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, September 29, 2015

"Racism" - Garden Grove settles lawsuit, will move to district elections

Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen
Hispanic Leftists say the "wrong" race won office.

Phony Cries of "Racism"
  • Racist Hispanic leftist groups take cities to court because the voters dared to elected councilmen of the wrong race to office.
  • The same nonsense happened in Palmdale where the "evil" racist voters dared to elect an African American Councilman instead of a Hispanic.

GARDEN GROVE (Orange County Register)  –  The City Council upended how residents will select its members Friday night, doing away with an independently elected mayor and opting to create five voting districts.
The changes will go into effect in November 2016.
The City Council approved district elections as part of a settlement agreement with Rick Montoya, a former council candidate who argued the at-large system – where the entire city votes for each council seat – violates the California Voting Rights Act and essentially disenfranchises Latino voters.
The city also has to pay $290,000 to Montoya for lawyer’s fees and other litigation costs.
District elections, which are becoming increasingly common throughout California, are viewed by many as a way to give Latinos a more prominent – and, some say, fairer – role in local government.

Garden Grove, which became an incorporated city in 1956, is about one-third white, Latino and Asian, but there is no record of a Latino ever being elected to the council. The current council is a majority Vietnamese-American.
“I believe by-district elections will lead to better representation in our government,” said Montoya, who sued the city in July about a month after several Latino-rights organizations threatened to do the same. “And it will lead to more voices being heard.”
Councilman Chris Phan, however, said he is no fan of district elections and it is still too early to know whether district elections will help Latinos get on the City Council.
Councilman Chris Phan
Hispanic Leftists complain because voters
elected the "wrong" race.
“This basically lowers the bar for council candidates,” he said. “No amount of districting can cure an apathetic voting bloc.”
In past elections, residents voted mayors to two-year terms and council members to four-year terms.
Under the settlement, the city will have five districts with each geographic area voting for one council seat. All five seats will have four-year terms.
The City Council will vote among itself to decide who will be mayor.
In 2016, the seats of Mayor Bao Nguyen, Phan and termed-out Councilman Steve Jones will be open.
But first, the city must undertake a months-long process of hiring a demographer to analyze the city’s ethnic, financial, age and geographic fault lines to create the five districts.
Garden Grove will have a series of community meetings before the council votes on the new maps, said City Attorney Omar Sandoval.
“The electoral record of Latinos has been abysmal in Garden Grove,” said Zeke Hernandez, the president of the Santa Ana chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, which also threatened to sue. “I applaud the City Council for taking this momentous step. I think the city will be better for it.”
Read More . . . .

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Calif. gives 500,000 illegals driver's licenses

Go ahead, break the laws

  • The leftist Sanctuary State of the People's Republic encourages the breaking of immigration and other laws.
  • But the real fools are the mouth-breathing voters who keep paying the taxes and re-electing the open borders Democrats and Republicans.

(Associated Press)  -  California has issued more than half a million driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally under a program that began nine months ago.
Armando Botello, a spokesman for the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, said Friday that the milestone was reached last week.
"For us, the DMV, it is a source of great pride to have reached half a million this soon. We thought we would issue half a million applications per year and we did it in 9 months. This means the DMV work is paying off and that all drivers will be safer now," said Botello.
The state started providing special permits in January, when a law took effect allowing unauthorized immigrants to obtain it with an identification document, proof of residence, and after passing a written and a driving exam.
Because the agency does not ask about race or ethnicity, it is not known how many of the five hundred thousand applicants are Latino. However, Botello said most are Hispanic.
The record number of licenses issued came as a surprise to the agency, which expected to reach the half a million mark by the end of the year, said Botello. According to DMV estimates, there is a total of 1.4 million potential applicants in the state of California.
"We thought we would issue half a million in one year and we did it in nine months. I think it will be difficult that we reach one million in the next nine months because there are fewer people coming to the office," the spokesman said.
The new licenses initially generated huge interest, with long lines at DMV offices in January and February.
Read More . . . .

Fucking American Citizens
If you are a law abiding American citizen of any ethnic background you are being fucked over by both open borders political parties.  Countless billions of tax dollars are sucked down to give benefits to the citizens of foreign nations.

Friday, September 25, 2015

California Assembly Speaker to fight for Senate seat

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins talks with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León

It's Democrat vs Democrat

  • California elections are pathetic  -  Democrats, backed with corrupt Sacramento special interest cash, dominate a San Diego Senate District even though they have only 36% of the registered voters.
  • Some 36% of the voters are independent or registered in smaller opposition political parties but they get zero representation in Sacramento.  The GOP virtually does not exist.
  • But any calls for truly free and open elections are always blocked by the special interest funded oligarchy in Sacramento.

(Associated Press)  -  California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins plans to fight a fellow Democrat for a state Senate seat when her tenure expires.
Atkins will fight Marty Block for his San Diego seat next year in a highly unusual challenge that could mean a bruising and potentially costly fight in an otherwise safe district, the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1MiSp7l) reported Saturday.
"Absolutely it makes me uncomfortable," Atkins, D-San Diego, told the newspaper. "Will I be prepared to do it? Absolutely."
Atkins said she is the first speaker from San Diego and has made things happen for the community.
"I think I'm just a better return on investment long-term," she said.
The challenge would have not only regional implications for Democrats but between the Assembly and Senate, which have a simmering rivalry even though both are Democrat-controlled.
"The soon to be ex-speaker knows very well that when one house challenges another, it's a slap in the face of the leader of the challenged house," Block told the Times.
He called it "a direct assault" on Senate leader Kevin De Leon.
In a statement, De Leon declined to say whether he considered Atkins' challenge as an affront but said Block was "an extraordinary senator."
"He deserves to be re-elected and Senate Democrats are resolutely united behind him," De León said.
John Burton, chair of the California Democratic Party, declined to comment, as did an aide to Gov. Jerry Brown, the Times said.
Atkins became Assembly speaker in 2014 and was praised for helping craft a $7.5-billion water bond that voters approved last year. She has had trouble this year in advancing another priority: a bill to expand affordable housing.
Earlier this month, Anthony Rendon, D-Los Angeles, was chosen to succeed her as speaker next year.
Block represents the 39th District, which covers most of San Diego along with Coronado and Del Mar. Democrats hold a large edge in voter registration there.
39th State Senate district

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

California GOP says it's ‘pro-immigrant'

Republicans Become Democrats

  • The open borders GOP Congress has done jack shit about immigration since the party took over in 1995.  Now the California Republican Party is just making open borders official.
  • The GOP and the Dems have banned independent candidates and small opposition political parties from all general election ballots.  My protest in the 2014 election was REFUSING TO VOTE for either open borders party for any statewide office.  I left all offices from Governor on down blank and only voted for propositions.

(The Press Enterprise)  -  Not wanting to appear anti-immigrant, the California Republican Party on Sunday softened its platform plank on immigration.
Meeting during their semiannual convention in Anaheim, state Republicans voted on a new immigration stance that states the party is “pro-immigrant” and wants to fix a system that “does not work for California or America.” Under its new platform, the state GOP supports worker visa programs but is against providing amnesty.
Gone is language about “illegal aliens” or cross-deputizing state and county law enforcement to help immediately deport those who have committed crimes.
“We took a common-sense approach. We wanted to make sure the wording doesn’t come across offensively,” said Marcelino Valdez, the Central Valley regional vice chairman who authored the updated immigration plank.
“We’re painted in a light that’s anti-immigrant. We’re far from that,” Valdez said after the convention.
Robin Hvidston, an associate delegate at the Republican convention who voted against the platform changes Sunday, said the Republicans who voted for it do not speak for her or members of her Claremont-based anti-illegal immigration group, We the People Rising.
“The California GOP should have taken a stand that supports legal immigration: enter the U.S.A. legally and then reside legally in the U.S.A. Period,” Hvidston wrote in an email. “I preferred the concrete and specific language in the former California GOP platform. We are a great nation because we are a nation of laws and the California GOP should not be afraid to (uphold) federal law.”
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said he welcomed the shift in language and tone of the new platform.
“It’s a smart move on their part to attract new voters,” Cabrera said.
Valdez said: “We’re absolutely trying to reach the Latino vote.”
The new California Republican platform includes support for stronger border control, higher penalties for overstaying visas and denying federal funding to sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration officials.
Read More . . . .

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Calif. GOP which represents no one will meet less often

GOP - A Meaningless Political Party

  • Wow, the corrupt California GOP, which does not represent any voters at all, will now meet less often.
  • The so-called "delegates" to the California GOP convention are appointed by political insiders.  The average Republican voter has no say in any way, shape or form about the direction of his own political party.

(Sacramento Bee)  -  The California Republican Party will gather to pour drinks and talk politics a little less frequently from now on.
Party activists on Sunday approved reducing the number of state party conventions to two annually in odd-numbered years and one annually in even-numbered years, eliminating its convention closest to the general election.
The party has historically held two conventions every year.
Party Chairman Jim Brulte has long argued for a lighter convention schedule.
He said in an email to party leaders last year that conventions are costly and can be unhelpful late in the election cycle, when “the press come looking to write the narrative that Republicans are fighting.”
Many staffers and politicians are busy campaigning during conventions close to elections. But conventions remain popular with the party’s rank-and-file activists, and the vote to reduce the convention schedule was divided.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article35897541.html#storylink=cpy
Read More . . . .

California's Counties
Building a Real Political Party
If the Republican leadership has any interest at all in building a grass roots party, which they don't, they would totally scrap the corrupt state party system that serves only insiders and big money special interest groups.
One obvious reform would be to hold mini GOP conventions in each of California's 58 counties.  Registered Republicans could gather to openly debate the issues of the day and elect delegates to represent their county at the state convention.  These conventions could be held all over the state on the same day to generate maximum publicity with TV news and newspapers.
Transparent conventions would show a Republican Party open to all voters, and that is why this reform will never happen.  The corrupt Elites have no interest in their own voters.

Friday, September 18, 2015

How Donald Trump is rebuilding the California Republican Party

The easiest way to tell whether you’re in California or New Hampshire is to walk into a coffee shop. If you don’t see a presidential candidate, you’re in California.
Our state’s presidential primary in June usually takes place in what the NBA calls “garbage time,” that final few minutes of play after the outcome is beyond any doubt.
But 2016 could be different.
On Wednesday, 15 Republican candidates for president were at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for two televised debates. An astounding 23 million people watched the CNN telecast, making it the No. 10 cable TV show of all time, behind eight college football games on ESPN and the GOP debate last month on Fox.
CNN’s previous ratings record for a presidential debate was set on Jan. 31, 2008, when an average of 8.3 million viewers tuned in. On Wednesday, even the early debate for four low-polling candidates drew an audience of over 6 million people.
The reason for the skyscraping ratings, of course, is Donald Trump. “Will they send me flowers?” he tweeted on Thursday.
“Trump deserves a lot of credit” for drawing tens of millions of viewers to the debates, said Shawn Steel, who represents California on the Republican National Committee. “Some candidates would give up organs for coverage like that.”
“Trump has brought a whole new dynamic to the Republican brand,” Steel said, by attracting alienated voters, independents and Democrats.
“His poll numbers in the African-American community are better than any Republican’s in the past 50, maybe 70 years,” Steel said. “And in the Latino community, where you might expect that he’d be polling at 5 percent, he’s at 25 percent. That’s Gallup. It’s quite a shocker.”
Steel said it’s evidence of illegal immigration’s “impact on working folks,” including Latinos who are legal immigrants. “You can’t dismiss it,” he said.
California Republican Party chairman Jim Brulte said during a break between the debates Wednesday that the GOP candidates are “head and shoulders above what the Democrats have to offer.” RNC committeeman Shawn Steel called the field the “finest quality candidates in our lifetime.“
They’re getting a good long look from the voters, courtesy of Donald Trump. According to Nielsen data, millions of people who never watched a presidential debate before are watching now.
Could California’s political landscape be affected if new voters register in the Republican party to cast a vote for Trump, Rubio, Fiorina or another candidate in the GOP primary?

Read the full article . . . .

About the author, Susan Shelley is a San Fernando Valley author, a former television associate producer and twice a Republican candidate for the California Assembly. Reach the author at Susan@SusanShelley.com or follow Susan on Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

2016: Sanchez vs Harris in Senate race, no Republican on the ballot

Harris and Sanchez

A runoff with two Leftists?

  • The massively corrupt California election system could have two Leftist Democrats face off against each other in the 2016 general election.
  • The Dems & GOP have rigged the "elections" so all independent and small political party candidates are banned from general election ballots.

(Los Angeles Times)  -  State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is holding her lead in the race to succeed Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate, but strong support among Latinos has enabled Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County to establish herself as a serious rival, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

The survey found Harris leading Sanchez, a fellow Democrat, 26% to 17% among registered voters, followed by former state Republican chairman Tom Del Beccaro, with 10%, and Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside), with 9%.

Former state Republican Party leader George "Duf" Sundheim entered the race last week, too late for inclusion in the poll.

The primary election is in June, and it is far from settled: More than a third of voters were undecided, and more candidates could still emerge.

Regardless of party, the contestants who finish first and second will advance to a November 2016 runoff.

"Unless the Republicans coalesce behind one single candidate, we will probably end up seeing a runoff between two Democrats," said poll director Dan Schnur, who leads USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.

Sundheim's arrival could further fracture the Republican vote and deepen the party's disadvantage in a state dominated by Democrats.

Latino voters are a crucial foundation for Sanchez, the survey found: They favor her over Harris 34% to 18%. People who took the survey in Spanish are her strongest constituency; more than half of them support Sanchez, a daughter of Mexican immigrants.

Read More . . . .

Phony California one-party elections
See our article:
Two Democrats face off for Senate

6th Senate District General election
DemocraticRichard Pan96,68853.8
DemocraticRoger Dickinson82,93846.2
Total votes179,626100.0
Democratic hold


Welcome to Authoritarianism
It's Democrat vs. Democrat.
In the 6th State Senate District the corrupt "top two" phony
election system gives the voters a choice of only one political party. 
There is no Republican on the ballot and all small opposition
parties and independent candidates are banned.  The corrupt Elites
have even made your write-in vote illegal.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

California is #1 in illegal aliens

Yes! California is #1 Again

  • In accepting this award, California would like to thank the open borders Democrat Party and their open borders allies the GOP.
  • What I find interesting is why Black and Hispanic American citizens support open borders that drives down wages.

(Newsmax)  -  California has the largest number of illegal immigrants in the United States, with an estimated 2.4 million unauthorized immigrants making up about 6.3 percent of the state’s total population, according to the Pew Research Center.

While the number of illegal immigrants in California continues to rise, the increase in other areas of the country is happening at a much faster rate. The nationwide average increase in illegal immigrant populations was about 250 percent from 1990 to 2007, the Pew study said. In California, the rise was 88 percent. 

In the early 1990s, California had over 40 percent of the total illegal immigrant population in the country. That rate had fallen to just about 23 percent by 2007. California saw a decline in illegal immigration from 2009 to 2012. 

The Pew Research Center attributed the fall in the numbers of illegal immigrant populations in California to the fact that more immigrants are simply moving to other states. In 2012, while California had more numbers than any other state, the highest percentage of the overall population went to Nevada, where unauthorized immigrants accounted for 7.6 percent of the state’s population.

The Migration Policy Institute estimated the number of illegal immigrants living in California to be much higher than the Pew Research Center's estimate. The Migration Policy Institute estimated a little more than 3 million undocumented residents living in the state. Of those, 70 percent are from Mexico. About 412,000 come from Asian countries. Another 480,000 come from Central America and China.

Illegal immigration in California brings in high numbers of marginally educated immigrants. About 11 percent of the adults who are undocumented immigrants in California are believed to have a college level education, according to the Migration Policy Institute. About 32 percent have a high school diploma or some college. That leaves 57 percent with education below the level of a high school diploma or GED.

Read More . . . .

"Evil" Racists protesting in Murrieta, Calif.
Remember, you are a vicious racist for thinking illegal aliens should
obey the same laws that Americans have to follow.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mutant Smurf pig killed in Northern California

This can't be good news
Has forbidden pig-Smurf love taken place?
Democrats demand to know if the female pig said 
"yes" at every stage of Smurf sex.

Ranchers in Northern California shot a wild pig and ended up finding its meat surrounded by Smurf-blue fat.

A user on Imgur posted photos and a short explanation of the bizarre discovery at their in-laws' Morgan Hill ranch. The couple cut open the pig, drained most of the blood and were startled to see fluorescent blue fat peeking out of the incision.

User GlendilTEK said the ranchers are aware blue pigmentation could be caused by copper poisoning, but there are only old mercury mine shafts near the property. Other wild pigs that were shot by the couple did not have neon blue fat.

Samples of the fat were sent off to UC Davis for testing.

Read More . . . .

Democrats want to know if there was there Smurf-pig rape?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Students score low on California’s phony Common Core tests

Follow The Money

  • Let's bottom line this.  So-called "educators" have no interest in education.  Phony "tests" are devised to show how poorly students are doing so government bureaucrats can go to Sacramento and Washington and demand more money to save the children.
  • Remember that since the California Gold Rush countless generations of children somehow managed to graduate from school, and go on to live full lives, without exit exams or common core "tests".

(San Francisco Chronicle)  -  California schools posted standardized test scores Wednesday for the first time in two years, and the results were not stellar.
Just one-third of the state’s public-school students were tested as proficient for their grade level in math and only 44 percent in English, state education officials said. Under the old test in 2013, 51 percent of students were proficient in math and 56 percent in English.
The officials expressed some disappointment in the new numbers, but not surprise.
“We need to be patient,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “We've gone to higher, tougher standards.”

This was the first time students were tested on the new Common Core standards, which require a more in-depth understanding of content rather than a memorization of facts. It was also the first time students took the state tests on a computer, clicking and dragging and typing open-ended answers or essays rather than filling in bubbles on paper with a No. 2 pencil.
Across the state, 3.2 million students in grades three through eight and 11 took the English and math test.
The new test scores showed a widening of the achievement gap, with African American and Latino students lagging behind their white and Asian American peers. The gap also widened between low-income students and the rest of the test-taking population.
Seventy-two percent of Asian American students and 61 percent of white students met or exceeded state standards in English, compared with just 28 percent of black students and 32 percent of Latinos. In math, 69 percent of Asian students and 49 percent of white students were at grade level, compared wiht 16 percent of black students and 21 percent of Latino students.
And just 31 percent of low-income students were proficient on the on English test and 21 percent proficient in math, compared with 64 percent and 53 percent, respectively, for other students.
That achievement gap has long been present in state standardized testing, but it was about 10 points wider on the Common Core tests than under the old system.
Read More . . . .

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Following the money is now easier to do in California

A "Reform" With No Meaning

  • What a waste of time.  A "reform" where you can track the mountains of campaign cash buying California politicians.
  • What is the point of tracking money when voters have no meaningful choices on their general election ballots.
  • The U.S. is the only "democratic" nation on earth where the same two bought and paid for parties magically win 100% of all elections.

(Los Angeles Daily News)  -  The state of California has launched a new campaign finance disclosure search engine, allowing users to more easily track state-level political donations to elected officials.
Called Power Search, the site is an update to Cal-Access, the Secretary of State’s existing campaign finance portal.
Power Search allows users to filter campaign donations from a particular company or organization from 2001 to the present. Search results can also be filtered by date, amount, location and other criteria.
“Both the public and the press should have quick and easy access to campaign finance information,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement. “Power Search is the first step in modernizing and upgrading Cal-Access.”
The new capabilities weren’t available through Cal-Access, which launched in 2000. That web portal will remain up, despite the launch of Power Search, because Cal-Access offers information on lobbyists, which the new site doesn’t.
Secretary of State press secretary Sam Mahood said officials will consider adding more features to Power Search.
“We want to consistently evaluate how we can best improve transparency,” Mahood said.
Power Search was created in conjunction with MapLight, a Berkeley-based nonprofit research organization that tracks political donations, and funded with a $100,000 grant from the San Francisco-based James Irvine Foundation.
While Power Search doesn’t show donations to Los Angeles city ballot measures or local politicians, the portal links to the city’s web site that offers that information.
Read More . . . .

The current California State Assembly with the same two corrupt parties "magically" winning 100% of all elections. 

A Modest Reform - State Board of Equalization
Shake up the corrupt power structure in Sacramento and add 40 new seats to the State Assembly with 10 new members coming from each of the four State Board of Equalization districts (above map).
Structure the elections so they are more open to the public and not financed by the Elites.
Proposal #1) The residents would elect their local district Assemblyman in the normal manner.  But the resident would then have ten votes for their regional State Assemblymen.  The top ten vote getters in the regional district would go to Sacramento.  With a total of eleven votes available to them, voters would be able to elect independent candidates or even members of smaller opposition political parties like Green Party of California or the California Libertarian Party.
Proposal #2  Many nations use proportional representation for elections.  If a party wins 20% of the vote they win 20% of the seats.  That system could be applied in these regional districts.  If voters knew that their vote was not "wasted" on a minor party you might 10 or 15 of these seats going to existing smaller parties or new ones that would be created.
In any case, the corrupt system needs a major shake up, and the voters have the right to real and meaningful ballot choices.
Free elections.  What a concept.

Monday, September 7, 2015

What I Saw in a California Town Without Running Water

Reuben Perez fills up a barrel of water at the public tank to bring to Juana
Garcia's home. The water will be used to do laundry, take bucket showers,
and flush the toilet. 
Gabrielle Lurie

Thanks to the drought, many people in East Porterville can't cook, shower, or flush the toilet at home.

Mother Jones
Glance at a lawn in East Porterville, California, and you'll instantly know something about the people who live in the house attached to it.
If a lawn is green, the home has running water. If it's brown, or if the yard contains plastic water tanks or crates of bottled water, then the well has gone dry.
Residents of these homes rely on deliveries of bottled water, or perhaps a hose connected to a working well of a friendly neighbor. They take "showers" with water from a bucket, use paper plates to avoid washing dishes, eat sandwiches instead of spaghetti so there's no need to boil water, and collect water used for cooking and showers to pour in the toilet or on the trees outside.
East Porterville is in Tulare County, a region in the middle of California's agriculture-heavy Central Valley that's been especially hard hit by the state's historic drought. More than 7,000 people in the the county lack running water; three quarters of them live in East Porterville. The community doesn't have a public water system; instead, residents rely on private wells. But after years of drought, the nearby Tule River has diminished to a trickle and the underground water table has sunk as more and more farmers rely on groundwater. Last week, I spent a few days interviewing residents in the town, also known as "ground zero" of the drought.
Juana Garcia washes grapes with bottled water. She soaks dirty dishes in
soapy water before rinsing them to minimize water use. 
Gabrielle Lurie
Among the first to report a dry well was Donna Johnson, a 72-year-old retired recreational therapist who lives in East Porterville with her husband, Howard, and a handful of rescue dogs. In the spring of 2014, she turned on the tap to find that it had reduced to a dribble—then no water at all. Howard tried to extend the pump further into the well, but where there should have been a splash of water, there was simply a "thud" of solid against solid. When Johnson called a well-driller and learned the company had a long waiting list, she started wondering just how many wells had gone dry. After a couple of weeks of knocking on the doors of strangers in her neighborhood, Johnson had a list of more than 100 homes.
Over the past 18 months, Johnson has become known as East Porterville's "water lady," as she spends her days collecting donations of water and paper goods and delivering them in a pickup truck to a list of homes with dry wells—a list that's expanded to hundreds of addresses. "There's always somebody calling, saying, 'I don't have water!'" she said.
East Porterville is in
Tulare County
The county, in part prompted by Johnson's discovery, has also stepped in. Locals can now bathe in portable showers outside the Drought Resource Center (a trailer set up in a church parking lot) and sign up for bottled-water deliveries (half gallon per person per day). Tanks of nonpotable water sit outside the fire station; in the evenings, residents fill up barrels for things like laundry and bathing.
East Porterville residents without running water have fallen into a tedious routine. Juana Garcia, a 49-year-old mother of five, lost water two years ago—in some ways, her living conditions remind her of those she left behind in Mexico when she moved to East Porterville in 1988. The change has been particularly challenging because she suffers from Lupus and arthritis, making it difficult to haul water to her home or make the trek to the public showers.
Garcia doesn't speak much English, so her daughter, a talkative 11-year-old named Noemi, walked me through the daily routine. Dishes are washed in two buckets: one for soaking, the other for rinsing. Afterward, water is dumped into the toilet so it will flush. For showers, Garcia boils water that Johnson hauled in from the gas station (Garcia doesn't have a car), or she takes her kids to the portable shower in front of the church. Teeth are brushed with bottled water; clothes are hand washed and air-dried unless a friend has time to take the family to the laundromat.
The trees in the backyard used to yield pears, lemons, and pomegranates, but they're all dead now; any extra water is used to fuel the swamp cooler, which, Noemi explained, uses five gallons of water an hour—and it's a necessity as temperatures routinely top 100 degrees. For dinner, Garcia makes things that require minimal water and won't heat up the house—like microwave meals or sandwiches.
As an interim solution, the county is installing large plastic tanks of water connected to some dry homes. But progress has been slow. So far, 320 tanks have been installed; more than 1,300 still remain dry. 
Read the Full Article . . . .

A map of East Porterville at the county's drought resource center
shows homes without running water (green) and homes where large
tanks have been installed as an interim solution (blue). 
Julia Lurie

Donna Johnson drops off water for Bill Dennis, whose well
went dry last month. 
Gabrielle Lurie

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Flooding Fields in California’s Drought

Must See Video
Growing Crops in a Desert

An excellent Vice News video on farming, cities and the drought.

Sucking down water
Central Valley almond trees reflected in flooded irrigation water.

  • Many farmers and businessmen sneer at "crazy" environmentalists who talk about sustainability.  But water is truly a limited resource.  There are only so many crops that can be grown in a desert.

(Grist.org)  -  To many people — particularly environmentalists and family-farm aficionados — the Westlands Water District, on the dusty west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley, conjures up an image of a sprawling empire of large-scale agribusiness. Roughly 600 farmers own land within the district, and grow a veritable cornucopia of tomatoes, almonds, pistachios, lettuce, cantaloupes, grapes, and other crops.

Many farms here are huge, to be sure: One family farms at least 25,000 acres. But there are plenty of smaller farmers like 42-year-old Shawn Coburn, who grows 1,200 acres of mostly almonds. And to him, Westlands is an American Eden.
“There’s a long list of haters,” says Coburn. But “we have the best dirt out there. It’s the best ground in the world.”
There’s only one problem. While the soil here may be good, there’s not much water. At least not since 2007, when a federal judge drastically cut back farmers’ water supplies to protect endangered fish in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river delta in the geographic heart of the state. A three-year drought began clobbering California that same year, making life even tougher for farmers like Coburn.

In 2009, farmers in Westlands had their annual water supply rationed to just 10 percent of what they’re entitled to under their contracts with the federal government. (More about that later.) Here and in neighboring irrigation districts, farmers were forced to idle, or “fallow,” about a quarter-million acres of cropland because of drought and pumping restrictions, which cost them somewhere around $350 million in losses.
Farms in Westlands make up a little less than one-tenth of the roughly 6.9 million acres of farmland in California, and other parts of the state are facing their own water crunch. But paradoxically, no one has been hit harder than the farmers here. Despite being widely viewed as one of the most powerful participants in California water politics, Westland’s contracts for water from the federal government are some of the most vulnerable to being shorted, thanks to the arcane hierarchy by which water is apportioned during dry times.
The water shortage is unquestionably taking its toll. “It’s changing the landscape,” says Coburn. What’s happening here is providing a sneak peek at the problems that farmers not only in California, but all over this drying world, will soon confront. Farmers are shifting to higher dollar-value crops that will cover the water price hikes — but, paradoxically, are more sensitive to drought. They’re pumping groundwater as an emergency supply of water — and burning through that safety net even as it saves them from the current dry spell. And some farmers here are beginning to think about an exit strategy from agriculture altogether.

Water shipment down
On a farm, nothing happens without water. And in California’s Central Valley, which includes the Sacramento Valley to the north and the San Joaquin Valley to the south, virtually all of the farmed acreage is irrigated. Irrigation districts like Westlands are local-government entities that hold long-term contracts for water supplied by two massive water projects: the Central Valley Project, which is operated by the federal government, and the State Water Project. The districts, in turn, sell water to individual farmers within their boundaries.
Yet as demand for water has grown throughout the state, as efforts to protect endangered species have increased, and as drought has darkened the water forecast — a problem that’s likely to become more frequent with climate change — irrigation districts, particularly those on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, have found themselves increasingly unable to supply farmers with water. Even though Westlands, for instance, holds water contracts with the federal government, it signed those contracts relatively late, compared with other districts. As a result, when water supplies are tight, the government “shorts” Westlands’ contract to ensure that other irrigation districts with better contracts get their water.
That water crunch is spurring farmers to make a wide array of adaptive responses. Water rights are generally tied to specific pieces of land, but water can be moved — bought, sold, and swapped, just like stocks — to areas of greatest demand, and diverted to those who can pay the most for water. In drought years like 2009, farmers make extensive use of transfers to cover water-supply reductions. But the less water is in supply, the dearer prices become.
Water shortages are also changing the menu of crops grown in California. Take the case of cotton, for instance. Cotton has long a favorite whipping boy of environmentalists and agricultural reformers because it is government subsidized and relatively thirsty. In 1979, California farmers grew about 1.6 million acres of the stuff. But over the past three decades, cotton has largely shuffled off the stage in California. In 2009, the state’s farmers grew only 191,000 acres.
Many farmers say that one of the primary factors behind that decline, in recent years especially, has been water scarcity, which has driven up prices for water. Cotton has never had spectacular margins, so farmers are always vulnerable to big increases in the price of the “inputs” it takes to grow the crop. And, in the face of the water cutoffs, Westlands farmers have had to pay as much as four times what they normally do for water.
“That’s what drove cotton out of the west side,” says Marvin Meyers, a longtime Westlands farmer who now grows mostly almonds and olives. Farmers who use the water to grow higher-value crops like almonds “can afford to pay more,” Meyers says, “because the almond returns are greater than you would have gotten for cotton.”
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