King of the water wasters a mystery

Oct 2, 2015

Who is the largest private water user in California?  We don’t know the homeowner’s name, but we do know that he or she used 11 million gallons in one year, enough for 90 average households.    Lance Williams and Katharine Mieszkowski, Reveal News:


“A lushly landscaped, mansion-studded enclave of wealth and celebrity, Bel Air has been home to Michael Jackson, Jennifer Aniston and even former President Ronald Reagan.


“Now, according to records obtained by Reveal, Bel Air has another distinction: Its 90077 ZIP code is also home to the biggest known residential water customer in California.


“The city of Los Angeles won’t identify this 11.8 million-gallon user, whose water bill for the 12 months ending April 1 likely topped $90,000, according to the Department of Water and Power’s rate structure.


“Nor has the city taken any steps to stop this customer – or scores of other mega-users – from pumping enormous quantities of water during a statewide crisis now in its fourth year.”


State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced yesterday that he plans to run for Attorney General in 2018.  But, if current AG Kamala Harris wins her senate race in 2016, the governor will have to appoint someone to fill the slot, potentially making for a complicated election two years later.  Josh Richman, Political Blotter:


“Having a statewide constitutional officer’s hat already in the ring for the office could nudge Brown to appoint a “caretaker” – someone not inclined to seek election in 2018 – to the potential vacancy should Harris go to the Senate.


“But plenty of others covet the post, too. Those who’ve filed statements of intention to run for attorney general in 2018 – not a commitment, just a sort of placeholder that lets them keep money in campaign committees – include former state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-Hayward, who has $183,405 banked for the race; former state Sen. Lou Correa; D-Santa Ana, who has $384,982 banked; former Assemblyman Dario Frommer, D-La Canada Flintridge, who has $657,535 banked; Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine, who has $2,980 banked but other money spread across other committees (including one for a 2016 state Senate run); and San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, a Republican who has $74,975 banked.”


Jerry Brown continued working his way through the stack of bills on his desk, signing two measures that deal with sex and education, SB 695 and AB 329.  Chris Nichols, Capital Public Radio:


“Public high schools in California will be required to teach students about affirmative sexual consent under a bill signed Thursday by Governor Jerry Brown.


“The measure, SB 695 by Senate leader Kevin de León, D- Los Angeles, is designed to prevent sexual assaults. Affirmative consent replaces the “no means no” refrain with “yes means yes.” It requires clear, unambiguous consent by each party before sex.


“…Also on Thursday, Brown signed AB 329, a bill that expands and makes sexual health education mandatory at public high schools. The measure, by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, adds a requirement that the instruction include information about different sexual orientations.”


The LA Weekly takes a look at the “fastest growing industry in the United States” – legalized marijuana production.  Lori Denham-Underhill reported from the State of Marijuana 2015 conference held earlier this week in Santa Monica, finding  legislators, regulators, weed industry types and medical MJ fans ready to take the industry to the next level.  We’re assuming the photographer must have been high, because it features the worst picture of BOE member Fiona Ma you are ever going to see.


“The Board of Equalization, though not well known to the public, wields significant power in California. It oversees the administration of sales and use taxes, property taxes and special taxes, and makes major decisions on tax appeals brought against the state by companies and individuals.


“Ma urged California banks to open their doors to the weed industry, a move that would bring tremendous legitimacy to the trade.


“She also pointedly outlined the potential revenue for California if legal weed taxes begin to roll in…


“’In 2014, we collected $44 million in sales tax — that [represented] about 25 percent of the legal dispensaries out there. So there is a lot of revenue out there. It's estimated that if we collected from everyone, the sales taxes due would be about $111 million next year. So you can see there is a big discrepancy, not just with sales tax.’


“Ma predicts that a variety of taxes from legalizing weed ‘are going to bring in additional revenues to cities and counties. No one knows what the magnitude is going to be in 2016 if it is legalized. But as you can see from today’s tax revenue discussion, from today’s revenue, there is a lot of money being overlooked.’”


And, a little Flashback Friday action, courtesy of the California Journal.  Longtime CJ editor AG Block dug through his files and found a copy of the 2004 article naming then Assembly newbie Kevin McCarthy “Rookie of the Year,” besting Assembly Speaker Fabian NuñezCapitol Weekly republished the article here.


It’s Friday, so we know you’re all waiting to see who got the #WorstWeekinCA nod.


Unless you live in Orange County, you’ve probably never heard of Deborah Pauly.  Pauly is a former Villa Park City Councilperson who was hoping to make the leap to Assembly in 2016, riding a wave of Tea Party enthusiasm stoked by her penchant for inflammatory rhetoric, like comparing Obamacare to sodomy, and referring to Muslims as “unadulterated evil.”


Unfortunately, she’s got a little distraction to deal with at the moment.  From Scott Schwebke at the Orange County Register:


“Pauly, 56, was driving a Porsche 911 when she struck a parked, unoccupied Mazda pickup truck in the 1100 block of Minot Street around 1 a.m. on Sept. 12, Anaheim police Lt. Eric Trapp said. Information was not available regarding where Pauly had been prior to the crash.


“An Anaheim police officer administered a field sobriety test to Pauly at the scene of the crash but she failed to pass, Trapp said.


“Pauly was booked into the Anaheim Temporary Detention Facility for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater, he said. Police wouldn’t provide her exact blood alcohol level due to the pending criminal case.”


Congrats on the #WorstWeek, Deborah – you earned it.