Decades after Arizona, California finally enacts a groundwater management act

In 1980, the Arizona legislature enacted the Groundwater Management Act, or Groundwater Management Code. “In 1986, the Ford Foundation selected Arizona’s Groundwater Management Code as one of the 10 most innovative programs in state and local government. Passage of this hallmark legislation in 1980 was a major landmark in Arizona’s efforts to preserve its most vital natural resource.”

California’s groundwater use has been totally unregulated, with disputes about overuse settled in court. California is one of the few states where it’s “pump as you please” with groundwater. California is now the last Western state to enact a groundwater code. Drought-Stricken California Makes Historic Move To Regulate Underground Water For The First Time:

CAdroughtAs the California State Legislature wrapped up their session, they passed the state’s first-ever plan to regulate underground water supplies. Urban Democrats, water district managers, and environmental advocates gave the measure enough support to pass it over the opposition of Republicans and farm-area legislators. The legislation now goes to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

Clean Water Action’s Jennifer Clary said, “the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management legislation takes an historic first step towards ensuring that our groundwater will remain a resource for future Californians.”

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The post-McCutcheon Plutocracy

Matea Gold at the Washington Post has an exclusive report today, Wealthy political donors seize on new latitude to give to unlimited candidates:

monopolybAndrew Sabin, who owns a New York-based precious-metals refining business, was delighted when the Supreme Court did away with the [campaign contribution] limit in April. Since then, he has been doling out contributions to congressional candidates across the country — in Colorado, Texas, Iowa and “even Alaska,” he said.

Top Republicans have taken notice: Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have paid him personal visits this year, he noted proudly.

“You have to realize, when you start contributing to all these guys, they give you access to meet them and talk about your issues,” said Sabin, who has given away more than $177,000. “They know that I’m a big supporter.”

Sabin and other wealthy political contributors have more access than ever to candidates since the ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. More than 300 donors have seized the opportunity, writing checks at such a furious pace that they have exceeded the old limit of $123,200 for this election cycle, according to campaign finance data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research organization.

Screenshot from 2014-09-02 12:30:26

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GOP war on voting goes to trial in Texas

A trial begins today in a federal courtroom in Corpus Christi, Texas to determine the constitutionality of the state’s voter identification law, which is widely acknowledged to be the most restrictive in the nation. The U.S. Department of Justice has joined civil rights groups in Texas to try to stop the state’s voter ID law, saying it has a disproportionate and discriminatory effect on minorities. The trial is expect to last two weeks and a ruling is unlikely before Election Day.

Paul Waldman at the Washington Post writes, Why voter ID laws pose long-term danger to GOP:

VotersPassed in 2011, [the law] was struck down in federal court in 2012 as a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Then in 2013 the Supreme Court gutted the VRA. Now the law faces a new trial based on a different VRA section [Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act].

In the end, the Republicans who passed this law may prevail, particularly since the only racial discrimination the conservative majority on the Supreme Court apparently finds troubling is the kind that might affect a white person somewhere. But Republicans may have underestimated just how much damage they continue to do to their party’s image by trying, anywhere and everywhere, to make it as hard as possible for the wrong people to vote.

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LD 9 House Citizens Clean Elections debate on Wednesday

RandyFrieseWhat: LD 9 House Citizens Clean Elections Debate

When: Wednesday, September 3, 6:00 p.m.

Where: Pima Community College Downtown Campus, 1255 N. Stone Avenue (at Speedway Blvd.)

Come out to support Dr. Randy Friese in his debate against the mythical moderate Republican Ethan Orr aka “E.Orr.” (Note: Rep. Victoria Steele will not be attending).

Below is a breakdown of the candidates’ positions on the issues from Dr. Fries’ campaign website Dr. Randall Friese For State House:
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Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival on September 5 & 6

Chinesefestival

More info at www.tucsonchinese.org.  Buy your tickets ahead of time by calling 520-292-6000. Adults $10, students $5 (with I.D.), children 5 and under FREE.

Tucson Chinese Cultural Center is located at 1288 W. River Rd., just east of La Canada Drive.

From Tucson Meet Yourself FB page:

The Tucson Chinese Cultural Center will bring together giant puppets, mooncakes and geography in a program of great entertainment and culture on September 5 and 6. The event includes an original multicultural dance drama choreographed by Barbea Williams, called Zheng He in the Desert — an Afro-Chinese interpretation about the voyages of Ming Dynasty sea captain Zheng He to Africa and beyond.

Martial artists, African, TCCC and East Indian dancers will participate in the drama, as will local puppeteers being trained to animate the giant giraffe puppet (symbolic of the giraffe that was a gift from an African ruler to the Chinese emperor). A variety of Chinese and African foods, in addition to the mooncakes, will be served to attendees, who also will see traditional arts demonstrations of Chinese calligraphy and lantern-making.

Race for the AZ Legislature: a general election primer

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings

While the races for Arizona’s statewide offices garner the most attention, both from the MSM and the general public, the race for the control of the state legislature is at least as important – this state has a “weak executive” form of government where most of the real power rests with the legislature.  Statewide office holders run their areas of the state government, and the governor can act as a bit of a check on the legislature by utilizing the veto, but if the majority of the lege wants it, the state government works *against* the people of Arizona, not *for* us.

The chambers of the Arizona legislature are comfortably under the control of of the Republicans (Senate: 13 Ds, 17 Rs; House: 24 Ds, 36 Rs).  Some observers believe that the Democrats will gain control, or at least 15/15 parity in the Senate this year and gain ground in the House.

I don’t believe gaining control of the Senate is going to happen for the Democrats, this year anyway, but gaining ground in both chambers is possible.

Too many things would have go right for the Ds for Senate control to change this year, but with a little luck and a lot of hard work, things will improve this year.

The races for the legislature are set.  Most are over (no challenger) or unofficially over (challenger(s) present but the particular district is so slanted in terms of partisan registration or electoral history that minority party candidates aren’t viable).

However, a few merit interest. Continue reading