Gov. Newsom: Impose water use restrictions NOW. City Council: Vote on police encryption ASAP | An Alternative View | Diana Diamond | Palo Alto Online |

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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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Gov. Newsom: Impose water use restrictions NOW. City Council: Vote on police encryption ASAP

Uploaded: May 25, 2021
Why hasn’t Gov. Gavin Newsom declared that we should immediately start cutting down our water usage because California will have a devastating drought this summer? Granted, he recently ordered drought emergency procedures for Sonoma and Mendocino counties, and a put money aside to provide drinking water for small towns, but the rest of the state, so far, has no gubernatorial restrictions to limit water usage.

Now is the time he must do it. Many scientific reports say the light snowfall onto parched land in the Sierras seeped into the ground but not enough to produce a downhill runoff, which is needed to fill our aqueducts and reservoirs.

I don’t like cutting back my water usage any more than you do – limiting my showers, totally filling up my dishwasher before using it, not flushing each time I use the toilet, etc. Most of all I worry about my garden, because if my many plants and flowers don’t get enough water, they die – even the perennials and some bushes.

But if we all start saving now, the restriction will be less harsh over the next critical months.

As the Mercury News reported on Monday, the drought conditions are worsening. After two extremely dry winters, reservoir waters are shrinking, fire dangers are increasing, and water supplies are deteriorating. The cause: “fewer atmospheric rivers. When big storms come sweeping in from the ocean (aka the “Pineapple Express”), they provide enough water for the state. If there are a lot of storms, we suffer from flooding; if too few, like the past two years, we get a drought. Research shows we will have a drought this year, so governor, please demand now that we use less water.

Our cities can also encourage us to limit our use – we don’t have to wait for the governor to tell us to cut down. The only warning I have to our local cities, including Palo Alto, is please don’t, as you did a couple of years, charge us more for our water usage because we are using less. And why did our water charges increase? Because our city was staffed for high water usage and employees kept their jobs. And when revenues dropped, their paychecks remained steady. I would hope we have a more flexible staffing approach – move employees around to other departments or temporarily lay unneeded employees off.

••••••••••••

City council members, when are you going to discuss the police department’s policy on radio frequencies – live transmissions between police officers and dispatch. Police Chief Robert Jonsen ordered last February that live transmissions be suddenly stopped after 70 years because of a state Department of Justice memo to police chiefs that said private information about individuals should be protected, so either encrypt or find another way to keep that information private. Jonsen was one of the first chiefs in the state to order encryption, and then quickly announced he could find no other way. If the council or the press can find an alternate, he “would consider it,” suggesting to me he is the decider. I know the council is.

But it now turns out that the message to the chiefs was just a memo, and had no legal effect. The memo also warned that there are state policies on releasing private information, but policies are not laws, as the Daily Post reported.

So, council members, when are you going to take this up? On Monday’s council agenda, one item was a “colleagues” memo from Alison Cormack and Greer Stone asking council to appoint neighborhood “ambassadors” who would get frequent information from the city which could be distributed to people in his/her block “to “establish strong local connections (from people) who are plugged to the city’s information structure.”

We have three local newspapers in town, so I question the need for ambassadors. But my question is this enough of a priority to push an encryption agenda item to late June or August? M priority, obviously, is having the council review the encryption policy and determine an effective way to open up police activities to the public and press, as occurred before February. program could take months. At the next council meeting, council committee rules for comparable committee procedure. Is this a big issue?

NOTE: Am I the only one having trouble using the city’s redesigned web site? I tried looking for the May 24 agenda, and the first two tries I was told not available, and the third and fourth tries my screen said Safari connect I finally outsmarted it but it used to be so easy.

Community.
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Comments

 +   3 people like this
Posted by Anneke, a resident of Professorville,
on May 25, 2021 at 4:35 pm

Anneke is a registered user.

If we are forced to build 6,000 new homes in Palo Alto alone, we need to start building desalination plants in California. There are many ways to conserve water, and a number of us are still implementing those ways from our last drought experience only a few years ago. A group of neighbors on NextDoor Online have already shared a number of recommendations, and everyone seems to be accepting.of them. Nevertheless, I do not understand the upper echelons of our California government.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Eleanor K., a resident of Crescent Park,
on May 26, 2021 at 8:10 am

Eleanor K. is a registered user.

• limiting my showers, totally filling up my dishwasher before using it, not flushing each time I use the toilet, etc. Most of all I worry about my garden, because if my many plants and flowers don't get enough water, they die " even the perennials and some bushes. It is very unsanitary not to flush your toilet after use. As for the dishwasher, it makes sense to fill it completely with dishes and utensils prior to running it. Otherwise, do some small sink washings by hand. As for the landscaping, most shrubbery have longer tap roots than flower garden plants and water absorption should not pose a problem for them. Have you not ever hiked along a trail and witnessed old growth manzanita? Besides, most people do not water hedges on a regular basis. They just trim them. As for plants that require regular irrigation, if there are drought-related restrictions they will simply become casualties. Perhaps consider replacing them with succulents or cactus. In regards to showers, do take them but don't lolligag in there like some stupid people do.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Michael, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows,
on May 27, 2021 at 9:38 am

Michael is a registered user.

@Eleanor K as long as you have a energy star dishwasher it is vastly more efficient to use dishwasher for 8 or more dishes than to wash by hand in the sink. Web Link


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Annie B, a resident of Midtown,
on May 27, 2021 at 11:37 am

Annie B is a registered user.

California agriculture uses 80 % of the state's water. Let's have Newsom put some reasonable demands on alphalfa growers before we start worrying about domestic use. Domestic water users pay for 90% of the system, but use 20% of the water. It's a great time to change our water priorities. Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on May 27, 2021 at 11:59 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

California agriculture does use 80% of the state's water. When former Gov. Brown issued mandatory water conservation measures for the first time in state history, he handled it better than Newsom is handling it, but you can't leave 80% of the problem off the table. It's time to crack down on agriculture, and impose water use restrictions NOW! All of us need to conserve.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by mjh, a resident of College Terrace,
on May 27, 2021 at 3:51 pm

mjh is a registered user.

For all that Palo Alto touts its green credentials, we use more water per capita than other neighboring cities. Why? Because too many residents want water hungry grass and other water needy plants unsuitable for our climate, despite the many other beautiful low water requiring plant options now available that once established require little water in the summer months.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by mjh, a resident of College Terrace,
on May 27, 2021 at 4:03 pm

mjh is a registered user.

One of the problems with central valley agriculture is that the current political system incentivizes water hungry export crops such as almonds, alfalfa, rice, etc. that are in effect "exporting" our water. The water table/aquifer has been so depleted that new wells now have to be drilled below 3,000' to find water, which only the most well funded big industrial growers can afford to do. And since the marshes were drained for agriculture, with continued drilling for water since, parts of the central valley have subsided as much as 30' or more in some places!


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Esther, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on May 27, 2021 at 4:41 pm

Esther is a registered user.

Without water, California's farmers make hard choices: which crops go and which ones stay, SJMN, Web Link And let's stop the wasteful practice of dewatering to build basements.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Neal, a resident of Community Center,
on May 28, 2021 at 7:41 am

Neal is a registered user.

Not flushing the toilet after every time one pees is NOT "very unsanitary." If it's yellow let it mellow.


 +   12 people like this
Posted by Manny Rodriguez, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on May 28, 2021 at 1:18 pm

Manny Rodriguez is a registered user.

>>Not flushing the toilet after every time one pees is NOT "very unsanitary." If it's yellow let it mellow. If it sits too long, the pee will stain the toilet bowl. My wife brought this to my attention so now I just pee in the backyard over some weeds. Saves flush water and kills two birds at one time.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by III, a resident of Midtown,
on May 29, 2021 at 5:19 pm

III is a registered user.

This is what the 3rd major drought in past 7 years? I am 100% for conservation, fighting global warming and have made 25%-35% reduction of water use past 7 years. BUT THE PRICE OF WATER HAS GONE UP 35% or more same time period. I am done conserving water if utilities cannot manage their business with clients conserving. Will just pay the extra. I did my footprint effort. Over and dun. III P.S. Bot the water index stock FIW 7 years ago as well. There are others. Fantastic return as to appreciation of stock index.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Julian Gonzales, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on May 31, 2021 at 9:41 am

Julian Gonzales is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cole Mansfield, a resident of another community,
on Jun 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm

Cole Mansfield is a registered user.

Can't we recycle urine like the astronauts do in space? Someone should design in-home H20 recycling devices that one can buy at Home Depot.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 1, 2021 at 6:12 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"Saves flush water and kills two birds at one time." I'm a bird lover. Please use your toilet


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 1, 2021 at 6:28 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"Am I the only one having trouble using the city's redesigned web site?" Not hardly. The city web site has had navigation issues since the city first put up a web site decades ago. You just cannot find good web authors in the Capital of Silicon Valley. ???? But seriously, never let your back end geeks do the website layout. Get someone with skills in organizing information for humans to use it, like a librarian, to lead the project


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Lonnie Woods, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 1, 2021 at 9:10 pm

Lonnie Woods is a registered user.

Could the melting ice from global warming also be used as a auxiliary water source? All it would take is a barge with a crane.


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