DONNELLY: Jerry Brown’s California Legacy is a Dam Failure
“The Oroville Dam — at 770 feet, America’s tallest — is on the verge of failing. And Sacramento, which has been fiddling for decades while Rome burns, is running for cover.
This isn’t just any dam; it’s the primary storage facility located on the Feather River for the State Water Project, the state-owned conveyance system that provides drinking water to more than two-thirds of California’s population.
If the dam were to fail, it could inundate not only the city of Oroville but numerous other communities downstream, including Yuba City, Marysville and even West Sacramento.
At the moment, the emergency spillway is being used for the first time since Governor Ronald Reagan approved its construction, and almost 200,000 people have been evacuated.
What’s Governor Jerry Brown doing?
The same thing he’s been doing for decades — obstructing progress. California has been so busy defying President Donald Trump in order to protect illegal aliens from deportation that it forgot to do the things government is supposed to do, like maintain infrastructure. Governor Brown is now going hat-in-hand to beg the Trump administration for emergency funds.
According to Breitbart News sources, the Trump administration is already closely monitoring the situation, and has dispatched personnel and made contingency plans to aid California in the event of a catastrophic dam failure.
But it’s during the seven dry years — the extended drought — that the state should have fixed its water infrastructure, like dams and canals. Brown and his merry band of Democrats had different priorities, like high-speed rail, benefits for illegal aliens, and unsustainable pensions.
The reality is that Sacramento was warned over and over again. Just a few years back, environmentalists raised concerns that an earthquake could degrade the massive earthen rockfill dam. Sacramento just chose to ignore those concerns — and to spend the money on other priorities.”
The Latest: Governor has no imminent plans to visit dam site
– San Jose Mercury News
Gov. Jerry Brown has not announced immediate plans to visit Oroville or meet with residents who have been evacuated.
Evacuations for at least 188,000 people living below the dam were ordered Sunday after officials warned the emergency spillway was in danger of failing and unleashing uncontrolled floodwaters on towns below.”
Verify: Was the Oroville spillway damaged in 2013?
“A photo of the Oroville Dam from 2013 that shows damage to the spillway and trucks on site is getting a lot of attention online — and not for good reasons.
“I put it out there not realizing how negative of a response, or kind of like an aggressive attack mode, was going to happen,” said Lois Cameron, who took the photo that October day. “It was more like information — not to accuse.”
“Maybe the Oroville Dam was cursed from the start.
In December 1964, three years into the massive barrier’s construction, a huge flood struck the northwest, killing dozens. The dam was nearly overtopped, which could have led to its failure even before it was completed. Instead, the partially completed dam helped prevent a larger disaster by reducing the flow of the Feather River. Less than a year later, two trains working on the site collided head-on in a tunnel near the dam, killing four men in a fiery crash and damaging the tunnel, slowing down work on the project.
The dam, which sits south of Chico and north of Sacramento, was eventually completed in 1968, creating the nation’s tallest dam. It forms the head of California’s massive, byzantine State Water Project (SWP). The SWP moves water from Northern California south toward Los Angeles, an average of 3 million acre-feet per year. A drop of water that starts at Lake Oroville, above the dam, takes 10 days to move all the way to the end of the system, south of Los Angeles.
There’s some bitter irony to the problem of too much water menacing the Golden State. California has suffered through a long and severe drought, at times driving Governor Jerry Brown to institute stringent—critics say draconian—water controls. This winter has seen much more snow and rain, which is good news for the parched state, but bad news for the Oroville Dam, where huge amounts of water are collecting. The lake rose 50 feet in a matter of days. Earlier in February, as operators let water over a concrete spillway to reduce the pressure, a crater appeared in the spillway. Faced with too much water in the lake, they continued to use the spillway anyway, and the damage got worse. On Friday, the crater was 45 feet deep, 300 feet wide, and 500 feet long.
In 2005, a trio of environmental groups filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, saying the emergency spillway was unsafe, The Mercury News reports. Their worry proved prophetic: The groups said in the event of heavy rain and flooding, the hillside would wash out and produce flooding downstream. They asked that the auxiliary spillway be paved with concrete, like the primary one. But the federal government rejected the request after consulting with the state and local agencies involved in the water system, which said they did not believe the upgrades were needed.
As for the primary spillway, the state did some repair work around the area of the collapse in 2013, CBS Sacramento reports. The last state inspection was in July 2015, but workers did not closely inspect the concrete, the Redding Record Searchlight notes, instead eyeing it from a distance and concluding it was safe. Officials say repairs should cost $100 million to $200 million, once it’s dry enough to begin them.’
Gov. Brown’s State of the State: ‘California Is Not Turning Back. Not Now, Not Ever’
“California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday decidedly pitted the state against the Trump administration, in a call to prepare for “the battle ahead,” during the annual State of the State address.
Instead of focusing on California, Brown pointed to the East, warning Washington that the most populous state in the union views the future as “uncertain” after the election, and that “dangers abound.”
Brown said while federal law may overrule state law on immigration, California would use its enacted protective measures for undocumented immigrants. A variety of state measures offers the undocumented access to higher education and limit the state’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
“We may be called upon to defend those laws and defend them we will,” said Brown. “We will defend everybody — every man, woman and child — who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.”
Brown’s promise comes as President Donald Trump has pledged to cut federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, which could be millions for California’s major cities.”
– We note the striking and eerie similarity of Gov Brown’s claim that, “California is not turning back, not now, not ever….” to Gov George Wallace’s boast of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
Brown has thrown down the guantlet of nullifcation, of state’s rights in support of illegal immigration, just as Wallace did for segregation 60 years ago. It didn’t work then, and it surely will not work now.
Moreover, he tries to make the case that the state will welcome all who wish to come to the state, yet can only do so with the federal govt paying for almost all the costs. That is an alternate universe. /CJ
California schools may face cuts amid skyrocketing pension costs
– SF Chronicle
“Public schools around California are bracing for a crisis driven by skyrocketing worker pension costs that are expected to force districts to divert billions of dollars from classrooms into retirement accounts, education officials said.
Donnelly: Dear Mr. President-Elect, Please ‘Pick a Fight’ with California on Behalf of the American People
“Even though most Americans view California as a lost cause—the “land of fruits and nuts”—and now, the epicenter of resistance to President-Elect Trump, it would be a mistake to ignore it.
The whiny, crybaby brigade of Democrats in leadership, who wield unchecked power over the most populous, and in many ways, the most significant state.
California Democrats doubled down this week—hiring former US Attorney General Eric Holder to go on offense against the policies of the incoming White House.
President-Elect Trump should engage California’s petulant leaders in much the same way—“pick a fight.”
Ignoring California in hopes that it will go away would be a disastrous mistake. California is far too important to the national security of the United States to simply ignore it.
Water wars between federal and state regulators, environmentalists, the Democrat governor, the Democrat-controlled state legislature, and farmers have gone on for decades with devastating results. Much of the world’s most fertile farmland lies fallow, as groundwater, its lifeblood, is slowly siphoned off to keep farmers alive.
President-Elect Trump has already wisely tapped a few leaders from the crucial Central Valley region, which is not only known for its agriculture but is also home to vast quantities of domestic oil sitting atop the massive Monterey Shale. Both food and energy security are critical to the security of a nation.
So far the new president’s appointment to EPA, Scott Pruitt, bodes well for California. A “climate-change skeptic,” Pruitt will loathe to ruining the economy in the name of “fake science,” and could be the best friend California farmers have had in decades. Any relief from California’s crushing “climate change” regulations— affecting everything from regulating dust kicked up by tractors, to requiring dairy farmers to capture cow flatulence—could be a windfall for this persecuted industry.
And if the EPA took a balanced approach to the Endangered Species Act, weighing food production against the life of one tiny, insignificant, bait fish—the Delta Smelt—which has become the proxy for the environmentalist activists who populate the bureaucracies at both the federal and state level, water would once again flow to the San Joaquin Valley.
An old saying—“Whiskey’s for drinking, water’s for fighting.”—has been true for far too long.
But water’s not the only thing hanging in the balance.
Land use is a massive issue all over the West.
The Federal Government claims ownership of almost 50% of California’s land—a source of constant harassment for ranchers, loggers and anyone trying to operate a business in or around the land controlled by BLM, US Forest Services, and other federal agencies. Picking a Representative from a western state like Ryan Zinke of Montana, as the nominee for Secretary of the Interior was another brilliant move.
But the biggest issue that Mr. Trump raised in his campaign by far—and the one that is front and center in the showdown with the California Democrat monopoly—is immigration.
What a President Trump does on immigration affects California’s 38 million people more than any other state.
California officials have declared California to be a “sanctuary” from any enforcement of federal immigration laws, and are defying the new president by refusing to cooperate with immigration officials in any way—preferring to dump criminal aliens on the streets so they can terrorize citizens rather than hand them over for deportation.
Since immigration is one of the specifically enumerated duties of the Federal Government, this is the fight you need to pick, Mr. President.
A few action items to consider:
Cut off all Federal funding to defiant sanctuary cities, counties, and the state at large—including California Care (California’s version of ObamaCare) where California intermingles state and matching federal funds in order to make taxpayer-paid benefits available to illegal aliens.
Stack the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals with Constitutionalists—and give the residents of this Marxist-Progressive occupied territory a chance to enjoy some of the basic freedoms and natural rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, starting with the restoration of the 2nd Amendment.
Instruct the Attorney General to sue California for promoting voter fraud with its faulty interpretation of the National Voting Rights Act. (California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, makes it clear on his website that Registrar of Voters are to “treat as normal” and “enter on the voter rolls” those who’ve failed to affirm they are US Citizens on the voter registration card.)
Instruct TSA to refuse to accept AB60 Drivers licenses (issued only to illegal aliens in California) as identification for boarding airplanes. (Yes, currently TSA accepts these drivers licenses from illegal aliens to board planes).
The future for millions of Californians is in your hands, Mr. President.”
Milpitas High principal put on leave for using anti-Trump profanity during student walkout
– San Jose Mercury News
“Milpitas High School Principal Phil Morales was placed on administrative leave today for using anti-Trump profanity during a student walkout in protest of Republican President-elect Donald Trump.
At 11 a.m., approximately 250 students walked out of class — joining students across the Bay Area, state and nation — to protest the election of Trump, who has been called “divisive,” “racist” and “sexist” by many critics.
Morales said in an interview after the walkout he was alerted in the morning about the students’ plan and notified administrators and the Milpitas Police Department. He said he had arranged for students to be directed to the football field to air their feelings.
“We were not going to discourage them or confront them. We wanted them to have a place to express their opinions and fears and to support each other,” Morales said. “They were amazing, they went to the field, in the stands, and they were so inspiring, what they had to say about their fears and concerns about Trump being president, and particularly about immigration, and about the LGBTQ community, about being Muslim and Mexican, and everything that is hot topics in society today …they talked about unity and standing up together … it was so powerful and very peaceful.”
Morales facilitated the discussion at the field. He even shared his own concerns and fears as someone who is Hispanic, and as a husband and father. He ended the speech with a profanity directed at Trump that was caught and shared by a student on Twitter.
Interim Superintendent Cheryl Jordan, who was in San Diego for a conference, placed him on administrative leave shortly before 2 p.m., Morales said.
Milpitas Board of Education Clerk Daniel Bobay, who confirmed Morales had been placed on leave, said his words “were definitely not appropriate.”
“I do agree with putting him on administrative leave… certainly for an administrator encouraging that kind of behavior, using curse words, is not appropriate,” Bobay added.
“I don’t regret saying what I did,” Morales said. “It was unprofessional, and as principal I could have stated it a different way, and if I offended people I apologize, it was not meant to offend anyone. It was irresponsible of me to say it at the time that I did. I will hold the consequences of those consequences,” Morales said after being told he had been placed on administrative leave. “I will rise above this and be an advocate for my students no matter what. That is what is at my very core, advocating for my students and I feel what they feel.”
Mexican Illegal Alien Sentenced to Prison After Setting Sequoia Forest Ablaze
“A Mexican illegal alien will spend 13 months in prison and is being ordered to pay $61 million in restitution after he started a forest fire that destroyed six homes, sparked mandatory evacuations, and devoured over 45 square miles of California’s Sequoia National Forest.
Angel Gilberto Garcia-Avalos, 29, from Michoacán, Mexico, illegally drove off the road in the national park on August 16 with his young son. “His Nissan Maxima got stuck on a berm and his catalytic converter and muffler ignited dead grass,” sparking the blaze:
The fire swiftly spread and burned 29,322 acres in Kern and Tulare counties, according to Acting U.S. Atty. Phillip A. Talbert. Flames destroyed six homes and triggered mandatory evacuations of several communities in both counties…
Ranchers spotted Garcia-Avalos carrying his 4-year-old son on his shoulders west of the Cedar Creek Campground area, where the fire had been reported, according to a U.S. District Court complaint. They suspected he started the fire and offered to help, but he said he was OK. Still, ranchers recorded the conversation with an iPhone.
Garcia-Avalos told the ranchers that his car had been stolen and that his son saw the man who took it, and that he was walking home to Delano, which is more than 42 miles away from the Cedar Creek area, according to an affidavit written by U.S. Forest Service Special Agent Brian Adams.
The ranchers were able to convince Garcia-Avalos to enter their home so that he could call someone for help. During the visit, they asked him several questions about the fire, and Garcia-Avalos denied responsibility, prosecutors say.
At the crash site, fire investigators found a burned vehicle and shoe prints belonging to a small child and an adult. The shoe prints led investigators from the car to Highway 155.
Garcia-Avalos was sentenced to seven months in prison for lying to U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers and six months for starting the Cedar Fire. After serving his 13-month sentence, he will be deported back to Mexico, when he’ll start paying back $61 million in damages—at the low cost of only $25 per month, or $300 each year. (At that rate, it would take Garcia-Avalos some 203,333 years to pay the total cost of the damages.)
Sequoia National Forest, founded as a national park in 1890, holds the “greatest concentration of giant sequoia groves in the world,” according to the U.S. Forest Service. The giant sequoia is the single species in its genus and grows naturally in only one area of the world, the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. These magnificent trees are the oldest and largest living things on Earth.”
“At least 9,000 companies have left California from 2008 to 2015, according to the 378 page study by Spectrum Location Solutions titled, California’s Forty Year Legacy of Hostility to Business.
Joseph Vranich, president of site selection consultants Spectrum Location Solutions (VLS) in Irvine, found that roughly 9,000 California companies moved their headquarters or diverted projects to out-of-state locations in the last seven years due to the Golden State’s “hostile” business environment.
Vranich reports that the bitter negative perceptions of California for business began during Jerry Brown’s first chaotic two terms as California Governor from 1975 to 1983. Things got so bad that the Governor instructed his aides in 1977 to begin wearing “California Means Business” buttons.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Brown tried to convince reporters on a late 1970s junket to Japan that “Our economic climate is very good.” He added, “I think this is dissipating a good deal of the political rhetoric surrounding the business-climate talk.”
VLS points out that despite the growing anti-business environment, California’s economy grew for the next three decades due to wonderful scenery and climate, a workforce with technical expertise, and trade access to Asian nations.
But since the start of the Great Recession and accelerating after Brown’s election as governor in 2009, a mass exodus of businesses from the not-so-Golden State to more “friendly” locations like Texas and Nevada occurred.
Vranich told the Dallas Business Journal that companies that are leaving California to escape escalating costs and regulations can move to Texas or Nevada that have no income tax and high relative purchasing power. According to Vranich, “I even wonder if some kind of ‘business migration history’ has been made.”
VLS estimates that many former California companies that moved to more business friendly locals have experienced “astonishing” operating cost savings of 20 up to 35 percent.
The top 10 states that California businesses have relocated to over the last seven years are in the following order: (1) Texas; (2) Nevada; (3) Arizona; (4) Colorado; (5) Washington; (6) Oregon; (7) North Carolina; (8) Florida; (9) Georgia; and (10) Virginia.
Los Angeles was at the top of the list of the 10 California counties that suffered the highest number of disinvestment events. L.A. was followed by: (2) Orange, (3) Santa Clara, (4) San Francisco, (5) San Diego, (6) Alameda, (7) San Mateo, (8) Ventura, (9) Sacramento, and (10) Riverside counties.
The Tax Foundation using data from The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated the difference in purchasing power for $100 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Only Washington D.C., New York, and New Jersey got less purchasing power than California’s $88.97. That compares to $103.73 for neighboring Arizona and a national high of $115.34 in Alabama.
VLS has found that on a national basis, Democrat-leaning northeast and west coast areas get less purchasing power for their dollars, compared to the Republican-leaning southeast and mid-west.
The Tax Foundation established a direct inverse correlation between purchasing power and the percentage level of state tax rate. California, with a 13.3 percent top state tax bracket, leads the nation.”