POLITICS/WATER: San Diego County Water Authority, Poseidon Resources, $1 billion desalination plant: "Amid drought, San Diego faces the opposite problem: too much water" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Amid drought, San Diego faces the opposite problem: too much water" - From the LAT:

The $1-billion desalination plant coming online next month in Carlsbad will fit right in with years of careful planning and investment in water supply in San Diego County. It will also worsen a peculiar San Diego problem amid a multiyear drought: an oversupply of water.

Unlike other parts of California, San Diego has 99% of the water needed for normal usage. But statewide conservation mandates have applied equally to areas that have plenty of water and those that don't, so the result here has been water piling up unused while local water agencies raise rates to make up for lost sales.

Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall, a San Diego County Water Authority board member, said the situation is hard to explain to his constituents. "It's real hard to tell them, 'You have to let your grass die,' and in the same breath you have to tell them, 'We have more water than we can use, '" he said.

Enter the desalination plant .....................


POLITICS/EDUCATION (National): Facebook, "White Student Union" groups?: "'White Student Union' Groups Set Off Concerns at Campuses" ....

***Following up on earlier item noted here (UC Berkeley, facebook page, "White Student Union")....

* New York Times:  "'White Student Union' Groups Set Off Concerns at Campuses" - From the NYT:

The emergence of “White Student Union” Facebook groups claiming links to more than 30 universities has caused alarm among students and education officials, although the authenticity of many of the pages is being questioned. None of the groups have been sanctioned by the universities, and some, including those claiming affiliation with Princeton, the University of California, Berkeley, and Penn State, were removed after university officials complained to Facebook.

Berkeley’s chancellor, Nicholas B. Dirks, said in a statement that the group was “clearly intended to fuel conflict and provocation rather than to foster a serious and constructive dialogue among students about issues of race.”

The Facebook groups insist that they represent the interests of white students, but also appear to be offering a counterpoint to university organizations dedicated to minority issues. Several of the pages introduced their objectives with identical language:

“We unapologetically provide a safe space for white students to air their true feelings about the future of our nation, discuss and reflect on the lessons laid down for us by our great European writers, philosophers, and artists, and develop a positive program to restore the pioneering will and greatness of our unique and virtuous people.”

Whether the Facebook groups were started by students at the universities or by an outside group seeking to stir up debate is unclear .....................


LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area; Los Angeles): San Francisco Ethics Commission, new executive director: "S.F. Ethics Commission hires director with long experience in L.A." ....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "S.F. Ethics Commission hires director with long experience in L.A." - From the Chronicle:

A new executive director will be taking the helm of the San Francisco Ethics Commission after a turbulent period marked by criticism over its enforcement of laws and rules.

LeeAnn Pelham, who finished a 10-year term as head of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission in early 2011, will start as executive director in January. Pelham, 55, who was chosen from a pool of 30 applicants, most recently served as director of ethics and corporate governance for the Santa Clara Valley Water District.


Former director John St. Croix announced his resignation in the spring and departed in August. He held the post for 11 years and was criticized by some political observers for being slow to act and going too easy on those accused of ethics breaches.

Critics of St. Croix are hopeful Pelham will reinvigorate the commission and push to strengthen ethics rules. A 2012 report by Board of Supervisors Budget and Legislative Analyst Harvey Rose found many ways in which Los Angeles, where Pelham was chief, had stronger ethics rules than San Francisco. Los Angeles, for example . . . . . . . .

“The past 10 years have been a period of retreat on ethics,” [S.F. Ethics Commission critic Larry] Bush said of St. Croix’s tenure. “I think she’s an excellent choice. It’s been a long time coming.”


As director, Pelham will be able to push for voter-approved reform because the Ethics Commission has the authority to place measures on the ballot. Her appointment comes after city voters passed Proposition C earlier this month strengthening the city’s ethics laws pertaining to lobbyists ...............


POLITICS/EDUCATION: University of Southern California, Service Employees International Union Local 721: "USC faculty moves ahead with union election plan, despite warning of increased hostility" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "USC faculty moves ahead with union election plan, despite warning of increased hostility" - From the LAT:

USC's adjunct and part-time faculty filed paperwork Tuesday to hold union elections, a move that supporters say will lead to improved working conditions but administrators have warned could lead to less collegiality on campus. The non-tenure track professors were organized by Service Employees International Union Local 721, which represents bargaining units at Los Angeles County and city.

There are nearly 6,600 faculty at USC and nearly 5,000 are on a non-tenure track, according to the university's website. Tenured professors enjoy greater job protections and higher pay than their peers. If the USC faculty's petition is approved by the National Labor Relations Board, an election is expected to be held early next year. And if a majority of the eligible professors vote for unionization, the first contract talks could follow soon thereafter.

The petition drive for the USC election comes as adjunct faculty at colleges and universities, including Mills College and California College of the Arts in Oakland, San Francisco Art Institute and Laguna College of Art and Design, have formed unions recently. Adjuncts at Whittier College negotiated a pay raise and a professional development fund in their first union contract this year. However, at the California Institute of the Arts, a unionization effort stalled this year.

Part-time and untenured faculty at many public universities, including the University of California and California State University, long have been represented by unions. USC faculty who support the move say it could lead to better working conditions, including more job stability and higher pay . . . . . . . .


In a letter to faculty earlier this year, [USC Provost Michael W.] Quick said he thought a faculty union would be detrimental to USC’s atmosphere .................


SACRAMENTO: California Public Employees' Retirement System, disclosure, private equity investment fees/bonuses: "CalPERS discloses private equity investment fees: $1.1 billion"; "CalPERS paid $3.4 billion in private equity bonuses since 1999"; "Calpers' Hidden Private Equity Fees: $3.4 Billion"; also, "CalPERS fees disclosure raises question of whether private equity returns are worth it" ....

***California Public Employees' Retirement System, disclosure, private equipty investment fees/bonuses....

* Los Angeles Times:  "CalPERS paid $3.4 billion in private equity bonuses since 1990"

* Sacramento Bee:  "CalPERS discloses private equity investment fees: $1.1 billion"

* Wall Street Journal:  "Calpers' Hidden Private Equity Fees: $3.4 Billion" - "Disclosure by the largest pension fund in the U.S. stokes debate over whether such investments are worth the expense."


* Los Angeles Times:  "CalPERS fee disclosure raises question of whether private equity returns are worth it"