Monday, March 12, 2018
The Northridge 6.7 quake in 1994 cause many fire hydrants to run dry. This forced firefighters to use helicopters to smoother a major fire problem. In a doomsday situation of a 7.8 quake water could be cut off from the LA basin. The biggest quake was in 1857 and it measured 7.9 along the San Andreas Fault line. The fault line runs through along the San Gabriel Mountains at the south part of venue S in Palmdale crosses Hwy 14 and Sierra Hwy and runs through Quartz Hill. This is also is very close to the aqueduct. Los Angeles get 88% of its water from elsewhere via the aqueduct from the Colorado River, Owens Valley and the Sacramento River Delta. This water source cris-crosses the fault line 32 times. Experts have said that a major quake could cut off 22 million LA residences for months if not years. If a big one hit then is could damn the water flow and collapse concrete reinforcements cutting off some if not all of the pipes and water supply. This affects not only the LA basin but also Antelope Valley. Some of Southern California’s solutions have been to use electricity to pump the water over the mountains, reinforce the existing pipelines, building wider pipes, but each are very expensive and in some cases impractical. A new bond measures have been considered for taxpayers to fund a water-related seismic safety project.
Monday, March 5, 2018
Water and Power the California Heist from National Geographic. This is a documentary first released in the spring of 2017 and available on Netflix. It tracks details of the Monterrey Amendments from 1994. This policy allowed Central Valley farmers, to be the current ecologically stewards of California’s water shed. It is a state policy to send water to southern California and to water bank it in aquifers for drought years. The film chronicles how Stewart Resnick bought dry useless land and turned it around with the Monterrey Amendment and has made billions from it. Resnick has become rich from land and water thus he runs Paramount farms and the Wonderful Company. He controls virtually all the almonds, pistachios and pomegranates in the in the US. Does the state need so much water for a few nuts? It is said it takes a gallon of water to produce one almond. Eighty to 90% of all California’s water is for agriculture and most of those goods are shipped out. So the next time the state says stop using water look to Stewart Resnick’s almonds and the rest of the US eating lettuce. Resnick’s firms and other Central Valley farming water bankers are controlling the water in these aquifers and are also trading it for a profit. Including pumping it to other areas, or farms they control, yet this is public water. The cost to others is double the pumpers costs. Additionally, taking all this water from aquifers is causing gigantic sink holes. These sinkholes in some cases are massive and take up miles of land and improvements on that land. It has been chronicled for decades what the drilling of water has done to the valley. The film is not just about the past but also about the future of water in the State. The same problem is taking place in Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County. Big money firms are buying land to plant wine grapes. Some of the new growers Harvard for one says they don’t want the land or the grapes just the water, and the control of its distribution. Paso Robles used to have a huge aquifer beneath it but now it is dwindling. This is a democratic problem in a democratic state. Resnick is a huge Democratic donor to Hillary Clinton and many state candidates. This water heist is a disaster in the making. The ones who will lose has been the poor, and it will continue. Many small towns like Lost Pines has no municipal water, and wells are running dry, because an almond grower has sucked it all up So we ask do we really need that many almonds. Wouldn't banking that water be better served for public? If you have seen ads about California almonds, Wonderful Pistachios, POM Wonderful well those are Resnick’s firms.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
The Los Angeles Times recently reported on farming entrepenuers the Selan or Wheeler farms plan on cultivating marijuana in Lancaster. They purchased 12 acres at an onion plant for 5.4 million. They in turn hope to buy more land to cultivate weed. They say most dispensaries don’t have enough supply of weed for their businesses. Regulations in LA County are very restrictive. Many have bought land for the plan to cultivate, yet city and county regulations may halt production. Making big land purchases a waste. The city of LA doesn’t appear to want cultivation nearby. That leaves it to smaller cities needing the tax revenue to survive. Lancaster voted in February 2017 to permit cultivation and manufacture of medical marijuana only. One thing the future planners in Lancaster can't do, is sell to the recreational market. They must have a connection to medical dispensaries. If you want to grow marijuana to the adult market well it can’t be in the city of Lancaster. You will have to go East to San Bernardino, or north to Mendocino County.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
California Bullet train First Stage (Central Valley) will Cost Almost double from Original Estimate of $6 Billion
The LA Times recently reported that the CalHighSpeed Rail budget ballooned $2.8 billion with a total estimated cost to build at $10.6 billion. The original estimate was $6 billion for the central valley portion. This according to the LA Times is the worst case scenario. The cost increases stem from higher land acquisition costs, costs of relocating utility systems, new safety barriers in the area freight and Speed rails trains meet. The new chief executive director Brian Kelley ($400k salary) said the high speed rail is crucial for the future economic needs of the State, but it has tough challenges. Such as where are they going to get the new $2.8 billion? This will require the state legislator for more money. The State approved the bonds and the increase will cover the train for the central valley, but if they are having such cost overruns now in the lower priced valley. How can they pay for land acquisition in the Bay Area and downtown LA? The original projection was that this fancy rail line would cost $40 billion and it is now estimated to need $64 billion to complete. The new report brings to view that the authorities underestimation for the cost to acquire the land, the environmental approvals and subsequent litigation. Many critics are saying that the authority estimated lower costs to politically protect the project. They basically underestimated the costs and overstated the benefits. I guess when it is not your personal money being spent it is easy to do. The LA Times spoke to James Moore, director of the transportation engineering program at USC. "It is in my opinion overly deceptive. We have seen on transportation projects this militant defense that is meant to cause the public to remain calm." Moore forewarns that the costs are likely to produce much greater future increases. On the horizon are more difficult segments, such as the long underground passage through the Tehachapi and San Gabriel Mountains and the route into the urban San Francisco Bay Area. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declined to even speak about the rail for the past two years. Liberal state governor candidates are avoiding the issue entirely. Repaying the bonds will cost $18 billion in the next 30 years. This means our roads will suffer, and money will not be available for Hwy improvements. One of their biggest mistakes has been they have not acquired the land in advance. They indicated they will amend that mistake, but acquiring the land and then planning the construction. Does that mean they will begin buying in the Antelope Valley? Likely not right away, but they will begin the process much earlier. Part of the problem as well maybe that California is a one party state. Only liberals make decisions, and opposing views are not even considered.
Monday, January 8, 2018
News reports indicate Iron Mike Tyson has broken ground on resort in California City. The former heavy weight boxer and business partners have broken ground on a 40-acre ranch. California legalized marijuana for recreational use, and Tyson and his partners are looking to the wide open space of Antelope Valley to stake their claim. California City is a small town in the Mojave Desert near Edward Air force Base. Land is very cheap in this area, and there is nothing really appealing about California City. It is not Napa or Sonoma Valley havens to the wine growing industry of California. Can Tyson celebrity status draw enough interest to make it a desert resort? That remains to be seen. It is about 110 mile north of downtown Los Angeles. According to the news source The Blast they quote “taking care of men and women who have served in the armed forces is a top priority” for Tyson Holistic, the company that will operate the resort, to be called Tyson Ranch. The Blast also notes that there is an extract of marijuana call cannabidiol (CBD). This extract doesn’t provide the high that THC produces. According to sources this extract has been used by some veterans to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. The extract has been touted for other therapeutic qualities. California City in Kern County much like Adelanto in San Bernardino County has opened its doors to marijuana cultivation in preparation for this laws approval. These cities are looking for the revenue to boost their fledging economies. These new progressive industries may help boost their economies in the short term, but it remains to be seen how marijuana will affect California youths in the long term. There are unknown long term effects to these drugs, and the crimes that they may bring into cities. Is marijuana a precursor to a larger drug openness culture?
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
BYD started in California in 2011. Their first big order for an electric bus came from the City of Long Beach and now they have 60 new orders from Los Angeles Metro and with University orders from Stanford and Cal Berkeley. The BYD team has since established a manufacturing foothold in the Americas with the procurement of the Lancaster, California plant near Ave H and Division. The electric Bus is their foundation in Lancaster but they are working on production of electric trucks and forklifts, which they have recently started producing. They now have the largest single building in Lancaster with their 450,000 square feet facility with a total staff of 700 with plans of producing 1,500 electric buses per year. We also noticed they purchases 160 acres of land at 50th West at H according to public records. This is the only large parcel of land of this size in this area, but it is currently zoned as Rural Residential once house per 2.5 acres. It is hard to imagine that they bought this land without some zoning concessions from the city of Lancaster. This large parcel is about a mile west of Michaels Distribution center. Gas lines run on Ave H which also has electric power, but there is no water or sewage line to 50th West at this point. BYD purchased this property in 2016, so looks like some changes to the area are coming in the future.
Monday, December 18, 2017
The HMI the Housing Market Index (HMI) is based on a monthly survey of NAHB members (National Association of Home Builders). It is designed to take an overall view of the single-family housing market. The homebuilders are ask survey questions to rate market conditions for the sale of new homes from today to six month. It also takes in to account buyer traffic for new homes. This is not a report on previously built homes. That number jumped in December 2017. It jumped five points to 74. Again, the highest reading since 1999, and a number above 50 is positive while below is a negative reading. The sentiment number a year ago was 69. Strangely, the NAHB are not in favor of the Republican tax plan, because of the mortgage interest rate deduction is reduced in this plan. CNBC reported recently on this that buyer traffic jumped eight points to 58, while current sales conditions moved up four points to 81, and the expectation of sales for the next six months increase by 3 to 79. What does this say for home builders in Lancaster and Palmdale? Well we reported a number of TTM’s (Tentative Tract Maps) have been extended for another year, so these land owners are hoping the housing developers will break ground and build more home in the valley. If the US pushes forward on the new Stealth Bomber at Planet 42 then new homes will certainly be needed for this engineering group moving in. This should also be good for land sales, and the future looks like somebody is going to dig holes as apposed to leaving parcels flat.