By Patrick Porgans & Lloyd G. Carter
Some unanswered questions about Westlands Water District grower Mark Borba's racial slur against President Obama and the behind-the-scenes efforts to get Westlands more Northern California water
By Lloyd G. Carter
Prominent Westlands Grower Mark Borba resigns from board of Maddy Institute following racial slur of President ObamaSubmitted by Lloyd Carter on Tue, 04/16/2013 - 10:07.
Officials of the Maddy Institute said today (April 16, 2013) that prominent Westlands Water District grower Mark Borba resigned last Friday from the board of directors of the institute. The Institute, named after the late Kenneth Maddy, who served 28 years in the state legislature, was established in 1999. The mission of the Maddy Institute, according to its website (www.Maddyinstitute.org) is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.
Borba, who along with his brother, farms 8,600 acres in Westlands, was voted off the board of directors of Community Hospitals in early March but hospital officials would not explain the reason. On March 9, the Fresno Bee ran a front page story about an expletive-filled email that Borba sent to Westlands general manager Tom Birmingham, complaining about severe cutbacks in water allocations for Westlands. In that email, Borba derisively called President Obama "Blackie" and also argued that Sen. Dianne Feinstein should have marched into the White House and demanded more water for Westlands, which may receive only 25 percent of its allotment this year. READ MORE »
Dr. Jeffrey Michael says the Westlands Water District and Rep. Jim Costa are exagaretting the impacts of water cutbacks to the nation's largest federal water district. Westlands may only receive 20 percent of its requested amount of water this year and claims it will be impacted worse than 2009, when Westlands supplies were held to just 10 percent. Dr. Michael is director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of Pacific in Stockton. You can read his blog here: http://valleyecon.blogspot.com/
Jim Costa, a Democrat, represents the Westlands area and wrote a letter to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner Michael Connor on March 3, claiming the cutbacks, due to dry year conditions and court ordered protections for Delta fish, including smelt and salmon, will cost his region's economy $2.2 billion. Thomas Birmingham, general manager of Westlands, estimated economy losses of "more than $1 billion", in a March 22 press release, more than a billion less than Costa's prediction. Neither Costa or Birmingham revealed the source of their numbers or how they define "region." READ MORE »
California Department of Water Resources quietly backs away from asserting that the BDCP will increase water supply reliabilitySubmitted by Lloyd Carter on Wed, 04/10/2013 - 19:59.
By Deirdre Des Jardins
California Water Research
In August, 2012, California Water Research released a report, Incorporating Drought Risk Into California Water Resources Planning. Since that time we have been waging a quiet campaign for the Department of Water Resources to recognize that their climate modelling for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan has significant limitations and inconsistencies. READ MORE »
Prominent Westlands Water District Grower Mark Borba calls President Obama "Blackie" and also slams Sen. Dianne FeinsteinSubmitted by Lloyd Carter on Tue, 04/09/2013 - 13:08.
The Fresno Bee reported today (April 9, 2013) that prominent Westlands Water District grower Mark Borba was removed as chairman of the board of directors of Community Medical Centers because of his use of a racial slur about President Barack Obama in an email exchange with Westlands general manager Thomas Birmingham. The Bee reported Borba called President Obama "Blackie" in an obscenity-laced email (The Bee called it a "rant") about Westlands' water supply problems. The Bee story can be read at http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/04/08/3249151/community-medical-centers-board.html.
Borba, who declined to be interviewed by the Bee, recently sent an email to the original email recipients and hospital board members and officers, expressing regrets for his slur of President Obama and his use of obscenities. Birmingham was not quoted in the Bee article.
"The language I used was hurtful to many people and it embarrassed my friends and colleagues. My language was inexcusable and I am greatly embarrassed by it myself," Borba wrote in the email, according to the Bee. However, hospital officials concluded he could not stay on the board. READ MORE »
Kesterson Whistleblower Felix Smith's letter to the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service goes unansweredSubmitted by Lloyd Carter on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 19:33.
Editor's Note: Felix Smith, who suffered political harassment from his superiors during his 34-year federal career, was the federal biologist who in 1983 leaked to the news media that deformities in birds nesting at the Kesterson National Refuge had been poisoned by selenium-tainted, toxic drainwater from the Westlands Water District.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, for several months, kept secret the Kesterson bird deformities until Smith leaked the story to Fresno Bee reporter Deborah Blum. Smith took early retirement in 1990, tired of the harassment.
Smith wrote the following letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe four months ago. Ashe has not answered Smith. USA Today environmental columnist Dan Vergano wrote an article on April 6, 2013, which indicated federal biologists continue to be intimidated by their superiors in speaking out about selenium pollution from phosphate and coal mines in several states.
December 17, 2012 READ MORE »
USA Today environmental columnist Dan Vergano writes about selenium problems and muzzling of government scientistsSubmitted by Lloyd Carter on Sun, 04/07/2013 - 20:19.
USA Today environmental columnist Dan Vergano ran an article in the nationwide newspaper on Saturday (2013/04/06) about the harassment of federal biologist Joe Skorupa who wrote a critical report about selenium impacts at an Idaho phosphate mine, including two-headed fish. He mentioned my website and the previous coverage I did of the harassment of Skorupa, who, in the late 1980s, confirmed selenium impacts on wildlife using farm wasterwater evaporation ponds in the Tulare Basin of the Southern San Joaquin Valley. Vergano's article can be read here: