#172 Feb 21, 2014
Montebello Staff to Explore Water Conservation Options
By City Code sets restrictions to severity of shortage.
#173 Feb 25, 2014
Remember that the Calderons are heavily involved with Central Basin
as are Montebello political insiders
The Vasquez gang
"But as Central Basin faces an FBI corruption investigation"
The detente comes amid a year of change at Central Basin, which has faced several scandals and has seen some of its top leaders depart. On Friday, former Assemblyman Thomas Calderon — a onetime consultant for the agency — was charged as part of a major federal corruption case, along with his brother, state Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello).
The charges Friday alleged the brothers took tens of thousands of dollars in bribes, though not related to Central Basin.
However, the FBI obtained boxes of records from Central Basin's offices last year and is continuing to investigate.
Thomas Calderon was widely seen as a field marshal in Central Basin's protracted battles with the WRD.
Central Basin and the WRD each spent about $2.4 million in the water war.
Central Basin sent state legislators and lobbyists after its rivals, in one case paying a consultant to create promotional online stories under the names, bios and photos of reporters that did not exist.
The WRD bought up domain names such as " centralbasin.net " and used it to post stories critical of its rival.
Central Basin was so concerned about being sued that it secretly managed a $2.7-million fund for its own groundwater storage project without public hearings or notifications. In a deposition as part of a lawsuit filed last year against a former vendor,
Central Basin's former general manager, Art Aguilar, testified that the board wanted to pursue the storage plan but "didn't want anybody to know what we're doing."
Legislation ended up precluding Central Basin from pursuing groundwater storage, but the fund is now part of the FBI investigation.
The scandals and investigation have left Central Basin humbled — and with leaders vowing reform.
Tony Perez, who became Central Basin's general manager last spring, said the agency is doing things differently.
The district has launched its own internal investigation into the $2.7-million fund, he said, and is working on reforms after an audit found "significant deficiencies" in its financial controls.
The audit cited a case in which Central Basin paid $22,000 upfront for the college tuition of Gil Cedillo Jr., the son of Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who had been paid $112,000 a year by the agency until he was let go last year.
The audit also found that Central Basin had been lax in the contract bidding process, among other problems.
"The basin has gone without adequate replenishment," "
see the comments
#174 Feb 27, 2014
Senator Bob Huff Newsletter
(since Montebello has never had responsible representation...)
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), Southern California’s primary supplier of imported water, has endorsed Governor Jerry Brown's statewide call for conservation. MWD declared a Water Supply Alert throughout its service area as part of a set of comprehensive actions to address the state's unprecedented dry conditions.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), Southern California’s primary supplier of imported water, has endorsed Governor Jerry Brown’s statewide call for conservation.
MWD declared a Water Supply Alert throughout its service area as part of a set of comprehensive actions to address the state’s unprecedented dry conditions.
“We are taking an aggressive approach to lowering water use because Southern California must lead by example and take a statewide approach to this challenge,” said MWD’s General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger.
“California is one state. We all have an obligation to do our part and conserve water.”
#175 Feb 28, 2014
Judge gives karmic rebuke to Metropolitan Water District
By U-T San Diego Editorial Board 5 p.m.Feb. 26, 2014 ⎙ Print
Our congratulations to the San Diego County Water Authority for its court victory this week in its long battle with the giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California over the rates that MWD charges the county agency, its biggest client.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow ruled that the rates amounted to overbilling, violating a state law that says public agencies’ fees may only reflect the costs of the services or goods for which they are paid. The ruling could lead to billions of dollars in savings for water authority customers over the next several decades.
This is an extraordinarily complex case,
and a reversal on appeal is certainly possible.
But it’s easy to figure out who to root for; the MWD’s history with San Diego County can literally be called villainous. In the mid- to late 1990s, because of its objections to its largest client trying to diversify its water supplies, the MWD spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a clandestine campaign to discredit county water officials.
Karnow’s ruling looks right on the merits.
Given the MWD’s mendacity, it also looks like karma.
#176 Feb 28, 2014
The Safeguarding California Plan is a great resource to learn more about projected effects of climate change on water, and will guide the state for the next decades in thriving despite a changed environment. Comments on the plan will be accepted through February 28.
Water conservation advocates are strongly encouraged to submit comment.
Are you prepared for the storm? Consider ways you can help fight the drought and capture stormwater with these water conservation tips.
#177 Feb 28, 2014
#178 Mar 4, 2014
Water Priorities Outlined at State Capitol
In February, Senator Pavley visited Oroville Dam with a bipartisan group of legislators. The dam, about 75 miles north of Sacramento, impounds Lake Oroville, California's second largest reservoir.
About half the water in the reservoir goes to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
While presiding over a hearing as chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee this month, I outlined priorities for responding to drought conditions and creating more reliable water supplies in California. As I stated at the hearing, addressing California's water crisis is a shared responsibility no matter where you live, whether you are an urban water user or an agricultural user.
I discussed the need to improve the state's drought response practices and proposed several measures that could automatically take effect when a drought emergency is declared.
These include mandatory conservation, compensation for farmers to fallow land, restrictions on the use of potable water for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), coordinated publicity campaigns for conservation, increased groundwater management, and incentives for residents to conserve water.
I also discussed strategies for creating more reliable, sustainable water supplies such as capturing and using stormwater and dry weather runoff, increasing the use of recycled water, cleaning up polluted groundwater basins and removing silt from reservoirs.
Researchers estimate that silt has reduced about 120 reservoirs in California to less than a quarter of their original capacity and almost 190 reservoirs to less than half of their capacity.
The diminished capacity adds up to an estimated 1.7 million acre feet, enough water for about 3.4 million families and equal in to a large new reservoir.
This year, I am carrying legislation to address some of these issues and I have proposed new language in the Senate water bond to address others.
In the coming months, I look forward to working in the Legislature and with the Brown Administration to implement more effective water strategies for our state.
As part of his official State of Emergency drought declaration last month, Governor Jerry Brown asked Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent.
Several statewide programs offer information that can help in this effort.
Save our H2O
Save our H2O offers tips on how to reduce everyday water use, and the California Department of Water Resources provides a toolkit for improving the water efficiency of your home landscape.
for more information about the drought,
or download the latest weekly drought report from the Department of Water Resources.
#179 Mar 4, 2014
Drought’s effects could cause state to rethink energy production polities: Tim Rutten
This weekend’s rain notwithstanding, there’s more at stake in California’s continuing water crisis than just dried-up lawns and fallow cantaloupe fields.
The hard — but inevitable — choices that prolonged drought will impose on our elected leaders could easily trigger a fresh jobs crisis in a state still struggling to fully regain its economic feet after years of double-digit unemployment. That second crisis could force us to reconsider a range of carefully worked out policies, including some of those that govern energy production.
Thus far, most of the alarm triggered by this year’s record low rainfall and snowpack has centered on the obvious impact water shortages will have on our agricultural sector — and with good reason: California’s farming and livestock industries account for $45 billion in economic activity. More than half of all the fruits and vegetables Americans consume each year are grown in this state; tree crops like almonds and pistachios are now major sources of foreign export income. California produces more milk and dairy products than any other state. We’re America’s biggest wine producer, and only Texas raises more beef and cotton than we do.
Though agricultural mechanization grows apace — its development fueled by overly restrictive federal immigration policies — farming still is the largest employer by far in the state’s most economically depressed areas, the Central, Coachella and Imperial valleys. Moreover, for every 100 jobs directly generated by agriculture, 92 other positions are created in ancillary and service occupations. The Great Recession has lingered on in California’s farming regions, however, and in Fresno — by far the nation’s most productive agricultural county — unemployment stubbornly remains around 38 percent.
If, as now seems all but certain, the county’s farmers have to use all of this year’s surface water allotment just to keep their thirsty nut trees and grape vines alive, most will have to forgo planting row crops, like tomatoes and cantaloupes. That step, according to the local Farm Bureau, may idle as much as 25 percent of Fresno’s fields and push the county’s unemployment rate to 50 percent. Replicate that across the west Central, Coachella and Imperial valleys and the misery index — already high in those economically lagging regions — rockets off the charts.
While the impact of water cutbacks on urban employment may not be so obviously direct, it nonetheless is real. In large part, that’s because water and energy are entwined in California. This state already has America’s ninth-highest energy costs, and 15 percent of our electricity is generated by hydroelectric dams. Hydro is not only our cleanest source of electrical power, but also our cheapest. Idaho, for example, has the lowest energy costs in the nation because more than 94 percent of its electricity is generated by hydro.
#181 Mar 4, 2014
#182 Mar 4, 2014
Water conservation's other benefit: It's a power saver
The energy needed to move agricultural water exceeds the electricity used by everyone in San Diego.
Prices convey information and shape behavior. When something is cheap, as with water, people waste it.
But when it's dear, like gasoline, we conserve. Few of us leave our cars running outside while we shop for groceries, but lots of us forget to reset sprinklers for rain or drought.
Dynamic pricing — prices that rise during drought periods and fall during wet periods — would drive conservation of this energy-intensive resource when it's scarce.
So start saving water. More important, encourage lawmakers to adopt policies that reflect our water scarcity and prompt people to use less water and less energy. We face a choice of paying more for water now — or paying a lot more later.
Catherine Wolfram is a professor of business administration at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business and co-director of the Energy Institute at Haas. David Zetland is a visiting lecturer at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, and the author of "Living with Water Scarcity."
#183 Mar 6, 2014
NBC NEWS VIDEOS
Rainfall Does Little to Quench CA Drought
The recent rain was a welcome relief for everyone concerned about the drought.
However, it was a drop in the bucket compared to the average level of precipitation that we are used to getting by this time of year.
It helped save one area, the Southern Sierra Mountains, from having the driest season on record.
There have been two winters that were drier 1976-1977, and 1923-1924 which was the driest according to the California Department of Water Resources.
Precipitation in the Southern Sierra Mountains is a major source of water for Southern California.
There are five monitoring stations that keep track of precipitation.
The chart shows levels before the storm, after the storm, and what the average precipitation has been in the past.
We are currently about half way to the average precipitation with only two months left in the rainy season
•Gallery: Dramatic Photos of California's Drought
This graph shows the rain deficit on March 4, 2014 compared to a normal rain year in California.
#184 Mar 6, 2014
From Assemblyman Ed Chau
2014 Water Bond Information Hearing
The Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife is convening an informational hearing in the San Gabriel Valley on:
“The Need for a 2014 Water Bond.”
Your Water Your Values
The purpose of this hearing is to explore the need for a general obligation bond in 2014 and to hear local perspectives on the potential public benefits to communities throughout the state from such a water bond.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Monterey Park Council Chambers
320 W. Newmark Ave.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
This will be an opportunity for experts from the San Gabriel Valley to discuss their views and provide feedback to members of the Water Bond Working Group regarding the 2014 Water Bond.
I hope you will join me and other Legislators from the region in attending this hearing to learn more about how the 2014 Water Bond will impact the San Gabriel Valley.
#185 Mar 6, 2014
NEW: Drought: What’s the best way to save water and energy?
By Wayne Lusvardi Mar 6, 2014
It is being widely touted in the media that water conservation obviously not only saves water but also saves energy.
Water is free, but the cost to capture, convey and treat it is not.
It's worth asking, and answering:
Which sector has the greatest potential for water energy conservation? Municipal water;
#186 Mar 7, 2014
More from Cal Watchdog
Thanks Reality Check
read the background story to the above investigation
a comment SALT WATER INTRUSION NOT MENTIONED
jim jones says:
February 20, 2014 at 10:05 am
Wayne Lusvardi has it backwards. The diversions are FROM the rivers TO the farms not the other way around as anyone with half a brain and not totally taken in by the millionaire and billionaire (think Hollywood producer Steve Resnick who owns 46000 acres of Westlands) welfare farmer propagandists can see. The San Joaquin once supported a run of 100,000 salmon annually. They evolved to come up the river during fall, winter and spring, but dams cut off their passage and diversions dried the river essentially year round. Further, return flows from fields are laden with salts and toxic substances like selenium.
As for the Trinity, until lawsuits forced the Bureau of Rec to reduce (not end) diversions over a mountain pass into the Sacramento River, then flowing hundreds of miles into San Joaquin Valley farms, the river’s previously abundant salmon and steelhead fishery essentially had been destroyed. After Trinity and Lewiston dams were built, the number of steelhead returning to the hatchery to replace the hundreds of miles cut off by the dams went as low as a total of 12 fish.
As for those horrible environmentalists (I can literally see Lusvardi spit the word out as if it were a mouthful of potato salad left out in a hot sun)[...]. Thousands of fishermen and hundreds of businesses rely on on healthy salmon and steelhead runs. Unlike the welfare farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, they don’t get millions of dollars in subsidies annually for crops like cotton, or zero interest loans.
But Lusvardi need not worry too much. His [misstatements and those] of others have have lots of money and political power behind them. Also,the sympathy of many who care about the poor farm workers being used as pawns by the farm owners who exploit and despise them.
#187 Mar 7, 2014
Your water bill in action
COMMERCE >> A water agency that serves Signal Hill and portions of the San Gabriel Valley paid $16,000 to a woman who was injured in a car accident caused by a board member driving on a suspended or expired license, according to court documents obtained by this news organization.
Arturo Chacon, 48, of Commerce also received worker’s compensation pay totaling $63,000, even though an insurance provider for the Central Basin Water District said a multicar accident caused by Chacon occurred during nonworking hours.
The Central Basin Water District, headquartered in Commerce, has been subject to increased scrutiny after federal authorities raided its offices as part of a probe into alleged misconduct by former Democrat state Assemblyman Tom Calderon, who — up until 2011 —
had a $12,000 monthly consulting contract with the agency.
Calderon and his brother, state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, face federal corruption charges including bribery and money laundering for their alleged roles in scams involving a Long Beach hospital and a phony film production house.
The agency wholesales water to cities along the 710 Freeway corridor, including Montebello, Signal Hill, Whittier, East Los Angeles and Lakewood.
#188 Mar 7, 2014
The newspaper article quoted here is fascinating. The CHP police report says Art Chacon had a driver's license. DMV confirms that he doesn't. So, was he using a fake driver's license? Inquiring minds want to know. CHP, do your investigation. There's no proof that he was on official Central Basin business when the accident occurred (and while he was driving w/o license). So why did Central Basin pay out, using your and my public funds?
He was driving his brother Hector's truck. Talk about enabling. BTW, the Chacons are another powerful Montebello political family. Not only do two of them hold political office (Art on Central Basin, Hector on school board), but the family also runs political campaigns for local candidates. Check out the L.A. Times story of November 2011 about them. You know, the one in which Hector exclaims with delight about how their candidate Jack Hadjinian was elected to Montebello City Council. The tendrils go deep.
Question, did the Chacons also run Vivian Romero's successful campaign for city counci?
#189 Mar 11, 2014
Central Basin Water District drowning in legal fees
Karen Foshay Investigative Producer Feb 3, 2014
The Central Basin Municipal Water District in Southeast Los Angeles, which has been trying to account for a $2.7-million chunk of public funds, has spent an additional $300,000 on lawyer fees to track down the missing money, according to invoices reviewed by KPCC.
The district also is spending millions of dollars on attorney's fees to manage an ongoing federal investigation and several other legal problems, records show.
As KPCC reported in December, the money in question is tied to a trust fund
#191 Mar 11, 2014
.http://www.kcet.org/updaily/s ocal_focus/commentary/where-we -are/in-a-season-of-drought-wh ere-does-the-water-go.html
by D. J. Waldie
on February 10, 2014 2:00 PM
#192 Mar 11, 2014
#193 Mar 13, 2014
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