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California Capitol Hill Bulletin

Volume 10, Bulletin 30 -- October 17, 2003    [or see pdf version]  [or jump to the previous bulletin]


CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

Bush and Schwarzenegger Meet in Riverside

PPIC/California Institute Formula Publication Examines Head Start Program

Cox Bill Would Change Homeland Security Grant Allocation Scheme

Homeland Security Subcommittee Examines Cox Bill

House Panel Marks Up Space Exploration Measures

House Science Committee Discusses Human Space Flight

Sacramento Veterans Predict "What's Next" for the Governor-Elect

GAO Releases Report On Determining Effectiveness of H1-B Visas

RAND To Host Luncheon Briefing

New Report Examines Homeownership Trends

Study Suggests Stronger Latino Workforce in the Future

Colorado River QSA Signed

October 21 Luncheon To Feature Commentator Chris Matthews


To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill that affects our state.  Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods.  The e-mail edition is made possible in part by in kind donations from Sun Microsystems and IBM Corp.


Bush and Schwarzenegger Meet in Riverside

On Thursday, October 16, 2003, President George Bush and California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger met in Southern California to discuss state and federal priorities. The Governor-elect expressed hope that the session would open the door to increased federal financial assistance for the fiscally challenged state.

Schwarzenegger said the state's needs were discussed "at great length." At an event, he said, "It's wonderful to be here today to introduce the president, but this state is also facing right now some serious challenges." Among the topics reportedly discussed were economic stimulus, economic development, and education reform, as well as the process of governing a large state.

On his way to Asia, Bush's visit also allowed him to address the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

 

PPIC/California Institute Formula Publication Examines Head Start Program

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), in collaboration with the California Institute for Federal Policy Research, this week released the sixth report in the Federal Formula Grants and California series. The latest report discusses the funding structure of the federal Head Start program, a preschool program that awarded over $800 million in grants to California this year, and assesses the state by state funds distribution performance under the program's current formula system. The report finds California's share of Head Start funds tracking the state's share of preschool-age poor children. However, California could be faced with higher child poverty and a greater challenge to meet growing needs if the state's economy were to decline more sharply than the nation.

The $6.7 billion Head Start program provides educational, social and health services to low income preschool-age children and their families. Since being last reauthorized in 1998, California's share of total Head Start program funds increased slightly from 11.5 percent to about 12.26 percent, while the state's share of funds allotted among the states (not including set asides for administration, Indians and migrants) peaked at 13.67 percent in FY 2003, according to the report. The formula used to determine a state's share of Head Start dollars is primarily derived from a state's share of federally-defined poor children below age 5. According to decennial Census figures, California's share of federally-defined poor preschool children is precisely 13.67 percent of the national total, a figure that precisely matches California's share of state distributions. Another statistical data set, however, shows California's preschool poverty to be somewhat higher, raising questions as to the long-term accuracy of the child poverty count.

The Head Start program structure affords unusually large discretion to the administrative agency in charge of Head Start, according to the report. Such latitude may effectively blunt nearly all formula driven funding increases and complicate the predicted allocation of future funds.

Testing a number of simulated statistical estimates to predict future funding allotments, the report expects no significant change in California's share of program funds in the near future.

The federal formula grant series was developed at the request of the California congressional delegation and is produced by the Public Policy Institute of California in collaboration with the California Institute for Federal Policy Research. A copy of the latest report can be viewed at: http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/FF_1003TRFF.pdf .

 

Cox Bill Would Change Homeland Security Grant Allocation Scheme

At a news conference held on October 9, Rep. Christopher Cox (Newport Beach), Chair of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, introduced H.R. 3266, the "Faster and Smarter Funding for First Responders Act of 2003." The bill would streamline and expedite the process for shifting federal grant funding for the nation's first responders, reducing the number of application steps from 12 to 2.

The Cox bill would help to address significant inequities in the distribution among states of funding from more than $2 billion worth of formula grant funding. An unusually large minimum state allocation in the formula shortchanges larger states and benefits smaller states -- California received less than $5 per capita from the grant programs that use the USA Patriot Act formula in question, whereas Wyoming, for example received more than $35 per capita. (For more details regarding the formula allocation problem, see, Bulletin, Vol. 10, Nos. 26 (9/18/03), 22 (7/25/03) and 19 (6/27/03).)

The Cox bill would base funding allocation in part on an assessment of threat levels faced by recipients, whereas the current formula is based purely on political jurisdictions (states) and population. "Terrorists have no regard for state lines," said Cox. "The post 9-11 reality requires us think beyond traditional boundaries because we can be certain that if we don't, terrorists will." The legislation requires the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to distribute grants only on the basis of the threat to the State or region applying for the grant, with no statutorily required small-state minimum and no population-based formulas for grant distribution. The Cox bill would also allow multiple jurisdictions to join together to apply for and administer a regional grant.

Homeland Security Committee Democrats, joined by a variety of other Democrats, also recently introduced a bill entitled the PREPARE Act (H.R. 3158, the "Preparing America to Respond Effectively Act of 2003") to accomplish many of the same goals. That bill would focus funding primarily on an assessment of first responder funding needs.

 

Homeland Security Subcommittee Examines Cox Bill

On Thursday, October 16, 2003, the House Select Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness and Response held a hearing to consider H.R. 3266, a bill entitled the "Faster and Smarter Funding for First Responders Act of 2003." For more information regarding the bill, see the preceding article.

At the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman John Shadegg (MI) expressed concern that funding is being allocated on a piecemeal basis, and he commented that funds should be allocated using the most efficient method possible.

The panel's ranking Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS), spoke in support of the PREPARE Act (H.R. 3158, the "Preparing America to Respond Effectively Act of 2003"), a Democrat-sponsored bill also introduced recently to accomplish similar though not identical goals. Thompson expressed concern about changing the formula, and argued against basing funds on "ever-changing threat assessments."

In his opening statement, Chairman Cox assured Rep. Thompson that the committee will work in a bipartisan fashion to develop a consensus bill, and he noted that there are many complimentary portions of the two bills. Cox also noted that the current system is not quick enough in moving the current $4.2 billion in grant funding to first responders. He reminded the panel members and the audience that the current system was built before 9/11 and may not be up to the task of distributing this much money. Rather than the current "political formula," that sometimes sends grants to jurisdictions that in some cases don't know what to do with them, Chairman Cox commented that the nation instead needs "a threat-based formula that eliminates this waste and the potential for abuse." Cox noted that the country's artificial political boundaries do not necessarily reflect terrorist threat levels. Under his bill, Cox pointed out, Los Angeles and Orange Counties could continue to build their existing partnership and apply for one regional grant instead of multiple grants, thereby helping to fix the inefficiencies in the current grant-making process. Cox summarized, "The Department inherited an out-of-date grant program that is too cumbersome and not appropriate for today's needs. Funding for first responders is getting trapped in the pipeline, and the funding is not getting to the right places."

A number of panel members echoed Cox's comments regarding the complimentary nature of the two bills, including full committee ranking member Jim Turner (TX), who commented that they have "parallel goals." Rep. Curt Weldon (PA) expressed his strong support for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, as well as his opinion that there are considerable needs for improving first responder communications system interoperability. Full committee member Barney Frank (MA), sitting in on the hearing by unaninous consent, focused his comments on the differences between states and local governments, as well as on the need to use additional tax dollars for these purposes. Rep. Chris Shays (CT) expressed concern that the federal government should not distribute funds to recipients do not need the funds. Rep. William Pascrell (NJ) also lauded the fire program, expressing gratitude that the Cox bill would not affect it or several other programs, including the COPS program, and adding, "I see no contradictions between these two pieces of legislation." Rep. Ben Cardin (MD) said the funding formula need to be sensitive to risk, although he also said it also needs to provide predictable funding.

The first witness, Hempstead (New York) MayorJames Garner, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, noted that the conference recently completed a survey on homeland security grant funding. The study, available at http://www.usmayors.org/uscm/home.asp , finds that many local recipients say they had not yet received expected grant funding by August 1, 2003. Garner supported the Cox bill's provisions allowing regions to apply for funding, but he expressed concern for a lack of adequate total funding levels, and also sought additional and more timely data on grant awards.

Also testifying was Colonel Randall J. Larsen, USAF (Ret), Founder and CEO of Homeland Security Associates, who focused in part on civil liberties issues, but also spent considerable time discussing program funding. He commented that the greatest threat at present is runaway spending, stating, "America cannot afford to provide every first responder with every piece of equipment or every training program on their wish lists." He further said, "We cannot afford to protect every area in the same way we protect the nation's capital." Larsen suggested that there needs to be a serious discussion of what constitutes "significant loss of life" that the bill seeks to guard against. He noted that the nation is spending $5 billion on bioterrorism after 5 people died from anthrax inhalation, and he suggested a hard look at the costs and benefits of federal funds usage.

Finally, the panel heard from Robert Latham, Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, who encouraged the committee to continue the flow of funds to and through states. He also supported continuing and enhancing planning funds and urged targeting of warning systems.

Responding to questions by Chairman Shadegg about regional applications, Garner commented that "money flows to the states by the federal express, but to the cities by pony express." Larsen asked whether regions would be defined on an ad hoc basis, suggesting that the FEMA regions might be an appropriate level. Latham suggested that states should be part of any regional solution.

Chairman Cox later clarified that Garner would be satisfied if, in seeking regional solution, cities would be required to be consenting partners. Cox noted, however, that the average city size is approximately 8,000, and that a city may be part of one region for one purpose and another region for another purpose.

Rep. Turner reminded participants that determining allocation methods is always a difficult question. He said that the Cox bill's allocation scheme would be based on a DHS assessment of threat, and that the Democrats' bill would use a "bottom-up" assessment of first responder vulnerabilities and capabilities.

Rep. Weldon commented that California has the nation's best mutual aid program, and that it should be expanded as a national model. Under California's mutual aid program, the state helps provide equipment to local first responders, who are asked to bring that equipment to state-called emergencies as needed.

 

House Panel Marks Up Space Exploration Measures

On October 8, 2003, the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, chaired by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Huntington Beach) marked up H.R. 3245, the Commercial Space Act of 2003, as well as several other measures focused on encouraging space exploration. The bill establishes regulations for commercial suborbital human space flight and extends through Dec. 31, 2007 an existing commercial space transportation indemnification regime.

Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Space Transportation (AST) regulates U.S. commercial space launches for most satellites. H.R. 3245 ensures that commercial launchers would also be regulated by AST. At a July 2003 hearing, every witness called for legislation to clearly define the FAA's regulatory responsibilities regarding commercial flight. See http://www.calinst.org/bulletins/b1022.htm#_1_12 . Chairman Rohrabacher commented, "This bill tells the Department of Transportation that this new commercial human space flight industry should be nurtured by streamlined and careful regulation." The bill authorizes $11.5 million in 2004 and $11 million in 2005 for the AST, as well as approximately $2 million per year for the Department of Commerce's Office of Space Commerce. Licensing authority for private-sector remote sensing systems would be delegated to that Department of Commerce office.

A second measure approved was H.R. 1292, the "Remote Sensing Applications Act of 2003," which would establish and authorize $15 million per year from 2004 through 2008 for a NASA grants program to competitively award pilot projects to explore the use of space-generated information to address state, local, regional and tribal agency needs.

The Subcommittee also approved a third bill, H.R. 2450, the "Human Space Flight Independent Investigation Commission Act of 2003"which would require the President to appoint an independent commission to investigate incidents in the nation's human space flight program that result in the loss of crew, passengers or the spacecraft. (The bill expressly specifies that its provisions should not apply to incidents involving commercial aircraft.)

For details, see http://www.house.gov/science/press/108/108-121.htm .

 

House Science Committee Discusses Human Space Flight

On Thursday, October 16, 2003, the House Science Committee held a hearing entitled "The Future of Human Space Flight." The hearing continued an examination of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the post-Columbia environment, and it addressed options that NASA could pursue. Witnesses were asked to focus on likely U.S. gains by pursuing a particular option, alternative paths to the same goals, cost and time estimates for each option, technical hurdles that must be overcome and how to overcome them, and how different options might affect the current human space flight program.

Witnesses included Dr. Wesley T. Huntress, Director of the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory; Dr. Alex Roland, Professor of History and Chairman of the Department of History at Duke University; Dr. Michael Griffin, President and Chief Operating Officer of In-Q-Tel; Dr. Bruce Murray, Professor Emeritus of Planetary Science and Geology at the California Institute of Technology; and Dr. Matthew B. Koss, Assistant Professor of Physics of the College of Holy Cross in Massachusetts

Commenting that human space flight may be the most important venture the nation and the world engages in, Dr. Griffin predicted that the current era will be remembered most in history for having accomplished the Apollo lunar landing. He suggested that a robust space effort could be had for 20 cents a day, less than we spend on pizza or chewing gum. Dr. Huntress noted that science priorities were not what put a man on the moon, but rather that it was competition with the Soviet Union. Dr. Roland recommended suspending human space flight, mothballing the space station, and cancelling a pending telescope repair mission. He suggested that NASA begin at once to develop a replacement vehicle for the Space Shuttle, which he considers inadequate and unsafe, and said that the presence of humans on any space vehicle converts the mission's purpose from a science and defense function to life support.

Dr. Murray of Caltech, who has been involved in space exploration for 40 years, expressed considerable interest in exploring Mars as a potential habitat. He commented that NASA has been "bogged down in low-earth orbit" by holding off on additional missions such as Mars exploration until space station activities have been completed. He said that NASA's human space flight function should be shifted to focus, long-term, on establishing a human presence on Mars, but that the long-term nature of the goal will require visionary political leadership (perhaps with interim milestones) to achieve results that ultimately will be realized during multiple presidential administrations and many sessions of Congress.

During questions and answers, Dr. Griffin suggested that the number one priority for NASA should be the development of heavy-lift launch capability. He strongly disagreed with suggestions that human space flight be curtailed. Dr. Huntress suggested that science should be the top focus. Dr. Koss suggested an increase in autonomous and remote space flight, striking a balance between manned and unmanned space missions. Dr. Roland urged a strong focus on vehicle development. Dr. Murray noted that any heavy-lift vehicle must have multiple applications to achieve varied results.

Responding to a query by Rep. Ralph Hall (TX), Dr. Griffin said that a flat NASA budget (at the current $15 billion level) would require the paring back of a number of programs. A question from Rep. Lamar Smith (TX) regarding top national space priorities prompted Dr. Griffin to suggest a moon base. He also agreed with the Mars-oriented focus of Dr. Murray. Dr. Huntress proposed a focus on earth orbit. Dr. Koss commented that it is premature to set a focus at present, and that there needs to be common ground first. Dr. Roland suggested that vehicle development should be the focus. And Dr. Murray said that "we need a destination" - suggesting that a Mars outpost and the lift capability to get there would be a logical approach.

Discussing a question regarding a lunar outpost from Rep. Bart Gordon (TN), Dr. Huntress commented that "the moon is an offramp on our way to Mars." He suggested that we should not design a system to go only to the moon; instead, he urged the design of a system to go to Mars and perhaps use the moon as an interim step.

Chairman Rohrabacher recalled Robert Heinlein's comment that "Once you're in low-earth orbit, you're halfway to anywhere in the universe." Rohrabacher asked what increase in the NASA budget would be appropriate, and whether the funds should be shifted from research funds. Dr. Griffin suggested an increase of $5 billion per year, to $20 billion per year, and was amenable to shifting the funds from wherever needed. Several other witnesses agreed with the proposed increase to $20 billion per year, though they disagreed with the source of offsets.

Further details are available on the Science Committee website, at http://www.house.gov/science .

 

Sacramento Veterans Predict "What's Next" for the Governor-Elect

Two Sacramento political heavyweights, former Gov. Pete Wilson and California Assembly Speaker-Emeritus Robert Hertzberg convened in Washington on October 16th, 2003 to discuss the future of California in the aftermath of this month's recall election that will pass the governorship of California to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The event, entitled "After the California Recall: What's Next?", had two other panelists joining the leadership figures each presenting their views on the Governor's agenda and the recall's reverberations on California politics.

After serving two terms as California's chief executive, Gov. Wilson was appointed as Chair of Mr. Schwarzenegger's campaign committee, and most recently was appointed to the Governor-elect's transition team. Wilson called the recall as a revolt by voters. He described the Governor-elect as the best natural campaigner he knows. He expected Schwarzenegger will focus on restoring the health of the state economy by promoting pro-business and pro-jobs policies. "Those who will be concerned about jobs will be pleased with the new Governor," Wilson said. He went on to stress the reform of the state worker's compensation system as a related priority. In order to alleviate what he termed a lack of budgetary restraint in the Legislature, Gov. Wilson expected an attempt to impose spending caps. He also spoke briefly about reapportioning the state's district lines in what he termed "fair and honest ways."

Speaker-Emeritus Hertzberg, also a member of the transition team, served as a member of the Assembly from the San Fernando Valley for 6 years before being termed out in 2002. Hertzberg praised Wilson's leadership as Governor. He predicted a difficult road ahead for Governor-elect Schwarzenegger, citing the complex structure of the budget process and the many nuances and dynamics that must be heeded in order for a successful budget to be completed. "Relationships are fundamentally different in Sacramento," he said. He went on to express confidence in the Gov.-elect's personal skills and determination as qualities that will help him achieve more than most people expect.

Of his role as a transition team member assisting a new Republican Governor, Hertzberg stressed that he did not feel like a token Democrat on a panel dominated by Republicans. "There's been an honest and sincere effort to reach out to all of us," said Hertzberg.

In addition to being members of the transition team, both Wilson and Hertzberg serve as analysts for Fleishman-Hillard, which sponsored the event. The briefing's proceedings were to be web archived as well at http://www.fleishman.com/fhwebcast/index.html .

 

GAO Releases Report On Determining Effectiveness of H1-B Visas

The General Accounting Office recently released a report entitled, H1-B Foreign Workers: Better Tracking Needed To Help Determine H1-B Program's Effects on U.S. Workforce. The report sought to determine: (1) what major occupational categories H-1B beneficiaries were approved to fill and what is known about H-1B petition approvals and U.S. citizen employment from 2000-2002; (2) what factors affect employers' decisions about the employment of H-1B workers and U.S. workers; and (3) what is known about H-1B workers' entries, departures, and changes in visa status.

The report found that in contrast to 2000, most H-1B beneficiaries in 2002 were approved to fill positions in fields not directly related to IT, such as economics, accounting, and biology. In 2002, 40 percent of all H-1B beneficiaries were approved to fill IT-related occupations, such as systems analysis and electrical engineering, compared with 65 percent in 2000. Thirty-six employers also agreed to be interviewed by GAO. The majority, according to the report, said they recruited, hired, and retained workers based on the skills needed, rather than the applicant's citizenship or visa status. Among employers who said visa status was a factor in their decisions, several told GAO that they hired H-1B workers only when qualified U.S. workers were not available. Half of the 36 employers, according to the report, reported that they did not go abroad to recruit workers for U.S. positions, but instead found U.S. citizen and H-1B workers through employee referrals, the Internet, and U.S. graduate schools. About two-thirds of employers said that most H-1B workers hired were already in the United States on foreign student visas or working for another employer on an H-1B visa when they were recruited.

GAO also concluded that little information is available regarding H-1B workers' entries, departures, and changes in visa status due to the limitations of current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tracking systems, although new systems are being developed to provide better information. One reason DHS is unable to determine the number of H-1B workers who are in the United States at a given time is because it maintains two separate tracking systems that do not share data, according to the report. In addition, GAO also determined that DHS's ability to provide information on H-1B workers is limited because it has not issued consistent guidance or any regulations on the legal status of unemployed H-1B workers who remain in the United States while seeking new jobs. As a result of these problems, GAO recommends that DHS ensure that change-of-visa-status data are entered into DHS's computer system and are integrated with entry and departure data and that regulations be issued that address the extent to which unemployed H-1B workers are allowed to remain in the United States. According to the report, DHS has agreed with GAO's recommendations.

The report can be obtained from GAO's website at: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-883 .

 

RAND To Host Luncheon Briefing

RAND Corporation will host a briefing on Monday, October 20 on "A Mental Health Intervention
for Schoolchildren Exposed to Violence: A Randomized Controlled Trial."
The report, prepared by Dr. Brad Stein, details a Los Angeles-based school program designed to help children who have been a victim of, or witness to, violent acts. The lunch briefing will be held from 12 - 1:30 P.M. in Room 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

The Report is based on the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in School (CBITS)
program, which RAND concludes is the first mental health program for children that research has
demonstrated to be effective. It is an inexpensive, school-based program that both deals with the impact of the violence and gives the children a tool kit to help them deal in the future with stressful or anxious situations, negative thoughts, and other real-life problems.

Development and evaluation of the CBITS program was funded in part by a grant from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, created by Congress in 2001. The program is provided in schools, and therefore is accessible to many families who face obstacles such as lack of insurance, transportation problems, and time conflicts in bringing their children to more traditional treatment settings.

If you wish to attend the lunch briefing, please RSVP to Wendy Moltrup, RAND, 703-413-1100 ext. 5938 or moltrup@rand.org .

 

New Report Examines Homeownership Trends

Black, Asian, Pacific Islander and Hispanic naturalized citizen households had higher home ownership rates than their U.S.-born race and ethnic counterparts during the period surveyed in a new U.S. Census report released on Tuesday, October 7, 2003. Titled "Moving to America - Moving to Homeownership: 1994-2001," the report found that the longer foreign-born people live in the U.S., the more likely they were to become homeowners. Among its other findings are:

- In 2002, home ownership rates for all natives (70.3 percent), naturalized citizens (67.6 percent), and noncitizens (34.9 percent) were near the highest levels since such data were first collected in 1994.

- Among the foreign-born residents, home ownership rates were highest for those naturalized citizens that came from Europe (74.5 percent) and lowest for those that came from Latin America (61.7 percent), while 69.9 percent of those born in Asia reported owning their home.

- Married couples, from both naturalized-citizen and noncitizen households, were more likely to own a home. Home ownership for married couples in native households at 86.3 percent was higher compared to other families (53.8 percent), one-person households (56.5 percent), and two-or-more person nonfamily households (42 percent). Similarly, both naturalized-citizen and noncitizen households with married couples had the highest home ownership rates (78.9 percent and 45.4 percent respectively) as compared to other groups.

- Naturalized-citizen householders were more likely than natives to be homeowners in the Midwest, South, and West.

To view the report in its entirety, visit the U.S. Census Bureau website at: http://www.census.gov .

 

Study Suggests Stronger Latino Workforce in the Future

By 2020, one in four new workers will be the child of a Latino immigrant, finds a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Urban Institute. Authored by Roberto Suro and Jeffrey S. Passel and titled "The Rise of the Second Generation: Changing Patterns in Hispanic Population Growth", the study analyzes census-based projections of Hispanic population growth from 2000 to 2050, although it offers a more comprehensive look at demographic trends than available from Census Bureau data.

With second-generation Latinos responsible for almost half of the increase, the study projects that the Latino population will increase to 60 million in 2020, up from the current 35 million. The study also predicts that the number of second-generation Latinos in U.S. schools will increase from the current 4.4 million to 9 million in 2020. These factors in turn will most likely translate into a future Latino workforce consisting of U.S.-born, U.S.-educated, and bilingual people. The study indicates that the Latino labor force will increase at a faster rate (56 percent) than the larger non-Latino labor force, which is projected to grow 9 percentage points by 2020. In addition, the median age of those second-generation Latinos that will be joining the labor force in the next 20 years is expected to rise from 12.8 to 17.2. The study concludes that given the statistical numbers for second-generation Latinos, their future should be a matter of national interest.

To view a complete copy of this report, please visit the Pew Hispanic Center website at: http://pewhispanic.org .

 

Colorado River QSA Signed

Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, on Thursday, October 16, held a ceremony at the Hoover Dam in Nevada to approve the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA) controlling the allocation of Colorado River water among four California agencies. After years of negotiation, the QSA has been approved by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority, the Coachella Valley Water District, and the Imperial Irrigation District (IID). Among other things, it controls IID's sale of up to 200,000 acre-feet of water annually to San Diego over the next 75 years. IID is also protected from shouldering the burden of cleaning up the Salton Sea, and the State of California will implement a restoration plan for the Sea. For further details regarding the plan, see, Bulletin, Vol. 10, No. 25 (9/12/03).

The plan will allow California to phase in the reduction of the Colorado River water it uses over the next 15 years. California is allocated 4.4 million acre-feet (maf) of Colorado River water, but has taken as much as 5.2 maf annually. Now that neighboring states such as Arizona and Nevada require their full allocation of water, California must reduce its take.

Governor Gray Davis joined Secretary Norton at the signing ceremony. Many state and federal officials, including Rep. Ken Calvert (Corona), Chairman of the House Resources Water and Power Subcommittee, praised the agreement.

 

October 21 Luncheon To Feature Commentator Chris Matthews

The next Golden State Roundtable Luncheon will be held at noon on Tuesday, October 21, 2003, and will feature remarks by MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Since 1997, Chris Matthews has hosted "Hardball with Chris Matthews" on CNBC and now MSNBC, and he anchors the weekly NBC News program, "The Chris Matthews Show." Matthews worked for 13 years as Washington Bureau Chief for The San Francisco Examiner and two years as a national columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle. He spent 15 years in politics and government, as a speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter, a staffer for Senators Frank Moss (Utah) and Edmund Muskie (Maine), and a high-level aide for House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr.

The lunch will be held in Room 2168 of the Rayburn House Office Building (the Gold Room). Lunch cost is $30 for California State Society members and Congressional/federal staff, $35 for non-CSS members, and complimentary for members of the California Congressional Delegation. Companies and others are encouraged to buy tables of 8 for $240. To attend, send email to castatesociety@yahoo.com or call 202-997-0274. Make checks payable to the California State Society and mail them in advance to California State Society, 419 New Jersey Ave, SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Please note -- If you sign up for the lunch and are unable to attend, you will still be billed for the full cost of your seat.) See also http://www.cssdc.org .

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