Joined: April 2006
|Quote (Ichthyic @ Aug. 31 2006,14:53)|
|wow, I had no idea so many of us regulars here were actually from CA.|
Ok, so raising my hand...
(no fish out of water jokes, please)
|Now if we could only shut down the military-industrial complex's control over both.|
funny thing, that. In the 70's and 80's the defense industry in CA was second only to agriculture in revenue generation for the state. With the end of the cold war, a lot of that money went away, and CA never has really recovered a replacement consistent revenue source.
technology (think Silicon Valley), worked as a suitable replacement for a good portion of the 90's, and we saw a rapid surplus start to build, which was then quickly wiped out with a combination of natural disasters, the power crisis, and the internet investment implosion.
CA is in very dire straights. the most populous state in the US, and still has a consistently large growth rate. Poor public transportation for most of the state, poor growth plans, horrible problems with water resources (this is becoming the largest issue of all), a critical shortage of power resources, and no consistent source of income aside from agriculture and tourism. Even the agriculture is threatened in many areas because of the lack of water resources, and we are seeing salt intrusion in many areas because of overusage of groundwater. The massive fires in So. Cal. are mostly due to a combination of drought and a massive invasion of a species of bark beetle that has been literally wiping out entire forests up and down the state.
The issues mentioned that arnold signed are really merely "hotbutton" issues. The real issues for this state are far to onerous to deal with in a single bill. Arnold, being an actor, got a quick education in the fact that he was grossly ignorant of the real problems, both political and resourcewise, that exist in this state. Truly, it WILL have to be a massive team effort to even begin to tackle the problems this state faces, and Arnold wasted two years listening to the neocons that he really didn't have to waste.
I wonder if he still drives his favorite Hummer everywhere?
the job of gov. in this state has always been a critical one, both from a political standpoint (as a launching platform for the presidency, for example), and as being the leader for the 13th largest GNP in the world (last i checked, if you made CA an "independent" country- might even be in the top ten now). It was a daunting position BEFORE the recall. Now... who in their right mind is going to WANT to be governor of a state with so many huge issues facing it?
You may think me a pessimist, but I truly see a dismal future for CA, with the water issue being the the biggest problem of all. Remember what I said about CA's biggest source of income being agriculture? So. Cal. used to get a large portion of water for agricultural, industrial and residental use from the Colorado River.
Not anymore; for a while now, the amount of water allocated to CA from the Colorado river has steadily declined (drought, rising pops in other states, etc.). about 2 years ago, the issue came to a head, and many places (where i live being one) are no longer allocated a tenth of the river water they used to be. er, except this place, for example, has grown 180% since the first time I lived here in 1991. Which means, of course, ever heavier draws on the underground aquifers (which are rapidly being used beyond replacement). If anybody recalls what happened when Vegas overrused their own underground aquifer... you might get some idea of what is happening here too. Of course, this isn't unique; it's happening all over the state.
for years now (decades, even), many agricultural areas in CA have had problems with salt invasion as they overuse their underground aquifers.
I do wonder what will happen as:
-less and less new water resources become available
-more and more salt intrusion ruins agricultural land
-more and more good ag land is rezoned for commercial and residential use
-the population of the state keeps growing at a phenomenal pace
If someone sees the silver lining in all this, do let me know.
I'd end with "cheers", but after a rant like that, I guess it would be hypocritical.
Water policy in CA is atrocious, but it's not much worse than it is elsewhere in the western half of the US. Water policy has pretty much sucked for, oh, 150+ years.
Actually, in CA, the overuse of groundwater isn't the actual cause of salinity problems. The problem is the ground itself. (The problem with the overuse of groundwater is... the overuse of groundwater. Unlike oil, which can never be replaced, aquifers do replace themselves over time, but that is hardly comforting when you remove several feet a year and nature replace just a few inches...)
Back to salinity: as a contrast, the Colorado River has high naturally occuring saline sources feeding into it. On its way to the sea (if it actually still got there...), the same water gets used multiple times for irrigation, resulting in the Colorado getting increasingly saline. (Farmers use it and what doesn't get used by the crops flushes back through the soil through salt deposits and into the Colorado again.)
How this relates to CA is that in places such as the southern San Joaquin, there's often a layer of impermeable clay sitting just a few feet down, so whatever salts are in the water used for irrigation get perched there and have nowhere to be flushed. Eventually, the salts build up into the root zones of the crops, killing them and also making the land useless for agriculture.
(Although I wish I could claim to be original, what I just wrote paraphrases Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert.)
The history of water policy in the western US is actually a fascinating read (except for the mind-numbingly boring Battling the Inland Sea).
Not that it matters, but I'm in Seattle, where we are still ticked off about CA trying to divert the Columbia River...