“In a 4-0 vote Wednesday, the [Coachella] City Council approved a series of resolutions and ordinances concerning a 2,200-acre development that city leaders hope will transform Coachella into an economic giant, despite initial concerns about the project’s potentially large infrastructural and public safety demands and unaffordable housing cost. …
“About six miles worth of outside water supply would be imported into the site.
“The Coachella Valley Water District voted to scrap its at-large election system on Tuesday after a complaint by a group of voters that argued the system violated the California Voting Rights Act and was unfair to Latino residents.
“The water agency’s five-member board voted unanimously to make the change, joining a growing list of cities and school districts across California that have similarly altered how elections are held in response to legal challenges.”
“State lawmakers held a hearing in Indio on Wednesday to tout a proposed $6.5 billion bond that would go before voters and would be aimed at alleviating California’s serious water problems.
“Those who voiced support for the bond during the meeting included representatives of the Imperial Irrigation District, Coachella Valley Water District, Riverside County, Imperial County and the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe.”
“BrightSource Energy’s Palen solar project will in all likelihood result in the death of migratory and other birds, and state officials have no plan as yet on how to minimize this and some of the other wildlife impacts of the solar thermal plant, with its two soaring 750-foot towers surrounded by thousands of reflecting mirrors.”
“Responding to a complaint by a group of Latino voters, the Coachella Valley Water District board will study whether to change its election system.
“The water district’s board took up the issue Tuesday after civil rights lawyers representing several voters notified the agency in a letter that they believe the at-large election system violates the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 and ‘dilutes the ability of Latino constituents to elect candidates of their choice.’”
“A group of Latino voters is fed up with the lack of water and sewer service in the rural areas where they live, and members are demanding that the Coachella Valley Water District change its election system to give them greater influence on an elected board that doesn’t have a single Latino member.
“Opening a new front on efforts to improve minority representation on local elected boards, attorneys representing several Latino citizens have accused the Coachella Valley Water District of violating the California Voting Rights Act.”
From The Desert Sun, in a commentary by John Soulliere:
“The Coachella Valley has a unique portfolio of water resources that makes life possible for the residents of our desert community. Our remarkable underground aquifer holds nearly 40 trillion gallons of high-quality water directly below our feet.
“These precious resources cannot be taken for granted. Protecting them is critical to preserving our way of life for future generations.
“With all the focus on the overdrafted Coachella Valley aquifer, the tribal lawsuit against our two largest water districts and concern about the cost of complying with a possible new standard for chromium-6, we expected some excitement in this water board race. But the campaign to fill three seats on the five-member board has been quiet, as usual.”
“The [Coachella] City Council approved 4-0, with no discussion, two emergency construction contracts to repair extensive flood damage at Shady Lane and Avenue 52 caused by thunderstorms that hit the Coachella Valley in August. …
“The storms brought chaos to the eastern part of the valley, where heavy rain flooded several streets, prompting road closures and even inundated some neighborhoods. At the city’s retention basins at Avenue 52 and the intersection of Shady Lane, underground pipes were exposed because of severe erosion during a storm on Aug.
“In an attempt to alleviate pressures on an overused aquifer, the Coachella Valley’s largest water district plans to set more specific goals and establish a timetable for connecting golf courses to pipes carrying recycled water and water from the Colorado River.”
From The Desert Sun, in a commentary by Gretchen Gutierrez:
“In the Coachella Valley, chromium-6 is a naturally occurring element of drinking water with a scientifically determined safe level. However, if the state adopts the proposed 10 ppb standard, approximately half our valley’s wells will require costly treatment.
“Leaders of the Coachella Valley Water District are questioning a state proposal to limit the levels of a toxin that is widely found in California’s drinking water, urging state officials to reassess the costs and consider a less stringent rule.
“CVWD board members and managers held a workshop with dozens of residents on Monday night to explain the state’s proposal and their concerns about it.”