SB 939 (Wiener) Will Do Far More Harm Than Good

SB 939 (Wiener) is the poster child for a feel-good perception of a solution that would result in far greater economic harm than we are already experiencing.  Veiled under the guise of helping restaurants and small businesses in response to the COVID pandemic, the truth is its passage would lead to a domino effect with […]

Politics won over good policy, and now Californians face even more taxes

Editor’s note: This commentary is a response to “After 40 years, let’s finally reform Proposition 13.” Californians complain their state is unaffordable. The cost of living is at a record high, housing prices are astronomical, and taxes continue to rise. A recent Public Policy Institute of California survey found that 63% of likely voters believe […]

Are Energy Efficiency Programs Efficient?

Most of the attention around SB 350 and SB 32 has focused on renewable energy and petroleum but there are also many questions that need to be answered about the feasibility and expense in reaching the “stretch” goals and policies related to energy efficiency. California already has – by far – the most energy efficient […]

Prop 13

(Editor’s Note: Yesterday’s column contained some incorrect property tax data, updated numbers appear in the piece below) In John Wildermuth’s Fox and Hounds column last week (Prop. 13 and the Unintended Consequence), he unsuccessfully attempts to blame Prop. 13 for virtually all of California’s financial shortcomings. What Wildermuth misses in his drive-by analysis is the […]

Dear John: You’re All Wrong about Prop 13

In John Wildermuth’s Fox and Hounds column last week (Prop. 13 and the Unintended Consequence), he unsuccessfully attempts to blame Prop. 13 for virtually all of California’s financial shortcomings. What Wildermuth misses in his drive-by analysis is the fact that local revenues, like state revenues, have been increasing far past the rate of inflation for […]

For Timber Industry, Two Steps Forward One Step Back

Despite the announcement late last week that the Governor and Legislature had reached agreement on a budget deal, lawmakers are still hard at work negotiating over which small proposals will fill out the final budget package.  These small proposals are often referred to affectionately as budget dust because they deal with relatively small amounts of […]

Green-Hyping the Building Codes

California is on the verge of adopting CALGREEN, the nation’s first set of mandatory green building standards. And oddly enough, the green building lobby is leading an effort to scuttle this proposal.

They are not opposed because they think CALGREEN standards are weak. Their materials show they are opposing this effort because it would challenge their bottom line and the monopoly they hold on labeling buildings.

When you follow the money and examine the actions of these advocates, led by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC) – a private organization – it becomes obvious that the control of who can label a building has taken precedent over a broad statewide policy that would make every building in this state greener.

This provincial perspective and fight over handing out pretty plaques is at the expense of reducing emissions, saving energy and water, and easily applying cost-effective sustainable practices statewide.

Dam Has Broken! Water Policy is Flowing!

Ending years and years of negotiations, countless start and stop efforts, and some of the longest most bitter committee hearings in the Capitol, today’s early morning light saw the California State Legislature finally come to agreement on a package of bills that contain sweeping changes in water policy and an $11 billion bond that must be approved by voters. Reaching resolution on a measure to fix our current system that was designed for 15million Californians so that it will meet the demands of the soon to be 50 million Californians while increasing storage and protecting the delta had proven in the past to be too great a load to lift – but this time it finally came to fruition.

Not wasting any time the Governor and legislative leaders held a press conference only hours after the package of bills were passed. Quick to point out that the legislature finally had reached a resolution of a critical issue the message was clear – all major interests were at the table – environmental, business, labor, agriculture, and water providers – sending a message that the voters of California need to ratify this effort at the polls. The bond package will create tens of thousands of jobs and protects hundreds of thousands more. Now comes the heavy lifting, passing the bond that is needed to fund the storage and conveyance pieces of this package that will assure water supply and delivery. The bond will be on the ballot in November of 2010.

Water: Will the Legislature get this one right?

The Legislature’s day-long hearing yesterday addressing California’s future – water, should be a wake up call for everyone that this issue needs to be done now but more importantly – it needs to be done correctly.

The last three years of water shortages have brought us all face to face with the consequences of continued inaction on the water front. Experts at the University of California estimate that cutting off water deliveries to agriculture have cost the state more than 35,000 jobs this year alone. The losses to California’s economy approach $1 billion, and that only counts the amount lost in the Central Valley. The losses statewide for all the businesses that depend upon an abundant, reliable and affordable source of water have been much greater.