CCN’s Dan Blackburn featured in National Geographic documentary

March 18, 2017

Stewart and Lynda Resnick

By KAREN VELIE

A National Geographic documentary premiering this week probes the exploits of California’s most notorious water barons — with a focus on north San Luis Obispo County and Stewart and Linda Resnick. The documentary spotlights the reporting of CalCoastNews’ Dan Blackburn.

“Water & Power: A California Heist,” peels back layers of California’s covert history of manipulative water contracts which have led to today’s illicit water transfers.

The documentary, from Primetime Emmy Award-winning Marina Zenovich (“Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”) delves into the fight over California’s water rights, including epic battles over control of basins in Kern and San Luis Obispo counties.

For decades, California water barons have squeezed small farmers by limiting water available to them and forcing sales of their land. After the land was bought up, the spigots were turned back on enriching the wealthy investors.

In the documentary, Zenovich follows a handful of activists and journalists, including CalCoastNews senior correspondent Daniel Blackburn.

For years, San Luis Obispo County supervisors Bruce Gibson, Adam Hill, and Frank Mecham supported big-money interests seeking to form a Paso Robles water basin district.

In 2011, CalCoastNews first reported on the battle over the Paso Robles Water Basin.

In 2014, Blackburn published a three-part series on CalCoastNews, “Eyes on Your Water,” discussing “Is water banking in SLO County’s future?,” “Paso water group wields major-league muscle,” and “A crafted perception of water district cooperation.”

Blackburn worked at one time for one of the world’s largest water wholesalers, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He also was executive director of the Association of State Water Project Agencies (ASWPA).

In a crushing 2016 electoral loss to large North County agribusiness interests, 77.83 percent of landowners owning land over the Paso Robles basin voted against the formation of a proposed Paso Robles water district.

Water & Power: A California Heist

When: Multiple showings including March 18 at 10:30 p.m.

Where: National Geographic channel.







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10 Comments

  1. StakeHolder says:

    IF YOU ARE READING THIS, YOU HAVE THE SERVICE PROVIDED OF FREE NEWS. PLEASE CONSIDER A MAKING A DONATION TO CAL COAST NEWS. CONSIDER IT A SUBSCRIPTION FEE.

    HAVE YOU SEEN HOW HIGH SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW FOR THE TRIBUNE AND SANTA MARIA TIMES? LET’S BE SURE THAT WE CAN ENJOY READING CAL COAST NEWS FOR MANY YEARS TO COME!

    (-4) 8 Total Votes - 2 up - 6 down
  2. r0y says:

    Yet again, CalCoastNews shows its value to its consumers. I know that does not necessarily put money in the pocket (or resolve lawsuits), but please know that you guys ARE doing the right thing, and ARE needed now more than ever. So much would be buried and forgotten without an honest media. Thank you.

    (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down
  3. Jorge Estrada says:

    Could this be why the large land holdings within this county are WILLING TO PAY for their own water district, not the already publicly funded SLO County to manage the accountability of designated ground water basins as required by the State? See the video and decide for yourself.

    (5) 17 Total Votes - 11 up - 6 down
  4. freshair says:

    The video can be seen on the NATGEO app.

    (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
  5. just4fun says:

    “ASWPA”? Cannot find this anywhere. What is it?

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  6. discloser says:

    John Oliver language alert, but a great laugh and ever so true in many of the sewer and water districts of SLO County.
    https://youtu.be/3saU5racsGE

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  7. analyticone says:

    Can anyone suggest a way to view if you don’t get the National Geographic Channel?

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
    • r0y says:

      Or if you do not have cable OR satellite tv… I wish video would go the way of music, a la Amazon / Spotify / Pandora. Let me buy it, DRM-free, so I can store it on my media server…

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  8. Extremely Stoic says:

    He was also figured in the lawsuit against CCN that hasn’t been reported here. Why not?

    (22) 62 Total Votes - 42 up - 20 down

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