Saturday, April 30, 2011

Auburn Dam, Correcting the Misinformation

Which is exactly what this superb letter in the Chico News & Review does.

In its entirety.

“Safe flood protection

“Re “Too dammed expensive” (Editorial, April 14):

“Your editorial contends a water-storage Auburn Dam would cost too much and sit astride an earthquake fault. Neither contention is accurate.

“In 1988 the Bureau of Reclamation asked the Army Corps of Engineers to design a flood-control Auburn Dam. All involved agreed flood protection was more important than water storage.

“Sacramento’s flood protection is aimed at the 200-year storm, lower than any major city in the United States. All involved agree the best protection would be a flood-control dam providing 500-year protection. Protected would be more than 250,000 people and billions in real and personal property. The dam could also provide water and clean electric power.

“Contention the dam is unsafe due to a fault is refuted by state and federal officials. Established were worst-case conditions in the dam’s new design. The bureau’s report, “Seismic Safety and Auburn Dam,” points out fault and seismic studies involved the bureau, the U.S. Geological Survey, and internationally known consultants. Further, California’s Division of Mines and Geology and Department of Water Resources Division of Dam Safety also published findings.

“Reclamation Commissioner Keith Higgenson noted there was “more seismic information about the Auburn dam site than a dam site anywhere else in the world.” Secretary of the Interior Cecil Andrus announced: “A safe dam could be constructed on the American River.”

“The new “gravity” dam would be located at the site originally selected, oriented straight across the canyon. The COE reported the dam’s alignment is outside the trace of the fault.

Joe Sullivan
Sacramento County”

Friday, April 29, 2011

Safe Ground

As reported by Sacramento Press, it would appear that the safe ground concept is slowly losing credibility with local public leadership.

An excerpt.

“Should a group of homeless people be allowed to camp together in Sacramento without outside monitoring?

Safe Ground Sacramento, a group of mostly homeless people, says it should have the right to be “self-governing” and to operate an overnight camp independently.

“But a few Sacramento City Council members said they disagreed with that idea Tuesday.

“The City Council held a workshop on the safe ground issue as part of its weekly meeting. Over the past two years, Safe Ground Sacramento has asked the city to dedicate land for a site where the homeless could camp legally overnight. The city has an ordinance that bans overnight camping.

“One of the group’s key principles is that its members are “self-governing” and that operations are led by elected members, according to a presentation by Safe Ground Sacramento Executive Director Stephen Watters.

“The group is a community of people with “common needs,” Watters said.

“People watch out for each other and provide mutual support,” he told the City Council. “The community spirit that develops has turned people’s lives around.”

“The Safe Ground Sacramento group asks its members to be drug- and alcohol-free and to not engage in violence. Members of the group camp overnight together, despite the camping ban.

“But Councilman Rob Fong disagreed with the self-governance principle.

“I am not comfortable with a self-governing population,” Fong said. “I know that everyone I’ve talked to suggests that there needs to be a programmatic aspect to transitioning people out of homelessness.”

“Homeless people need to be matched up with social services to help them find permanent housing, Fong said.”

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Economics & Environmentalism

A very nice reflection from the Action Institute.

An excerpt.

“Far from damaging brains and killing seals, applying basic economics to the environment preserves it.

“The industrial revolution that began about 200 years ago has changed humanity’s relation to, and attitudes about, nature completely—and sometimes it has generated new views about God and nature, such as from the Transcendentalists of the 19th century. In the first half of the 19th century, Alexis de Tocqueville reflected that in America, civilization ended where the wilderness began; life along the frontier was one of “wretchedness,” and the wilderness itself generally “impenetrable.” To de Tocqueville, the scattered frontier settlers represented “an ark of civilization in the middle of an ocean of leaves.”i How different from the Puritans’ “errand into the wilderness” of the 17th century, or de Tocqueville’s rendering of the American frontier, is the Transcendentalist attitude toward the wilderness that quickly emerged along with industry, as best expressed in William Wordsworth’s poem:

‘One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good
Than all the sages can.’

“Perry Miller, the great scholar of American Puritanism, reflects on the implications of the Transcendental view of nature:

‘From vernal wood (along with Niagara Falls, the Mississippi, and the prairies) [America] can learn more from that source more conveniently than from divine revelation? Not that the nation would formally reject the Bible. On the contrary, it could even more energetically proclaim itself Christian and cherish the churches; but it could derive its inspiration from the mountains, the lakes, the forests. There was nothing mean or niggling about these, nothing utilitarian. Thus, superficial appearances to the contrary, America was not crass, materialistic: it is Nature’s nation, possessing a heart that watches and receives.’

“In practical terms, we can see that in wealthy industrialized nations, it became no longer necessary for the vast majority of people to be “tillers of the soil,” securing a tenuous existence through sweaty labor over “cursed” ground. Indeed, in the United States and Europe over the last century, the proportion of the population engaged in farming has fallen from more than 75 percent to less than 5 percent.

“The central insight of environmentalism is that humanity’s great leap in material progress has come at a high cost to nature.

“The rapid material advance of the last 200 years has provided more comfortable lives in several meaningful ways: It has led to longer lifespans, conquest of diseases, and the ability of the human population to grow more rapidly and securely than at any time in previous history. (It also has provided the means of transforming social and family relations, liberating women from historically “women’s work” on the farm or in the home.) In other words, human ingenuity, technology, and innovation have largely succeeded, in wealthy nations at least, in approximating the abundance of the Garden of Eden.

“However, no exertion on humanity’s part, and no conceivable innovation in technology, can succeed in re-creating the original innocence of humans in the Garden of Eden. There is perhaps a corollary here: This approximation of Eden still partakes fully of human sin.

“The central insight of environmentalism is that humanity’s great leap in material progress has come at a high cost to nature: we tear down entire mountains for their minerals; divert rivers and streams and drain swamps to provide water for modern agriculture and urban use; clear large amounts of forests for other uses, often disrupting crucial habitat for rare animal species; and too often dump our waste byproducts thoughtlessly into the air, water, and land.

“Human ingenuity, technology, and innovation have largely succeeded, in wealthy nations at least, in approximating the abundance of the Garden of Eden.

“But this insight contains a paradox. Environmentalism arose precisely because we have mitigated the material harshness of human life through the Industrial Revolution; as Aldo Leopold, author of the classic environmental book A Sand County Almanac, put it: “These wild things had little human value until mechanization assured us of a good breakfast.”iv It is no coincidence that environmental sensibility arose first and has its strongest influence in wealthy nations. The affluent society does not wish to be the effluent society. Meanwhile, the poorest and most undeveloped nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America today suffer the worst environmental degradation and have the least public support for environmental protection. The wealth and technological innovation (spurred more by markets than government dictates) of industrialized nations provides the means for environmental improvement and remediation.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

California’s Global Warming Act

AB 32, the environmental movement’s measure wildly promoted in our beloved state—to her great harm many of us suspect—is examined in this article from the Hoover Institution.

An excerpt.

“In 2006, the California Legislature enacted AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act that directed greenhouse gas emissions in the state to be at their 1990 level by 2020. To get a sense of what that means for the state, in 2006, California’s population already was 23 percent larger and its economy nearly a trillion dollars larger than in 1990, and it will be larger still in 2020, although how much larger depends in part on the costs imposed by this law.

“As the ambitious title of the legislation suggests, California was committing itself to battling climate change by dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the state’s economy. Targets and timetables were set; state agencies, notably the California Air Resources Board, were empowered to implement regulations; and new subsidies, mandates, and restrictions were inaugurated.

“With the feel-good mentality associated with the so-called "triple bottom line" of "people, planet, and profits," the notion in the legislature was that California could make a real difference in global climatic conditions through emissions reductions. No doubt many legislators believed this groundbreaking law would contribute to lower greenhouse gas levels and in so doing, mitigate the possible effects of global warming. Many applauded the state’s efforts to cut greenhouse gases and to promote new renewable energy alternatives. Further, constituencies stepped up to seek state government financial and regulatory support for solar energy, wind power, energy-saving home and business improvements, and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

“Those heady days, however, seemed to be coming to an end during the election campaign of 2010 when, in the face of 12 percent unemployment and a struggling state economy, Proposition 23 was put forth to voters. Prop 23 was designed to delay implementation of AB 32’s sweeping agenda until the economy recovered and unemployment fell to its 2006 level. Even so, it was defeated on November 2 by California voters. The path set forth by AB 32 in 2006 appears set to continue at least for the time being.

“Despite AB 32’s lofty objectives, California’s actions will have no direct impact on global greenhouse gas emissions or on any predicted pattern of climate change. In this essay, no effort is made to address questions of whether climate change is real or of the links between human actions and climatic conditions. Rather, the objective is to show why California’s unilateral actions are costly to the state and why they will bring no direct global climate benefits.

“First off, there are costs. There will be immediate economic costs because alternative green fuels and power remain far more expensive than their fossil-fuel competitors. They require subsidies, taxes, and regulations in order to compete. Witness the intensity of the political debate over Prop 23. It might be that some new beneficial green technologies will be spearheaded by state mandates, but these are not apt to help much on the jobs front.

“Beyond that, because of AB 32, the costs of production in California and the prices of goods and services sold within it are likely to rise relative to other states. These are unhelpful outcomes for the state’s many unemployed and underemployed citizens. And the higher production costs are not spread evenly across the California economy, with agriculture, shipping, and other basic industries likely to be most negatively affected.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Helping the Homeless

The kernel of good that can be found in this tragic story, as reported by the Sacramento Bee April 24th, of the homeless man reunited with his daughter after 35 years, who recently died, is that he was reunited before his death and died in the embrace of his family.

He was reunited with his family because someone cared enough to help him reconnect with his daughter—and he cared enough to help himself by becoming engaged in the family reunification effort—as this previous Sacramento Bee story from January 29th reported.

Too often, Sacramento homeless programs merely provide domestic services to the homeless, which tends to reinforce the homeless life, rather than services that lead to helping the homeless to help themselves, which can often lead, as this effort did, to a very important transformation.

A helping hand up, rather than a hand maintaining the status quo, was extended, and he grasped it,

An excerpt from the Aril 24th story.

“WILD ROSE, Wis. – On a spring day that held the threat of snow, Krista Szymborski fed melted ice cream and pureed peaches to her dying father, who had abandoned her and her brothers and sisters so many years ago.

“A few days later her mother, Sandra, gently bathed the lifeless body of the man who back then had left her with five children to raise on a nurse's salary.

“Forgiveness, they said, comes in many shapes and forms.

“Richard Nary, who died of cancer April 14, just 16 months after his unlikely reunion with the family he had fled more than three decades earlier, made terrible mistakes in his life, the women agreed.

"We all forgave," said Szymborski, 39, wearing the simple beaded necklace that Nary had around his neck when he hit his low point, sleeping in a cardboard box behind a gas station near Howe Avenue and Hurley Way in Sacramento.

"That doesn't mean that we forget."

“Nary, who moved to this sleepy Midwestern town early last year to live with Szymborski and her husband, Craig, died at age 69 in a room filled with family photographs, a wall decorated with greeting cards and a billfold with $113 inside.

“It was far more than he felt he deserved when, nearly two years ago, a stranger rescued him from almost certain death on the streets of Sacramento.

“Yet for Szymborski, who was a toddler when her dad left the family, these final months went all too fast. She was still getting to know Nary when she lost him again to illnesses that likely stemmed from his years of alcoholism, chain-smoking and homelessness.

"He was the center of my world for 16 months," she said last week, sitting with her mother in the tidy downstairs bedroom where her father spent his final days. "I don't know what to do without him."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Government & Nonprofits

As the Fresno Bee reports, the policy of asking nonprofits to take over certain aspects of local government functions and facilities, is growing, and that is a very good thing.

Instead of completely relying on the coercive tax base of taxpayer funded functions and facilities, being able to access a supplemental philanthropic, voluntary donation base, is good public policy.

It is already being used in Sacramento, with the Effie Yeaw Nature Center and the Sacramento Zoo, both under nonprofit control; and Gibson Ranch Park, which is under forprofit control.

It should be considered for the American River Parkway, which, in our strategy, we advocate to come under the control of a nonprofit contracting with a Joint Power Authority of the adjacent local governments.

An excerpt from the Fresno Bee article.

“A small group of people showed up Wednesday at Fresno City Hall for an informal public meeting on outsourcing the city's remaining "flagship" community centers.

“City Hall has struggled with a budget crisis for several years, and officials about a year ago began looking for community-based organizations to take over operation of the Parks Department's 10 neighborhood centers. Seven of them are now run by outside sources.

“City officials at the time, though, decided to retain operation of the seven larger, so-called "flagship" community centers. However, the city's budget woes continue, and the City Council on April 7 approved outsourcing the operation of a flagship: the Mosqueda Center in southeast Fresno will be run by Reading and Beyond.

“Wednesday's meeting let city officials gauge the interest among nonprofits for the other flagship centers. City officials also hoped representatives from nonprofits would connect and perhaps partner in running the centers.

“City officials said a nonprofit must have solid finances and sound management. A nonprofit also must provide a basic level of service but is encouraged to offer its own services, city officials said.

“Assistant City Manager/Interim Parks Director Bruce Rudd said the offer applies to the Frank H. Ball, Holmes, California/Elm, Ted C. Wills and Romain centers. He said the Dickey Youth Center isn't included, in part because it's home to some Parks administrators.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

Salmon Season in Sacramento

It will be a very good year, as the Sacramento Bee reports.

An excerpt.

“Tackle shops are restocking custom lures, guides are booking trips, and anglers are getting ready: Salmon are coming back to the Sacramento Valley.

“It has been four years since the region enjoyed full recreational fishing access to the majestic chinook salmon, a result of cutbacks caused by a steep decline in the fall run.

“Today in Sacramento, the California Fish and Game Commission is expected to reinstate normal fishing rules in the Sacramento, American and Feather rivers for the first time since 2007, thanks to a rebound in the population. That means six months of fishing, starting July 16.

"I'm excited," said J.D. Richey, a longtime salmon fishing guide based in Sacramento. He pondered the awful prospect of quitting the business when the season was closed in 2008 but held on by offering more trips for other species, including non-native striped bass.

"I'm already getting calls from people wanting to go salmon fishing and get on the schedule," Richey said. "I'm excited about the prospect of going back salmon fishing and going back to work."

“Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento, a major tackle retailer, is restocking its salmon wall with specialized gear to serve anglers.

"It means a lot," said John Bedwell, the company's general manager.

“Fisherman's Warehouse closed its Rocklin store in 2008 when the salmon season was closed, costing four jobs. Seven other people were laid off at the remaining stores in Sacramento, Manteca, Fresno and San Jose.

“All that, said Bedwell, was directly related to the shutdown of recreational salmon fishing across the state. About half of the business, he said, is dependent on salmon fishing.

"The day they announced closure of salmon fishing, we pulled the plug on that Rocklin store and erased it. It was gone in two weeks," Bedwell said. "The economy is horrible for business, but the worst thing possible is no fish."

“The Department of Fish and Game, which advises the commission, estimates the Central Valley in-river salmon fishery generates at least $20 million annually in economic output for the state.”

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Unraveling Environmental Movement, II

And it continues, as this article from the Acton Institute notes.

An excerpt.

“At a World Council of Churches conference last year on the French-Swiss border, much was made of the “likelihood of mass population displacement” driven by climate change and the mass migration of people fleeing zones inundated by rising seas. While the WCC acknowledged that “there are no solid estimates” about the likely numbers of what it called climate refugees, that didn’t stop assembled experts from throwing out some guesses: 20 million, hundreds of millions, or 1 billion people.

“The WCC bemoaned the fact that international bodies looking at the impending climate refugee crisis were not taking it seriously and, despite its own admission that the numbers of refugees were impossible to predict, called on these same international bodies to “put forward a credible alternative.”

“The WCC did a thought experiment on the problem: ‘What kind of adaptation is relevant to migration? Sea walls? Cities on stilts? New canal systems? We need to start now to construct this future world. But we also need to imagine what it will mean if we fail. Indeed, it seems increasingly short-sighted to assume we will avoid sea-level rise or manage adaptive measures, given the tortuously slow progress of negotiations to date. We need to imagine that millions will, one day not too far away, be on the move, and we need to start thinking now about the appropriate way to manage this eventuality.’

“The main problem with this sort of thinking from religious groups on climate issues is not the lack of scientific credibility, which is bad enough, but their own credulousness. They have been all too willing to embrace any and all dire forecasts of environmental destruction, so long as it fits into their apocalyptic narrative. Maybe it’s their taste for catastrophe of biblical proportions.

“Remember when, in 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) declared that 50 million people could become environmental refugees by 2010, as they fled the effects of climate change? They’d rather you didn’t. It turns out that the climate refugee problem is only the latest disaster-movie myth to be shattered. reported earlier this month that “a very cursory look at the first available evidence seems to show that the places identified by the UNEP as most at risk of having climate refugees are not only not losing people, they are actually among the fastest growing regions in the world.”

“The fraudulent scare based on nonexistent climate refugees has no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether the Earth’s atmosphere is warming, what may cause the warming, or what we should do about it. It speaks rather to too many religious groups’ gullibility for theories that line up with their anti-market economics, which undergird their blind faith in environmental doom. This is the “eco-justice” school of thought, which sees the market as “asserting the supremacy of economy over nature.” When people are factored in to this ideology, they are always helpless victims, not creators of economic wealth that has the potential of wide benefits.

“Because of these shrill and unfounded warnings of ecological collapse, religious leaders and those who look to them for guidance are increasingly tuning out on the climate change scare. A new survey of Protestant pastors shows that 41 percent strongly disagree with the statement that global warming is real and manmade, down from 48 percent two years ago. These results are in line with an October 2010 Pew Research Center poll which showed that belief in human-caused global warming had declined to 59 percent, down from 79 percent in 2006. Cry wolf often enough and you’ll find yourself alone at the next climate refugee conference.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Unraveling Environmental Movement

As this article from the Guardian notes, it continues.

An excerpt.

“Over the last fortnight I've made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged, and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice.

“I began to see the extent of the problem after a debate last week with Helen Caldicott. Dr Caldicott is the world's foremost anti-nuclear campaigner. She has received 21 honorary degrees and scores of awards, and was nominated for a Nobel peace prize. Like other greens, I was in awe of her. In the debate she made some striking statements about the dangers of radiation. So I did what anyone faced with questionable scientific claims should do: I asked for the sources. Caldicott's response has profoundly shaken me.

“First she sent me nine documents: newspaper articles, press releases and an advertisement. None were scientific publications; none contained sources for the claims she had made. But one of the press releases referred to a report by the US National Academy of Sciences, which she urged me to read. I have now done so – all 423 pages. It supports none of the statements I questioned; in fact it strongly contradicts her claims about the health effects of radiation.

“I pressed her further and she gave me a series of answers that made my heart sink – in most cases they referred to publications which had little or no scientific standing, which did not support her claims or which contradicted them. (I have posted our correspondence, and my sources, on my website.) I have just read her book Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer. The scarcity of references to scientific papers and the abundance of unsourced claims it contains amaze me.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Helping the Homeless in Philadelphia

As Sacramento struggles to shape an effective method of helping the homeless—and I define helping as helping people to help themselves rather than the method Sacramento’s largest homeless service providers have adopted of providing non means tested domestic services which tend to continue the cycle of homelessness rather than break it.

A program in Philadelphia, Project H.O.M.E. has taken the mantra of helping people to help themselves and done wonders in reducing homelessness in the city—cutting it in half according to the Philadelphia-based blog Whispers in the Loggia writing about the organization’s founders winning a prestigious award from the University of Notre Dame.

An excerpt from the blog.

“Keeping its 130-year tradition on this Fourth Sunday of Lent, the University of Notre Dame announced this morning that the co-founders of the River City’s pioneering Project H.O.M.E. -- Religious Sister of Mercy Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon -- are 2011’s joint recipients of American Catholicism’s most prestigious and venerable award, the Laetare Medal.

“Founded in 1989, Project H.O.M.E. (“Housing. Opportunities for Employment. Medical Care. Education.”) has been credited with cutting Philadelphia’s homeless population in half.”

Here is an excerpt from the Project H.O.M.E. website.

“The mission of the Project H.O.M.E. community is to empower adults, children, and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society. We strive to create a safe and respectful environment where we support each other in our struggles for self-esteem, recovery, and the confidence to move toward self-actualization.

“Project H.O.M.E. achieves its mission through a continuum of care comprised of street outreach, a range of supportive housing, and comprehensive services. We address the root causes of homelessness through neighborhood-based affordable housing, economic development, and environmental enhancement programs, as well as through providing access to employment opportunities; adult and youth education; and health care.

“Project H.O.M.E. is committed to social and political advocacy. An integral part of our work is education about the realities of homelessness and poverty and vigorous advocacy on behalf of and with homeless and low-income persons for more just and humane public policies.

“Project H.O.M.E. is committed to nurturing a spirit of community among persons from all walks of life, all of whom have a role to play in making this a more just and compassionate society.”

An Oilman’s Perspective

A refreshing analysis, built upon facts rather than theories, which is all too rare these days within the energy debate—which, as gasoline prices streak upward, is impeding our economy’s chances of full recovery—is expressed in this article from the Wall Street Journal.

An excerpt.

“It's the day after President Obama delivered his most recent vision of America's energy future, and I'm sitting in the sunny corporate offices of Chevron, the country's second-largest oil company. Let's just say John Watson has a different view.

“The Chevron CEO is a rare breed these days: an unapologetic oil man. For decades—going back to Jimmy Carter—politicians have been peddling an America free of fossil fuels. Mr. Obama has taken that to an unprecedented level, closing off more acreage to drilling, pouring money into green energy, pushing new oil company taxes, instituting anticarbon regulations. America is going backward on affordable energy, even as oil hits $110 a barrel.

“Enter the tall, bespectacled Mr. Watson, who a little more than a year ago stepped into the shoes of longtime CEO David O'Reilly. An economist by training, soft-spoken by nature, the 53-year-old Mr. Watson is hardly some swaggering wildcatter. Yet in a year of speeches, he has emerged as one of the industry's foremost energy realists. No "Beyond Petroleum" (BP) for him. On energy, he says, America "has a lot to learn."

“Starting with the argument—so popular among greens and Democrats—that we are running out of oil. "Peak oil"—the theory that global oil production will soon hit maximum levels and begin to decline—is a favorite among this crowd, and it is one basis for their call for more biofuels and solar power. Mr. Watson doesn't dismiss the idea but explains why it remains largely irrelevant.

“In theory, he says, "we've been running out of oil and gas for a long time," yet technology creates new opportunities. Mr. Watson cites a Chevron field long in decline down the road in Bakersfield—to the point that for every 100 barrels of oil "in place," the company was extracting only 10 or 20. But thanks to a new technology called steam flooding, Chevron is now getting 70 to 80 barrels. "Price creates incentive, and energy will be developed if there's demand for it at the price you can develop it," Mr. Watson says. In that sense, "oil and gas are plentiful."

“Don't believe it? Over the past 30 years, even as "peak oil" was a trendy theme, the world's proven reserves of oil and natural gas increased 130%, to 2.5 trillion barrels.”

Monday, April 18, 2011

McClintock on Auburn Dam

A strong statement—published by the Sacramento Bee—taking them to task for their misleading editorial of April 6th.

One objection the dam opposition has been using lately is that Auburn Dam cost too much, but using cost as an argument for not building Auburn Dam is like using cost as the reason not to build an army; for when the enemy—or the flood—is at the gates, it is too late.

An excerpt from Congressman McClintock’s article.

“Stripped of its adolescent vitriol, The Bee's editorial makes two substantive charges: first, that my proposals for renewed water projects like the Auburn dam would reduce water flows and harm fish populations; and second, that they would be cost-prohibitive, benefiting "wealthy San Joaquin Valley farmers" at the expense of local taxpayers.

“The first charge betrays a breathtaking lack of understanding of the contributions that dams make to stabilizing water flows, improving water quality, reducing river temperatures and improving habitat. Before the Folsom Dam, for example, the American River would shrink to a trickle in drought years and flood the entire Delta in wet ones. The Auburn dam would provide 400-year flood protection for the Sacramento Delta, store 2.3 million acre-feet of cold, clean water that can be released during hot, dry periods – enough water to fill an acre to a depth of 435 miles – generate enough clean, cheap and reliable electricity to power nearly a million homes and create a major new recreational lake for the region.

“The second charge borders on prevarication. The Bee's editorial board is well aware that as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Water and Power I have announced that all projects – including the Auburn dam – will first be evaluated under a uniform cost-benefit analysis that establishes the amortized cost of construction, and annual operations and maintenance balanced against the value of water, hydroelectricity, recreational leases and flood control protection afforded by these projects. It is also well aware that I have called for restoring the "beneficiary pays" doctrine to all future projects to assure that all federal dollars spent on these projects are repaid with interest by the users of the projects and thereafter provide a permanent revenue source to participating local communities.”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sheriff Shoots Illegal Camper’s Charging Pit Bull

In this incident near the Parkway, as reported in the Sacramento Bee, we are reminded, its not safe out there.

An excerpt.

“A Sacramento County Sheriff's deputy shot a pit bull that was charging at him this morning near a north Sacramento homeless camp, according to a sheriff's department release. The dog is expected to survive.

“The incident occurred at about 10:15 a.m., outside a homeless camp near the Camp Pollock area at Del Paso Boulevard and Northgate Boulevard, the department reported.

“The deputy, a five-year veteran of the department assigned to the Sheriff's Work Project detail, was supervising a group of inmates who were cleaning up homeless and transient camps in the area, according to the release. The deputy was preparing to check a camp for the presence of illegal campers prior to bringing inmates into the area, when he was confronted by the pit bull.

“As the deputy approached the camp, the dog charged at him from inside a tent, the release states. Fearing imminent danger from the charging dog, the deputy drew and fired his service weapon, striking the dog in the body.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Good Salmon Season

Reflecting the great rainfall and snowpack this year, this salmon season will be a good one, as reported by the Contra Costa Times.

An excerpt.

“Regulators set guidelines Wednesday for the most generous Chinook salmon season fishermen have enjoyed in three years.

“The highly anticipated vote by the Pacific Fishery Management Council means commercial fishermen could be landing prize California salmon as early as May 1 -- very good news for California's beleaguered salmon trollers, who have seen their livelihoods dry up as record salmon declines led to unprecedented closures and cutbacks starting in 2008.

“The season will close Sept. 30 and is projected to pump at least $25 million into California's economy. The council, which held its vote at the Marriott San Mateo, sets the fishery rules for California, Oregon and Washington.

"Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that those fish seem to have recovered," said Duncan Maclean, who fishes salmon out of Half Moon Bay's Pillar Point Harbor and advises the Pacific Fishery Management Council on California salmon issues.

“Biologists estimate that about 730,000 Sacramento River Chinook will be caught or return to spawn this year, the highest number since 2005. Salmon numbers plummeted after boom times in the early 2000s, when more than 1 million adult Chinook were counted. By 2009, the number was closer to 41,000.

“Out of an abundance of caution, regulators will allow California trollers to land only 190,000 salmon this year, while recreational anglers have been allotted 102,000 fish.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Homeless in Sacramento, Two Views

A recent article in the Sacramento Bee and another from 2008 in the Sacramento News & Review offer very contrasting pictures.

1) An excerpt from the Sacramento Bee article.

“Garbage and recycling trucks maneuvered haltingly up 38th Street in east Sacramento on a recent morning, while a stream of passers-by, heading toward nearby medical offices, ducked into the Peet's Coffee & Tea on J Street to order soy lattes and iced mochas.

“Few paid heed to the man asleep on the peeling side stoop of a discount bridal outlet, a linty brown blanket pulled over his body and a blue wrap around his head.

“The 8:30 a.m. sun was already overhead when Striker Lee – he bowls strikes and goes by Lee instead of Leroy, his father's name – began to stir. He stretched the creaks from a night spent on foam and cardboard, and straightened his white socks.

"I'm not homeless," insisted Lee, 66, who says he did ambush patrol during the Vietnam War. "My home is the universe and this is the area I sleep."

“Every morning, an estimated 1,200 people in Sacramento emerge from downtown doorways and parking lots, neighborhood alleys and parks. They zip out of tents pitched along the American River Parkway and pile their belongings into bagged, boxed and bungeed contraptions.

“While city leaders debate the idea of a permanent tent city for the homeless, Sacramento's street people seek out their own respites wherever they can. They have to sleep somewhere, and for the people who live and work in the areas where the homeless concentrate, it means adapting and sometimes it means conflict.

“Dreher Street, north of downtown

“The sun peeked above the American River and dozens of people, bundled in the hats, hoods and gloves that kept them warm overnight, began making their way down the bike trail and through an enclave of 31 homes in an industrial area off 16th Street north of downtown.

“Some came through on bikes; others pushed clanking carts overloaded with tarps or pulled overstuffed rolling luggage.

"When I moved here, if three cars came down the street, the neighbors would go out to see where they were going," said Joe Taylor, 71, a retired aircraft mechanic who has lived in the same modest house since 1963. "I could walk over to the river and you would see cottontail, quail, pheasants and sometimes a coyote."

“That changed when Loaves & Fishes opened in the area in 1980s and became a destination where the homeless could get a warm meal and services, he said.

“There were always hobos, Taylor conceded, but their numbers were small and they generally stuck to themselves – the primary evidence of their camps was the smell of frying fish or whatever else was scavenged for dinner.

“Now the homeless use his neighborhood as a thoroughfare. Their dogs run on his lawn. Church groups set up makeshift feeding stations on his street. People spill out of cars, changing their clothes on the sidewalk.”

2) An excerpt from the Sacramento News & Review Article.

“The old man wants nothing to do with the story. Not a thing. Can’t really blame him, considering what happened out here the other day. He’s talking about moving on, trying his luck in Las Vegas or Reno, getting the hell out of Tent Town.

“It’s a desolate place, a ragtag collection of tents, tarps and lean-tos pitched on a half-acre of burned and scalded scrub brush just north of Midtown, between 20th and 28th streets. Once, this patch of wasteland served as the Sacramento dump. When the Union Pacific roars by Tent Town, there’s no question which side of the tracks you’re on.

“The old man’s been out here three months. He’s a skilled craftsman, but there’s no work. There are other folks, men and women, who’ve been out here longer for the same reason. Then there are the ones who’ve been homeless for years, dragged down by drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness and disease, or just plain dumb luck.

“It makes for a volatile mix, and navigating through this no man’s land of poverty, depredation and occasional violence can be a daunting prospect. The old man knows the way, as do many of the people who inhabit this gritty tableau. Given the present economic downturn, the lessons they have learned are invaluable for those of us who may be joining their ranks sooner than we think. So, without further ado, here’s a list of survival tips from the denizens of Tent Town. May you never be in need of them.

“1. Keep your distance

If you’re new in town, remember that even thought it looks like KOA at the dump, the residents here value their privacy, just like any place else. Don’t stroll up to a tattered dome tent, perched alone in a barren field like some unexploded bomb and say, “Wassup?” No. 1, you’re standing in their living room. No. 2, they might take it personally. Announce yourself from a safe distance, determined by how fast you can run with whatever you’re carrying. “Hello!” will do just fine.

“2. Trust no one

If a giant man climbs out of tent and begins screaming and gesticulating wildly, quietly walk away. Visiting hours are over. Besides, the rumor is he’s the guy that set the field ablaze in the first place. Maybe he just doesn’t like company. The old man’s not like that at all. His far more civilized digs are situated on high ground, in the trees and brush on the unburned side of the camp. Wave hello, and he waves hello back. It’s safe to come in.

Except the old man is the first one who’ll tell you it really isn’t safe, because you can’t trust anyone in Tent Town, at least until you get to know them, and maybe not even then.

“3. Keep your chin up

“There are worse situations to be in,” the old man says. “Out here, you’ve got to be responsible to yourself and others.” Being responsible to yourself means making the best of the situation. Heather, 29, a slim, attractive college graduate who has been on the streets for six months, looks at homelessness as a learning experience. “There’s a part of me that’s proud I can live out here on my own,” she says.

“4. Stay organized

The old man’s camp is immaculate. The four-man dome tent is drawn tight and staked to the ground at the corners with lengths of angle iron, to provide extra support in the wind and rain. Across from the tent, he’s hung a tarp from the trees for shade. A small Weber barbecue occupies the kitchen area off to the side. It’s all laid out linearly, like the floor plan of a house. There’s no trash strewn about. Staying organized establishes a routine that keeps him focused on the goal: getting the hell out of Tent Town. “It’s something I work at,” he says. “It’s something to spend your idling time on. You’ve got to keep busy out here. Otherwise, you’re going to get yourself in trouble.”…

“14. Stay away from the river

It’s a half-mile from Tent Town to the American River, where the hard-core, chronically homeless hole up in the dense foliage leading up to its banks. The level of depravity increases the nearer you get to the water, which is why the American River Parkway is heavily patrolled by park rangers from Discovery Park to Cal Expo. “We heard screams coming from there last night,” says Kim. She’d be pretty if all of her front teeth hadn’t been knocked out. “They hauled another body out of there the other day, some mummified dude,” Ace adds. Kim shivers.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Water, Sacramento History & Auburn Dam Debate

The most comprehensive history of the water issue in our community—including an outstanding collection of photographs of all the great floods that have struck Sacramento as well as an excellent debate about Auburn Dam—is contained in the Sacramento County Historical Society’s Sacramento History Journal (2006, Volume VI No. 1, 2, 3, & 4) Water: Our History & Our Future, which is available online.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Homeless Tent City/Shelter

In this article from the Sacramento Bee, questions arise as to where Sacramento can place its “permanent” homeless tent city/shelter.

Some ask for it to be near the American River Parkway, which would be disastrous; continuing the habitat destruction, pollution, and related crime that has resulted from the long-term illegal camping in the Parkway.

Some have suggested—and it does sound more reasonable—that it be placed at Mather, which already has a homeless housing complex; and addressing the complaints that it would be too far from the homeless services, perhaps the service providers should also consider relocating there, as it would probably reduce their costs considerably and allow for the congregated array of the homeless and homeless services being advocated for by same.

An excerpt from the Bee article.

“Organizers of Sacramento's first "nomadic" winter shelter program declared it a success Tuesday and began soliciting donations and volunteers for next year.

“Until then?

“Many of those who slept and ate in churches during cold winter months will retreat to the outdoors, joining scattered tent communities, stirring complaints and trying to dodge citations from police and park rangers.

“Despite more than a year of protests, appeals and negotiations, the effort to establish a legal place for homeless people to sleep in Sacramento remains mired in controversy.

“The nonprofit group known as SafeGround Sacramento continues to talk with city leaders about establishing a homeless community that includes common areas with basic services, said Executive Director Steve Watters. But where that community might be is an open question.

"We need to find a place that is safe and politically acceptable," said Watters. "That's the reality of the process, and it's not easy. But I do feel we've got some really earnest work going on."

“Most of the first six locations presented to a study group led by Assistant City Manager Cassandra Jennings have been rejected for safety or other reasons, he said. New sites are being considered.

“Mayor Kevin Johnson said Tuesday that he remains committed to establishing a SafeGround community in Sacramento and is frustrated that hasn't happened. But council members appear wary of advocating for a project that likely would draw the ire of their constituents if it landed in their backyards.

“Watters has been meeting individually with council members, he said, and next week will take part in a workshop with Jennings' group.

“Seven to nine potential SafeGround sites will be on the table, he said. But the council will have the final vote on any such project, and most members of the panel so far have been circumspect.

“Councilman Jay Schenirer said he would back a SafeGround community in his district, which covers Curtis Park, Oak Park and a dozen other neighborhoods, if the project included services and programs designed to help lift people out of homelessness.

"I have told SafeGround, 'Look in my district,' " Schenirer said. "If we find a piece of property that meets the criteria, I would be more than willing to work with the neighborhood to make it happen."

“Watters declined to release a list of potential sites for the project but said that at least one is in Schenirer's district.

“SafeGround envisions a community that would serve 40 to 80 people in small cabins. It would be governed from within and prohibit drugs, alcohol and violence.

“Once a site is established, organizers estimate it would take 18 months to launch the community. Until then, they want the city to temporarily provide a piece of land near the American River parkway where people can sleep without police interference.”

Monday, April 11, 2011

State Funding Problems

We’ve been hearing about it for a long time with little being offered in the way of solutions, so it keeps getting worse.

California, as we all well know, is in worst shape than almost anyone, with Illinois not far behind, as this article from the Hoover Digest notes.

An excerpt.

“The federal government’s disturbingly large present and prospective fiscal deficits receive much attention, and deservedly so. Yet the finances of many state and local governments are also in bad shape, and in many respects they are far more difficult to solve.

“California offers a dramatic example. It has a current annual budget deficit of over $20 billion, which amounts to about 20 percent of its annual spending. My home state of Illinois is not far behind, with a fiscal deficit of about 20 percent of total spending. Nevada and other states run even bigger deficits. Many cities, like Chicago and New York, also face a dismal fiscal future. On the other hand, some states, including Texas, are in much better fiscal health, because they have had greater fiscal discipline or the Great Recession has had a smaller impact on their tax revenues.

“Tax revenues will recover as the American economy recovers, and that will help reduce state and local deficits. But for many states, such as California and Illinois, the increased tax revenues from an economic recovery are unlikely to eliminate the deficits. These states have a structural gap between spending and revenues. They cannot easily cut spending because a sizable part of it goes to education, welfare, health, roads, and criminal justice—all categories with strong political support.

“Nor is it easy for states and cities to greatly raise taxes. Taxpayer groups are generally well organized to lobby against tax increases. Moreover, competition among states and localities for companies and residents, and competition from untaxed online sales, puts a ceiling on how high taxes can be increased without badly hurting a state or local economy. Perhaps states that have relatively low income taxes—Illinois has a flat tax of 3 percent—can raise them a little, but states with high income taxes (the maximum in California already reaches almost 10 percent at moderate income levels) would find it hard. Raise income taxes too much and you encourage substantial out-migration of small businesses and richer individuals.

“As bad as their present fiscal situation is, the long-term picture for state and local government finance is worse. The vast, looming problem is the amount of unfunded liabilities for pensions and health care to retired government employees. Recent estimates place the present, or discounted, value of state and local government unfunded liabilities at over $3 trillion. This amounts to about 22 percent of American GDP, and it is more than 150 percent of annual state and local government spending. There are several reasons unfunded liabilities are so large.

“Most state and local government employees can retire when they are still young, often after twenty to twenty-five years on the job. To make matters worse, these governments continue to use defined-benefit systems, in which the amounts paid to retired workers are only very loosely based on a worker’s contributions to the pension system. Retirement incomes depend mainly on earnings during the last few years of government employment. Earnings already tend to be much higher at older than at younger ages, and workers sometimes make the relevant earnings even higher by taking overtime pay shortly before retirement, and by other means.

“Medical benefits to retired state and local government workers are another important determinant of unfunded liabilities. These benefits are usually generous, with low deductibles, co-payments, and premiums. Of the $3 trillion in unfunded liabilities, about 20 percent is from expected medical care, and the large remainder is from pensions. Since medical spending has been rising rapidly over time, the share of state and local liabilities due to medical spending is likely also to rise.”

Friday, April 08, 2011

Dam Protesters

The title of this article in the Sacramento Bee “Dams seem like a simple idea, but are harder to plan and build” raises the question, why?

The article, congruent with the media's normative aversion to dams and their historical support of the environmental movement to whom free-flowing rivers and sparsely populated cities are devoutly to be desired, responds with, among others, that it costs too much—though when considering the loss of life and property a major flood in Sacramento could cause, is a cost that is very worthwhile—a new argument being used by the protesting environmentalists to any form of development and water storage technology.

A perusal of the recent report from the US Geological Survey: Overview of the ArkStorm Scenario, will reveal how incredibly destructive a period of substantial rainfall—which has occurred before—can be to Sacramento when it is not captured and stored behind a major dam.

An excerpt from the Bee article.

“As prodigious winter runoff empties into the ocean, Californians who spent the past few years in a drought might see those rivers gushing by and wonder, thirstily, "Why can't we capture that?"

“Had we done so in the last wet period, the thinking goes, perhaps we could have tempered the sting of drought. More storage capacity could also reduce flood risk in years when the rain and snow just won't stop.

“The idea is simple, but executing it is controversial – and expensive. Large state and federal water storage projects have been in the planning for years, and construction dates remain elusive. Some projects, such as the long-dormant Auburn dam on the American River, have been halted by environmental, safety and financial concerns.

“There are new water storage projects under construction in California, but they are exclusively small, locally funded projects, carefully devised to address environmental concerns.

"Developing water today is very expensive," said Michelle Denning, regional planning officer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

“The price of water from new dams carries much of the burden to repay construction cost. The danger: It will be so expensive nobody will want to buy it.

“This is the concern with two large projects the federal reclamation agency is studying: Temperance Flat, a new dam on the San Joaquin River; and raising Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River.

“In Shasta's case, despite a potential storage increase of 650,000 acre-feet, a dam raise of 18.5 feet would yield an estimated annual new water supply of just 60,000 acre-feet on average, due to the need to preserve flows for fisheries. That could make the potential $1 billion cost difficult to finance.

“An acre-foot is enough to supply two average households for a year.

“The Shasta Dam project faces another hurdle: State law prohibits any state agency from participating because it would submerge a portion of the McCloud River, designated "wild and scenic."

“On the San Joaquin River, the proposed Temperance Flat dam may have trouble penciling out because it would reduce the generating capacity of the Kerckhoff hydroelectric system.

"The only way these two projects would be built is if taxpayers provide massive subsidies," said Jonas Minton, a senior project manager at the Planning and Conservation League, who formerly oversaw water storage investigations at the state Department of Water Resources.”

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Wasted Water

It is a shame to see the amount of water being wasted, as Dan Walters writes in his Sacramento Bee column, when a more strategic California water policy could be saving it, as we posted before, dams are the solution; build Auburn—about which ARPPS published a new article in the Sacramento Press—and raise Shasta.

An excerpt from the Bee column.

“Those who really believe California has a water shortage should spend five minutes standing in Old Sacramento, watching the Sacramento River.

“Operators of the three major dams on the Sacramento and its tributaries – Shasta, Oroville and Folsom – have opened their gates widely, sending boiling torrents of water downstream. They must draw down reservoirs behind the dams to control anticipated runoff from one of the heaviest mountain snowpacks on record.

“A week ago, Sacramento River flows hit 90,000 cubic feet per second, even with diversions into bypass channels. But on Friday, the flow was about 75,000 cfs, which meant that someone watching the river for five minutes at Old Sacramento would see nearly 170 million gallons of water – enough flow to fill an empty Folsom Lake in less than a week.

“Let's put that in another context. The difference between California's having an adequate water supply and an inadequate supply is roughly 3 million acre-feet of water a year. That's the equivalent of just 20 days of current Sacramento River flow.”

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Auburn Dam: Floods & the Economy

This editorial in the Sacramento Bee, obviously forgetting the primary need for the Auburn Dam—way beyond the water storage capability—includes protection from floods.

They should remember that Sacramento is the most flood prone major river city in the country, as we have posted on before.

Flood protection alone will more than compensate for the construction costs.

The water storage, hydroelectric power, and the economic benefit that will arise from the recreational usage of the new lake created behind Auburn Dam, are the supplemental benefits.

So, of course, during rich rain years Auburn Dam advocates will remind the public of the water storage capability of the dam, but we know that the primary reason for building Auburn Dam is to save the lives and property of those who might lose both when a major 500 year flood hits Sacramento.

An excerpt.

“It never fails that, during wet years or dry ones, the water buffaloes resume their stampede for more taxpayer-subsidized water projects.

“During a single year of drought, they purchase billboards warning of "dust bowls" if someone else doesn't help them build a new reservoir.

“And now that California has been blessed with a prodigious snowpack and plentiful rainfall, the same crowd is bemoaning all the water in the Sacramento River that "is just washing out to sea."

“It's a funny thing, these rivers. They've been known to flow into the sea. Perhaps opponents of all this "wasted water" would want the Sacramento River to resemble the Colorado River, which sometimes fails to reach the ocean? Perhaps they'd want to manage the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta like the Soviets managed the Aral Sea, shrinking this lake to about 10 percent of its former size with massive water diversions?

“On average, the current flows into the Delta are 50 percent of what they were in 1850, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Upstream diversions are a big reason that salmon populations have crashed during the last century, since there are fewer robust flows to help baby salmon make it to the ocean.

“Yet those diversions are not enough. Politicians and pundits want more. And perhaps no one has been more outspoken in seeking to further stop this "water waste" than U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock.

“McClintock, who ostensibly represents Northern California's 4th District but spends much of his time lending his voice to wealthy San Joaquin Valley farmers, chairs the House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Water and Power. His goal, he said last month, is to restore the original mission of the Bureau of Reclamation "to develop and utilize our nation's vast water and hydroelectric resources to build a new era of abundance and prosperity for our nation."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Gibson Ranch

A Gibson Ranch volunteer wrote an informative article about the ranch—making some excellent points—in response to a recent Sacramento Bee editorial and cartoon.

It is a good to have a debate about the future of parks, with the Bee editorial board apparently on one side, against public/private partnerships, and Gibson Ranch supporters for public/private partnerships, on the other.

We have been supporters of the Ose Proposal for Gibson Ranch and our January 5, 2011 Press Release on our website news page describes the benefits we feel will result.

We believe the debate will be won when the Ose proposal proves successful (as we are certain it will be) and Gibson Ranch Park becomes the renewed and bustling public recreational venue the community desires and deserves.

An excerpt.

“Re "Will parks in the region go to the sharks?" (Editorial, March 26):

“Parks are not going to the sharks. The cartoon and editorial have given a very misleading picture of what has happened to get Gibson Ranch open.

“There are more than a few community members and horse boarders working to get the park open. Doug Ose has the support of the Rio Linda/Elverta, North Highlands/Antelope Chamber of Commerce, the Rio Linda Park District, Lions Club from the Sacramento area and many community members who do not own horses.

“The horse boarders are not in support of Ose and L&M Concession Management in order to get cheap board. The board at Gibson Ranch is at the high end of the median range for the area, especially since it does not have a covered arena. Without a covered area one is limited as to riding in the winter months.

“Contrary to what The Bee printed, I am not a horse boarder. I am a volunteer. Therefore, I could not be fighting this cause for cheap board for a horse I do not own.

“The tree farm issue was presented to the Dry Creek Parkway Advisory Committee and the park commissioners, and was passed to remain on the future services and programs for 2011-12. One person has an issue with this – one person! Ose agreed to come back before the advisory committee and give them an informal briefing as to where the trees would be put and what type they would be. That was all that was asked of him from the chair of the committee.”

Monday, April 04, 2011

Diversity Works

That is the conclusion of this article from New Geography about the economic and entrepreneurial benefits of a diverse population, and in the ranking of the cities favoring minority entrepreneurism; Sacramento comes in 29th of 52.

An excerpt.

“As the American economy struggles to recover, its greatest advantage lies with its diverse population. The U.S.’ major European competitors — Germany, Scandinavia, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Italy — have admittedly failed at integrating racial outsiders. Its primary Asian rivals, with the exception of Singapore, are almost genetically resistant to permanent migration from those outside the dominant ethnic strain.

“In contrast, America’s destiny is tied to minorities, who already constitute a third of the nation’s population and who will account for roughly half of the population by 2050. Younger and more heavily represented in the labor force, minorities are poised to become the primary source of entrepreneurial growth.

“The clear advantage with minorities, particularly immigrant minorities, lies in their own self-selection. Risk-takers by the very act of emigration, they are more likely to start small firms than other Americans. In fact, a recent Kauffman Foundation study found that immigrants were unique in boosting their entrepreneurial activities since the onset of the recession. Overall the share of immigrants among new entrepreneurs has expanded from 13.4% in 1996 to nearly 30% this year.

“Forbes asked demographer Wendell Cox (, researcher Erika Ozuna and me to examine the immigrant entrepreneurial phenomena among the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan areas. The results (below) turned out to be in many ways surprising, and almost counter-intuitive.

“Usually we think of immigrant entrepreneurs as clustering in crowded city communities or high-tech places like Silicon Valley. But based on rates of self-employment, housing affordability, income growth and migration, immigrant entrepreneurs tend to prefer sprawling, heavily suburbanized regions, many of them clustered in the South and Southwest.

“The best U.S. city for minority entrepreneurs on our list, Atlanta, has long been a haven for black entrepreneurs. But, recently, its Latino and Asian populations have exploded, with exceptionally high rates of self-employment. In the past decade, the Atlanta region’s Asian population surged 74%, while its Latino population grew by 101%. The overall foreign-born population rose by roughly 300,000.”

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Congregated Homeless Housing

As reported by the Sacramento Press, this 150 unit midrise at Seventh & H will have 75 units for the homeless or formerly homeless, an issue we wrote an article about in 2008 which was published in the Sacramento Bee, and is posted to our website news page as a May 12, 2008 Press Release.

An excerpt from the Sacramento Press article.

“Construction has begun on Sacramento's newest single-resident occupancy building downtown.

“On Monday, a backhoe operator and other construction workers continued demolishing an old foundation at Seventh and H streets. The eight-story, 150-unit mid-rise being built there by Mercy Housing is the first new structure going up in the railyards redevelopment project area.

“Once completed, the $47.4 million affordable housing project, known simply as “Seventh & H,” will be one of the city's largest permanent supportive housing projects. Half of the units will be reserved for homeless or recently homeless people, and the rest is aimed at downtown workers making $20,000 to $25,000 a year.”

Friday, April 01, 2011

Too Much Water, Not Enough Dams

This letter writer gets it, as published in the Sacramento Bee

"Build more dams – now

"Re "Where the region grew in the '00s" (Our Region, March 12) and "Storms fill reservoirs, rivers" (Page A1, March 22): The first item will require that California increase dramatically its water supply. With an additional 12 million to 15 million people over the next 30 to 40 years, as predicted by the Census Bureau, additional water will be required.

"The second item, this winter's well-over-average moisture, rain and snow means dumping billions of gallons of water from our dams to make way for future runoff. We currently have inadequate water storage capacity (dams) to store this year's excess runoff for possible use in later dry years.

"For our current population and "normal" moisture years, California has marginal storage capacity. For a dry year, or years, we will be in trouble.

"California needs additional water storage. Our government needs to be planning now for our future water needs.

– Don Perera, Rocklin"