Historic Maclay Highline is back

Jul 21, 2017

A century-old structure known as the Maclay Highline is being restored, which means that for the first time in decades it will bring in a deluge of drinking water from the Sierra Nevada snowmelt.  


Daily News' DANA BARTHOLOMEW: "Michael Grahek trudged through the murk of a historic Los Angeles Department of Water and Power water tunnel, his flashlight sweeping its century-old concrete walls."

His light then settled on some a strange outlines in the Sylmar shaft."

“Notice the footprints,” said Grahek, LADWP manager of southern aqueduct and Owens Lake Operations and maintenance, pausing inside the arched tunnel. “Somebody stepped in the wet cement almost 100 years ago."


Speaking of water, here's a disturbing possibility: Is the Oroville Dam leaking? 


From the Bee's RYAN SABALOW: "One of the country’s foremost experts on catastrophic engineering failures released a new report Thursday on the troubled Oroville Dam that asks a disturbing question: Is the country’s tallest dam leaking?"


"State dam managers have insisted for months that there’s no problem, and that persistent green wet spots near the top left abutment of the nearly 770-foot-tall earthen dam are nothing more than natural vegetation growth caused by rainfall."


"In response to persistent questions about the wet spots since the February spillway crisis, the Department of Water Resources even has a section of its website devoted to the wet spots. The agency says they’re “caused by rainfall on the face of the dam, allowing vegetation to grow,” and that the spots have been there since before the reservoir was first filled in the late 1960s."


READ MORE related to Oroville: Engineering report blasts management failures at Oroville Dam --  PETER FIMRITE, Chronicle


Meanwhile, back in Sacramento, fallout continues among Republicans because of the Assembly GOP leader's support of the governor's cap-and-trade legislation.


From the LA Times' Patrick McGreevy: "Fallout continued Thursday over Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes' support for the cap-and-trade extension, with one of his top lieutenants resigning her leadership position in protest."


"Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, from Lake Elsinore, was among the majority of Republicans who voted against the bill Monday because of concerns that it would increase gas and energy costs for Californians. In total, eight Republicans joined most of the Democrats backing the measure."


“Californians are struggling to make ends meet, and unfortunately, what I have witnessed by the Assembly Republican Leader is a dereliction of duty to preserve and promote the American Dream for every single Californian,” Melendez said in a statement."


A local FBI office just recently helped take down an illicit international deepweb marketplace that it claims was 10 times larger than the infamous Silk Road.


Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON: "In a case that included probes in Fresno and Merced, the Justice Department announced the dismantling Thursday of an international “dark web” operation that dealt in hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal drugs and other contraband."

"In a press conference in Washington with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Sacramento-based U.S. Attorney Phil Talbert, officials said they had taken down the Alpha Bay dark website, which they described as being 10 times larger than the Silk Road site eradicated four years ago."

“We are talking about multiple servers, different countries, hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto currency, in a darknet drug trade that spans the globe,” Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said."


Speaking of the FBI, Trump team is in panic mode as reports are coming in that the president's lawyers are trying to get Mueller out of the investigation.


WaPo's CAROL D. LEONNIG/ASHLEY PARKER/ROSALIND S HELDERMAN/TOM HAMBURGER: "Some of President Donald Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort."

"Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump's lawyers have been discussing the president's pardoning powers among themselves."

"Trump's legal team declined to comment on the issue. But one adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller's investigation."


READ MORE related to Beltway/Kremlingate: Sessions says he's saying, despite Trump's harsh words -- AP

A coaltion of child care advocates say lawmakers should have a renewed focus on preventing childhood trauma which is becoming increasingly viewed as a serious public health issue.


CW's LISA RENNER: "Preventing childhood trauma should be one of the top goals of California policymakers, a coalition of child advocates say."

"About 150 of the advocates came to Sacramento last week to educate legislators about the devastating effects of adverse childhood experiences. The goal was to help legislators create policies that will better protect kids."


"This is a public health issue,” said Chris Padula, executive director at San Francisco’s Center for Youth Wellness, one of the co-sponsors of the California Campaign to Counter Childhood Adversity Policymaker Education Day. “Millions of children and adults have been impacted by adverse childhood experiences."

 US Sen. Kamala Harris, who seems to be in full campaign mode lately, recently visited the female prison in Chowchilla as she spearheads a bipartisan push for bail scheduling reformation.


The Chronicle's CAROLYN LOCHHEAD: "Fresh off a visit to the nation’s largest women’s prison at Chowchilla, in the prison-dotted San Joaquin Valley, Sen. Kamala Harris on Thursday tacked another piece onto what is becoming her signature issue, criminal justice reform — and reached across the aisle for help."

"Teaming up with Republican maverick Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in her first bipartisan legislative venture, the California Democrat introduced a bill that takes aim at what’s called money bail, a system she says lets high-rolling gangsters go free to await court dates while leaving poor women and men to sit in jail for months, often losing their jobs, their homes and even their children along the way."

"The United States is the only nation besides the Philippines to use a person’s ability to pay as the sole reason to avoid jail while awaiting trial, said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, director of criminal justice and drug policy for the American Civil Liberties Union of California, one of numerous civil justice groups backing the legislation."


California has seen 100 new wildfires in less than a week.


Sacramento Bee's HECTOR AMEZCUA/SAM STANTON: "Firefighters and determined residents of Mariposa County continued their battle against the massive Detwiler Fire on Thursday as wildland blazes continued to burn around the state, generating smoke for hundreds of miles."

"More than 350 square miles of land has burned so far this year, and the Detwiler Fire west of Mariposa continued to pose danger to historic small communities that have been emptied out by evacuations since the fire began Sunday."

"In tiny Catheys Valley along Highway 140, the danger appeared to have passed for now, but a handful of residents who opted to stay and fight recounted how close the flames had come."


READ MORE related to Environment: Firefighters gaining upper hand in battle to save Gold Rush town -- The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY/KURTIS ALEXANDER; Wildfire smoke isn't keeping tourists away from Yosemite -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE; LADWP retirees bring in bigger pensions than city, county workers, audit says -- Daily News' ELIZABETH CHOU


The coldcase murder of a Korean War veteran stabbed more than a hundred times has finally been resolved, thanks to DNA technology accompanied by the sleuthing skills of a former LA city councilman.

: "DNA evidence and a former San Fernando Valley city councilman helped solve the grisly, 2001 cold case of a Korean War veteran who was stabbed more than 100 times in his East Los Angeles bar, police said this week."

"Former Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith has worked part time for the Los Angeles Police Department as a reserve officer since 1992. He is currently assigned to the LAPD’s Cold Case Homicide Unit, and works on crimes that could potentially be solved through DNA evidence."

"This month, Smith closed his first case. Three years of investigative work that he did helped to convict 44-year-old Hugo Lara in the 2001 fatal stabbing of East Los Angeles resident Alfredo Trevino."


Elon Musk claims to have received verbal government approval for his latest visionary transportation project: a pressurized 'Hyperloop' transit system capable of traveling over 700MPH.


Daily Breeze's SANDY MAZZA: "Elon Musk’s passion for tunnels as vast transportation networks is drawing suitors, but in typical Musk fashion he’s stingy with details."

"The SpaceX CEO, worth more than $13 billion, tweeted Thursday morning that he scored “verbal govt approval” for his Hawthorne-based Boring Co. to dig a high-speed underground mass-transit system across the northeast corridor."

"The White House confirmed talks with the SpaceX and Tesla president about the plan, and Boring Co. officials said they have received overwhelming support from local, state and federal government officials."