SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – Supporters of a plan to divide California into six sates can begin collecting signatures to get the proposal on the ballot.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced that the proposed ballot initiative – known as Six Californias – could move forward Tuesday.
Under the plan, from venture capitalist Tim Draper, most of the Bay Area would be considered “Silicon Valley.” Napa, Sonoma and Marin Counties would become part of “North California.”
Valid voter signatures are needed from 800,000 to put the measure on the ballot statewide.
Even if voters approve the plan, it would face an uphill battle in congress.
“If the federal government approves the proposed creation of six new states, all tax collections and spending by the existing State of California would end, with its assets and liabilities divided among the new states. Decisions by appointed commissioners and elected leaders would determine how taxes, public spending, and other public policies would change for the new states and their local governments,” reads the summary from Bowen’s office.
(A secret service agent in Los Banos, Calif., as President Obama spoke on Friday. Mr. Obama suggested climate change as an explanation for the area’s drought. Pool photo by Wally Skalij)
By JUSTIN GILLIS FEB. 16, 2014
In delivering aid to drought-stricken California last week, President Obama and his aides cited the state as an example of what could be in store for much of the rest of the country as human-caused climate change intensifies.
But in doing so, they were pushing at the boundaries of scientific knowledge about the relationship between climate change and drought. While a trend of increasing drought that may be linked to global warming has been documented in some regions, including parts of the Mediterranean and in the Southwestern United States, there is no scientific consensus yet that it is a worldwide phenomenon. Nor is there definitive evidence that it is causing California’s problems.
To be sure, 2013 was the driest year in 119 years of record keeping in California. But extreme droughts have happened in the state before, and the experts say this one bears a notable resemblance to some of those, including a crippling drought in 1976 and 1977.
Over all, drought seems to be decreasing in the central United States and certain other parts of the world, though that is entirely consistent with the longstanding prediction that wet areas of the world will get wetter in a warming climate, even as the dry ones get drier.
What may be different about this drought is that, whatever the cause, the effects appear to have been made worse by climatic warming. And in making that case last week, scientists said, the administration was on solid ground.
California has been warming along with most regions of the United States, and temperatures in recent months have been markedly higher than during the 1976-77 drought. In fact, for some of the state’s most important agricultural regions, summer lasted practically into January, with high temperatures of 10 or 15 degrees above normal on some days.
The consequence, scientists say, has been that any moisture the state does get evaporates more rapidly, intensifying the effects of the drought on agriculture in particular. “We are going through a pattern we’ve seen before, but we’re doing it in a warmer environment,” said Michael Anderson, the California state climatologist.
A native grape, Vitus Californica can be found along streams and seeps in riparian woodlands of the Sierra Foothills, and Central California below the 5,500 ft. elevation. (The grape is claimed to be the source of the name “Yuba.” See About.) This highly adaptable and tolerant vine can be used very successfully for privacy screens, erosion control on banks, draped over patio arbors, or to cover something unsightly. When matured, the plant will thrive without summer water.
Unsupported, the vine makes a broad groundcover. With support, a single vine can span 30 feet. Established plants will have very large, attractive leaves that shade the grape bunches. You will seldom see the grapes mature in the wild because they provide a food source adored by birds and other wildlife.
The grapes are small and edible, but sour. They are not suitable for wine. The robust rootstock, however, is used worldwide for wine grapes.
Vitis Californica should not be confused with Vitis Labrusca, the native “fox grape” of the eastern United States.
Vitis Californica provides a lovely combination of color changes in the fall garden.
Recent cultivars include ‘Roger’s Red’ (named for horticulturist Roger Raiche) which turns brilliant red in fall and is a hybrid with a wine grape, Vitis vinifera Alicante Bouschet, and ’Walker Ridge,’ which turns yellow in the autumn.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, once a strong supporter of California’s high-speed rail project, says he has changed his mind and no longer backs it.
Newsom’s comments Friday make him the most prominent Democrat in California to publicly split with Gov. Jerry Brown on the project, one of the governor’s top priorities.
He says he supports taking $9 billion in voter-approved bonds from the rail project and redirecting it to “other, more pressing infrastructure needs.” He also says he’s one of only a few Democrats willing to speak publicly against it.
“We don’t want a handout.” Mark Borba, Borba Farms
Skip Sagouspe looks over bulldozed almond trees in an orchard at Sagoupse Enterprises in western Fresno County Thursday, January 16, 2014. The third generation farmer said he had to pull out 160 older almond trees, or about 10 percent of the family’s crop, to try and reduce his demand for irrigation during this time of drastic water shortage. CRAIG KOHLRUSS — Fresno Bee Staff Photo
FRESNO, Calif. February 14, 2014 (AP)
By SCOTT SMITH Associated Press
Farmers in California’s drought-stricken Central Valley said the financial assistance President Barack Obama delivered on his visit Friday does not get to the heart of California’s long-term water problems.
Amid one of the driest years in the state’s recorded history, Obama came to the Fresno area to announce $100 million in livestock-disaster aid, $60 million to support food banks and another $13 million toward things such as conservation and helping rural communities that could soon run out of drinking water.
Obama told reporters in the rural town of Firebaugh, where he met with community leaders, that he wasn’t about to wade into California water politics. Yet the president gently warned California’s leaders to find common ground rather than thinking of water as a “zero-sum game.”
“We’re going to have to figure out how to play a different game,” Obama said. “If the politics are structured in such a way where everybody is fighting each other and trying to get as much as they can, my suspicion is that we’re not going to make much progress.”
In his three-hour visit to the Central Valley, Obama also toured a farm in Los Banos to see the drought’s impact firsthand.
Another farmer, Sarah Woolf, a partner with Clark Brothers Farming, said anything will help, but the federal government needs to better manage the state’s water supplies so farmers have enough during future droughts like the current one.
“Throwing money at it is not going to solve the problem long-term,” she said.
The Central Valley produces nearly one-third of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, and Fresno County leads the nation in agriculture. Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, estimated that 25 percent of the county’s irrigated land will go unplanted this year.
FRESNO — President Obama came to the Central Valley today to discuss California’s historic drought, opening the federal government’s checkbook and making tens of millions of dollars in aid available to struggling farmers and communities.
Obama, whose plane touched down at Fresno Yosemite International Airport at 2:40 p.m., unveiled a $183 million aid package that includes money for ranchers in California who have lost livestock, communities that are running out of water and farmers that need help conserving scarce water resources.
• Starting in April, Central Valley ranchers will be able to apply for $100 million in livestock disaster assistance funding that was approved by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill. They can use the money to replace livestock who have died or purchase feed.
• Ranchers and farmers will both have access to $5 million in U.S. Agriculture Department funds to implement water conservation programs, reduce wind erosion on drought-impacted fields and improve the access of livestock to water.
• Projects to stabilize dry stream banks will get $5 million in federal funds, and small community water districts set to run out of water in the next 60 to 120 days will be able to apply for a total of $3 million in grants.
• The president will make $60 million in Agriculture Department funds available to food banks in California’s driest towns, and students who qualify for free and reduced price lunch during the school year will be able to eat meals at 600 locations in drought-stricken areas this summer.
By Tim Sheehan and John Ellis
The Fresno Bee February 12, 2014
President Barack Obama’s visit to Fresno on Friday may make for a great media opportunity, but save for a chosen few it will be all but impossible for the public to get a glimpse of him.
On this president’s first-ever visit to the Fresno area, the best that most people can hope for is to see either Air Force One, the presidential jumbo jet, as it arrives and departs from the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, or Marine One, one of the military helicopters that will ferry Obama to and from a yet-to-be revealed site where he is expected to talk about California’s severe drought.
Rep. Jim Costa, a Fresno Democrat, will arrive with Obama aboard Air Force One, as will California’s two senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Both are Democrats.
Rep. Devin Nunes, a Visalia Republican, had not been invited as of Wednesday to participate in the president’s visit, said Nunes’ chief of staff Johnny Amaral. Tal Eslick, chief of staff for Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, said his boss had requested time with Obama to talk about the drought, but had not yet received a reply, nor had he received any details about the Valley visit.
The president is heading west because of a meeting in at the Sunnylands estate in Rancho Mirage with King Abdullah II of Jordan. Once Obama is done with his stop in the Valley, he will head south.
According to The New York Times, after Obama finishes his time with the king, he plans to stay on for two days at Sunnylands to play a few rounds of golf at the estate’s recently refurbished nine-hole course, which has been played by presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to the elder George Bush.
The White House has not publicly released a schedule or any other details of Obama’s Fresno visit. But airspace restrictions issued Wednesday by the Federal Aviation Administration offer tantalizing hints.
There will be two restricted flying areas in the region on Friday afternoon “for VIP movement” — one around Fresno that’s in force from 2 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m., and another west of Firebaugh and south of Los Banos that is in effect between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Obama’s arrival and departure from Fresno Yosemite International will be closed to the public, according to a spokeswoman for the airport, and no other public events are anticipated during the visit, according to the White House.