Boxall back on the beat

Posted on | February 22, 2010 | 3 Comments

Map of California's Central Valley. Copyright Matthew Trump. Source: Wikimedia CommonsSouthern California has had a series of dry years in good water reporting. Far and away the best journalist on the beat, the Los Angeles Times’ Pulitzer-prize winning Bettina Boxall, appears to have been be largely sidelined from day-to-day news gathering while on a “project” — rumor has it that it’s a big read on water. But when Boxall deigns to break from what the Times calls “literary journalism” to do a daily story, pay attention. Something important has spurred her into action. This is the case today as she takes the mainstream media into reporting that the best of the water blogs* have been doing for some time, ie: Testing claims by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Jim Costa that federal protections for endangered fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta are behind an employment/food production catastrophe in the Central Valley.

“In Fresno County, the state’s top-producing agricultural county, the number of farm jobs rose slightly last year,” she writes. “Department figures show farm employment has increased statewide since 2006 — a year of bountiful water supplies in the valley — and dipped only slightly between 2008 and 2009. Growers of major crops such as rice and processing tomatoes enjoyed a bumper year in 2009. Grape production was down slightly, but still among the highest on record. And though photographs of farmers bulldozing their almond groves for lack of water were a media favorite, California had more acres of bearing almond trees last year than ever before.”

To keep reading Boxall’s report, click here. For continuous coverage of the political dogfight over the proposed lifting of Endangered Species Act protections for Delta fish to send more water to farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley in Congressman Costa’s district, go to Aquafornia, the news feed of the Water Education Foundation. *On the Public Record is a personal favorite blog, but those averse to swearing should be warned that its editor is not. This post was updated shortly after posting to add the link (and to give credit) to OtPR.


3 Responses to “Boxall back on the beat”

  1. Eric Perramond
    February 22nd, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

    OtPR is a great blog – what a find, thanks for linking to this; I love my water critics with big brains and a pirate mouth. Thanks Emily.

  2. On the Public Record
    February 22nd, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

    Would you believe that I tone down the swearing? Poor Aquafornia. I know it makes her job more difficult. But if I can’t be foul-mouthed on my own blog, I hardly know why to have one.

  3. EmilyGreen
    February 22nd, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

    Eric, a pleasure and thanks for commenting.

    OtPR, I would believe it. It reminds me of a story that I may or may not recall correctly. After Kingsley Amis died in 1995, Peregrine Worsthorne, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, remarked in his club that Amis was a shit. Some bereaved gossip got hold of this and Worsthorne was taken to task in one of the British papers. Worsthorne responded in a column (was it in the Spectator?) that if a man couldn’t call another man a shit in his own club, then he didn’t know where a man could call another man a shit.

    I may be making this up, but I think it’s true.

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