March 3, 2018 – News & Notes

 

IN THIS ISSUE – “…Lose the Battle, And Years Later, Win the War”

DONKEY & ELEPHANT

  • California Democrat Convention – “Fight for the Soul of the Party”
  • Democrat Party Steps (Far) Left of Democrat Voters?
  • Schwarzenegger & Kasich Support “New Way” GOP Group

MONEY TO SPEND

  • “Deliver the Projects…Fast,” Governor Tells New Caltrans Chief

LAND OF NOT SO PLENTY

  • Water New Math: Scarcity + Demand = Higher Prices
  • California Food Production Leadership in Doubt: New Study
  • Bay Area Exodus Driving Truck Rentals Through the Roof

Capital News & Notes (CN&N) harvests California legislative and regulatory insights from dozens of media and official sources for the past week, tailored to your business and advocacy interests.  Please feel free to forward.

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FOR THE WEEK ENDING MARCH 2, 2018

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California Democrat Convention – “Fight for the Soul of the Party”

As her primetime speech at the California Democratic Party convention ran long this past weekend, an orchestral recording drowned out Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “I guess my time is up,” she said, as she walked off stage midway through her remarks.

“Yeah! Your time is up,” supporters of her primary challengers, state Senate leader Kevin de León and attorney Pat Harris, shouted, leaping at a chance to tell California’s senior senator to retire.

Housing activists marched and protested on the floors of the convention hall, urging candidates to back a proposal to strengthen California rent control.

And at one point, angry over Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s decision to hold a proposed single-payer universal health care bill in committee, a person in the crowded room at the Progressive Caucus Friday night yelled that Rendon was a “DINO,” or “Democrat-in-name-only.”

“Free the bill,” the crowd shouted following the outburst.

Liberal Democratic Party activists in the nation’s most populous state are flexing their muscle, attempting to push the party even further left. The stakes are high in a midterm election year when Democrats are working to create a blue wave of support, with hopes of reclaiming control of the House of Representatives this November and ultimately, defeating President Donald Trump.

The party establishment says the Bernie Sanders wing and more traditional Democrats must come together. But the left-leaning base of the California Democratic Party says now is not the time to play it safe.

“I don’t think it’s fringe to be against oil money or support single-payer,” said Karen Bernal, chairwoman of the state party’s Progressive Caucus. “I think what you’re witnessing is a burgeoning, ascendant base that is demanding these kinds of policy changes — versus a leadership entrenched in corporate interests. We’re fighting it out for influence and…the soul of the party.”

Democratic delegates who participate in party conventions traditionally are more active, more liberal and more outspoken than the typical Democratic or left-leaning independent voter.

The most well-received speaker of the weekend was Rep. Maxine Waters, who on Saturday unequivocally called for Trump’s impeachment, rousing the crowd more than party giants Sen. Kamala Harris, Feinstein, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti or Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.

While it does not represent the views held by everyone in the party, activists open to that message are putting pressure on candidates and officeholders in new ways that are gaining traction. No candidate running for U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor or attorney general reached the 60 percent approval threshold needed to win the party’s endorsement, underscoring deep intraparty fissures.

Experts say it reflects a party that is becoming more liberal, as young people and Latinos comprise a greater share of the electorate in California.

“There is no question that the Democratic base has moved considerably to the left — I don’t mean just in the last 10 or 20 years. I mean just in the past few years,” Democratic strategist Garry South said. “And this isn’t just the base that’s moved to the left. It is the governing mechanism of the state Democratic Party that has moved considerably left, too. There’s been a very substantial shift.”

Democrats who identify with Sanders picked up a large share of new delegate slots last year. And Feinstein, a party icon, did not receive its endorsement and faces her first challenge from a well-known Democrat since she first won the seat in 1992. (De León, who is running to the left of Feinstein and trying to gain support from the party’s liberal base, did not get the endorsement either. Though de León captured 54 percent of delegate votes, to Feinstein’s 37 percent, an endorsement requires 60 percent.)

Pro-rent control advocates staged protests and interrupted candidate gatherings throughout the weekend to urge support for the repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which limits rent control in cities. Democrats in the Assembly killed the plan last year.

“It’s been my dream ever since I worked on housing work in California to repeal Costa-Hawkins, because it is the thing that is holding us back. But I never believed that it was going to be this soon,” said Deepa Varma, executive director of the San Francisco Tenants Union, which advocates for renters. “What’s happening is that housing is becoming the biggest issue for low- and middle-income people all over the state… We’re seeing support in ways that we never have before.”

Before courting delegates from the party’s Environmental Caucus, each candidate for governor was required to sign a pledge agreeing not to accept money from oil industry interests in the future.

“They all signed it,” said RL Miller, the caucus chairwoman. And while a couple dozen Democrats in the Legislature still take campaign checks from oil companies, Miller contends “there has been an enormous sea change in the relationship between the Democratic Party and money.

“What we’re seeing now is this idea that some money is better than other money. Part of it is attributable to the Bernie Sanders campaign, where he showed that money is OK as long as it comes $27 at a time.”

Latino activists pushing to protect immigrants from deportation are also speaking up.

De León, author of the California “sanctuary state” bill that passed in 2017, told the Chicano Latino Caucus Friday night, ”I am one of you,” hoping to elevate his political profile by raising concerns over Feinstein’s past comments on immigration. Early in her career, she referred to undocumented immigrants as “illegal aliens” and called for stricter border security.

“We haven’t seen her in 25 years,” Carlos Alcala, chairman of the caucus, said. The comment was met with laughter and some boos.

Rendon, the Assembly speaker, is also feeling pressure from the liberal wing of his party.

He shelved Senate Bill 562, the single-payer health care proposal, last year citing its lack of a financing plan. Since then, the California Nurses Association and other vocal supporters have continued to chastise him in person and on social media.

While most other prominent party leaders in California, including the incoming state Senate leader Toni Atkins, delivered speeches Saturday afternoon, Rendon largely stayed behind-the-scenes, opting to avoid the convention halls and instead holding private meetings at his hotel. His spokesman Kevin Liao cited the nurses’ public shaming for his absence.

In an interview before the convention, Rendon said he’s felt a “constant tug” between ideological factions of the party since he was elected to the Legislature in 2012, but the issues change.

“The energy’s great and exciting. As a fellow progressive, it’s where I want to see the party go,” he said.
But as the leader of a caucus that until recently held a two-thirds supermajority in the Assembly, he also makes decisions to protect targeted Democratic members in moderate districts that sometimes infuriate the party’s most liberal constituencies. He said each issue is a “balancing act” between alienating the left and pushing voters too much to the right.

Not all of the liberal tactics are working.

Half a dozen legislative and congressional incumbents, including Rendon and Pelosi, were targeted last month by local activists, who tried to block their endorsement by the party because they took positions that the activists felt were at odds with Democratic values. None of them were successful.

“It’s an indication that, overall, folks in our party are happy with what we’ve done,” Rendon said.

And the rent control advocates have not persuaded key party forces to back repeal restrictions in the Costa-Hawkins law.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the frontrunner in the race to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown, did not agree that the rent control restrictions should be repealed: “I think there’s an opportunity for a compromise on it,” he said.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was booed during a visit to the party’s Labor Caucus on Friday night where delegates called him a “union buster,” also did not back a Costa-Hawkins repeal outright. Nor did state Treasurer John Chiang.

Delaine Eastin, former state superintendent of public instruction, was the only candidate to unequivocally endorse repeal.

Despite criticism of her at this convention, Feinstein is leading de León in fundraising and public opinion polling.

Rose Kapolczynski, longtime campaign director for former Sen. Barbara Boxer, said deep rifts in the party — illuminated at party conventions — illustrate challenges ahead.

“Democratic Party delegates are much more progressive, and they’re willing to take action. But the party is changing,” Kapolczynski said. “Some of the issues you see at the Democratic convention end up emerging years later as mainstream issues. Bail reform was a secondary issue at many past conventions. Now it’s very visible. Twenty years ago, marriage equality wasn’t mainstream and now it’s widely accepted as law of the land.”

“People may lose an election here. They may lose a platform amendment, but that doesn’t mean they’ve lost in the long-term,” she said. “You can lose the battle and years later, win the war.”

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article202055074.html#storylink=cpy

 

Democrat Party Steps Far Left of Democrat Voters?

Commentary from CalMatters

One should never – repeat never – judge the true tenor of a political party by what happens at its convention, and last weekend’s Democratic gabfest was a case in point.

The Democrats’ state convention promised more than the usual banality of such events because there are spirited contests this year for the state’s highest offices, governor and U.S. senator, with the prospect of Democrat-vs.-Democrat showdowns in November in both.

The noise from the podium and in the hallways of San Diego’s cavernous convention center was mostly directed at retelling the world that the state’s Democrats loath President Trump.

On those rare occasions when they weren’t excoriating Trump and a Republican Congress for their secular sins, the principals were sniping at each other.

“This race isn’t personal,” insisted Kevin de León, the state Senate leader who’s challenging U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein – as he essentially accused Feinstein of being out of touch, foolish and weak.

“I’ve never been fooled into believing that Donald Trump can be a good president,” de León said in one of several jibes at Feinstein, who is seeking her fifth full term.

Feinstein did not reply in kind but made an unfortunate gaffe as the auditorium’s music was turned up to signal that her allotted time at the podium had expired.

“I guess my time is up,” she said. “Your time is up,” de León’s more numerous cheerleaders in the crowed began chanting.

The four Democratic candidates for governor also took indirect potshots at each other, with Lt. Gavin Newsom, clearly the crowd favorite, playing to the large Berniecrat presence with his call for “bold leadership, progressive policies” and chiding rivals Antonio Villaraigosa and John Chiang for not fully embracing the left’s current cause de jour, universal health care.

“My opponents call it snake oil (Villaraigosa’s phrase); I call it single-payer,” Newsom declared.

Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles, was equally snarky, calling for more efforts to end the state’s highest-in-the-nation poverty and suggesting, without naming him, that Newsom is an elitist posing as a populist.

“I know the other California because I grew up in the other California,” Villaraigosa reminded delegates, implying that Newsom learned about poverty at “a panel at Davos” – a high-level international economic seminar.

All of the palaver was aimed at influencing delegates on the party’s endorsements for the June primary, and in the end, none of the top office hopefuls garnered the 60 percent support they needed.

The voting results, moreover, showed that the gathering of liberal activists probably signifies little or nothing about how real Democratic voters are leaning.

De León easily bested Feinstein in the delegate polling, 54 percent to 37 percent, but the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll, conduced in January, found that 67 percent of likely Democratic voters back Feinstein’s re-election, and just 19 percent opt for de León.

The results in the four-way contest for governor were equally skewed.

Newsom topped the quartet with 39 percent, but scored 32 percent of Democrats in the PPIC poll. Villaraigosa, a former union organizer who’s considered a traitor by most public employee unions for his battles with teachers, came in last at just 9 percent, but is tied with Newsom in the PPIC poll.

Treasurer John Chiang has just 14 percent Democratic support in the PPIC survey, but came in second at the convention with 30 percent, and former state schools chief Delaine Eastin finished third at 20 percent in San Diego, but is dead last in PPIC’s poll at 6 percent.

Thus, it appears that rather than being representative of the party, convention goers are out of touch with their own voters, by huge margins. And, by the way, the same could be said of a Republican convention.

https://calmatters.org/articles/commentary/commentary-democratic-convention-shows-disconnect-voters/

 

Schwarzenegger & Kasich Support “New Way” GOP Group

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will headline an event to debut a new group seeking to reform the California Republican Party.

The pair will deliver speeches and participate in panels on March 21 in Los Angeles at an event for New Way California, a group formed by Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley).

“They will be focused on reminding the Republican Party we need them to be successful, but in order to be successful, they need to choose policies and messaging that helps them grow rather than continue to shrink,” said Daniel Ketchell, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger.

The former California governor, one of the last Republicans to win statewide election, has been lamenting the party’s decline for years. In 2007, he famously made a speech about the state party “dying at the box office.”

Since then, the GOP’s share of voter registration in California has slipped to 26%.

Kasich shares Schwarzenegger’s concerns, advisor John Weaver said.

“He believes the Republican Party should be positive and inclusive and expansive, as opposed to the narrow cast that it has been nationally, and in California particularly, for some time,” Weaver said. “What has happened with tone and on immigration clearly over the last decade, longer, has put the party back, and now the party, by and large, is run by people who would rather be leaders in a phone booth and are not inclusive enough and not positive enough to win a statewide election.”

“He has concerns about that because what happens in California is a precursor to what happens nationally,” Weaver said.

Kasich, who has been a fierce critic of President Trump since his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2016, has toured the nation calling for civility and bipartisanship in politics, and is reportedly considering another presidential run.

Schwarzenegger and Kasich are also longtime friends, a relationship forged in part by Schwarzenegger holding his Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition in Ohio. Schwarzenegger previously endorsed and raised money for Kasich, and has called on him to run for president in 2020.

Schwarzenegger sits on the board of Mayes’ political action group, which was formed after the assemblyman was forced from his GOP leadership post for joining with Democrats to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program. The group is expected to organize a super PAC for this year’s elections.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-schwarzenegger-kasich-to-headline-1519678891-htmlstory.html

 

“Deliver the Projects…Fast,” Governor Tells New Caltrans Chief

Caltrans’ new director takes her seat this week with immediate marching orders: Spend money, and spend it fast.

Gov. Jerry Brown has asked new Caltrans head Laurie Berman and new Transportation Secretary Brian Annis to turn the state’s gas tax hike into quick and visible highway improvements.

The pair describe it as a historic opportunity and a major challenge.

“Right now is a great time to be in transportation,” Berman said. “With (gas tax legislation) SB 1 we’ve got a lot to deliver, which is exciting. For a long time we did not have the funding to adequately maintain our system.”

State transportation accounts are expected to see $5.4 billion annually as a result of Senate Bill 1, a Brown initiative that raised the gas tax 12 cents per gallon and increased vehicle registration fees.

“At the end of the day, we just need to be able to deliver the projects in a way the public finds meaningful and notices.”

Berman, who got her start 34 years ago as a Caltrans bridge inspector and recently headed the San Diego district office, will replace outgoing director Malcolm Dougherty on March 3.

She will join Annis, whom Gov. Jerry Brown elevated last week to State Transportation Agency secretary, replacing Brian Kelly, now CEO of the High-Speed Rail Authority.

Caltrans oversees state highways and rails., while the Transportation Agency acts as umbrella organization for Caltrans, California Transportation Commission, DMV, CHP, High-Speed Rail Authority and other transportation-related departments.

The state’s stewardship of the gas tax already has come under attack from conservatives who hope to place a repeal measure on the November ballot. Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, argues that state leaders have neglected transportation infrastructure for years, leaving him skeptical about the Brown administration’s current intentions.

“I think it is transparent what they are trying to do,” he said. “Look, see we are building projects like we promised. Their motivation is that this rollback is pending.”

In interviews last week, Berman and Annis deflected questions about the repeal effort, but acknowledged they must show that the state is spending the tax money efficiently and effectively.

“Our focus is on a good implementation of the program with good transparency, good oversight, getting the projects delivered … so the public sees the benefits as quickly as possible,” Annis said.

“It is going to be a bit of a challenge,” Berman said. “We have to design the projects before you will start to see them. We’ve been able to accelerate some of the work.”

SB 1 funds have been flowing into state coffers since November. Caltrans has published a list of 13 projects that it has started and finished with SB 1 funds. The largest was a $10 million highway resurfacing near Needles in rural San Bernardino County. The smallest was a $1.5 million resurfacing of Highway 113 near Dixon in Solano County.

Berman said the state faces a host of logistical tasks, including the need to hire engineers, staff and consultants. The unions that represent Caltrans workers say the department fell behind on hiring in the lead-up to the gas tax. More engineers retired or left the department last year than Caltrans hired, for instance.

“They had a lot of vacancies last year not knowing SB 1 was going to pass,” said Bruce Blanning, president of the firm that represents the transportation engineers union. “They increased taxes and they need to show they can deliver.”

Steve Crouch, director of public employees for the International Union of Operating Engineers, said hiring may not be easy, though, given competition from the private sector. His union represents state maintenance and conturction workers and has a large presence in Caltrans.

“They are going to have major hiring and retention problems in certain areas of the state, particularly the Bay Area,” he said, contending that Caltrans wages are not keeping pace with the private sector in high-cost areas of the state.

Caltrans also has begun reaching out to local governments, private contractors and utility companies to coordinate efforts where possible, Berman said.

“Caltrans is getting money, the locals are getting money, there is a shortage of materials, there is going to shortage of labor. We don’t want to be tripping over each other, fighting over scarce resources,” she said. “We are working with the construction industry to make sure everybody is ready.”

Last month, the California Transportation Commission allocated $1.5 billion in SB 1 funds to 479 cities and 58 counties for local road work.

The next two months will see a flurry of spending decisions. In April, the Transportation Agency will make $2.4 billion in grants available to transit agencies for large projects on a competitive basis, mixing cap-and-trade and gas tax funds. In May, the CTC will award $300 million for freight corridor improvements and a like amount for improvements on congested highways.

Caltrans is in line for a substantial chunk of those grants.

Berman issued a safety warning to drivers around the state, saying SB 1 work will mean more lane closures and “cone zones.”

“There are going to be a lot more contractor employees, a lot more Caltrans employees, and we really need people to slow down and pay attention as they are driving through work zones,” she said.

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article202402354.html#storylink=cpy

 

Water New Math: Scarcity + Demand = Higher Prices

Water rates are rising in many California communities faster than some residents can keep up. While the state works to come up with a plan to tackle affordability issues, one bill seeks to protect against water shutoffs.

California has been blessed with the distinction of being home to some of the richest and the poorest income-earning Americans, according to a 2015 report by the Social Science Research Council. This stark division of wealth between the extravagantly rich and the destitute is displayed vividly in how the state’s residents consume water. On the one hand, some estate owners have been publicly shamed for watering their lawns during extreme drought with thousands of gallons per day – sometimes five or 10 times the average household rate. While other Californians live in communities where there isn’t enough water or the water isn’t safe to drink.

But it’s not just access to water that’s a problem, it’s also the cost. Many California residents, in both small towns and big cities, are struggling to keep up with the rising price of water. The State Water Resources Control Board has been tasked with coming up with a plan to tackle affordability, but it’s been slow going.

Max Gomberg, the State Water Resources Control Board’s climate and conservation manager, says the price of water has increased at six times the rate of inflation across the state. Gomberg’s agency is currently drafting a set of recommendations that will help the state legislature develop a financial assistance program for residents with soaring water rates. The water board, which already missed a February 1 deadline on the task, aims to submit the guidelines this year, though Gomberg says the legislature is not required to follow them.

Water prices are rising in California for a variety of reasons. For one thing, much of the state is either a desert or is dominated by an arid Mediterranean climate, so water is naturally scarce. Because water must often be obtained from distant sources, large infrastructure projects are necessary – and much of this infrastructure is aging. Gomberg says many water agencies are catching up on deferred maintenance of pipes, pumps and wells and passing associated costs on to their customers. In some districts, water has become contaminated and must be treated – another cost that gets distributed through residential water bills.

“But one of the big drivers is climate change,” Gomberg says. “Climate change is making hydrology more variable. We’re having longer droughts and warmer hot spells. Water districts that could once rely on rain and reliable groundwater reserves no longer can.”

In the small San Joaquin Valley communities of Cantua Creek and El Porvenir, hundreds of residents are paying above-average rates for water that they cannot even safely drink. It’s a situation that Erica Fernandez Zamora, a policy advocate with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and

Accountability, says violates the California Human Right to Water law of 2012, which states that, “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water.”

Cantua Creek and El Porvenir both receive water from Fresno County via Westlands Water District, a wealthy agricultural region that obtains water from the federal Central Valley Project run by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The 2012–16 drought affected supplies, forcing Westlands to pay more. In turn, the 600 residents of Cantua Creek and El Porvenir were faced with rate increases, which the communities of mostly low-income farm workers didn’t believe they could pay.

Rates were $110 a month in El Porvenir and $72 a month in Cantua Creek for water that the state deemed unsafe. Facing water shutoffs, the state stepped in with emergency funds to reduce costs and provide bottled water, but the grants expire this spring.

“We’re trying to find permanent solutions for these people,” Zamora says.

But the San Joaquin Valley isn’t the only area where water affordability is a problem.

According to the water news agency Circle of Blue, between 2010 and 2017 water rates in Los Angeles jumped 71 percent. The biggest increase was for households of four that used 100 gallons per capita a day, which saw monthly water bills increase from $58.49 to $100.14. In San Francisco water rates increased 119–127 percent (depending on usage) during the same period. Bills increased from $86.31 to $195.86 a month for a household of four using 150 gallons per person a day. For those using only 50 gallons per person a day, rates jumped $30.63 to $67.07. Both cities have undertaken costly infrastructure upgrades.

Even in relatively affluent smaller communities, the cost of water has escalated, too. The wine country town of St. Helena in the Napa Valley, which is grappling with infrastructure upgrades, is one example.

“Our rates are now two-and-a-half times those in the city of Napa,” says Geoff Ellsworth, a member of the St. Helena City Council.

State senator Bill Dodd, a Democrat from Napa, recently introduced legislation that would make it more difficult for utilities to abruptly discontinue service for customers unable to pay their water bills. Currently, he says, cell-phone companies face tighter restrictions in cutting off services than do water agencies.

The water board reports that the state spends more than $2.5 billion per year to aid low-income residents with gas, electric and telecommunication services, but more than half the state’s residents have a water provider that doesn’t offer rate assistance for low-income customers.

Dodd’s proposed law, Senate Bill 998, seeks to model California’s water deliveries more like electricity and phone services, where failure to pay bills may result in soft enforcement – first warnings, followed by opportunities to appeal and probably fines. Only as a last resort, he explains, do phone and electricity providers terminate service.

But Dodd says that with water service, missing a due date on a payment can mean dry taps in just days. His proposed law would prohibit service cuts for at least 60 days if a customer fails to pay a bill. It would require advanced written warning that service might be discontinued and would prohibit cutting of water supplies for the ill or elderly if a local health agency determines doing so would seriously threaten their health.

The bill, which is currently pending in the Senate, would also provide clear instructions to help people in restoring discontinued service and would waive reconnection fees for low-income households.

Dodd says many of the poorest Californians are paying as much as a fifth of their incomes for water. In the East Bay Municipal Utility District alone, which provides drinking water for 1.4 million people, household water deliveries were interrupted for more than 8,000 residences in 2015 due to unpaid bills, according to a press release from his office. In July 2017, the utility’s board voted to increase rates 19 percent over two years.

California is served by more than 400 large public water agencies. Additionally, many people receive water from private wells or small water systems. This decentralized system makes providing water for all in an equitable way a difficult task.

When it comes to the state’s Right to Water law, “It’s great to have this right written on paper, but it’s more important to have that right realized,” says Dodd.

https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2018/02/27/californians-are-struggling-to-pay-for-rising-water-rates/

 

California Food Production Leadership in Doubt: New Study

California currently provides two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts, but according to a new study published this week, by the end of the century California’s climate will no longer be able to support the state’s major crops, including orchards.

The report, published in “Agronomy,” warns that the increased rate and scale of climate change is “beyond the realm of experience” for the agricultural community, and unless farmers take urgent measures, the consequences could threaten national food security.

“For California, as an agricultural leader for various commodities, impacts on agricultural production due to climate change would not only translate into national food security issues but also economic impacts that could disrupt state and national commodity systems,” the report warns.

The study, led by researchers from the University of California, Merced and Davis campuses, looked at past and current trends in California’s climate and examined what impact record low levels of snowpack, and extreme events such as drought will have on crop yields over time.

California produces more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. Irrigated crops account for nearly 90 percent of the harvested crops in the state.  The total value of the state’s fruits and nuts in 2015 was $18.1 billion, nearly 67 percent of the country’s total value, according to a report issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculure.

The same report notes that California produces between 80 and 95 percent of country’s apricots, grapes, lemons, mandarins, nectarines, plums, and strawberries. It also supplies more than half of the country’s avocados and raspberries.

Historically low precipitation rates and diminishing snowpack levels could severely disrupt those industries.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack, a primary source of the state’s water supply, could see a 65 percent loss by the end of the century because of  warmer temperatures, according to the report.

Global crop production will also have to double by 2050 to meet the demand of the world’s growing population, according to an estimate from the United Nations. But climate change could threaten eight out of the 20 major crops grown in California — almonds, wine grapes, table grapes, strawberries, hay, walnuts, freestone peaches, and cherries.

The authors of the report say they hope their findings will provide researchers and policymakers guidance on how to prepare for upcoming weather changes.

Study:

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/8/3/25/htm

 

Bay Area Emigrants Driving Truck Rentals Through the Roof

Rent a moving truck from Las Vegas to San Jose and you’ll pay about $100. In the opposite direction, the same truck will cost you 16 times that, or nearly $2,000.

What accounts for the difference? The simple laws of supply and demand, says economist Mark J. Perry. With so many people leaving the Bay Area, there are not enough rental trucks to go around. Perry, a University of Michigan professor, published his findings in a new study with public policy think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

CBS News reported recently that operators of a San Jose U-Haul business have trouble getting their rental vans back “because so many are on a one-way ticket out of town.” The revelation inspired Perry to compare the costs of U-Haul rentals for trucks leaving San Jose versus those heading into the city.

Silicon Valley has arguably one of the highest costs of living in the nation. The cost of leaving isn’t cheap, either. Perry tracked the costs of renting a 26-foot U-Haul truck to San Jose from six cities deemed destinations for those moving out of the Bay Area — Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Nashville and Atlanta.

In every model, the price of renting a truck outbound from San Jose was at least double the amount of renting the same vehicle in the opposite direction. See the prices in the above gallery. 

“To help balance truck inventories and take advantage of higher demand in some rental markets than others, it’s natural that U-Haul would implement demand-based, dynamic pricing,” Perry writes.

A study published by Redfin found the Bay Area continues to lead the country in outward migration. The top destination for Bay Area residents looking to leave is Sacramento, followed by Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and San Diego.

https://www.sfgate.com/expensive-san-francisco/article/U-Haul-San-Francisco-Bay-Area-prices-shortage-12617855.php

By | 2018-03-07T10:54:26+00:00 March 7th, 2018|Air Quality|