Index
Tuesday
Jul072015

POLITICS/WATER (State, Local): California drought: "Water rates, surcharges rise as cities, water agencies lose money in drought" ....

* San Gabriel Valley Tribune:  "Water rates, surcharges rise as cities, water agencies lose money in drought" - From the SGVT:

California homeowners switching from sod to succulents or who are letting their lawns languish may earn a gold star for conserving water in a drought, but many will not be saving money on their water bills. That’s because water companies and city water departments are adding drought surcharges and imposing higher rates or one or the other to make up for millions of dollars in lost water sales. In justifying the counterintuitive approach, water agencies say they still have to pay for fixed costs such as pipes, pumping, treatment and customer service — no matter how much water they send down the pipeline.

The financial toll could increase through summer and fall, as state residents and businesses slash water use between 8 percent and 36 percent from a 2013 baseline, as part of the first-ever state mandated water conservation rules effective June 1. Some put the price tag of water conservation at close to $1 billion. “Just because you use less water does not mean you have lower rates or a lower bill,” said Lori Dolqueist, an attorney who represents private utilities. “All of those agencies and private water companies are being told to sell less of what they do. It’s a challenge financially.”

Private investor-owned utilities have moved quickly. Several have pushed drought plans through the California Public Utilities Commission that include surcharges, higher rates, and penalties. For example ..........................

Tuesday
Jul072015

POLITICS/MEDIA: 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump, Mexican immigrants, "rapists," continuing controversy: "Trump takes on Mexican government in lates comments on immigration" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Trump takes on Mexican government in latest comments on immigration" - From the LAT:

Fepublican presidential candidate Donald Trump clarified his campaign launch speech in which he accused Mexican immigrants of being rapists, saying Monday that he blamed the Mexican government, not the “fabulous” Mexican people, for sending criminals across the border. In a three-page statement, Trump offered no evidence to bolster his claim. He pointed to a recent killing in San Francisco in which a man in the country illegally is accused of shooting a woman as evidence that “the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government.”

Trump’s initial remarks last month led several corporations to cut ties with the real estate and entertainment mogul, while his fellow Republicans were forced to comment on whether they agreed with his assessment. Trump is a leading candidate for the GOP nomination in some national polls.

The controversy was beginning to subside Monday when Trump’s campaign circulated the new statement. The document reads like dictation from the candidate, including several provocative and boastful assertions .......................

Tuesday
Jul072015

SACRAMENTO: Education, commentary (Dan Walters), "Politics, self-interest infest construction of California schools"; state finance, "California urged to return $331 million meant for homeowners"; SB 128, "'Aid in dying' causes a Democratic split"; also, "SB 128, California's right-to-die bill, is dead for this year" ....

***Various items relating to doings in and/or around the Capitol....

* Sacramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Politics, self-interest infest construction of California schools"

* San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "California urged to return $331 million meant for homeowners"

* San Jose Mercury News:  "SB 128, California's right-to-die bill, is dead for this year"

* San Diego Union-Tribune (Steven Greenhut):  "'Aid in dying' causes a Democratic split" - "Divisive bill pits Latino Democrats v. coastal legislators"

Tuesday
Jul072015

MORNING MEMOS: San Diego, "City will keep filling lake with tap water"; Bay Area/national, "White House on SF killing: GOP 'blocked' immigration reform"; drought, "Baja California farmers confront prospect of water shortage"; Sacramento, "How to get a state job: getting past classifications" ....

***Various items this morning from across the spectrum of politics and/or public policy....

* San Diego Union-Tribune:  "City will keep filling lake with tap water

* San Francisco Chronicle (PoliticsBlog):  "White House on SF killing: GOP 'blocked' immigration reform"

* Los Angeles Times:  "Baja California farmers confront prospect of water shortage"

* Sacramento Bee (State Worker):  "How to get a state job: getting past classifications"

 

Tuesday
Jul072015

SACRAMENTO: Special legislative session, road and highway repair, funding, commentary (Dan Walters): "Road deal won't be easy for California" ....

* Sacrramento Bee (Dan Walters):  "Road deal won't be easy for California" - From the Bee:

The Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown have passed a new state budget, and that’s that, right? Not on your sweet bippy, to channel comedian Dick Martin.

The Capitol’s politicians left three major budgetary issues undone – highway maintenance, financing for the Medi-Cal program, and spending $2-plus billion in “cap-and-trade” fees. The latter two are fairly straightforward bits of political dealmaking. The issue of highway repairs, however, the subject of a special legislative session called by Brown, is anything but simple.

There is broad agreement on the problem. California’s highway system, once the envy of the world, has fallen into disrepair, with spending on maintenance only a third of what’s needed. But there’s no agreement on how to raise an additional $6 billion a year for the state’s 10-year restoration plan, the equivalent of hiking gas taxes by 40 cents per gallon.

The Democrats’ hopes are embraced in Senate Bill 16 . . . . . . . .

A plan unveiled by the Assembly’s Republicans would . . . . . . . .

While Republicans oppose new taxes, Democrats, including Brown, are equally adamant about not tapping the general fund, so, superficially, it’s a stalemate.

Nor is money the only issue . . . . . . . .

A compromise is not impossible . . . . . . . .

But it’s uncertain how far either party’s members could stray from orthodoxy to find the magic recipe that could generate perhaps $4 billion to $5 billion year in new revenues . . . . . . . .

The only certainty is that if they cannot agree, California’s disgracefully shabby roads and highways will continue to deteriorate. Even if they do agree on a 10-year maintenance program, it would be just a stopgap while the state seeks a much-needed, long-term overhaul of transportation financing that moves away from the outmoded gas tax.