Friday, March 25, 2011


By Patrick Porgans
Planetary Solutionaries

 Although, California and the Pacific Northwest have been battered by a series of winter storm systems, the Golden State’s major flood control systems are holding steady. No need for Noah to get the Ark out yet.
According to the National Weather Service, more storms are on the way.  The good news is that they are colder storms, meaning lower snow levels in the Sierra and a reduction of sudden runoff from warmer storms which can cause severe flooding.

Many mainstream news media outlets, print and electronic, have been painting current weather conditions as much more serious that they are, either to hype ratings or subscriptions or because the modern 24-hour news cycle demands that virtually all “news” be blown out of proportion to hold public attention.

In my recent conversations with flood control experts at the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), they assure me the state’s flood control system is functioning as designed and “dam operators” up and down the state are running the integrated flood control system by the “book.”  This was confirmed by an online perusal of the government internet sites where this information is posted. Read more....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fitch Assigns 'AAA' Bank Bond Ratings to Metro Water Dist of Southern CA ... 

Business Wire (press release) - ‎Mar 8, 2011‎
--As an essential service provider to a large and diverse regional area, and as a wholesaler, Metropolitan has strong pricing and supply control, enhancing financial flexibility. --Metropolitan continues to have financial flexibility and a willingness ...

The dead fish plan

Why the latest proposals to save the delta aren't going to work

Going, gone: CALFED did nothing to help the delta Smelt

The recently formed Delta Stewardship Council, charged with protecting the San Francisco-San Joaquin Delta Estuary, released a draft report in February with more bad news about the possible fate of aquatic species.

A number of the fish, which have been the focus of national attention, are already listed as threatened or endangered under the provision of the Endangered Species Act.

This preliminary finding comes after more than $10 billion has been expended over the course of a decade by federal and state officials — who have insisted that their plans would not only restore estuary fisheries but would double the populations of endangered species such as salmon.

But CALFED — the joint federal/state effort — failed to restore fish populations, and now the state says some species may never recover. So it's hard to have a lot of confidence in the new agency.
The draft report was released by DSC's executive officer, Joe Grindstaff, former director of CALFED's Bay-Delta program. At one point, in 2007, Grindstaff acknowledged: "Fundamentally, the system we designed didn't work."

That's an understatement. Tens of millions of fish have been killed by government-operated projects pumping and exporting water from the delta. More than 50 million fish were considered "salvaged" — saved from the pumps — but millions of them also wound up dead. And there are tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, more that are unaccounted for.

Ironically, this unfathomable loss occurred while officials were engaged in several failed fish-doubling plans that spanned decades, cost the public billions of dollars in borrowed money, and contributed the California's deficit-ridden budget crisis. Read more ...,0

Fooling around in Sacramento

Fooling around in Sacramento

California government is $26 billion-plus in the red, but members of the Legislature still have managed to introduce 2,300 bills having nothing to do with resolving the state’s staggering budget crisis.
There are, for example, bills that would revise the definition of extra virgin olive oil. Another piece of legislation would ban caffeinated beer.

Yet another would require that animal shelters not be called dog pounds, and dictates that instead of saying an unwanted animal is going to be killed, it would be “humanely euthanized.” There’s even a bill mandating that fewer bills be introduced.

Does any of this have anything to do with solving California’s fiscal crisis? No. Is there a way to get lawmakers focused on the real problems, and leave the trivial stuff until another time? Yes, and more about that in a moment.

That 2,300-plus bill total in this legislative session is actually down considerably from sessions in the recent past. Lawmakers in Sacramento can, indeed, be thick-headed, but maybe they’re finally realizing that the ship is sinking, and if they don’t want it to go under, they need to stop fooling around and start bailing. Read more ...

Saturday, March 12, 2011


O.C.-led buyers sue Calif. over killed deal

March 11th, 2011, 3:46 pm · 6 Comments · posted by Jeff Collins

An Orange County-led consortium of investors who had the winning bid to buy 11 state-owned office properties around California have sued the state for breach of contract after Gov. Jerry Brown killed the deal.

California First LP, a group pulled together by Rich Mayo of Irvine-based Spyglass Realty Partners, had bid $2.3 billion to buy the state government buildings, then lease them back to the state for up to 50 years.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed the deal as a way to generate $1.2 billion to help close a gargantuan state budget deficit. The deal included the sale of the California Supreme Court buildings, the complex for processing state property taxes as well as headquarters for the state Public Utilities, emergency operations, justice, health and education departments.

Brown called the deal short-sighted. However, California First shot back, arguing that “a deal is a deal.” California First attorney Stuart Liner said:
“Like any other person or entity, the State of California has to live up to the contracts  it enters. The State negotiated and signed a contract with California First and has no right to back out of the deal.  California First met its obligations every step of the way and we intend to compel the State to live up to their end of the contract.
“California First satisfied its commitments to the State, which is why the State accepted California First’s offer in the first place, and California First remains ready and able to perform the contract. We believe the DGS (state Department of General Services), the Legislature and the Governor got it right two years ago when, in light of the financial circumstances that California is facing, it concluded that this $2.33 billion deal is in the best interests of the state and its 34 million residents.”
In a press release issued today, the partnership said further:
“California First seeks an order from the court requiring the State to sell the eleven (11) properties that comprised the initial sale-leaseback bid authorized by the legislature in July 2009, which includes properties in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco.  AB 22, the authorizing legislation, was approved overwhelmingly by the legislature (37-0 in the Senate, 76-3 in the Assembly) and signed as an urgency measure by then-Governor Schwarzenegger.”
More on the state office building sale:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Greenwashing the Delta

Greenwashing the Delta PPIC book is funded by some of the worst corporate greenwashers on the planet, including the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Pisces Foundation, the Resources Legacy Fund, and the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority.

Bechtel and Packard funded report greenwashes the peripheral canal

by Dan Bacher

It's been four years now since the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) published "Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta." Right from the start, S. D. Bechtel and the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, a money laundering operation for corporations according to North Coast environmental leader John Lewallen, have been pushing this ongoing initiative to frame California's discussion of the Delta as "doomed."

"The original document explored nine alternative 'futures,' each conceptual, each an exaggeration stripped of practicality or opportunities for compromise," said Jane Wagner-Tyack of Restore the Delta. "In that document, the authors wrote the score for the song sheet they have been singing from so successfully ever since: the fragile, unsustainable Delta; seismic threat; catastrophic levee failure; inevitable loss of species; failing governance; crisis, crisis, crisis; conflict, conflict, conflict." Read more..


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Apr 30, 2010

MMS Scandal: Where Are They Now? Deepwater Horizon Edition

Tfrybw150X225 Randall_BLuthi520We don't know everyone's fate, but a recent quote by former Minerals Management Service (MMS) Director Randall Luthi (Director from July 2007 - January 2009—and oddly not identified as a former MMS Director in the article) shows that he is now the president of the National Oceans Industries Association (NOIA).
According to its website, NOIA's mission is "to secure reliable access and a favorable regulatory and economic environment for the companies that develop the nation's valuable offshore energy resources in an environmentally responsible manner." Its members include "producers of crude oil and natural gas, contractors, marine engineers, service and supply companies and others with an interest in producing energy from the nation's outer continental shelf." In other words, Luthi now represents precisely the industries his agency was tasked with overseeing. Ruthi succeeded Tom Fry, another former MMS Director, as as President of NOIA. NOIA's March press release announcing Luthi's position can be found here.
This is, of course, only one instance of the systemic revolving door problem between the Department of the Interior and the oil and gas industries that continues to cast doubt on the integrity of Interior's oversight of taxpayers' natural resources. We invite readers to contact POGO, or leave comments, into other instances that we have missed.
-- Mandy Smithberger
See also:
Critics point out that those same entities have been assuring the public for the past 15 years that they would come up with a "sustainable solution" to protect the Delta and double the numbers of Delta-dependent species and have failed miserably in the process. - Indybay
"Time To Unite"UC Unions & Labor Rallies To Demand Rejection of anti-labor UC Regent Crane -
"Time To Unite"UC Unions & Labor Rallies To Demand Rejection of anti-labor UC Regent Crane
Dozens of UC workers and trade unionists rallied at the UCSF Parnassus campus to demand that anti-labor regent David Crane be rejected by the legislature for reappointment to the regents. - Indybay

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lloyd's February 2011 Radio Show

29:04 minutes (6.66 MB)
Lloyd's February 2011 radio show interview with new Delta Watermaster Craig Wilson.  To listen or
download click HERE:

Unreasonable Use Law Goes Unenforced

California has had a law on the books for over 80 years preventing unreasonable use of water. How come it is not enforced? To learn more click HERE:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Delta Agreement to “Protect Listed Species” or Another Ploy to Export More Water

Posted on 04 March 2011
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By Patrick Porgans
Planetary Solutionaries

Last Thursday a federal judge approved a settlement agreement to protect the tiny Delta smelt, one of a number of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that dwell in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The smelt may be on the verge of extinction. Its 15-minute claim to fame was immortalized during a 60 Minute segment that mistakenly credited it for the demise of California’s agricultural industry. Incidentally, last year, when CBS aired the program, California’s agricultural industry posted record-breaking profits, as it did during the entire four-year of California’s so-called “drought”.

The agreement is the result of protracted legal battles concerning the decline of and protection for Delta smelt and salmon. Federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) pumps that export water to contractors south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are the focus of the dispute. The Court-approved settlement is being celebrated by water contractors, farmers, government officials and environmental groups as a positive development. It also provides time for the U.S. Fish&Wildlife Service (USFWS) to improve the methodologies it uses to evaluate the impacts of the pumping on the smelt in response to a December ruling by U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger, which invalidated key parts of a much-debated plan to protect the smelt.

Wanger also made a ruling back in May 2009, when he issued an injunction, agreeing with the plaintiffs that the reduction of exports to their agricultural operations would result in "irreparable" economic and environmental harm in violation of NEPA. On May 31, 2009, the government Delta pumping plants reportedly went silent as the Delta smelt “take” was just 27 fish away from exceeding the “take” limit, which would have meant that both the Department of Water Resources (DWR), operator of the SWP, and the Bureau of Reclamation, operator of the CVP, would have been in “violation” of the ESA. It is interesting to note, that the fish count “take” and salvage numbers are not made by either USFWS or California Department of Fish and Game biologist. The counts are performed by DWR and Bureau maintenance personnel. Even when the “take” is exceeded, it just reinitiates consultation among the parties, and usually what happens is they agree to increase the number of fish they can “take” kill.

read more ...//