Jerry Brown Hangs An Albatross Around California’s Neck

Los Cabos, Mexico runs almost entirely on desalinated seawater.


Due to 40 million people moving to the desert, California is running short of water, and is limiting how long people can take showers.

Rather than doing something intelligent like building desalinization plants, Jerry Brown has chosen to spend $70 billion on a train to nowhere, which he believes will make it rain more.

You just can’t make up stupid like these people. It is beyond the pale.

‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—
Why look’st thou so?’—With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white.

And some in dreams assurèd were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

About stevengoddard

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63 Responses to Jerry Brown Hangs An Albatross Around California’s Neck

  1. Warren D. Walker says:

    California citizens know how they want to use their water – unlike their politicians.

  2. darrylb says:

    Warren D. Thanks for the reference.
    In studying various environmental concerns, I have for some time questioned the same thing as our host as questioned.
    Long and short term analysis must be considered and IMO history would show that in fact until recently California has been lucky.

  3. darrylb says:

    Also, I would like to reiterate a point made by our host several threads ago. “43 years of environmental service”.
    I would like to congratulate and thank Steve/Tony for the service.

    The 43 years illustrates another point. If there are 43 years of genuine environmental service, then the current work becomes more validated as being done with genuine integrity and not some off the cuff exercise in trying to win a political/scientific battle for the fun of it.

  4. SMS says:

    De-sal plants are only one of the options. California needs to rethink how it treats a minor species of fish, builds hydroelectric plants and constructs reservoirs before climbing onboard the de-sal option. And this drought won’t last forever. When the rains do come, and they always do, the de-sal plants are just another white elephant like the current wind farms are now.

    • Edmonton Al says:

      Yes. more hydro, IMO. When a beaver builds a dam the teachers rave about how the busy beaver has provide a pond for the fish and a place where the forest animals, and birds can drink, and the ducks can raise a family. So sweet.
      BUT… when man builds a dam, well, that is an environmental disaster according to these same lefties.

    • Mike D says:

      The Santa Barbara desal plant was built for the last crisis, and has been idle for 23 years after a good water season rendered it unneeded.

      “The plant cost $34 million to build during California’s last major drought in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But shortly after it opened in 1992, drenching rains returned. And because the water was so expensive to produce, the city shut down the plant three months later and sold its filters to Saudi Arabia. It has sat, closed, ever since.”

      • David A says:

        Modern desalination is far cheaper.

        • SMS says:

          De-sal plants are very energy intensive systems and overall produce expensive water. I can’t see de-sal units as being cheaper. In the case of Adelaide’s de-sal unit, somehow the billion dollars they paid for theirs doesn’t seem that cheap.

          De-sal units produce some of the most expensive water to be made available. If you have nothing else, it makes sense; but if you have other choices, de-sal is best placed in the back seat.

        • Mike D says:

          Cheaper is all relative. Santa Barbara is going to put $40 million into it to modernize it and get it running. So the start from scratch price is probably a few times that amount if they were starting from scratch. After the refit, they’ll likely get way more processing capacity than they had before, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be as cheap as rainwater should there be a lot of rain next winter.

          The article is talking about average bills going from $80/month to $108/month. That’s a 1/3 increase, and only due to the $40 million incremental cost. If they had built a brand new plant from scratch, would it be double or maybe more?

          The article talks about Carlsbad doing a plant for $1 billion. Given the population growth of Carlsbad, and it’s location way down the coast in a relatively arid area, it probably makes sense for them. Unlike Santa Barbara, there are also a lot of other people surrounding Carlsbad who have claim on available water supplies. So they don’t have so many options.

        • David A says:

          Mike is correct in that I was referring to the improvements within the industry. The energy required has been greatly reduced.

          A combination of not running good water into the ocean for the smelt. more reservoirs, not less as is currently planned, and allowing the farms their irrigation and production for the obvious reason of maintaining jobs and food production, but also the 500 plus miles of open irrigation is what has allowed the water table in the central valley to almost stabilize since the mid 1980s.

      • AndyG55 says:

        Down here, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne have unused white elephant desal plants which continue to cost the taxpayer.
        Adelaide desal is working at 10% capacity while they do economic optimisation trials.

        Perth, on the other hand, has (iirc) three desal plants operating.

      • B says:

        ” Lockheed Martin Achieves Patent for Perforene™ Filtration Solution, Moves Closer to Affordable Water Desalination”

  5. Elaine Supkis says:

    The high speed rail is insane. Yes, you can go to San Francisco and still get around via taxi/public services which are no where near as good and intense as New York City but LA is a hell hole which has poor concentration of services and businesses. Everything is scattered there all over the place.

    Manhattan, for example, where I used to work in the late 70’s to mid-1980’s is very highly concentrated both with transportation and businesses.

    • Mike D says:

      That’s a non-problem as the high speed train will not even be high speed on the ends to either city. In the south, it will end at either Bakersfield, CA or Palmdale, CA, or at least slow down to regular speeds past that. That’s 60 miles or more to LA at normal speed. The existing Metrolink rail line from Palmdale to Union Station in downtown LA takes almost 2 hours with all the stops it makes on the 60 mile journey, and the relatively low speed they can make on those tracks.

      Proposed route maps

      There of course could be some magic combination of extraordinary engineering and rights of way to make something high speed to downtown LA from Palmdale, but that surely wouldn’t be cheap. In the north, there’s topographically an easier chance at straight line up the peninsula, but still rights of way issues.

      It is only an hour flight from LA to SF, or from any of the other airport combos. Burbank to SF or Oakland, Burbank to San Jose. LAX to San Jose or Oakland. Orange County to SF. Even with added time to make security, the rail line isn’t going to match the speed.

  6. libsarenavelint says:

    • Edmonton Al says:


    • Barbara says:

      Thanks! Second LOL of the day. The first was my yesterday’s Maxine calendar cartoon (forgot to tear off the page yesterday). “Members of Congress are putting their shoulders to the wheel. Which is tough, considering where their heads are.”

  7. Eric Simpson says:

    A major problem in CA is that the liberals have mandated an artificially low price for water, at least in most localities. That price remains low, even in extreme shortages. That’s utterly insane, but the leftist way. Instead of letting the market adjust and naturally encourage efficient usage, we got all kinds of craziness with threats of shutdowns and forcible limitations on use, and probably future toilet checks to make sure that only if its brown has it been flushed down.

    Let the price of water be free!

    • Lance says:

      Water is a complicated thing in Kali. The present “drought” results from a recent 10% rainfall/snowfall lack. It isn’t unprecedented. But. the increasing population makes it a very big deal. That said, water management in Kali, in a word, sux. Because of legal entitlements to water that are historic in nature. A majority of the water begins in the North and is piped south to the San Joaquin Valley and LA. Farmers in the Sacto area MUST use every bit of the water they are legally entitled to, else they LOSE their water rights forever. There is NO give/take on allocations. If your allocation is 5000 acre feet by means of deed and water rights, and you only use 1000 acre feet, then you forever lose 4000 acre feet. There is no incentive to be flexible or to be charitable. LA actually pays LESS per acre ft of water than the farms in Sacto where the water originates. Kali has created their own nightmare of legal inflexibility, polarized usage, and massive immigration in the south, while abandoning the farms in the Valley and hamstringing everyone for various dubious environmental reasons. The problem isn’t water. It is legal flexibility, inflexible enviro interests, non-market valuation of water, and political/special interests. Soooooo. They created their own problem. Let them deal with it. QED.

      • B says:

        The issue is that the solution to the problems of collectivism, which are the political allocations of resources you describe, is to expand the base. That is to bring more resources under the management of the collective.

        If this goes on much longer we will probably start to hear the rumblings of how unfair it is for the people in the great lakes basin to have so much water while they have so little. The public won’t be told of their mismanagement, the folly of living in a desert, and so on, just that it is unfair they don’t have access to great lakes water.

    • Lance says:

      I once owned property in No. CA that was “entitled to” 40 miner’s inches of water from the American River tributaries dating back to 1850. That is nearly 450 gallons/minute. In perpetuity. Before anyone else after 1850 lays any claim to it. If you don’t think that isn’t worth something, think again. That parcel also had deeded mineral and subsurface water rights in perpetuity. Gov. Moonbeam’s legalese notwithstanding, he flies in the face of Constitutionally protected property rights and legal precedence. He might make points with stupid people in LA, but he is opening up Pandora’s Box with respect to legal challenges. Hope he’s got deep pockets, he’s gonna need them.

      • I hear that his buddy Obama has a special, Constitution-zapping pen that can zap specific clauses of the Constitution, either temporarily or permanently, depending on the need. It also neutralizes otherwise skeptical judges and Supreme Court Justices, by some still-undiscovered means.

        And the pen does not stay in the White House, but goes with Obama as his private, personal property, to bequeath to whom he pleases. (Tax-free, of course, and not subject to eminent domain.)

  8. richard says:

    Israel has greened a desert.

    • Lance says:

      Yes. By pioneering drip irrigation and efficient use of water. Because of actual necessity and some semblance of Reason. California has avoided Reason and Reality up to now and will pay for that folly. To paraphrase, “Sooner or later you run out of other people’s water”. Pixie dust won’t cover up Kali’s latest joust with reality.

  9. Donna K. Becker says:

    Perhaps Jerry Brown IS the albatross around California’s neck.

    I met him once, and suggested that he read Atlas Shrugged. His response was, “That Fascist?”
    Clearly, he is quick to believe what he hears, regardless of truth. However, he did promise to read it.

    So much for promises.

    • Disillusioned says:

      Always amusing when died-in-wool liberal fascists go around calling others fascists. The irony is, much of the time they’re doing as Jerry – bastardizing the label against those who are warning others about the creeping fascism that he so fervently, vehemently supports.

  10. scizzorbill says:

    Re: Train to nowhere. Even though the train is a stupid idea to normal reasoning people, someone will get rich from this scam. Follow the money.

  11. Alec, aka Daffy duck says:

    1977 warning about california groundwater by the GAO:

    “effects of cont:nued groundwater extraction

    without adequate replenahment, delays In

    completing water projects, and concerns for

    protecting and preserving water resources, It

    is qut!stionabie whether the water develop

    ments and proposals coveted In the State

    water plan WIII meet projected water demands.

    GAO therefore recommends that the

    Federal and State Governments reexamine

    how to best meet future water demands…”

    Click to access 120157.pdf

  12. KTM says:

    I watched a pro-rail segment a while ago, and the main selling point seemed to be that someone could wake up and have breakfast in L.A., travel to San Francisco for lunch on Fisherman’s Wharf, and get back in time for dinner and a movie in L.A. again.

    Is this kind of wasteful and capricious lifestyle really the basis for California’s development plans? I’m sure the masses are all acutely concerned about whether they can travel hundreds of miles away for lunch and back again in a timely manner.

    As a native of Utah, it seems obvious to me that California has been given far too much access to water from the Colorado river than they should. So many Western states depend on that water, and none but California have a limitless supply of ocean water right beside. California should be cut off, let the water go to states that don’t have desalination as an option. Their long success in dominating every other state for water rights has only encouraged them to be negligent in developing their own water resources, and that won’t change until they are forced to.

    • Barbara says:

      CA rivers flow millions of gallons of fresh water into the ocean every hour/ day/year. Heaven forbid we threaten the delta smelt by even considering actually using some of that water for almond orchards, farmers, households!

    • KTM says:

      I was also struck by how tone-deaf it is to expect that 99.9% of Californians could AFFORD to take high-speed rail back and forth like this on a whim.

      I can routinely find airfare from Utah to Las Vegas for ~$100. I visited the east coast last year and had to take a one-way trip from Providence, RI to New Haven, CT. I planned to take the Amtrack commuter train and figured it would be $10 or $20. I was stunned when the cheapest fare was $90+. I was there for work so I was reimbursed for the fare, but if that’s the going rate for non-high-speed rail, I can only imagine the price tag for someone to go to San Francisco for lunch on a whim.

    • Without doing any calculations, it would probably be cheaper for the state (& more fuel efficient) to simply provide air travel between SFO & LAX.

      • gator69 says:

        The California High-Speed Rail Authority has estimated the project’s year-of-expenditure cost at $68.4 billion (2011 estimate).

        SFO to LAX Round-trip = $137

        499,270,073 Tickets

        More than 6 million people fly between the Los Angeles basin and San Francisco Bay per year

        For round trip, cut that in half to 3 million.

        So my back of the envelope figures show that for the cost of building the high speed rail, you could fly everyone for free for roughly 166 years.

        Of course most projects like this can double in actual cost.

        But who is counting? 😉

        • KTM says:

          And after it’s built you need to add on the costs for operation and lifecycle of another $1.5 to $1.7 billion per year.

          Of course they underestimated the build cost by 25% (so far), but as you said, who’s counting?

        • gator69 says:

          There is a Hell of alot I left out. We have not even discussed the environmental impacts of a railroad right of way that crosses streams, fields, and forests. The Airports already exist.

        • NielsZoo says:

          No one’s counting… that’s the problem. It’s our money and they don’t care. What I really hate is that all these “mass” and “public” transit projects and subsidies. No municipal bus or subway train would run if not for taxpayer subsidies. No Amtrak commuter train would run without taxpayer subsidies. No “lite” rail car would move without taxpayer subsidies. What percentage of taxpayers have access to and use these services? About 5%… and I’m getting tired of subsidizing commuters in Manhattan and San Francisco with my taxes… especially since I get to pay for one of these wastes of money in my own county… 40 miles away from me that will only be used by folks who pay their “fare” with “refundable tax credits” instead of the actual cost with money they earned.

        • gator69 says:

          You are just being selfish! What about commuting coyotes?

          And how else can 15 year old thugs trap and beat a white man?

        • projects like this can double in actual cost

          I think the Big Dig sent the precedent. It only went something like 10x over the original (generous) estimates. I strongly doubt that if they go through with this abomination, it’ll end up costing less than $1,000,000,000,000 (& it won’t be completed until Spock is celebrating his 400th birthday).

        • gator69 says:

          Who cares! It’s not real money. And the TSA can be so hassley at airports, so unfriendly to undocumented terrorists who need to (be)head to their next diversity exhibition.

  13. Aphan says:

    Ýay! Now I can literally and honestly refer to liberals in California as the great, unwashed masses!

  14. Aphan says:

    ?? No idea how to find the accent keys when I need one…forgive my above whatever it’s called…

  15. darrylb says:

    KTM… “California should be cut off, ….”
    Yeah, sometimes I think California should be cut off from the U.S.
    But, like anywhere else there are some terrific people in CA., unfortunately there is a higher ratio of people living outside the realm of reality, and they have a lot of political power.
    CA nationally elected representatives reflect the nature of the majority in some areas and that shows how skewed the thinking is in some areas.

    Green was at one time my favorite color. but the so called greens have changed that.

  16. Isn’t Jerry Brown the same guy who said back in the 1970’s that California was going to fall into the sea??

  17. tabnumlock says:

    It’s almost always be cheaper to move water than to desalinate. I propose an offshore submerged aqueduct from the mouth of the Columbia River to SoCal and the Baja.

  18. Ted says:

    Santa Barbara built a desalinization plant about 20 years ago. The rains came back, so the whole thing, finished, working, but still unused, was abandoned. The problem is that they didn’t mothball it, they just walked away. Over the past two years or so, the city has been looking at the possibility of starting it up. The general consensus is that it’s fallen apart so much that starting over would be cheaper. So they looked into rebuilding it. The state of California will no longer honor the original environmental permits, and has, so far, refused to issue new ones.

    Coming from the other direction, this specific area wouldn’t benefit much from another dam. We HAD plenty of storage. The problem here is very heavy soil erosion. Even when full, all the local reservoirs hold more silt than with water. What we need to do now, while there’s no water in them, is to spend all summer bulldozing the silt out. It’s actually great soil. Add a little nitrogen, and it’ll grow anything. We might be able to sell it for enough to make a profit on the whole deal. But we can’t get permits from the state to do bulldoze, either.

    As to the train to nowhere, has anyone added up the CO2 emissions from all the concrete that’ll need to be poured? I wouldn’t be at all surprised it’s more than the highest estimates of the CO2 that MIGHT be saved by the train. (not that I care, but the people pushing it claim to) And then there’s the basic economics. Let’s assume that any money borrowed is at 0% interest, and everything comes in at budget. Let’s also assume that this train operates for 100 years, with zero maintenance, and zero operating expenses. They need to average over $1.9 million in daily ticket sales. I can easily find round trip airline tickets from LA to Sacramento for under $200.00, and since almost any flight would be both faster and more convenient than almost any train, the train would have to be cheaper. Let’s assume $100.00 for a one way ticket. That leave the state needing to sell 19,000 tickets a day, just to break even. And that’s with absurdly conservative assumptions. Will they ever find 19,000 people a day to buy tickets? Will the system even have that much capacity?

    • KTM says:

      Like I said, California has gotten away with strongarming other states for control of water rights for so long that they aren’t going to change their behavior until someone else forces them to.

      Tell them they have 5 years of Colorado River water left, then see how fast their environmental permits get approved.

    • That is what Southwest Airlines is for.

    • shazaam says:

      No, no, no Ted. Logic is forbidden when it comes to high speed rail.

      What the California High-Speed rail is really about is a retirement plan for the all the politicians and their supporters.

      Guess who probably owns the majority of the land in the proposed rights of way? Often through shell corporations or relatives, but dig deep enough and it will smell bad.

      If something in government doesn’t appear logical, the first and likely only rule is “follow the money”.

      • rah says:

        Yep, and because of that, they will blow through every environmental law they made to get it done. This in a state where they harass the citizens about mud puddles or wanting to build a garden shed in their back yard.

  19. Steve Case says:

    $50 Billion on a train to nowhere
    Milwaukee is starting down the road to recreating streetcars. The buses are usually way less than half full, I have no idea why they think people are going to get back on street cars. After all, they went out in the ’60s because no one rode them anymore.

  20. Elaine Supkis says:

    They even built a totally useless commuter train in DETROIT that is nearly always empty and since downtown is nearly deserted and the suburbs where the streetcars end up are burned nearly to the ground with only muggers and thugs to ride it…and they prefer stealing cars to get around!

    • tabnumlock says:

      It’s all part of a war on the car and suburbia which allow whites to avoid “integration”. I’ll let you guess who’s behind it.

      In fact, they are waging a war on Western Civilization itself, which is why they want to pull the plug on it. After all, it wasn’t primitive injuns who put them into the mythical gas chambers. It was the most advanced industrial country on earth. Never again.

  21. gator69 says:

    Moron Alert!

    Anyone who wishes to join in on the fun can go here…

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