Cooking Frogs

CalifDroughtby James Ray Deaton4/6/15
After 50 years of generally being against new dams and state and federal water projects that would increase supply, 40 years of generally being for massive legal and illegal immigration that has increased demand, diverting tens of billions of gallons of fresh water into the ocean to protect bait fish habitat and several years of severe drought, California’s progressive politicians and bureaucrats have declared an emergency and are using their pens and their phones to fix the state’s water woes.

Finally some Golden State frogs are starting to notice that the hot tub is getting just a little too warm just a little too fast. And why do our betters have to be so snarky about it all?

“We’re in a new era,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in his news conference in the nearly snow-free Sierra Nevada mountains last week. “The idea of your nice little green grass getting water every day, that’s going to be a thing of the past,” Brown said, with the appropriately stern expression of a very serious man doing very serious things.

Less water for private lawns and yards; less water for golf courses and college campuses; less water for cemetery lawns; less water for public and municipal landscaping; less water for bathing and personal hygiene. Less, less, less of everything — except monitoring and enforcement. Somehow I kept expecting Brown to wring his hands, cackle a bit, and mumble something about getting our little dog Toto too.

“This executive order is done under emergency power,” Brown later explained on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday news show. “It has the force of law. Very unusual. It’s requiring action and changes in behavior from the Oregon border all the way to the Mexican border. It affects lawns. It affects people’s — how long they stay in the shower. How businesses use water.”

Well, isn’t that special? Who died and made Jerry Brown King Of All The Waters? I mean really — when did he get a hydro-PhD? Nary a word was said about new dams, less immigration to control population growth (demand) or less fresh water diversion to the ocean. The governmental pronouncements and news stories emphasized “less, less, less” and punitive measures for “water-guzzlers” (as designated by the state).

“The enforcement mechanism is powerful,” Brown said on the “This Week” news show. “We have a state water board that oversees the relationships with the [water] districts. Hundreds of them. If they don’t comply, people can be fined $500 a day,” Brown said. “In a drought of this magnitude, you have to change that behavior and you have to change it substantially.”

Thank God our governor is in charge and up to the task of forcing citizens to comply and substantially change their bad behaviors. Is this of a piece with that whole “hope and change” meme we used to hear so much about? Never ones to let a good crisis go to waste, state bureaucrats are charging up their cell phones and stepping up to the plate as well.

“We hope to see greater enforcement from local agencies,” said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, as reported in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Contra Costa Times newspaper. “It’s been disappointing,” Marcus said. “Some areas have stepped up enormously, but others have not. It’s sort of a case of collective denial. Getting people over the hope that rain will save us is a psychological barrier. Change is hard.”

Could she be just a bit more condescending about the state residents she is supposed to be serving?

The Times article quoted water officials and bureaucrats talking about water restrictions, water conservation, “excessive use penalties,” higher water rates, “water cops,” and “watering and non-watering” schedules. All possible because of the newly declared emergency and the governor’s executive authority actions.

It’s said that California is often a trendsetter for the nation. Progressives tend to see this as a positive thing trending toward utopia, while conservatives tend to see it as a warning or cautionary tale trending toward something else. Rule by fiat, via executive authority, seems to be the coming trend. It’s the new normal. It doesn’t have to be a drought — it can be snowstorms, floods, terrorist attacks, threat of terrorist attacks, the “war on drugs,” or an onslaught of illegal aliens at the border. Laws and regulations and penalties and fines and enforcement and newly minted ideas of permissible government intrusion and intervention may soon be coming to a state near you — or to your state.

It’s getting too hot in here for more and more of us frogs.

James Ray Deaton lives more and showers less in Berkeley, Calif.
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23 Responses to Cooking Frogs

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Also, although I can’t find the article, there was a pie chart that I saw recently that showed that residential use of water is a minuscule slice of the pie. Most of the water is used for agriculture…about 75% of it.

    So this is surely a lesson in “Let’s make the libtard California Progressives jump through more hoops and swallow more BS.”

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Larry Niven in one of his novels discussed the concept of a “water kingdom”, which is a state that has total control of a resource (such as water) needed for survival. With that total control of a necessary resource comes total control of the people who depend on that resource. Of course, this is why IngSoc seeks to control as many aspects of the economy (including crucial ones such as finance, energy, and health) as it can in order to use them as the wedges for initiating their totalitarian goal. Jerry Brown is simply going back to one of the early versions.

    Of course, the real answer to water shortages would be a genuine (unsubsidized) market for water. How man lush lawns would there be in southern California if the residents had to pay the true price of that water, for example? How many farmers would seek crops that need less water if they paid the true price?

  3. Rosalys says:

    “…or less fresh water diversion to the ocean.”

    They are taking perfectly potable water and pouring it into the sea? Please explain.

    • James Deaton says:

      In a nutshell the reason for the water diversion is this: environmental regulations backed by court rulings restrict the use of huge water pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that move water from the north to the farms and cities of the Central Valley and points south. These pumps are turned off periodically to protect the Delta smelt. When these pumps are off, fresh water from the Sacramento River flow west to the San Francisco Bay and out to the Pacific.

      • GHG says:

        Delta smelt lobby: 1
        People of California: 0

        Game over.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          It’s especially harmful to the farmers, but after all, farmers tend to vote Republican (and a lot of their employees are Hispanic immigrants), so the Democrats don’t care what happens to them.

  4. GHG says:

    The fact that Moonbeam Brown is still governor (again) is all that needs to be said. Good luck to the California residents that didn’t vote for that goof. A scary thought is that a lot of the California residents that did vote for Brown will get fed up with the mess in CA and move to another state where they’ll continue to vote for leftist losers (but I repeat myself) and push another state over the cliff.

  5. Jerry Richardson says:

    California Progressives such as Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown and Nancy “We have to pass the bill so we can know what’s in it” Pelosi had better stop worrying about “man-made global warming” and start worrying about “man-made Drought” in California.

    The smelt is the little minnow that is at the center of the man-made cause of California’s current severe water shortage.

    [February 29, 2012] In 2007, federal judge Oliver Wanger imposed limits on the amount of water pumped from the San Joachin-Sacramento River delta to farms in California’s Central Valley in order to protect a two-inch endangered fish called the Delta Smelt. As a result, several hundred thousand acres of farmland on the west side of the Central Valley now lie fallow, and many thousands of jobs have been lost. In the city of Mendota, for example, the unemployment rate exceeds 40%.

    Delta Smelt v. Central Valley Farmers

    [Sept 2, 2009] California has a new endangered species on its hands in the San Joaquin Valley—farmers. Thanks to environmental regulations designed to protect the likes of the three-inch long delta smelt, one of America’s premier agricultural regions is suffering in a drought made worse by federal regulations.

    The state’s water emergency is unfolding thanks to the latest mishandling of the Endangered Species Act. Last December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued what is known as a “biological opinion” imposing water reductions on the San Joaquin Valley and environs to safeguard the federally protected hypomesus transpacificus, a.k.a., the delta smelt.

    As a result, tens of billions of gallons of water from mountains east and north of Sacramento have been channelled away from farmers and into the ocean, leaving hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land fallow or scorched.

    California’s Man-Made Drought

    [April 7, 2015] There was a period when the various species of smelt native to California were over-fished, but that was a time largely prior to this fish’s protection by the Endangered Species Act in 1994.

    And while it would be overly simplistic to lay the entirety of the state’s water crisis at the feet of environmental regulations (In 2013, the state had its driest year on record followed by its third driest year in 2014), the plight of the smelt has led Sacramento and Washington D.C. to tragically mismanage one of the few natural resources in California that is not present in abundance: Water.

    In 2014, National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke filed a dispatch from California’s Central Valley, an area that was once an agricultural hub and has now been reduced to a virtual dust bowl as a result of drought combined with severe and unnecessary resource mismanagement. That misallocation of resources is not the result of a frustrating tradeoff between the needs of Central Valley farmers and the desert-dwelling populations of Los Angeles and San Diego, but the eternally threatened smelt.

    “In 2007, the pumps were turned down; the Delta’s water output was lowered dramatically, contingent now upon the interests of a fish; and the farms that rely on the system in order to grow their crops were thrown into veritable chaos,” Cooke wrote of the smelt-favoring anthropogenic water crisis. “Predictably, a man-made drought began.”
    The present crisis is not entirely California-based; Washington also plays a role. In December, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would have pumped water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta into Central and Southern California, but it died an unceremonious death in the Democrat-dominated Senate.

    If the measure had passed both chambers of Congress, President Barack Obama pledged to veto it. Why? Environmental groups feared the threat it posed to the smelt.

    California’s ‘Man-Made’ Environmental Disaster

    Keep in mind—never forget—the Progressives/Democrats, led by Obama, want to “transform” all of America into the image of California.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      So a lot of the Californicators fleeing the state could be farmers from the Great Central Valley. Perhaps someday a conservative writer could do a modernized Grapes of Wrath in which the Callies find work in Oklahoma and Texas.

      • Jerry Richardson says:


        Sometimes your comments are absolutely choice. This is one of those really, really choice ones:

        So a lot of the Californicators fleeing the state could be farmers from the Great Central Valley. Perhaps someday a conservative writer could do a modernized Grapes of Wrath in which the Callies find work in Oklahoma and Texas.—Timothy Lane

  6. Jerry Richardson says:

    California’s water supply problem is actually a water mismanagement problem. But what would you expect with Democrats so-long in total control of the state?

    The entire state of California is vectoring in the same direction that Detroit, Michigan went; and for the very same reasons: Democrat-governmental give-away programs that give-away more than the government receives in tax revenue over a period of many years. And because the confiscatory taxes continue to increase, the most productive citizens and businesses vote with their feet and leave those places where government theft of their earnings continues to not only take place, but to increase.

    Eventually the government implodes as each successive give-away Democrat kicks the fiscal-can down the road for the next give-away Democrat to deal with. Inevitably, some poor sap ends-up at the tail-end of this government ponzi-like scheme, when all the wheels finally come-off the irresponsible spend-the-future’s-money economics; and then there are simply no good choices left except to default on borrowed debt. To repeat a much needed lesson:

    There are no free lunches.

    California’s water supply problem is actually a water mismanagement problem.

    [April 9, 2015] In reality, California has less of a water supply problem and more of a water mismanagement problem. This is illustrated by the fact that we allow over 40% of our state’s water to drain out into the Pacific Ocean. The numbers are easy: our average annual water runoff is at 71 million acre-feet, while our average water use is 42 million acre-feet. The “excess” drains into the Pacific.

    The California State Water Project is the largest multipurpose, state-built water project in the United States. The system was designed and contracted to deliver 4,200,000 acre-feet but in an average year delivers only 2,300,000 acre-feet because many of the original planned features were never built.

    In addition, simple ideas like increasing our total water storage by building three new dams have been mired in unnecessary environmental legal challenges for years.

    California voters recently passed the Proposition 1 water bond, which despite promises will likely never result in actual construction of additional water storage – just more money for pet projects and empty rhetoric from the Democrats in Sacramento.

    Water Issue in California

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Travis Allen, assemblyman representing California’s 72nd district, recently had a blog post at American Thinker that filled in a few details.

    It takes him four paragraphs before saying anything substantive (thus this is surely part of the problem, the lack of effective opposition), but he does eventually say something. And even then it’s somewhat obscure. They drain 40% of the state’s water into the Pacific Ocean. Why? He doesn’t say. And as this site’s good friend, Nik, mentions, you need to define the moral argument. This guy can’t. He could have said, “As nice as it is to have smelt in the ocean, it’s even nicer to take a shower when you want, to have a thriving agricultural economy, and to have flowers in your yard.”

    Not there. Gone. Missing.

    He mentions that needed damns weren’t built. Why? Not enough money? Not enough time? Have they run out of concrete? No. All we get are “environmental legal challenges.” Again, unless you can make the moral argument, get out of office and quit taking up space. He could have said something like, “Environmental extremism has strangled our ability to make choices. Taking the environment into account is one thing. Making it absolute emperor over human beings at every turn is loony…which is why he is called “Governor Moonbeam.”

    The Left writes atheistic books about “Breaking the Spell” regarding religion. Shouldn’t those on the right try to do the same regarding the religion of environmental wacko-ism?

    Any article that fails to mention the inherent and necessary choices that humans must make between people and the environment isn’t getting to the point. That doesn’t mean it need be all one or the other. But what they have now in California are too many instances of extremism toward the anti-human end. And perhaps this is no wonder given the general religious tenet of the Left: There are too many people on the earth and they are despoilers of the planet.

    This is the ideology most Californians are steeped in. Again, if an article makes no mention of these realities on the ground, are we actually intersecting sufficiently on the topic?

    California voters must stop acting like children. No, you can’t have it all. You have to make choices. It’s a fine thing to value the environment. But any value can become ruinous when taken to an extreme as this one has. Who is saying this outside of Dennis Prager and Thomas Sowell? Almost no one, and certainly no Republican in California that I know of.

    • Jerry Richardson says:


      Read my comments earlier on and you’ll find links that provide more detail and really deal with the seriousness of Delta Smelt environmental idiocy.

  8. Jerry Richardson says:

    An email friend shared the following with me this morning. It old but still true:

    The Coyote Principle


    The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor’s dog, then bites the Governor.

    The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie “Bambi” and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.

    He calls animal control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the state $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.

    He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases.

    The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.

    The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.

    The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a “coyote awareness program” for residents of the area.

    The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.

    The Governor’s security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The state spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training re the nature of coyotes.

    PETA protests the coyote’s relocation and files a $5 million suit against the state.


    The Governor of Texas is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks his dog.

    The Governor shoots the coyote with his state-issued pistol and keeps jogging. The Governor has spent $.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.

    The buzzards eat the dead coyote.

    And that, my friends, is why California is broke and Texas is not.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I encountered that in an article by Daniel Mitchell. He shows up regularly on TownHall, and I can recommend reading him. He often links to such jokes or cartoons, many dealing with gun control issues.

  9. David says:

    And this is how Gestapo techniques are introduced to the American nation – through the banal administration of the water board.


    I can hear the jack-boots approaching my door…

    Knock, knock. “Yes….?”

    I open the door.

    A small man with round glasses stands there with several huge police officers in riot control gear. They have truncheons, tasers, handguns and shields.

    “You have been cited for failure to utilize water according to the statute.”

    I am dumb-founded. We only had short showers. Our lawn has died. Our dog had to be ‘put to sleep’ because the shortage didn’t allow for ‘ancillary pet allowances’.

    “Please turn around and put your hands on the wall.”

    Out come the handcuffs.

    I’m led out in the ‘perp walk’ so fondly utilized in the crime shows I watch on TV.

    Close-up of family crying.

    Fade out.

  10. The real tragedy here is hard to imagine until you’ve seen it. Back when the smelt issue first came to a head, Tom and I happened to drive through the San Joaquin Valley. I was heart broken. At least a 100 miles not just of dead fields, but of dead orchards, orchards that had been there for decades and will take decades to replace, orchards that families had invested generations in planting and tending. And they’re all dead; life-times of work down the drain. For that alone the environmentalists should hang.

  11. Jerry Richardson says:

    The author of this article states that nuclear-power generating sites could be producing enough desalinated water to provide fresh water for all of California, but environmentalists have shut them down:

    Numerous news media have recently reported the water rationing program that has been mandated by the California governor. A combination of drought and transfer of water resources away from human use (50 percent of California water is designated for fish) has left California with too little water for household and agricultural use.

    Less widely reported is the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power station located on the Pacific coast between Los Angeles and San Diego. The station once had three nuclear reactors, but one was closed some years ago by California’s “anti-nuclear” politics. The other two are now being similarly destroyed.

    So, anti-technology liberals are feeling very good about themselves because of their success in depriving California of San Onofre’s nuclear-electric energy, but they’re whining because they can’t water their lawns.

    Units 2 and 3, which were recently permanently closed at San Onofre, produced 1,080 megawatts and 1,070 megawatts of electricity respectively. This is 51,600,000 kilowatt hours per day.

    Current desalinization technology produces about 70 gallons of fresh water (from sea water) per kilowatt hour. So, the electricity generated by San Onofre units 2 and 3 was sufficient to produce 3.6 billion gallons of fresh water per day. Estimating personal water use at 100 gallons per day, California’s 38.8 million people use 3.9 billion gallons of water per day.

    San Onofre (before they closed it) could have provided enough electrical energy to produce all of the fresh water used personally by the entire population of California. San Onofre is located on the ocean, so the water source for desalinization is right beside it.

    Anti-Nuke Activists Killed Solution to Water Crisis

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I remember reading about nuclear power being used for desalination back in the 1960s. Note that the environmentalists who shut down nuclear power plants also claim that CAGW due to greenhouse gases from fossil fuels is the biggest environmental problem we face. This contradiction is another reason to doubt their sincerity.

  12. Jerry Richardson says:


    Note that the environmentalists who shut down nuclear power plants also claim that CAGW due to greenhouse gases from fossil fuels is the biggest environmental problem we face
    —Timothy Lane

    The biggest environmental problem that we face is the environmentalists! They and there private bureau, the EPA must be stopped.

  13. Timothy Lane says:

    There was a nice article by Joel Kotkin on the subject of California water policy in the Daily Beast today. It looks into the need for more water storage, desalinization (probably nuclear-powered, which intensifies eco-fanatic hostility to it), and not allowing water to be lost trying to save the delta smelt, as well as market-oriented solutions. An interesting point is that much of the prior infrastructure was built by progressives in California (such as Pat Brown). This illustrates the fact that modern liberalism is neither liberal nor progressive. The link is:

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      We shall see play out in California whether these Utopian hippies (Progressives) really want to live in grass huts or just like the idea of others doing so.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        The wealthy ones can afford otherwise no matte what laws they pass — and they don’t care about anyone else as long as they can tell themselves that they’re helping Mother Earth deal with that severe infestation of humans. What would be really nice is if those humans infesting the planet chose not to purchase any of their products. That might eventually hurt them.

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