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San Joaquin Delta water war documentary to debut with Ed Begley Jr.

It may not be an Oscar contender but folks who like to drink water may want to catch the Aug. 8 premiere of “Over Troubled Waters,” a documentary about efforts to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta into the Central Valley and Southern California.

Veteran water warriors and congressional reps. George Miller and John Garamendi are scheduled to host a news conference an hour before the 7 p.m.  show.

Both Miller and Garamendi go back decades in California’s perennial fight over how to share water across the vast state between the fish, the farmers and the residents.

The congressmen and the Delta counties are gearing up for another battle after state and federal officials announced plans last month to pursue the construction of a large underground pipeline — the latest iteration of the Peripheral Canal — and divert Delta water into the Central Valley and the Los Angeles area. Delta counties say the diversion will degrade the environment and lower the quality of their drinking water supplies.

Restore the Delta, an environmental organization, produced the documentary, which is narrated by actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr.

“It is our chance to tell the real Delta story,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “This film reveals how powerful forces are using fear of flooding and earthquakes to make a case for transforming a unique, beautiful, productive region into a permanent way station for water going somewhere else. They are trying to shore up an outdated water system with a massive, multi-billion dollar water transfer project that Californians will be paying for decades.”

The film premieres at 7 p.m. on Aug. 8 in Sacramento at the Crest Theater. For all the who-what-where details, read the news release below.

“Over Troubled Waters”:

Sustainable Water Advocates, Congressman George Miller to Premiere Film on Water Wars

“Over Troubled Waters, a documentary about the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, will premiere on August 8th at the Crest Theater in Sacramento. U.S. Reps. George Miller and John Garamendi will join hundreds of sustainable water policy advocates at a news conference prior to the film premier, which will be the centerpiece of a public education effort to stop the building of peripheral tunnels.

In this visually rich documentary, Ed Begley Jr. narrates the story of how the people of the Delta are fighting to protect the region they love and to encourage saner, sustainable water policies for all the people of California.

“This is our chance to tell the real Delta story,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, which produced the documentary. “This film reveals how powerful forces are using fear of flooding and earthquakes to make a case for transforming a unique, beautiful, productive region into a permanent way station for water going somewhere else. They are trying to shore up an outdated water system with a massive, multi-billion dollar water transfer project that Californians will be paying for decades.”

Tickets are available on-line for a $10 donation at restorethedelta.org. Some tickets will also be available at the door.

What: Over Troubled Waters, Media availability: 6:00 p.m.,

Film screening: 7:00 p.m.

Where: Crest Theater, 1013 K St., Sacramento, CA

When: Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Who: U.S. Representative George Miller, Sen. Lois Wolk, Assem. Bill Berryhill, Russ Fisher, Media Creations; Jason Sturgis, Open Oceans Productions, hundreds of Delta residents, including farmers and fishermen

Restore the Delta is a 7000-member grassroots organization committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. www.restorethedelta.org

 

Posted on Monday, August 6th, 2012
Under: water | 6 Comments »

Contra Costa reacts swiftly to revised Delta peripheral canal plan

Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho

Contra Costa County, whose leaders have been fending off a peripheral canal for more than three decades, reacted swiftly and negatively to a joint federal-state announcement today of a new Delta water diversion proposal.

“We need science before size,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, who also sits on the Delta Protection Commission, Delta Conservancy and helped found the Delta County Coalition. “Science should drive the capacity of any project, not the other way around. It is completely unacceptable.”

See my colleague Steve Harmon’s full story here.

(ADDED 5:29 P.M. East Bay congressional representatives also blast plan. See full statements below.)

Smaller options must be evaluated, and science and the economic impacts of any pipeline must be more than “considered, as the announcement today said,” Piepho added.

“It’s easy to ‘consider’ something for 3 seconds, then shove it off the table and go back to your primary objective, which is to pipe massive amounts of Delta water into Southern California,” she said.

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff echoed her colleague’s dismay via  a text message from Sacramento, where she watched the announcement.

“If people believe what (Gov. Jerry Brown) and (Interior Secretary Ken) Salazar said today, I think there’s still a bridge available for sale,” Mitchoff said. “The plan will sacrifice the interest of one part of the state for the interests of others.”

The county, the Contra Costa Water District and others say the diversion will degrade both the environment and drinking water quality for tens of thousands of East Bay residents. The county board of supervisors formally opposed the plan in early July.

In contrast, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein wholeheartedly endorsed the pact, calling it a “major step toward a real solution in the Sacramento-Delta.” Feinstein led the federal legislation mandating completion of a Bay-Delta Conservation Plan by February 2013. See her press release issued today below.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, water | 26 Comments »

Contra Costa receives $500,000 DOE solar grant

A Contra Costa economic development partnership was awarded a $521,529 Department of Energy grant to help streamline and digitize the permitting process for solar system.

Read on for the news release issued earlier today:

A clean technology initiative of the Contra Costa Economic Partnership has been awarded a major grant through the U.S. Department of Energy Rooftop Solar Challenge, a national program to encourage cities and counties to compete to streamline and digitize solar permitting. (See the DOE news release here: http://energy.gov/articles/doe-awards-12-million-spur-rapid-adoption-solar-energy-rooftop-solar-challenge.)

The Economic Partnership, in collaboration with the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County (www.wdbccc.com), officially launched a business-led effort in June 2011 to stimulate economic growth and job creation throughout the Greater East Bay. This initiative led to the formation of the Diablo Innovation Alliance (www.diabloinnovationalliance.org), a regional collaboration focused on driving economic growth and job creation in the clean technology sectors.

The DOE funds will be used to develop the first phase of a solar permitting process within Contra Costa County that encourages local jurisdictions to standardize permit requirements so they are easily understood, consistent, timely and cost effective. Subsequent phases and funding would involve the three-county region; successful implementation would serve as a best practice model for statewide adoption.

“The Economic Partnership is working closely with industry to accelerate market adoption and to reduce barriers to innovative solar and other clean energy programs throughout the region,” said Partnership Chair Alex Mehran. “We want to become a global center of clean technology and innovation, and this grant will help us begin to get there.”

“We are extremely excited about this new award and the boost that it provides to spur innovation and job creation in our region,” said Stephen Baiter, Executive Director for the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County. “By continuing to develop and promote policies that support sustainable and efficient energy sources, we will fuel increased demand for our rapidly growing solar industry cluster and get more people in the East Bay back to work.”

A second initiative involves development of a regional energy procurement plan that focuses on public-sector aggregated procurement of solar and other forms of clean energy, and is modeled on the successful Silicon Valley Collaborative Renewable Energy Procurement Project.

Bay Area legislators John Garamendi, Jerry McNerney and George Miller have been big proponents of the economic development initiative from its beginnings, and were part of the launch event on June 29 at Bishop Ranch.

“I am proud to have supported the Contra Costa Economic Partnership application for the Department of Energy SunShot program grant, and I congratulate them on winning the award,” said Rep. John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek). “This program will move our country one step closer to energy independence. By streamlining the permitting process, the Economic Partnership will cultivate an environment for businesses to grow and create jobs in our community. Smart public-private partnerships like this will help us to Make It Locally and Make It In America.”

“This grant will put people in the East Bay back to work, creating jobs that we need in the region,” said Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton). “The work of the folks at the Contra Costa Economic Partnership is a wonderful example of how American ingenuity can get our economy back on track. I look forward to seeing the progress that will result from this grant. In today’s economy, the federal government needs to be a partner in spurring economic growth.”

“This announcement is great news for our community. I congratulate the Contra Costa Economic Partnership on their work to create jobs, help homeowners and businesses, and invest in the sustainability of our cities by making it easier to install clean energy in Contra Costa,” Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) said of the project.

About the Contra Costa Economic Partnership (CCEP): The CCEP is an association of  business, education and public sector leaders dedicated to creating and retaining quality jobs in  the Greater East Bay to maintain the region’s quality of life. It is the nonprofit arm of the Contra Costa Council (www.contracostacouncil.com).

Posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
Under: Contra Costa County, energy, Environment | No Comments »

Garamendi returns from Afghanistan

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

East Bay Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, has returned from a three-day trip to Afghanistan even more convinced that the U.S. should swiftly withdraw its military troops.

Posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
Under: Congressional District 10, John Garamendi | 6 Comments »

East Bay political round-up

Here’s a look at upcoming political events and happenings around the East Bay:

Walnut Creek

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, will host a town hall Monday in Walnut Creek to talk about proposed Republican changes to Medicare.

The GOP, which holds majority control of the House of Representatives, seeks to convert Medicare to a voucher system. Garamendi opposes it.

The free public event will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Care Center of Rossmoor, 1224 Rossmoor Parkway in Walnut Creek.

Blackhawk

Attorney Catharine Baker, who oversaw GOP congressional candidate David Harmer’s ballot-counting examination in the November 2010 election, is the featured speaker at the May 12 evening meeting of the Blackhawk Republican Women.

Harmer lost the election to Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, but the race was tight up until Election Day. Both candidates and major parties sent representatives to watch the ballot-counting process.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with a social gathering followed by the program at 6:15 p.m. It will be held at the Blackhawk Country Club, 599 Blackhawk Club Drive, in Danville.

Tickets cost $25. For reservations, send a check made out to the Blackhawk Republican Women, c/o Marianne Lyons, 856 Turrini Drive, Danville, CA 94526. Contact Lyons at rlyons1009@sbcglobal.net or call 925-820-6452.

San Francisco

Former California Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown will deliver during on May 26 at the Commonwealth Club his annual critique of political trends.

The witty and sometimes acerbic Brown, a sought-after lecturer and a columnist, was the state’s first African-American speaker and held the position longer than any other politician. Term limits — of which he was paraded as the poster child in favor of its passage — later forced him out of office.

The event begins with a reception at 5:15 followed by the program at 6 p.m., at 595 Market Street, Second Floor, in San Francisco.

Tickets are $15 for members. For more information, contact the Commonwealth Club www.commonwealthclub.org or 415-597-6734.

Pittsburg

Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover has expanded by two the number of community members who will serve on a panel charged with handing out the proceeds of a Keller Canyon landfill tipping fee.

The fund, which has distributed between $800,000 and $1.8 million annually over the past decade, is intended to offset the landfill’s effects on traffic, open space, recreational facilities and agriculture in the Pittsburg-Bay Point area, where the dump is located.

In a scathing analysis published last year, retired Auditor-Controller Steve Ybarra recommended greater oversight of which community groups receive the grants. The panel was handing out more money than it was taking in, and there were allegations of favoritism.

Glover denied any wrongdoing had occurred but agreed to study improvements in the grant award process.

One seat will go to a member of the Bay Point Chamber of Commerce and the second to a faculty member or administrator in the Mt. Diablo Unified Schools who works in Bay Point schools.

Interested residents should contact Glover’s office at 925-427-8138 and request an application, which must be submitted by 5 p.m. on May 20.

Martinez

Author and journalist Marc Sandalow will headline the second event of the new Martinez Speaker Series set for June 6.

Sandalow, who began his career as a reporter for the Martinez News Gazette, is the editor of the California News Service, associate academic director of the UC Berkeley Washington Center and a political analysis for KCBS radio in San Francisco.

He previously spent 21 years on the staff of the San Francisco Chronicle, including a decade as the paper’s bureau chief in Washington, D.C.

Sandalow wrote “Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi’s Life, Times and Rise to Power” and co-authored “Ballparks: A Panoramic History.”

The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Shell Clubhouse, 1635 Pacheco Blvd., in Martinez.

Tickets are $15 and include a post-event dessert reception with Sandalow. Purchase tickets online at www.MainStreetMartinez.org or call 925-228-3577.

Contra Costa County

The Contra Costa Election Department seeks pollworkers in Alamo and Richmond for the June 7 special election.

No prior experience is required. Training for election clerks is available online and a class will be offered in Richmond.

Clerks receive an $80 stipend for the day’s work, while more experienced inspectors receive $100. Workers may also receive other stipends of $5 to $20 for attending classes, picking up supplies, delivering ballots and providing Spanish bilingual assistance.

For information, call 925-335-7873 or email EO.Recruitment@vote.cccounty.us.

Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2011
Under: Political events | No Comments »

East Bay events round-up

Here’s a look at upcoming political events:

Cyberspace

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, is the first congressman to host a mobile video town hall.

On Tuesday, starting at 6:16 p.m., residents may sign up for the video conference through Visible Vote’s free application for Facebook and smartphones including iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

Viewers may watch the congressman answer questions real-time posed from those who have signed up for video conference. Many elected officials already deploy the use of telephone town halls, which allow thousands of people to listen and ask questions via the telephone.

But this is the first opportunity for constituents to see Garamendi on their phones as he answers their questions.

Learn how to set up Visible Vote is available at http://visiblevote.us/get-started. php. A video on how Visible Vote works is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=HulPk2dJ3OA.

Concord

Contra Costa Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Gayle Uilkema will deliver the annual State of the County Address at a Feb. 10 luncheon sponsored by the Contra Costa Council.

The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Boulevard, Concord.

Tickets at $35 for council members and elected official and $45 for nonmembers.

The council is a nonpartisan public policy advocacy organization funded through membership of businesses and other local groups.

For more information, visit www.contracostacouncil.com, e-mail info@contracostacouncil.com or call 925-246-1880.

Pleasant Hill

UC-Berkeley Statewide Database Director Karin MacDonald is the keynote speaker at the inaugural Feb. 22 lunch meeting of Community Connections, a lecture series sponsored by Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.

MacDonald leads the research center that will process Census 2010 data and geographic information system mapping for use in the state’s redrawing of its congressional and state legislative boundaries.

For the first time, an independent commission of residents will draw the boundaries after voters stripped legislators of the job.

The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. at Contra Costa Country Club, 801 Golf Club Road in Pleasant Hill.

A lunch ticket costs $35. Prices for tickets to the full series vary from $1,000 to $100, depending on the type of membership. Proceeds benefit Mitchoff’s officeholder account, a non-campaign fund managed by elected officials.

San Francisco

Experts will discuss California’s unsustainable public pension system at a March 9 forum sponsored by the Bay Area Council.

The event, entitled, “Is California Headed for a Super Storm of Unfunded Pension Liabilities,” will feature San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster; California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility President Marcia Fritz, and Stanford professor and former state Assemblyman Joe Nation.

The forum will be held from 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m. at the offices of SNR Denton, 525 Market Street, 26th Floor, in San Francisco.

“California’s public pension system has been described by some as a ‘time bomb’ or a ‘tsunami’ and by others as an over blown hoax,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “This forum is a chance to get down to the facts and see how much we actually owe, and to examine how to make reforms to get the state back on track.”

For more information, contact www.bayareacouncil.org or call 415-946-8710.

Posted on Monday, February 7th, 2011
Under: Political calendar, Political events | 1 Comment »

McNerney returns to science committee

McNerney

McNerney

In yet another fall-out after the Democrats’ loss of majority status in the House of Representatives, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will lose his seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

He will return to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, his first assignment after he was initially elected in 2006. McNerney will remain on the Veterans Affairs Committee, his signature policy area. He had served on Energy and Commerce just one term.

“The congressman enjoyed his time on the Energy and Commerce Committee, but he is very excited about going back to the Science, Space and Technology Committee,” said spokeswoman Sarah Hersh.

A PHd mathematician who designed wind turbines, McNerney has a keen interest in green technology and science.

McNerney’s shift is the result of the GOP takeover of the House of Representatives. Not only does the majority party hold more seats on committees but the GOP leaders also cut the overall size of the committees.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, lost his seat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, leaving the Bay Area with no direct representation on the committee.  And Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, will leave the House Natural Resources Committee after more than 35 years on the panel.

Posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2011
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10, congressional district 11 | 4 Comments »

O’Malley earns high-profile endorsements

OMalley

O'Malley

In a high-profile but partisan-flavored move, Democratic Reps. George Miller and John Garamendi have endorsed Contra Costa District Attorney candidate Dan O’Malley.

The District Attorney seat is nonpartisan but O’Malley is a Democrat and his opponent, Mark Peterson, is a Republican. Both parties view even nonpartisan posts as key to building a bench for partisan candidates and typically promote the candidates of their respective branches.

On the other hand, O’Malley has plenty of Republican endorsements including those of outgoing District Attorney Bob Kochly, Sheriff Warren Rupf, Supervisor Mary Piepho and former GOP state Sen. Richard Rainey.

Read through for the full press release:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 6 Comments »

East Bay reps host senior aid workshops

The boys are back in town.

And I’m betting the three East Bay congressional representatives don’t mind being called “boys.”

Despite a quick trip to Washington, D.C., for a Tuesday emergency vote on a state aid bill, reps. George Miller, John Garamendi and Jerry McNerney — all voted yes on the state aid legislation — have announced series of public events in their home districts during Congress’ annual August recess:

THURSDAY

Miller, D-Martinez, will host a 75th birthday party for Social Security from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the Richmond Annex Senior Center, 5801 Huntington Ave., Richmond. Speakers include representatives of AARP, West County Senior Coalition, Richmond Commission on Aging and others.

Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, will host a senior resources fair from 9 a.m.-noon at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center, 213 F Street in Antioch. The congressman will also cut a birthday cake for Social Security’s 75th anniversary. Booths with staff from federal, state and county service offices will offer information about medical care, nutrition and health screenings.

TUESDAY, AUG. 17

McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will host a senior assistance workshop from 10 am. to noon at the Brentwood Senior Activity Center, 193 Griffith Lane, Brentwood. On hand will be representatives from the centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security and Contra Costa County Aging and Adult Services.

THURSDAY, AUG. 19

McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will host a grants workshop from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., San Ramon Community Center, 12501 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon. Government, education and nonprofits are encouraged to attend and learn how to apply for federal and foundation grants. Speakers include representatives from the Department of Education and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Posted on Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10, congressional district 11 | 1 Comment »

Garamendi named to Armed Services Committee

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

House Democratic leaders have named Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, to the House Armed Services Committee.

Garamendi requested the assignment after his election in September but was unsuccessful. The committee has oversight of the U.S. military and the massive Department of Defense budget.

“Over the last six months, there have been some changes on the committee as members moved on and others wanted different assignments, and a seat opened up,” Garamendi said via telephone a few minutes ago. “The leadership thinks I am doing a good job and thought the Armed Services Committee would be a good fit for me and my district.”

The 10th Congressional District contains Travis Air Force Base and two national laboratories, the Livermore and Sandia labs.

In his new role, Garamendi will announce Monday the introduction of legislation that would permit the opening of a technology transfer campus adjacent to the two national laboratories, where private companies will rent space and collaborate with government researchers.

The congressman’s committee assignments now match that of his predecessor, former Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who resigned to take a high-level job in the U.S. State Department. Garamendi was elected in a special election on Sept. 1, 2009.

Garamendi is also a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and will retain his seat on the Science and Technology Committee.

Posted on Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10 | 8 Comments »