Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the day “November 21, 2011”

MID’s Allen Short Wants to Sell Our Life’s Blood…Our Water

In Southern California the states largest lake is drying up.  The Salton Sea is in danger of becoming a dust bowl further emphasizing the long-term concern Stanislaus County has over its water rights that MID is looking to sell off for the next 60 years.  The following story is from the Sacramento Bee.

Courts weighs scrapping huge California water pact

 
Courts weighs scrapping huge California water pact

 SAN Diego  — A vanishing lake figures large in a court battle over how Southern California gets it water, a high-stakes dispute with consequences that could ripple throughout the western United States.

A California appeals court is considering whether to overturn a landmark 2003 agreement that created the nation’s largest farm-to-city water transfer and set new rules for dividing the state’s share of the Colorado River.  A three-judge panel of the 3rd Appellate District in Sacramento will hear arguments Monday and is expected to rule within three months.

Farmers and environmentalists involved in the lawsuit argue the pact is deeply flawed, while California water agencies say it is critical to keeping an uneasy peace on the river. The court has given each side 45 minutes to make its case and asked lawyers to focus on whether the state of California violated its constitution by essentially writing a blank check to restore the shrinking Salton Sea.

California long used more of the Colorado River than it was granted under agreements with Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and Mexico. Its overindulgence was never a big problem until Sunbelt cities like Phoenix witnessed explosive growth and other states clamored for their full share. Drought only exacerbated tensions.

The 2003 accord between California’s warring water agencies reins the state to its limit established 80 years earlier of 4.4 million acre-feet of water a year – enough to supply about 9 million homes. The centerpiece called for California’s Imperial Valley – a farming region of 175,000 residents that gets nearly 20 percent of the entire river – to sell water to San Diego.

In January 2010, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Roland Candee gutted the pact in a sweeping, 52-page decision that faulted the state for its open-ended commitment to the Salton Sea. California’s largest lake is more than 200 feet below sea level and relies on water that seeps down from nearby farms. The sale of water to San Diego,  further threatens the lake’s future.

The judge ruled that a state law committing California to save the lake no matter the cost set an unacceptable precedent for the government to pledge money to other projects it couldn’t afford. The administration of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pegged the cost of saving the Salton Sea at a whopping $9 billion.

The state’s dire fiscal straits offer little hope for the lake, whose rapidly receding shores are layered with dead fish. Its waters – about one-third saltier

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/11/20/4068398/courts-put-huge-california-water.html#ixzz1eNNxtH13

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MID G.M. Allen Short Seeks to Reinforce His Authority

By Emerson Drake

Tuesday’s meeting will be the crowning of a Dictator.  Allen Short, nervous over new MID Board members, is reminding everyone just where the power lies, and that’s with HIM.

With two new members read in the wings to be granted membership into Short’s kingdom he is determined to remind them just how little power they have.  Tom Van Groningen and Paul Warda already surrendered their manhood years ago.  And in the minds of many Glen Wild never had any, manhood that is.  He was a designated  usurper of former Board member Mike Serpa.

Since Serpa’s orchestrated demise a relative calm has prevailed.  Cecil Hendsley managed to remember what  freedom of decision was like but could seldom sway other members to join him in splitting from Allen Short’s reign of terror.

Many find it difficult to believe but MID Board members have no individual email address they can be reached at.  There’s a generic address for members which goes to Board Secretary Pat Mills and she relays them to Allen Short who distributes them just before meetings if he feels like it.

Yes in other words, he screens them.

To see just how devious Short is you need to go towards the bottom of the agenda and read the Board resolution:

ADOPTING MID BOARD POLICIES REGARDING BOARD GOVERNANCE AND BOARD-STAFF LINKAGE.

Also read all of the Governing Process #’s 1-12 and the Board linkage #’s 1-11

In these, the MID Board handcuffs themselves and anoints General Manager Allen Short as KING.

But don’t take my word for it.  Read it for yourself and prepare to be amazed. 

http://mid.org/board/agenda/112211BoardAgendawithAttachments.pdf 

If they approve this it’s as if they are walking in to a vets office and say “snip’em off Doc.  I’m on the MID Board and I don’t need them any more.”

Stories We Found Interesting, You Might Too

From time to time we run across stories of interest and plan to bring them to your attention.  Let us know what you think.

The headline on Democratic strategist Paul Begala’s recent Newsweek essay dodged subtlety: The Stupid Party.

“Republicans used to admire intelligence. But now they’re dumbing themselves down,” was the subhead.

Democrats couldn’t agree more. And quietly, many Republicans share the sentiment. They just can’t seem to stop themselves.

Republicans aren’t really stupid, of course, and Begala acknowledges this. But, as he also pointed out, the conservative brain trust once led by William F. Buckley has been supplanted by talk radio hosts who love to quote Buckley (and boast of his friendship) but who do not share the man’s pedigree or his nimble mind. Moreover, where Buckley tried to rid the GOP of fringe elements, notably the John Birch Society, today’s conservatives have let them back in. The 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference was co-sponsored by the Birchers.

Meanwhile, the big tent fashioned by Ronald Reagan has become bilious with the hot air of religious fervor. No one was more devout than the very-Catholic Buckley, but you didn’t see him convening revivals in the public square. Nor is it likely he would have embraced fundamentalist views that increasingly have forced the party into a corner where science and religion can’t coexist.

Scientific skepticism, the engine that propels intellectual inquiry, has morphed into skepticism of science fueled by religious certitude. In this strange world, it is heresy to express concern about, for example, climate change — or even to suggest that human behavior may be a contributing factor. Jon Huntsman committed blasphemy when he told ABC’s Jake Tapper that he trusts scientists on global warming.

What Huntsman next said, though refreshing and true, ensured that his poll numbers would remain in the basement: “When we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science and, therefore, in a losing position.”

Of course, plenty of Republicans agree with this appraisal, including other presidential candidates. They understand that the challenge is to figure out to what extent humans contribute and what humans can reasonably do without bankrupting the planet.

Nevertheless, the Republican base requires that candidates tack away from science toward the theistic position — only God controls climate. More to the point, Rush Limbaugh says that climate change is a hoax and so it must be. Huntsman may as well be a Democrat.

It takes courage to swim against the tide of know-nothingness that has become de rigueur among the anti-elite, anti-intellectual Republican base. Call it the Palinization of the GOP, in which the least informed earns the loudest applause. The latest to this spectacle is Herman Cain, who has figured out how to turn his liabilities into assets. After fumbling for an answer during an editorial board meeting to a simple question about his position on Lybia, a lead news item since February, Cain blamed — who else? — the media.

The problem wasn’t that he had no idea. The problem, he said, was that he likes to think before he speaks. Besides, there are so many countries out there.

“Who knows every detail of every country on the planet?” he asked a crowd in Nashua, N.H., a few days later. “The people that get on the Cain train, they don’t get off because of that crap.”

It’s safe to say that nobody knows every detail of every country, but Libya isn’t just any country and the United States did not play a minor role in helping Libyans liberate themselves from the 40-year tyranny of Moammar Gaddafi. But Cain is banking on the hope that GOP contempt for smarty-pants, gotcha journalists will outweigh concerns that he may be out of his league.

He may be right. Despite his difficulties, Cain is still polling in the top tier, just behind Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Even so, there are signs that the GOP is recognizing its weaknesses and is ready to play smarter. To wit: The sudden surge of Gingrich, who, whatever his flaws and despite the weight of his considerable baggage, is no intellectual slouch. Whether he can pull off a victory in Iowa remains to be seen, but a populist professor — a bombastic smarty-pants Republicans can call their own — may be just the ticket.

This story can be found in the Washington Post by Kathleen Parker

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