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The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials recently announced they will not be providing Central Valley farmers with any water from the federally run system of reservoirs and canals fed by mountain runoff.
More than a thousand California farmers sent a letter to the state's Congressional delegation this week, urging lawmakers from both parties to work together on drought legislation to “address the water supply crisis.”
But a veteran of California’s water wars says the letter is actually a not-so-veiled message from lobbyists for Central Valley agribusiness.
In the letter sent to California Senators and House members, members of the California Water Alliance say reservoirs are empty, groundwater is becoming depleted, and what happens this year will “fundamentally change the face of California’s agriculture forever.”
Last month, the House passed a water measure that rewrites California water agreements and preempts environmental restoration projects. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein introduced a Senate drought bill that makes it easier for federal agencies to move water around the state, but still adheres to environmental laws. No hearing or vote has been scheduled for the Senate bill.
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State Sen. Kevin De Leon says he's "livid" that a former Vernon official convicted of misappropriating public funds continues to draw more than $500,000 a year as a pension.
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Today is Friday, March 7, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:
KPCC profiles James Hellmold, a candidate for sheriff. "Hellmold once served as a personal assistant and driver for (former Sheriff Lee) Baca. He owes his rise in the department in part to the retired sheriff and to another candidate, former undersheriff Paul Tanaka," according to the station.
State Sen. Kevin De Leon says he's "livid" that the state's highest-paid pensioner in the state system continues to draw more than $500,000 annually, even though officials said two years ago they would cut his benefits, reports the Los Angeles Times. The state senator wants pension officials to dramatically cut payments to former Vernon administrator Bruce Malkenhorst. An attorney for Malkenhorst, who was convicted in 2011 of misappropriating public funds, declined to comment.
Amy Howorth campaign
Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth, left, has been endorsed by South Bay Congresswoman Janice Hahn in her campaign for a state senate seat.
Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth loaned her state senate campaign $100,000 this week, according to a campaign report filed with the Secretary of State.
The Democrat and onetime Manhattan Beach school board member is running in the 26th State Senate district to succeed Ted Lieu, who is pursuing a seat in Congress.
The money is an indication Howorth intends to be taken seriously in a race that opened up only weeks ago, said her campaign consultant, Dave Jacobson.
That hundred grand could turn out to be just a drop in the bucket in a competitive race. Former Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, who is also running to succeed Lieu, spent more than $2 million in her narrow 2012 loss to Richard Bloom in the 50th Assembly District. Butler has raised $255,000 so far for the senate race, said campaign manager Andrew DeBlock.
A few years ago, when James Hellmold commanded L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies in the gang-riddled Lynwood area, he drew the ire of some colleagues.
“They had a legitimate question,” Hellmold recalled. “Why [was I] speaking at a gang member’s funeral?”
Hellmold attended the services for 25-year-old Branden Bullard, who’d been shot by rival gang members, to focus, he said, not on the “the negativity” in the young man’s life, but on the good things.
“In more recent days he had mentored some kids who were athletes, and trying to stay away from gangs.”
When the questions persisted from deputies, Hellmold challenged them.
“I asked them what they’ve done to help somebody else.”
Hellmold, 46, now one of four assistant sheriffs in the sprawling L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, seems just as interested in lending a hand to the needy as handcuffing criminals. Asked for a war story from the streets, he doesn’t talk about the time he shot an armed bank robber. He tells of taking foster kids to UCLA football games. That attitude has won him deep support in African-American communities.
The Port of Los Angeles, one of the busiest in the world, plays a key role in the local and state economy.
An international search is on for a new executive director to run the Port of Los Angeles — five months after the previous manager said she was leaving.
Former executive director Geraldine Knatz announced her retirement last October. Though she officially left at the end of the year, City Engineer Gary Lee Moore became the interim general manager last fall. A port spokesman says part of delay in launching the search was the process of nominating and confirming new members of seating of the Harbor Commission.
The search firm Ralph Andersen & Associates was selected in January and has been preparing for the selection process, according to the port spokesman. The firm will screen candidates while an ad hoc committee that includes Harbor Commission president Vilma Martinez and Commission vice president David Arian will oversee the recruitment process.