6 police departments, and getting the General Plan done despite City Hall's delaying tactics.

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    3. 10:14 You probably liked all of the cards you got from Harribedian. Those mailers are expensive. Candidates without "big money " connections can't afford two glossy professional mailers this early in the game plus a paid political consultant.

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    4. 2:57, so you prefer G and G, the Dirts you know, rather than one you suspect?

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    5. Considering the big money Chris Holden's bagman has lined up for Green and Goss, this is actually funny.

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    6. Wow, here's a fun picture:
      Harabedian
      Goss
      Green
      All of them possible (or already are) "Friends of Chris Holden".

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  7. Discolored water. The city has told me it is my pipes even though all of my neighbors have the same problem. I got clear water before this mess. Where do I send the bill?

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    Replies
    1. No discolored water at my house.

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    2. Yeah, it's the interaction with the new chemicals that has produced the color. Comforting information.

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    3. If those chemicals can scrape the rust off of old pipes, can you imagine what they are doing to your internal organs? Your life is a very high price to pay for development.

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    4. Don't drink it. And try not to inhale steam from it either.

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  8. You think we have a shortage now, wait until the Kensington is up and running.
    We'll never be able to get back on our own wells.

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    Replies
    1. And what makes you think there is water in "our own wells"? Do you not understand state-wide water shortage?

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    2. But remember? Mr. Shields said the old people don't use much water!
      Just like the Macmansion spiel - we'll just use a little, less than you would in your house.
      Talking around the point.

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    3. I was talking about future possibility 10:18. Got it?

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  9. Enjoy your services!

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  10. Modern families know that a 500 year drought means 5 bathrooms.

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  11. It was Earl Richey who brought up the New Building Moratorium!

    Mr Richey stated time and time again...

    1) if the city has a water delivery problem... then there should be a moratorium on Building until such time the city has enough water for its water and sewer paying customers!

    The city council has failed to address this ongoing issue!

    Thank you Chris Koeber for repeating Mr Richey's ongoing concerns!

    We are glad that someone is awake at city hall!

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  12. what? could you state that in all caps, please?

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    Replies
    1. What about writing in Earl Richey? There is one guy you know isn't going to sell us out.

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  13. Denise Delmar is the HR administrator for a large hospital network. She deals with benefits and compensation for 7800 employees. She is the one to have on our City Council.

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    Replies
    1. Arizmendi and Delmar are both intelligent members of the working world. They can figure out staff.

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  14. The last person you would want would be Earl Richey

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    Replies
    1. No, the last persons I would want are Goss and Green. That is the point.

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    2. We deserve better.

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  15. Latest Rachelle Arizmendi postcard, city employee pensions. "The city's unfunded pension liability is a growing problem that must be solved."

    Once again she states the obvious but offers no solutions.
    No different than a couple of days ago when she was touted as City supporting the public schools. No solutions.

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    Replies
    1. Ask her, 2:51.

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    2. Heh. She has a solution. Your problem is you don't like it. No little city like ours can fund those kinds of pension obligations. Get ready for some fiscal reality, cupcake.

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  16. I vote for the candidates who say NO on Measure UUT. All I need to know.

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  17. No sound on the TV. Isn't that special.

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  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  19. still no sound, can you tell them?

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    Replies
    1. I just called. KGEM said they are having "multiple issues" with the cable company. I guess it is like the Super Bowl. I have it on my computer and there is sound.

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    2. KGEM perpetually has a sign up that is an apology for "technical difficulties." It never goes away.

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    3. Thanks for making that call Moderator.
      Did anyone from the city staff also call?

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  20. So nobody heard the Mayor and Pro Tem explain their trip to Washington?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. huh?
      Did somebody announce it?

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    2. Sound was down.

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    3. If anyone heard what they went for or what they got, please post it! I am really mad about this extravagance that we had to pay for.

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  21. If a city council meeting falls over in the woods and nobody hears it, was there any sound?

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  22. KGEM is a disaster.

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  23. TV sound is back.

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  24. So people can cut down "protected" trees any old time they want? So how can we say that they are protected?

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    Replies
    1. You need to get a zero dollar permit. Then you can cut it down. There is no protection.

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    2. Late to the meeting - sounds like I'm glad I missed it.

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    3. Protected trees are fair game for developers - Whaaaaat?

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    4. All you have to do is go to city hall and get a free permit. Chop! Chop!

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    5. Ah hell. Another "preservation" that is just words.

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    6. What? A free permit? Something must be done immediately! A revenue source is being overlooked. Chop! Chop! Indeed!

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  25. The FD wants to raise the costs of penalties for having fireworks. Does anything ever go down in this town?

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    Replies
    1. This is the one thing I want raised.
      The larger the fine the better.
      Keep the damn things away from the tinderbox of the hillsides.

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  26. Moran wants us to chill about fireworks?

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    Replies
    1. He's worried about rogue cops. Might reflect some personal experience.

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    2. The man has been keeping him down.

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  27. Council member Harabedian found the fire in Glendora a wake-up call? Where has the fellow been living?

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    Replies
    1. He said it was eye opening for many "of us". Not me. Like the majority of residents, I've been through more than one fire here. That was a weird comment.

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  28. It is time for the ping pong table that changed the world.

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  29. Are they talking about the bathrooms again?
    Jeez, it's kind of like the Carter McMansion bathroom obsession.

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  30. Ok, put in a storage shed. Cheapest option? You sold me.

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  31. If they don't put 5 bathrooms in the Hart Park House, will modern families not use it?

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  32. Oh great, remove trees to put in storage. The EENERs have anything to say about that?
    No, I didn't think so.

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    Replies
    1. Trees, schmees, what's the differnce between an approved sapling and some crummy old tree?

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  33. Government at its most trivial and non-productive.

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  34. How about a decision based on the cheapest price tag?

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  35. This is bizarre. Really really bizarre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only the 65 thousand could be spent on something that matters....

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    2. All the problems this city has, and this is what gets the most attention.

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  36. The Hart Park house is used by the seniors far more than anyone else.

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  37. Harabedian is bored again. His participation is cyclical.

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  38. Oh oh, the mayor can't find the word she wants, but she knows what the first letter is?
    She has such a bee in her bonnet about those restrooms.

    That was a very garbled statement.

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    Replies
    1. It's an issue she can handle.

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    2. I don't get it. How can this be important?

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  39. Here comes the library. Stockly, the famous lover of the hillsides, will talk about goals.

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    Replies
    1. This man , Stockley is lucky he isn't in jail.

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  40. Love Chris's sarcasm when he suggested Nancy make the movement. Oops I mean motion.

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    Replies
    1. I was surprised she could do it.

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  41. The number of borrowers has dropped because there's been a revolution in how people get books, not because people don't know about the library's existence or the programs it offers.

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  42. A "phenomenally well-written document" said council member Moran.
    Phenomenally.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Good heavens, they're waxing nostalgic about the way the library smells?

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    Replies
    1. Both Moran and Harabedian shared some heart-felt memores about boyhood in the library.
      Agenda item number, uh...huh.

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  44. Oh no. Walsh is intentionally walking down memory lane about the library.
    Her daughter's Snoopy puzzle.
    This is not about city business.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have time to burn, just like they have our money to burn.

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  45. My library is Vromans. It doesn't smell.

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  46. Look on the bright side - other than the warrants the Council got thru the whole agenda without spending any more of the city's $$.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of perfectly good oxygen was murdered, though.

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  47. Say buddy can you spare a drop of water?

    Tell me again where the developers are going to get there water for their over the top project's?

    When they buy in to the already existing water delivery system. all it does is put more financial strain on the over burden customers who were here first. These carpet bagger developer's are feasting off the living like vampire's.

    ReplyDelete

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