SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today released his monthly report covering California’s cash balance, receipts and disbursements in October 2012, showing that total revenues were $207.9 million above (4.4 percent) projections contained in the 2012-13 State budget.
“October’s numbers were positive, due in large part to strong income tax receipts,” said Chiang. “More importantly, total year-to-date revenue is spot-on with the budget’s projection.”
Personal income taxes in the month of October rose $378.4 million above (10.6 percent) projections, while sales taxes also were up by $28.8 million (4.4 percent) relative to projections. Corporate taxes were down for the month, coming in $131.3 million below (47 percent) projections.
The State ended the last fiscal year with a cash deficit of $9.6 billion. As of October 31, that cash deficit totaled $24.7 billion, and is being covered with $14.7 billion of internal borrowing (temporary loans from special funds), and $10 billion of external borrowing.
For more details on today’s report, read October 2012′s financial statement and summary analysis.
SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY— Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has named San Joaquin Delta College to the coveted 2013 Military Friendly Schools list.
The 2013 Military Friendly Schools list honors the country’s top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that do the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as they work toward academic and career success. Delta College was also selected to the 2012 Military Friendly Schools list.
“Inclusion on the 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools shows Delta College’s commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students,” said Sean Collins, Director for G.I. Jobs and Vice President at Victory Media. “As interest in education grows, we’re thrilled to provide the military community with transparent, world-class resources to assist in their search for military friendly schools. Congratulations to San Joaquin Delta College.”
Denise Donn, Director of Financial Aid & Veteran Services, was proud that Delta College has again been recognized for serving veterans and active military. “Delta College will continue to make the extra effort to help our veterans achieve their academic and career goals. It’s important that those who put their lives on the line for their country know Delta College is their dedicated partner. Our commitment will not waver.”
Victory Media’s 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and data-driven surveys of more than 12,000 VA-approved schools. The survey results for the list were independently tested by Ernst & Young LLP, based upon the weightings and methodology established by Victory Media. Each year, schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard than the previous year via improved methodology and criteria developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country.
If you want to learn more about the survey methodology information is available at: http://www.militaryfriendlyschools.com/methodology
San Joaquin Delta College’s Veteran Resource Center moved to its new location in the DeRicco Student Services Building (DeRicco 151) and it will be open on October 13, 2012 — the first day of Delta’s fall semester. The Veteran Resource Center provides: Quiet Study Area; Tutoring; Computer Access; Workshops; Veteran Benefits Information; Networking and support with other campus veterans and a meeting space for the Veteran Student Alliance.
Starting November, 15 Volaris will start service between Sacramento International Airport and Guadalajara, México.
SACRAMENTO,CA- Volaris, one of the most prominent airlines in Mexico, announced the launch of four routes to commence operations on October 15 in stages: Guadalajara-Sacramento, California; Queretaro, Queretaro – Tijuana and Cancun, and Tepic -Tijuana, which strengthens its expansion strategy nationally and internationally.
Enrique Beltranena, CEO of Volaris, explained that with these openings, the airline opens a range of possibilities between destinations that so far were not available to the public.
“As a company we have maintained this strong growth throughout 2012, and these openings contribute to our aim to continue with a planned expansion, consolidating our strength as a proud Mexican airline. By incorporating Querétaro Tepic and our destinations, we add 19 new routes so far this year. Sacramento becomes our sixth destination in California and the tenth in the U.S. territory. “
Those interested in flying on the Sacramento route, may do as of November 15, on Tuesday and Thursdays.
“I am a community Activist…”
María Ramos has dedicated her life to eliminate discrimination, oppression, and injustice in her community. Continue reading
Water lazily rolls by, acres of pear trees blanket the horizon, and tiny communities dot the landscape. Walnut Grove is a Delta town with 1,500 residents, just one ice cream shop and a mom-and-pop grocery store. It feels sleepy, humid and slow—like the Sacramento River. Brett Baker, a sixth-generation pear farmer who lives nearby, on Sutter Island, describes the area nostalgically:
“I enjoy the peace and quiet, the landscape and scenery,” he said. “I have a personal relationship with almost everyone in my town. I have known them all my life, played sports with them, was coached by them growing up. Out here, there is a real sense of community. When tragedy strikes, your neighbors pick you up and help support you.”
Tragedy might be striking. Just 10 minutes away is the roar of Interstate 5, one of California’s major freeways. Twenty minutes farther is Sacramento and the buzzing State Capitol, where the fate of this farming community, the Delta, the state’s river system, and the largest estuary on the West Coast will be determined.
The Delta is the heart of the state’s water resources. Most rivers flow into it, the ocean meets it, key species migrate in and out of it, 25 million people draw water from it, and a large portion of agriculture relies on it to irrigate crops. And now, Gov. Jerry Brown wants to forge ahead with a $23 billion plan to build two massive tunnels underneath or around the Delta.
The stakes are enormous.
The governor’s proposed Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), also known as the tunnel conveyance system or peripheral canal, would carry part of the Sacramento River underneath the Delta in two 35-mile long tunnels to the California Aqueduct. There, the water would be pumped uphill to cities and farms in more parched regions of the state, including the southern Central Valley, Los Angeles and Santa Clara.
The canal plan has been kicking around for decades. Brown’s original peripheral canal project was voted down in a referendum in 1982, but he is back in the saddle again. “We’re going to take into account the opposition,” Brown vowed, “but we’re not going to sit here and twiddle our thumbs and stare at our navel. We’re going to make decisions and get it done.”
But it’s unclear what Brown is trying to get done. The project would continue to move water from one part of the state to another, with questionable benefits for citizens, farmers, fish, fishermen and even state and federal water contractors, who have funded the project thus far. The differing perspectives of a Delta farmer, a seasoned environmentalist and a Republican supervisor show the complexities and contentiousness of what lies ahead.
“The Delta is the largest contiguous acreage of prime farmland in California,” said Baker. “It has a naturally reliable supply of high quality water and sufficient drainage. Basically, you are taking water from land that has proven to be sustainably productive for over 150 years and moving it to lands with toxic drainage impairments.”
Acre to acre, Delta land is one the most productive farm areas in the state.
The toxic land that Baker refers to is on the west side of San Joaquin River in the Central Valley. The area has long had problems with salinity and selenium, and it’s also a primary importer of Delta water. Salinity on the west side can be flushed out with water, provided there is drainage. But there isn’t excess water or drainage, and there may never be. The taxpayer cost of fixing the drainage problem is $2.6 to $7 billion. Only $346 million in funds are currently allocated.
Selenium presents a more significant problem for the west side. It cannot be safely dispersed into the environment. It bio-accumulates and in large quantities is toxic to wildlife, livestock and humans. In the 1980s, Kesterson Reservoir had to be closed, because of the mass bird and livestock deformities that were discovered there due to selenium build-up. The area has since been cleaned up, but pollutants are still flowing into the San Joaquin River, and more water will not fix the problem.
So why construct a canal or tunnel conveyance system and route water there?
A portion of that water flows elsewhere, to the Metropolitan Water District and the Kern County Water Agency, for example. The giant pumps that sit in the southern part of the estuary entrap and kill thousands of fish annually. The pumps also alter the habitat of the estuary by creating a north to south flow across a tidal ecosystem, which would naturally flow east to west. The proposed tunnels would move the intake upstream to locations that might be less harmful to smelt, salmon and other endangered species. They also might avoid delivery disruptions associated with salt water intrusion and climate change.
But under the microscopes of science and regulation, even those benefits begin to look dubious. And that’s because moving intakes upstream will affect water quality for fish and farmers downstream. “If we allow the canal to be built it will ultimately result in the salting up and ruination of one of our state’s most valuable assets,” Baker said. ”Research has continued to reveal that shunting more water from the system stands to condemn the canary in the coal mine.”
And Baker is right. The birds are in trouble too. Although endangered fish species get more attention because of their effect on water exports, the Delta is a primary habitat and migratory stop for millions of birds, like tundra swans and sandhill cranes. Nearly 50 percent of the Pacific Flyway’s migrating or wintering waterfowl depend on it.
Altogether, the Delta is home to more than 750 species of plants and animals, 33 of which are endangered, and likely to go extinct within the next 25 to 50 years, if not sooner. Those species includes chinook salmon, smelt, steelhead, splittail, sturgeon and river lamprey, all of which are supposed to be protected by state and federal agencies.
And California hasn’t left much breathing room for its once abundant wildlife, particularly in the Central Valley and the Delta, where most of the land is privately held and about 95 percent of natural wetlands are gone. And water, the other primary habitat, has been over-allocated to such a high degree that little is left for plants and animals. All total, water rights exist for 531 million acre-feet, which is nearly 10 times as much as is annually available (63 million acre-feet).
Leo Winternitz, associate director of Delta Restoration and Policy for the Nature Conservancy, has been living amidst these water wars for the past 30 years. He has worked for CALFED, the Sacramento Water Forum, the Department of Water Resources, and the State Water Resources Control Board—all major players in water management.
As to how things are going – he says simply, “The situation is more acute. The environment is really suffering from the overuse. We need to think in terms of migratory corridors,” he continues. “If you acquire any piece of property, without a strategic plan then you have postage stamp approach and that doesn’t work. You need to have a corridor of different habitats interconnected.”
But putting that into action is no easy task. The Delta region has more than 500,000 acres of agricultural land, most of which was formerly wetland habitat. About five percent of the original environment is left.
To restore a portion, the Nature Conservancy acquired a 9200-acre tract in the Delta, called Staten Island. The area provides prime habitat for sandhill cranes and other migratory waterfowl. But the $35 million land purchase has been criticized. Half of the money for the acquisition came from the state funds for flood protection, and today, it’s managed primarily as a farmland and wetland—not as a flood plain. The island is below sea level, and it isn’t ideally located for tidal marsh restoration. Still, 15 percent of the Sacramento Valley sandhill crane population and thousands of birds use the area as a winter habitat.
The BDCP, at least, has a cohesive plan for restoration. It may include 80,000 acres of tidal marsh habitat and up to 45,000 acres of agricultural and grasslands habitat. But that makes Delta farmers nervous, as does changing the position of the water intake system and increasing exports, which was originally part of the plan.
And that’s where the project starts to hit serious trouble.
The BDCP sets off a series of agency interactions between the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the California Department State Fish and Game (DFG), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC). Each agency is tasked with a particular aspect of protecting and managing the state’s natural resources. And there is a lot to protect:—California is one of the most bio-diverse places in the world.
Among these water agencies, there is a confusing array of regulations and interactions. But there are clear guidelines. “It is now state policy that we have co-equal goals of ecosystem restoration and water reliability,” Winternitz said, regarding the Delta Reform Act of 2009. “Any solution has to include environmental consideration. That is a big positive. We just have to communicate better about what this means and how to implement it.”
But what’s being communicated is tough medicine for everyone.
The public trust recommendations for the Delta are the hub of public policy, and the agencies are circling around it. To resuscitate the system, scientific research indicates the need to increase river flows and decrease Delta water consumption by nearly 50 percent, or 13.7 to 14.6 million-acre feet. Those recommendations are supposed to play a primary role in water planning and policy—and to some extent they have.
In July, when Brown made his public announcement, he endorsed a 55-page joint set of agency recommendations for the BDCP. The latest version includes a smaller intake system and no guaranteed export amount; instead, continued scientific studies over the 15-year construction period will determine whether exports are higher or lower than they are today. But notably, the joint recommendations also state: “Only a small percentage of research in the Bay Delta is controversial.”
Right now, what keeps the Delta ecosystem intact are court-ordered flow criteria. The current rulings limit south of Delta exports to an average of 4.9 million acre-feet. If you applied the public trust recommendations exports would drop to 3.7 to 3.9 million acre-feet, about 25 percent. That also means that the rest of the state, including cities, irrigation districts and farms, would have to reduce use and put water back into the system.
What would we gain?
Winternitz explains, “The species we are concerned about evolved in the habitats we need to restore. Those ecosystem processes, which provide for water quality and other important benefits, are the same ones that we humans need. And that’s why there is this whole effort to get these species turned around. If we can repair their world, we can repair our world. We’ll have better air, better places to swim and play, better places to live. It’s really our own system that we are trying to clean up.”
But can California clean up? The quick and easy answer is yes. With water recycling, conservation, efficient technology and better water management, California can meet the needs of the environment, agriculture and a growing population. There is a mountain of data, coming from nearly every water agency, suggesting that improvements can be made. Conservation is the cheapest and easiest way to create to a new supply. There is more new potential water from these investments than California regularly exports from the Delta, and they come without the damage to fish or farmers.
But the long hard truth is that change is difficult.
Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini knows first-hand just how difficult. In his office in Modesto, just south of the Delta, pictures of George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger hang from the walls. DeMartini is a Republican farmer pushing to preserve prime farmland from sprawling development.
“There is no other place in the world like this; we can grow 200 types of crops here,” he said. “We have good access to water, and right now, there is no permanent protection of agriculture.”
DeMartini owns 1200 acres between Ceres and Patterson and grows a mixture of almonds, walnuts, peaches and grapes on the east side of the Central Valley. Three miles of his land borders the Tuolumne River, a primary tributary to the San Joaquin River, which flows into the Bay-Delta. He has voluntarily remediated about 120 acres and turned it back into wetlands. “Wilderness and agriculture can co-exist; there is no reason we can’t work it out,” he said, “We have 43 species of birds out there, and I want to keep it that way. It’s beautiful.”
Stanislaus County has adopted a land use plan for agriculture, but the cities within the county haven’t come up with their own plans and agreed to control sprawl. “They just want to keep growing out,” DeMartini said. “You can’t keep eroding the farmland and stay self-sufficient. The building association doesn’t want any policy adopted at all. They don’t want any restrictions.”
DeMartini planned a workshop with the Mayor’s Association to create a land use policy for each of the nine cities. “Everyone had a scheduling problem, and I never did hear from them again,” he said. ”It’s been more than a year now.” It’s surprising, since sprawl has never worked for the region. Stanislaus County has double-digit unemployment and high foreclosures—all remnants of the housing crisis.
Still, the area is on the forefront of innovation. The Oakdale Irrigation District is improving its water delivery system, and the Patterson Irrigation District is building a cross-valley channel, which could transport water east to west without going through the Delta. More recently, Modesto farmer Bill Lyons sold 1,603 acres along the Tuolumne River, to be used for wildlife and wetland restoration.
In general, what DeMartini is advocating has little to do with the peripheral canal or the tunnels. But his plans aren’t far from what’s likely to become state law. His proposals mirror the legally-mandated policies set forth by the state’s overarching water plan. California’s 88-year Delta Plan focuses on wetland preservation, habitat restoration, farmland protection and reduced reliance on Delta water. The agency putting the plan together, the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC), has an appellate role regarding the canal and conveyance system. If the BDCP is approved, it will automatically be folded into the Delta Plan without review, unless someone makes an appeal.
Regarding the peripheral canal, DeMartini remains skeptical. “I don’t think the plan is going to make it past environmental review,” he added. “I don’t know how they will pay for it either. It seems like it’s come out of nowhere.”
The question remains: Where will it go?
Note: This South of Delta Exports chart was updated on August 30, 2012 for clarity. The tunnel intake capacity is 6.5 million acre-feet. The total physical capacity to export water is 11 million acre-feet. A detailed explanation will follow in a forthcoming article.
STOCKTON, CA – Representatives from local organization met at El Concilio in downtown Stockton, on Wednesday, August 8th to discuss Latino challenges in the community and the possible creation of a Latino statewide agenda. Continue reading
By Fr. Dean McFalls
As a Caucasian American born into the middle class and raised in Seattle, I always considered citizenship, voting, and making a political difference as a foregone conclusion. It never dawned on me that huge sectors of American society might feel themselves isolated, counted-out, or systematically unwelcome in the process of self-determination and of shaping the future of this great democratic nation. Continue reading
STOCKTON, CA- Stockton is the first stop of the national campaign ¡Todos a Votar! (Let`s Vote) tour to register and mobilize Latino voters.
Led by six national Latino advocacy groups, ¡Todos a Votar! Campaign kickoff was held on Thursday, July 26 at the Comision Honorifica Mexicana, “La Jamaica” and is expected to travel to four cities and five other states.
The 2012 presidential election could be one of the most important for Latinos because the political party debates are polarizing issues close to home, such as jobs, taxes, immigration and health care.
“We will decide who will be elected president of the United States and who will be running the congress… we will also make sure that the issues that we care about are placed on the agenda,” said Eliseo Medina, Service Employees International Union International Secretary Treasure.
Through the door to door campaign Vanessa Maciel (23) and Adriana Granados (14), two of the thirty volunteers in Stockton, are determined to increase the Latino voter turnout in the San Joaquin County.
Are you registered to vote? is the question that Maciel and Granados continuously ask as they walk through the streets of Stockton, hoping to register as many new voters as they can.
“I am Latina…I really want to get out there and help,” said Macias. “I been a volunteer for two weeks…the message I want to get out is to encourage the community to vote.”
The goal of the campaign is to nationally register 650,000 new voters, – two thousand of them in the San Joaquin County.
For the labor rights leader, Medina, this November the election will also determine whether 1.2 million dreamers and eleven million workers, will legalize their immigration status.The Latino electorate is not a “sleeping giant,” says Arnulfo de la Cruz, California State Director of “Mi Familia Vota,” one of the national participating Latino advocacy groups.
“We [Latinos] are working one to three jobs, we are taking care of the children, we are up early, so we are not sleeping; we are an ignored block,” said De la Cruz. “I don’t think candidates and the political infrastructure do enough to reach Latino voters.”
“Political campaigns have limited money, so they will spend it on people who always vote to try to convince them to vote for them,” explains De la Cruz. “They will not go out to a Barrio (neighborhood) where there’s Latinos not participating to try to engage them to vote.”
With 30 volunteers in Stockton and 25 Modesto, the campaign plans to triple the number of volunteers as the election gets closer.
The ¡Todos a Votar! National Tour will next travel to Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego, to eventually reach Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Colorado.
According the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), in California, New Mexico and Texas, at least one in five voters will be Latino.
“These are all states where the Latino vote will play a decisive role,” said Medina. “Democracy works best when we all participate.”
Contact Dennise Rocha, Info@bilingualweekly.com
STOCKTON, CA (July 20, 2012) — San Joaquin County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Furst, confirmed that a 48-year old male living in Stockton is the first human with West Nile Virus (WNV) infection in San Joaquin County this year. Continue reading
MODESTO, CA— Local high school students considering a career in healthcare visited Kaiser Permanente in Modesto and experienced firsthand what is like to work at a hospital through the program “Decision Medicine” on Thursday, July 19. Continue reading
STOCKTON, CA- The new Stockton Walmart held its grand opening celebration on Wednesday, July 18 at the Spanos Park West shopping district in North Stockton.
“It’s a great pleasure to be here today and welcome the Walmart family to Stockton,” said Stockton Mayor, Ann Johnston at the ceremony.
In a time of financial difficulties for Stockton, having a new major retailer opening its doors will provide sales tax revenue for the city, added Stockton`s Mayor.
Located in 10355 Trinity Parkway, the 212,000-square-foot store brings approximately 380 new jobs to the community.
“I know firsthand of the quality of careers that you can have at Walmart,” said store manager, Larisa Lujan.
“I started with Walmart 13 years ago. I was 18 years old; I came from Ukraine and started as a cashier. My story is not unique; Walmart nationwide embraces everyone and gives them great career opportunities.”
However, the debate if Walmart is a poison or antidote for communities like Stockton continues.
Many worry about the impact Walmart will have on small businesses, other say it will benefit local businesses as additional customers are attracted to the regional shopping area.
Yet shoppers seem to like the “always low prices” and the 24/7 schedule offered by the world’s largest retailer. In fact, just before 8 a.m. some were already lined up outside the doors ready to shop.
“Walmart will be a great community partner with the area’s nonprofits and neighbors,” said Mark Martinez, CEO of the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SJCHC).
During Wednesday`s ribbon cutting ceremony, the Walmart Foundation presented a total of $33,000 in donation money to community organizations. $25, 0000 for the SJCHC Foundation and $8,000 among Stockton Emergency Food Bank, the Greater Yosemite Council Boy Scouts of America and United Way.
“Just this year Walmart gave our Chamber a large grant to help fund our Student Financial Aid and College Awareness Workshop that will help families plan for higher education,” said Martinez.
The Student Financial Aid Workshop is a partnership between the University of Pacific and Stockton Unified School District that hires SJCHC to coordinate volunteers that help students fill out FASFA forms.
STOCKTON, CA- Reaching for the Stars Academy celebrated its second graduation on Thursday, July 12 at the University of the Pacific. Continue reading
WASHINGTON, D.C – More than 150,000 additional Americans could die by the end of this century due to excessive heat caused by climate change, according to a detailed analysis of peer-reviewed scientific data by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The “Killer Summer Heat” report, projects heat-related death toll through the end of the 21st century in the most populated U.S. cities.
The projected deaths are based on the widely-used assumption that carbon pollution will steadily increase in the absence of effective new policies, more than doubling the levels seen today by the end of the century.
“This is a wake-up call. Climate change has a number of real life-and-death consequences. One of which is that as carbon pollution continues to grow, climate change is only going to increase the number of dangerously hot days each summer, leading to a dramatic increase in the number of lives lost,” said Dan Lashof, director of NRDC’s climate and clean air program.
Temperatures in San Joaquin County rose above 100 degrees last week. County public health officials urge residents to take precautions for hot weather.
“Groups especially at risk for heat stress are the elderly, adults with disabilities, chronically ill, children under 4 years old and anyone who works or exercises vigorously outdoors,” said San Joaquin County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Furst.
The kinds of consequences of climate change highlighted in NRDC’s report are already evident:
SACRAMENTO—Northern California legislators pushed for a delay in the $23 billion water conveyance project through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta until more details are available on the state’s revised Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). Continue reading
Sacramento, CA – The State Senate approves Assembly Bill (AB) 1081 (Ammiano) on Thursday July 5th, California’s TRUST Act, by a vote of 21-13. Continue reading