State issues emergency order mandating 25% water use cut

May 6, 2015

Following 8 hours of impassioned testimony, The State Water Resources Control Board unanimously approved an emergency order mandating a 25% reduction in urban water use – the first in the state’s history.


From Phillip Reese and Dale Kasler at the Sacramento Bee: “The cuts will fall hardest on the Sacramento region and other parts of inland California, which traditionally have been areas of heavy water use during the searing summer months. Ten of the Sacramento area’s 23 large water districts must cut usage by 36 percent during the next nine months compared to 2013. All but two must cut usage by 28 percent.


“The State Water Resources Control Board, charged with overseeing California’s water rights system, took action following nearly eight hours of testimony and discussion. Local water officials from across the state took to the podium to argue that the board’s proposed regulations were draconian, and in some cases unattainable….


“The five-member board expressed sympathy at times but ultimately made just a few revisions to a framework that gives urban water agencies nine months to cut consumption anywhere from 4 percent to 36 percent.”


Meanwhile, Capitol Weekly’s John Howard finds that cities throughout the state pay dramatically different costs for the same amount of water.


“A study of 217 water-delivery agencies serving single-family residences reviewed by Capitol Weekly showed total monthly bills ranging from just under $23 in Oroville to $190 in a small Humboldt County district. The 2013 survey was conducted by Worley’s group, which has been doing the studies since 2005 and is in the midst of compiling new figures this year. The organization also examined rates regionally in the state’s southern, northern and central zones, and the San Joaquin Valley.


State Representative Ami Bera admits he stepped in it by ‘borrowing’ some of the text in an Op-Ed that ran under his byline in Sunday’s Bee.


“The opinion piece, ‘Rep. Bera backs giving Obama authority to negotiate trade deal,’ caught the attention of the news website BuzzFeed, which on Tuesday posted a story highlighting the similarities between Bera’s wording and other previously published statements.


“Bera said he stands by the sentiment of the op-ed in granting the president trade promotion authority, ‘and my initial draft reflects that,’ he said in a statement.


“’However, after an internal review of our editing process, it has become clear that widely used and disseminated statements made their way into the final draft, and for that I apologize,’ he wrote. ‘I take full responsibility for this oversight and will be dealing with the responsible staff internally.’”


The long hand of the Koch Brothers (conservative freedom fighters, or oligarch overlords, take your pick) has reached the bitter battle in SD-7.


Independent Women’s Voice, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative nonprofit, started airing a television ad Monday night on cable channels in the district, attacking Bonilla for accepting gifts and travel from special interests…


“As noted by the Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch, Independent Women’s Voice has received funding from the Koch-bankrolled Center to Protect Patient Rights, and has several staffers who’ve worked for other Koch-affiliated groups.


“’So why are the Koch Brothers trying to come to Steve Glazer’s rescue?’ asked Steve Maviglio, who runs a union-funded independent expenditure group that’s backing Bonilla. ‘That’s a good question. Maybe Steve Glazer can answer it – or denounce the special interests that are working overtime to get him elected for airing it.’”


By the way, you can hear candidates Susan Bonilla and Steve Glazer make their own cases on KQED’s Forum program this morning at 9AM.


Also at KQED, John Myers finds that ‘sponsored bills’ were much more likely (67% vs. 43% for unsponsored) to become law.


“There are a lot of reasons why legislation lives or dies at the state Capitol, but one powerful reason may be whether it’s been championed — or in some cases completely written — by influential interest groups.


“These are pieces of legislation known as ‘sponsored bills,’ a designation that at its most basic level points out the impetus for the proposal came from an outside group. But beyond that, it’s the Sacramento equivalent of a Rorschach test — a designation that means something different to everyone and almost impossible to universally define.”


After all the bad news about the drought, it’s nice to come across some good news: California’s financial picture is getting brighter all the time.  From Jessica Calefati and Theresa Harrington at the San Jose Mercury News:


“In the clearest sign yet that the Great California Recovery is proceeding on pace, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins announced Tuesday that the state's revenue has climbed as much as $8 billion in the last four months.


“The state's public schools will receive the bulk of that windfall under Proposition 98, and Assembly Democrats hope it's used to increase average per-pupil spending and expand access to quality child care and preschool programs, the San Diego Democrat said.


“Another chunk of change must be saved for a rainy day under a proposition approved by California voters in November. But the Legislature will likely also have about a billion dollars to play around with -- a happy accident that's expected to set off fights among health, poverty and other interest groups about how to spend the extra cash.


"’We know we're not going to get everything we want,’ Atkins said. ‘No one ever does.’"


A bill to legalize drinking on bicycle busses piloted by a trained (and sober) driver passed its first test, pedaling out of committee on a 10 to 1 vote.  Jeremy White, Sacramento Bee:


“’Regrettably, California State Laws currently prevent consumption while on the bike bus,’ laments the website of Off the Chain Bike Bus Tours.


“That could change under Senate Bill 530, which cleared its first committee on a 10-1 vote. The legislation from Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, would allow riders to crack open a cold one if their city permits it, a safety monitor comes along for the ride and the driver gets some alcohol-related training.”


Sometimes, the headline says it all: Councilman goes to bathroom, forgets he’s wearing live microphone.


“There comes a point in everyone’s life when they have to stop and take a bathroom break. But if you’re wearing a live microphone, it might be a good idea to make sure it’s off before you conduct your…business.


“According to Mashable, a recent city council meeting in Georgetown, Texas, came to a screeching halt after a council member left to relieve himself but forgot he was wearing a hot mic, causing his trip to the men’s room to echo through council chambers and leaving the city’s mayor pro-tem Rachael Jonrowe unable to continue without laughing.


“On the video posted to YouTube on Friday, Jonrowe was speaking about infectious diseases when she was stopped in her tracks by the sound of a flushing toilet.


“Ironically—given the topic of Jonrowe’s speech—online viewers have noted that the unidentified council member appears to have neglected to wash his hands following his trip to the lavatory.”


We'll skip the Mike Duvall jokes...

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