Sacramento suffers from a “drought” after record rainfall in 2011

Sacramento is suffering from a drought. At least that is what the city utilities department employees say they’ve been instructed to tell residents who call questioning the city’s strict water conservation policies.

The City of Sacramento Utilities Department sent out recent email reminders that city residents can water yards and lawns only three times a week; and can wash cars once a week on a designated day, only before 10:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m., and only if an automatic shut-off nozzle is used on the hose. Laundry is also to be done before 10:00 a.m. and after 7:00 p.m. and home vegetable gardens are also under recommended water restrictions.

I am assuming the summertime favorite Slip-n-Slide is no longer legal. And that’s too bad since Sacramento has closed most of the community swimming pools.

The city has decided that, “California is facing severe water challenges, including the effects of a third dry year in a row.”

Really? I seem to recall a very wet 2011, with record rain and snowfall.

Sacramento is located on two very large and abundant rivers — the American River and the Sacramento River — as well as the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, with thousands of miles of waterways.

Drought Or Politics?

Perhaps because Sacramento needs a new sewer system, water usage could be a problem, as the website explains: ”The Department of Utilities will issue a ‘Spare the Water Alert’ when temperatures are projected to reach 100 degrees for at least three consecutive days. On those days, demand for water can stretch the City’s pumping abilities. Energy costs for treating and pumping water also are at their peak.”

But more likely than failing sewer systems, is the larger scope of California’s increasingly restrictive water policy.

Either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water,” Noah Cross said in in the 1974 movie Chinatown, about the California Water Wars, historical disputes over land and water rights in southern California during the 1910s and 1920s.

But it’s more than water rights that have been dictating policy in California. Increasingly restrictive environmental policy has made it into legislation, signed into law, and is now the law of the land in California.

Residents just rarely see or know about the rule and law changes until a city tightens the rope on its citizens.

Rules and laws are not made in the open, public forum as most people think. Deals are made long before public hearings are held, and with each passing law, ordinance and rule is a disempowerment of residents.

Multiple Water Agency Associations

Examples of how water policy works can be found with the complicated water associations – ACWA – the Association of California Water Agencies; CUWA – California Urban Water Agencies; CUWCC – the California Urban Water Conservation Council. They are all non-profit organizations, and are all funded with public funds through government grants and membership fees from the water agency members.

The California Urban Water Agencies and California Urban Water Conservation Council both have online 2010 IRS 990 forms, the non-profit tax return form, available online.

Both associations are primarily supported by government grant money. Public water agency members pay dues as well.

According to Jessica Hess, the public information officer for Sacramento’s Utility Department, Sacramento takes its marching orders on water conservation from the California Urban Water Conservation Council and Association of California Water Agencies, and SB x7-7, by Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. SB x7-7 was passed and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009, and requires a statewide 20 percent reduction in urban water use by 2020.

It was interesting that Steinberg, a former city councilman, state Assemblyman and current Sacramento senator authored a bill which restricts his own city on water usage originating from the rivers surrounding the city. Most politicians do everything they can to help their districts and constituencies.

Known as the 20 x 2020 Water Conservation Plan, “Urban water suppliers are required to establish water conservation targets for the years 2015 and 2020,” the state’s “20×2020 Agency Team” website states.

But as with most plans undertaken by the state, this is done not just by the public agencies, but using paid consultants as well. And often, the paid consultants have financial interests in the success of the plans, or are able to control direction of the plans.

Currently there are water consultants working on desalinization plans and projects, and agricultural desalination, which according to one state water expert who asked to remain anonymous, is the same thing as the perchlorate scam, which CalWatchDog.com writer Wayne Lusvardi has written extensively on.

Some water consultants create fear about nitrate removal from water, the water expert said. Nitrates and perchlorate can have a similar effect as potential endocrine gland blockers. But according to the water expert, the easy solution is to quit drinking alcohol, eat fish twice a week, go easy on spinach, and supplement the diet with iodized salt.

The water expert said that consultants’ solutions are instead to create a “scientific” solution, to build big and small treatment plants at taxpayer expense.

The water expert said that instead of hiring employees to work for the interests of the many public water agencies associations, some consultants involved in California’s water policy have vested interests in the water issues.

(Katy Grimes is CalWatchdog’s news reporter. Grimes is a longtime political analyst, writer and journalist. This article was first posted on CalWatchdog.)

Celebrating Fluke

Hunters, fishermen turn out in droves to support embattled Fish & Game chief

From SJ Mercury:

Dan Richards, the beleaguered president of the state Fish and Game Commission, received an outpouring of support Wednesday from outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom accused Democratic legislators of conducting a witch hunt to oust him for killing a mountain lion in Idaho.

At a commission hearing in Riverside, a parade of hunters, fishermen and others told Richards to resist calls for him to step down. In Sacramento, meanwhile, top lawmakers delayed a vote to oust him.

(Read Full Article)

Chief justice lobbies California lawmakers on court spending bill

From LA Times:

The chief justice of the California Supreme Court was at the Capitol on Thursday lobbying against a bill that would take away some of her power over court spending, and the leader of the Senate later announced his opposition to the legislation.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye met with Senate Republicans regarding AB 1208, which would shift key budget decisions away from the state Judicial Council she heads and give them to local trial courts.

(Read Full Article)

Obama Approval Averages 45% in February

From Gallup:

President Obama’s average job approval rating for the month of February in Gallup Daily tracking was 45%, with 47% disapproving, unchanged from January.

Obama’s job approval in February exceeds the lows seen last summer, when his monthly approval rating dipped to 41% from August through October. That followed a slide from 50% in May after the successful U.S. military mission in Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. However, despite the recent improvement in his score, it has yet to recover to the level seen at the start of 2011, when 49% approved and 43% disapproved.

(Read Full Article)

March primaries: A look ahead

From Human Events:

A predictably muddled Super Tuesday left Mitt Romney inching closer to securing the nomination, but also established Rick Santorum as a credible alternative, while Newt Gingrich remains a strong force in the South.  The possibility of a brokered Republican convention was upgraded from “extremely unlikely” to “highly unlikely.”  What awaits us in the remaining March primaries?

Next up, on March 10, will be caucuses in Kansas, Wyoming, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.  All of the candidates are planning appearances in Kansas, which puts 40 delegates on the table.  Rick Santorum arrived there Wednesday, while the others have events scheduled for Friday and Saturday.  As recently as Tuesday morning, Ellis County Republican chairman John Pyle told the local Daily News that the state caucuses “will be a toss-up.”

(Read Full Article)

Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey, flickr

Republicans fear rough primary could cost them the House and the Senate

From The Hill:

Republicans are worried the long, drawn-out presidential primary could cost them the House and the Senate.

For months, Republicans had been bullish about their prospects for widening their margin in the House and picking off Democratic senators. But some are now questioning whether they could be done in if Mitt Romney limps out of the primary a severely weakened nominee.

(Read Full Article)

Photo courtesy of Rob Crawley, flickr

Super PACs Outspent Candidates in Run-Up to Tuesday

From WSJ:

In the two weeks leading up to Super Tuesday, outside political action committees supporting the Republican presidential hopefuls spent three times as much as the candidates themselves, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the latest sign of how these new “super PACs” are transforming electioneering.

The super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich spent $770,000 on his behalf in Ohio while his campaign barely spent any money on TV there.

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich spent a combined $2.4 million on television ads during the last two weeks in Ohio, Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee, the contests with the most delegates Tuesday, according to a review of spending on TV commercials.

(Read Full Article)

RFK Jr. channels Limbaugh, calls GOP senator ‘prostitute’

From Daily Caller:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental crusader who got his start in the movement performing community service after a heroin conviction, thrust himself into a the evolving story about Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke on Tuesday, calling Republican Sen. James Inhofe a “prostitute” and a “call girl.”

Days after Limbaugh’s on-air apology for his own transgression, the New York-based green activist and son of the late Sen. Bobby Kennedy upped the ante on Twitter.

“Speaking of prostitutes, big oil’s top call girl Sen Inhofe wants to kill fuel economy backed by automakers, small biz, enviros, & consumers,” he tweeted.

(Read Full Article)

Super Tuesday results map

From The Hill:

All 10 states voting on Super Tuesday award their delegates proportionally, which means a second-place finish nets some delegates.

The big prize will be in Ohio, where a Mitt Romney victory could be a knockout blow to the rest of the GOP field. Besides the delegates who are up for grabs in the Buckeye State, a Romney win would rob Rick Santorum of the argument that he’s better suited to connect with Rust Belt voters.

Recent polls of the state show the race is a statistical tie. Santorum held a double-digit lead in late February, but Romney has gained ground.

(Read Full Article)