September 21, 2009 § Leave a comment
I received word from Freeman House that there’s a new statewide watershed group just formed. Freeman put me in touch with David Simpson, who is coordinating the ACCW – the Association of Conservation Contractors and Workers. For background, see this ACCW article at Conservation Maven. They’re bringing together folks who’ve been impacted by the recent bond freeze.
The ACCW is gathering information on the impacts of the freeze, and requests that organizations fill out their survey. Some of these impacts were gathered by the Sonoma Ecology Center, and in L.A. by the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council. See ACCW’s survey request below, including the link to their survey:
Invitation to SurveyColleagues
We are writing to ask for your help in restarting and maintaining the flow of funding to conservation work that was halted by the December 2008 bond freeze. Corroborating the ongoing impacts of the freeze and bringing that information before decision-makers and the public is the best tool we have to get back to our work of protecting and improving the California environment.
To this end, we ask you to participate in this on-line survey on behalf of your organization or get it to someone else who might be better positioned to respond. All surveys received will remain confidential, and we will share the total results with all respondents. The link is:
We urge you to tolerate us if we get more than one invitation to you, and we hope you will take the time to help make this survey successful — both by answering as fully as you can, and by passing on the survey to other groups. Policy-makers and the press still do not realize how severely land conservation and restoration continue to be impacted by the freeze, and gathering this data may be a powerful tool to remedy that situation. Thank you,
Association of Conservation Contractors and WorkersMattole Restoration CouncilSonoma Ecology CenterFor Additional Information contact accw.California@gmail.com
April 23, 2009 § 1 Comment
After 4+ months of being on hold, environmental projects such as the Topanga berm removal and stream restoration, Malibu Lagoon restoration, and Ballona Wetlands restorations will be kicking back into gear.
The state was able to sell some bonds and so infrastructure projects are back in business.
While relieved at this turn of events, I wonder if we’ve advanced any discussions about the meaning/wisdom of depending on bonds for funding, our microcosm of the financial morass taking place in the macrocosm. Just sayin’…
February 27, 2009 § Leave a comment
Just passing along the chisme, folks. I heard from a couple of sources that state agencies are not expecting bonds for environmental projects to start getting sold again until early summer 2010. At earliest, one person said. Others say FY 2010, which isn’t too far away. The Stimulus package could help backfill funding for projects that have already been allocated under the various prop’s, depending on how the State chooses to allocate the money (loans vs. grants, and who it is allowable to make grantees).
February 10, 2009 § Leave a comment
Forgive me, readers, it’s been a long time since my last consolidator post.
(Fairly) Recent News:
Cornerstone Theater Company is producing a new play about the Los Angeles River! They’re looking for river-interested folks to audition, no acting experience necessary, only adventurous spirit. Auditions will be February 18th, 21st and 22nd.
The Los Angeles Times remembers the 1934 New Year’s Day floods, called “The Montrose Flood,” which killed dozens of people as the Pickens Canyon Wash (a tributary of the Verdugo Wash, which is a tributary of the Los Angeles River) overflowed. Check out the historic photos documenting the serious debris flows. (Thanks to the Verdugo City blog)
“It is … not a restored nature, it is an invented nature.” Stephanie Pincetl blogs on The Los Angeles River: Restoration, (Re)Invention? The Politics of Nature in L.A.
“We want it to remain neighborhood-friendly to dogs and anyone else who walks, runs or cycles there.” The Studio City Sun covers the planned Studio City stretch of the Los Angeles River bikeway and greenway.
“At a time when the California economy needs stimulus, it has been devastating to our communities to have to stop work and lay off staff” Read all about it in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council’s press release on the bond freeze: Legislative and Gubernatorial Budget Inaction Continues to Cripple Water Protection in Los Angeles. (Creek Freak’s earlier freeze coverage here and here.)
Some Recommended Video Viewing:
>Eye on L.A.’s Exploring the L.A. River (the filming of was mentioned earlier)
>The Environmental Protection Agency’s Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In.
The City of L.A.’s River Zoning Ordinance will be heard by the City Planning Commission this Thursday February 12th 2009. The meeting starts “after 8:30am” at City Hall room 1010. Read earlier coverage here and, for serious creek geeks, read the staff report here. L.A. Creek Freak encourages river-supporters to attend and make sure that this important ordinance passes.
Ever thought about blogging? Want to learn how to use the internet to promote your business or cause? L.A. Creek Freak‘s Joe Linton and L.A. StreetsBlog‘s Damien Newton will be teaching an internet skills course on Wednesdays February 18th and 25th. The class takes place from 7pm to 9pm at the Bresee Foundation‘s computer center.
On Saturday February 21st from 8am to 11am, the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works is hosting a community clean-up event, including a Los Angeles River clean-up site at Taylor Yard.
January 21, 2009 § 2 Comments
(and apologies to La Opinión)
Here I was whining about the lack of local media coverage on the bond freeze, and La Opinión was ON IT from day one! Remind me to read it more often. Like every day.
12.18.09 Paran obras públicas en Calfiornia (Public works projects stopped in California)
SACRAMENTO.— Demandas por incumplimiento de contratos y la pérdida de alrededor de 200 mil empleos traerá la decisión de funcionarios estatales de detener la realización de obras de infraestructura, financiadas con dinero público por casi 4,000 millones de dólares, debido a que los legisladores no han podido ponerse de acuerdo en el cierre del déficit presupuestario.
1.17.09 Liberan fondos estatales (State funds are freed up)
SACRAMENTO. — La Junta de Inversión del Dinero Conjunto del estado ‘descongeló’ ayer parcialmente los fondos para los proyectos de infraestructura que fueron paralizados en diciembre pasado, con el objetivo de ahorrar dinero al estado ante la falta de un acuerdo que cierre el déficit de 42,000 millones de dólares.
Now these La Opinión stories focus on public works projects generally, which is still great, as this larger issue was largely not covered. Thankfully, Judith Lewis was also there, blogging on the freeze and its statewide effects, with an environmental focus, for the High Country News: Budget crisis stalls conservation
And finally, the city’s English-language paper of record, the LA Times, noted we’re up a s@%t’s creek: Funding freeze halts environmental projects across California. They did a great job describing the effect across Southern California. Thankfully. Finally.
For more stories statewide about the impact of this funding freeze, go to Stop Work Impact: Responding to California’s sudden bond funding freeze.
December 31, 2008 § Leave a comment
I’m hearing from friends to the north that they too have a news blackout on the effects of the bond freeze. Perhaps when everyone’s back from the New Year’s break and realize they don’t have anything to work on the issue will bubble up to public attention.
In the meantime, the Sonoma Ecology Center is reaching out, with strategy and a request in hand. If you are with a NGO or have projects that have been hit by this freeze, please take a look and take action!
For the Bay Area Watershed Network, the California Watershed Coalition, and all of the rest of us affected,
Sonoma Ecology Center
The bond grant crisis keeps deepening. We know it’s temporary, but it’s having permanent effects. We don’t know when the budget will be passed, whether its passage will actually be a green light for working on all our projects, or how long it will take for the checks to start coming. We do know that our story isn’t being heard, so that’s the work before us. Please do what you can on the following fronts, and keep communicating about what you are experiencing. It does help to know that all of us are facing this at the same time.
1. TELL THE GOVERNOR: DO WHAT IT TAKES TO PASS THE BUDGET IMMEDIATELY
This message is especially important to convey to the governor. Fax: 916-558-3160.
2. TELL OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS: FIND WAYS TO LESSEN THE DAMAGE OF THE STOP-WORK ORDER
For example… Issue IOU’s, instead of checks, that will be honored by our banks and credit unions. Staff up the controller’s office and otherwise minimize delays in paying invoices. Find other ways to reduce the damage to our workers, the land itself, and to our organizations. This message should go to the governor and to legislators. You can find your legislators at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html. Fax and mail is more effective than email or phone. A meeting is the best, preferably with more than one legislator at a time.
3. GET PRESS COVERAGE
Call up your newspapers and radio stations and get the word out. The general public has no idea of the impact this is having.
To all of these audiences, tell your story: how is this hurting you, your staff, your organization’s viability, your projects, the watersheds, landowners, waterbodies, communities, and species you work with?
To legislators, you could also mention that (to use an example from our organization) we have already paid staff for work they did on November 1, 2008, and now we cannot get reimbursed for that work until some unknown future date, possibly in February 2009. This is on top of a state reimbursement mess that regularly delays reimbursement for 3 to 6 months, even when paying small, hard-working nonprofits and RCD’s with little or no cash cushion, who are doing valuable work for California’s land and communities at bargain rates. (Sorry, I got a little impassioned there.)
4. HELP GATHER STATISTICS
The press and electeds have been asking how many people and how many projects are affected. So please let us know: how many of your people will likely be laid off, how many of your projects are stopped, how many organizations are folding? If you know information like this for organizations other than yours, please provide that, too.
5. HELP WITH STRATEGY
If you know anyone in the controller’s office, the Division of Finance, or anyone else savvy about the details of the state’s reimbursement process or the market for California’s bonds, please let us know.
For the Bay Area Watershed Network, the California Watershed Coalition, and many other affected organizations,
Sonoma Ecology Center
(707) 996-0712 x 105
Join us at http://www.sonomaecologycenter.org.