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John Earl


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Part 2 of a series.

By John Earl
OC Voice

Huntington Beach City Councilmember Don Hansen reassured the public. “I’m actually pretty comfortable having a private company potentially evaluate the dedication of a source for our future water supply,” he said.

The Tampa Bay, Florida desalination plant: A series of failures and costly delays. Photo: www.treehuggers.org

The Tampa Bay, Florida desalination plant: A series of failures and costly delays. Photo: http://www.treehuggers.org

That was three years ago at a city council meeting when Hansen and three other council members, Cathy Green, Gil Coerper and Keith Bohr (now Mayor Bohr) voted to allow Poseidon Resources Inc. to build a desalination plant at the corner of Newland and Beach avenues in southeast Huntington Beach.

If all goes according to plan, the facility would convert 127 million gallons of seawater into 50 million gallons of fresh drinking water every day of the year.  The city would have the option of buying up to 3.5 million gallons of that water at a discount compared to the cost of imported water (two-thirds of the city’s water comes from ground wells, its cheapest source of water). The rest would be distributed throughout the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), in theory, to provide a guaranteed water source to help offset drought conditions in the state.

The plant still needs approval from the State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission and Poseidon still lacks the private and public financing needed to build and operate, although Poseidon officials say that all are forthcoming (see Part 1).

No matter if the Huntington Beach desalination plant fails, Bohr said, because the burden will be strictly Poseidon’s. “We’re not hiring Poseidon, so there’s no risk,” he told hundreds of people packed tightly into the city council chambers. “If it fails, it doesn’t cost us anything.”

But Poseidon’s facility in Tampa Bay, Florida, it’s first (and failed) attempt to build and operate a desalination plant,  is used by opponents to argue against building the Huntington Beach desalination plant.

The Tampa Bay desalination plant, about half the size of the one planned for Huntington Beach, has operated improperly  if at all since it opened in 2003. (more…)

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By Daniel C. Tsang
Special to the OC Voice

IN RECENT years Orange County has become widely known via television and other media portrayals as “The OC,” promoting perceptions of a largely homogeneous and wealthy “white” populace.

UCI Library continues the exhibit through early May in the lobby of the Main Library.

UCI continues the exhibit through late Aprl in the lobby of the Langson (main) Library.

In reality, the county has experienced dramatic demographic change in recent decades, largely due to the impact of immigrants from all over the world.

A new UC Irvine Libraries exhibit, which opened Nov. 18, depicts the lives of immigrants in southern California, with a focus on Orange County, from the late 19th century to the present. Topics include the legacy of an often turbulent past, the changing face of the population, the contemporary debate about immigration, and issues affecting immigrant workers. The exhibit also highlights immigrants’ own stories, the plight of the undocumented, public policy issues, and the role of gender in migration. Numerous books and papers written by UCI faculty authors are included.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the state’s immigrant population increased fivefold between 1970 and 2006, from 1.8 million to 9.9 million, including those who were naturalized as U.S. citizens. Today one in four Californians is an immigrant, a higher proportion than in any other state. Most are from Latin America or Asia.

In researching materials from the UCI Libraries’ collections for the exhibit, which I am curating, I realized it was a need for foreign labor that led to the first wave of immigrants to the United States from China. Chinese farm workers were hired by German settlers in Anaheim who needed laborers to cultivate grapes on their vineyards in the mid-19th Century. Asian American Studies scholar Patricia Lin notes that the Chinese were not only “expert grape growers and pickers, but they were used extensively in the construction of irrigation ditches, wine cellars, and casks.” One hundred twenty-five Chinese would later work to extend the Southern Pacific Railroad line from Los Angeles to Anaheim in 1873 and to Santa Ana in 1877.

By the 1890s, after Orange County broke off from Los Angeles County (in 1888), anti-Chinese feelings were running high, and shacks belonging to Chinese celery workers were burned down, as was the building of the Earl Fruit Company. (more…)

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From a press release by the Pacific Institute


New Report Assesses Risks to 480,000 People

OAKLAND, CALIF. – March 11, 2009 – In an analysis prepared for three California state agencies, the Pacific Institute estimates that 480,000 people; a wide range of critical infrastructure, such as roads, hospitals, schools, and emergency facilities; vast areas of wetlands and other natural ecosystems; and nearly $100 billion in property along the California coast are at increased risk from flooding from a 1.4-meter

Newport Beach affected areas

Newport Beach affected areas

sea-level rise – if no adaptation actions are taken. Commissioned by the Ocean Protection Council, the Public Interest Research Program of the California Energy Commission, and the California Department of Transportation, this comprehensive assessment of the impacts of sea-level rise puts California in the lead in trying to understand and adapt to the possible consequences of climate change.

Over the past century, mean sea level has risen nearly eight inches at the Golden Gate in San Francisco according to NOAA oceanographers, and under a medium-to-medium-high greenhouse-gas emissions scenario, mean sea level is projected to rise from 1.0 to 1.4 meters (or 4-5 feet) by the year 2100.

The Pacific Institute report, The Impacts of Sea-Level Rise on the California Coast, concludes that sea-level rise will inevitably change the character of the California coast, and that adaptation strategies must be evaluated, tested, and implemented if the risks identified in the report are to be reduced or avoided. (more…)

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Ernst Gastreiger (Libertarian), Dana Rohrabacher (Rep.), Tom Lash (Green) and Debbie Cook (Dem.) debated Oct. 21 at Orange Coast College. Photo by John Earl

The four candidates in the 46th Congressional District race debated each other on Oct. 21 at Orange Coast College to an audience of several hundred people. The candidates are Debbie Cook (Democrat), Ernst Gasteiger (Libertarian), Tom Lash (Green Party) and the incumbent, Dana Rohrabacher (Republican). You can hear the candidates’ opening statements and answers to 7 questions. Answers to part of the 7th question and the entire 8th question as well as closing statements are not included because the recorder ran out of disk space. Audio recordings for each question are listed in order below. (more…)

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By John Earl
OC Voice Editor

The following city council election guide is based on information taken from a variety of sources, including the H.B. City Council Candidates Forum held on Sept. 18, as well as from Voice news stories, interviews and from campaign literature provided by the candidates.

The guide is divided into two parts. The first part provides some general background information about each candidate. The second part provides their detailed stands on two main issues. Contact information for each candidate is provided so you can ask them any follow up questions you like.

You can vote for up to three candidates to fill three openings. The top three vote getters win. Register to vote by Oct. 20. Vote Nov. 4. (more…)

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By Doug Korthof
OC Voice Columnist

Seldom has a solar proposal drawn such uniform enmity as Proposition 7 that appears on the November

Solar powered mansion in Huntington Beach with near $0.00 in electrical costs.

Solar powered 2,500 sq. foot home in Huntington Beach with near $0.00 in electrical costs.

election ballot. Big utilities, both major political parties, labor unions, solar installers, environmental, business and taxpayer groups all deplore it.

Those responsible for the electric grid must plan for the periods of peak power, which are weekday afternoons, especially in summer. Even one minute of shortage is a brownout, although during off-peak hours demand falls and there’s a surplus of electric. Providing economical power within the daily rise and fall of the electricity usage curve is their problem.

There are two types of electrical power generators: those that run best at constant output (nuclear, natural gas, coal), but require a long time to stop and start, and those that can be easily started when demand rises (hydro). Peak power is so valuable that water is pumped up to reservoirs such as Lake Castaic every night; the next day, the pumps turn into generators to meet daytime peak. (more…)

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