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Reposted from jpmassar by jpmassar

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On Thursday, May 21st, 2015, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, in response to window breaking during protests the evening of May 1st, promulgated, secretly, new edicts prohibiting night time street protests.  These were enforced by Oakland Police that night when Black Lives Matter protesters attempted to take to the streets after a #SayHerName rally remembering Black women killed by police terror.

Forced back onto the sidewalk under threat of arrest, Black Lives Matter organizer Cat Brooks spoke out, saying then and there "We Gonna Take Back These MotherFuckin' Streets!"

Inevitably, the call went out sometime on Saturday for a protest in defiance of this new edict for that very same night.  Another protest is already being planned for tonight, Sunday evening, and for Friday, June 5th.

This is how it all came down Saturday night, told below in the tweets and tweetpics from the protest.  It is a long story, and destined to get even longer as the week unfolds.

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Reposted from Scout Finch by pat of butter in a sea of grits
Brooke Halsey, director of the Tiburon Salmon Institute, sends 100,000 tagged young chinook salmon through a hose from a tanker truck to the "Merva W" in Tiburon, California April 9, 2014. Halsey was joined by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in releasing the fish into Francisco Bay. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY FOOD ENVIRONMENT) - RTR3KLYY
Chinook salmon getting a lift upriver.
What do you do when your state is in a historic drought, with no end in sight and no way for salmon to swim up those dry riverbeds? You roll out the largest fish-lift in history:
For the first time, all five big government hatcheries in California’s Central Valley for fall-run Chinook California salmon — a species of concern under the federal Endangered Species Act — are going to truck their young, release-ready salmon down to the Bay, rather than release them into rivers to make the trip themselves.
Some 30 million young salmon need a lift to survive.
“It’s huge. This is a massive effort statewide on multiple systems,” said Stafford Lehr, chief of fisheries for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which since February has been rolling out four to eight 35,000-gallon tanker trucks filled with baby salmon on their freeway-drive to freedom.
Scientists and conservationists are doing all they can to preserve the Chinook salmon population. For the Coho salmon, it may be too late:
No salmon eggs were spotted in the shade of the world-famous redwood grove this past winter, and not a single baby coho could be found in the summer. The situation was so bad in August that 105 juvenile salmon had to be removed from the creek and brought to a hatchery.

“It’s a crisis in terms of this kind of intervention has never happened before” in Redwood Creek, said Laura Chariton, the director of the Watershed Alliance of Marin. “Historically these fish evolved in this watershed, so it could be the beginning of local extinction or extirpation.”

Reposted from Dan Bacher by pat of butter in a sea of grits

The outrage over the bottling of California water by Nestlé, Walmart and other big corporations during a record drought has become viral on social media and national and international press websites over the past couple of months.  

On May 20, people from across the state converged on two Nestlé bottling plants - one in Sacramento and the other in Los Angeles - demanding that the Swiss-based Nestlé corporation halt its bottling operations during the state’s record drought.

Wednesday's protest, led by the California-based Courage Campaign, was the third in Sacramento over the past year. The first two protests were "shut downs" this March and last October organized by the Crunch Nestlé Alliance. For my report on the March protest, go to:

For over an hour Wednesday, over 50 protesters held signs and marched as they chanted, "Hey hey, ho ho, Nestlé Waters has got to go," "Water is a human right! Don't let Nestlé win this fight," and "Keep our water in the ground, Nestle Waters get out of town."

One eight-foot-long banner at the Sacramento protest read: “Nestle, 515,000 people say leave California’s precious water in the ground,” referring to the total number of signatures on the petitions.

At the protests, activists delivered the 515,000 signatures from people in California and around the country who signed onto a series of petitions to Nestlé executives, Governor Brown, the California State Water Resources Control Board,  and the U.S. Forest Service urging an immediate shutdown of Nestlé’s bottling operations across the state.  

The petitions were circulated by Courage Campaign,, CREDO, Corporate Accountability International, Avaaz, Food & Water Watch, Care2, and Daily Kos.

In Sacramento, local activists and residents joined residents from San Francisco and Oakland who took buses to protest outside Nestlé’s bottling plant at 8670 Younger Creek Drive. View photos from the Sacramento protest here: in California.

Jessica Lopez, the Chair of the Concow Maidu Tribe, participated in the protest with her daughter, Salvina Chinook.

"I stand here in solidarity with everybody here demanding the protection of our water rights," said Chair Lopez. "Nestle needs to stop bottling water during this drought. Why have they obtained their current permits to pump city water?"

Tim Molina, Strategic Campaign Organizer for the California-based Courage Campaign, who spoke at the Sacramento event, said to the crowd, "Today we are saying enough is enough. With people across California doing their part to conserve water -- it’s time that Nestlé did the right thing and put people over profits -  by immediately halting their water bottling operations across the State."

“If Nestlé won’t do what’s right to protect California’s precious water supply, it is up to Governor Brown and the California Water Resource Control Boards to step in and stop this blatant misuse of water during our State’s epic drought," he said.

“Bottling public water for private profit doesn’t make sense for communities and it doesn’t make sense for the environment,” said Sandra Lupien, Western Region Communications Manager at Food & Water Watch, also at the protest in Sacrmaento. “During a historic drought crisis, it is utter madness to allow corporations like Nestlé to suck our dwindling groundwater and sell it for thousands of times what it pays. Putting a halt to water bottling in California is a no-brainer and Governor Jerry Brown must stand up to protect Californians’ public resource.”

After the activists gave the petitions to Nestle representatives at the Sacramento plant, the Nestle supervisor presented the organizers with a letter from Tim Brown, President and CEO of Nestle Waters North America, responding to a letter from the Courage Campaign.

Brown wrote, "Keep in mind that beverages consumed in California but not bottled in the state must be shipped a longer distance, which has its own drawbacks, such as the environmental impact of transportation. Sourcing water in California provides water with a lower carbon footprint, which has a beneficial environmental impact. The entire bottled industry accounts for 0.02 percent of the annual water used in California."

The company said it also would like to engage in "thoughtful dialogue" with the water bottling opponents.

"We appreciate the opportunity to engage in thoughtful dialogue - and in meaningful action - to address California's water challenges. We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you - in person or over the phone - to advance our shared desire for a more sustainable California. We are hopeful that the public discussion we are all engaged in around water use - including your efforts - leads to positive collective action."

In 2014, Nestlé Waters used about 50 million gallons from the Sacramento municipal water supply to produce "Nestlé Pure Life® Purified Drinking Water" and for other plant operations, according to a statement from Nestlé Waters. To read the city of Sacramento's responses to my questions about the Nestlé bottling plant's use of city water, go to:

In Los Angeles, local activists and residents were joined by people from Orange County and Long Beach who took buses to protest outside Nestlé’s bottling plant at 1560 East 20th Street.  

The representatives from consumer, environmental and human rights groups who participated in the protest, like at the protest in Sacramento, blasted the corporation for making millions off bottled water during the drought when urban users are seeing increasing restrictions on their water use.

“As California's water supplies dry up, Nestlé continues to make millions selling bottled water and that’s outrageous!” explained Liz McDowell, campaigner for “We’ve stood up to Nestlé exploiting natural resources for profit in the past everywhere from Pakistan to Canada, and now the global community is speaking out before California runs completely dry.”

The Desert Sun reported earlier this month that Nestlé was bottling water in desert and drought-stricken areas of California and selling it for profit, all while its permit for water pipelines and wells in the San Bernardino National Forest lists 1988 as the year of expiration. Nestlé currently extracts water from at least a dozen natural springs in California for its Arrowhead and Pure Life brands.(

A majority of people in the U.S. believe Nestle should stop bottling in California, according to a recent poll. However, in spite of the clear and growing public outcry, when asked about the controversy, Nestlé CEO Tim Brown remarked that he wished the multinational corporation could bottle more water from the drought stricken state, the groups pointed out.

“Nestlé is profiteering at the expense of the public interest,” stated Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager at CREDO Action. “In the midst of an historic drought with no end in sight, it is wildly irresponsible for Nestle to extract vast amounts of California’s water.”

Joe Baker, Care2’s Vice President of Advocacy and Editorial, said, "Care2 and its 30 million members are an online community standing together for good - and it is not good for the public to have Nestle bottling our water during an extreme drought in California. We’re asking Nestle to do the responsible thing for the public good, and stop bottling water in a drought-stricken area. Every single drop counts."

"For decades, Nestle has demonstrated a blatant disregard for local communities and the environment," said Erin Diaz, the campaign director at Corporate Accountability International's Think Outside the Bottle campaign. "In response to community concerns about its backdoor political dealings and environmental damage, Nestle has poured millions into PR and greenwashing campaigns. But Nestle's money can't wash away its abysmal track record, and Californians are demanding an end to Nestle's abusive practices."

John Tye, Campaign Director, Avaaz, concluded, “Families across the American West are already paying a steep price for mismanagement and scandalous selloffs of public resources. It's time for California, and Governor Brown, to set a strong example for conservation and responsive regulation. Tens of thousands of people across the country are tired of watching companies like Nestlé profit at the expense of the taxpayers."  

The protests take place as Jerry Brown continues to push his plan to construct two massive tunnels under the Delta, potentially the most environmentally destructive protect in California history. The twin tunnels would divert massive quantities of water from the Sacramento River to be used by corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, as well as to Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations.

The construction of the tunnels would hasten the extinction of winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other imperiled fish species, as well as threaten the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

But the tunnels plan is just one of the many environmentally destructive policies of the Brown administration. Governor Brown has presided over record water exports and fish kills at the Delta pumping facilities; promotes the expansion of fracking in California; pursues water policies that have driven Delta smelt, winter-run Chinook salmon and other fish species closer to extinction; and authorized the completion of questionable "marine protected areas" created under the helm of a big oil lobbyist during the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. (

The groups are now urging everybody to sign the pledge by Daily Kos, Courage Campaign and Corporate Accountability International: Do not drink bottled water from Nestlé:

This is the text of the pledge to Nestlé Corporation:

I pledge to choose tap water instead of buying the following Nestlé products: Acqua Panna, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Nestea, Nestlé Pure Life, Ozarka, Perrier, Poland Spring, Resource, S. Pellegrino, Sweet Leaf, Tradewinds and Zephyrhills.

For more information, go to:

Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy

Received this e-mail today from Attorney General Kamala Harris' (D. CA) U.S. Senate campaign:

CULVER CITY, CA - DECEMBER 04:  California Attorney General Kamala Harris speaks onstage during Children's Defense Fund - California Hosts 24th Annual Beat The Odds Awards at Book Bindery on December 4, 2014 in Culver City, California.  (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Children's Defense Fund)
"How can you possibly expect to get anything done with the culture of dysfunction in Washington, D.C.?"

That's a tough question for any candidate to answer. But this weekend at the California Democratic Party ("CDP") convention, Kamala Harris knocked it out of the park when she told her story to a thunderous crowd of thousands of Democratic activists, delegates, and students.

Another memorable moment was when Senator Elizabeth Warren gave Kamala a shout-out during her headliner speech, saying she knew Kamala was a "fearless" leader from their early days working together to protect homeowners from big banks during the mortgage crisis.

Watch this video from last weekend's California Democratic Party convention, and see why Kamala will be a tremendous U.S. Senator:

As Kamala's new campaign manager, this was my first experience at the CDP annual convention. For Kamala, however, after so many conventions, the enthusiasm at this convention has shown that year by year, she's grown a real grassroots movement.

We met hundreds of #TeamKamala supporters over the weekend. We shared conversation, passed out rally signs, and received commitments from people wanting to volunteer for the campaign. All in all, it was a huge success.

Take a peek at our new video of Kamala's big convention speech, and then share it with your friends.

Thanks for all your support!

Rory Steele
Campaign Manager

Click here to share the video and to donate and get involved with harris' campaign:
Reposted from Scout Finch by pat of butter in a sea of grits
Oil slick at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, CA.
A portion of the 4-mile-wide oil spill near Santa Barbara, CA
Campers at popular Refugio State Beach in California were alarmed by noxious fumes and notified authorities, who discovered a 105,000 gallon oil leak:
After flowing from the pipeline, crude pooled in a culvert before spilling into the Pacific, where it created a four-mile-long sheen extending about 50 yards into the water. Officials said winds could send the oil another four miles south toward Isla Vista.

The pipeline, built in 1991 and designed to carry about 150,000 barrels of oil per day, is owned by Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline, which said in a statement that it shut down the pipe. The culvert was also blocked to prevent more oil from flowing into the ocean, the company said.

Clean-up is underway, but no timeline has been announced. The state beach campground was at capacity for a busy holiday weekend, but all campers have been forced to pack up and leave.

This isn't the first oil spill in the area:

The Santa Barbara Channel was the site of a massive oil spill in 1969 that left the coast darkened with oil, killed thousands of birds and galvanized the environmental movement.

An effort to permanently ban off-shore oil drilling in state waters off Santa Barbara failed in the state Assembly last August.

See video of the 4-mile-wide oil spill here.
Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. by Pam from Calif

In case you missed this, it was a pretty stirring speech:

Elizabeth Warren at CA Democratic Convention 2015

link to video

Published on May 16, 2015 -- cademorg

Senator Elizabeth Warren addresses the General Assembly at the 2015 California Democrats Convention on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

Introduction from Democratic Party Chairman John Burton. Learn more at or

When speaking of the disproportionate income growth, going to only the Top 1 Percent, Senator Warren summarized it, like this:
"That's not the American Dream -- that's the American Nightmare!"

The speech to CA Dems was also covered on msnbc ...

Elizabeth Warren:  ‘Are you ready to fight?’

The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell -- 5/18/15

In a rousing speech to the California Democratic Party convention, the Massachusetts Senator told her fellow Dems,
"America is ready to stand with us. This isn't just about politics. It's about values."

There was a shout out against the TPP too.  'No vote for it, unless we can read it!

And we are willing to fight for it!'

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Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by pat of butter in a sea of grits
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) announces she will run for the U.S. Senate seat of vacating California Senator Barbara Boxer during an event  in Santa Ana, California May 14, 2015. Sanchez said on Thursday she would take on California Attorney General Kamala Harris for the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, the Los Angeles Times reported.   REUTERS/Mike Blake . - RTX1D0AX
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
Unreal. This is one of the grossest things we've seen from a Democratic candidate in a long while. Here's California Rep. Loretta Sanchez, demonstrating a "war whoop" to describe an East Indian supporter she once met with:
"So I'm going to his office, thinkin' that I'm going to go meet with a," she said, holding her hand in front of her mouth and making an echo sound. "Right? ... because he said Indian American."
Fellow Democrats pounded Sanchez, a newly minted Senate candidate who stumbled badly in her first week, until she coughed up an apology, but this is the kind of display that could (and probably should) prove disqualifying. What makes this more problematic is that Sanchez, whom the Sacramento Bee politely labeled as "unscripted," has an unfortunate history of racially clueless remarks: In her 2010 re-election campaign, she said that "Vietnamese and Republicans" were attempting "to take this seat from us … and give it to this Van Tran, who is very anti-immigrant and very anti-Hispanic." (Tran is Vietnamese, and Sanchez had to apologize then, too.)

One thing Sanchez may actually understand, though, is how precarious her situation is. She waited months to get into the race for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer's open seat, a delay that allowed state Attorney General Kamala Harris to raise millions and consolidate support from the Democratic establishment. After her dismaying blunder, Sanchez was asked if she might instead seek re-election to the House. Her response was very telling:

"I am running for the United States Senate, and we're running full bore to talk to people up and down California, and we think that by the time we finish, and [the June 2016 primary] rolls around, we're going to be moving into the general election."
Sanchez's failure to actually answer the question put to her means she hasn't ruled out the possibility of a quick about-face. It would be a humiliating climb-down, but it wouldn't be any more humiliating than what Sanchez has already put herself through.
Reposted from Dan Bacher by Pam from Calif

Californians Against Fracking just issued the following press release on a letter signed by 100 California officials calling on Governor Jerry Brown to halt the environmentally-destructive practice of fracking in the state:

Letter Highlights Fracking’s Water Contamination During Devastating Drought

ANAHEIM, Calif.— More than 100 mayors, city council members and other local officials from dozens of communities want Gov. Jerry Brown to halt fracking to protect California’s water supply from contamination during a devastating drought.

In a letter being unveiled today at a press conference at the Democratic State Convention in Anaheim, officials warn Gov. Brown that fracking and other dangerous oil production techniques “will exacerbate many of our environmental threats, particularly local air and water pollution and climate disruption.”

“Fracking pollution threatens the air we breathe and the water we drink, and Latino communities are especially at risk,” said Robert Rivas, San Benito County supervisor and supporter of San Benito County’s new fracking ban. “Thousands of Latino children in California go to school near fracked oil wells. We need Gov. Brown to halt fracking to give every child in California a better chance at a healthy life.”

Joining Supervisor Rivas at today’s press conference are Jose Gurrola, Arvin city council member; Eduardo Martinez, Richmond city council member; and Elliot Gonzales, Long Beach sustainability commissioner.

The officials’ letter, which highlights fracking pollution’s threats to California’s water during a devastating drought, comes after state regulators admitted allowing the oil industry to dump billions of gallons of oil waste into protected underground water supplies across the state, from Monterey to Kern and Los Angeles counties.

About half of all new wells in California are fracked, according to the California Council on Science and Technology. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the dangerous process of blasting enormous quantities of water laced with toxic chemicals into the ground to release oil and gas. It has been linked to air and water pollution across the country.

Fracking in California has generated vast volumes of wastewater that contains high levels of cancer-causing benzene and other dangerous chemicals, according to oil companies’ own tests. Toxic oil waste fluid is also being dumped into unlined pits and used to irrigate crops in the Central Valley.

Citing the need to protect communities and public health, the letter urges Gov. Brown to put a moratorium on fracking pending further study of air and water pollution and the damage to the climate caused by the controversial technique.

Here is a link to the letter:

Californians Against Fracking is a coalition of about 200 environmental business, health, agriculture, labor, political and environmental justice organizations working to win a statewide ban on fracking and other dangerous extraction techniques in California. Follow @CAagainstFrack on Twitter.

Contact:          Ash Lauth, (510) 717-2510,
                        Juan Gastelum, (520) 313-4921,

Reposted from Scout Finch by pat of butter in a sea of grits
If you live in Southern California, better get used to seeing thermometers rise
As if the drought in California weren't bad enough, scientists are predicting Los Angeles temps are going to start heating up:
By 2050, parts of Los Angeles County are forecast to experience triple or quadruple the number of days of extreme heat if nothing is done to control greenhouse gas emissions, placing further demand on the region’s drinking water and electricity, according to two new reports by UCLA scientists.

That could mean that by mid-century, downtown Los Angeles could see an average of 22 days of extreme heat — days in which the high temperature exceeds 95 degrees — up from an annual average of six days recorded between 1981 and 2000.

And if 2050 looks bad, take a look at 2100:
The situation is even worse by the year 2100. By then, downtown Los Angeles could face a total of 54 days of extreme heat a year, and the San Gabriel Valley, 117 days. By then, Palm Springs could see nearly half a year — 179 days — of soaring temperatures.
What are the primary drivers of this change? Climate change.
“So you’ve got increasing population, increasing greenhouse gases, more extreme heat days, higher energy demands — so the whole thing snowballs,” he said. “That’s an appropriate term because there’s no snow,” he said, referring the disappearing snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.
What else happens when the temps soar? Plants and vegetables needs even more water. And we know that when it comes to water, California is in a bad, bad way.

Meanwhile, companies like Nestlé Waters continue to pump California's most valuable resource–water–at unprecedented rates.

Time to get it together, California–before it's too late. There needs to be a massive change in our culture in general. Less consumption, more conservation. The canary in the coal mine is singing, albeit with a parched voice. Can you hear it now? If any state can lead the way, it's you–the progressive golden state. Do it now before the state motto becomes the scorched, brown state.

Read more about the UCLA study and the impending rise in temperatures in this excellent piece at the Los Angeles Times.

Reposted from FaithGardner by pat of butter in a sea of grits
Young boy about to receive an injection.
Three cheers for common sense! Today the California Senate passed Bill SB277, meaning parents can no longer opt out of vaccinations for their publicly schooled children due to "personal beliefs."
Following a lengthy and contentious debate, the California Senate approved on Thursday a controversial proposal to eliminate the state’s religious and personal belief exemptions for vaccines.

Senate Bill 277, which would make California only the third state in the country without either exemption, passed 25-10. The vote followed mostly partisan lines, with the majority of support coming from Democrats.

This is a big step toward victory; however, the bill now needs to move through the California Assembly and get the governor's approval before it becomes law.

The bill faced disturbing contention from anti-vaxxers this year after being introduced in the state Senate:

Sen. Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat who introduced SB 277, said the in-house law enforcement unit has provided him with extra security in recent weeks, after his office began receiving alarming phone calls, e-mails and Facebook comments from opponents of the bill.

“They’re basically trying to silence us,” Pan said. “It’s disturbing.”

The messages range from images depicting Pan as a Nazi to posts on his Facebook page calling for him to be “eradicated” or hung by a noose. Pan said his staff has forwarded all of the threats to the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms office, as is procedure, which has assessed them and responded as needed. Additional guards attended a community forum last month, for example, after bill opponents discussed throwing things at Pan.

The anti-vaxxers opposed to the bill were also joined by quack Dr. Sears and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.—who co-authored a book that questioned the safety vaccine ingredients and also called people who use the term "anti-vaxxers" misogynists. (Um, what?)

There was opposition in the state Senate as well:

Several Republican senators made last-minute efforts to stall the bill, introducing amendments that would reinsert the religious exemption and require labeling of vaccine ingredients, all of which were quickly tabled by Democrats.

Arguing that SB 277 violates religious freedoms, Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, asked, “Do you have a right to steal my soul without my knowledge?”

Not even sure what to say about that.

Here's hoping this bill gets through the state Assembly and is approved by Gov. Jerry Brown soon.

Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by Pam from Calif
Newly declared Democratic Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez
Attorney General Kamala Harris has had the Democratic field to herself for the last few months, allowing her to build a war chest and rack up endorsements, but she finally earned a credible opponent on Thursday. After spending months flirting with a bid for this open Senate seat, Rep. Loretta Sanchez announced that she will run.

The Orange County congresswoman doesn't start out with nearly as much name recognition as Harris and she doesn't have as much money in the bank. However, Sanchez will be trying to consolidate Hispanic and Southern California voters against Harris, a former San Francisco district attorney. If fellow Rep. Xavier Becerra, another Latino Southern California congressman, gets in, Sanchez's already tough task will become a lot harder though.

Sanchez is very much the underdog, and her chaotic campaign kickoff doesn't inspire much confidence. Sanchez also has a shoot-from-the-hip style that has gotten her into trouble more than once. But Sanchez may have a path to victory if she can secure enough support in next year's top-two primary to advance to a general election with Harris. Sanchez is a Blue Dog Democrat, and she'll have a much easier time appealing to the state's Republican minority than Harris. If Sanchez can make it to November and forge a coalition of Southern Californians, Hispanics, and conservatives, she could pull off a surprise.

Of course, that's a very big if. In the Golden State, Republicans tend to vote in disproportionate numbers in the primary, which makes it harder for two Democrats to advance. Neither of the GOP's two notable candidates, state Assemblyman Rocky Chavez or former state party chair Tom Del Beccaro, inspires much excitement. However, it's quite possible to imagine one of them taking enough primary support to advance to a general election with Harris. It's always tough to game out a blanket primary this far in advance, but Sanchez is going to need a lot to go right if she's going to make it to a general, much less actually win.

Reposted from Bill McKibben by RLMiller

    California’s the center of the new energy revolution—if there was ever any doubt about that, Elon Musk’s announcement of his new home battery from Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne settled the question. Pushed by the goad of the state’s progressive energy policies, and pulled by the chance to lead in the planet’s greatest energy transition, Silicon Valley is seeing a clean-power goldrush.

    And California’s also the center of the climate crisis—one center, anyway. When the state decided not even to carry out the regular May 1 measurement of the snowpack in the Sierras because there was no snowpack to measure, it told the story of the ever-deepening drought in dramatic form.

    So now’s the moment for the state of California to become the center of the divestment movement—to join the Rockefellers, or the Church of England, or the Syracuse University, or even Prince Charles in selling off its coal, oil and gas stocks, and thus sending a profound message to the world: the future lies with renewable energy. Digging stuff up and lighting it on the fire is the energy of the past.

    California Senate president Kevin DeLeon is backing a bill that would divest the state’s pension funds from the coal industry. That’s a no brainer—these stocks have lost four-fifths of their value in recent years because coal is the dirtiest possible way to power anything. It’s a good step, and one that places like Stanford have long since taken.

    And a bunch of central committees in the California Democratic Party--with great leadership from our own RL Miller--seem poised to go farther, calling for the divestment of all fossil fuels from the state’s pension funds and public colleges and universities. That’s the step already taken by places like San Francisco State and Chico State, and it’s akin to what the state did a generation ago when the issue was apartheid. Its bold stance then earned California a visit from the newly released Nelson Mandela, who thanked its people for their solidarity.

    Now it’s Mandela’s great contemporary Desmond Tutu who’s helping lead the call for fossil fuel divesment, calling climate change the greatest human rights crisis of our time. It is—and if you think it looks bad from San Francisco, which just came through its driest winter ever, imagine how it seems from Syria where scholars now credit a historic drought with helping kick off the bloody civil war.

    As long as we invest in the fossil fuel companies, we help prop up their political power. And as long as that political power remains, the response to climate change will always come too slowly—they’ll continue to make sure that we never get a price on carbon to reflect the damage it causes, and that every new technology will be stomped on as it’s trying to exit the cradle. The days of the fossil fuel companies are numbered, but the exact number is what counts; if they are able to drag out the clean energy transition for decades then the damage will be measured in geologic time.

    That’s why divestment makes financial sense: it’s a way to support California’s fastest growing and most dynamic industries. And it’s why it makes such moral sense as well: if it’s wrong to wreck the planet, it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage. Especially when you could be making so much more money doing the right thing.

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