.

THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CALIFORNIA - This site is dedicated to exposing the continuing Marxist Revolution in California and the all around massive stupidity of Socialists, Luddites, Communists, Fellow Travelers and of Liberalism in all of its ugly forms.


"It was a splendid population - for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home - you never find that sort of people among pioneers - you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day - and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, "Well, that is California all over."

- - - - Mark Twain (Roughing It)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

San Diego Preparing for 130,000 Visitors to 44th Comic-Con



Thank God, The Crazies Are Back!
  • I for one have had it with the liars and thieves in politics.  So for a few days we can celebrate the "crazies" of the world of comics, sci-fi and fantasy who are gathering in San Diego.  From alien invasions to sharknados to zombies, they have give us hours of pleasure.


(Times of San Diego)  -  For those about to geek, we salute you.

We’re talking to you, Comic-Con attendees. Comic-Con International 2014 is almost here and the annual massive celebration of all things pop culture doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

This year’s event will run from Wednesday through Sunday, promising a non-stop, noisy, sweaty, overstimulated week of movies, television shows, comic books and video games.

Now in its 44th year, the Con has grown up. It’s not the pimple-faced, squeaky-voiced teenager any more. It’s smarter, more mature. But with that age has come some problems — impossibly long lines, jampacked hallways and ballrooms and an urban sprawl that requires you to wear your most comfortable shoes and pack some aspirin.


What started out as a small gathering of comic book fans in a hotel ballroom has exploded into a global pop culture festival that has burst at the seams of the cavernous San Diego Convention Center and spilled over into Petco Park and downtown’s Gaslamp quarter.

This year is no exception with more than 130,000 fans and media expected to descend onto the convention center and downtown area.  And that’s the just lucky ones able to buy passes or get credentials.

But fear not, true believer. If you couldn’t get a pass to Comic-Con this year, or if you’ve never been and are curious about it, you can still enjoy it.

The easiest way is to simply plop yourself down in a Gaslamp restaurant and watch the parade of costumed fans walk by.

There’s also the annual Zombie Walk through the Gaslamp. A couple of hundred fans dress up as zombies and walk up and down Fifth Avenue, in front of the convention center. The makeup can be elaborate, and there are all kinds of zombies, including children with their parents. Just beware that the Zombie Walk has become incredibly popular so get there early if you want a good viewing spot. This year’s Zombie Walk is scheduled for Saturday at 5:15 p.m.

Read More . . . Times of San Diego.






A Princess Leia Contest
If you think Princess Leia in chains is hot
you know you are a nerd.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

A 43% Drop in California Manufacturing Jobs



Covering for the Marxist Democrats
  • With the election only 90 days away, the Leftist Los Angeles Times wrote a kiss-ass puff piece in their business section talking about how California businesses are so much more productive than they used to be.
  • But even the Times had to work in the hard truth that manufacturing jobs are flooding out of the People's Republic of California in search of a home with lower taxes and fewer big government regulations.


The Los Angeles Times reports the output of state factories has surged 73% during the last 15 years — twice as fast as the rest of the nation — even as the sector bleeds jobs, according to a new report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

The surge in production owes itself to innovations in machinery and materials, digitization and computing power, along with a strong network of industry clusters.

Under pressure from automation, offshoring and aggressive cost-cutting, the state's manufacturing workforce shriveled to 1.2 million in 2012 from 2.1 million jobs in 1990 — a faster rate of decline than the nation as a whole.
 

The difference exceeds the total number of current manufacturing positions in all of Southern California.

"The composition of manufacturing is going to change and has been changing," LAEDC economist Christine Cooper said. "It's becoming more advanced and technologically intensive. And it's more lean."

Overall, the lower half of the state accounts for two-thirds of total manufacturing employment in the state, with more than 814,000 workers.

Los Angeles County had more than 365,500 manufacturing jobs in 2012, making up 9.2% of total countywide employment and nearly 30% of all manufacturing jobs across the state. As a producer, the region is most competitive in the fashion and aerospace industries.

But as California's economy diversifies, manufacturing is becoming a less dominant part of the state's economic identity.

Manufacturing now accounts for 10.7% of the total value of all goods and services produced in the state, compared with 11.6% in 1990.

Read more Los Angeles Times.




Thursday, July 17, 2014

California's drought could last for years


A parched lawn in front of the California State Capitol on June 18, 2014 in Sacramento, California.
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Just "saving" water won't cut it
  • Looney Toons Leftist Democrat run California talks about spending billions on bullet trains with a passion.  But when it comes to water almost nothing meaningful is done.
  • The Future  -  "Farmers have to sit down and ask themselves... do they want their children and grandchildren to be farming?"


Experts are warning that California's record drought will have a long-term impact on the state's nationally vital agricultural sector, as well as its residents and environment, unless better water management policies are introduced.

A study by the University of California, Davis' Center for Watershed Sciences find that this year's drought and the resulting water shortage will cost the state about $1.5 billion in direct agricultural costs, including $810 million in crop revenue and over $200 million in dairy and livestock.

Total drought-related costs to the California economy for the year are projected at $2.2 billion, with a loss of 17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs.

The report, which was released Tuesday, was funded by the state's Department of Food and Agriculture, as well as the California Department of Water Resources reports CBS News.

What California's agriculture will look like if the
Democrats continue to refuse to act.

Dry conditions in California are unlikely to go away. Researchers expect next year to be another drought year for California, even if a change in El NiƱo conditions brings some much-needed rain to the state.

The big concern, according to the report, is what several more years of drought might end up meaning for California's ground water supplies, especially since it is the only western state where groundwater use remains largely unregulated.

"Continued drought in 2015 and 2016 would lead to additional overdraft of aquifers and lower groundwater levels, thereby escalating pumping costs, land subsidence and drying up of wells," the report notes.

And according to the researchers, drought conditions in 2015 and 2016 could end up costing California's Central Valley -- one of the nation's most productive agricultural regions -- an estimated $1 billion annually in crops.

Richard Howitt, a University of California, Davis professor emeritus of agriculture and resource economics, helped to present the drought research at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. He says the state's agricultural sector needs to realize its water supplies have limits, and the industry must take the lead in groundwater management.

"My message to farmers is treat groundwater like you treat your retirement account," Howitt said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Know how much water's in it and how fast it's being used."

"It's very simple economics, but it's such an emotional topic," he added. "Farmers have to sit down and ask themselves... do they want their children and grandchildren to be farming?"


Solar Powered Desalination Plant
California political hacks sit sucking their thumbs and mumble about "conservation".  Meanwhile  other nations act to create brand new water for business and personal use.
.
Saudi Arabia announced a partnership with IBM to pursue this goal. King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Saudi Arabia’s leading R&D institute, will team with IBM to study the possibility of building a solar powered desalination plant in the city of Al Khafji, in the northeast of the country, according to a report in Arabian Business.com.
.
The solar-powered facility would feature ultra-high concentrator photovoltaic (UHCPV) technology, jointly developed by IBM and KACST, and could provide 30,000 cubic meters of water per day for over 100,000 people. Today, the most common methods used for seawater desalination are thermal technology and reverse osmosis.
.
“Saudi Arabia is the largest producer of desalinated water in the world, and we continue to invest in new ways of making access to fresh water more affordable,” said Dr Turki Al-Saud, a vice president at KACST.  (www.greenprophet.com)

Al-Khobar Desalination plant in Saudi Arabia
.
The Kingdom operates 27 desalination stations that produce more than three million cubic meters a day of potable water. These plants provide more than 70 percent of the water used in cities, as well as a sizeable portion of the needs of industry. They are also a major source of electric power generation.
.
See more:
 Saudi Embassy.net 
and
Saudi Arabia: The Desalination Nation

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Return of the California Grizzly



John Muir Would Be Proud
Conservationists are looking to re-introduce the
Grizzly back into the Golden State.


By Mariel Garza
Sacramento Bee

Not that long ago, grizzly bears ruled the wild places of the western United States, ranging the length of California from the coastal mountains in the south to the Cascade Range in the north.
The brown bears were so ubiquitous that early Californians chose one to adorn their flag, a symbol of the state – awesome, powerful and unstoppable.

No other creature in the land could outfight Ursus arctos horribilis. Not until we came along.
Humans nearly drove this majestic creature into oblivion, slaughtering them for sport, revenge or profit. It’s the official state animal of California, even though it doesn’t live here anymore.

Now, 92 years after the last California grizzly bear was killed in Tulare County, there’s an effort to return them to their ancestral homelands. Or at least those that haven’t been swallowed up by development and could sustain a predator that has been known to grow as large as 2,200 pounds.
Places such as California’s Sierra Nevada.

It’s one of the few locations that the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, is proposing as ideal for a return of the grizzly.


In a petition submitted last month to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the group is urging adding to the current grizzly bear recovery zones. Those additions include the Sierra Nevada and three other spots: Mogollon Rim in Arizona and Gila Wilderness in New Mexico; Grand Canyon in Arizona; and Uinta Mountains in Utah.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/13/6545721/the-return-of-the-grizzly.html#storylink=cpy

Though saved from extinction by federal listing as an endangered species, and now numbering as many as 1,800 in the lower 48 states, the grizzly, or brown bear, exists in only a few spots outside of Alaska – islands around Yellowstone and Glacier national parks in Wyoming and Montana.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/13/6545721/the-return-of-the-grizzly.html#storylink=cpy

As an avid hiker with an appreciation for, and healthy fear of, bears, this news both thrilled and alarmed me. I like the idea of a once-threatened species returning to its former habitat. I cheered when OR7, the gray wolf, crossed into California in 2011, the first wolf to return to the Golden State in 70 years.

But when it comes to 1-ton predators, especially those that sometimes eat people, out of sight is my preference. Way out of sight. “You know what that means?” a friend asked last weekend as we hiked around Euer Valley near Truckee. “We’d have to hike with rifles.”

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/13/6545721/the-return-of-the-grizzly.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/13/6545721/the-return-of-the-grizzly.html#storylink=cpy

Read More . . . .


Exterminated by Man
A group of young visitors get their first look at Monarch Thursday April 28, 2011. The last California grizzly bear, who is named Monarch, is stuffed and on display at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Calif. Monarch died in 1911, having lived out his life in San Francisco. He is the famous grizzly bear on the state flag.
.
The dark brown bear named Monarch was captured in 1889 in a publicity stunt concocted by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst and kept for 22 years in a cage. California's last captive grizzly, whose image is on the state flag, died 100 years ago this month in Golden Gate Park. 
(San Francisco Chronicle)
Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle

Saturday, July 12, 2014

ANARCHY - 481 votes separate two Democrat Controller candidates in recount


Bloated gas-bag union hack John Perez, Betty Yee
and GOP Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin.

A GOP Opportunity
  • GOP Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin can concentrate on the general election while the two Leftist loon Democrats slash each other into chunks in a statewide vote recount.
  • The State Controller keeps the books of the world's eighth-largest economy. He also sits on 81 state boards and commissions, including those that run the state's huge pension funds, administer its taxes, control its public lands, and fund school facilities, transportation and alternative energy projects.


Looney Toons Leftist John Perez thought he had the race for State Controller bought and paid for by his labor union backers.  He had a bankroll far bigger than those of his rivals, the political clout after four years as Assembly speaker and the Democratic stronghold of Los Angeles as his home base.
 
Yet the June primary election's initial tally found him 481 votes behind out of more than 4 million cast, behind Democratic rival Betty Yee, a Board of Equalization member from Alameda. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican, finished first.

Now Perez has demanded a recount in 15 counties, launching California's first-ever recount for a statewide office -- a process that critics say can let better-funded candidates try to buy their way out of defeat. The recount began Friday after Secretary of State Debra Brown certified the election reports the San Joes Mercury News.


California law lets Perez choose which counties are recounted, and in what order. He must pay for the recount as it goes, but can stop it at any time -- though Yee can promptly request one too. It's a time-consuming process on a hard deadline: The state must print ballots for November's election in time to start mailing them out Sept. 5 to overseas and military voters.

Perez argues that the razor-thin margin makes it "of the utmost importance that an additional, carefully conducted review of the ballots be undertaken to ensure that every vote is counted." But Yee counters that "cherry-picking only the 15 counties that he won, and sorting the precincts within the counties to reflect his strongest areas, indicates that he has no interest in a fair and impartial recount."

Perez, 44, is a former union political director, and state worker unions hope he'll be more likely than Yee -- or incumbent John Chiang -- to side with them on public pensions, salary disclosures and other matters.

So never before has 0.012 percent of the vote hurt so much or caused so much second-guessing.

"When you're talking about 500 votes ... you're thinking about everything you possibly could've done, everywhere you could've spent money, endorsements you could've gotten," said Corey Cook, director of the University of San Francisco's Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good.

Perez started 2014 with $1.87 million banked for the race, Yee with $502,000. Perez outraised and outspent Yee from January through May 17, and they entered the campaign's final weeks with $1.84 million and $116,000 left, respectively. Independent spending favored Perez, too: State-worker unions spent $48,500 on his behalf, while the National Organization for Women's California chapter spent $7,300 for Yee.


California Controller race results by county.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

In-N-Out Burger and Chipotle Prices Rising as California Drought Persists



In-N-Out Prices Up
Them is Fightin Words
  • While Jerry Brown, the Democrats and many Republicans are oiling each other up in a giant circle jerk of spending on a moronic bullet train, little has been done to create new water for business and jobs.
  • Now because of their inaction I will be paying more for my Double-Double.  The liars in Sacramento have gone too far. 


The jingle “hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us” may need to include hold the hamburgers too, as drought-related costs have spiked the prices of hamburgers at favorite fast-food restaurants like In-N-Out Burger.

The San Bernardino Sun reports that, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this year beef prices are going to rise 5.5 to 6.5 percent, and poultry should increase 3 to 4 percent.

Moreover, fruit, vegetables, and eggs will also increase in price by 3 to 4 percent. Significantly, California grows half of the nation's fruits and vegetables, but because of the record-setting drought, now in its third year, 500,000 acres of farmland remain uncultivated reports Breitbart News.

“We make every effort to keep our menu prices as low as possible,” claims In-N-Out’s executive vice president of development Carl Van Fleet. “Unfortunately, we have seen some pretty significant cost increases over the last year, and we had to take a small price increase in order to maintain our quality standards.”


All this boils down to higher prices for the consumer and, for those who are already feeling pinched by the lagging economic recovery, choosing what to order is being reconsidered. Giovanni Benitez, who recently had lunch at an In-N-Out Burger in Pasadena said, “I usually always get a combo, but now I might start buying just the hamburger.”

In-N-Out is not the only retail food chain raising prices. Chipotle Mexican and Starbucks are also increasing the prices on their menus. Both stores are increasing the price of items in the 4 to 10 percent range.

Notably, consumers aren’t the only ones being affected by the fallout of increased water costs due to the drought. A U.C. Davis Center for Watershed Sciences study indicates that the drought could cost California’s agricultural and farm communities $1.7 billion and predicts that 14,500 full-time and seasonal workers will lose their jobs.

Steve Arthur, who has been in the drilling-for-water business since 1974, said that he is booked through March of 2015 for drilling new wells. Steve says, “If farmers are not able to drill a well to keep their crops growing, then they are going to have to quit… The effects of that is going to be devastating. They are going to go into the market one day and a gallon of milk is going to cost ten dollars.”

A warning sign on a dried-out beach at Folsom Lake

Read more: Daily Mail

The Politicians Fail to Act
Next door in Nevada, Lake Mead, the valley's primary source of drinking water, continues to shrink under the crippling drought. This week the water level at Lake Mead is expected to hit its lowest level since 1937.
.
"We're very concerned about the continued drought of course; we're in the fourteenth year of drought," said Jayne Harkins with the Colorado River Commission.  (mynews3.com)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kern County Oil Field Gushing Water During Drought


 
Pumping Oil and Water


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The 115-year-old Kern River oil field unfolds into the horizon, thousands of bobbing pumpjacks seemingly occupying every corner of a desert landscape here in California’s Central Valley. A contributor to the state’s original oil boom, it is still going strong as the nation’s fifth-largest oil field, yielding 70,000 barrels a day.
 
But the Kern River field also produces 10 times more of something that, at least during California’s continuing drought, has become more valuable to many locals and has experienced the kind of price spike more familiar to oil: water. The field’s owner, Chevron, sells millions of gallons every day to a local water district that distributes it to farmers growing almonds, pistachios, citrus fruits and other crops.

It is one of the more unusual sources of water, one whose importance has increased in a year when the drought has forced farmers to fallow fields and bulldoze almond orchards. The water is pumped out of the same underground rock that contains oil; after the two are separated, the water flows through an eight-mile pipeline to Bakersfield’s Cawelo Water District, which this year will rely on Chevron’s water for half of its supply, up from an average of a quarter. The district sells it exclusively to farmers for irrigation and reduces its salinity by blending it with water from other sources reports the New York Times.

Water from the oil field is cleaned and released to a local water district, which sells it to agricultural buyers for irrigation.
Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times        

“These are the years that it really shines, because that water is constant no matter what the hydrology is,” said David R. Ansolabehere, the district’s general manager. “In wet years, it almost becomes a problem because we don’t have so much use for it. But in dry years, boy, it really does come in handy.”
 
Criticized for its use of water, especially in the process known as fracking, the oil industry is focusing on efforts to conserve and recycle water — or, in this case, to increase the available supply for irrigation. As drought has gripped California and Texas, the nation’s No. 3 and No. 1 oil-producing states, respectively, the industry has taken tentative steps to minimize its freshwater consumption. Some companies are recycling water produced in fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, while others have been fracking with brackish water and even without water.
Kern County

Bob Poole, a spokesman for Santa Maria Energy, a small oil producer in Santa Barbara County, said that oil companies must navigate the politics of drought in California. Santa Maria is planning to build an eight-mile pipeline to bring treated wastewater to its oil fields, where it injects steam and gas into rock to push out the oil in a process known as cyclic steaming.
 
The company chose to use treated wastewater, which is cheaper than freshwater, Mr. Poole said, adding, “We also felt that it was very important politically.”
 
In Kern County, oil producers and farmers have coexisted peacefully for decades, but that balance has changed in recent years. Advances in drilling technology have led oil companies to move into agricultural areas. In Shafter, just north of here, dozens of new oil fields are next to almond orchards and other crops. The possible eventual exploitation of a huge untapped oil reserve called the Monterey Shale, which lies under Kern County’s prime farmland, could mean the kind of intense fracking carried out in Texas and North Dakota.

About 760,000 barrels of water a day are produced at the Kern River oil field — compared with 70,000 barrels of oil — and half of the water goes to the Cawelo Water District.


The water produced by the oil field eventually flows into a mixing pond, right, where it is blended with other sources to make it suitable for irrigation.
Photo Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times


Oil and Water Don't Mix
While oil fields pump water for some farmers they have
killed the crops of other farmers.
.
KERN COUNTY  -  Fred Starrh, who farms along this industrial front, has seen firsthand what can happen when agriculture collides with oil. On an overcast February day, he drives his mother-of-pearl Lincoln Town Car down a dirt road through his orchards. Starrh Farms has 6,000 acres of pistachios, cotton, almonds and alfalfa. Starrh proudly points out almond trees planted 155 to the acre with the aid of lasers and GPS. At the edge of his land, he pulls up beside 20-foot-high earthen berms, the ramparts of large "percolation" ponds that belong to a neighbor, Aera Energy.
.
From the mid-1970s to the early 2000s, Aera dumped more than 2.4 billion barrels (or just over 100 billion gallons) of wastewater -- known in the industry as "produced water" -- from its North Belridge oilfield into those unlined ponds, Starrh says. The impact became apparent beginning in 1999, when Starrh dug several wells to augment the irrigation water he gets from the California Aqueduct. He mixed the groundwater with aqueduct water, applied it to a cotton field beside the berms -- and the plants wilted. Eventually, the well water killed almond trees, Starrh says; he points out a few that look like gray skeletons.
.
Starrh suspected that Aera's ponds were leaking pollutants. So he tested his well water and found high concentrations of chloride and boron along with detectable radiation -- common constituents of the oil industry's produced water. He took Aera -- a joint venture of Shell and ExxonMobil -- to court, and in the nine years of legal wrangling that followed, Aera was forced to disclose its practices. The state's regional water-quality control board ordered the company to stop dumping into the ponds, and Aera launched a cleanup of the site.
.
Last January, a Kern County jury awarded Starrh $8.5 million in damages and by October, the ponds had been demolished. But Starrh has appealed that court decision, saying he'll need as much as $2 billion to rehabilitate his land and construct terraced ponds to "flush" his soil and groundwater of toxins.
,
Read more
High Country News

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Water use increases in L.A. & San Diego during drought



Clueless Californians
  • Most of California's 39 million people live in a desert, but they use water like they are living in Seattle.
  • In the middle of a massive killer drought businesses and individuals are actually increasing their water usage.


It is "magic" water.  You just turn on the faucet and an endless stream of water pours out on command.

The Los Angeles Times reports that water use is actually increasing.

  • A recent statewide survey found that urban water use in coastal Southern California declined by only 5% from January through May. And a Times review of data from the region's three largest cities shows that use actually went up over the last year.
  • The San Diego County Water Authority recorded a 4% increase in overall demand since last summer.
  • In Long Beach total water use from October through May rose nearly 1% compared with the same months a year ago.

The Southland is not alone in missing the goal for voluntary reductions that Brown set when he proclaimed a drought emergency in January. No region of the state has met it, according to the survey of urban agencies conducted by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Statewide, average urban use from January through May fell 5% compared with the same period from 2011 to 2013.

Read more Los Angeles Times.


The Delta King in Sacramento
.
Just Suck It Dry
Bone dry Central and Southern California have done little to cut water use.  They want to take the easy way out and just suck dry the Sacramento Delta and the rivers of Northern California.

The Insanity of Man
There are bi-partisan demands for endless water for farmers, businesses, front lawns and golf courses but you are called a environmentalist "crazy" if you dare say out loud that we should "save water for fish, animals and nature."
.
The desert called California.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Los Angeles Follows San Diego, San Francisco in Push for $15 Minimum Wage



It's Magic Money
Just ask for more money and it will magically appear
in banks accounts of businesses and governments.


City labor unions in Los Angeles joined forces and are pushing for L.A. to increase its minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. This move follows San Diego and San Francisco, which are engaged in similar efforts.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Chairwoman Cheryl Parisi said she was unsure of how many city workers would actually benefit from the suggested minimum wage.

The Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which is composed of unions representing more than half of L.A.'s city workers, wants the increase both for city workers and those employed by city contractors, notes the Times says Breitbart News.

In addition to the push for a wage increase to at least $15 per hour, the coalition is seeking to curb the outsourcing of city work and make sure that part-time workers will be assigned enough hours to qualify for health benefits. The City of L.A. Bureau of Contract Administration has on its website a living wage ordinance which requires city contractors to pay their employees at east $12.28 per hour without health benefits or at least $11.03 with health benefits.

Hundreds of L.A. city workers protested bank fees in front of Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday, amid the expiration of thousands of labor contracts for city workers. The Times points out that, just the day before, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said that negotiations on new contracts with the unions in the coalition were "just at their starting point." According to the Times, the budget approved by Garcetti and the City Council for this fiscal year assumed that workers would not be receiving salary increases.

Beginning July 1 of this year, the state's minimum wage was raised by $1 and is now set at $9. That figure is slated to increase to $10 in January of 2016, as a result of Assembly Bill 10, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September of 2013.

Voting on the wage increase for workers and contractors will take place in November, along with the statewide general elections.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Solar desalination plant may solve California's water problems


Aaron Mandell, Co-founder and Chairman of WaterFX at the WaterFX desalination plant pilot project in Fresno County near the Panoche Water and Drainage District headquarters in Firebaugh, Calif. The demonstration plant uses solar troughs and Concentrated Solar Still technology to desalinate waste water provided by the Panoche Water and Drainage District. Mandell hopes to eventually build a plant that can process 2 million gallons of water a day, water that is sorely needed in the valley.
      Photo: Leah Millis, The Chronicle               

Business Acts While Politicians Fail
Clueless California politicians fumble and bumble while a private business looks to solve our water problems.


(Firebaugh, Fresno County)  -  Quietly whirring away in a dusty field in the Central Valley is a shiny solar energy machine that may someday solve many of California's water problems.

It's called the WaterFX solar thermal desalination plant, and it has been turning salty, contaminated irrigation runoff into ultra-pure liquid for nearly a year for the Panoche Water and Drainage District. It's the only solar-driven desalination plant of its kind in the country.

Right now its efforts produce just 14,000 gallons a day. But within a year, WaterFX intends to begin expanding that one small startup plant into a sprawling collection of 36 machines that together can pump out 2 million gallons of purified water daily.

Within about five years, WaterFX company co-founder Aaron Mandell hopes to be processing 10 times that amount throughout the San Joaquin Valley. And here's the part that gets the farmers who buy his water most excited: His solar desalination plant produces water that costs about a quarter of what more conventionally desalinated water costs: $450 an acre-foot versus $2,000 an acre-foot.

An acre-foot is equivalent to an acre covered by water 1 foot deep, enough to supply two families of four for a year.

Consultant Bruce Marlow demonstrates a feature at the solar-powered
WaterFX desalination plant in Fresno County.
      Photo: Leah Millis, The Chronicle

Competitive Price

That brings Mandell's water cost close to what farmers are paying, in wet years, for water from the Panoche and other valley districts - about $300 an acre-foot. And that makes it a more economically attractive option than any of the 17 conventional desalination plants planned throughout California.

If Mandell can pull it off, the tiny farming town where he is starting his enterprise could be known as ground zero for one of the most revolutionary water innovations in the state's history.

"Eventually, if this all goes where I think it can, California could wind up with so much water it's able to export it instead of having to deal with shortages," Mandell said, standing alongside the 525-foot-long solar reflector that is the heart of his machine. "What we are doing here is sustainable, scalable and affordable."

Dennis Falaschi, manager of the Panoche district, and many of the 60 farmers that constitute his customer base say the sooner WaterFX expands, the better.

Panoche expects to deliver about 45,000 acre-feet of water this year to its growers. That total is half of what the growers get in wetter years - but because drought and environmentally driven water mandates are not unique to 2014, the district's farmers are already ahead of the curve on water preservation techniques.

Read More . . . .