How to Make California’s Southland Water Independent for $30 Billion

The megapolis on California’s southern coast stretches from Ventura County on the northern end, through Los Angeles County, Orange County, down to San Diego County on the border with Mexico. It also includes the western portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Altogether these six counties have a population of 20.5 million residents. According to the California Department of Water Resources, urban users consume 3.7 million acre feet of water per year, and the remaining agricultural users in this region consume an additional 700,000 acre feet.

Much of this water is imported. In an average year, 2.6 million acre feet of water is imported by the water districts serving the residents and businesses in these Southland counties. The 701 mile long California Aqueduct, mainly conveying water from the Sacramento River, contributes 1.4 million acre feet. The 242 mile long Colorado River Aqueduct adds another 1.0 million acre feet. Finally, the Owens River on the east side of the Sierras contributes 250,000 acre feet via the 419 mile long Los Angeles Aqueduct.

California’s Plumbing System The major interbasin systems of water conveyance, commonly known as aqueducts

California’s Overall Water Supplies Must Increase

Californians have already made tremendous strides conserving water, and the potential savings from more stringent conservation mandates may not yield significant additional savings. Population growth is likely to offset whatever remaining savings that may be achievable via additional conservation.

Meanwhile, the state mandated water requirements for California’s ecosystems continue to […] Read More

Gavin Newsom’s California Dream Team – the Oligarchs and the Agitators

If one were to distill the essence of California’s Democratic party into a one page document, it would be hard to beat a recent mail piece showing the SEIU’s candidate endorsements for California’s top jobs. According to their website, the Service Employees International Union, Local 1000, commonly referred to as the SEIU, “is a united front of 96,000 working people employed by the State of California, making Local 1000 the largest public sector union in California and one of the largest in the country.”

Occupying the entire upper right segment of the obverse side of this mailer is a portrait photo of Gavin Newsom – a beatific smile revealing perfect teeth, coiffed hair swept back in an elegant pompadour, eyes shining with courage, equanimity, love. Gavin Newsom, the visionary leader, who will lead California into an even more enlightened future. And joining Gavin Newsom, the woke white puppet of the Getty oligarchy, arrayed in a row of eight portraits beneath his beneficent gaze, are his hardscrabble minions, the SEIU’s preferred candidates for California’s other state offices.

Gavin Newsom and his SEIU endorsed dream team of running mates

Unlike their debonair white male overlord, Newsom, these candidates were born woke, and virtuous by virtue of their genetics. Five Latino males, two Asian females, and a Black male constitute Gavin Newsom’s electoral coterie. And with that prerequisite established, only one additional virtue is required to please the SEIU, a commitment to hard left identity politics. And […] Read More

How Libertarian Candidates Could Hand Control of the U.S. Congress to Democrats

With control of the U.S. Congress to be decided in less than five months, many factors have been identified that could affect the outcome. Will voters in California flip five congressional seats from GOP to Democrat? Will the “blue wave” wash across America, emanating from the coasts and inundating flyover country? Will Trump’s gambles on trade and foreign affairs turn out to be triumphs or setbacks? With the America’s future hanging in the balance, one perennial (and growing) threat to GOP control does not receive nearly enough attention: Libertarian candidates.

America is a two party system. That’s reality. When a third party candidate runs an effective campaign, with rare exceptions, they siphon votes predominately away from one major party’s candidate. In 1968 George Wallace took votes away from Richard Nixon, who won anyway. In 2000 Ralph Nadar took votes away from Al Gore, who would have otherwise won. In 2016, pothead Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received 4.5 million votes, and nearly handed victory to Hillary Clinton.

There are currently thirty races across the country for U.S. Congressional seats that are considered toss-ups. These thirty are all considered toss-ups by three reputable national political analysts, the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections. It is important to note that if you widen the search to “competitive races” instead of neck and neck toss-ups, that number grows from 30 to around 100. And of just those 30 toss-up congressional races, at least ten of them have viable […] Read More

Imminent Janus Court Ruling May Severely Impact Government Unions

The U.S. Supreme Court is about to rule on Janus vs AFSCME, a case that challenges the ability of public sector unions to force government workers to pay union dues. Depending on the scope of the ruling, this case could dramatically affect the political power of big labor in the United States.

The case hinges on the assertion by plaintiff Mark Janus, a public employee in Illinois, that everything a public sector does is inherently political. As a result, Janus argues, even the so-called “agency fees” the union charges – ostensibly to fund nonpolitical activities such as contract negotiations – are a violation of his right to free speech. He’s got a strong case, because nearly everything public sector unions negotiate have a direct impact on public policy.

When a public sector union negotiates for increased pension benefits, for example, every other budget item is affected. In states like California and Illinois, costs for public employee pensions are exceeding 10% of total tax revenuess in some cities and counties, crowding out other public services with no end in sight. And everywhere public sector unions are active, their impact on budgets, along with their negotiated work rules, significantly alter how our elected officials set policy priorities and how they manage our government agencies.

HIGH STAKES

The stakes in the Janus case are epic. Nearly half of all unionized workers in the United States are government workers. Public sector unions collect and spend nearly $6.0 billion per […] Read More

Libertarians Will Turn America into a Socialist Hell

If you believe in limited government, then you need to know that Libertarians are the most dangerous people in America. Because thanks to Libertarians, Democrats – completely controlled by left-wing oligarchs and public sector unions – are going to extend government control into every facet of American life. If you doubt that, come to California, a one-party state where Democrats enforce everything from the trivial – outlawed plastic straws, to the tyrannical – water rationing, urban “densification,” confiscatory taxes.

Libertarians apparently believe their principles justify them running candidates that steal far more votes from Republicans than Democrats – for the obvious reason that people who favor limited government tend to vote Republican. But despite all their intellectualizing – go online and try not to puke as you read their high-brow badinage as they banter over Hayek and the Austrian School and “objectivism” – they can’t understand simple math: If you siphon votes away from Republicans, Democrats win.

Just this week, a Libertarian candidate in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District attracted 1,379 votes, which handed the election to a Democrat who won by 627 votes. Good job.

If the Libertarians, thank God, hadn’t ran a vapid stoner for President in 2016, Hillary Clinton would be our president today, falling down the White House stairs on her way to turning America into California, instead tripping while touring the Jahaz Mahal palace in India. Think about that.

And what of “libertarian” thought? On every political issue of significance to this nation, Libertarians are […] Read More

What Californians Could Build Using the $64 Billion Bullet Train Budget

California’s High-Speed Rail project fails to justify itself according to any set of rational criteria. Its ridership projections are absurdly inflated, its environmental benefits are overstated if not actually net detriments, and its cost, its staggering cost, $64 billion by the latest estimate, overwhelms anyone with even a remote sense of financial proportions. To make this final point clear, here is an assortment of California infrastructure projects that could be paid for with a $64 billion budget.

If these projects were built, instead of the bullet train, Californians would have abundant, cheap electricity, abundant fresh water, and upgraded roads and freeways capable of handling all the traffic a surging economy could possibly dish out.

(1) Build 10 natural gas power plants generating 6.2 gigawatts of electrical output for $5.7 billion.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a modern natural gas power plant generating 620 megawatts can be built at a capital cost of $568 million. Someday, when electricity storage technologies are inexpensive and safe, the solar age can ripen to maturity, but in the meantime, California’s private energy companies can tap abundant in-state natural gas reserves, enabling California’s public utilities to provide cheap electricity to the public.

Since California’s peak demand rarely exceeds 50 gigawatts, increasing capacity by 12% will drive the price for electricity way down, making California competitive again with other states. Cheap electricity will also obviate the need to force consumers to purchase extremely expensive “energy sipping” appliances that are internet enabled, monitor […] Read More

Christmas Cards 2012

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Martini 19.75″ x 27.5″, 2005

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Pinwheels 19″ x 24″, 2006

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Mandala 18″ x 18″, 2007

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Octopus 12″ x 12″, 2008

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Backgammon 16″ x 18.5″, 2009

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Yin Yang 18″ x 18″, 2010

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Andromeda 20″ x 34″, 2011

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Chromaticism 10.75″ x 13.5″, 2012

 

Defending Defined Benefits

Among pension reformers there is a spirited ongoing debate regarding what might constitute a financially sustainable yet equitable solution. On one side there is a call to do away with defined benefits entirely, replacing them with defined contribution plans. The argument is compelling; with defined contribution plans, when the participant retires, they survive on the assets they have invested, and the employer has no contingent liability whatsoever. This is an appealing scenario to anyone who fully appreciates just how close our public sector pension funds are to financial collapse. But some of the ways defined benefits are characterized by their detractors are inaccurate.

For example, defined benefit plans are often referred to as “Ponzi schemes,” based on the premise that pension funds depend on new participants making contributions in order to fund the distributions being made to retirees. But the scam used by Ponzi (and Madoff) was to let new investors fund interest payments to existing investors, while all the while making the promise that existing investors had a claim on their original principal investment and could have it back at any time. Defined benefits do not offer a return of principal. If incoming contributions, plus interest earned on assets under management, offer sufficient extra capital to fund distributions, a pension fund is sustainable. A Ponzi scheme by definition is not sustainable.

Slightly more apt, but still inaccurate, is to characterize defined benefit plans as “Pyramid schemes,” based on the same premise – that their solvency depends on new participants […] Read More

The Fate of the Mourning Dove

A few months ago my wife and I noticed a pair of doves were building a nest in a nook above the front door of our home. Atop a piller, beneath an eve, inaccessible to any creature who couldn’t either fly or use a ladder, the location for this nest was thoughtfully chosen. Through the rainy days and nights of February, the birds completed their nest and sat on the eggs.

For nearly a month the birds were always there, until sometime in early March when they abandoned the nest. My wife checked the nest and verified the eggs were still there – apparently not destined to hatch, the Doves had left them to scavengers. Within a few weeks the eggs were gone, with the parents away another winged creature had broken them open and consumed them. But the doves weren’t through with us.

In April the birds returned, the female lay a new pair of eggs, and through the lengthening days they sat atop them. This time we were skeptical as to whether or not the eggs would hatch, but we were starting to get attached to this persistent, quiet pair. The neighborhood cats were also paying close attention.

On the morning of May 12th we left our homes to go to work and noticed the eggs had hatched. Within a few days we could see them, huddled next to their mother, always quiet, always still. Often the mother would perch on a rooftop nearby but away from the […] Read More