David Zetland on political influence, insider trading and Cadiz

Manhattan Beach Country Club, owned by Keith Brackpool, CEO of Cadiz, Inc

DAVID ZETLAND, the Berkeley-based water economist and publisher of Aguanomics, today follows up on Cadiz’s June 5 stock surge and the market position of Cadiz CEO Keith Brackpool: Who knew what when in advance of the Cadiz-issued endorsements of the Cadiz groundwater project by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt?

“What intrigues me is that Brackpool took options on 60,000 shares on May 22,” Zetland writes. “They were worth about $400,000 then and about $750,000 two weeks later. (He only had 90,000 shares before exercising that option. Was it “in the money”? Did he sell those shares?…)”

“Bottom Line,” Zetland writes, “It’s fine to buy and sell water to make a profit. It’s NOT fine to use political influence to change the value of your water trading

Cadiz Inc woos Riverside utility for Mojave groundwater mining project

WESTERN Municipal Water District in Riverside is among five Southern California suppliers that have expressed interest in a controversial proposal to store and draw water from ancient aquifers in the Mojave Desert, reports the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

The $200 million project in the Cadiz Valley, about 40 miles east of Twentynine Palms, would involve burying 44 miles of pipeline to move surplus Colorado River water to an underground basin the size of Rhode Island.

via Aquafornia

To read Chance of Rain on the legacy of political palm-greasing behind the Cadiz project, click on the dollar bill.

To read Chance of Rain about how palms are greased, click on the five dollar bill.

To read Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Hiltzik, along with a long list of distinguished Los Angeles Times reporters on Cadiz, click on the masthead.

This post has been updated. The links have been increased.

Smell something? It’s Cadiz, Inc

PULITZER PRIZE-winning columnist Michael Hiltzik is one of a formidable team of Los Angeles Times reporters, including Frank Clifford, Tony Perry, Bettina Boxall and Duke Helfand, who have been all over the Cadiz, Inc ground water mining wheeze for the last ten years. Today, Hiltzik is back in the Times doing what he does best: Calling a stinker a stinker.

From his report:

People who say that nothing’s harder to get rid of than a bad penny must never have met Keith Brackpool.

 The British-born promoter, who has spent the last dozen years pushing a scheme to pump water to Southern California from beneath 35,000 acres his Cadiz Inc. owns in the Mojave Desert, just won’t go away.

 On the contrary, he continues to attract political sycophants happy to attest to his wisdom in the ways of water policy — while they accept campaign contributions and consulting fees from

The rich are different

“HIGH net worth individuals, non-profit organizations and corporations often have different needs when it comes to their philanthropy,” begins the “What We Do” section of the Andy Spahn & Associates website.

Indeed. The rich are different. Few appreciate how different so acutely as the Universal City-based lobbyist Spahn. On Thursday June 25th, the former Dreamworks executive will be hosting a fundraiser for Darrell Steinberg, President pro Tempore of the California State Senate. It’s a bring your own wallet affair. A gift of $1,000 qualifies a guest as a “supporter,” of $3,900 a “friend,” and $7,800 a “co-chair.” 

This being in California, nearly half of the “co-chairs” listed on the invitation are key figures in water.

There are Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaires and Central Valley land owners who the Contra Costa Times reports have gleaned approximately 20 cents of every dollar of a roughly $200m environmental water

Cadiz, Inc boondoggle is back

CALIFORNIA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has endorsed plans by private speculator Cadiz, Inc to tap Mojave ground water, reports the Los Angeles Business Journal. The Cadiz plan, according to a statement from the governor, “will sustainably recover more than one million acre feet of water that would otherwise be lost to evaporation and make it available to help provide a reliable source of water for Southern California.”

The Cadiz project proposes storing Colorado River Water in a Mojave aquifer in wet years and pumping it to Southern Californian communities in dry ones. Among its problems are that it involves taking out far more water from the desert than naturally refills every year and that, cost-wise, experts say it’s a boondoggle.

The Cadiz self-styled “dry year supply project” is best known, however, as a synonym for croneyism. As a succession of Los Angeles Times stories during the last nine

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