DROUGHT IN CALIFORNIA
The good news here in So Cal, eastern Los Angeles County, is that El Nino’s rain has found us again and snow is falling in the mountains from two storms coming through. Northern California had mountain snow melt much of the past month reducing what had been a promising accumulation toward decreasing our drought effects. We still will need even more rain and snow.
SUPER BLOOM IN DEATH VALLEY
Death Valley actually received more rain than normal and the previously barren dry cracked earth is now asea with a rare Super Bloom of wild flowers - see outtakes you can view.
I'm reminded of suddenly seeing just such a glorious colorful sight in the Arizona desert outside Scottsdale one spring in what had always been a barren area we had driven through periodically for several years.
LANDSCAPING $$$ SHOCK
Local city efforts to increase our environmentally green status to the max prompted seeking new bids with the current contract due to expire according to our local weekly newspaper, The Claremont Courier. They reported our City Council is in a state of shock at the increased cost from $657,068 annually to $3 million.
Bids from other landscapers were luke warm using the new parameters—no chemicals, no leaf blowers and no weeds and an increase of mulch use in planters.
The previous contract was based on limited use of chemicals, the use of battery or electric blowers and varying degrees of weed tolerance.
Moderation of some expectations has temporarily been made with a short term current contract extension to allow city officials to study the matter further. What kind of increased costs will we individual home owners incur?
WATER RATE $$$ EXCESSIVE
Our city continues to seek ownership of our water company through eminent domain legal procedures since the current owner refuses to sell. Golden State Water Company, considered a public utility, is a wholly owned subsidiary of American States Water Company. City officials and residents have been unhappy since long before the drought with the pricing mechanisms Golden State Water has used and the repetitive rate increases an impotent state Public Utilities Commission keeps approving.
A concise article with this link to Capitol Weekly notes: “Claremont had the highest rates of 10 surrounding communities surveyed, and that rates doubled between 2008 and 2013, with another rate hike sought in 2014.” We reportedly pay $50 more than our next door neighbor city La Verne for the same amount of water. “La Verne is used for comparison because of its similar size, population, and water sources. Claremont has more wells producing less costly water than La Verne but surprisingly La Verne water rates are lower.”
HEALTH PRODUCT $$$ DISCRIMINATORY TAX ON WOMEN
California AB 1561 – read the announcement for more facts.
“Assembly members Garcia and Chang are working to end a longstanding tax on women in California. Across the world, countries as well as select states in the U.S. are organizing to repeal the sales tax on feminine hygiene products which are necessary health products for women. From Canada, to the UK, to Malaysia, political leaders have repealed, reduced, or are under pressure from activists to jettison the “tampon tax.”... To date, only five states in the United States & Canada have taken this action and eliminated taxation on tampons and sanitary napkins.” See map.
CNN’S Jackie Wattles reports five New York women have filed a lawsuit against New York’s tax department and its commissioner. “Their demand: Stop imposing a 4% ‘luxury tax’ on feminine hygiene products.” Legislation has not been making significant gains toward enactment. "Similar bills have been proposed in states including California, Utah and Virginia.”
ATHLETICISM FOR OLDSTERS
My city of Claremont, California is a little over 14 square miles in size with a population of approximately 35,000. The amenities in addition to the universities here include several retirement communities where I've also had the pleasure of providing Speech-Language Pathology services as well as in various other health services settings and hospitals in the surrounding area. Pilgrim Place, one I have served, is: “A senior community for those serving in religious or charitable organizations.”
Our newspaper this week reported a special screening would be held there of Emmy-winning filmmaker Eric Goldfarb’s inspiring documentary on Senior Athleticism entitled “Impossible Dreamers,” featuring legendary golfer Gary Player. Many other senior athletes appear including the Pilgrim-Pacers. Their activity is integrated through six short segments beginning at about 19 minutes in and scattered throughout the hour and a quarter of the vimeo. Pilgrim Place residents are very active in our city, also producing a a renowned annual festival attracting visitors from around Southern California and elsewhere.
You can determine for yourself whether or not you might want to engage in any of these athletic activities and just how competitive you feel with some of these 60+ to 90+ years oldsters. As for me, I need to walk more – just regular walking.