Delta tunnel death knell?

Sep 20, 2017

Westlands water district, the largest irrigation district in the nation, has dealt a major blow to the delta tunnel project championed by Gov. Brown.


LA Times' BETTINA BOXALL: "The board of the Westlands Water District on Tuesday dealt a potentially fatal blow to the most ambitious California water project planned in decades."

"By a 7-1 vote, the state's largest irrigation district decided not to join California WaterFix — a $17-billion plan to build two tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that would re-engineer the way Northern California supplies are moved to the rest of the state."

"The proposed financing structure of the project “doesn't work for Westlands Water District,” board member Todd Neves said."


READ MORE related to Development: $17b Delta tunnels plan in troubnle after key water agency backs out -- East Bay Times' PAUL ROGERSBig, new mixed-use project proposed for Potrero Power Plant property -- The Chronicle's JK Dineen; Coliseum exec is richly rewarded to help say goodbye to Raiders, Warriors -- The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS; New East Bay Costco inches ahead with sales tax deal with Pleasanton -- East Bay Times' DENIS CUFF


Housing affordability is a growing statewide crisis -- and Bay Area prices are soaring again 


East Bay Times' RICHARD SCHEININ: "The supply of available homes is shrinking across California, as prices surge and the affordability crisis deepens as a statewide concern."

"In August, the median price of a single-family home rose 7.2 percent year-over-year to $565,330 in California, its highest level in a decade. That’s according to the latest report from the California Association of Realtors."


"Naturally, the Bay Area gets special mention: Region-wide, prices rose 10.2 percent year-over-year across the nine counties to $856,200."


Meanwhile, the evolution of the "four party" system in California reflects the splintering in both Democrats and Republicans. 


Capitol Weekly's CHUCK MCFADDEN: "For more than 165 years, political battles in California have played out almost entirely within the framework of a two-party system. There are signs that may be changing."

"Differing ideologies within each party are competing for money, supporters and attention.  Out of it all, four major, distinct political tribes seem to be emerging:"


"Establishment or “moderate” Republicans, personified most recently by former Assembly Republican Caucus Leader Chad Mayes, who worked across the aisle with Democrats to help extend Democrat Jerry Brown’s beloved cap-and-trade program to 2030.  For doing that, Assembly GOP Leader Chad Mayes lost his job.  Most significant exponent of moderate Republicanism lately: Arnold Schwarzenegger."


From oil refineries to solar plants, unions bend California climate change policies in their favor


LA Times' CHRIS MEGERIAN: "No contour of California’s vast landscape inspires such passionate devotion as its coastline, so state lawmakers recoiled when President Trump announced in April that he wanted to expand offshore drilling. The outrage was channeled into a proposal for preventing any new infrastructure along the water, pipelines or otherwise, for additional oil production."

"But the day before a key Sacramento committee hearing this summer, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) received some bad news about her legislation — it was opposed by a politically powerful labor group whose members’ paychecks depend on the steady flow of oil."

"In a letter to lawmakers, the top lobbyist for the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California said he feared harming projects that “maintain and create new employment opportunities.” The legislation, Senate Bill 188, stalled the following day, an unceremonious defeat for a proposal announced with much fanfare months earlier."


Ref Rodriguez, facing criminal charges, resigns as LA school board president


LA Times' HOWARD BLUME/SONALI KOHLI/JOY RESMOVITS: "Less than three months into his role as president of the Los Angeles Board of Education, Ref Rodriguez announced Tuesday that he would step down from that post to spare the school district the distraction of a criminal case filed against him."

"The decision marks a stunning turnaround for Rodriguez and supporters of charter schools, who spent record sums in campaigns this year to elect a board majority that is widely viewed as pro-charter. That new majority chose Rodriguez as its president in July."

"Rodriguez, 46, who faces three felony charges on allegations of campaign money laundering, said he would retain his seat on the board."


White House, Republican leaders join new push for Obamacare repeal as bipartisan effort falters 


LA Times' NOAM N. LEVEY/LISA MASCARO: "President Trump and Republican leaders have joined a revived push to roll back the Affordable Care Act as lawmakers faced a critical deadline next week and efforts to reach a bipartisan compromise appeared to collapse."

"But it was still unclear Tuesday evening whether Trump and his Senate allies would secure the votes to finally pass the sweeping legislation, which would not only scrap the 2010 law but also restructure — and possibly terminate — hundreds of billions of dollars of federal healthcare funding."

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to commit to scheduling the vote even after Trump personally called senators and Vice President Mike Pence told them that now was the time to act."


Magic Johnson to testify as witness in Draymond Green lawsuit


East Bay Times' DAVID DEBOLT: "Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been subpoenaed to testify as a witness in a former Michigan State University football player’s lawsuit against Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, according to court documents."


"Attorneys for Jermaine Edmondson, who is suing Green over an alleged 2016 assault, want to question Johnson about a tweet he posted following the incident outside a Michigan restaurant."

"The NBA Hall of Famer and current Los Angeles Lakers executive in a July 2016 post wrote that he had a conversation with Green, and “he was very apologetic to the Warriors organization, fans and everyone involved.”


Hurricane Maria rips through the eastern Caribbean on its way to Puerto Rico


LA Times' MOLLY HENNESY-FISKE: "Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were bracing for possible catastrophe as they remained locked in the crosshairs of Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that has already devastated the Caribbean island of Dominica and was continuing to gain strength Tuesday."

"Now is not the time to wait,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said in a televised plea for people in high-risk areas or rickety homes to evacuate to government-run shelters. “Now is the time to accept the reality of what’s going to happen."

"Speaking from the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, where more than 500 evacuees were hunkering down, she warned that the storm would probably shut down communications and could leave the city of about 400,000 without power for months."


READ MORE related to Hurricane Season: Maria's death toll rises to 8 in Caribbean -- AP


Will Ferrell and family endow USC women's scoccer scholarship


Daily News: "Actor Will Ferrell and his wife Viveca Paulin have endowed the first full scholarship for USC women’s soccer, the university announced Tuesday."

"The donation creating the Viveca Paulin and Will Ferrell Scholarship Fund is part of USC’s Heritage Initiative fundraising drive begun in 2012 whose goals include raising $283 million, $1 million for each of the 283 scholarships provided in USC’s 21 varsity sports."

"USC won NCAA women’s soccer championships in 2007 and 2016, one of four schools to win multiple Division I women’s soccer titles."


'Emotional support dogs' on planes -- more scam than therapy?


OC Register's DAVID WHITING: "There’s not much that scares former Army Delta Force operator Josh Collins: not seven combat tours in in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, not getting seriously wounded."

"But when it comes to the increasing numbers of so-called “emotional support” dogs on planes, Collins — along with more and more airline passengers and workers — gets worried."

"It doesn’t matter how good a dog is at home,” warns Collins, who suffers from PTSD and has a service dog named Big Charlie who meets strict Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. “It only matters how reliable a dog is."


More than 200 killed as powerful 7.1 earthquake strikes central Mexico


LA Times' KATE LINTHICUM/RONG GONG LIN II/ALEXANDRA ZAVIS/RUBEN VIVES: "A powerful 7.1 earthquake rocked central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing homes and bridges across hundreds of miles, killing at least 217 people and sending thousands more fleeing into the streets screaming in a country still reeling from a deadly temblor that struck less than two weeks ago."

"Entire apartment blocks swayed violently in the center of Mexico City, including in the historic districts of El Centro and Roma, crumbling balconies and causing huge cracks to appear on building facades."

"Panic spread through the city's core; rescue vehicles raced toward damaged buildings, and neighbors took on heroic roles as rescuers."


READ MORE related to World: Israel sending rescue team to Mexico -- APIn first UN speech, Trump derides Kim Jong Un as 'Rocket Man' and threatens to 'totally destroy' North Korea -- LA Times' TRACY WILKINSON/NOAH BIERMAN; Trump's trashing of Iran deal poses problems for NK strategy -- AP's MATTHEW PENNINGTON