Keep it civil

I’ll try. The easiest way to accomplish that when describing yesterday’s Los Angeles field hearing of the US House Sub-Committee on Water and Power is to thank the chair, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, who proved a model of efficiency and civility.

From there, it gets difficult.

The week that was, 1/17-23/2010

Huila, Angola. A boy jumps into a pool below a waterfall. Photo: Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters. Click on the image to be taken to the original from The Guardian's "24-Hours in Pictures."

…  “this slick and fluted glitter, / slightly / arcing, rebraiding itself as it falls, // as for tangible / seconds it’s a thin/ taut string of surface tension // that my hand feels, on the handle, / as a pulse, a pull, / a thing // in space, that lives in this world” — excerpt from “Pour,” a poem from The Water Table by Philip Gross, winner of the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry, reviewed by the Guardian, January 23, 2010

The Dry Garden: Native mallows

Few plants better connote the sheer luxuriance of the California dream as hibiscus. It comes from a clan of plants known as mallows native to the tropics, where, University of Texas botanist Paul A. Fryxell says, this family finds its “greatest richness.”

Fryxell is an authority on mallows, a family that he says has more than 100 genera with cousins around the world, capable of tolerating situations as diverse as the high climes of the Andes, hot and dry Palm Desert and the mediterranean climate of coastal California.

Talk to Fryxell and it soon becomes clear why hibiscuses in Southern California needn’t be a guilty pleasure, even though they’re tropical. Thanks to their robust root systems, many can go with only occasional deep watering during dry season. Once established, they are happiest when treated like trees.

For Californians, he also points to our native mallows. Those who haven’t expanded from

Questions, anyone?

The House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Water and Power, led by Rep Grace Napolitano, will hold a public meeting Monday, January 25, 2010, at 1:00 pm at the offices of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, 700 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

The theme is “Perspectives on California’s Water Supply: Challenges and Opportunities” and, to the Rep’s credit, there will be a whole lot of perspective in the house. Among the panelists will be the Commissioner of the federal Bureau of Reclamation Michael Connor, California Assembly Member Anna Caballero, director of the California Department of Water Resources Lester Snow, MWD General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger, Imperial Irrigation District General Manager Brian Brady, San Diego County Water Authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton, Coachella Valley Water District Assistant General Manager Dan Parks, Pacific Institute president Peter Gleick, UC Irvine earth

Bad planning and hyperbole

Photo: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times. Click on the image to be taken to the paper's storm photo gallery.

Contrary to forecasts, including the one repeated here, there were neither particularly heavy rains nor gales in Los Angeles yesterday. “I’m sympathetic with a blown forecast,” says Bill Patzert, an oceanographer with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Having carried it, this writer is too, but only to a degree. It gives rain a bad name.

But when wrong news is good news, why gyp? Moreover, there is more good news in a place with such bad zoning that even the best-behaved showers throw the city into chaos.

As reported in The week that was, and repeated here for good measure, last week, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works passed a Low Impact Development Ordinance that will require new construction to retain more rain water on site

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