Giant green stems with budding yellow flowers greeted hikers along a narrow path beneath the soaring Santa Monica Mountains on a recent drizzly day. This is where, just seven months ago, the worst fire in Los Angeles County history swept through, destroying more than 1,000 homes and blackening miles of hillsides and canyon. But thanks to one of the wettest seasons in years, rains have transformed the fire zone back to life with great speed. And all those flowering black mustard plants point to a looming disaster once the rains finally end and Southern California shifts to its dry, hot, windy summer and fall.
Archive for month: May, 2019
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The State Senate has announced a plan to ensure safe drinking water throughout California. The proposal would implement a Safe Drinking Water Fund as outlined under SB 200, authored by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel). Rather than relying on new revenues, the Senate’s proposal authorizes the continuous appropriation of $150 million annually from the General Fund, with the same level of protections in place that a new fee would provide to ensure the funds are used only to secure safe drinking water in the most vulnerable communities. “California’s drinking water challenges are too urgent to ignore,” Senate Leader Toni Atkins said.
It’s been a winter for the ages in Tahoe, with barely an end in sight. In February, Squaw Valley recorded its all-time highest snowfall for a single month with 313 inches (read: almost 1 foot per day on average). The region rolled into a wonderfully average March, and then to a quintessentially warm and sunny spring. Summer looked to be on the horizon, with trails beginning to melt out in April. But then a flurry of mid-May storms arrived, and we’re heading into Memorial Day weekend with boot-deep powder on the slopes. Historically, the Tahoe region has seen active weather patterns through May, with 80 of the last 109 years recorded measuring more than a trace of snow in the area.
San Diego posted the eighth largest population increase between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018 among cities with populations of 50,000 or more, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday. During the 12-month period, the population of “America’s Finest City” grew by 11,549 people, a near 1 percent increase from the previous year. Phoenix saw the largest population increase in the country during the period, adding 25,288 people, according to the Census Bureau report. San Diego was the only city in California to make the top 10 for largest population gains in the latest report, while Texas had four cities make the top 10.
Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors recognized the winners of the 2019 North County Water Agencies Water Awareness Poster Contest at its May 22 meeting. Fourth-grade students living or attending school within OMWD’s service area were invited to enter the contest earlier this year. The top three posters all hailed from Mrs. Goyette’s class at Flora Vista Elementary in Encinitas. “We are fortunate to have such talented young artists in our area,” stated OMWD Board President Ed Sprague. “The annual poster contest is a great way for them to show off their talent and gets students thinking about the importance of using water wisely.”
A congressional bill that would prioritize the removal of nuclear waste from places with high population and high seismic activity — that is, San Onofre — was introduced Thursday, May 23, by U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano. Some 9 million people live within 50 miles of the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station. About 20 million live within 50 miles of New York’s Indian Point reactors, which are about to be decommissioned.
After much speculation about whether Janet Nguyen might run for one of Orange County’s hotly contested congressional seats in 2020, the Republican former state senator has thrown her hat in a surprising ring. And she’s not alone. Nguyen is one of seven people vying to fill a board of directors seat with the Municipal Water District of Orange County. The seat was left vacant after director Wayne Osborne, who was elected to a four-year term in 2016, retired in late April. “I was really heartened to see someone from that level interested in serving on our board,” MWDOC board president Brett Barbre said of Nguyen.
San Diego County residents have in recent days had yet another reminder of the utter failure of the local, state and federal governments in the United States and Mexico to solve an awful ongoing problem. That reminder came in the form of nearly 57 million gallons of water tainted by sewage, carcinogenic chemicals and pesticides pouring into the United States last week via the Tijuana River because of broken, inadequate sewer infrastructure on the Mexican side of the border. This has become a terrible fact of life. Sewage spills from Tijuana have fouled San Diego’s coastal waters for years, and the southern shoreline of Imperial Beach has been closed since November.
Growers of grapes, tree nuts, and cranberries got good news from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday morning. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide up to $16 billion in aid to farmers impacted by the tariff battle with Chinainitiated by President Donald Trump. A statement from the USDA said that Trump authorized the aid, which is a $4 billion bump from last year. “The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners,” Perdue said.
These almost unlimited coastal access points are what made Kathy Biala move here five years ago. She’s taking me to one of her favorite walking spots on the shore, but before we reach the beach Biala wants to take me on a little detour. We drive past the wastewater treatment plant, then to the regional landfill, and finally to a sand mining plant — a post-apocalyptic looking moonscape where sand from Marina beaches gets packaged for places like Home Depot, golf courses, and concrete manufacturers. The state determined that it was causing some of the worst beach erosion in California.