California is about to start spending billions for new reservoirs

California took a big step Friday toward launching a new multibillion-dollar wave of reservoir construction.

After being accused of being overly tightfisted with taxpayer dollars, the California Water Commission released updated plans for allocating nearly $2.6 billion in bond fundsapproved by voters during the depths of the drought. The money will help fund eight reservoirs and other water-storage projects, including the sprawling Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley and a small groundwater “bank” in south Sacramento County.

In its new blueprint, which remains tentative, the Water Commission nearly triples the amount of money it will spend compared to a preliminary allocation it put out in February.

With climate change expected to diminish the Sierra Nevada snowpack, the new reservoirs are seen as a way of bolstering California’s ability to store water. Sites, a $5.2 billion project straddling the Glenn-Colusa county line, and the $2.7 billion Temperance Flat reservoir east of Fresno would become the two largest reservoirs built in California since Jerry Brown’s first stint as governor in the 1970s. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

University of California union votes for strike

The union that says it represents more than 25,000 employees in the University of California system announced today that 97 percent of its members have voted to authorize a strike.

The union also called today on speakers invited to participate at upcoming UC graduation events to support workers by boycotting university engagements until the labor dispute is resolved. Scheduled commencement speakers include Sen. Kamala Harris, who’s due at UC Berkeley on May 12th, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, who’s scheduled to speak at UC San Diego on June 16th.

“With contract negotiations and post-impasse mediation procedures being exhausted after a year of bargaining, AFSCME Local 3299-represented workers at the University of California voted with 97 percent approval to authorize a system-wide strike,” according to a union announcement. “The union has also called on speakers invited to participate at upcoming UC graduation events to support workers by boycotting university engagements until the labor dispute is resolved.”

The strike authorization comes two weeks after protests of unequal treatment for working women of color at the University of California ended with 18 arrests in Los Angeles on the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. The union says the protests were a direct response to the release of a study that revealed worsening income, racial, and gender disparities amongst UC’s workforce, including those working directly for UC and those working under contract. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Daily News

San Diego County supervisors vote to support Trump lawsuit against California sanctuary laws

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 Tuesday to support the Trump administration’s lawsuit against California over so-called sanctuary laws that the state passed last year to limit its role in immigration enforcement.

The county will file an amicus brief at the first available opportunity, likely if and when the case moves to a higher court on appeal, said Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, chairwoman of the board.

The board voted in closed session after 45 minutes of public comment in which most speakers in the packed chambers urged the supervisors to vote against supporting the lawsuit.

Margaret Baker, who lives near the border, told the board that backing the lawsuit will discourage immigrants from reporting crime.

“We see this lawsuit as an attack on our safety and the well-being of our community,” she said. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Diego Union-Tribune

California lawmaker proposes Tax guns instead of arming teachers

GunFollowing the February school massacre in Parkland, Fla., California legislators responded as they often do after a mass shooting, with proposals to further tighten the state’s strict gun control laws.

But the killings – and a national protest movement that they inspired – have also raised questions across the country about how best to keep children safe in school.

Assembly Bill 2497, unveiled last month by Assemblyman Jim Cooper, would create a tax on firearm and ammunition sales to fund grants for high schools that want to hire police to provide campus security. The money would also pay for a counselor at every middle school, whose primary responsibility would be to detect and report potential threats of violence. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

Tim Draper says he has signatures needed for third try to break up California

Billionaire venture investor Tim Draper on Thursday said he has the signatures he needs to put his initiative to break up California into three states before the state’s voters.

Draper said in a press release that he has gathered about 600,000 signatures for his “Cal 3” initiative that would divide the country’s most populous state into three new ones: Northern California, Southern California and California.

Los Angeles would be in the new California. The farmland and forested areas, along with San Francisco and the Silicon Valley technology hub, would be turned into the two other states.

The signatures on the Cal 3 petition have yet to be certified, so it isn’t officially on the ballot yet.

This is Draper third attempt to split California into multiple states: His earlier efforts to split the state into six new ones failed in 2014 and 2016. …

Click here to read the full article from the Silicon Valley Business Journal

Gov. Brown Agrees to Deploy 400 National Guard Troops to Border at Trump’s Request

California Gov. Jerry Brown responded to President Donald Trump’s request to add more troops for border security, saying he’ll add about 400 troops but also saying they won’t be used for “enforcing federal immigration laws.”

The location of the troops and the number working along the border, the coast and other places in the state will be determined by the needs on the ground, the governor’s press office said.

This supplements the 250 troops already working statewide, including 55 Guard members already at the border.

Trump said last week he wants to send 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard members to the border, issuing a proclamation citing “the lawlessness that continues at our southern border.”

Arizona, New Mexico and Texas all made new pledges that add up to almost half of the up to 4,000 troops Trump requested. Some Guard members started arriving at the border as states and the federal government officials continued to discuss what they will do. …

Click here to read the full article from KCRA News

The missing billions spent on gasoline in California each year

California drivers already pay more for gasoline than motorists in just about every other state.

But even after taking into account state gas taxes, blending requirements aimed at reducing air pollution and other environmental and climate fees attached to each gallon of fuel, it appears drivers in the Golden State pay a lot more than they should.

UC Berkeley professor Severin Borenstein calls the price differential “California’s mystery gasoline surcharge” that roughly translates into a premium of 20 to 30 cents on every gallon pumped in the state.

And that’s not chump change when one considers Californians consume 40 million gallons a day. Multiply that over an entire year and Borenstein says that comes to between $3 billion to $4 billion that is unaccounted. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Diego Union-Tribune

Five more sexual misconduct cases released by California Legislature

The California Legislature on Thursday released a limited set of sexual misconduct records for five investigations before 2006 in which a lawmaker or high-level employee was found to have harassed a legislative staff member.

The heavily redacted documents contained complaints, investigative results and monetary settlements. They included a $117,000 settlement, reported by The Bee in 2001, for an aide to former Sen. Richard Polanco who accused him of retaliation after she rejected his sexual advances.

In response to requests from The Bee and other media outlets, the Senate and Assembly in February divulged a decade of investigations that substantiated sexual harassment complaints against lawmakers and senior staffers. More records were released Thursday after a follow-up request for similar material before 2006.

The documents are not a comprehensive account of sexual misconduct cases at the Capitol in previous decades. The Bee reported on at least three other six-figure settlements in the 1990s and early 2000s involving alleged harassment by members of the Assembly. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

Still Rising: Rasmussen Poll Shows Donald Trump Approval Ratings Now at 51 Percent

donald-trump-3President Donald Trump’s approval ratings keep rising, according to the latest Rasmussen poll.

On Wednesday, Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll showed that 51 percent of likely U.S. voters approved of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-eight percent disapproved.

This is the best rating for Trump since April of the first year of his presidency.

The new milestone occurs just two days after Trump’s popularity jumped to 50 percent in Monday’s daily tracking poll.

According to Rasmussen, Obama was at 46 percent on April 4 of 2010, the second year of his presidency.

Rasmussen’s daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and an online survey tool of random participants. It is reported on a three-day rolling average basis. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 2.5 percentage points.

This article was originally published by Breitbart.com

Trump’s Justice Dept. Sues California Again

For the second time in as many months, the U.S. Department of Justice has sued the state of California.

The DOJ filed a lawsuit against California officials Monday, claiming a state law that gives California the power to veto sales of federal land to private landholders is unconstitutional. California Senate Bill 50, which passed last year, gives the state the right to purchase any federal land the U.S. government attempts to sell to private landowners.

The DOJ complaint claims “the law discriminates against the United States and delays and otherwise obstructs conveyances of real property owned by the United States, including by creating a potential cloud on marketable title.”

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