Land Use

These Days, Everything Is A Jobs Bill

By Peter Schrag

It’ll probably take days, even months, before we’ll find all the dead rats and other vermin buried in the legislature’s 11th hour rush and confusion last week. It’s been so in years past, and probably always will be, despite the procedural fixes that have been proposed to prevent it.

So maybe the best news to come out of this session is what didn’t happen: The complicated tax deal that Gov. Jerry Brown negotiated last week and that was hurriedly passed in the Assembly failed in the Senate.

Like almost everything else these days, both in Washington and in Sacramento, Brown called it a jobs bill.

Controversial CEQA Reforms Approved by Legislature

By Eva Chambers
Planning and Conservation League

The Planning and Conservation League (PCL) stands strong with coalition partners in opposing 11th-hour bills that weaken California’s landmark environmental and community protection law

PCL, joining with a coalition including Sierra Club California, Coalition for Clean Air, Clean Water Action, and a host of environmental justice and community groups from the Los Angeles area and throughout California, tried valiantly to stave off three bills that will weaken protections of The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Native American Activists Save Sacred Burial Ground From Bulldozers

By Jacob Simas

Hundreds gathered at Glen Cove, Calif., last weekend for a closing ceremony to celebrate what Native American activists and their allies are declaring a historic victory.

It was a victory over a city-park development that would have bulldozed the area for parking lots, plumbing and paved paths -- on one of the last undeveloped ancient burial sites of indigenous people remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Although their 108-day occupation of the land the Ohlone people called "Sogorea Te” had ended, the protest group hoped the action marks the beginning of a new chapter for the 15 acres of land surrounding an inlet of water now known as Glen Cove along the Carquinez Strait. The cove connects the Sacramento Delta to the San Francisco Bay.

“Sacred Fire”

Carnage at the Delta Death Pumps Continues Unabated

By Dan Bacher

The horrific counts of Sacramento splittail, Central Valley chinook salmon and other fish species “consumed” by the "predator" water export pumping facilities on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta continue unabated, according to Bill Jennings, chairman/executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.

A total of 8,830,515 splittail, 35,435 chinook salmon, 246,833 striped bass, 33,822 largemouth bass, 60,822 bluegill, 50,634 white catfish, 17,514 channel catfish, 44,011 threadfin shad, 65,763 American shad and 1,614 steelhead were “salvaged” in the state and federal water export facilities from January 1 to July 11, 2011, according to Department of Fish and Game data.

Human Right to Water Bill Passes Through Senate Committee

By Dan Bacher

The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, in a special hearing in the State Capitol in Sacramento on July 7, passed AB 685, the Human Right to Water bill.

This landmark bill would establish in law a state policy that every Californian has a "human right to clean, affordable, and accessible drinking water for their basic human needs," according to a joint news release from the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water (EJCW) and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).

"After hearing moving testimony from safe water advocates and residents of California communities without access to safe drinking water, the committee voted 5-3 in favor," said Debbie Davis, Policy Director of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. "A broad-based coalition of faith-based, human rights, environmental, consumer rights and environmental justice groups celebrated the latest legislative victory for the human right to water package moving through the legislature."

The First Sustainable Community Strategy Is Released - How Did it Fare?

By Traci Sheehan

California's Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, or SB 375, is the nation's first legislation to link transportation and land use planning with global warming. The bill, passed in 2008, has the potential to truly transform California’s development practices by requiring local agencies to coordinate land-use, transportation and housing planning in order to curb sprawl, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lessen vehicle miles traveled, and promote social equity in our urban core. Such planning often happens in isolation in today’s regulatory structure.

The Republican Plan to Privatize the Parks

By Brian Leubitz

Once upon a time, there was a place so magical, that there were places that anybody could go.  Rich and poor could, heaven forbid, mingle in the glory of nature.  These places were even free to enter.  It was a magical place.

Of course, the days of free state parks has long since passed by the wayside. While we all would have loved to see Prop 21 pass, thereby ensuring a steady revenue stream for the parks system, it did not.  And so we are back to fighting about which parks to close.

Republicans have previously floated the idea of park sponsorships, but today, in an email from the Senate Republican caucus, they outright call for privatization of our parks system.

Ask the Right Questions Before Privatizing

By Donald Cohen
In The Public Interest

Elected officials need to do a better job of asking the right questions before they make a decision that we'll live with for decades.

Too often, a mayor, governor or other public official proposes to sell off a public facility, privatize a public good or contract out a vital service, but fails to answer basic questions that decision makers and voters need to decide whether it's a good idea.

Yurok Tribe Opposes Devin Nunes' HR 1837

By Dan Bacher

California's largest Indian Tribe, the Yurok Tribe, has joined the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Modoc Nation, commercial fishing groups, recreational angling organizations, Delta farmers, conservation groups and environmental justice organizations in strongly opposing the San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act (HR 1837) sponsored by Representative Devin Nunes (D-California).

Thomas O'Rourke, Chairman of the Yurok Tribal Council, slammed the bill for favoring a few corporate agribusiness interests to the detriment of fish, fishermen, Tribes and the environment in a letter sent on June to Congressional Leaders. These include Doc Hastings, Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, Tom McClintock, Chair of the Water and Power Subcommittee, and Grace Napolitano, Ranking Democratic Member, Water and Power Subcommittee.

Delta Pumps Killed 15,000 Salmon, 6 million Splittail in May

By Dan Bacher 

One of the greatest fish kills in California history took place this May when the state and federal water project pumps on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta slaughtered just under 6 million Sacramento splittail and 14,929 spring run Chinook salmon. 

The federal Central Valley Project (CVP) pumps took 5,480,531 Sacramento splittail in May 2011, while the State Water Project pumps killed 506,356 splittail. That's a total of 5,986,887 splittail, nearly 6 million of these native minnows that are found only in the Central Valley and Delta. 

The number of threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon killed in May is also very alarming. The CVP pumps took 7,480 salmon, while the SWP pumps killed 7,449 chinooks, a total of 14,929 fish! 

The daily totals of fish "salvaged" in the pumps can be found at: