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34 cities and counties urge a federal judge to block Trump's 'sanctuary cities' executive order
Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Santa Monica are among the 34 cities and counties arguing that President Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary jurisdictions” is unconstitutional. In an amicus brief supporting Santa Clara County’s lawsuit against Trump, they are urging a federal judge to issue a nationwide injunction on Trump’s January executive order, which would punish localities that refuse to help federal immigration enforcement. The order is vague, does not provide due process and violates the 10th Amendment by taking power away from local agencies, they argue in the brief, filed Wednesday. The cities and counties in the amicus brief “all have very different policies about how they use their own local police force — the extent to which they cooperate with federal … law enforcement,” said Dean Harvey, an attorney at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein who filed the brief. “What they all agree on is that this executive order is unconstitutional.” [Article]
by SONALI KOHLI, Los Angeles Times. 2017-03-24
 
Churches answer call to offer immigrants sanctuary in an uneasy mix of politics and compassion
The protesters screamed into bullhorns every Sunday for a year after Liliana Sanchez de Saldivar moved into the United Church of Christ in Simi Valley. They told her to go home. It was 2007 and U.S. immigration agents had shown up at her home in Oxnard to take her away. But when they saw the baby boy on her arm, they told her she had five days to get ready for a free ride across the border to Tijuana. Instead, she packed her belongings and headed to the home of a church deacon in Sierra Madre, who eventually got her settled in the Simi Valley church parsonage while immigration advocates took up her cause and her case garnered widespread attention. Ten years later, President Trumpís promise of a crackdown on illegal immigration has congregations across the state and country again mobilizing to shield immigrants from deportation. [Article]
by ANDREA CASTILLO, Los Angeles Times. 2017-03-24
 
UC is moving forward with Mexican initiative, regardless of Trump actions
University of California President Janet Napolitano is headed to Mexico next week to reassure leaders there that the public research university remains committed to academic collaboration — even if some of it, such as climate change research, is at risk under the Trump administration. In an interview Wednesday, Napolitano said she would build on the UC-Mexico Initiative she launched in 2014 despite President Trump’s plans to build a border wall, increase immigration enforcement and reduce federal research funding. She said she planned to tell Mexicans during three days of meetings starting next Wednesday, "Regardless of what is happening federally, the University of California remains open to academic partnerships with Mexico." Napolitano developed ties with Mexico as the governor of Arizona and as U.S. Homeland Security secretary. She said she launched the initiative to bring together disparate work at individual UC campuses. She provided $60,000 in seed money for UC faculty to meet with Mexican counterparts and decide priorities; they selected education, energy, the environment, health and the arts and culture. [Article]
by TERESA WATANABE, Los Angeles Times. 2017-03-24
 
California lawmakers want to block police from helping federal drug agents take action against marijuana license holders
With federal authorities hinting at a possible crackdown on state-licensed marijuana dealers, a group of California lawmakers wants to block local police and sheriff’s departments from assisting such investigations and arrests unless compelled by a court order. A bill by six Democratic legislators has drawn strenuous objections from local law enforcement officials, who say it improperly ties their hands, preventing them from cooperating with federal drug agents. “It really is quite offensive,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Assn., who said he objected to lawmakers “wanting to direct law enforcement how they want us to work.” But proponents say the measure is needed to assure marijuana growers and sellers that applying for state licenses will not make them more vulnerable to arrest and prosecution under federal law, which designates cannabis as an illegal drug. “Prohibiting our state and local law enforcement agencies from expending resources to assist federal intrusion of California-compliant cannabis activity reinforces … the will of our state’s voters who overwhelmingly supported Proposition 64,” said Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), the lead author of the new bill. [Article]
by PATRICK McGREEVY, Los Angeles Times. 2017-03-24
 
We Have Some Good News on the California Drought. Take a Look.
MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIF. — The majestic beauty of California’s Sierra Nevada never fails to impress. But the mountain range, which stretches hundreds of miles, is much more than a stunning vista. It’s a linchpin that helps make living in an arid state possible. That’s because one of California’s most important water supplies is melted snow. Each spring and summer, the Sierra sends runoff down its slopes that recharges rivers and reservoirs, allowing crops to be irrigated and drinking glasses to be filled. Knowing with precision how much snow has accumulated is crucial for farmers and water managers. That’s where a mapping project at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory known as the Airborne Snow Observatory comes in. Using measurements gathered by specialized instruments on a plane, scientists have been able to gain an unprecedented understanding of the amount of water present in the Sierra’s snow. [Article]
by MIKE McPHATE, DEREK WATKINS and JIM WILSON, . 2017-03-24
 
How California is saving rainwater for a sunny day
Outside the window of Helen Dahlke’s office, at the University of California at Davis, the clouds hang low, their edges seeming to brush against the building. It’s raining intensely, an unusual event in a perpetually parched state suffering from a five-year drought. “It looks like the end of the world,” says Dahlke happily. As a hydrologist and professor who studies how water flows over and through rock, soil, fields, and farms, she is something of an H2O whiz. For the past two years, Dahlke has spent days like this doing what water conservationists might find abhorrent: standing in the rain, in knee-high rubber boots, opening sprinklers on a dormant farm or orchard, and letting them spray. She’s good at it. She can spray about 45 million gallons in 42 days. [Article]
by MARY BETH GRIGGS, California AgAlert. 2017-03-24
 
California's vineyards are coming back from the brink of disaster thanks to the winter rains
This spring, it’s all about the “super bloom,” the blanket of wildflowers covering California’s hillsides that has transformed parched desert landscapes into spectacular riots of color. But perhaps more important, it’s also about the state’s vineyards, which are experiencing a comparable replenishment, with a tableau just as colorful and dramatic. Cover crops — mustard, peas, vetch, clover, buckwheat — are weaving a tangled geometry between the vine rows, one of the many signs that in 2017, California’s vineyards — Central Coast vineyards in particular — are coming back from the brink of disaster. It’s hard to imagine what might have happened to the region without this season’s rains. Record low rainfall levels, coupled with record average temperatures in an age of global warming, had left viticulture from Monterey to Ventura in a low-grade peril. The five-year drought had been so inexorable in its effects, so disruptive to seasonal cycles, that growers were having a hard time imagining what a return to normal would look like. Paso Robles, the Central Coast’s great tourism success story, where vineyard acreage and real estate tracts had ballooned in the last decade, faced the prospect of an abrupt about-face in its growth pattern, as the region confronted one of the most catastrophic water management crises in California history. [Article]
by PATRICK COMISKEY, Los Angeles Times. 2017-03-24
 
IOC, L.A. and Paris involved in a high-stakes game of chicken over Olympics
The statement coming out of Paris this week did not seem to leave much wiggle room. With the French capital competing against Los Angeles to host the Summer Games, bid leaders appeared to shoot down a proposal by Olympic leaders to name two winners — one for 2024 and the other for 2028. “We can’t accept ’28,” Tony Estanguet, the Paris 2024 co-chairman, told reporters. “It’s not possible.” Nothing in this bidding cycle has been simple or straightforward. The Olympic movement has reached a crisis as cities around the world shy away from bidding for the Games, concerned about the enormous costs involved. Los Angeles and Paris arguably possess the resources to stage the massive sporting event in a financially responsible manner, which is probably why the International Olympic Committee is considering an unprecedented move by locking them both down at September’s vote in Lima, Peru. Now comes the intrigue, with Olympic leaders pushing their agenda, Paris delivering an ultimatum and Los Angeles — in more careful words — insisting it is focused solely on 2024. [Article]
by DAVID WHARTON, Los Angeles Times. 2017-03-24
 
Audio: Environmentalists win temporary halt to Devil's Gate Dam dig-out
Environmentalists on Thursday won a temporary halt to a project to remove millions of cubic yards of sediment from behind Devil's Gate Dam, a project they said was so big it would harm air quality and wildlife habitat in the Hahamongna Watershed Park in the north end of Pasadena. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ruled LA County's environmental impact report on the project was insufficient. Opponent of the plan were pleased with the decision. [Article]
by SHARON MCNARY, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2017-03-24
 
Audio: City officials warn of notario scams as immigrants seek help to avoid deportation
Los Angeles officials are raising awareness about scams by unscrupulous immigration consultants, often referred to as notarios, as people living in the country illegally seek help to avoid deportation in the wake of stiffer enforcement. City Attorney Mike Feuer and other L.A. officials gathered at Feuer's office Monday to warn of the notario cases, in which some immigrants have lost thousands of dollars and faced deportation. [Article]
by LESLIE BERESTEIN ROJAS, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2017-03-24
 
Californians happy with state government, hate D.C.
Californians approve of Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature while overwhelmingly disapproving of President Donald Trump and Congress, according to the latest survey from the Public Policy Institute of California. Unfortunately, PPIC’s regional breakdown lumps together Orange and San Diego counties, so we don’t get a clear view of what folks think in our county. As I’ll get into momentarily, the two counties are politically distinct from one another. Brown got the highest approval ratings of the politicians, 58 percent from all adults polled. Respondents’ own representatives in the state Legislature rated 53 percent, the state Legislature overall got 51 percent and respondents’ congressional representatives scored 51 percent. [Article]
by MARTIN WISCKOL / COLUMNIST, Orange County Register. 2017-03-24
 
San Diegans Reminded of Tsunami Danger to Low-Lying Neighborhoods
A tsunami could strike the San Diego coastline with as little as a few minutes warning and cause catastrophic damage to low-lying areas like Coronado, Del Mar and neighborhoods surrounding Mission Bay. That was the reminder issued by state and local officials Thursday, who gathered at La Jolla Shores Beach, another area that would be inundated, to publicize the upcoming Tsunami Preparedness Week. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Times of San Diego. 2017-03-24
 
County hoping to help businesses affected by Tijuana sewage spill
The county wants to hear from businesses directly affected by last month’s massive raw sewage spill in Tijuana to see if they qualify for a federal disaster loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration.Roughly 230 million gallons of waste flowed from the Mexican side of the border into the Tijuana River and into several South County beaches.The pollution led to beach closures from Tijuana to Coronado.No other sewage spill in the greater San Diego-Tijuana region has approached this magnitude in years, according to the environmental group WiLDCOAST, co-founded by Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.Due to how wide-spread the spill was, the county is investigating whether it has caused businesses substantial economic consequences or property damage. [Article]
by ALLISON SAMPITE-MONTECALVO, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2017-03-24
 
California adopts strictest methane rule in the nation
As expected, California officials on Thursday night passed what is considered the nation’s strictest rule aimed at curbing emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the measure on a unanimous vote at a meeting in Riverside.“The Trump administration has backed away from efforts to develop a federal rule to curb methane leaks from existing facilities — the nation’s largest source of methane pollution,” Mary Nichols, CARB chair, said in a statement immediately after the vote. “California’s regulations continue our leadership in fighting air pollutants and help meet our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.”The regulation is sweeping, covering oil and gas sites on land as well as offshore and would apply to private, state and federal property. Tribal land, however, would be exempt.It would also cover storage sites such as the Aliso Canyon natural gas facility, site of a massive leak that forced thousands from their homes in the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles County. [Article]
by ROB NIKOLEWSKI, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2017-03-24
 
Environmental activists say plan for better air quality in IE needs regulations
Clean air activists staged a rally outside the Riverside County Administration Center Thursday ahead of the California Air Resources Board meeting. The state agency is taking up a plan aimed at achieving cleaner air in the south coast basin and Coachella Valley. "We are asking them to beef it up - to strengthen it up - and put some regulations into it," said Penny Newman with the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, KABC Los Angeles ABC 7 News. 2017-03-24
 
Rent prices are going up in Inland Empire, study says
The Inland Empire’s robust residential rental market is outpacing neighboring coastal areas with less vacancy and greater or equal growth in rent prices, according to a new analysis released recently by the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Fontana Herald News. 2017-03-24
 
Number of homeless persons in San Bernardino County declines slightly, report says
The number of homeless persons in San Bernardino County declined slightly during the past year, according to a new report issued by the county. On Jan. 26, 2017, the county's communities counted 1,866 homeless individuals who were staying in a shelter, transitional housing, or unsheltered, according to the San Bernardino 2017 Homeless Count and Survey Final Report. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Fontana Herald News. 2017-03-24
 
This Desert Life: Desert trash revisited (with hope)
Our desert, particularly its more rural locales, reveals beauty both realized and potential. Potential beauty, however, often remains in a stagnated state due to illegal dumping, a pervasive dilemma beyond nature's immediate control. But it's not beyond our control. So believes Scott Brown, founder and president of High Desert Keepers, an organization with an aim of eradicating illegal dumps. [Article]
by MATTHEW CABE, Victorville Daily Press. 2017-03-24
 
Local officials advocating for passage of state transportation funding bill
County supervisor Leticia Perez and officials from throughout Kern County joined labor and transportation advocates Thursday to urge the passage of a state transportation funding bill. Advocates want a transportation funding package to pass by April 6, the last day of the legislative session before lawmakers go on spring recess. Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola and Wasco Councilmember Alex Garcia were also in attendance. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, KERO - ABC - Bakersfield. 2017-03-24
 
Shrinking Salton Sea threatens wildlife
Over the years, many of the birds that visit Shasta County have found a migratory fuel stop in the richness of the Salton Sea, a short hour’s drive from Palm Springs. The flood that re-created it must have been of almost Biblical proportions.  In 1905-07, canal levees were breached, sending the entire flow of the Colorado River into a vast basin – the bed of the ancient, dry Lake Cahuilla. Thus the modern Salton Sea was formed.  At 35 miles long and 350 square miles in area, it is California’s largest inland lake. In comparison, the more-familiar Lake Tahoe is 22 miles long and covers 191 square miles. The Salton Sea supports an extremely productive tilapia fishery, possibly the most productive in the world. This was quickly discovered by fish-eating birds and – due to its remote location – later by human fishers. The sea became a major recreational destination in the 1960s. [Article]
by LINDA ALDRICH, Redding Record Searchlight. 2017-03-24
 
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