Tag Archives: Jerry Brown

California Bill Seeks to Limit Presidential Candidates | Sep 30 2017

No Tax Returns, No Presidential Election Ballot, California Democrats Tell Trump

|| PJ Media

“Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor, has no doubt someone will back a court challenge to legislation aimed at forcing President Trump to release five years of his income tax returns before the 2020 election.

“You can bet that if Governor Brown signs it, the second the ink is dry someone will sue,” Levinson told the Mercury News.

Trump refused to release his income tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign. He was the first presidential contender to do so since President Ford.

Senate Bill 149, the Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act, was approved by the California Legislature on Sept. 15. It does not specifically mentionTrump. Any candidate who refuses to release the required returns would not be allowed on the 2020 presidential primary election ballot under SB 149.

Democratic Sens. Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener, sponsors of the legislation, saidthe bill was only intended to provide voters with the information they needed to know about a candidate’s potential conflicts of interest, business dealings, financial status, and charitable donations.

“If it’s good enough for a presidential candidate, it’s certainly good enough for a governor, and all five constitutional offices,” said Anderson.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) might hesitate to sign SB 149, if only because during the last two election cycles he refused to release his tax returns.

But if Brown does sign the Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act, and if it is challenged in court, the Mercury News reported the case is expected to center on a 1995 U.S. Supreme Court case that found states can set up requirements for candidates.

However, the justices also ruled states cannot invent new qualifications for federal office beyond what is constitutional.”

….Continue reading more @ PJ Media

San Onofre Nuke Remains a Problem Even After Kamala Harris | May 09, 2017

As tunnel with nuclear waste collapses in Washington, anger over spent fuel storage intensifies in Southern California

|| OC Register

“Just as activists planned to demand that San Onofre’s spent nuclear fuel be stored farther from the breaking surf, a tunnel containing nuclear waste collapsed at the troubled Hanford waste site in Washington, underscoring the hazards they hope to highlight.

The U.S. Department of Defense, which runs Hanford, evacuated workers closest to the collapse and told others to shelter in place. Responders are on the scene and reporting that the tunnel roof gave way in a 20-foot-by-20-foot area next to the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility, also known as PUREX, it said.

“There is no indication of a release of contamination at this point,” the DOD said in an update. “Responders are getting closer to the area where the soil has subsided for further visual inspection.”

The collapse was discovered during a routine surveillance of the area by workers, the agency said. The tunnels are hundreds of feet long, with about eight feet of soil covering them.

Activists in Southern California had planned to demand that the California Coastal Commission revoke the permit it granted Southern California Edison to bury millions of pounds of San Onofre’s spent waste in a “concrete monolith” just yards from the beach, for fear of similar, unanticipated breakdowns. The Commission will meet Wednesday through Friday in San Diego.

“Remarkably, the Coastal Commission says you can’t plant roses in the coastal area because they are non-native plants, but at the same time have approved a nuclear waste dump. Something is very wrong here!” said a statement by Ray Lutz of Citizens’ Oversight Projects in San Diego.

Such concerns will be repeated at the Laguna Hills Community Center on Thursday as well, when the volunteer San Onofre Community Engagement Panel, which advises Edison on San Onofre’s decommissioning, holds its quarterly meeting. The topic: off-site storage of used nuclear fuel.

The CEP will hear updates on potential storage sites in Texas and New Mexico, which could accept spent fuel from San Onofre and other commercial reactors if federal laws are changed. Two officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials will be on hand as well, and Edison vice president Tom Palmisano will update the crowd on decommissioning efforts.

The CEP meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Laguna Hills center, 25555 Alicia Pkwy.

As more aging reactors shut down, leaving “stranded waste” all over the country, momentum is building for the United States to finally find a solution to its half-century-old nuclear waste problem.

To encourage the development of nuclear power, the federal government promised to accept and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste from commercial reactors by Jan. 31, 1998. In return, the utilities operating nuclear plants made quarterly payments into a Nuclear Waste Fund to pay for disposal.

The utilities and their customers pumped about $750 million a year into the fund. But nearly two decades after the deadline once set to solve the problem, the DOE has not accepted an ounce of commercial nuclear waste for permanent disposal.

The nuclear industry sued the DOE and a federal judge said DOE couldn’t charge for a service it not only wasn’t providing but wouldn’t provide for many decades. Utilities across America stopped charging customers the disposal fee in 2014.

Even after spending more than $10 billion on a proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada, disposal site, the Nuclear Waste Fund has about $36 billion that can go toward development of permanent or temporary storage.

The delays have left plants like San Onofre to figure things out for themselves. A trial was set to start last month over the legality of what has been dubbed a “beachfront nuclear waste dump,” but both sides agreed to sit down for settlement talks.

The likelihood that such talks would result in the immediate removal of the 3.6 million pounds of waste from the bluff overlooking the Pacific are slim, some observers said, as construction of the “concrete monolith” dry-cask storage system on site already is well under way, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Some hope that officials can be moved to at least store the waste on the inland side of Interstate 5.”

….Continue reading more @ OCRegister

 

President Kamala Harris? She’s making the first moves for Obama 2.0

|| SacBee

“Now’s the time prospective presidential candidates start taking the subtle but crucial behind-the-scenes steps that get them noticed by the political intelligentsia, and Sen. Kamala Harris is quietly following the script.

She’s making speeches to key national constituencies. She’s due for an appearance at a Washington think-tank panel full of chattering-class presidential favorites that the national media will be reporting and analyzing, probably for days. She’s been fundraising for colleagues and making sure that she is forming relationships with key national reporters.

They’re all boxes that prospective presidential candidates routinely check. It’s a chance to ultimately convince insiders they’ve got the gravitas and the fundraising chops to be taken seriously.

The California Democrat, sworn into office four months ago, insists she’s not thinking about a run for president. Her inner circle forcefully tries to tamp down 2020 speculation – after all, there is no upside to being seen as a new senator focused more on national political ambition than on California.

But the speculation is not going away, not with the absence of a clear Democratic presidential frontrunner and the party desperately in search and in need of a new generation of leadership.

“A lot of activists in the party would love to see a new leader step forward,” said Roger Hickey,” co-director of the progressive strategy group Campaign for America’s Future.

Harris is being closely watched.

“Looking forward to see how she performs as a senator, I think that the sky is the limit for her,” said Jaime Harrison, associate chairman and counselor of the Democratic National Committee.

So far, Harris has leaped into the political spotlight with a resume that screams potential presidential material. She’s 52, a generation younger than better-known favorites such as Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts or former Vice President Joe Biden.

“From everything I’ve seen of her she’d be an attractive candidate, she could be a compelling candidate, and I think she’d have a lot of appeal for primary voters,” said Bob Shrum, a senior adviser to the presidential campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry.”

….Continue reading more @ SacBee

 

Sen. Kamala Harris likely to face lawsuit over California attorney general conduct

|| Washington Examiner

“Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., will likely lose an effort to get a judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that she abused her authority as California’s attorney general.

On Wednesday, a San Diego dstrict court judge indicated the allegations likely have enough merit to go to trial.

“At this juncture, given the limited scope the court has to view these allegations … it seems almost inconceivable the court could grant a motion to dismiss,” District Court Judge Conzalo Curiel said, according to Courthouse News.

The lawsuit by Prime Healthcare Services, a national healthcare company, alleges that Harris imposed onerous requirements on its efforts to purchase another healthcare company. Prime claimed that Harris did this to benefit the Service Employees International Union, which was seeking to organize its workers. SEIU had donated to Harris’s 2010 and 2014 campaigns for attorney general as well as her 2016 Senate.

The California attorney general’s office oversees the sale and purchase of nonprofits and their assets. In most cases, the office required that any company purchasing a healthcare provider nonprofit had to maintain the nonprofit’s current level of services for at least five years. Harris expanded that requirement to 10 years in the case of Prime’s attempt to purchase the Daughters of Charity Health System.

Prime contended that the change made the planned $843 million sale “financially unviable” and was done deliberately by Harris to undermine it as part of a “quid pro quo” with SEIU. “The only time Attorney General Harris veered from that pattern (of requiring five years) was with respect to Prime and the 10 years condition for the first time,” said Prime’s attorney John Mills.”

…..Continue reading more @ WashingtonExaminer

 

Recent History |

Kamala Harris Questioned about Conflict of Interest in San Onofre Edison Closure Deal during Senate Debate  |  May 2016

– KPBS

 – Senate candidate and current California Attorney General Kamala Harris was asked her opinion on a recent Public Utilities Commission plan to keep the San Onofre nuclear waste on site for the foreseeable future. Harris declined to answer stating as AG she was representing the CPUC as well as conducting a criminal investigation into the CPUC and the plant closure deal.
    The moderator correctly pointed out that the two issues were not related when Harris let out the bombshell that she was conducting a criminal investigation into the nuclear plant and ‘the conduct that took place there.’
    This appears to the tip of a very large iceberg here. In the middle of her Senate campaign, Kamala Harris faces a huge conflict of interest in a major scandal. The deal ironed out between the CPUC and Edison was clearly illegal, Harris has evidence as the result of a search, and now we find that Gov Jerry Brown is refusing to release emails related to the matter.
 – The San Diego Union-Tribune published an article on the issue the moderator is raising here

 

Gov Jerry Brown Refuses to Release emails and other records related to the backdoor Edison deal that stuck the rate payers with a 3.4 billion bill  |  Why?

– CalWatchDog.com

Screen-shot-2013-02-19-at-4.13.49-PM-e1361308552562

“But while the criminal division of the state Attorney General’s Office is pursuing the criminal probe, the civil division of the office is supporting Gov. Jerry Brown in his fight against disclosing emails between his office, the PUC and utilities during the period decisions were being made about how to pay for the costs of closing San Onofre.

Recent coverage of the case in the San Diego media has featured sharp criticism of Harris’ dual role in dealing with the scandal.

“In this case, for the [attorney general] to investigate the communications with the [California Public Utilities Commission] while representing a potential witness who is a potential subject of the investigation is a conflict,” former San Diego County District Attorney Paul Pfingst told KPBS.

“One of the problems with the conflict is it invites the attorney general to narrow the investigation to avoid the conflict,” former San Diego City Attorney Mark Aguirre told the San Diego public broadcasting affiliate.

“If the investigation into the Public Utilities Commission involves the nuclear power plant, and that is something that’s the subject of the governor’s emails they are trying to keep secret, then I think there is a conflict,” Georgetown University law professor Paul F. Rothstein told the Union-Tribune. “The Attorney General’s Office should probably turn over one or the other of these cases to an independent counsel.”

“Government works best when it shines light on problems, not seeks to keep the public in the dark,” University of San Diego law professor Shaun Martin told the newspaper, criticizing Harris for helping efforts to keep public records from being released to the media.”

…Continue reading @ Calwatchdog.com

Attorney general Kamala Harris’s predictable “malpractice”

– San Diego Reader

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Statute of limitation runs out on San Onofre investigation
“On March 26, 2013, an executive of California Edison, Stephen Pickett, had a clandestine meeting with Michael Peevey, then president of the California Public Utilities Commission, at a hotel in Warsaw, Poland.

At this meeting, Peevey sketched out a strategy for Edison (majority owner of the now-shuttered San Onofre power plant) and San Diego Gas & Electric (minority owner) by which they could pass on the decommissioning costs of closing San Onofre to ratepayers, who had nothing to do with the mismanagement that led to the shutdown. Later, the commission approved a deal, which was very similar to what Peevey had suggested in Warsaw: ratepayers would pick up the tab for a whopping $3.3 billion. (Edison and SDG&E already had among the highest utility rates in the nation.)

The state attorney general’s office investigated and recovered the notes from that Warsaw meeting. Those notes were a smoking gun for obstruction of justice. But skeptics guffawed: attorney general Kamala Harris was running for the U.S. Senate. She wouldn’t dare cross Peevey pal and fellow Democratic governor Jerry Brown — whose sister Kathleen has been on Sempra Energy’s board of directors since 2013. (Sempra is the parent company of SDG&E.) The skeptics doubted that Harris would actually pursue a prosecution.

The skeptics were right.

Last month, the three-year period of the statute of limitations ran out. Unless the attorney general’s office investigates another angle on this case, Peevey, Edison, and Brown will skate. Harris did the same in the case against San Bruno, which suffered the destruction of a neighborhood and several deaths from an explosion that Pacific Gas & Electric will have to throw some money in the pot for. At least, in the San Bruno case, federal investigators have moved in. But “the feds are missing in action” on San Onofre, says San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre.

“For her to let the statute go is malpractice,” says Aguirre.

Harris has not put anything close to sufficient firepower on the case, as she has stalled it to advance her own political career. Since that Warsaw meeting, the legislature has passed bills to reform the utilities commission. Brown vetoed them.

Meanwhile, Aguirre and his law partner Maria Severson are fighting the San Onofre battle and have not been able to get copies of emails that are essential to the case.”

….More @ The Reader

 

No End in Sight to Oroville Crisis As Governor Fishes for Answers | Feb 14, 2017

A race against Mother Nature as officials send water cascading out of Lake Oroville

– LA Times

 

“With more storms expected to slam Northern California later this week, officials worked frantically Monday to drain water from brimming Lake Oroville in hopes of heading off a potentially catastrophic flood.

The operators at America’s tallest dam found themselves in a precarious position Monday, with both of the spillways used to release water compromised and the reservoir still filled almost to capacity after a winter of record rain and snow. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of evacuated residents downstream of the dam still have no clear word when they can return home.

Officials sent millions of gallons of water per minute down the massive reservoir’s main spillway. Engineers said that despite a huge gash that opened in the concrete channel a week ago, it was their best option for lowering the dangerously high lake level.

They hoped this would avert further use of the emergency spillway, where damage was discovered Sunday afternoon.

“It was the lesser of two evils,” state Department of Water Resources spokesman Eric See said Monday. “We didn’t want to have more damage, but we needed to evacuate water.”

The emergency spillway suffered severe erosion the day after water cascaded down the unpaved hillside for the first time since the dam opened in 1968.

The damage occurred even though the spillway was designed to handle much more water than the amount that overflowed. Some questioned why officials didn’t heed suggestions more than a decade ago to fortify the emergency spillway.

When it appeared the erosion could quickly worsen Sunday afternoon and potentially undermine the spillway’s concrete lip  — a scenario that could unleash a massive wall of water — officials ordered more than 100,000 people to evacuate the low-lying areas along the Feather River.

Racing against Mother Nature, water resources officials Monday sent water surging down the concrete main spillway — a move that lowered the lake level by several feet but threatened to widen the gash. Erosion on the main spillway so far was manageable, See said.

“I’ve been doing these flood battles since 1978,” said state Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber). “This is the one with the greatest potential for damage of all the ones I’ve dealt with.”

Both spillways are separate from the Oroville Dam itself, which officials say is not in danger of collapsing.

Officials said they want to lower the lake 50 feet by Wednesday to avoid another overflow on the damaged emergency spillway. If the head of the spillway crumbles, a 30-foot wall of water could go crashing down the hillside into the Feather River and toward Oroville, Marysville and Yuba City.

“Obviously any rain this week is not helpful at all,” said Tom Dang, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento.

On Monday, geysers of water shot from the placid lake and down the concrete spillway, like a water slide the width of a freeway.

Helicopters flew overhead and dump trucks shuttled across the top of Oroville Dam, carrying loads of rock to fill the eroded section. Without reinforcements, water could creep beneath the lip, causing it to crumble and allowing water to gush over the side.

In a letter Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown asked the Trump administration for a federal disaster declaration, saying the problems were likely to be more than local and state officials can handle.

Brown told reporters that he spoke to a member of the president’s Cabinet on Monday, but declined to say which one. “My office has been in touch with the White House,” Brown said. “I think that will be sufficient.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, meanwhile, sent an eight-person team to the area to help California officials prepare for potential flooding.

“We are trying to plan for the worst-case scenario,” said Ahsha Tribble, acting regional administrator for FEMA’s Region 9, which includes California. “It’s not a wait-and-see game.”

……Continue reading more @ LA Times

 

Evacuees stranded with no end in sight to Lake Oroville crisis

– SF Gate

OROVILLE, Butte County — The crisis at Lake Oroville may grind on for weeks or longer — leaving the nearly 200,000 people ordered to evacuate on Sunday in nail-biting limbo as crews work to flush water out of the reservoir and shore up a badly eroded emergency spillway, officials said Monday.

State water officials have been purging nearly 100,000 cubic feet of water per second out of the reservoir’s damaged but functioning primary spillway, an effort that brought the level down below the lip of the emergency spillway Sunday night, averting catastrophe.

But they are just beginning to assess the scope of the weekend damage, a first step in developing a plan to secure the reservoir and allow residents to return to their homes.

More rain is forecast to soak Lake Oroville and the surrounding mountains beginning Wednesday night, increasing the urgency of the work being done at the reservoir.

Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday evening that there might be an indication Tuesday on when evacuees can return to their towns, but added that caution was the watchword. “Better safe than sorry,” he said.

“My message is that we’re doing everything we can to get this dam in shape so they can return and live safely,” said the governor, who declared a state of emergency Sunday to mobilize disaster resources.

Crews noticed Sunday that the hillside under the emergency spillway — also called the auxiliary spillway — had begun rapidly deteriorating, just one day after water started cascading over its ledge for the first time since the Oroville Dam was put into operation in 1968.

That deep erosion scar carved its way back to the foot of the spillway’s apron, a concrete lip perched at the top of the hill, threatening the integrity of the barrier.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea ordered an estimated 188,000 residents downstream along the Feather River to evacuate around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, when the possible breach in the spillway was detected. There was no plan for that evacuation order to be lifted, but Honea said officials were working on a “repopulation plan” for the residents.

“When it’s safe, based upon the evaluation by the Department of Water Resources and the state and federal partners, then we’ll be in a better position to decide when to lift that evacuation,” he said.

The Department of Water Resources began dropping large bags of rocks Monday afternoon via helicopters onto the eroded emergency spillway to divert water coming down the earthen hillside during future heavy rains and snowmelt. State officials did not give a timeline on how long it would take to shore up the scarred hillside.

Evacuees, meanwhile, anxiously cooled their heels in evacuation centers scattered throughout the area, without any sense of when they could return home.

Jaswinder Phagura, admitted she was “scared” as she stayed at the Sikh Temple emergency shelter in West Sacramento with family.

“How long will we be here?” said the 48-year-old Live Oak resident, who fled to the shelter with her 4-year-old daughter, sister-in-law and brother-in-law. “I hope when we go back that everything is OK there — pictures, our kids’ stuff.

“We just grabbed some stuff. It’s scary,” she said.

At the Cal Expo fairground in Sacramento, where families poured in throughout the evening, Treena Manion pointed out that many, like her, were losing income for every day they weren’t able to go to work back home — and that could quickly become a hardship. Still, she could understand the caution.

“Our lives are more important, and everything else can be replaced,” said the 43-year-old Marysville woman, who fled with her husband, daughter and five other relatives.

Among the others getting a hasty change of scenery: 579 inmates from Butte County Jail, who were evacuated in guarded buses 150 miles south to Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Officials tried to assure evacuees that it was better to endure the inconvenience than to risk death beneath a roiling wall of water. .

“We don’t want people coming back into the community, then having another incident and having to evacuate again,” said Chris Orrock, spokesman for the water resources department. “Our No. 1 priority is the safety of the community and our staff.”

Complicating matters is a series of storms set to hit the area around Lake Oroville starting late Wednesday that will accelerate inflow into the reservoir.

“The area around Lake Oroville and mountains around Lake Oroville will see 1 to 2 inches with that storm,” said Tom Dang, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Sacramento.

That system will be followed by several more soaking storms through the weekend. Weekly rain totals could be as much as 8 inches in the mountains around Lake Oroville, Dang said.

Water continued to pour into Lake Oroville at 37,000 cubic feet per second on Monday while the lake level fell from 901 feet on Sunday to about 895 feet around noon Monday. Based on the current inflow and outflow, the Department of Water Resources said the reservoir is dropping at a rate of 8 feet per day.

It wasn’t clear if the next series of storms — or any rains or snowmelt that may follow — could push the water back up and over the emergency spillway.”

…Continue reading more @ SFGate

 

Governor Brown’s Monday Press Conference  | Nearly a Full Week after the start of the crisis last Tuesday

– Youtube

– Jerry Brown sounds like someone that just got into office. He seems to know so little so he goes into his politician mode.

“We have a lot of stuff here, we have to depend on the professionals, the engineers, they tell us what we need and then we do it.”

– Apparently not, reports are that the spillway badly needed repair and the governor did nothing since for three years. Instead he went to Rome, championed fighting Global Warming and championed programs for illegal aliens.

In a rambling, disjointed press conference he held after nearly a week of major problems at the dam, he tried to put the best face on his ill-timed and ill-considered squabbles with Washington now that he was asking for help and money from DC.

“It’s very difficult,” he stammered, “uh, I don’t….it’s hard to understand how people have been able to evacuate so quickly….and it distubance…to their lives.” What?

Two hundred thousand people evacuated and displaced, no government assistance, and all he can say is trust the government that they all doing all they can, when clearly they didn’t when it really mattered.

The Governor is now mired in three serious crises on his part time watch: The deal to bury toxic, deadly nuclear waste on the beach in San Onofre, the nation’s largest gas leak at Porter Ranch which also has no end in sight and now this potentially catastrophic disaster of his own making. Perhaps the governor should have concentrated on critical state problems instead of trying to be a global climate statesman. /CJ

 

 

Oroville Dam Failure May be Jerry Brown’s Legacy | Feb 13, 2017

DONNELLY: Jerry Brown’s California Legacy is a Dam Failure

– Breitbart

“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.”

…..Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

The Latest: Governor has no imminent plans to visit dam site

– San Jose Mercury News

“2:45 p.m.

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.”

….Continue reading more @ Mercury News

Verify: Was the Oroville spillway damaged in 2013?

– ABC10.com

“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.”

….Continue reading more @ ABC10.com

 

How Did the Oroville Dam Crisis Get So Dire?

– The Atlantic

“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.’

….Continue reading @ theAtlantic.com

Kamala Harris Questioned on San Onofre Scandal Conflict of Interest | May 2016

Kamala Harris Questioned about Conflict of Interest in San Onofre Edison Closure Deal during Senate Debate  |

– KPBS

 – Senate candidate and current California Attorney General Kamala Harris was asked her opinion on a recent Public Utilities Commission plan to keep the San Onofre nuclear waste on site for the foreseeable future. Harris declined to answer stating as AG she was representing the CPUC as well as conducting a criminal investigation into the CPUC and the plant closure deal.
    The moderator correctly pointed out that the two issues were not related when Harris let out the bombshell that she was conducting a criminal investigation into the nuclear plant and ‘the conduct that took place there.’
    This appears to the tip of a very large iceberg here. In the middle of her Senate campaign, Kamala Harris faces a huge conflict of interest in a major scandal. The deal ironed out between the CPUC and Edison was clearly illegal, Harris has evidence as the result of a search, and now we find that Gov Jerry Brown is refusing to release emails related to the matter.
 – The San Diego Union-Tribune published an article on the issue the moderator is raising here

 

Gov Jerry Brown Refuses to Release emails and other records related to the backdoor Edison deal that stuck the rate payers with a 3.4 billion bill  |  Why?

– CalWatchDog.com

Screen-shot-2013-02-19-at-4.13.49-PM-e1361308552562

“But while the criminal division of the state Attorney General’s Office is pursuing the criminal probe, the civil division of the office is supporting Gov. Jerry Brown in his fight against disclosing emails between his office, the PUC and utilities during the period decisions were being made about how to pay for the costs of closing San Onofre.

Recent coverage of the case in the San Diego media has featured sharp criticism of Harris’ dual role in dealing with the scandal.

“In this case, for the [attorney general] to investigate the communications with the [California Public Utilities Commission] while representing a potential witness who is a potential subject of the investigation is a conflict,” former San Diego County District Attorney Paul Pfingst told KPBS.

“One of the problems with the conflict is it invites the attorney general to narrow the investigation to avoid the conflict,” former San Diego City Attorney Mark Aguirre told the San Diego public broadcasting affiliate.

“If the investigation into the Public Utilities Commission involves the nuclear power plant, and that is something that’s the subject of the governor’s emails they are trying to keep secret, then I think there is a conflict,” Georgetown University law professor Paul F. Rothstein told the Union-Tribune. “The Attorney General’s Office should probably turn over one or the other of these cases to an independent counsel.”

“Government works best when it shines light on problems, not seeks to keep the public in the dark,” University of San Diego law professor Shaun Martin told the newspaper, criticizing Harris for helping efforts to keep public records from being released to the media.”

…Continue reading @ Calwatchdog.com

 

Attorney general Kamala Harris’s predictable “malpractice”

– San Diego Reader

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Statute of limitation runs out on San Onofre investigation
“On March 26, 2013, an executive of California Edison, Stephen Pickett, had a clandestine meeting with Michael Peevey, then president of the California Public Utilities Commission, at a hotel in Warsaw, Poland.

At this meeting, Peevey sketched out a strategy for Edison (majority owner of the now-shuttered San Onofre power plant) and San Diego Gas & Electric (minority owner) by which they could pass on the decommissioning costs of closing San Onofre to ratepayers, who had nothing to do with the mismanagement that led to the shutdown. Later, the commission approved a deal, which was very similar to what Peevey had suggested in Warsaw: ratepayers would pick up the tab for a whopping $3.3 billion. (Edison and SDG&E already had among the highest utility rates in the nation.)

The state attorney general’s office investigated and recovered the notes from that Warsaw meeting. Those notes were a smoking gun for obstruction of justice. But skeptics guffawed: attorney general Kamala Harris was running for the U.S. Senate. She wouldn’t dare cross Peevey pal and fellow Democratic governor Jerry Brown — whose sister Kathleen has been on Sempra Energy’s board of directors since 2013. (Sempra is the parent company of SDG&E.) The skeptics doubted that Harris would actually pursue a prosecution.

The skeptics were right.

Last month, the three-year period of the statute of limitations ran out. Unless the attorney general’s office investigates another angle on this case, Peevey, Edison, and Brown will skate. Harris did the same in the case against San Bruno, which suffered the destruction of a neighborhood and several deaths from an explosion that Pacific Gas & Electric will have to throw some money in the pot for. At least, in the San Bruno case, federal investigators have moved in. But “the feds are missing in action” on San Onofre, says San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre.

“For her to let the statute go is malpractice,” says Aguirre.

Harris has not put anything close to sufficient firepower on the case, as she has stalled it to advance her own political career. Since that Warsaw meeting, the legislature has passed bills to reform the utilities commission. Brown vetoed them.

Meanwhile, Aguirre and his law partner Maria Severson are fighting the San Onofre battle and have not been able to get copies of emails that are essential to the case.”

….More @ The Reader

 

 

“Economically, minimum wages may not make sense,” Jerry Brown | April 2016

Jerry Brown Admits $15 Min Wage Bad; Signs Anyway

– Breitbart

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“California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15-per-hour, the highest in the U.S. While admitting a $15 minimum wage made no economic sense, he said it made “moral” sense.

Brown signed a statewide increase to $10-per-hour less than two-and-a-half years ago. and opposed a new increase to $15 until pressure from unions caused him to relent. (Union contributions to moderate Democrats also helped.)

“Economically, minimum wages may not make sense,” Brown said, according to the Sacramento Bee. But “[m]orally and socially and politically, they [minimum wages] make every sense because it binds the community together and makes sure that parents can take care of their kids in a much more satisfactory way.”

The governor made no comment on what parents who cannot find jobs are meant to do to take care of their children.”

…Continue reading @ Breitbart

 

 

 

McDonald’s Announces Its Answer to $15 an Hour Minimum Wage – Touch-Screen Cashiers

– TheGatewayPundit

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“This is exactly what the left pushed for… Fast food chains were never meant to be a place for someone to raise a family of 6, they were to be part time positions with some full-time advancements. Mostly the fast food restaurants were for school aged kids to learn how to interact with people, with a job, to offer spending money, and to begin responsibility learning for their future.”

…Continue reading @ thegatewaypundit.com

 

 

 

Here Come Minimum Wage Increases; Here Come the Robots

– Fox and Hounds

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“At Gov. Jerry Brown’s press conference supporting a deal on the minimum wage, an overarching point was merely touched upon: Will the minimum wage help or hurt workers that are subject to the proposed law? Business response to the law likely would be increased prices, reduced jobs opportunities and opening the door to working robots.

At the press conference, Brown argued that business would be “cutting its own throat” if business opposed the minimum wage deal and helped shut it down in the legislature. It would then face a more draconian initiative already qualified for the November ballot, he said.

The governor and his allies declared that polling showed widespread support for the initiative. Brown admitted that the specter of the initiative was the force that brought him and others to the negotiating table.

I have been privy to private polls that suggest a different story; that the initiative is no slam-dunk and that the business community might take its chances on a ballot fight, or alternatively, as I wrote yesterday, consider a referendum on successful legislation.

The governor says that businesses will have time to adjust to the wage increase before the $15 mark takes hold in full—2023 for businesses with 25 employees or less, a year earlier for other businesses. However, many small business owners worry how they can cope.

One restaurateur told a reporter, “First you have to raise prices, otherwise you’ll be out of business.”

Mandated minimum wage increases would likely set off a domino effect to raise wages for other workers above the minimum wage level. The increase in wages and prices could easily have an inflationary impact. Those hurt the most by inflation and price increases are people on the lower end of the economic scale.

Besides these usual economic arguments levied in the minimum wage debate comes a relatively new one spurred by the advance in technology.

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The governor was asked if the minimum wage would lead to a more mechanized work force. In other words, are robots coming to take people’s jobs?

The governor said that would happen. He said higher wages lead to automation. He is right, of course, and some mechanization of the work force will advance without a minimum wage increase, however, the increased minimum wage laws likely will hasten that day.

Ironically, on the same day of the press conference, the Los Angeles Times ran an opinion piece by Bryan Dean Wright which raises serious concerns about robots taking over jobs.

He cited a White House economists forecast that, “Most occupations that pay less than $20 an hour are likely to be, in the words of the report, “automated into obsolescence.””

Whiles supporters of the California minimum wage deal at the press conference hailed the proposal as something that would spread across the country, California’s action will spur the darker side of such a proposal and hurt the people it intends to help.”

…from FoxandHoundsdaily.com

 

Porter Ranch Gas Leak: Blame Jerry Brown – Feb 2016

California’s Gas Leak Disaster Signals a State of Emergency for Us All

– The Fiscal Times

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“Regulators describe the Aliso Canyon facility as gleaming on the outside but junk beneath the surface. Incredibly, when the leaking well was last upgraded — all the way back in 1979 — officials removed a safety valve that would have prevented the disaster. Even more incredibly, that valve was not required under state or federal rules; only wells within 300 feet of a home must have them. SoCal Gas apparently lied to regulators about replacing the valve.

Briana Mordick of the Natural Resources Defense Council cites flawed state regulation of underground oil and gas wells as a major culprit here. The state Underground Injection Control program suffers from inadequate staffing and a lack of testing (pressure tests only occur every five years, for example). The program also allows corroding wells like the one leaking, which was built in 1953 as an oil well and converted to gas storage in 1973, to remain in use despite outdated construction. Like the missing safety valve, state regulations do not required older wells to be retired. “In fact, California’s UIC rules don’t include any standards for well construction,” Mordick writes.

Critics have implicated Jerry Brown in this leniency, citing his industry ties. He has resisted tougher regulations on fracking. He has explored for oil and gas on his own private land. Brown’s sister, Kathleen Brown, is a board member with Sempra Energy, the parent company of SoCal Gas.”

Read more here @ Fiscal Times

– So the gas leak reveals a disturbing pattern by the Gov Jerry Brown, the pseudo-environmentalist, who neglects the basics to protect Californians, yet traipses the globe to protect against global warming.  Lest we forget, the recent Santa Barbara oil spill was also the result of a lack of an auto-shutoff valve.

Gov Dementia has turned into Gov Disaster.

But then let’s remember his campaign slogan from his failed and quixotic 1980 presidential run:

His 1980 campaign slogan was “protect the earth, serve the people and explore the universe.”

Read how Jerry Brown came to be known as Gov Moonbeam here @ NYT.com

PIPELINE HAD NO AUTOMATIC SHUT-OFF VALVE IN CALIFORNIA SPILL

– CalFrack.org

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“The pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of oil into the waters off California earlier this week did not have an automatic shut-off valve, a Santa Barbara county official said Sunday.

In fact, the pipeline was the only one of its kind in the area without an automatic shut-off valve, the Associated Press reported. Its original owner fought – and won – a late 1980s court battle to skirt the requirement.

Since the pipeline formed part of an interstate network, the former owners argued it should be subject to federal, not county regulations. Federal regulations do not require auto shut-off valves.

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“It’s the only major pipeline that doesn’t have auto shut-off,” Kevin Drude, deputy director of the county’s Energy and Minerals Division told the AP. “For us, it’s routine.”

Read more @ CalFrack.org