By Doug Porter
It’s fall in San Diego, and while outsiders may not realize it, we can see some of the highest temperatures of the year while trees are turning colors in more temperate parts of the country.
The National Weather Service is forecasting the development of a Santa Ana pattern starting on Thursday. Temperatures will peak on Saturday, the humidity is expected to drop into the single digits and winds up 50 miles per hour are expected in the eastern part of the county.
Given that temperatures have already been above normal for the year and most of California is starved for water, conditions are favorable for wildfires throughout Southern California. So it seems like today is as good as any to write about the changing of our climate in San Diego and the responses (or lack thereof) to these changes.
We might want to be concerned, as this Santa Ana develops, about California’s already depleted firefighting budget.
California is just three months into its fiscal year, but it’s already exhausted its emergency firefighting budget. Now the state is tapping into reserves.
California had allocated $209 million for emergency firefighting, but it blew through that budget early last week. Now Gov. Jerry Brown’s Department of Finance is transferring $70 million from a reserve fund to a disaster response account. In a letter to the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Department of Finance says this is just an initial transfer.
It’s not unusual for the state to exceed its emergency firefighting budget. Last year the state had to use about $70 million in reserves. The year before California exceeded its budget by nearly $148 million. However, this is the fastest the state has run through its budget within the last five years. The Department of Finance stresses all fires will continue to be fought, regardless of the cost.
Stanford Study Ties Drought to Climate Change
A study by scientists at Stanford University says California’s drought is “very likely” linked to human-caused climate change because of the abundance of greenhouse gases created by burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests.
From NBC7 San Diego:
“Our research finds that extreme atmospheric high pressure in this region – which is strongly linked to unusually low precipitation in California – is much more likely to occur today than prior to the human emission of greenhouse gases that began during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s,” Noah Diffenbaugh, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, said in a statement.
Other scientists have warned that global warming will increase the risk of drought. But this study, published Monday, is one of the most comprehensive studies to connect the current drought, one of the worst in the state’s history, to more general climate trends. Diffenbaugh led the team and used computer simulations and statistical techniques to come up with his theory.
Climate Change Deniers Distraction Ploy
The Union of Concerned Scientists have released a new analysis designed to counter the oil industry funded public relations campaign hoping to convince Californians that a major hike in gas prices is coming in January.
What these ads and op-eds–supposedly funded by groups with names like “Fed Up at the Pump” –fail to mention is they’re actually aiming to undermine expansion of AB32 cap on emissions to cover transportation fuels—the largest single source of emissions in California, accounting for nearly 40 percent of California’s total global warming emissions.
From the UCS Blog:
A recent study found that California’s low carbon fuel standard and cap-and-trade programs will save $8.3 billion in health costs between now and 2025 by reducing asthma attacks, hospitalizations, and other health impacts associated with poor air quality.
And, in California’s 2014–2015 fiscal year, more than $200 million in revenues from the state’s cap-and-trade auction will be spent to benefit disadvantaged communities, including investments in public transit and advanced freight technologies such as electric trucks and buses.
Call Issued for Mandatory Water Restrictions
City Councilmen David Alvarez and Ed Harris have asked the mayor’s office to bring a plan for upgrading San Diego from a “drought warning” to a “drought alert” for consideration by the Environment Committee next week.
“In addition to continuing with our outreach and education with residents, it is essential that we reinforce that education with enforcement measures,” Harris said. “Water is the lifeblood of our economy and quality of life. We have to have an `all hands on deck’ approach using all available tools to protect our water supply for generations to come.”
The councilmen also asked the mayor’s office to hire sufficient staff to enforce the measures. They said 10 people were hired to conduct enforcement in 2009, the last time a Drought Alert was called, but those positions were eliminated two years later.
They said their call for mandatory restrictions was prompted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Drought Monitor report last week that showed 95 percent of California was experiencing a “severe” to “exceptional” drought.
Apples Scarce for Julian Festival This Year
Meanwhile 10News ran a story yesterday saying there will be “slim pickings” for San Diego residents looking to drive up to Julian for their annual apple festival.
Les Turner has owned Peacefield Orchard for nine years. Normally this time of year, the orchard is packed with people picking apples. Instead, all but three of his 500 trees are bare.
“We probably got a box or box and a half of apples scattered around, but not enough to have people come show up,” said Turner.
He said the ongoing drought, a warm winter and a two-day freeze in April wiped out his harvest.
The School District’s White Elephant Return on Hold
Aside from having school board members ride atop it in the La Jolla
Christmas Holiday Parade, nobody could really figure out what to do with it anyway.
Now Mother Jones is reporting the school district, along with other agencies that may have decided “free” isn’t always a good idea, has run into difficulties in returning its unwanted merchandise.
…as the Defense Department reevaluates the program this fall, the agency temporarily closed the portion of its website that allows police departments to request returns. (The website will reopen on October 1.) The decision has prevented the San Diego school district police department from returning an 18-ton MRAP the department received in April, says Ursula Kroener, a police spokeswoman. In fact, Kroener adds, the Pentagon halted returns partly because so many law enforcement agencies are clamoring to return their equipment. Neither the California point person for the Pentagon grant program nor the Defense Logistics Agency, the division within the Pentagon that oversees the grant program, responded to requests for comments on the site closure….
Secret Service Hearings on White Security Lapses
San Diego’s congressman Darrell Issa is chairing a hearing on recent failures of the Secret Service to protect the White House this morning.
It sounds like Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, did the honorable thing and fell on her sword.
What wasn’t really being discussed at length this morning was whether the Congressionally mandated budget cuts leaving the Secret Service 550 people short might have had an impact.
President Obama has faced death threats at three times the level faced any of his predecessors.
Adios Football Blackouts
The National Football Leagues appears to be on a losing streak as of late. On the heels of scandals involving head injuries to its players and revelations about its tolerance for domestic violence, the Federal Communications Commission gave the 39 year old blackout rule the boot this morning.
From the Hollywood Reporter:
The action was taken despite stiff opposition from the National Football League, which has argued that the rule has served the interest of the teams and the fans and should not be changed.
The NFL has also warned that if the blackout rule is ended, it could mean even more games will move from free broadcast TV to pay TV; but opponents of the rule point out pro football games on broadcast remain highly rated and the licensing rights are extremely lucrative for the league and its 32 teams.
Republicans Are People, Maybe
An image campaign by marketer Vinny Minchillo for the GOP featuring website called “Republicans Are People Too.” had some embarrassing feedback about their video component yesterday.
From Daily Kos:
The video consists of a parade of alleged party members and asks “Did you know Republicans…”
Drive Priuses, recycle, listen to Spotify, put together IKEA furniture, are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, read the New York Times, use Macs, are grandmas, daughters, moms, are left-handed, are doctors, welders, teachers, donate to charity, enjoy gourmet cooking, shop at Trader Joe’s, like dogs, and cats, have tattoos, have tattoos and beards, have feelings, are people who care.
The problem with the argument that Minchillo is making is that the people claiming to be Republicans in his video are not actually Republicans. And by that I don’t simply mean that those types of persons are not Republican, which on the whole they are not. I mean that those specific people in the video are not. In fact, they were photos taken from stock image suppliers. A search for a random selection of the photos in the video found many of them in the iStockPhotowebsite’s library of images. The persons in the paragraph above that are links will lead you to the stock image page for each one.
On This Day: 1927 – George Herman “Babe” Ruth hit his 60th homerun of the season. He broke his own record with the homerun. The record stood until 1961 when Roger Maris broke the record. 1935 – The show “Porgy and Bess” opened for the first time in Boston. 1962 –Cesar Chavez, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later was to become the United Farm Workers of America.
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