Billionaire loses bid to shut off access to public beach and surprise! It’s not Bullyboy Arkley

This guy sounds just like our own local bully Robin P. Arkley  

Silicon Valley billionaire loses bid to prevent access to public beach

Court decision is blow to Vinod Khosla and other wealthy landowners seeking to buy renowned beaches, making public land private

 Martins Beach must be opened to the public, according to a California court order.

A California court has ordered a Silicon Valley billionaire to restore access to a beloved beach that he closed off for his private use, a major victory for public lands advocates who have been fighting the venture capitalist for years.

An appeals court ruled on Thursday that Vinod Khosla, who runs the venture capital firm Khosla Ventures and co-founded the tech company Sun Microsystems, must unlock the gates to Martins Beach in northern California by his property.

The decision is a major blow to Khosla and other wealthy landowners who have increasingly tried to buy up the internationally celebrated beaches along the California coast and turn public lands into private property.

The beach was a popular destination for fishing, surfing and other recreational activities for nearly a century, and the previous owners provided a general store and public restroom. But Khosla eventually bought the property and in 2010 closed public access, putting up signs warning against trespassing.

Khosla, who has a net worth of $1.55bn and does not live on the property, has faced multiple lawsuits and legislative efforts to get him to open up the gate to the beach near Half Moon Bay, about 30 miles south of San Francisco. The law in California states that all beaches should be open to the public up to the “mean high tide line”.

The decision this week, affirming a lower court ruling, stems from a lawsuit filed by the Surfrider Foundation, a not-for-profit group that says the case could have broader implications for beach access across the US.

“Vinod Khosla, with his billions of dollars, bought this piece of property and said, ‘No, no, the public isn’t going to use this anymore. End of story,’” the Surfrider attorney Joe Cotchett said by phone on Thursday. “He got away with it for many years … This is probably one of the most important public right-of-access cases in the country.”

Khosla’s refusal to restore access has made him something of a symbol of the immense wealth in the tech industry and rising income inequality in the region.

Last year, his attorneys claimed that he would open the gate to the beach only if the government paid him $30m, an amount that state officials said was unreasonably high. In October, Khosla also sued two state agencies, accusing the government of using “coercion and harassment” to infringe on his private property rights.

The California coastal commission, established by voters in 1972 to protect public use of the coast, has reported that beachgoers have increasingly complained about private security guards telling them they are trespassing on private property and forcing them to leave the public beaches.

“The issue here is, can wealthy private individuals buy up our beautiful beaches for their own use?” said Cotchett, adding that he expects Khosla to appeal the decision and attempt to bring the case to the US supreme court.

Khosla’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Khosla recently made headlines when he downplayed the problem of sexual harassment in the venture capital industry, which has recently been exposed as a major concern among female founders. “I did not know that there was any discrimination,” Khosla said at a recent event, adding that it was “rarer than in most other businesses”.



California’s Cap and trade bill a massive blow to environmental justice worldwide

3,000 People Will Die Because California Lawmakers Extended Cap-and-Trade


Celebrated as one of California’s greatest climate policy achievements, it’s actually a massive blow to the cause of environmental justice worldwide.

Richmond, California, has been my home for the past 15 years. It’s also home to the largest refinery on the west coast, operated by Chevron, California’s single largest stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions.

For almost four years, Richmond’s environmental justice advocates have been campaigning to prevent Chevron from embarking on a major refinery expansion that would allow the facility to process dirtier, heavier tar sands crude. The campaign fought to convince the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the regional air pollution regulator, to establish a refinery-based cap on greenhouse gases and toxic co-pollutants. Such a cap would help reduce the toxic pollution hotspots in Richmond and neighboring refinery communities. Public health experts estimated that such a cap could save 800–3,000 lives regionally over 40 years.

Chevron, awash in tar sands dreams, fought back. They argued that the state cap and trade system, administered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), already regulated carbon emissions and that additional BAAQMD regulations would interfere with the state’s policy. But in April 2017, CARB sent a game-changing opinion to BAAQMD, clarifying that not only was it okay for BAAQMD to impose stronger rules, but that the state supported them, and “agree[d] more can and must be done to deliver real reductions in pollutants that are impacting the health of residents living near refineries.”

On the day before Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, BAAQMD approved a motion to finalize the world’s strongest and most ambitious refinery pollution cap, a remarkable achievement won after years of grassroots, community struggle.

Cap and trade bill a blow to environmental justice

Chevron couldn’t let that victory stand. They went to Sacramento to kill the rule, and they succeeded. The cap and trade bill, which the California legislature passed Monday night, blocks the ability of local air quality agencies from establishing rules limiting greenhouse gases.

The bill also includes a host of other concessions to polluters, including giving away tens of billions of dollars’ worth of free carbon emissions allowances (the vast majority which benefits the oil and gas industry), and allowing polluters to buy carbon offsets instead of actually reducing emissions.

By buying offsets, a polluter like Chevron can continue polluting as usual – or even process tar sands and thus increase their emissions. Offsets let polluters off the hook while allowing pollution hotspots to perpetuate, condemning communities like mine to decades more of toxic pollution.

What racism looks like

Race is the most important predictor of whether a person lives near pollution. You see it in Richmond, where almost 80 percent of people living within a mile of the refinery are people of color.

The 3,000 people that analysis showed would die prematurely if the refinery cap was not put in place – their deaths will not be evenly spread throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. They will not be evenly distributed between rich and poor, white and black. Science and data shows us that they will predominately be people of color.

This is institutional racism: when a bipartisan legislature pushes through public policies like AB 398 that look at the “big picture” and “mean well,” but really just perpetuate patterns of inequality and discrimination.

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

That’s what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in 1963 to his fellow clergymen who disagreed with his strategy of nonviolence. King excoriated moderate whites who asked him to wait for “a more convenient season” to fight for justice, and said those moderates, not conservative extremists, were the biggest obstacle standing in the way of civil rights progress.

As many environmental groups in California and across the country celebrate their cap-and-trade “victory,” I’m reminded of the moderates King chastised. He knew that they were the biggest obstacle to progress. 50 years later that struggle persists. King hoped for understanding but was left with disappointment.

Tonight, as I write this from my home in Richmond, I am disappointed. The vote is over. And despite our efforts, 3,000 people will die, many of them in my town.

After the vote, the California Environmental Justice Alliance tweeted, “EJ communities will suffer the consequences, but our spirit is intact. The EJ community will fight another day.”

I am trying to keep my spirit intact. I am reminding myself of Dr. King’s admonition to always see injustice, and do my part to bring just grievances to the power structure. And since Dr. King ended his letter on a note of hope, I too will try to be hopeful, even during these dark days when racism is rampant in ways both obvious and subtle.

“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”


By Michelle Chan

Michelle Chan is the Vice President of Programs at Friends of the Earth. She is the founder of BankTrack, and currently is the Vice President of the Board of Amazon Watch. She has served on the boards of Ceres, the Council for Responsible Public Investment, the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment; and was a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Advisory Committee. In 2002, Michelle received the Social Investment Forum’s Service Award for outstanding contributions to the field of socially responsible investing.

This post was sent to the Examiner by Gary Graham Hughes

California tells the truth about Glyphosate

Monsanto is bad. In an age where facts and truth are ambiguous, a clearer thought has never crossed my mind. Monsanto might even be one of the most depraved organizations in American history; at least top ten. But Monsanto keeps winning because corrupt government officials keep working with the company to hide just how toxic one of its top-selling products is (among other things). Yeah, we’re talking about Roundup.

Given that Monsanto has its biologically engineered hands in practically everything to do with American agriculture, it’s rare to see any institution — let alone an entire state — take on the giant. But California just did it. On Wednesday, the state’s Environmental Health Hazard Assessment listed Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, as cancer causing.

Glyphosate probably causes cancer. And Monsanto knows it. The official who lead the EPA’s investigation into whether Roundup caused cancer literally bragged that he “should get a medal” for killing the administration’s inquiry during a call with the company. Right now at least 800 people are suing Monsanto after allegedly contracting non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from the pesticide, according to CNN.

California’s decision to list glyphosate as cancer-causing comes from an independent analysis published by the International Agency for Cancer Research. Its findings said that the pesticide is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Despite Monsanto’s best effort to fight California’s labeling, the state’s Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit filed by the company to halt glyphosate’s classification. As of July 7, the chemical will be categorized as “known to the state to cause cancer.”

Glyphosate, an herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto Co’s popular Roundup weed killer, will be added to California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer effective July 7, the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said on Monday.

Monsanto vowed to continue its legal fight against the designation, required under a state law known as Proposition 65, and called the decision “unwarranted on the basis of science and the law.” The listing is the latest legal setback for the seeds and chemicals company, which has faced increasing litigation over glyphosate since the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said that it is “probably carcinogenic” in a controversial ruling in 2015.

Dicamba, a weed killer designed for use with Monsanto’s next generation of biotech crops, is under scrutiny in Arkansas after the state’s plant board voted last week to ban the chemical.

OEHHA said the designation of glyphosate under Proposition 65 will proceed following an unsuccessful attempt by Monsanto to block the listing in trial court and after requests for stay were denied by a state appellate court and the California’s Supreme Court.

Monsanto’s appeal of the trial court’s ruling is pending.

“This is not the final step in the process, and it has no bearing on the merits of the case. We will continue to aggressively challenge this improper decision,” Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy, said.

Listing glyphosate as a known carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65 would require companies selling the chemical in the state to add warning labels to packaging. Warnings would also be required if glyphosate is being sprayed at levels deemed unsafe by regulators.

Users of the chemical include landscapers, golf courses, orchards, vineyards and farms.

Monsanto and other glyphosate producers would have roughly a year from the listing date to re-label products or remove them from store shelves if further legal challenges are lost.

Monsanto has not calculated the cost of any re-labeling effort and does not break out glyphosate sales data by state, Partridge said.

Environmental groups cheered OEHHA’s move to list the chemical.

“California’s decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Good ol’ Jerry Brown makes deal with the orange devil that will screw the Bay-Delta wildlife

San Francisco Bay Delta


Trump administration approves permit to build Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels

“The Independent Review Panel report suggested that the biological opinion had serious flaws and that the Delta Tunnels will be terrible for Delta fish—those that live here year-round as well as those just passing through on their way to and from the Pacific Ocean,” said Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst for Restore the Delta.

by Dan Bacher

As I predicted on election night, the President Donald Trump and Governor Jerry Brown administrations have apparently made a deal to fast-track Brown’s legacy project, the Delta Tunnels, considered by opponents to be the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history.

The Trump administration released a no-jeopardy finding on the biological assessment to build the tunnels, claiming that the California WaterFix will not jeopardize threatened or endangered species or adversely modify their critical habitat. The biological opinion is available here:

On a teleconference call for reporters today, state and federal officials hailed the release of the controversial document as a “milestone” in the Brown administration’s campaign to build the giant twin tunnels under the Delta.

The fish and water agency officials on the call included  Paul Souza, Pacific Southwest Regional Director for US FWS; Barry Thom, West Coast Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries; David Murillo, Regional Director for Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region; and Michelle Banonis, Assistant Chief Deputy Director at the California Department of Water Resources.

“Our assessment of Water Fix is now final,” said Souza. “It was reviewed in detail by a panel of independent scientists, and represents the culmination of a tremendous effort by our own scientists.  I really want to acknowledge all of the work that our team put into this effort. We have concluded that Water Fix will not jeopardize threatened or endangered species or adversely modify their critical habitat.

“We have documented some impacts from construction; and we have worked with the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation to develop a plan to restore habitat, to minimize and mitigate those impact,” Souza said.

“Today does mark a milestone in the completion of our biological opinions, but it’s important to recognize that opinions really are technical assessments of projects themselves, and the actual decision to move forward with California Water Fix will be made at some future time by the state of California and the Bureau of Reclamation,” Souza concluded.

Showing the growing collaboration between the Brown and Trump administrations on water and other environmental issues, Michelle Banonis stated, “On behalf of the California Department of Water Resources, I would like to thank the US FWS and the NMFS for their significant efforts in putting together the biological opinion for California Water Fix. We feel this is a momentous step towards the future and we feel that this will help in the future in balancing between water and environmental resources in California.”

San Francisco Bay-Delta activists strongly disagreed with Banonis that the permit was “a momentous step toward the future” – and quickly denounced the attempt to “greenlight” the project. They said the “best available science” about endangered species who depend on a healthy Bay-Delta was not fully considered, and may have been politically manipulated.

The biological opinion approves an “Incidental Take Permit” that would “give the project a permission to harm and even kill federally protected species in the building and operation of Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta Tunnels,” also known as the California WaterFix, according to a news release from Restore the Delta (RTD).

“The science in this decision was cherry-picked and not representative of the true scope of harm to endangered species who depend on a healthy San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary for their survival,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “We are pursuing legal remedies with our coalition.”

In April 2017, the findings of an Independent Review Panel found serious deficiencies in the Draft Biological Opinion.

“The Independent Review Panel report suggested that the biological opinion had serious flaws and that the Delta Tunnels will be terrible for Delta fish—those that live here year-round as well as those just passing through on their way to and from the Pacific Ocean,” said Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst for Restore the Delta.

Yet the final decision by the Trump’s NOAA found “No Significant Impact” (FONSI), according to Stroshane. This is exactly the opposite from the conclusion made by the Independent Review Panel.

Stroshane said NOAA’s decision of “no jeopardy” comes despite the 12 percent reduction in salmon smolt due to reduced water flows through the Delta. Another 7 percent of salmon smolt are killed by faulty fish screens. Other threatened and endangered species continue to decline as more water is taken out of the Delta.

“What agencies have marketed as ‘adaptive management’ is basically trial and error management. They are saying, ‘Trust us to build it, we will figure out how to fix the harms we cause later.’ That just isn’t acceptable,” explained Stroshane.

The Delta Tunnels is based on the unscientific assumption that diverting more water from the Sacramento River so it doesn’t flow through the estuary will somehow restore the Delta. I’m not aware of any project in U.S. or world history where diverting more water out of a river or estuary has resulted in the restoration of that river or estuary.

Trump’s Climate decisions clearly explained

For your sanity’s sake please watch this:

John Oliver was disgusted by President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord last week. After a touching tribute to the U.K. following the recent London Bridge terrorist attacks, Oliver blasted Trump for a “flamboyantly deceptive” speech withdrawing from the accord. It wasn’t surprising to see Trump pull out of the accord, according to Oliver. On the whole, the agreement was so “off-brand” for the president that Oliver said it might as well be known as “a light jog.” However, the decision will continue to have serious implications for more than just the U.S. particularly when it comes to the water supply.

“We are not talking about a fictional apocalypse like the one in the movie 2012, but a real global disaster like the movie ‘2012,’” explained Oliver.

Oliver walked through Trump’s remarks, calling out every single falsehood and fact-checking the remarks. Specifically, Trump claimed that the U.S. would be at an “economic disadvantage” under the agreement, a claim many, including Oliver, have argued is false.

“What are you talking about?” Oliver said. “They were happy because they secured a landmark victory for the future of the planet, you f*cking egomaniac. The entire world is not secretly conspiring against the United States. The only thing the whole world is secretly conspiring to do is convince everyone that there are two Olsen twins.”

“Trump’s description of the agreement is so flamboyantly deceptive it would be equally accurate to say compliance with the Paris agreement would likely require all ducks to wear jean shorts,” said Oliver. “And it could cost each American five fish and a dump truck full of hamsters.”

He went on to call Trump’s “ludicrous misunderstanding” of the agreement and said that it was reckless to cut and run. Trump continues to believe that the accord would be bad for business and for the coal industry, but Oliver explained that the accord doesn’t even mention coal. It leaves it for each country to set its own climate goals voluntarily.

There is one silver lining, however. Governors, mayors, states and corporations throughout the U.S. are beginning to step up to slow climate change in the absence of an American leader. Even Philip Morris is answering the call.

“It just feels inherently surprising,” said Oliver. “It’s like I just said, good news everyone: Ebola, ISIS, and that dentist who shot Cecil the Lion are gonna save the planet for us.”

it’s time to stop calling Jerry Brown an environmentalist

Jerry Brown poses as ‘climate leader’ while he promotes fracking, Delta Tunnels

by Dan Bacher

If Governor Jerry Brown really cared about climate change, green energy and the people of California and the planet, he would take a number of urgently needed actions, rather than issue constant statements and proclamations about how “green” his administration is.

The “tug of war” between the people of California and the oil industry over the soul of Governor Jerry Brown at the Oil Money Out, People Power In Rally and March in Sacramento on May 20. Photo by Dan Bacher.


Responding to President Donald Trump’s decision on June 1 to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, California Governor Jerry Brown immediately issued a bluntly-worded statement condemning the decision.

“Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong course,” said Brown. “He’s wrong on the facts. America’s economy is boosted by following the Paris Agreement. He’s wrong on the science. Totally wrong. California will resist this misguided and insane course of action. Trump is AWOL but California is on the field, ready for battle.”

As usual, Brown’s statement and ensuing interviews were greeted by mostly fawning, uncritical coverage by the national and international media portraying the Governor as the “resistance” to Trump and a “climate leader.” Brown may speak colorful and fiery words at times, but they are often not backed up by his actions.

He’s a political genius when it comes to working media, since he’s convinced much of the state, national and international media that he’s a “climate leader” and “green governor” when he actually oversees some of the most environmentally devastating policies of any governor in recent California history.

If Brown really cared about climate change, green energy and the people of California and the planet, he would take a number of urgently needed actions, rather than issue constant statements and proclamations about how “green” his administration is.

Some of the most important actions Brown could take include:

(1) Sign the pledge, initiated by the Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party, to no longer take Big Oil and fossil fuel money;

(2) Return at least some of the nearly $10 million that he has received in recent years from the oil and energy companies;

(3) support a ban on new land-based fracking operations in California;

(4) back a ban on offshore fracking operations;

(5) enforce the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) of 1999 and make the questionable “marine protected areas” created under the helm of a big oil lobbyist into real ones;

(6) stop appointing oil and energy company officials to California’s regulatory panels and commissions;

(7) remove those officials who have conflicts of interests regarding their investments in oil and energy companies.

(8) oppose carbon trading policies, backed by the Western States Petroleum Association, that merely trade pollution from one area to another, at great expense to indigenous peoples around the globe;

(9) stop the state’s two-year delay on the implementation of scientific recommendations to protect people living with close proximity to oil and gas regulations;

(10) halt his environmentally destructive Delta Tunnels plan, a project that will destroy the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and hasten the extinction of winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and many other fish species. In addition, Brown’s “legacy project” will imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

I would much rather have Brown address any one of these real problems that the people and environment of California now suffer from than have him go off to grandstand at yet another climate conference to stroke his ego.

On February 6, twelve public interest groups, led by Consumer Watchdog and Food & Water Watch, unveiled a comprehensive “report card” on Jerry Brown Administration’s environmental record showing he falls short in six out of seven key areas, including oil drilling, fossil fuel generated electricity, toxic emissions, the California Environmental Quality Act, coastal protection, and water. The report recommends some additional actions for the Brown administration to take, along with several of the same actions I recommended.

“Far from the environmentalist that Brown claims to be, Brown has expanded the burning of heat-trapping natural gas and nurtured oil drilling and hydraulic fracturing while stifling efforts to protect the public from harm,” the report says. “The Public Utilities Commission has approved a slew of unnecessary new fossil-fuel power plants when the state’s three major investor-owned utilities have overbuilt their generating capacity by nearly triple the minimum extra capacity that the state requires. Under Brown, the number of active onshore oil and gas wells jumped by 23 percent since the year before he was elected Governor in a bid to produce more oil.”

The report calls for a moratorium on the building of natural gas powered electricity plants, given what they described as “the glut of electric capacity,” and calls for an outside audit of the state’s energy needs. The groups showed how California can improve its environmental protections to meet standards set in other states.

The document recommends that the administration:

  • Use executive authority to ban fracking as New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo did, reject any drilling in protected coastal sanctuaries, and phase out oil drilling. End irrigation with wastewater.
  • Abandon the regional grid, deny new natural gas plant application, revisit those already approved and close Aliso Canyon permanently.
  • Create an oversight board for toxics regulation, require companies to pay for cleanup and to increase penalties.
  • Stop CEQA exemptions for developers and industry.
  • Uphold the Coastal Act protections. Move nuclear waste to a licensed facility.
  • Abandon the Delta Tunnels, the controversial California WaterFix. Make water conservation a priority. Force industry to pay for clean water.

“Brown has run into the arms of polluting industries, hurting the environment and vulnerable communities,” summed up Liza Tucker, the author of the report. “Despite continuing the climate change work begun by his predecessors, on a wide array of environmental issues Brown has allowed or encouraged regulators to fail.”


Read the report “How Green Is Jerry Brown?”

Caltrans is reviving its awful, unnecessary and unwanted Richardson Grove project, again

leave it be

It was bound to happen so it is no surprise that once again Caltrans has unleashed its mighty bureaucracy on Richardson Grove State Park with its insistence that Highway 101 be “realigned” to allow Interstate trucks to legally navigate this scenic stretch of the road.  You may have seen the announcement in area newspapers on May 22.  You can find the documents at:

Since 2007 concerned citizens have battled Caltrans in Court to address deficiencies in the plan and most importantly determine why Caltrans is so insistent on forging ahead with this costly project (projected now to cost as much as $8.5 million.)  Supposedly the rationale is to “improve goods movement” into and out of the County but the documents do not provide any example of how the public would actually benefit from this expenditure of tax dollars at a time when our existing roads need REPAIRS rather than new projects.

How can this expenditure be justified in light of the fact that the State Legislature has voted to INCREASE OUR STATE GAS-TAX BY 12 CENTS PER GALLON because of the need for road repair and maintenance? With the potential failure of Highway 101 at Last Chance Grade estimated as costing as much as $1 billion dollars where is the economic justification for the Richardson Grove project?  You won’t find such an analysis in the newly released documents.  Perhaps our Caltrans bureaucrats need to take a course in cost-benefit analysis. We tax-payers deserve some answers on Caltrans spending.

The new documents are entitled an “Addendum to the Final Environmental Impact Report.”  This means that Caltrans gets away with not having to issue a new EIR/EIS and therefore there is no public comment period.  However, this does not prevent citizens from voicing their discontent via letters to the editor and via social media.

More substantive comments as soon as the documents are analyze, so stay tuned!

(thanks to  Barbara Kennedy)