If California is Facing a Rare Mega-Drought, Why is the State Releasing Water from Reservoirs

By Katy Grimes : californiaglobe – excerpt

Water shortages, lack of groundwater recharge, contaminated drinking water, and subsidence are all man made in California

Last week, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom was in Oroville, with a 60% empty Oroville Dam Reservoir as his backdrop, he said he is not ready to declare an official drought emergency. “Instead, he promised he can manage the situation without resorting to an emergency declaration, which could help his administration clamp down on water use,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. They also reported that the threat of a recall election could be at the root of his decision.

Maybe someone can ask the governor why in the last two weeks, 91% of Delta inflow went to the sea. State pumps are at -97%, federal pumps at -85%. Outflows show 6,060,828,600 gallons. While he still has his emergency powers, can’t the governor order stoppage of this outflow if California really is on the precipice of severe water shortages and a “rare mega drought?”

People forget the winter of 2019 brought 200 percent of average rains and snow pack. Yet the state still held back on water to farmers, and residents are facing rationing, the Globe reported May 2019…(more)

Evidence About Existing Wildfire Hazards Near a Project Does Not Require an EIR

jdsupra – excerpt

Evidence about past wildfires and the risk of future wildfires impacting residents near a proposed project does not require the lead agency to prepare an environmental impact report unless there is substantial evidence supporting a fair argument that the project may exacerbate existing wildfire hazards. Newtown Preservation Society v. County of El Dorado, No. C092069 (3rd Dist., June 16, 2021).

The case involved the replacement of a bridge over South Fork Weber Creek in El Dorado County. The county would acquire a temporary easement over a property near the existing bridge to build a temporary evacuation route during project construction. The county prepared a mitigated negative declaration for the project. The MND determined that the project’s hazards impacts would be less-than-significant. In particular, the MND concluded that the project would not impair implementation of or physically interfere with an adopted emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan, and would not expose people or structures to a new or increased significant risk of loss, injury, or death involving wildland fires… (more)

High-speed rail route EIR finished

By ALLISON GATLIN Special to the Valley Press : avpress – excerpt

Results to be unveiled at August meeting

PALMDALE — The environmental study for a segment of the California High Speed Rail system between Bakersfield and Palmdale has been completed, the culmination of a years-long process in identifying routes and studying the potential impacts.

The final Bakersfield-to-Palmdale environmental impact report will be presented to the California High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors for approval during a two-day meeting Aug. 18 and 19.

The proposed bullet train that would link Los Angeles and San Francisco is facing an uncertain future, given escalating costs and declining political support. However, work continues in completing the required environmental studies and documentation for preferred routes in each section between stations…(more)

No more survivors found as Florida condo search continues and questions arise over warning in 2018 report

David Fleshler and Arlene Borenstein-Zuluaga, South Florida Sun Sentinel : yahoo – excerpt

No more survivors found as Florida condo search continues and questions arise over warning in 2018 report

SURFSIDE, Fla. — An intensive search failed to turn up more survivors of the collapsed Surfside condo by early Saturday evening, as questions multiplied over a 2018 consultant’s report that warned of “major structural damage” at the base of the building…

David Fleshler and Arlene Borenstein-Zuluaga, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Sat, June 26, 2021, 3:19 PM·6 min read

SURFSIDE, Fla. — An intensive search failed to turn up more survivors of the collapsed Surfside condo by early Saturday evening, as questions multiplied over a 2018 consultant’s report that warned of “major structural damage” at the base of the building.

Working in heavy protective gear in 85-degree-heat, rescuers used cranes, sensors and search dogs to look for survivors. A fire deep inside the building hampered the work, creating a gray haze and filling the air with the smell of smoke.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Saturday the rescue work would go on, insisting there was still hope…(more)

“We are continuing our search and rescues because our first responders believe there’s still a possibility,” she said. “There are crevices, so there is air. They’re able to pick through. But right now obviously we’re trying to stabilize the situation because of the fire and the smoke.”

Rescue work is slowed down on Saturday by fires in the building at site of the 12-story oceanfront Champlain Towers South Condo, at 8777 Collins Ave., that partially collapsed about 2 a.m. on Thursday in Surfside.

Rescue work is slowed down on Saturday by fires in the building at site of the 12-story oceanfront Champlain Towers South Condo, at 8777 Collins Ave., that partially collapsed about 2 a.m. on Thursday in Surfside. (Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

The number of missing remained 159, although officials have said some of the people unaccounted for may not have been in the building. The confirmed death toll remained four.

“You wake up in the morning hoping that more and more people have been pulled out,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Saturday at the scene. “And that news hasn’t been what we had hoped.”

Although the focus remains on the rescue, at least two lawsuits have already been filed and questions have grown about how a concrete and steel highrise could suddenly go down.

A 2018 report to the condo association by Morabito Consultants said “failed waterproofing” below the pool deck and entrance drive at Champlain Towers South had led to significant deterioration of the concrete.

Where East Bay Assembly candidates stand on proposed Oakland A’s ballpark

By Joe Garofoli :

sfchronicle – excerpt –

Noah Berger/Special to The Chronicle

The candidates vying for an East Bay Assembly district seat are divided over whether to support a new ballpark for the Oakland A’s at Howard Terminal, which would be one of the largest infrastructure projects in the city’s history if approved.

Some describe the project — which will be paid for through private financing, project-generated revenues and directed tax receipts — as the “best chance of keeping the A’s” in Oakland while others call it a giveaway to billionaires.

The A’s proposed $12 billion project will fund a 35,000-capacity baseball stadium, 3,000 residential units, up to 1.5 million square feet of commercial uses, up to 270,000 square feet for retail, an indoor performance center for up to 3,500 people, 400 hotel rooms and up to 18 acres of publicly accessible open space.

If fully accepted, the A’s say the project will generate $450 million in community benefits in the form of affordable housing and infrastructure improvements, plus $955 million for the city’s general fund.

The key phrase is “if approved.” The Oakland City Council will vote on the A’s term sheet on July 20, three weeks after the June 29 special election for the Assembly seat vacated by California Attorney General Rob Bonta. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held Aug. 31 — which will keep the issue in play in the campaign.

Even though the project would largely be under the purview of city officials, it will have myriad effects on the neighborhoods surrounding it, including on transportation lines, the waterfront and port, parking and tax revenue throughout the district.

Several of the candidates expressed their feelings about the ballpark project in connection with their sentiments about the A’s…(more)

Continue reading “Where East Bay Assembly candidates stand on proposed Oakland A’s ballpark”

SoCal Flower Market Development Halted by AHF Lawsuit

By : businesswire – excerpt

In another win for the environment and affordable housing, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge grants AHF’s Petition for Writ setting aside L.A. City Council’s approval of the Flower Market Project, a 12-story, 323-unit luxury development near Skid Row with NO affordable housing

The Court’s writ also decertified the Environmental Impact Report for the project and enjoins the City and developer from further action unless or until it reconsiders its approval and corrects CEQA deficiencies…

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is claiming another victory for governmental accountability, the environment, and affordable housing. On June 4th, AHF was granted a Judgement Granting a Peremptory Writ of Mandate in a case to halt development of a 12-story, 323-unit luxury development at the site of the Southern California Flower Market adjacent to Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles.

AHF argued that City Council cut corners approving this project. This luxury development was to provide ZERO units of affordable housing to lower-income people even though it is located near L.A.’s Skid Row, the epicenter of homelessness in California…(more)

Los Angeles Has a Housing Crisis. Can It Design Its Way Out?

By Michael Kimmelman : nytimes – excerpt

As Angelenos grapple with ways to address affordable housing, density and homelessness, a new architecture competition looks to low-rise solutions.Michael Kimmelman..

Louisa Van Leer and Antonio Castillo won first place in an architecture competition in Los Angeles for their “Green Alley Housing” proposal in the Subdivision category. Credit…Louisa Van Leer Architecture…

Can California’s biggest city — and possibly America’s least affordable one — redesign its way out of the housing crisis?

That’s the question a city-sponsored architecture competition called “Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for Los Angeles” poses. Winners were announced the other day.

The city’s housing problem has been decades in the making. Half a century ago, Los Angeles was a booming metropolis zoned for up to 10 million people. It pioneered low-rise density, with fourplexes, bungalow courts like Horatio West Court, Irving Gill’s modernist masterpiece, and dingbats: those campy, stuccoed walk-ups on stilts, bearing make-believe names like Casa Bella and Camelot…(more)

California’s prison boom saved this town. Now, plans to close a lockup are sparking anger and fear

by Hailey Branson-Potts : latimes – excerpt

SUSANVILLE, Calif. — When Mike O’Kelly was a boy, this was a timber town.

In the early 1900s, his grandfather drove a herd of cattle more than 200 miles from the Oregon border to this remote outpost near the Nevada state line where he sold milk to millworkers and loggers.

He ran a dairy, and so did O’Kelly’s father, whose children grew up watching logging trucks speed past their house.

By the 1950s, the mills had started closing, but the California Correctional Center opened in 1963, bringing jobs — and for O’Kelly, who eventually took over Morning Glory Dairy, brisk business as he sold milk and eggs to the prison…(more)

Susanville is perfectly positioned to become one of the new exurban destinations as people exit the dense cities.

Forget Going Back to the Office—People Are Just Quitting Instead

By Lauren Webber : ssj – excerpt

As the pandemic clouds lift, the percentage of Americans leaving employers for new opportunities is at its highest level in more than two decades.

More U.S. workers are quitting their jobs than at any time in at least two decades, signaling optimism among many professionals while also adding to the struggle companies face trying to keep up with the economic recovery.

The wave of resignations marks a sharp turn from the darkest days of the pandemic, when workers craved job security while weathering a national health and economic crisis. In April, the share of U.S. workers leaving jobs was 2.7%, according to the Labor Department, a jump from 1.6% a year earlier to the highest level since at least 2000.

The shift by workers into new jobs and careers is prompting employers to raise wages and offer promotions to keep hold of talent. The appetite for change by employees indicates many professionals are feeling confident about jumping ship for better prospects, despite elevated unemployment rates.

While a high quit rate stings employers with greater turnover costs, and in some cases, business disruptions, labor economists said churn typically signals a healthy labor market as people gravitate to jobs more suited to their skills, interests and personal lives...(more)


How Working From Home Has Changed Employees – They are used to far greater independence. And they may value personal time more. Bosses better be ready to adapt…(more)

Writing the Code to Undo Single-Family Zoning

By CP&DR Staff : cp-dr – excerpt

City councils across California have adopted, or are considering, policies to loosen single-family zoning and ease the way for duplexes and other small multi-unit configurations. But how?

The upzoning of potentially millions of single-family lots poses a monumental technical challenge to California’s planners. Zoning changes must account for density, design, parking, infrastructure, fire danger, and topography — among other complicating factors. It’s a challenge that some cities are already willingly taking on and that others will have to take on if Senate Bill 9 or a successor passes.

Please join us to discuss how planners in early-adopter cities are approaching this challenge and how planners and urban designers around the state can prepare for what may be one of the major planning trends of the coming years.

Presented by the California Planning & Development Report, the California Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley. (more)

According to this article, Another CEQA-In-Reverse Case, “the impact of wildfire safety issues on the project isn’t a topic of analysis.” Is that what the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley is going to tell us?

What does CEQA analysis cover and do we care if the state is going to override every objection to up-zoning, density and social engineering the public raises?

What options do the voters of California who want to determine their way of life have if they are not able to convince the control freaks in Sacramento to end the social engineering games? Recall the governor and vote out the incumbents or leave the state?

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