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Reposted from Scout Finch by mettle fatigue
Before and after images from 2011 & 2014 of Lake Oroville, California from the State of California Dept. of Water Resources online.
Nothing to see here!
Two years ago, scientists at UCLA predicted there would be significantly less snowfall in California than in decades.

Snowpack runoff is critical to California's water supply and with a severe drought already in play, California is in a bad, bay way.

In fact, this year's snowfall was so far off the mark, scientists have abandoned their snowpack study:

State water officials had planned to make the trek back to the Sierra Nevada to conduct their snowpack measurement Friday.

But Thursday they announced they wouldn’t bother. For the second consecutive month, there won’t be any snow to measure.

“This is just another piece of information in a series of increasingly dismal findings,” said Department of Water Resources spokesman Doug Carlson. “It nails down that the drought is severe – maybe as severe as any in our history.”

How severe?
On April 1, statewide measurements showed that the snowpack’s water content was just 5% normal for that date, the lowest in records going back to 1950. Thursday’s readings indicate the snowpack’s water content is half an inch or about 3% of normal for this time period.

Meanwhile, Nestlé continues pumping away and selling bottled water from California's dwindling water supply and 56% of all permits related to water in California's national forests are expired and have been for an average of 12 years!

Reposted from Community Fundraisers by mettle fatigue Editor's Note: Kosak aitchdee lives in the Sacramento area. Please rally 'round for her if there's any help you can offer. -- mettle fatigue
Heap of US pennies, nickels, and dimes
This is a followup diary to the one I posted last week, which was itself a followup to the one in January (please see these for more details). Longtime Sacramento-area kossack aitchdee found herself disabled by rheumatoid arthritis, unable to work, and facing immediate tax auction of her modest condo. Serious roof leaks had consumed her savings and now made it impossible to sell the condo for enough to pay the tax liability, so she turned to us fearing that she was about to become homeless.

The good advice she received here helped her file the correct form of bankruptcy just in time. This does NOT discharge her tax debt, but it forces the county to wait one year before the auction. Meanwhile, she's received assistance from another expert kossack in completing her application for SSDI benefits, and is thought to have a good chance of success (because she is so obviously ill in ways that interest SSA). Now, she needs financial help to keep going for the estimated 4-5 weeks until she gets a response. (If the response is negative, she's in trouble and she knows it, but if she is accepted, then she can figure out how to find a living situation that's affordable for her once she loses the condo.)

If you can help at all, now or in a week or two or three, please continue below the fold to learn how. She is so close to being okay, and even small amounts can help her eat, feed pets, keep the lights and water on, get the expired car registration renewed -- all life's expenses that do not wait just because there is no income. And if you have nothing to spare, please consider helping with recs, republishes, mention in open threads, and social media shares and tweets, to help us reach others who might have more resources.

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Reposted from Dan Bacher by tgypsy

The Shasta Dam raise proposed by the federal government threatens over 40 of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe's sacred sites and would harm salmon, steelhead and other imperiled fish populations on the Sacramento River.

At the same time, water from the Trinity Reservoir on the Trinity River and Shasta Reservoir on the Sacramento is exported hundreds of miles to benefit California’s agriculture industry, which continues to use 80% of California’s water on water intensive crops such as almonds during the record drought.  

Want to find out more about this water grab and how you can help stop it in order to restore the Klamath/Trinity and Sacramento River systems? Then check out a film night hosted by North Coast activists in Arcata, California on Friday, May 8th to discuss the threats to Northern California's rivers.

The film night will focus on impacts to rivers from water diversions and how politicians and corporate agriculture interests are using the drought to push through new harmful water projects, such as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, Shasta dam raise, and drought legislation, according to organizer Regina Chichizola.

The event will start with a dinner at 6:30 at Arcata’s D Street Community Center, which is located at 1301 D street, and will be followed by several short films along with speakers that are members of the Winnemem Wintu, Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa Valley Tribes, along with featured filmmakers.

Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe will speak about the Tribe's campaign to restore winter run Chinook salmon to the McCloud River and to fight the "Brown Water Plan" and Shasta Dam raise.

Governor Jerry Brown and Department of Interior officials are expected to announce the latest version of Brown's plan to build the twin tunnels under the Delta as early as Thursday, April 30. Brown has decided to remove all pretense of "habitat restoration" from the plan by making it a tunnels-only project.

The tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperiling the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

Donations will be taken but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. More information is available at SavetheKlamath-Trinity on facebook or through contacting Regina Chichizola at or 541 951-0126.

Volunteers are needed to help out with the event.

Reposted from Community Fundraisers by mettle fatigue Editor's Note: aitchdee is in sacto - one of our own. -- mettle fatigue
I last wrote in January about the troubles of long-time kossack aitchdee -- you can see that diary here.

Since that time, with the help of many people here, she's made significant progress, but she still needs some help. I won't repeat her whole backstory, since it's in the linked diary; there's plenty new to tell below the fold, mostly from aitchdee herself with a little editing from me.

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Reposted from Dan Bacher by tgypsy

The city of Sacramento is in the fourth year of a record drought - yet the Nestlé Corporation continues to bottle city water to sell back to the public at a big profit, local activists charge.

The Nestlé Water Bottling Plant in Sacramento is the target of a major press conference on Tuesday, March 17, by a water coalition that claims the company is draining up to 80 million gallons of water a year from Sacramento aquifers during the drought.

The coalition, the crunchnestle alliance, says that City Hall has made this use of the water supply possible through a "corporate welfare giveaway," according to a press advisory.

A coalition of environmentalists, Native Americans and other concerned people announced the  press conference will take place at March 17 at 5 p.m. at new Sacramento City Hall, 915 I Street, Sacramento.

The coalition will release details of a protest on Friday, March 20, at the South Sacramento Nestlé plant designed to "shut down" the facility. The coalition is calling on Nestlé to pay rates commensurate with their enormous profit, or voluntarily close down.

"The coalition is protesting Nestlé's virtually unlimited use of water – up to 80 million gallons a year drawn from local aquifers – while Sacramentans (like other Californians) who use a mere 7 to 10 percent of total water used in the State of California, have had severe restrictions and limitations forced upon them," according to the coalition.

"Nestlé pays only 65 cents for each 470 gallons it pumps out of the ground – the same rate as an average residential water user. But the company can turn the area's water around, and sell it back to Sacramento at mammoth profits," the coalition said.

Activists say that Sacramento officials have refused attempts to obtain details of Nestlé's water used. Coalition members have addressed the Sacramento City Council and requested that Nestle’ either pay a commercial rate under a two tier level, or pay a tax on their profit.

In October, the coalition released a "White Paper" highlighting predatory water profiteering actions taken by Nestle’ Water Bottling Company in various cities, counties, states and countries.  Most of those great “deals” yielded mega profits for Nestle’ at the expense of citizens and taxpayers.  Additionally, the environmental impact on many of those areas yielded disastrous results.

Coalition spokesperson Andy Conn said, "This corporate welfare giveaway is an outrage and warrants a major investigation. For more than five months we have requested data on Nestlé water use. City Hall has not complied with our request, or given any indication that it will. Sacramentans deserve to know how their money is being spent and what they’re getting for it.  In this case, they’re getting ripped off.”

For more information about the crunchnestle alliance, contact Andy Conn (530) 906-8077 or Bob Saunders (916) 370-8251

The press conference and protest will take place just days after Jay Famiglietti,  the senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech and a professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine, revealed in an op-ed in the LA Times on March 12 that California has only one year of water supply left in its reservoirs.  (

"As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water — and the problem started before our current drought. NASA data reveal that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century.

Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain."

Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown continues to fast-track his Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels to ship Sacramento River water to corporate agribusiness, Southern California water agencies, and oil companies conducting fracking operations. The $67 billion plan won't create one single drop of new water, but it will take vast tracts of Delta farm land out of production under the guise of "habitat restoration" in order to irrigate drainage-impaired soil owned by corporate mega-growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The tunnel plan will also hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Klamath and Trinity rivers. The peripheral tunnels will be good for agribusiness, water privateers, oil companies and the 1 percent, but will be bad for the fish, wildlife, people and environment of California and the public trust.

The Delta smelt may already be extinct in the wild!

In fact, the endangered Delta smelt, once the most abundant fish in the entire Bay Delta Estuary, may already be extinct, according to UC Davis fish biologist and author Peter Moyle, as quoted on Capital Public Radio.

"Prepare for the extinction of the Delta Smelt in the wild," Moyle told a group of scientists with the Delta Stewardship Council. (

According to Capital Public Radio:

He says the latest state trawl survey found very few fish in areas of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta where smelt normally gather.

"That trawl survey came up with just six smelt, four females and two males," says Moyle. "Normally because they can target smelt, they would have gotten several hundred.”

Moyle says the population of Delta smelt has been declining for the last 30 years but the drought may have pushed the species to the point of no return. If the smelt is officially declared extinct, which could take several years, the declaration could change how water is managed in California.

“All these biological opinions on Delta smelt that have restricted some of the pumping will have to be changed,” says Moyle.

But Moyle says pumping water from the Delta to Central and Southern California could still be restricted at certain times because of all the other threatened fish populations.

The Delta smelt, an indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, reached a new record low population level in 2014, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's fall midwater trawl survey that was released in January.

Department staff found a total of only eight smelt at a total of 100 sites sampled each month from September through December

The smelt is considered an indicator species because the 2.0 to 2.8 inch long fish is endemic to the estuary and spends all of its life in the Delta.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has conducted the Fall Midwater Trawl Survey (FMWT) to index the fall abundance of pelagic (open water) fish, including Delta smelt, striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad and American shad, nearly annually since 1967. The index of each species is a number that indicates a relative population abundance. For more information, go to:

Reposted from Emmet by mettle fatigue

Mr. Emmet and I watch a lot of local news.  I think it’s a Zen thing.  There’s a comforting familiarity, a seamless sameness, to it.  There’s a daily checklist:

*  Five second mention of Important News about California
*  Murder and/or tragic traffic death
*  Dodgers/Angels/Lakers/Clippers face challenge, hope to prevail
*  Thinly disguised commercial for Hollywood
*  Plucky teen/dog/cat withstands adversity
*  Dramatic car chase (note that the dramatic car chase can sometimes engulf all of local news and provide screenplay fodder, as happened this week).

It rolls on and on like the tideless seas of fairyland (which E. M. Forster said some of the music in Gluck's Armide is like, not that I’d recognize Gluck's Armide even if it baked me brownies for Valentine’s Day).

And the best part of the local news, the sparkle, the champagne, the part you always look in from the kitchen for, is the weather people.

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Reposted from mettle fatigue by mettle fatigue

© The Utility Reform Network. 85 Market St., Ste 1400, San Francisco, CA 94103 - A CALIFORNIA NON-PROFIT ORG'N - content replicated to Daily Kos by permission of TURN Communications Director. All rights reserved.

California Alert: Whether or not you have cable TV, whether or not you use Comcast for phone service, you should be concerned about Comcast’s plan to merge with Time Warner.

Ultimately, everyone who uses the Internet could be impacted. But not in the consumer-friendly way Comcast claims. Comcast’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable ►►►

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Reposted from Community Fundraisers by tgypsy Editor's Note: A Central Valley Kossack is looking for advice, etc. -- tgypsy

Long-time kossack aitchdee has been struggling for a while, asking for small amounts of help now and then. At last, I'm sorry to report, her problems have come to a head, and she really needs any kind of support this community can give -- not just monetary support, but advice and emotional support as well.

She's asked me to describe her situation as simply as I can, which I'll do below the fold. aitchdee lives in California, in the general area of Sacramento, so if you have knowledge of services and/or laws in California, you are most particularly welcome to make suggestions.

I am sure I don't have to ask most of you, but will say for the record, please be kind in your comments here. Her troubles are what they are, and the question here is, what is her road forward, not what should she have done differently before this. If you don't feel that people should turn to this community for help, it's quite easy to close this diary right now.

Thanks so much! Here's the story. It's long, so get some tea...

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Tue Dec 30, 2014 at 08:12 AM PST

Me and the Cops - Part 1

by legalarray

Reposted from legalarray by tgypsy

I’ve been a solo general practice lawyer in the Sacramento area for 45 years. I’m old now.  I made my meager living helping people deal with abuse of power of all kinds.  This is the one about the time the cops framed my client.  I love to tell this, but I’ll try to keep to the point.

It was the late 70s.  My client, call him Dave, was a young guy who lived on the fringes of the drug culture.  He sold some pot but it was just to support his own use.  Nothing major.  He did grow three or four MJ plants at his apartment.  He had a good job. Once, about a year earlier, he did act as a middle man in a drug transaction that went bad; everybody got cold feet so it didn’t happen.  Bill still had the drugs, about 200 pills, stuck away in a desk drawer.  

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Reposted from Kos Katalogue by mettle fatigue

Flora's Organics is the first Certified Naturally Grown Nursery in Kern County, California and set to becoming the first certified organic nursery too, with a Kickstarter page here (video included), and now taking orders for your spring and summer 2015 growing season in the immediate area (further around the southern San Joaquin/central valley if you don't mind driving here to pick up your purchases — delivery is limited to Bakersfield at this time).

Of the 50 nurseries in these 8,161 square miles, none are certified organic, leaving local gardeners and homeowners few organic options. That's shortsighted and unconscionable in this world-class food-source region, because so many crops depend on pollination for optimal yield, and non-organic nursery stock is strongly associated with death and damage to bees, beehives, native pollinators, and migrating pollinator species.

Think Global, Act Local

In the U.S. alone, beekeepers have been losing about one-third of their hives each year. Globally, bee populations are collapsing at an unprecedented rate, after six decades of exponentially increasing destruction. Word of hive losses in the 70-90 percent range were reported last winter. With the loss of pollinator species, food crop production goes down, and food prices go up, low-income and poor families and small family farmers the hardest hit.

Kosak mtwocats started Flora's Organics with the fall 2014 garden planting season, donating to community-garden-related non-profits in Bakersfield a third of the plants she grew from seed to help them get a start, as well as selling to customers.

From a plantpot of self-renewing chives on the windowsill, to fertilizers for the flowerbed, to buying organic as you can afford at your local grocery store, even the smallest step is a step in a healthier direction. The Environmental Working Group's Guides include ratings for 48 items of produce (51 including 3 imported-vs-domestic versions) applicable to frozen and canned too. Other guides: "Farming and the Environment", "Farm Subsidy Database", "Agmag", "Enviroblog" (and many articles on endocrine-disruptors and how genetically engineered food as well as pesticides and other noxious substances impact not only consumers' personal health but also the health of agriculture workers worldwide, and the environments and air and water where food is grown and where people live ... including us!)

Other Kos Katalogue kosaks involved in organics are:

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Reposted from mettle fatigue by mettle fatigue

Danger- Corruption in Progress

The growing scandal at the California Public Utilities Commission may have cost customers statewide $68 million — there is mounting evidence that disgraced CPUC President Michael Peevey engineered $29 million in excess profits for PG&E, along with another $39 million to So Cal Gas, SDG&E and his former employer So Cal Edison.

The potential payoff came to light in an email by former PG&E executive Brian Cherry to his superiors, describing a quid pro quo Cherry said was offered by Peevey; unearned shareholder incentives charged to customers if PG&E would donate to a pet cause of Peevey’s.

A short time later Peevey did engineer the unearned “incentive” payments for utility energy efficiency programs statewide, including the promised amount to PG&E, over TURN’s protests. TURN had objected to efficiency incentives from the beginning, and fought hard to win minimal standards under which the excess profits could be given.

But President Peevey pushed the awards through, even though his own staff had concluded that PG&E and the others had failed to meet those standards and should get nothing for their poor performance.

TURN is demanding that the CPUC rescind the awards Peevey pushed through, and give customers back their money. We shouldn’t have to pay for CPUC corruption!


Use this link to make a tax-deductible donation for the fight or become a TURN member.


Oct 21: Protesters in SF, Palmdale, Antelope Valley, San Diego, Chico, Testify Against Added Fixed Charges & Flattened Rate Tiers by SDG&E, Edison and PG&E penalizing conservationist customers and low-income households. Use the link at the foot of that page to send your email of protest to the CPUC: HIT'EM WITH YOUR KEYBOARD'S BEST SHOT!


Use this link for Low-Income Consumer Assistance Programs
Use this link to see How Californians fight back - and win!
Use this link for the phone number of the
       CONSUMER HOTLINE assisting with shut-off or other urgent utility disputes.
Use this link for information on the issues: Energy, Telecom, Legislation, Green Matters
Use this link to Press Releases, TURN in the News, & Blog/Op Eds
Use this link to sign up for email action alerts.
Use this link for
        CONSUMER TOOLS: How to lower your bills, How to file complaints, and more.
Use this link to learn more about The Utility Reform Network of California
Explore the site for more news and information about public utility company malfeasances and consumers organizing for change in our own bests interests.
Reposted from jpmassar by mettle fatigue

The first 500+ megawatt solar plant in the US, and the largest solar plant in the world came online recently.  Called the Topaz Solar Farm, it was built on the Carrizo Plain, located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, due east of San Luis Obispo. The farm is now producing 550 megawatts, enough to keep the lights on in 160,000 homes and displace 370,000 tons of carbon emissions.

 photo solar-array-topaz_zps35e2ff08.jpg

When I was a kid farmers baled hay and milked cows. Now they herd photons as well. Sometimes there really is progress.

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