With the state facing its fourth consecutive year of drought, and an $11 billion water bond recently approved for the November ballot, the perennial debate over water policy issues will likely ratchet up in 2010. A recent report by the Public Policy Institute of California attempts to refocus the discussion by analyzing the “myths” about how the system works and the possible options for improvement.
Aside from their rhetorical value for certain stakeholders, the persistence of these myths can be attributed to the lack of rigorous scientific and technical information in the public policy debate over water issues. By examining the “myth,” the “reality,” and “how the myth drives debate,” the authors deconstruct the status quo and reframe the policy issues with hard evidence.
[Public Policy Institute of California]
A suite of reports from the Public Policy Institute of California looks at preparations for climate change at state and local levels. Some institutions, such as water agencies and electrical utilities, have already begun planning for change. But other areas have yet to prepare effectively for the challenges of a changing California.
After a 20-month planning process, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force has adopted its Delta Vision Strategic Plan. The plan seeks to ensure long-term sustainable management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, balancing the need for a reliable water supply for California, and protection for the Delta’s environmental resources.
A new report from UC Berkeley’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics opens with an epigraph by Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” The report details costs associated with climate change and response options in seven areas: water; energy; transportation; tourism and recreation; real estate; agriculture, forestry, and fisheries; and public health.
With the recent passage of Proposition 1A clearing the way for the construction of a high-speed rail line linking San Francisco and Los Angeles , a report from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute explores quality-of-life benefits to Bay Area residents in four categories: business and job creation; mobility; urban development; and climate change.
A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California re-emphasizes the point (made in previous PPIC reports, as well as reports from the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force) that the systems that currently hold the Delta ecosystem together are “unstable and headed for major change.” The report makes several recommendations to improve the Delta, including building a peripheral canal, a proposal that is sure to be controversial, given the 63-37% defeat of a ballot measure in June 1982 that proposed a similar solution. (PPIC has an interactive map that displays county voting patterns on Proposition 9, showing the significant disparity between voting patterns in most of the counties of southern California, together with Kern County, and the rest of the state.)
Another new Field Poll shows that the chances look slim that Proposition 98, the more prominent of two ballot measures tackling eminent domain issues, will be passed in next week’s primary election. (In addition to reforming eminent domain, Proposition 98 would eradicate existing local rent control laws across the state.) Likely voters in the primary oppose Proposition 98 by a margin of 43-33% and support the competing initiative, Proposition 99, by a margin of 48-30%. The summary of the poll results points out that the last initiative to feature eminent domain reform, Proposition 90, was defeated by a 52-48% margin in November 2006.
According to new data released by the Census Bureau, five California metropolitan statistical areas were in the top 25 MSAs with the largest numerical population gains between July 2006 and July 2007. The five were Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario (86,700, or 2.2% gain), San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont (35,900, or 0.9% gain), Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville (28,400, or 1.4% gain), San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara (28,200, or 1.6% gain), and San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos (26,500, or 0.9% gain).
Despite some news last year that California has been losing residents, four California counties placed in the top 25 counties with the largest numerical population increases between July 2006 and July 2007, according to data released by the Census Bureau today. The four counties are Riverside (66,400, a 3.3% population increase), Santa Clara County (28,100, a 1.6% increase), San Diego County (26,500, a 0.9% increase), and San Bernardino County (20,300, a 1% increase). Riverside placed second in the top 25, behind only Maricopa County in Arizona.
Home sales in California last month made for the the slowest February in at least 20 years, according to information released by DataQuick, the real estate activity information service. (DataQuick’s records go back to 1988.) Sales were down 34% from February 2007. DataQuick indicates that the median price paid for a home last month was $373,000, down 2.6 percent from $383,000 for the month before, and down 21.0 percent from $472,000 for February 2007.