|Hopefully they're not moving to Arcadia|
Here’s what celebrities’ lawns look like during California’s drought (The New York Post link): “Let them drink dust!”
As these aerial photos from The Post prove, Hollywood celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Barbra Streisand and Jennifer Lopez continue to suck up water to keep their gardens fresh and lawns green, while Southern California withers from a devastating drought.
Experts predict California reservoirs have less than a year’s worth of drinking water left. An emergency law passed last week forces local cities to conserve water immediately. The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, which supplies many of these elite enclaves north of Los Angeles, will have four weeks starting next month to cut water use by a staggering 36 percent. But the mandate is toothless, with the maximum fine a paltry $100.
“We’re right up there with Beverly Hills,” said one official who estimates 70 percent of the district’s water is going to the lawn maintenance of about 100 manicured estates. “And that means we have to get the A-listers on the bus.”
The Hidden Hills estate of Kim Kardashian/Kanye West is so lush, even their wealthy neighbors are outraged. “The Kardashian flowers and hedges are right in our face,” one resident told The Post. “It’s disgusting. You walk by and you can smell the freshness.”
(Mod: Well there you go. Class warfare has come to the drought. And from The Post no less. If I had a subscription I'd have to cancel it.)
Man Gets Prison Sentence For Collecting Rainwater On His Own Property (Washington Weekly News link): His story quickly went viral after a rural Oregon man was slapped with fines for collecting rain water on his own property. But now, as of last Wednesday, Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and more than $1,500 in fines, all because he had three reservoirs on his own property, that he used to collect and use rainwater.
Harrington says he plans to appeal the conviction in the Jackson County Circuit Court. That conviction revolved around nine misdemeanor charges that come from a 1925 law. That archaic ordinance bans what state water managers called “illegal reservoirs.”
“The government is bullying,” Harrington said in an CNS News, last Thursday.
“They’ve just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies. So, we as Americans, we need to stand on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail,” he added.
(Mod: Most governments don't react well when their monopoly interests are challenged. Sierra Madre residents collecting rainwater in barrels might want to keep them hidden from sight.)
Alleged Sierra Madre thieves jailed after confrontation with resident (Pasadena Star News link): A Sierra Madre man confronted a trio of burglars in front of his home early Wednesday, chasing them off before police arrested the suspects, officials said.
A man heard noises about 4 a.m. coming from the front of his Grove Lane home, Sierra Madre police officials said in a written statement. He looked out his window to see someone breaking into his car.
“The resident went outside and confronted the suspect, who was now inside his vehicle, and a brief struggle ensued,” according to the statement. “The suspect had a large silver object in his hand which the resident felt was a gun. Fearing for his safety the resident backed away from the suspect allowing the suspect flee southbound to a dark-colored SUV.
Another suspect ran out from another nearby home and jumped into the SUV, which sped away, police said.
Police quickly found and stopped a vehicle matching the reported description and arrested three suspects after finding them in possession of suspected stolen property and drugs, according to the police statement. Police were still looking for the rightful owners of some of the property.
“We discourage residents from confronting suspects for their safety but are glad the victim is okay,” Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone said.
(Mod: The Chief needs to think about why a resident might decide to take things into his own hands rather than calling him.)
How Can Twins Have Two Different Fathers? (Yahoo Parenting link): One New Jersey woman got the surprise of a lifetime when she discovered that her 2-year-old twins have two different fathers.
The mother (identified as “T.M.” in court documents) got the news this winter, when she received the results of a paternity test mandated by family court as part of her application for public assistance, The New Jersey Law Journal reported on Thursday.
The Passaic County Board of Social Services had required the mother to establish paternity of the twins — in order to make the toddlers’ father pay child support — because she revealed that she’d been intimate with another man during the same week in which she believed her children were conceived with her former partner. DNA test results revealed in November that T.M.’s partner was the father of only one of her children.
(Mod: That must have been embarrassing. Then again, now the twins will have three grandmas.)
China may have edge in race to build California's bullet train (Reuters link): Chinese state firms are poised to be strong contenders in the race to make high-speed trains that will sprint between Los Angeles and San Francisco, part of a $68 billion project to bring the service to the United States for the first time.
While "bullet train" manufacturers from Germany, Japan, South Korea, and France are expected to be among those jockeying for the estimated $1 billion train contract, China’s ability to offer low prices and hefty financing appear to make it the one to beat, say lobbyists and industry insiders.
Lacking experience in the technology, California must turn to foreign firms to build the trains – albeit domestically and with American workers - setting off a geopolitical race to grab a foothold in the nascent U.S. high-speed rail industry.
Germany's Siemens is expanding its rail factory in Sacramento to incorporate a “high-speed lot.” Japan has voiced its interest, boasting a record of no fatal accidents in over 50 years operating high-speed trains. France’s Alstom, which produces rail cars in upstate New York, is also a potential contender.
Awarding a piece of America’s most ambitious and expensive infrastructure project in decades to strategic rival China – over a long-term ally such as Japan - would be prone to political controversy.
But a Chinese bid with generous financing attached could prove hard to resist for California’s government, which has so far secured only a fraction of the total funding needed for a project that would see trains speeding at over 200 mph (322 kph) to connect the state’s biggest cities in under three hours.
“They are the 900-pound guerilla," said Rod Diridon, former board chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), the state government agency tasked with issuing the bid and selecting a manufacturer. "They have huge advantages, because they have so much funding.”
(Mod: First the 710 Tunnel and now the bullet train. Anyone detecting a pattern here?)
Husband, wife run against each other for Bremerton City Council (NBC News Seattle link): Two candidates. One seat on the city council. And one very unique bond.
Roy Runyon, a six-year incumbent representing District 6, learned this week that his wife, Kim Faulkner, filed for his seat.
The couple is married and living together.
"I just sat down and said I think the city of Bremerton, District 6, needs more qualified people to run for office," said Faulkner, sitting next to her husband at a coffee shop. "I'm going to put my name in the hat."
"I was surprised," said Runyon. "I said, 'Boy, you could do a really good job.'"
Runyon added, "She has a different approach, which might serve the citizens. She's eminently qualified. She's not experienced in government. But she does have a different approach."
(Mod: Who says married couples don't communicate. The debates are going to be especially interesting.)
As was pointed out by a reader this morning, the latest City of Sierra Madre "e-blast" states that the agenda for the 5/26 City Council meeting is available the city's website. As of this typing (10:00AM) it is not.