Almost two out of three Californians say the effects of global warming are with us already — and that’s in a poll taken before the bulk of the recent heat wave. Only 8 percent of respondents say global warming is a myth. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has said the debate over global warming is over, is riding high. The poll from the Public Policy Institute of California shows him leading Phil Angelides by 13 points. One key to the governor’s renewed popularity: independents. About as many independents approve of the governor as disapprove. By comparison, a whopping 72 percent of independents think the president is doing a bad job.
How much would it cost to tear down the dam and restore Hetch Hetchy Valley? The California Resources Agency estimates something in the range of $3 billion to $10 billion.
One way to ensure that young Latinos take full advantage of college opportunities is simply to tell them about financial aid programs. The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute surveys young Latinos and finds that more than half incorrectly think U.S. citizenship is a requirement for financial aid.
Californians have always used a lot of water turning hot, arid grasslands into a breadbasket (see Valley, Central), but now we’re using the West’s liquid gold for transforming the same hot, arid grasslands into lush, green lawns. The Public Policy Institute of California says that’s a major factor in escalating water demand — and one that’s growing. New single-family homes are going up like mad in the Central Valley and the Inland Empire, most of them surrounded by the classic American patch of green grass.
What are the effects of urban car-sharing programs? UC-Berkeley’s Institute of Urban and Regional Development looks at the Bay Area’s City CarShare, and finds that “car shedding,” or selling a private car to use the shared vehicles instead, seems to have leveled off. But researchers also concluded that CarShare members became shrewder about getting around. Compared to non-members, they became “more judicious and selective when deciding whether to use a car, take public transit, walk, bike or even forgo a trip.”
The San Joaquin River is surely a “signature California waterway,” as it is described in a study from the Environment California Research and Policy Center. It carved out much of state’s geography, it waters the richest farmlands on earth, and it provides drinking water and showers for a good many Southern Californians. The report calls on the Central Valley Water Board and the State Water Board to take numerous steps to improve the river’s health.
Building on an earlier study, the Public Policy Institute of California takes an even closer look at business relocation and its effect on the state’s economy. The earlier work found that few businesses actually flee California. This time researchers looked at the relative pay of the jobs that do leave. The conclusion: interstate business relocation has tended to cost California higher paying jobs, but the impact is still minimal.
Allowing same-sex couples to marry would boost the Washington state budget by $3.9 million to $5.7 million annually, according to estimates by the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies and the Williams Institute. Welfare costs would fall since a couple’s collective assets would be used for means-testing, bumping some poorer spouses off public assistance. And sales tax revenues would rise as couples spent money on their weddings. Some of the benefit, however, would only accrue to the first few states to make the leap, since the estimate includes out-of-state couples heading to Washington to wed. Presumably, much of this same logic might apply to California.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office provides a rundown of the new state budget, which it says reflects “a sharply improving fiscal picture.”
If California often represents the future of the country, the Central Valley may be the focal point of the future of California. The Public Policy Institute of California polls Central Valley residents for their views on many issues. Their opinion of the most important issue facing the region: pollution, presumably the result of smog. Ironically, many people say much of that foul air comes from elsewhere, blowing in from the more populous coastal regions.