Friday, September 28, 2007

Action Alert on Cal Water Issues.

I received the following Action Alert from Restore the Delta when I opened my mail just now. I had made some suggestions earlier as to what should be done. If you have any time on October 4, please join this alert. If you have any time this weekend, make sure that you write to your Assembly Member and State Senator. Time is running out.

If You Can Only Take Off A Few Hours From Your Life One Day This Year to Advocate For The Delta,

October 4th Is The Day To Take Public Action!

Please join Restore the Delta Staff in attending:

The Second Extraordinary Session, Natural Resources & Water Committee Hearing

Subject: The Proposed Water Supply Reliability Bonds and The Proposed Expenditures of Previously Authorized Water Bond Funds

This will not be a formal bill hearing where committee members will vote on the bills. However, committee members will have a thorough hearing of the contents of the four water bills. Restore the Delta staff will be preparing extensive remarks and would like for these committee members to see and hear from as many people from the Delta as possible. Now is the time for them to learn why we are so strongly opposed to the peripheral canal!

The hearing will be held in the Senate side of the Capitol. It should start in the morning after 9 a.m. roughly. On October 3rd, Restore the Delta will send out a room location.

Please RSVP to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla as soon as possible to confirm your attendance and/or to arrange for carpooling.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Letters on Dueling Proposals

The following are copies of the two letters sent by Restore the Delta to State Sen. Don Perata and Governor Schwarzenegger. Use the content frame your own letters, not only to Perata and Schwarzenegger, but also to your own Assembly Member and State Senator.

Letter to Don Perata:

September 26, 2007

The Honorable Don Perata
President pro Tempore of the Senate

State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Regarding SB 1002 and SB 2xx

Dear President pro Tempore Perata:

On behalf of the Restore the Delta Campaign, we are writing to express our support for SB 1002 and SB 2x, as part of a comprehensive water package that will help to restore the California Delta, while producing the most water for our neighbors throughout California for the least cost.

First and foremost, supporters of the Restore the Delta Campaign are happy that funds for Delta restoration in the aforementioned are not tied to an alternative conveyance system for moving water around the Delta. The reemergence of the peripheral canal or pipe is a shift back to a dated paradigm – one that is being dressed up as the answer to environmental sustainability and restoration for the Delta. In truth, by diverting the last major fresh water source around the California Delta, the construction and operation of the peripheral canal would destroy the region’s ecosystem, economy, and communities.

Senator Cogdill, Senator Ackerman, and Assemblymember Villines recently introduced a $9.1 billion bond proposal (SB 3xx). Their proposal would allocate over $1.9 billion for support of water agencies working toward the construction of such an alternative conveyance system. We are 100% opposed to (and will encourage voters across California to reject) any water bond, such as SB 3xx, that promotes this type of alternative conveyance, even if it promises other funding for supposed ecosystem restoration of the California Delta. To put it plainly, the Delta cannot be restored if the Sacramento River is diverted from the Delta. And the promise of ecosystem restoration in trade for new conveyance exemplifies a disingenuous concern for the fate of the Pacific Coast’s most important estuary.

In addition, the Restore the Delta campaign is distressed to learn that the language in SB 3xx moves to revoke the area of origin for the Bay/Delta estuary and all water users within it. We believe that it is an attempt to repeal the Robie decision in D-1641, and would be devastating for the California Delta’s economic and environmental future.

In the twenty-first century, voters expect the state to invest resources to address ecosystem health in addition to water supply reliability in the most cost effective manner possible. The residents of California expect real value for bond and tax dollar given to their government.

We urge you to continue leading the legislature toward embracing twenty-first century water management practices in California – practices based on water recycling, ground water desalinization, and conservation. We believe that SB 1002 and SB 2xx will help to ensure the future of California’s water needs, while sustaining and restoring the California Delta.


Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla
Campaign Director
Restore the Delta

President pro Tempore of the Senate

The Honorable Don Perata

Fax: (916) 327-1997

Letter to Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol

Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: SB 2xx and SB 1002 (Perata) – Request for Signature

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

On behalf of the Restore the Delta Campaign, we are writing to request your signature on SB 1002 and SB 2xx by Senate President Perata. SB 1002 would allocate bond funds from voter-passed Propositions 84, 1E, and 50 to protect the California Delta’s ecosystem and to improve the state’s water supply reliability. SB 2xx would help to promote water self-sufficiency within each region of California.

The idea of a peripheral canal or alternative conveyance system around the California Delta was first proposed in the 1960’s and was rejected by voters for the very good reason that it would do more harm than good to the California Delta. Canal proponents are ignoring the current plight of the most important estuary and flyway region on the Pacific Coast, as they cling to the last century’s science and engineering concepts as the answer for current water needs. The reemergence of the peripheral canal is a shift back to a dated paradigm – one that is being dressed up as the answer to environmental sustainability and restoration for the Delta. In truth, by diverting the last major fresh water source around the California Delta, the peripheral canal will destroy the region’s ecosystem, economy, and communities.

In the twenty-first century, voters expect the state to invest resources to address ecosystem health in addition to water supply reliability in the most cost effective manner possible. The residents of California expect real value for bond and tax dollar given to their government.

SB 1002 provides $611 million to improve Delta habitat and infrastructure, including much needed repairs for levees that protect Delta residents, and the drinking water supply for our neighbors in other parts of the state. SB 1002 takes an immediate approach to managing California’s water crisis. The bill will direct funds to improve emergency response in the event of a catastrophic earthquake or flood in the Delta. SB 1002 offers real and immediate value for the dollar.

In addition, numerous studies have shown that increases in water use efficiency can more than make up for court imposed cutbacks that may be imposed to restore the Delta’s fisheries. The Pacific Institute calculates that by 2030, total water use in the state could decline by 20 percent through sound conservation practices, even as the population and the economy continue to grow.

SB 1002 will allocate funds to implement “no regrets” ecosystem restoration actions to improve conditions for the Delta smelt and other species. Nearly $60 million will also be appropriated for groundwater clean-up to improve local and regional drinking water supply in areas of water need. Developing regional drinking water supplies is an essential step to lessening state-wide dependence on the Delta.

We urge you to lead by promoting twenty-first century water management practices in California – practices based on water recycling, ground water desalinization, and conservation. We urge you to sign SB 1002 and SB 2xx to ensure the future of California’s water needs, while sustaining and restoring the California Delta.

Thank you for considering our views.

Respectfully yours,

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla
Campaign Director
Restore the Delta

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

E-Mail: Go to

Fax: 916-445-4633 -- Capitol Office: 916-445-2841

Cal Water Crisis Action

I just received an update from Restore the Delta regarding the current Cal Water Crisis and the Dueling Proposals. It is not yet online at their site, (I would guess that it soon will be) so I am copying all of it here.

Delta Flows – Weekly Highlights from Restore the Delta for the Week of September 24, 2007

“The robb’d that smiles steals something from the thief.”

--from Othello by William Shakespeare

Robbing the Delta of Fresh Water and Delta Water Users of their Rights to Delta Water

Restore the Delta staff has been working with other groups and statewide organizations to decipher what is happening with legislative proposals regarding water bonds and legislation during this season’s special legislative session.

To date, we have learned that SB 3xx (referred to as the Governor’s water bond, but actually sponsored by Senator Cogdill, Senator Ackerman, and Assemblymember Villines) allocates over $1.9 billion for support of water agencies working toward the construction of such an alternative conveyance system.

Restore the Delta is 100% opposed to (and will encourage voters across California to reject) any water bond, such as SB 3xx, that promotes this type of alternative conveyance, even if it promises other funding for supposed ecosystem restoration of the California Delta. To put it plainly, the Delta cannot be restored if the Sacramento River is diverted from the Delta. And the promise of ecosystem restoration in trade for new conveyance exemplifies a disingenuous concern for the fate of the Pacific Coast’s most important estuary.

In addition, the Restore the Delta campaign is distressed to learn that the language in SB 3xx moves to revoke the area of origin for the Bay/Delta estuary and all water users within it. We believe that it is an attempt to repeal the Robie decision in D-1641, and would be devastating for the California Delta’s economic and environmental future. In other words, the bill would strip Delta farmers and landowners of their right to Delta water and, thereby, of water quality protections associated with these rights.

Without a doubt, this bill is not only a water grab that would destroy the ecosystem, but it is also a full attack on the people, history, and culture of the five-county California Delta region.

In contrast, we are in support of SB 1002, Senator Perata’s bill to provide $611 million to improve Delta habitat and infrastructure, including much needed repairs for levees that protect Delta residents, and the drinking water supply for our neighbors in other parts of the state. Likewise, SB 2xx, Senator’s Perata’s water bond, seeks to promote greater regional water self-sufficiency and Delta restoration without providing the means for a conveyance system that will deal the final deathblow to the California Delta.

Here’s What Restore the Delta Supporters Can Do to Help Get the Word Out…

  1. Share this newsletter with your friends, family, and colleagues throughout the state.
  2. Look at the following letters sent this morning by Restore the Delta staff to Governor Schwarzenegger and President pro Tempore of the Senate Don Perata. Use them as a template to fax or email your own letter to them and to your local representatives. Contact information can be found at the bottom of each letter. [letters will be linked separately].
  3. Correct media accounts of the bond issue when they need correcting through letters to your local newspaper’s editor.
  4. Keep October 4th open on your calendar. If you can only take off a few hours one day this year from your life to advocate for the Delta, October 4th will be the day to do so. Restore the Delta will be sending out details so that you can attend the legislative hearings that will be held on these water bills at the State Capitol. Stay tuned into your email [and this site] for more specifics in the days to come.

Hack Du Jour - San Francisco's Ed Jew

The California Democratic Party hack du jour is San Francisco Supervisor Ed Jew.

From the Los Angeles Times

San Francisco Supervisor Suspended Amid Misconduct Accusations

by John M. Glionna
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 26, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO -- Signaling that it was time to end an embarrassing public distraction, Mayor Gavin Newsom suspended Supervisor Ed Jew on Tuesday for alleged misconduct that included soliciting bribes and lying about his place of residence.

The first-year supervisor, who has been under state and federal investigation, maintains his innocence and has refused to step down. Newsom's action forces a city Ethics Commission hearing, which could set the stage for the Board of Supervisors to vote to remove Jew from office.

Jew, 47, was served at his Chinatown flower shop with a seven-page outline of the alleged ethics violations, which include filing falsified documents claiming he lived in the Sunset District, which he represents, a requirement for holding office. Jew faces state felony perjury and fraud charges for allegedly lying to city officials about his home address.

Newsom's outline of Jew's alleged violations also mentions a federal investigation into whether Jew sought payment of as much as $80,000 in cash in exchange for helping to secure business permits for a group of immigrant-owned tapioca drink shops in his district. Last week, federal prosecutors charged him with one count of fraud.

Jew's attorney, Steven Gruel, did not return calls Tuesday.
. . .
Does anybody remember the 2003 election for Mayor if San Francisco?

It was cliff-hanger between Democrat Gavin Newsom and Green Party candidate Matt Gonzales. The Democratic Party and all the MSM 2-Party System toadies screamed and cried that electing a "greenie-weenie" to high office was just "crazy."

Read More at:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Schwarzenegger Mouthing Off at U.N.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, of all people, was mouthing off at the United Nations. There he was: Terminator of the Delta, on a world stage boasting about how in the Golden State: "What we’re doing is changing the dynamic, preparing the way and encouraging the future... And now green, clean technology — along with biotech — will take California to the next level.”

Dan Bacher posted an angry article on Dissident Voice. Check it out:

Schwarzenegger Addresses UN about Climate Change as He Plans the California Delta's Destruction

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s address to the United Nations yesterday about global climate change is one of the most blatant examples of hypocrisy that I’ve ever witnessed. Schwarzenegger challenged the leaders of the world’s nations to “solve global warming” as he continues to push the California Legislature to accept a $9 billion water bond package that would build an environmentally devastating Delta canal and more dams.
. . .
While the Governor is planning the destruction of the California Delta, the West Coast’s most significant estuary, by campaigning for the building of a canal and more dams, he is touting his “green” credentials by calling for a “new race fueled by billions of dollars” to find new energy technologies.
. . .
Rather than preaching about “climate change” in a carefully choreographed photo opportunity before the United Nations, the Governor should have the courage to impose water pollution standards on corporate agribusiness and to reduce water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by mandating increased water conservation and taking drainage impaired land in the San Joaquin Valley out of agricultural production. However, he refuses to do this because the people that are destroying the Bay-Delta Estuary and polluting Central Valley rivers are the same folks that fund the campaigns of Schwarzenegger and other corrupt politicians.

You can't make this stuff up.

The Yuck Factor

  • I had mentioned earlier that the decisions about what we do to resolve the California Water Crisis will be controlled by Southern California. The thought behind this was the urban population of S. California will provide the most political power. This is reflected in the relatively strong weight given to So Cal in the selection of Assembly members for the "working group" on water issues.

There is yet another reason why the So Cal (specifically San Diego) situations will go a long way towards determining what happens. That has to do with the use of recycled water and is reflected in the title of this entry. Actually, the title is taken from the cover story in the current issue of High Country News.

For our consideration, there are two important things in this article. The first is the unique situation of San Diego with court imposed deadlines for improving waste water disposal practice coming up in 2008 and 2010. The other is the research being done on the effects of endocrine disruptors in the treated waste water all over the West.

San Diego is in a rather unique position.
It is a telling comment on the disjointed nature of much water management in the United States that San Diego has both a water-supply and a water-disposal problem. On the supply side, the city imports between 85 and 95 percent of its water from distant sources - specifically, from the Colorado River and the California State Water Project, which conveys water from Northern California to the state’s dry southern half.
The need to have water now and will continue to need increasing amounts of water over the coming years. When faced with drought, as we currently have and as is expected to continue under the current La Nina conditions and to worsen with the effects of global warming, San Diego must have water or it will die. Thence the political pressure and the reason that Nuñez appointed Assembly member Mary Salas (Chula Vista) to the working group on water legislation.

The real time constraint for San Diego comes on the waste water side.
For wastewater disposal, San Diego relies on a water-treatment plant at Point Loma whose technology is antiquated. It discharges effluent that does not meet Clean Water Act standards into the Pacific. San Diego has a waiver from the federal Environmental Protection Agency allowing it to dump that effluent, but the waiver expires in 2008. The cost of upgrading the Point Loma facility to meet EPA standards has been estimated at $1 billion, and the city has yet to make plans to raise that money.
They have a partial solution, two new treatment plants that produce non-potable water that can be reused in San Diego. They produce 37.5 million gallons per day. The cost is really in the distribution system, as to use his water they need a new piping infrastructure that can not be mistaken for tap water.

You might think t hat they could find a way to reuse the (Yuck) waste water by introducing it into the drinking water system in some manner. This is not politically acceptable. It has been tried before and it failed. Here, however, is the rub.
That, indeed, is one of the principal ironies here: Before it could even be used for reservoir augmentation, the water would be treated to a higher standard than what San Diegans are drinking now. Water discharged from the North City facility has already been shown to be at least as clean as water in some of the city’s reservoirs. If it were to be dedicated to potable reuse, it would be subjected to further intensive treatment, such as reverse osmosis, before being pumped to the reservoir.
What San Diego is drinking from the Colorado River is the waste water of Las Vegas, who dumps some 60 Billion Gal. of treated effluent per year into the Colorado.

If there is a real danger, it is from the organic chemicals that are not removed by even the best treatment processes. The effects have been studies in Boulder Creek, Boulder CO.
Hormones naturally work at very low levels; a human estrogen concentration as low as 1 part per trillion - so dilute that it’s near the lower limit of what monitoring equipment can detect - has been shown to affect fish. The effluent dumped into Boulder Creek typically contains from 1 to 10 parts per trillion of human estrogen.
That, according to the researchers quoted by HCN, is enough to accumulated effects in humans.

So, what is the true case for San Diego? The Union Tribune has it's opinion, it's a boondoggle. Not only that, they focus on the "cost" while ignoring the huge delivery infrastructure (purple pipe) for the greater use of recycled water. This is opinion, not news, so I guess that we can expect them to produce spin, not facts.
Dealing with this situation – through a court appeal, conservation, desalination, greater use of recycled water for irrigation (the city currently dumps thousands of acre-feet of recycled water into the ocean because of a lack of users) – demands a deliberate and comprehensive approach. Instead, Aguirre has penned a feverish memo to the mayor and City Council demanding an immediate moratorium on large developments in San Diego. This followed his urgent demand a week earlier for revival of the hugely costly and widely reviled toilet-to-tap boondoggle.
Right now, Greens in all part of this state should be demanding more from the media. This is especially true in So Cal where the Orange County Register and San Diego Union Tribune are compounding the problem.

Here is what I want to happen:

I want to see letters to the editors of the Union Tribune from San Diego County Greens that praise them for devoting so much ink to the Water Crisis and then takes them to task for not getting their facts right.

I want to see letters from Greens all over California to their own State Senators and Assembly members that:
  1. demands a sustainable solution to the water crisis;
  2. refuses to accept any cross delta conveyance (peripheral canal in disguise); and
  3. expresses a preference for the Perata proposal over that from Schwarzenegger.
If you don't know which district you live in, or your Senator or Assembly member's name, you can find them at the League of Women Voters web site.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dueling Water Proposals

There are two different water proposals to be considered in the special session called by Governor Schwarzenegger.

One proposal is that put forward by State Sen. Don Perata. It is listed as Senate Bill 1 of the 2nd Special Session: SBX2 1. PDF versin of the bill is available here.

Per Perata's press release, the bill provides:
the Water Supply Reliability General Obligation Bond, would appropriate $2.4 billion for restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the hub of the state’s water system; $2 billion for regional water supply reliability projects, such as dams; and $1 billion to resolve environmental-water conflicts, such as the Salton Sea and Klamath River.

The outline of the Governor's proposal is on his government web site, but I could not find the legislative wording. The overview is as follows:
  • $600 million from Propositions 50, 84 and 1E to immediately relieve pressure on the Delta environment.
  • $5.6 billion in above and below ground water storage.
    • $5.1 billion in surface storage
    • $500 million in groundwater storage
    • Identifies three locations for surface storage (Sites, Temperance Flat Reservoir and Los Vaqueros Expansion Project.)
    • Specific criteria to assure public benefits and environmental benefits
  • $1.9 billion for Delta Restoration and water supply reliability.
    • $1.4 billion for habitat restoration
    • $500 million in early actions to address environmental concerns in the Delta
  • $1 billion in grants for conservation and regional water projects.
  • $500 million in grants for specified watersheds throughout the state, including the San Joaquin River, Klamath River, Los Angeles River and others.
A journalist contact felt that a detailed comparison now would be worthless, since it will all change in the 1st week of October as the legislature tries to cram things together into a comprehensive ballot measure. They have a very short window to get these proposals onto the ballot for the February Presidential Primary. This whole thing probably has to be wrapped up by mid-October and many State Senators will not be back from their various "fact finding" junkets until Oct. 9th.

There is one very important fact to consider. The reservoirs proposed by the Governor will not come on line for many years and will primarily provide water for agricultural use. They do little or nothing to help urban water users or to support future population and economic growth.

Rush Put on Water Debate

I need to interrupt my sequence on the water issues to call your attention to a fine article by Hank Shaw in today's Stockton Record. Shaw is the Record's Capitol Bureau Chief, and as such offers some of the best commentary on the politics of water.
Schwarzenegger has called the Legislature into special session to deal with water supply issues in the hopes of crafting a compromise proposal that could appear on the February presidential primary ballot.

But that prospect appears to be dimming.

The deadline for any deal technically falls on Thursday, but even with the wiggle room lawmakers can afford themselves, a hard deadline appears to be mid-October. Dozens of lawmakers are overseas right now, visiting locales as far-flung as Azerbaijan, China, Argentina and Germany. A group of state senators will not return to the Capitol until Oct. 9.

I guess they legislature does not see this as being as urgent as the newspaper editorials (except the OC Register) indicated. Does water really matter for voters? Tell me what you think.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Water Crisis Media Blitz

I have already written about the media blitz that is taking place, sponsored primarily by the Association of California Water Agencies. It is on radio, tv, and summarized at The goal is to convince everyone that there is an urgency to solving this problem this year, not some time in the future when it may, like in New Orleans, be too late.

We all understand the basic idea that should be guiding everything. One clear definition comes from Mark Crispin Miller's Introduction to a recent book by Thom Hartmann (Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class).
Here's a bit of wisdom on which the "left" and "right" can easily agree: If you let things go, you'll have to pay for it eventually; and the longer you don't deal with it, the more you'll have to pay. Wait long enough, and you'll pay dearly -- when you could have done the right thing all along and at little cost.
There are two things of which I am positive. One is that the we have been more than willing to let things go, generally because it would wreck the current budget to do anything. Let me repeat the example from the Visalia Times-Delta that I posted last January.
Tulare County's levee system is a disaster waiting to happen, and no one is taking the lead in addressing it.
That was then and relatively little has been done.

It is enlightening to see how the major newspapers of California have dealt with the subject in their editorial pages.

  • Sacramento Bee: Stop the Rush on the Governor's Water Plans. 09/14/07 (Reg. required).
    There may be a need for future surface storage of water, but Schwarzenegger hasn't come close to making a case for these projects. Indeed, it's surprising that a governor with such an innovative record of tackling climate change still focuses only on 19th-century tools for solving the state's water woes.
  • San Francisco Chronicle: Wise Floodplain Planning. 09/10/07.
    The benefits of more rational land-use decisions in the deep flood plain are not just about dollars and sense. Our system of levees is aging and vulnerable to earthquakes or major storms. Human lives are at stake.
  • Contra Costa Times: Water Crisis Looming. 09/21/07.
    FOR TOO LONG, California has been unwilling to develop a comprehensive, long-term water-resource plan, and to build the infrastructure necessary to provide a dependable source of water for the future.
  • Stockton Record: Special legislative session unlikely to meaningfully address state water issues.
    Prepare to be overwhelmed by theories on resolving California water policies.
  • San Jose Mercury News: Water conservation should be first on California legislative agenda

    The governor and lawmakers are in a special legislative session, attempting to craft a solution to California's water woes. But their focus on multibillion-dollar bond proposals that would pay for dams, reservoirs, canals and other expensive water works shouldn't be getting the most attention.

    Instead, policy-makers should be requiring more conservation and efficient water use. Reducing wasteful water use offers the most cost-effective way of ensuring California's fragile water supply.

  • Fresno Bee
  • Time's running out for a solution to water problems.
    The Bee has long argued for a "three-legged stool" to stabilize California's water problems.

    We think new reservoirs -- including one at Temperance Flat northeast of Fresno -- and expansions of existing sites are important elements. Those who benefit directly should bear much of the cost, but there are also public benefits that we should all pay for.

    Increased underground storage -- sometimes called "water banking" -- is also essential.

    We must -- and we can -- do a much better job of conserving water. Recycling and reusing our existing supplies is a source of savings that we've barely scratched. The state's universities, including California State University, Fresno, have much expertise that should be focused on these issues, with more investment in research.
  • Los Angeles TimesCoping With Drought.
    Careful consideration of proposals to re-engineer the delta should be one part of the effort; serious dedication to conservation, another. Planners across the state should think twice before they allow development of lush suburbs or vast farmlands in hydrologically-challenged regions. All Californians will have to work for a water system that works for everyone.
  • San Diego Union-TribuneApathetic lawmakers ignore looming shortages.
    There is plenty of room for compromise over the outlines of Schwarzenegger's water rescue plan. It would be more than outrageous, however, if apathy prevented legislators from even voting on it.
  • Riverside Press-EnterpriseWater Sense?
    The Legislature's special session on water issues needs to sidestep longstanding policy disputes and focus on the immediate need to protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the state's primary water supply.
  • Orange County Record. Court-induced drought
    The Schwarzenegger administration is pushing for a $5.9 billion plan to assure continued supplies from the Delta, according to published reports, and is warning about a coming crisis. So no matter what, the likely result will be forced conservation, more bond debt and higher prices for water consumers. Once again, government will have been the main obstacle to progress.

There are a number of different views. However, all but the Libertarian voice, the Orange County Register, take the position that we need action now. The Register would allow natural cycles and market forces to determine which rich sub-division get the money and would not be at all unhappy if California Agriculture moved to Mexico.

The legislature is getting the pressure that it needs to do something, anything that will allow them to say that they did something. Let us all just hope that they don't do the wrong thing (building expensive new dams to catch less water than we are getting now.)

I will continue this with two more posts today, one compares two different plan (Gov. Schwarzenegger's and State Sen. Don Perata's.) Then in a third post, I will combine the recommendations of the Planning and Conservation League and Restore the Delta. These all should be considered together.

Genetic Engineering for BioFuels

From time to time, I have used this space to post articles on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) or GE Crop that I have received from Napa Green Erica Martenson. The following is yet another of her fact filled reports that you should all read, as well as going to the action web site here.
Open Letter to the Editor of California Magazine

Re: the Dangers of the UC Berkeley-BP Research Deal on Biofuels; Mainly its Emphasis on the Use of GE Microbes

Web Note: As it does not appear that California magazine will be printing this letter to the editor that I submitted, I have turned it into an open letter to be posted on the web with the hope that it will be widely circulated. While the public is becoming more aware of some of the weaknesses of biofuels as a solution to global warming, there is one dangerous aspect of this approach that many are not aware of—the use of genetically engineered microorganisms to degrade the cell walls of plants and to produce higher levels of ethanol.

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to the propaganda piece, “Start-up U,” written by Lisa Margonelli and featured in the September/October edition of California magazine. One can only hope that the magazine’s audience, being primarily UC Berkeley alumni, will have the critical-thinking skills to unearth the facts that are buried under a mountain of hyperboles and draw its own conclusion about the wisdom of UC Berkeley accepting a half a billion dollars from an oil company (British Petroleum) to build a new lab on the Berkeley campus and fund research into biofuels. The article states that “green ideals are teaming up with the other green—money.” However, there is nothing green about the UC Berkeley-British Petroleum deal; green washing would be a more accurate description of what is in the works.

The heart of the proposed research involves genetically engineering microbes to break down the cell walls of plants to produce fuel. Microbes are the foundation of the Earth’s ecosystem. What impact would genetically altering them and releasing them into the environment, where they can take hold and reproduce, have on that system? Would we be trading one environmental problem (global warming) for another set of environmental problems? Wouldn’t we be ending our dependency on one limited resource (oil) only to be tapping into other limited resources (i.e. land, nutrients, and water to grow plants for biomass)? If these genetically altered microbes were to make their way into the food supply, what impact would they have on human health? It’s naïve to believe that British Petroleum’s large investment wouldn’t influence Berkeley scientists’ ability to ask and answer these questions (and more) honestly, in the same way that large corporate donations influence our politicians and lead them to turn their backs on the general public and favor narrow private interests instead.

Japanese researchers from Kyoto University, concerned that the safety of genetically engineered organisms has not been adequately researched, genetically altered yeast cells and analyzed them. The results of their study showed that inserting genes into yeast cells significantly disturbed their metabolism and led to the accumulation of an unwanted toxic compound, methylglyoxal, at a mutagenic level [1]. The U.S. government doesn’t require any safety tests on genetically engineered organisms before they are released into the environment; instead, such safety tests are voluntary. The public would have to trust these Berkeley scientists, in partnership with British Petroleum, to conduct rigorous safety tests, including an environmental assessment, and animal and human feeding trials, of their own accord, and to scrap this multi-million dollar project, if they found that these organisms were unsafe for human consumption and the environment. Would we be able to trust them to do that, with so much money invested in a single project and with so much at stake? I don’t think so.

If this proposal moves forward, British Petroleum, through its targeted funding, will skew the research agenda at UC Berkeley, using professors, whose salaries are paid for by our tax dollars, to develop this new form of energy that it must predict will be profitable to the corporation but may not be the most economical one for consumers and may, again, be unsafe. It seems wrong that a group of professors, merely because they are interested in or at least willing to participate in this narrow, potentially dangerous project, will be housed in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility and have access to unlimited resources, while those professors who are committed to researching fuel conservation and alternatives to fossil fuels that do not carry such risks to the public health, environment, and economy, may be strapped for research dollars. It seems only prudent that at a time when we are discussing campaign finance reform as a nation to take corruption out of our government that Chancellor Birgeneau reconsider the direction he is beginning to steer the university by developing closer and stronger ties to large, private corporations. UC Berkeley students, faculty, and alumni, as well as taxpayers in general, should demand nothing less, as we, the general public, will be impacted by the research that is developed there.

Erica Martenson
UC Berkeley Alumnus

1. Inose, T & Murata, K. (1995). Enhanced accumulation of toxic compound in yeast cells having high glycolytic activity: a case study on the safety of genetically engineered yeast. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 30, 141-146. (Abstract and access here.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Stockton Record on Bad Water.

Mike Fitzgerald, a featured columnist at the Stockton Record, was one journalist who attended the Restore the Delta session this past week. I have long appreciated Fitzgerald's commentary. At times it is the best thing in the Record. I even consider his characterization of Richard Pombo as "taker in chief" as being the last nail in Pombo's electoral coffin.

Fitzgerald's column today (09/32/07) is essentially a report on that session. Like Kamran Alavi's comments on the GP Cal Forum list, he was impressed by Winnemem Wintu speaker Mark Franco.
Franco's fresh take on the peripheral canal, on the dams proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and on water in general arises from a world view radically different from the European. But his spiritual view meshed with Nomellini's legal analysis.

"They look at water as a commodity to be bought and sold - water 'rights,' not water responsibility," Franco said of big Delta water users, "with no regard for the place that may be left dry."
Fitzgerald goes on to call attention to the great coverage by the San Diego Union-Tribune, What's Killing the Delta. That ends with a reminder from UC Davis Prof. Dr. Jeffrey Mount of what we are really doing, defining our future.
"This is not a static landscape," Mount says. "It is constantly evolving. The delta is going to be something different. And we’re in the process of deciding that."
I can not think of much that is as important to this state as getting things right on Water. It is our future life. It is our future economy. It determines how much we will pay for the food we eat and whether or not we have to get it from Chile or New Zealand.

For once, most of the main stream media seem to be getting it right. The Union-Tribune article and Fitzgerald's column linked above are right on. Mike Taugher told the unpleasant truth about our water bureaucracy in the story I linked yesterday. The LA Times Editorial on Coping with Drought was excellent. Why then, are the politicians all getting it wrong?

If there were ever a time for politicians who truly had a green ethic, that time is now. What we appear to have with Schwarzenegger and Nuñez is green-washed astroturf.

Event: Dorothy Green of 'Heal The Bay' in L.A.

The Los Angeles Greens will feature guest speaker, Dorothy Green, founder of Heal the Bay. Four years ago she launched the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), whose goal is to move our state toward a sustainable water future.

Wednesday, October 17, 7pm
Peace Center, 8124 W. Third Street, Los Angeles
Free, donations accepted.

Info Update... water issues.

I know that I promised some sample letters by today, but they will have to go on hold for a couple of days. They will end up here. In exchange, here are some additional information items. I will publish them as soon as I can.

I started the morning on the phone with Mindy McIntyre, Water Programs Manager for the Planning and Conservation League. She is sending me their latest position on Schwarzenegger's proposals. I will work with that.

The special session will start when Speaker Nuñez says it starts. So far, he has not said "go." However, he has taken a few actions. To begin with, we know which members of the Assembly Nuñez named to be working on this: (according to the web site of Assm. John Laird.

  • John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) - Lead
  • Lois Wolk (D-Davis)
  • Juan Arambula (D-Fresno)
  • Mary Salas (D-Chula Vista)
  • Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael)
  • Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank)
  • Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles)
  • Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park)

Let me note three important facts.
  • There are more users of Metropolitan Water District water (Salas, Krekorian, Feuer, Eng) than any other. Since we know that the water district favors new dams, this fact will have a large say in the outcome.
  • There are no Republicans in this working group. This could be a major problem if a supermajority is needed for anything.
  • With the exception of Arambula(known to have been in Nuñez's dog house over the Temperance Flat Dam which Arambula supports) and Wolk, there are no representatives from the Central Valley and they are split between North (Davis) and South (Fresno).
Also, Laird, while having otherwise solid environmental credentials, is known for his ongoing support of Water District plans no matter what. He is maybe the most knowledgeable choice, having written an undergraduate thesis on the history of water development in California. However, that "special knowledge" may not be all to the good if it manifests itself as only looking at business as usual solution.

This is not the time for business as usual solutions. The Delta is a New Orleans in waiting. We have a finite resource (water) and a growing demand from increased urbanization. We must have sustainable solutions this time and that is not business as usual.

Here is what Fish Snffer Editor Dan Bacher says of the Schwarzenegger proposal.

The measure provides for $5.1 billion in surface storage and identifies three sites for this storage - Sites, Temperance Flat Reservoir and the Los Vaqueros Expansion Project. The Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley and Temperance Flat Reservoir in the San Joaquin Valley are included in the bond, in spite of the fact that the water would cost $1,000 to $2,000 per acre foot. Who is going to buy this water?

I think that Nunez has tried to stack the deck and hopes to decide the outcome by the choice of who works on the legislation. The only ones I trust are Wolk and Huffman and that is not enough.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

State Study of Delta may be useless

I need to call your attention to two things. I will deal with the short one first. I added a new link to the Right side menu. It is to a So Cal Water Blog called Aquafornia. The water maven there has accumulated a lot of good information and keeps the story straight.

The second is the fact that I want you all to read an article by Mike Taugher in today's Contra Costa Times. Taugher is one of the better environmental reporters in Northern California. If you are not already convinced (by me, by the LA Times editorial, etc.) that we have a real problem, then the heading to this article should catch your attention.
Scathing scientific review of Delta analysis
Report riddled with problems, essentially useless, panel says
Talk about bureaucratic bs. The report continues....
A key assessment of Delta levees that could lend support for a controversial canal around the region is so flawed that its conclusions are essentially useless, according to a panel of scientists.

In surprisingly harsh language, the review found that the long-awaited report from the state Department of Water Resources must be overhauled before it can be used. It also noted that the report's authors dismissed valid concerns about their work in the past.

The panel "believes strongly that the inadequacies in some of the analyses may lead policymakers and others to erroneous conclusions and inappropriate decisions," according to the Aug. 23 report, obtained this week by the Times.
The Dept of Water Resources (DWR) has a long history of using fake studies to cover their real plans... or their incompetence. Almost every attempt to heal this, especially Sen. Feinstein's grand compromise called CalFed, has been a failure. CalFed failed even before it was implemented.

I encourage all of you to follow the link above and read the whole thing. Then, understand that you need to doubt, to question everything that the State says about their plans for water.

Los Angeles Big Shots for Hillary

Last week I blogged about Obama and Oprah -- As Far As You Can Get From South Central Los Angeles.

Today, I posted a link to an article in the most prominent African-American weekly newspaper in Los Angeles about Hillary Clinton's big show hosted by Magic Johnson.

Daily Kos: Los Angeles Big Shots Backing Hillary

Hillary's cheerleaders included LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, newly-elected Congresswomen Laura Richardson, Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and State Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, the dean of Black California politicians.

It says something about contemporary politics that this is the very same Laura Richardson who ruthlessly played the "race card" in her primary battle with Latina State Sen. Jenny Orapeza.

It says something about the character of the political wheeler-dealers the way they duck 'n hide and flip-flop on the issues and choose to play or disdain the "race card" when it serves their purposes.

Another dry winter?

I am putting together some stories that are not always linked. But, I think that the logic will hold true and the conclusions are interesting, at least to me.

To begin with, Southern California has just had the driest year on record. In LA, it was the driest. Then, you add the complications of a developing La Niña condition and you have major trouble. From the Accuweather web site, Sept. 11, 2007.
If these trends of an increasing La Nina Pattern do turn out to be right, then this would be bad news for the Southwest, especially southern California and Arizona. In a La Nina season, drier-than-normal weather can be expected in the Southwest including southern California and Arizona. This pattern also means wetter-than-normal weather in the Northwest states. As most people know southern California had one of the driest rainfall seasons on record for 2006-2007. Los Angeles had the driest rainfall season ever on record. Another year of below-normal rainfall could lead to a real water problem in the summer of 2008.
I can not comment on how the media is handling this story in its entirety, but the LA Times has given this some attention. Alex quoted from that in a comment to one of my recent posts. This linked to their September 13 editorial, Coping with Drought. While I agree with most of that editorial, there are two elements with which I take minor exception. The first is that it does not go far enough in either educating the public or in creating a sense of urgency about action. The second is the statement regarding the effect of global warming. The Times says that
The effects of global warming on future water supplies are still unknown.
While this may be true of the scale of change, the consensus opinion is clear that the direction of change will be towards drier conditions in the Southwest, especially Southern California and Arizona. The map provided by High Country News (April 30, 2007) made this very clear. The essence of Matt Jenkins's article is in the tag line.
Global warming has spawned a call for new dams — but there may not be any water to fill them.
That calls into question Schwarzenegger's intent to spend over half of the $9 Billion he proposes on new dams.

However, the Metropolitan Water District, which is the water wholesaler for most of Southern California. In another LA Times story by Nancy Vogel, the Water District makes their priorities clear.
Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water to 17 million people from Ventura County to the Mexican border, said California needs more reservoir storage. But his agency has spent $4 billion on storage-related projects in the last 12 years, he said.

MWD's top concern, Kightlinger said, is finding a way to safeguard the export of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Here is the rub. The 17 Million people that the MWD represents are being told to spend their money on questionable projects. Those represent a lot of voters and will surely have things their way. This is the way that Democracy works in America. Politicians want to go to the largest group of people and brag about what they have done to support, to help, to ensure their future. Even when that is the wrong thing to do, those voters will surely be given preference. There is a tyranny in One Person, One Vote that can always be manipulated by any politician.

The battle for doing the right thing is going to be fought in Southern California. It will be fought in all the lawns and swimming pools of the San Fernando Valley. It will be fought as much in the pages of the LA Times, San Diego Union / Tribune and OC Register as it will in the halls of Sacramento. But, it is a battle that we must take on if we are to have a sustainable future.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Greens vs. Demorcrats

I would like to make an interesting observation about the difference between Greens and Democrats. It may explain our ongoing lack of ability to win elections.

I will relate two items:

First I remember Ex San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown saying something to the effect that you have to do anything you can to win elections, because unless you win the election you have no ability to implement anything you deem to be for the good of the people.

Second, in response to a post of mine at dailykos today, one kossak replied that the most important thing is to win seat... then to see that there are good people in those seats.

These are just two observations that the Democratic Party has consensus on the idea that the purpose of political parties are to win elections and to exercise political power. Hopefully, that will be for the good. After all of that is accomplished, then they begin to talk about issues. Actually, since they understand the necessity of power, they are able to talk about issue all of the time. There is no need to discuss the other publicly.

Greens, on the other hand, distrust power. For that reason, there is very little discussion about issue and a lot of discussion about the methods of gaining and exercising power. Since all of the talk is about how we govern ourselves, and our failures in doing so, there is little reason for others to join in. That is not what they are interested in.

Until we regain our focus on the way the Green Issue and Green Values can make life better in America, we will never win elections.

In my opinion, the fact that so much energy is spent on trying to resolve the so-called LA Problem is that is easier than dealing with issues. And so we miss opportunities time and again.

Maybe we should be going through the 37th CD and telling all of the Hispanic voters who were once again short changed by identity politics that there is a place, a party, which does not practice that. But then, we would have to create it, wouldn't we. But until we do start acting like a political party, we will have to be satisfied making a big deal about winning 10% of the votes.

Just a rant from a frustrated Green.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dates to track

After Orval asked me to give a list of things that could be done, I spent some more time on this and have at least come up with some dates and events that we need to be watching.

09/18/07 (Too late for almost everyone): Restore the Delta Dinner and education regarding the peripheral canal (pipe). If anyone does make it, please give us an update.

09/18/07 (Today) Governor Schwarzenegger releases his $ 9 Billion plan for California Water. The press release is now online. Read it. More importantly, question the assumptions. Note that $5.1 Billion goes to "surface storage" which means new or enlarged reservoirs.

Sept. 20 ACWA sponsored California's Water Town Hall: 6:00 - 8:30 at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium, Riverside, CA. This event will be televised. Invitation is at the link above. Registration / agenda from this link. I would hope that some Riverside County Greens are rested from the GA and can attend. Actually, it is not too far for some OC, LA, and San Bernardino Greens to make it.

These are close in, right now. I will continue to expand this by editing the list. You may want to bookmark this page so that you can come back to find if I have come up with something new.

Work to do.

Ok, I have some work to do today and so this won't take long. I was watching the 11:00 News on KGO (ABC in SF) last night when I noted a very clear advertisement from the Association of California Water Agencies. The message was clear. We are on the cusp of a series of water crises and the time to act is running out.

I note in passing that the ad did not send you to the Association site, but rather to a special site that they have set up just to carry their message to the public. That is called CalWaterCrisis. You can watch the same ad that I saw at this link. (Windows Media format).

The basis of the CalWaterCrisis site is public education, and we need a lot of that. Fortunately, the funding for this does not allow CalWaterCrisis to be used for legislative advocacy. However, the way that the story is being told makes it clear that the objectives of ACWA are for engineering some sort of mega-project solution and it does not include conservation.

Governor Schwarzenegger has called for a special session of the legislature to deal with this "crisis". It should be noted that the reason it is a crisis now is that the governor, and past governors, and the legislature, and past legislatures, have failed time and again to deal with this solution. It was always something that was coming in the future, something that could be put off until tomorrow. Well, this is the future and this is tomorrow and it can not longer be put off.

I have been writing about the delta and water since before the 2006 election. Just search this blog regarding Water, Metropolitan Water Board, California Delta, Delta Vision. There is a wealth of material. Follow any of the Delta Links in the right side menus. There is more.

The governor and Fabian Nunez are poised to spend some $6 Billion on the wrong solutions. ACWA will continue to push for anything that guarantees them a growing supply of a finite resource... Water.

It is time to get off our asses and do something about it in an organized, effective manner.

Work to do.

Ok, I have some work to do today and so this won't take long. I was watching the 11:00 News on KGO (ABC in SF) last night when I noted a very clear advertisement from the Association of California Water Agencies. The message was clear. We are on the cusp of a series of water crises and the time to act is running out.

I note in passing that the ad did not send you to the Association site, but rather to a special site that they have set up just to carry their message to the public. That is called CalWaterCrisis. You can watch the same ad that I saw at this link. (Windows Media format).

The basis of the CalWaterCrisis site is public education, and we need a lot of that. Fortunately, the funding for this does not allow CalWaterCrisis to be used for legislative advocacy. However, the way that the story is being told makes it clear that the objectives of ACWA are for engineering some sort of mega-project solution and it does not include conservation.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The candidate is....

The GPCA has had it's General Assembly in Riverside, decided on a list of candidates (Jared Ball, Elaine Brown, Jesse Johnson, Kent Mesplay, Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader, Kat Swift) to place on the primary ballot for California's early primary.

I was working on a post supporting one of those and the ground is changing under my feet. Cynthia McKinney has sent a letter to the national steering committee asking that her name be withdrawn from the ballot.

For many, this is not surprising. While some hoped that she would run, I always felt that her final decision would be to not run, to not leave the Democratic Party. After all, she is a politician and politicians want to position themselves to win elections.

McKinney's withdrawal provoked two interesting comments: one from Gregg Jocoy and another from Alex Walker. Both can be read here, as Alex cross posted his comments as a response to Gregg. Both are worth your reading. Both have a lot of practical political insight.

Gregg made the following comment about a letter from California's Mike Feinstein.
Mike Feinstein wrote a long missive to the national Green Party, and no, I don't have a copy, in which he says that the California Green Party must address the problem of inability to cross the electoral threshold in partisan races. It's not the inability to win a congressional seat that has him concerned, but our inability to win county council, state legislative, judicial and other seats which are partisan. I'm not sure which seats are partisan, but those listed often are.
Having never seen that letter, I would hope that it contains some practical insight as to how we can manage to get this done.

Still, this is post is about the presidential candidates and I offer the following opinion. All of our candidates are anti-war. That is a given. We need to find those candidates who can best articulate the other problems we will be facing:
economic, environmental, social.

In my opinion, from the list of candidates that the GPCA will place on the ballot, there is no one candidate who can do that, not even Nader. I think that is is very important to have someone who can address the economic and social problems of the urban population. It is equally important to have a candidate who can talk about the environment, global warming and all that this entails.

From what I have gleaned from the videos of the Reading, PA Candidates Forum, this comes down to Jared Ball and Kent Mesplay from among those who are "home grown" Green Party candidates.

Will Nader run as a Green again? Until he says "yes" I will have to assume that the answer is "no".

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sundance Conference on Global Warming

For those who have stuck with this blog, you know that I have made specific recommendations as to what needs to be done regarding global warming, mostly based on the programs put forward by Architecture 2030. This is all based on the knowledge that global warming is directly related to energy use and that building operations consume approximately 50% of our fossil fuels.

While the Federal Government offers platitudes about "voluntary programs" the world around us is changing. The arctic icecap is shrinking at an increasing rate. We were warned about this in 2003, in 2004, and we were warned again just this week.
The Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low, scientists said last night. Experts said they were "stunned" by the loss of ice, with an area almost twice as big as Britain disappearing in the last week alone. So much ice has melted this summer that the north-west passage across the top of Canada is fully navigable, and observers say the north-east passage along Russia's Arctic coast could open later this month. If the increased rate of melting continues, the summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030.
The rate of melt of the arctic ice is paralleled by the rate of melt / movement of the Greenland glaciers. Like the arctic ice cap, the rate of change is much greater than predicted. As the Time article suggests, maybe the meltdown has begun.
The usual argument put forth by global-warming skeptics for why we shouldn't rush to do anything yet is that the science behind climate change is uncertain--and in fact it is. While there's little doubt that humans are helping heat up the planet, the questions of how much, how quickly and leading to what consequences are fiendishly difficult to pin down. That's because the actual climate is still far more complicated than any existing computer model can accurately reflect, making predictions iffy at best. Some natural processes nobody has yet thought of could end up blunting the severest impact of global warming.

Or, conversely, they could make the impact even worse than expected.
While the Feds do little or nothing, the US Conference of Mayors is pro-active. With little media notice (Brittany Spears is too fat and has no energy) Mayors from all over America held the Sundance Conference on Global Warming.

Part of that conference involved Architecture 2030. Follow this link to see their online report. I suggest that you click on some of the location in California to see what would happen were the ocean to rise.

Is I was right in talking about the need to have an economic plan for America, then I ask you to spend some time thinking about what these changes will do to our economy. Consider also what they will do to millions of displaced people all over the globe.

How many of them will want to immigrate to America? I don't know. I can guess that the Minute Men will meet them at the border with machine guns blazing. If Jared Diamond was right in "Collapse" about the decline of civilizations that failed to adapt, then we are not far from failure. I know what I am going to do about it. Do you?

It's the economy....

We are all familiar with the mantra of the first Clinton Campaign. "It's the economy, stupid." According to Wikipedia, it originated with James Carville.

This brings up a point that I think is very valid right now. The next presidential election may well hang on economic issues as much as it does on the war in Iraq. While spending $ Billions on the war, according to a report from UCLA, we are in clear danger of sliding into an economic recession. The central factor being the decline in home prices along with rising interest rates.
The forecast presents a gloomier outlook for jobs and the housing market. The nation's unemployment rate will rise to 5.2% by mid-2008, up from the current 4.6%.

And home values will fall 10% to 15% from their peaks, the forecast says, meaning that sliding prices have yet to hit bottom.

"The small recent minimal declines represent not the end, but rather the beginning of what will be a very painful decline," David Shulman, author of the forecast, said in the report, referring to home prices.
When I look at "progressive activism in recent years, there is little about the economy. The main focus seems to be a protest against globalization, a war with Wal-Mart (globalization run amok) and a general bias against corporate power.

I would challenge the GPCA to come up with an campaign that will challenge both the typical progressive agenda, filled with negativism rather than solutions, and the status quo of Demican / Republicrat politics. What would that look like?

The 10 Key Values of the GPCA include the ideal of Community-Based Economics, yet I almost never hear anyone step up and explain how that would work, what it might mean for the declining middle class in America.

If, as Carville indicated, it really is the economy, then it seems to me that electoral success will not happen unless we have sound set of policies that provide solutions to the economic problems of the American voter.

If you have the solution, let's hear it. What Green Party solution will avoid or mitigate the problems of the current mortgage crisis? What alternatives are there to increased movement of production work away from the US, be it manufacturing or agriculture? What does it say about our country when economists gauge the health of the economy by watching consumer spending rather than manufacturing production?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Democrat 'Brotha' Barack Obama and Friends

My colleague Wes Rolley's post, "Do not go gently " on the struggle going on in Brooklyn is a nice counterpoint to recent goings-on here on the Left Coast by my African-American 'Brotha' Barack Obama.

Obama and Oprah -- As Far As You Can Get From South Central Los Angeles.

Obama raised an estimated $3 million at a fund-raiser hosted by TV mogul, Oprah Winfrey last week. Tickets to the sold-out private event went for $2,300 apiece, keeping them within campaign finance limits.

Stevie Wonder performed for guests, who included Sidney Poitier, Forest Whitaker, Chris Rock, Cindy Crawford, Jimmy Connors, Linda Evans, Dennis Haysbert and many others. Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Halle Berry also were expected. Visitors were bused to Winfrey's secluded home from an equestrian center where guests arrived in limousines, BMWs, Bentleys and a few hybrid Priuses.

This is about as far as you can get from South Central Los Angeles -- or Brooklyn -- as you can get

Read more

Do not go gently ...

Once in a while you come across the unexpected, even in politics. In
the youtube video the performer is Chris Owens, Candidate for Congress from Brooklyn in 2006. Owens was the son of the retiring incumbent, Major Owens. In this performance, he not only plays the recorder, but he takes on an important urban issue: the use of eminent domain to take private property to allow the completion of a private development project. The actual situation involves the Atlantic Yards Project, a "redevelopment" effort in Brooklyn where public monies are behind a $4 Billion big time developer (Forest City Ratner) owned, Michael Bloomberg aided, Frank Gehry designed effort to create the most dense housing in the country and make everybody rich, except for the tax payers and original land owners who are getting screwed by all.

You might read a political message here. You might wish we had candidates in California who could pull off something like this. Then, you could just enjoy.

Title from Dylan Thomas.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Polar Bear is getting hot

While I normally do not respond well to publicity stunt political action, sometimes they are so spot on that you can only stand up and cheer. In this case Green Party Eco-Action Committee member Jean McMahon takes to spotlight as she dogs Okla. Senator (and well known global warming denier) James Inhofe. The full story is at the Tulsa World.

I note that this is starting to have some legs, as science journalist / blogger Chris Mooney has picked up the same thing.

Go get'em, Ms. Bear.