Trudeau’s party wins Canada vote but fails to get majority


TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party secured victory in parliamentary elections but failed to get the majority he wanted in a vote that focused on the coronavirus pandemic but that many Canadians saw as unnecessary.

Trudeau entered Monday’s election leading a stable minority government that wasn’t under threat of being toppled — but he was hoping Canadians would reward him with a majority for navigating the pandemic better than many other leaders. Still, Trudeau struggled to justify why he called the election early given the virus, and the opposition was relentless in accusing him of holding the vote two years before the deadline for his own personal ambition.

In the end, the gamble did not pay off, and the results nearly mirrored those of two years ago. The Liberal Party was leading or elected in 158 seats — one more than they won 2019, and 12 short of the 170 needed for a majority in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives were leading or elected in 119 seats, two less than they won in 2019. The leftist New Democrats were leading or elected in 25, while the Bloc Québécois were leading or elected in 34 and the Greens were down to two.

“You are sending us back to work with a clear mandate to get Canada through this pandemic,” Trudeau said. “I hear you when you say you just want to get back to the things you love and not worry about this pandemic or an election.”

Hours after the results came in, Trudeau greeted commuters and posed for pictures at a subway stop in his district in Montreal on Tuesday morning — a post-election tradition for the prime minister.

But experts noted that it was not the victory Trudeau had hoped for.

“Trudeau lost his gamble to get a majority so I would say this is a bittersweet victory for him,” said Daniel Béland, a political science professor at McGill University in Montreal.

“Basically we are back to square one, as the new minority parliament will look like the previous one. Trudeau and the Liberals saved their skin and will stay in power, but many Canadians who didn’t want this late summer, pandemic election are probably not amused about the whole situation,” he said.

Trudeau bet Canadians didn’t want a Conservative government during a pandemic, playing up his own party’s successes. Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, and Trudeau’s government spent hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up the economy amid lockdowns. Trudeau argued that the Conservatives’ approach, which has been skeptical of lockdowns and vaccine mandates, would be dangerous.

Trudeau supports making vaccines mandatory for Canadians to travel by air or rail, something the Conservatives oppose.

And he has pointed out that Alberta, run by a Conservative provincial government, is in crisis. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the province might run out of beds and staff for intensive care units within days. Kenney apologized for the dire situation and is now reluctantly introducing a vaccine passport and imposing a mandatory work-from-home order two months after lifting nearly all restrictions.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, meanwhile, didn’t require his party’s candidates to be vaccinated and would not say how many were not. O’Toole described vaccination as a personal health decision, but a growing number of vaccinated Canadians are increasingly upset with those who refuse to get the shot.

“The debate on vaccination and Trudeau taking on the anti-vaccination crowd helped the Liberals to salvage a campaign that didn’t start well for the party,” Béland said.

Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said the Conservatives were hurt by the situation in Alberta.

“The explosion of the pandemic in Alberta in the past 10 days undermined O’Toole’s compliments of the Alberta Conservatives on how they had handled the pandemic and reinforced Trudeau’s argument for mandatory vaccinations,” he said.

The 49-year-old Trudeau channeled the star power of his father, the Liberal icon and late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, when he first won election in 2015 and has led his party to the top finish in two elections since.

A Conservative win would have represented a rebuke of Trudeau by a politician with a fraction of his name recognition. O’Toole, 47, is a military veteran, former lawyer and a member of Parliament for nine years.

“Canadians did not give Mr. Trudeau the majority mandate he wanted,” O’Toole said. Conservative campaign co-chair Walied Soliman earlier said holding Trudeau to a minority government would be a win.

O’Toole said he was more determined than ever to continue but his party might dump him as it did the previous leader who failed to beat Trudeau in 2019.

O’Toole advertised himself a year ago as a “true-blue Conservative.” He became Conservative Party leader with a pledge to “take back Canada,” but immediately started working to push the party toward the political center.

O’Toole’s strategy, which included disavowing positions held dear by his party’s base on issues such as climate change, guns and balanced budgets, was designed to appeal to a broader cross section of voters in a country that tends to be far more liberal than its southern neighbor.

Whether moderate Canadians believed O’Toole is the progressive conservative he claims to be and whether he alienated traditional Conservatives became central questions of the campaign.

Regina Adshade, a 28-year-old Vancouver software developer, said she was bothered that an election was called early, during a pandemic and with wildfires burning in British Columbia. But it didn’t stop her from voting Liberal because the party represents her values.

“I don’t love there was an election right now, but it wasn’t going to change my vote,” she said.

Trudeau’s legacy includes embracing immigration at a time when the U.S. and other countries closed their doors. He also legalized cannabis nationwide and brought in a carbon tax to fight climate change. And he preserved free trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico amid threats by former U.S. President Donald Trump to scrap the agreement.


Associated Press writer Jim Morris in Vancouver, British Columbia, contributed to this report.

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Corporate welfare enriches wealthy businesses at the expense of everyone else

Today’s politicians want to spend more on everything: Amtrak subsidies, sports stadium subsidies, green energy subsidies, even fossil fuel subsidies …

President Joe Biden says the handouts will “put more money in your pocket.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims they will “protect the planet for the children.”

They might. But a disproportionate amount of the money will end up in the hands of big companies — the ones with the most lawyers and lobbyists.

A new documentary, “Corporate Welfare: Where’s the Outrage?” gives examples of this.

First, tax “breaks.”

Memphis, Tennessee, has a program called the Economic Development Growth Engine, meant to entice new businesses to move to Memphis by giving them tax breaks.

The Growth Engine gave Swedish furniture maker IKEA a $9.5 million tax break. In exchange, IKEA agreed to create 175 new jobs.

Local furniture sellers pushed back.

“What about us?” asks Ron Becker, owner of The Great American Home Store. “We pay taxes here. Where is our financial incentive?

Good question. Lower taxes would be a good incentive. But Memphis politicians can’t lower taxes when they’re giving big companies tax breaks.

Such tax breaks are complex, so it’s big companies with plenty of tax accountants that generally get them.

Memphis is “pitting these gigantic corporations who know the government and have tons of lobbyists against mom and pop shops in our community that we’re trying to save,” complains Mark Cunningham of the Beacon Center, Tennessee’s free market think tank. “You’re basically asking people to pay more tax dollars in order for their competitor to succeed over them.”

“These are our tax dollars,” he adds. “We work really hard for them. They should go to things we need: essential government services, roads, schools, police, fire. … It’s just not the role of government to give money to big corporations.”

Two years later, IKEA still hasn’t created all the jobs they promised, and several local furniture stores closed.

“Such programs begin with good intentions,” documentary host Johan Norberg points out, “but they result in unintended consequences.”

He covers another handout with nasty unintended consequences: farm subsidies.

Farm Bill supporters claim handouts and special crop insurance deals are needed to guarantee America’s stable food supply.

That’s bunk. Fruit and vegetable farmers get no subsidies. There are no shortages of apples or pears. Crops do fine without subsidies.

“Only the big guys who have the resources” get subsidies, explains Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy.

Some are not even American companies.

“The largest pork producer in the U.S., Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods, increased consumer prices,” says Norberg. “Yet they still benefited from the government subsidy system, heavily lobbying to keep feed prices low. It’s estimated that in 2019 alone, agribusiness spent over $135 million on lobbying.”

It’s worth spending $135 million to get billions in return.

By contrast, Jeff Hawkins spends nothing on lobbying.

Hawkins owns a farm in Indiana. He sells chicken to restaurant owner Pete Eshleman. The Indiana legislature asked Hawkins and Eshleman to give a presentation on farmer’s markets and local restaurants.

When they finished speaking, Indiana politicians told them that selling chicken directly to restaurants is “illegal.” The Indiana Farm Bureau, State Poultry Association and Pork Producers Association all testified in favor of banning direct farm-to-restaurant sales.

“They basically came up with a story that small farms processing chicken on the farm is a health risk,” complains Eshleman.

What really happened was that bigger, politically connected farms used the legislature to ban competition.

But Hawkins’ chicken was popular. His customers complained on social media and flooded the phone lines of state representatives.

In a rare twist, the politicians gave in.

Now, says Norberg, “restaurants like Pete Eshelman’s can serve locally sourced poultry, and neighbors have a choice in the food that they eat.”

It was a small victory against America’s anti-freedom, pro-big business, welfare-for-the-rich regulations.

You can watch Norberg’s full documentary at

John Stossel is author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media.”

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Nerves on edge on Spanish island as quakes, lava threaten


EL PASO, Canary Islands (AP) — Several small earthquakes shook the Spanish island of La Palma off northwest Africa, keeping nerves on edge as rivers of volcanic lava continued to flow toward the sea Tuesday and a new vent blew open on the mountainside.

After moving downhill across the island’s countryside since Sunday’s eruption, the lava is gradually closing in on the more densely populated coastline.

Officials said a river of lava was bearing down on the neighborhood of Todoque, where more than 1,000 people live and where emergency services were preparing evacuations.

About 6,000 people on La Palma have been evacuated so far and 183 houses damaged, government spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez said after a Cabinet meeting in Madrid.

“The truth is that it’s a tragedy to see people losing their properties,” said municipal worker Fernando Díaz in the town of El Paso, though he noted that people were also suffering by not knowing the fate of their homes as police kept people away from the lava flows.

“For the lucky ones they would have some peace in knowing that their homes haven’t been affected,” he said. “This uncertainty is complicated.”

The new vent is 900 meters (3,000 feet) north of the Cumbre Vieja ridge, where the volcano first erupted after a week of thousands of small earthquakes.

That so-called earthquake swarm gave authorities warning that an eruption was likely and allowed many people to be evacuated, avoiding casualties.

The new fissure opened after what the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute said was a 3.8-magnitude quake late Monday.

La Palma, with a population of some 85,000 people, is part of the volcanic Canary Islands.

Lava by Tuesday had covered 106 hectares (about 260 acres) of terrain, according to the European Union’s Earth Observation Program, Copernicus.

Unstoppable rivers of lava, as much as six meters (nearly 20 feet) high, rolled down hillsides, burning and crushing everything in their path.

The head of the Canary Islands regional government, Ángel Víctor Torres, said authorities would ask for European Union financial aid to help rebuild.

He said damage already amounted to much more than 400 million euros ($470 million), which qualifies the archipelago for emergency EU aid.

He described the region as a “catastrophe zone” and said he would request money to rebuild road and water supply networks and create temporary accommodation for families who have lost their homes as well as their farmland — and sometimes their livelihoods.

Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia are due to visit the affected area on Thursday.

Authorities said the pace of the lava’s advance appeared to have slowed and they didn’t expect it to reach the sea before Wednesday at the earliest, Spanish private news agency Europa Press reported.

When it reaches the Atlantic Ocean, it could cause explosions and produce clouds of toxic gas. Scientists monitoring the lava measured its temperature at more than 1,000 Celsius (more than 1,800 F).

Scientists say the lava flows could last for weeks or months. The volcano has been spewing out between 8,000 and 10,500 tons of sulfur dioxide a day, the Volcanology Institute said.


Barry Hatton contributed from Lisbon, Portugal.

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Sudanese officials say coup attempt failed, army in control


Sudanese authorities reported a coup attempt on Tuesday by a group of soldiers but said the attempt failed and that the country’s ruling council and military remain in control.

The development underscored the fragility of Sudan’s path to democracy, more than two years after the military’s overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir amid a public uprising against his three-decade rule.

Sudan’s state-run television called on the public “to counter” the coup attempt but did not provide further details.

“All is under control. The revolution is victorious,” Mohammed al-Fiky Suliman, a member of the ruling military-civilian council, wrote on Facebook. He also called on the Sudanese to protect the transition.

A military official said an unspecified number of troops from the armored corps were behind the attempt and that they tried to take over several government institutions but were stopped in their tracks. He said they had aimed to seize the military headquarters and the state television.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, said over three dozen troops, including high-ranking officers, have been arrested. He did not provide further details, saying that a military statement would be released shorty.

The state-run SUNA news agency quoted Brig. Al-Tahir Abu Haja, a media consultant for the military’s chief, as saying that the armed forces “thwarted the attempted coup and that all is completely under control.”

The agency said all troops taking part in the attempt were detained and that investigations have started. It did not provide further details.

Footage circulated online showing troops and armored vehicles deployed to main roads and intersections in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Security was also boosted at the military headquarters and other government buildings in the city.

Mohammed Hassan al-Taishi, a member of the sovereign council, called the attempt a “foolish and bad choice.”

“The option of military coups has left us only a failed and weak country,” he wrote on Twitter. “The path towards democratic transition and securing the country’s political future and unity remains one option.”

Later, in a statement read on the state-run TV, Culture and Information Minister Hamza Baloul said security forces have arrested civilian and military leaders behind the coup attempt, and that they have been interrogated after the military managed to get the armored corps’ camp south of Khartoum under control.

Baloul, who is also the government spokesman, said authorities were chasing others “from the remnants” of al-Bashir’s regime who were suspects in orchestrated the attempted coup. He did not give further details.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok blamed remnants of al-Bashir’s government for the coup attempt, describing it as an effort to undermine Sudan’s democratic transition. He spoke during an emergency Cabinet meeting that was broadcast on state-run TV, saying the attempt “underscored the need for a complete, clear and transparent review of the transition.”

Sudan has been on a fragile path to democratic rule since the military’s ouster of al-Bashir in April 2019, following four months of mass protests. For decades, al-Bashir’s government, which was allied with the Islamists, had worked to impede ideologues within the military and other security agencies. Al-Bashir himself had come to power in an Islamist-backed military coup in 1989.

The country is now ruled by a joint civilian and military government. The transitional government has been under increasing pressure to end wars with rebel groups as it seeks to rehabilitate the country’s battered economy, attract much-needed foreign aid and deliver the democracy it promised.

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Kosovo-Serbia border blocked by protesters amid tensions


PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — The Kosovo-Serbia border on Tuesday remained blocked by ethnic Kosovo Serbs protesting a move by Kosovo authorities to start removing Serbian license plates from cars entering the country.

Trucks have blocked the road to the Jarinje and Brnjak border crossing where small groups of Serbs spent the night in tents. An Associated Press photographer wasn’t let onto the road. Other people crossed the border on foot.

Tensions soared Monday when Kosovo special police with armored vehicles were sent to the border to impose a rule on temporarily replacing Serb license plates from cars while they drive in Kosovo.

Kosovo authorities said a 2016 deal reached in European Union-mediated talks had expired and only proper Kosovo symbols are now valid.

Interior Minster Xhelal Svecla said that “Serb citizens should not fear anything” adding that “the measures are not against them or anyone else.”

Serbian police have for years been taking off registration plates from Kosovo-registered cars entering Serbia.

Hundreds of Kosovo Serbs drove to the border in their cars and trucks, blocking roads leading to the crossing points. Kosovo police fired tear gas at the protesters, but they continued to remain there and keep the road blocked.

Igor Simic, a Kosovo Serb official, said that is ”one democratic protest of the citizens of this area, Serbs from the northern part of Kosovo.”

“They are just trying to save their human rights for free movement, some basic thing that is in the basement ( base) of the European Union and its European values,” he said.

Serbia doesn’t recognize its former province of Kosovo as a separate state and considers the mutual border only as an “administrative” and temporary boundary.

Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti held a meeting with the Western powers’ ambassadors — United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union — telling them that “yesterday’s decision was not a provocation or discrimination against anyone.”

“On this reciprocity of the temporary number plates for the cars either both Kosova and Serbia are right or they are wrong. Thus they will wither keep number plates of both countries or take them away,” Kurti said.

The Kosovar prime minister added he had a phone call with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell the night before to talk on the issue.

Thousands of people were killed and more than 1 million were left homeless after a 1998-1999 bloody crackdown by Serbian troops against Kosovo Albanian separatists. The war ended only after NATO intervened. Kosovo then declared independence in 2008. It has been recognized by the U.S. and other Western nations, but not by Serbia and its allies Russia and China.

Thousands of NATO-led peacekeepers, including U.S. troops, are still deployed in Kosovo, trying to stave off lingering ethnic tensions between majority Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs.

The EU and U.S. urged Kosovo and Serbia to “immediately, without any delay” exercise restraint and refrain from unilateral actions.

Serbia’s populist president, Aleksandar Vucic, described Kosovo’s car plates decision as a “criminal action” after a meeting Tuesday of the top Serbian state security body on the crisis insisting that Kosovo special police withdraw from the Serb-dominated north.

“We consider as inappropriate any statements equaling the blame of Belgrade and Pristina,” Vucic said referring to the criticism of the EU and U.S. statements urging both sides to ease the tensions. “The only solution is the withdrawal of all troops, then we can go to Brussels and discuss everything and possibly reach an agreement.”


Llazar Semini reported from Tirana, Albania, Jovana Gec from Belgrade, Serbia.

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Emmys 2021: Here are the GIFs that sum up Sunday night’s best moments

Hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, Sunday night’s 2021 Emmy Awards returned Los Angeles with in-person festivities as “The Crown” and “Ted Lasso” were the evening’s big winners.

Related: Kate Winslet, ‘Mare of Easttown’ dominate limited series Emmys

Here are some GIF-worthy moments from the night:

The award show kicked off with a rap fest featuring Cedric the Entertainer, LL Cool J, Lil Dicky and Rita Wilson. Yes, you read that correctly, Rita Wilson. People took to social media to react. This is what they had to say.

Seth Rogen got the show started in his fall-inspired ensemble and a comedy bit. Social media praised the actor for his clothing choice and for being candid about having the show in a packed venue during a pandemic.

Royalty made itself known at Sunday’s Emmys. “The Crown” received won big and dominated throughout the night.

In honor of the late Norm MacDonald, late-night TV winners paid tribute to the funnyman. MacDonald died last week at 61. “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels made mention of MacDonald in his acceptance speech.

Both “Ted Lasso” and “Hacks” dominated Sunday night, with actors Jean Smart and Jason Sudeikis winning top comedic honors. A funny moment goes to Sudeikis, who attempted to thank “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels before making some attempts to guess where he might have gone. This GIF best describes the audience’s reaction to the joke.

A special mention goes to “SNL” cast member Bowen Yang, who made an unforgettable entrance to present Smart her Emmy.

Debbie Allen received the Governor’s Award for her achievements as an actress, dancer and choreographer. Allen talked about how she often found herself the only woman in the rooms where decisions were made, and how she tapped into courage and faith to keep going.

Michaela Coel, star and writer of HBO’s “I May Destroy You,” received a standing ovation and delivered one of the night’s most memorable speeches.

Another show that dominated the night’s awards is HBO’s limited series, “Mare of Easttown.” Actress Kate Winslet took home the best actress award for her performance.

In total, “The Crown” took home seven awards and “Ted Lasso” scored four. “The Queen’s Gambit” received the final award of the night.

And that was a wrap for the 73rd Emmys! Check out all of our coverage here.


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Rising seas will change the coast and the groundwater beneath your feet

While concerns over sea-level rise have typically focused on the ocean washing over previously dry land, higher seas also raise the coastal groundwater table — and that could expose far more Californians and their property to climate-change effects than overland flooding.

Miami is already experiencing such groundwater flooding. The Atlantic Ocean has risen enough that it routinely pushes subterranean water levels so they breach the land’s surface in some neighborhoods there on a daily basis, U.S. Geological Survey coastal geologist Patrick Barnard told the state Coastal Commission in a multi-agency presentation on the issue Sept. 8.

“Low-lying areas like ports and reclaimed estuaries — like we have in northern Orange County and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — have very shallow groundwater today and by the end of the century, it will become even more of an issue,” Barnard said.

“It’s going to be a compound issue where it’s not only going to be overland flooding, but the daily impacts of this water table hazard.”

With 6.6 feet of sea-level rise, 600,000 people in the state and $200 billion of property would be in jeopardy from overland flooding during a 100-year storm, according to current modeling. But with the same amount of sea-level rise, 4 million people and $1.1 trillion of property could be exposed to higher groundwater on a daily basis — not just during a storm, he said.

The groundwater rise would threaten seven times as much roadway as overland flooding, and nine times as many critical facilities, including schools, hospitals and police stations, he said. Damage could include flooded basements, disabled drainage, damage to underground pipelines and sewage systems, and undermined roadbeds. Unlike overland flooding, seawalls and similar barriers can’t protect against groundwater rise.

The new modeling presented to the Coastal Commission looks at groundwater levels relative to sea levels, using a color-coded map to show vulnerabilities for each part of the coast. A slider tool allows the online user to see a rough estimate of the degree of susceptibility anywhere from no sea-level rise to 16.4 feet of rise. (Users can also see the same information for overland flooding and related risks.)

However, this early stage of groundwater modeling doesn’t yet identify local geology — particularly the permeability of the earth — or local effects of rainfall. Those factors also play a significant role.

As a result, part of the port as well as some residential neighborhoods of Long Beach, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach are displayed on the modeling map as already subject to groundwater breaching the surface. But such breaching is largely — if not entirely — absent so far. Barnard said the discrepancy is because other local conditions hadn’t yet been gathered and integrated into the models.

Nonetheless, the information now available should raise red flags about the need to prepare for future groundwater rise, he said.

“There’s a lot of research going on now to translate this to what the impacts actually mean,” he said. “This work (presented now), we hope, puts this hazard on the map and we can begin to look to solutions for these different hazards across the state.”

Growing threat

The state’s Ocean Protection Council, which provides sea-level rise benchmarks for agencies to plan by, has recommended preparing for the ocean to rise 3.5 feet by 2050 even though it acknowledges only a 1-in-200 chance of that occurring. It puts those same odds on the state experiencing 6.6 feet of rise by 2100.

For transportation and sewage infrastructure, the Coastal Commission has suggested planning for 10 feet of sea level rise by 2100 because of the long-term planning needed as well as the critical role such infrastructure plays. Both agencies’ benchmarks have been criticized for being too extreme.

But even the estimates of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provide evidence of the growing threat and were quoted by Barnard in his presentation to the Coastal Commission. He also included input from climate researchers at the commission, Point Blue Conservation Science and the University of Arkansas.

Barnard is among those who’ve called the U.N. estimates conservative, optimistic, best-case scenarios.

Among the U.N. panel’s data is the finding that the rate of sea-level rise has approximately tripled since 1971 and is currently at 0.15 inches per year.

“Global mean sea level has risen faster since 1900 than over any preceding century in at least the last 3,000 years,” according to the panel’s Sixth Assessment Report. “Global surface temperature has increased faster since 1970 than in any other 50-year period over at least the last 2000 years. … Sea level is committed to rise for centuries to millennia due to continuing deep ocean warming and ice sheet melt, and will remain elevated for thousands of years.”

More immediately, the past six years have been the six warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s State of the Global Climate 2020, published this year.

Emerging awareness

Cities, ports and other public agencies in the most vulnerable Southern California stretches are becoming aware of the groundwater threat. But if those agencies are alarmed at the prospect, few are letting on.

Climate-change resiliency studies by those entities — in the instances where there are such plans — typically mention the threat of rising groundwater briefly, if at all. A 2018 sea-level adaptation by the Port of Los Angeles does not address the issue.

“However, the port intends to address it in future studies as we continually monitor sea-level rise,” port engineer Adrienne Fedrick Newbold said in an email.

The city of Long Beach’s 192-page proposed Climate Action + Adaptation Plan, completed last year, doesn’t mention the possibility of rising groundwater, although it is brought up in an appendix.

Sea-level rise “causes saline water to intrude into underground reservoirs, raising the historical groundwater elevation ranges beyond what the Long Beach utilities were planned and built to accommodate,” the appendix notes.

Alison Spindler-Ruiz, the city’s advance planning officer, added that future studies will “allow us to study these issues in more detail and come up with more detailed recommendations and implementation projects.”

The Orange County Sanitation District’s 2019 climate resiliency study briefly mentions the potential of groundwater infiltration with a short recommendation to consider the threat to “below grade structures such as dry wells, basement, tanks and tunnels.”

The district’s assistant general manager, Rob Thompson, said that most of his agency’s infrastructure has a 50- to- 75-year life span, and the latest sea-level rise science is taken into account when each is built or rebuilt. He noted that new digesters at its coastal sewage treatment plant in Huntington Beach will sit higher of the ground because of it.

And future groundwater flooding?

“The practical problem we’re facing is relatively minor,” he said. A larger concern is the effect of seismic activity on both underground and above-ground facilities — and fortifying those can also help protect against rising groundwater tables, Thompson said.

“Most of our critical infrastructure is designed with geotechnical considerations in mind,” he said. “But for residential and commercial development, this is something they may want to take into consideration.”

Matt Arms, environmental planning director for the Port of Long Beach, acknowledged the shallow groundwater in the area and said the port takes the most recent data into consideration when building.

“We use the best available science to inform, and adjust when necessary our project designs,” Arms said via email. “As we redevelop and modernize the port, we always consider the expected effects of climate change.”

USGS’s Barnard, meanwhile, said that while the new modeling and assessments were preliminary, they do provide an alert that rising groundwater needs more attention.

“It’s not for engineering,” he said. “It’s not saying, ‘You should design buildings differently.’ It provides potential red flags that need to be investigated.”

To see the map modeling of areas vulnerable to groundwater rise, visit Under “Scenario Topic,” use the dropdown box and select, “Groundwater.” You can zoom in on the map, select your city of interest, adjust for the amount of sea-level rise and for the permeability of the ground.

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How Democratic strategy of replacement candidate in recall may play out

Democrats have been under fire for not running a top-tier potential replacement candidate and instead calling on voters to leave the second question blank.

The optics of this effort has been poor, but Newsom and the Democrats are likely correct. Critics have greatly underestimating how difficult it would be for Newsom to lose the recall and a Democrat to win the replacement race.

History tells the tale.

In the 2003 gubernatorial recall and the six state legislative recalls since 1994, many “no” voters skipped the replacement race. On the other side of the coin, the “yes” vote has the ability to coalesce around their strongest candidate. A Democratic replacement candidate would simply have confused the message and potentially help botch the campaign.

In 2003, Lt. Gov. (and former Assembly Speaker) Cruz Bustamante, who outperformed Gray Davis in their 2002 re-election races, was, in theory, a very strong replacement candidate. But the results were different. The yes vote for the removal of Davis was 55.4%. But on question 2, the top Republican candidates combined for more than 62.5% of the vote. Bustamante got only 31.5%. A full 8% of voters skipped the replacement race (and, surprisingly, 4.6% skipped the yes/no question). We can be pretty confident that many of those voters were Democrats who voted no on Davis.

Maybe you believe that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a special candidate or Bustamante was a particularly bad one. But in 2018, state Sen. Josh Newman, a Democrat from Fullerton, lost a recall vote, with 58.1% against him. The vote was ostensibly over a gas tax, but a strongly political component meant that Newman’s ouster deprived the Democrats of a super-majority in the Senate. The replacement race saw more than 6% fall off in turnout. Republican Ling Ling Chang won the six-person replacement race with 33.8% of the vote, but the combined vote total for Republicans was 58.1%.

In 2008, then state Sen. Jeff Denham, a Republican from Atwater, faced a recall vote, in an attempt to give the Democrats a veto-proof two-thirds majority in the Senate. Denham easily won with 75% of the vote. The sole replacement candidate was a Democrat, and only 38% of voters cast ballots. But the numbers show the strange developments that can happen between the races. Only 20,043 people voted to remove Denham, but 30,946 ended up voting for the Democrat in the replacement race. So, more than 10,000 voters favored keeping Denham and also selecting a Democrat to replace him.

In 1995, Republicans won control of the Assembly, but Speaker Willie Brown pulled off the ultimate political Houdini trick of getting one Republican to vote for him, and, after a successful recall, wooed over another Republican to his side. In the end, three Assembly members ended up facing recalls that year, all targeted by Republicans – Paul Horcher and Doris Allen, both of whom were elected as Republicans, but ended up supporting Brown, as well as Michael Machado, a Democrat from a marginal seat.

Horcher lost overwhelmingly, 61.6% against. In the replacement race, turnout dropped more than 16%. The Republican candidate won with 39.25%, but the combined Republicans received 76% of the vote, well outpacing the vote in favor of retaining Horcher.

Machado easily retained his seat, with nearly 63% off the vote. In the replacement race only 66% of the voters cast ballots. Despite his performance, a Republican would have been elected to replace Machado, and combined the Republicans won 68%.

Allen, who flipped after Horcher was removed, was also kicked out, with 65% of the vote against her. More than 90% of voters who cast ballots in the recall voted on a replacement candidate. The Republicans won that race with 68.44%.

In 1994, when the recall came back to town after an 80-year absence, state Senate President Pro Tem David Roberti beat back the challenge, with 59% casting a no vote. Almost 40% left the replacement blank. The sole Democrat would have won the replacement race, but that may be because the Republicans did not believe there was much of a chance and did not coalesce. In fact, the four Republicans combined to get 63.5% of the vote.

If we go back to 1914, State Senator E.E. Grant was removed in a recall vote and was replaced by the senator who he beat to win office, Eddie Wolfe.

The other states that are useful to look at are Colorado, which has the exact same one-day/two-step process as California and Michigan, which at the time had a two-day/two-step process, where the replacement vote takes place on a different day. (Michigan has since changed its recall law).

In 2013, Colorado had its only state level recall vote in its history, where two Democratic senators lost their seats. Democrats did not run replacements, and Republicans walked to victory. The turnout dropped heavily, but it was all on the Democrats’ side. Even with no real opposition, the Republican replacements lost less than 3% of the vote.

Michigan has had four recall votes. In 1983, two Democratic state senators were ousted in recall votes. Both were replaced by Republicans on a later date. In our only counter-example, a Michigan House member was ousted in 2011 and replaced by another Republican. However, this vote was months later, allowing Republicans plenty of time to coalesce.

Perhaps most revealing is the 2008 recall attempt against Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon. The recall took place on Election Day with Dillon running for re-election. So Dillon appeared on the ballot twice, once for his election and once for his recall. He won both easily, but the drop in voting on the recall is noteworthy. While almost 4,000 voters dropped off for Dillon (86%), the recall forces kept 99% of the vote and lost a grand total of 54 votes.

The idea that the party’s candidate will lose the recall, but some white knight party member will beat back a divided opposition is not what happens. In fact, the most likely result is that if you lose the recall, you’ll lose the replacement race. While the message was botched, Newsom and the Democrats were right to act accordingly.

Joshua Spivak is a senior fellow at the Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform at Wagner College, He is the author of “Recall Elections: From Alexander Hamilton to Gavin Newsom.” This commentary was written for CalMatters.

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Recall results: What to expect on election night, and when to expect it

There’s a chance we’ll know late Tuesday night whether Gov. Gavin Newsom will hang onto his seat for at least another year, or if someone will be chosen to replace him. Then again, it could take a day — or even a few — to know for sure.

Either way, due to new voting patterns in California, experts say initial results announced minutes after polls close in the Sept. 14 recall probably will look good for Newsom. After that, as results are updated to include more walk-up ballots, the race could tighten.

California voters have become accustomed to learning electoral winners and losers late on election night or sometimes several days after. Many recent elections have been close, and voters increasingly cast their ballots by mail — two factors that can delay definitive results.

But that timeline for final results might not apply to the recall. The Sept. 14 ballot includes just two questions, compared with dozens in the November election. Recall turnout also isn’t expected to approach the record 80% of registered voters who participated in November, so officials will be counting several million fewer ballots. Likewise, the timeline to count ballots is tighter, with elections officials now required to finish tabulating all eligible mail-in ballots (postmarked Sept. 14 or earlier) within seven days of Election Day, which is much shorter than the 17-day window allowed in November.

And if recent polls are correct, the recall might not be particularly close.

The final poll Friday from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies showed Newsom with a 21.5 point lead, a finding that shows a bigger win for the anti-recall crowd but is otherwise in line with several other polls released over the past month.

The “when will we know” question will depend on the early results and how they’re handled, said Paul Mitchell with Sacramento-based firm Political Data Inc., which is tracking statewide returns.

If 70% of ballots are counted on election night and one side is up by 15 points, Mitchell said it could be mathematically impossible for the other side to catch up. But if early counts are tighter, or if the number of ballots counted is low, a final result might not be known on election night.

In terms of what early results will look like, expect them to favor the governor. A new pattern of voting that emerged in California in 2020 — in which Democrats send ballots by mail, driven in part over coronavirus concerns, and Republicans vote in person, after former President Donald Trump and other GOP leaders cast doubt on mail-in voting — is expected to be play out for the recall. And that pattern could skew preliminary results that are released on election night and after.

The first batch of results will come soon after polls close at 8 p.m. They’ll be based entirely on early mail-in ballots, which California elections officials have been counting for most of the past month. Those early ballots almost certainly will disproportionately represent Democrats, who overwhelmingly support keeping Newsom around.

But each of California’s 58 counties has its own pattern for releasing ballot counts, which are then updated with the Secretary of State. A second round of results will be announced in most counties shortly after 9 p.m. Those numbers will include some of the ballots cast on Election Day, and that’s when the recall race could start to tighten.

“Using a football analogy, the ‘oppose the recall’ campaign has a huge lead,” said Ali Navid, founder of the Los Angeles-based research firm California Talks, referencing the new pattern of Democrats voting early.

“The ‘support the recall’ campaign is trying to make a dramatic 4th quarter comeback.”

We’ve seen how changes in voting patterns play out locally.

In 2018, in Orange County’s 39th House District, Democrat Gil Cisneros trailed Republican Young Kim on election night by 3,900 votes, leading to early announcements that Kim had become the first Korean American woman in Congress. But at the time, early results still tended to favor Republicans. And over the next few days, as more in-person ballots were tabulated and included in the total, Cisneros pulled ahead. More than a week later Cisneros was declared the winner, eventually beating Kim by 3.2 points. Republicans cried foul, claiming without evidence that the flip was a result of fraud.

But the reverse happened in 2020. With the pandemic and political rhetoric turning voting patterns on their head, Cisneros had an early nine-point lead based on mail-in ballot counts announced on election night. But after in-person ballots were tallied, Kim ended up winning by 1.2 points. There were no allegations of fraud following that result.

The swing between initial and final results isn’t expected to be as dramatic in the recall election, since Democrats make up a much larger portion of California’s electorate than they do in CA-39. But the pattern should carry through.

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