California's buried treasure

Jun 28, 2016

As California suffers through its fifth year of drought, a new study released by Stanford University reveals that the state has a veritable gold mine of water in the ground that could act as a windfall. Unfortunately, accessing the water is proving difficult.


Kaitlyn Landgraf in Mercury News writes: "There's a vast amount of untapped water in California, but whether it can make any difference for the drought-stricken state remains unclear."


"A new Stanford study indicates California's groundwater supply is three times greater than previous estimates and could represent a potential "water windfall," its authors say."


"There's far more fresh water and usable water than we expected," said Robert Jackson, co-author of the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."


The California Public Utilities Commission may be facing an overhaul if a proposed plan by Gov. Brown to reform the agency's power structure comes to fruition.


The Chronicle's David R. Baker reports: "In a bid to end back-room deals between utility companies and their state regulators, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders proposed a sweeping overhaul of the California Public Utilities Commission on Monday, tightening ethics rules and handing some of its powers to other agencies."


SEE MORE related to PolicyBeset by scandals, the state's energy regulator is facing a massive reorginization -- Liam Dillon with L.A. Times; California land regulators to weigh end of nuclear power -- Alison Noon with The A.P.Gov. Brown signs bill that limits siezure of assets of many Medi-Cal recipients -- Tracy Seipel in Mercury News.


A video released last night by the Islamic State has called for attacks on notable landmarks in San Francisco and Las Vegas, but the FBI says the threat is not credible -- but some disagree.


Melanie Woodrow with ABC News: "A new video released by ISIS celebrates the Orlando nightclub shooting and names targets in Las Vegas and San Francisco."


"The video features the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and buildings in San Francisco's Financial District."


"On Monday, spokespeople with the San Francisco Police Department and FBI said they are aware of the video, but that there are no credible threats to the Bay Area."


Meanwhile, some believe that Nalaxone -- a drug used in emergency to reverse Heroin overdose -- should be supplied alongside prescription pain medications.


Erin Alliday in SF Chronicle: "A drug that is effective at reversing heroin overdoses isn’t just for street addicts — it should be routinely distributed to people taking prescription pain medications who may not appreciate their risk of accidental death, San Francisco public health officials said in a study released Monday."


An activist group is using a tactic known as strategic shaming in an effort to extend Proposition 30 -- the plan approved earlier by voters to provide schools with more money.


Howard Blume, Maloy Moore and Doug Smith in L.A. Times report: "The campaign for extending a schools tax on high-income Californians kicked off this week with the release of undisclosed donors involved in fighting against the levy when it last appeared on the ballot."


"The new group, California Hedge Clippers, released the names Tuesday as part of a broader campaign to extend Proposition 30 in the November election. The temporary school-funding tax passed in 2012 and is set to expire at the end of 2018."


"The group’s game plan could be called preventive disclosure, or strategic shaming." 


The recent neo-Nazi rally at the capital, and the violence that ensued, have opened up a dialogue about the old and new faces of racial intolerance in California. 


L.A. Times' James Queely reports: "The two groups at the center of a violent Sacramento rally that left at least seven people with stab wounds on the Capitol grounds Sunday represent a marriage of the past and future of white supremacist organizations, experts and law enforcement officials said."


"The Traditionalist Worker Party is a white nationalist group emblematic of a surge in “intellectual racism” that has pervaded across extremist circles in the last decade. The group they held the rally in conjunction with -- the Golden State Skinheads -- are among California’s oldest, largest, and most violent white supremacist organizations, experts say."


"Joanna Mendelson, a researcher with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center For Extremism in California, said the event seemed to follow a strategy used frequently by white power groups in recent years. The groups will often announce a rally, seemingly bait counter-demonstrators into violence, and then use video footage of the attacks as further evidence of the “white genocide” they use as a rallying call."


A deputy's willful failure to report his missing service weapon is pushing lawmakers to pass legislation calling for much stricter firearm oversight, after the officer's weapon turned up in a homicide investigation last year.


Thomas Peele and Nate Gartrell in Mercury News: "A San Francisco sheriff's deputy's missing handgun turned up in a homicide investigation in Solano County last year, the latest discovery of what happened to one of hundreds of lost or stolen law enforcement weapons uncovered by a Bay Area News Group investigation published Sunday."


"Former Deputy Armando Gonzalez apparently didn't report his duty weapon missing for nearly two years until after Fairfield police detectives called him last year to say his gun had turned up in a search connected to the killing of a local teen. Only then did he report to his superiors that his wife took the gun "a couple of years ago" when the couple broke up."


"On Monday officials from the San Francisco Sheriff's department said they were told the gun wasn't used in the killing, but the story of its disappearance and recovery infuriated a state lawmaker who is pushing legislation to force officers to safeguard their weapons."


SEE MORE related to Public SafetyCalifornia police panned for slow response to Capitol clash -- Don Thompson with The A.P.Dyer: Shooting a 'tragedy;' officers body cameras key to inquiry -- Jim Guy with the Fresno Bee.


And now from our "White Water Rush Hour" file ...


Traffic queues in London? No problem! Our friends across the pond have the perfect solution for navigating the high-seas of the streets during flood season. "A prankster entertained commuters stuck in traffic during the floods in west London by sailing through the streets on an inflatable lilo."


"James Knowles, from Hillingdon, was stuck in rush hour traffic with friends, Kain Chappory and Candice Knowles when he mentioned the idea as a joke."


"However when the 21-year-old was bet £30 that he wouldn't go through with it, he took the challenge and the trio turned back around and went to Tesco to buy the lilo and swimming armbands."

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