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OPINION: Newsom’s Picks For Environmental Protection And Water Chiefs Will Reveal His Priorities

One of the keys to former Gov. Jerry Brown’s success as California’s chief executive over the past eight years was the stellar group of individuals he recruited as his top environmental and water officials. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s initial, senior environmental appointments suggest that he is wisely following in Brown’s footsteps. Californians can only hope his water leadership team turns out to be equally strong. Newsom’s first two environmental appointments are his most important, and his choices are impressive indeed.

OPINION: Part-time Sweetwater Authority Board Members Don’t Deserve Costly Insurance Perk

Board members with local water agencies — often politicians or politically connected people — don’t always bring a lot of relevant expertise to the job. They generally meet no more than a few times a month, basically to bless staff recommendations. They do not have demanding positions. Against this backdrop, the recent 6-1 vote by members of the Sweetwater Authority board to give themselves access to heavily subsidized health insurance for their dependents is a pathetic and cynical act. The authority, which serves 190,000 people in National City, Bonita and parts of Chula Vista, approved significant rate hikes last year despite public criticism of compensation practices that provide authority workers with average salary and benefits of $176,000.

El Nino, A No-Show So Far, Losing Steam

The weather has yet to be influenced this winter by a warmer Pacific Ocean and likely won’t be impacted in a major way, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports. Federal climatologists reduced the chances that an El Nino will form in January or February to 82 percent, down from 96 percent a month ago. If an El Nino does occur, it will be weak, according to NOAA. “Significant global impacts are not anticipated during the remainder of the winter, even if conditions were to form,” the agency stated, in its monthly outlook on sea-surface temperatures along the equator.

San Diego Again Gets Drenched By Overnight Rains, And There’s More Coming Tonight

For the second time this week, drenching rains spread across San Diego County during the overnight hours. And it will happen again late this evening and early Thursday, says the National Weather Service. So far, the rainfall has been impressive, in a cumulative sense. Since early Monday, parts of San Diego have received more than two inches of rain, including Palomar Observatory, which got 2.87 inches, Henshaw Dam, which got 2.25 inches, and Julian, which got 2.16 inches. San Onofre received 1.63 inches.

Long Beach Says Sea-Level Rise Will Bring Dire Flooding To Some Neighborhoods

Rising sea levels are not only going to increasingly flood parts of Long Beach, but could leave the most vulnerable neighborhoods uninhabitable within a generation or two, according to a city presentation Monday night that drew more 300 residents concerned about the city’s — and their own — future. “Residents can continue living on Naples and the Peninsula for several decades as long as you’re willing to experience occasional flooding,” said Jerry Schubel, a marine scientist and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific. “(But) over the next few decades, you need to think about moving.