FROM Matt Weiser
California Water Officials Will Inspect Marijuana Farms Since medical marijuana was legalized in California, marijuana growing’s become big business—for cooperatives established by medical users, and for multinational drug cartels. Now the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has ordered its officers to join police and sheriff’s deputies, despite the risks of violent retaliation. Matt Weiser is a senior writer at the Sacramento Bee covering water and the environment.
State Parks, 'Hidden Assets' and Public Trust in Government The State Attorney General and the Department of Finance are investigating the discovery of $54 million in so-called "hidden assets" in the State Parks Department. That's more than twice the deficit that led Governor Brown to announce the closing of 70 parks, parks then saved by non-profits and community groups, which raised their own money. A Public Records Act request by the Sacramento Bee turned up unreported funds collected by two of the Parks Department's special funds. Matt Weiser is one of those reporting the story.
San Joaquin, Sacramento Top the List of Endangered Rivers The environmental group American Rivers has named the Sacramento and San Joaquin as the most endangered rivers in the United States. It's a PR stunt to focus attention on what Californians already know and have known for decades. The Central Valley and the Delta, where the two rivers come together, are in a mess that threatens fish, agriculture and the state's water supply. Matt Weiser covers natural resources for the Sacramento Bee .
Where Have All the Salmon Gone? The fall run of Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River sustains an industry worth well over $103 million a year. Ten years ago, the fish were abundant, but since 2002 there's been a decline of some 90%, much of that in the past year. This year, it's expected that the number coming up the river to spawn will be less than half those needed to sustain the species. That's bad news for the industry and its customers. We hear what that would mean for fresh, wild-caught salmon in stores, restaurants and farmers' markets all over the West Coast.
Do Bond Measures Really Benefit California? Was Hurricane Katrina a wake-up call for California? Proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger, Proposition 1E was put on the ballot by the Democrat-controlled legislature. The $4.1 billion bond issue to protect the state from devastation by water is the last of a four-measure bond package that would increase state debt by $37 billion. Prop 1B would raise $20 billion for transportation; Prop 1C would mean $2.9 billion for housing; Prop 1D raises another $10.4 billion for education. Can California afford to pass the latest bond package in state history, adding $40 billion in new debt, plus roughly that much in interest over the years? Can it afford not to?
Getting answers on phone taps, Russia and leaking The Directors of the FBI and the NSA testified on Capitol Hill today there's no evidence for President Trump's claim he was wire-tapped by former President Obama. We'll hear about that and the investigation into Russian tampering with last year's presidential campaign.
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?
America's top diplomat faces challenges in Asia Whatever happened to America's "pivot to Asia?" That's just one of the questions left hanging since Rex Tillerson's first trip there as Secretary of State. Is the Trump Administration hoping to change Foreign Policy or maintain the status quo?