Buying Hotel Instead of…..

Excellent article from California Globe examines the recent strategy put forward by the city of Sacramento compared to what Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Texas and Union Gospel Mission, Sacramento, is doing.

An excerpt.

“Just look at what the City of Sacramento says: “The City and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency will work with Danco Communities, the project developer, to turn the Best Western Sutter House at 1100 H Street into 92 units with bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchenettes,” the City says on its website.

“Remember, the amount of this project is $23 million.

“What could that $23 million grant do for the city’s 11,000 homeless walking the streets at night, and sleeping on them during the day?

“San Antonio’s Haven For Hope Transformational Campus and Courtyard had a $20 million annual budget in 2018. Haven for Hope coordinates and delivers an efficient system of care for the homelessness in San Antonio, Texas. They have been a nationwide model for effectiveness. At the 22-acre campus, they serve 1,700 people daily in-residence on the campus, and another 700 in a low-barrier emergency shelter.

“They bring multiple service providers to their campus to treat those in residential care with substance abuse and mental-health treatment, and partner with 140 organizations to provide 300 different services to the homeless including employment counseling, education, life-skills training, legal services, childcare, and many other necessary services and programs.

“And they do this annually for what Mayor Steinberg wants to spend on remodeling one more hotel into 92 apartments.

“Despite spending millions on futile “solutions” like tiny homes, FEMA trailers, and renovated hotel rooms for the city’s growing homeless population, Sacramento’s 11,000 transients are not receiving the treatments offered at Haven for Hope.

“Nor are they receiving the residential care offered at 9-month program at the Union Gospel Mission Sacramento, which the Globe recently featured. “We feed 8,500 to 9,000 meals a month to the homeless, and even continued during COVID lockdowns,” Pastor Tim Lane told the Globe. Union Gospel Mission offers a Bible-based Twelve Step Course and Heart of Addiction program, an Anger Management Course, Weekly Counseling with their Chaplains, Assigned duties to serve the homeless community and Aftercare with attaining jobs, schooling, finances, reconciliations, transportation, and housing.

“And they do this annually for about one-fifth of the cost of Mayor Steinberg’s one-time hotel renovation.

“Union Gospel Mission and Haven for Hope have proven track records because at the root of their programs aren’t fancy apartments or kitsch tiny homes, but life-changing mental health and drug addiction treatment and faith-based and other programs focused on the individuals.

“The governor and these big-city mayors are way out of line with these wasteful schemes spending mountains of taxpayer dollars. Do they even care about the broken people living on the streets, or is handing out money obligatory, or even too intoxicating?

“Reminds me of the line from Top Gun: “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”

Retrieved January 21, 2022 from Sacramento Mayor Steinberg Spending $23 Million on Another Homeless Hotel – California Globe

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Releasing More Water

Good idea, as reported by California Globe.

An excerpt.

“The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced on Thursday that they would be releasing more stored water through the State Water Project, due to several weeks of wet weather, increasing the allocation from 0% to 15%.

“In early December, the DWR set the initial 2022 State Water Project allocation at 0% for the first time in project history. The decision by the State Water Project, which is one water source out of several for 29 districts that covers 27 million residents and 750,000 acres of farmland in California through a system of dams, reservoirs, and canals, set many areas of the state into a panic due to their reliance on Water Project water.

“The decision was spurred by the ongoing drought, with factors including higher temperatures, a reduced snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, lower precipitation levels, and the state releasing large amounts of water solely for environmental reasons.

However, shortly after the DWR announcement, numerous winter storms occurred throughout California for most of December and early January. Record snow and rain amounts fell in numerous parts of the state, including the most snow to fall in Lake Tahoe since 1960. While the drought is still in effect for California, along with ongoing water reduction measures, the rain/precipitation from the winter storms brought California out of the worst drought category, pushed snowpack amounts to 160%, caused reservoir levels to rise, and even naturally brought back coho salmon populations without help from the state.

“As a result, DWR officials announced that water agencies will now be getting 15% of their requested amount of water instead of the initial announcement of 0%. However, officials noted that drought conditions persist, and more precipitation is needed to normalize water amounts and to refill state reservoirs such as their largest, Lake Oroville.

“December storms enabled DWR to convey and store water in San Luis Reservoir, which allows for a modest increase in water deliveries this year,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth on Thursday. “But severe drought is not over. Dry conditions have already returned in January. Californians must continue to conserve as the state plans for a third dry year.”

“The next two months are traditionally the heart of California’s rainy season. We need more storms to keep filling up our reservoirs to make up for two critically dry years.”

“With mandatory water restrictions now underway, and more restrictions likely throughout the year if weather remains dry, water experts stressed that while permanent changes were needed to how water is used in the state, it should not come to as a cost to agriculture or urban usage.

“The DWR needs to focus again on people,” said water engineer Shane Alexander, who has worked on numerous water projects in California and with other Western states currently affected by the drought, to the Globe on Thursday. “The environment, you know, great. Wild animals deserve it too. It’s nature. But the state has been taking water away from farms and from people for too long now. And look. Farms are failing, smaller towns aren’t getting as much. Agriculture is a huge part of California, not just in terms of the economy but also in keeping the nation fed, especially during the winter. And as for keeping water flowing to urban areas, well, California wants to stop the number of people leaving the state. There are many reasons for it, I don’t want to get into it. But, if the state doesn’t have to say ‘We’re low on water’ or ‘We’re running out of water,’ then that’s a good basic need to have down as a building block to attract people.”

“The state hasn’t been looking at water the right way for some time now. Bringing back some water, while I’m not convinced they’ve changed their ways, it’s a good step. If there is anything Californians can agree on, it’s that we need more rain. Not flood amounts or enough to cause landslides. But enough to bring us back.” Retrieved January 21, 2022 from California Increasing State Water Release from 0% to 15% of Requested, Following Winter Storms – California Globe

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People Prefer Suburbs

More research proves the point as reported in this article from New Geography.

An excerpt.

“Important new ground was broken by Judge Clark, Senior Director of and Research at the Cicero Institute in his Breakthrough Institute Journal essay. In “Sprawl is Good: The Environmental Case for Suburbia,“ he topples foundational assumptions underlying the planning battle against urban expansion (the ideological term is “urban sprawl”).

“Issuing a challenge, Glock talks of the “Long Triumph of Sprawl,” describing a “clear global and long-term preference,” while the “pandemic has only made the shift toward the modern, sprawling city more rapid and obvious.”

“Glock suggest that “instead of warring against sprawling cars, planners and environmentalist should recognize how the green spaces of suburbia allowed to autonomous electric vehicles in green single-family houses can provide both the affordability and sustainability most Americans crave.“

“Glock starts with “agglomeration effects,” often cited to justify higher densities and to discourage suburbanization.

“Noting that there can be negative agglomeration effects, Glock offers congestion, crime, and pollution as examples. He says that: “that these problems explain why, as technology has evolved, people try to get more of the benefits of living near each other — the agglomeration effects — without the problems of living directly on top of one another.” This has been the historic driver of urban expansion.

“Glock notes that “sprawling and car-dependent cities have grown more rapidly than dense ones for decades and are far more affordable.” The former is explained by the latter. People are moving to sprawling, car-dependent cities because they are affordable.

“In a strong rebuke of the most obvious densification, Glock shows that taller buildings are more expensive: “Going from five to ten stories increases the cost of each square foot by over 50 percent.” He explains, “Those costs are the result of more—and more energy-hungry—material,” a point often emphasized by Tony Recsei, President of Save our Suburbs in Sydney.

“But there’s more. Glock cites the inherent climate benefits of California, which are muted since its s prohibitive cost of living has repelled 2.7 million net domestic migrants since 2020, as many people as live in the city of Chicago. Glock points out that:

“Every home not built, no matter where it is located, is keeping at least two more people out of California, which is effectively doubling those persons’ carbon emissions. It is difficult to imagine many laws with such a deleterious climate impact, made worse because it exacerbates what attorney Jennifer Hernandez has called California’s “Green Jim Crow.”

“In many metros, agglomeration economies have been swamped by diseconomies that have reverberated to the detriment of people, especially the middle class, and worse, those with lower incomes.

“Ultimate Agglomeration Diseconomy: A Lower Standard of Living

“On balance, agglomeration effects should be positive, and people should be beneficiaries.

“In Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle-Class the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported that the future of the middle-class is threatened by costs of living that are rising far faster than incomes. Moreover, OECD indicated that “Housing has been the main driver of rising middle-class expenditure,” and that the largest housing cost increases are in the costs of ownership rather than rents.

“This was not always so. As late as 1970, there was slight variation in housing affordability between major US metropolitan areas. Virtually all major metropolitan areas of the United States were affordable — with median multiples (price-to-income ratios) of 3.0 or less. Australia, Canada and New Zealand retained similar affordability until the early 1990s.

“This was to end, as housing and land use regulations were strengthened, and especially with the urban growth boundaries and greenbelts of urban containment policy. The planning literature indicates, for example, that urban growth boundaries not only drive up land values throughout the contained urban area, but also that they are intended to (Figure 1). Advocates discount this effect, assuming that densities would increase, lowering per square foot land costs and preserving housing affordability.”

Retrieved January 14, 2022 from Ultimate Agglomeration Diseconomy: The Standard of Living | Newgeography.com

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Local Homeless Program that Works

Story from California Globe.

An excerpt.

“Union Gospel Mission Sacramento takes in dozens of drug addicted homeless men every year, helps them get sober, educated, acquire skills, learn jobs, and graduates them back into society. They could teach cities and counties how to do this.

“Faith. Hope. Charity. And discipline.

“The Globe met with Pastor Tim Lane who runs the Union Gospel Mission in downtown Sacramento. He gave a tour of their facilities, and we talked for two hours about the work they do at the Mission, and why it works.

“He explained: “To see God take someone from the hard life of homelessness and the streets, and reintegrate them into a warm, loving, community of fellow believers.”

“As they say on their website, they have been “restoring dignity to broken lives for 60 years by providing meals to hungry men, women, and children.”

“Union Gospel Mission offers food, clothing, showers and beds to the homeless living on the street not yet ready to join a program of change. The in-house life-changing program is only for men, but they hope to be able to provide a similar program to women some day.

“We feed 8,500 to 9,000 meals a month to the homeless, and even continued during COVID lockdowns,” Pastor Lane said.” During Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, the mission prepares 440 food boxes to families unable to adequately feed their children, and they give away 300-holiday food boxes with all the trimmings.

“They take donations of clothing and household items, and collect, sort, and distribute this clothing and necessities 365 days a year in their men’s and women’s clothing closets.

“Pastor Lane said he is often accused of “supporting” the homeless as some sort of “advocate.” While he said he loves all of them, in or out of the program or on the streets, they don’t have the right to live on the streets doing whatever they want.

“Of the Mission, “We are not a welfare state. We don’t hand out tents, and they should not be allowed to live on the streets anyway,” Pastor Lane said. Notably he added, “We are responsible for the sidewalk (legally), but aren’t allowed to move tents. I don’t believe in letting them live on the streets. I’m not some homeless advocate.”

“Once in the Union Gospel Mission program, Pastor Lane said there are rules the men must abide by:

  • No drugs or alcohol
  • No smoking
  • No pornographic materials (or Victoria Secret catalogues stuffed under the mattress)
  • The men must attend daily Chapel services nine times a week, twice on Friday and twice on Sunday.

“Upon successful completion of the probationary period, candidates will proceed to:

  • Bible-based Twelve Step Course and Heart of Addiction Workbook
  • Anger Management Course
  • Weekly Counseling with one of our Chaplains
  • Assigned duties to serve the homeless community
  • Aftercare with attaining jobs, schooling, finances, reconciliations, transportation, and housing

“As for personal appearance requirements during the on-site program, the men must:

  • Shower and shave daily, keep appearance trimmed and neat.
  • Proper footwear must be worn at all times.
  • Dress appropriately for Chapel; collared shirts are the ONLY SHIRTS ACCEPTABLE. All shirts with buttons must be buttoned up. Long pants must be worn.
  • Men may wear shorts, swimming trunks, and tank tops may be worn but are restricted to after business hours.
  • Men must be present for prayer over the meal or they will not be allowed to eat.

“We’ve gotten this screwed up idea that it is someone else’s fault. We will not allow them to make excuses,” Pastor Lane said. And the men are required to help assist in the daily operations of the Union Gospel Mission with assigned jobs each.

“The Mission explains: “One of these jobs will be assigned and the program man is accountable to be at that job during its hours. It is your responsibility to know these policies and procedures. You will be tested. We hope that your stay will be the beginning of a long fruitful walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Pastor Lane said once one of their men graduate from the program, “they are not pushed out the door into the world as some sort of test of their hard-won sobriety. Typically they learn additional skills that help them re-acclimate to a normal life or move to Grace Haven Annex when they get a job or enrolled in school.” Many continue on and work at the Union Gospel Mission while preparing to re-enter society.”

Retrieved January 13, 2022 from Sacramento Union Gospel Mission is Saving Lives of the Homeless and Lost – California Globe

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L.A. Homeless Policy

While this story from City Journal is about L.A. and the failure of its homelessness strategy, it sure sounds like Sacramento.

An excerpt.

“Who in their right mind would continue to spend $1 billion annually for a failing product? Two Los Angeles city councilmembers—Joe Buscaino and Paul Koretz—asked that question recently while introducing a motion for the city to withdraw from the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Authority. The city pays LAHSA nearly $300 million a year to administer homelessness services on its behalf, yet the agency is unwilling to provide taxpayers or city departments basic information about its activities, such as a line-item scope of services or verifiable data on program outcomes. The agency receives nearly $1 billion in annual funding from federal, state, county, and city sources.

“LAHSA’s core function is to provide street-level outreach to the homeless population in the Greater L.A. area, ensuring that they receive resources, shelter, and eventually permanent supportive housing with comprehensive services. Yet even with its vast budget, the agency is falling short. According to a 2019 audit from city controller Ron Galperin, LAHSA has failed to meet five outreach targets and in some cases has reported a mere 4 percent success rate, reaching only dozens of people in need, as measured against the tens of thousands of homeless living in encampments scattered across city and county streets, freeway underpasses, parks, and community spaces.

“LAHSA’s failures are not the result of understaffing or underfunding in light of the surge of the homeless population in recent years. According to its own annual count, from 2015 to 2020 the number of homeless in Los Angeles grew steadily from 41,174 to 63,706, an increase of 55 percent. Yet during that five-year period, the agency’s annual payroll rose even faster, from $7.2 million in 2015 to $36.8 million in 2020—a 411 percent increase. That this massive increase hasn’t raised more red flags about financial mismanagement is testament to the power of the “homeless-industrial complex” in L.A.

“Recently, L.A. County supervisor Kathryn Barger nominated Reverend Andy Bales, president and chief executive of the Union Rescue Mission (URM) on Skid Row, as a commissioner to LAHSA. Many saw the appointment as an attempt to shake up homelessness policy, which still aligns with the federally mandated housing-first approach that identifies the primary problem as housing, rather than mental health or drug addiction. Bales has openly criticized this policy, particularly because it fails to mandate or provide services to meet abstinence and sobriety requirements. A significant percentage of those who receive housing services end up back on the streets.

“Over the holidays, I joined Reverend Bales and volunteered at URM, located in downtown Los Angeles. Skid Row, as the neighborhood is known, has the highest concentration of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S.—an estimated 5,000– 8,000 people live on the streets in an area of almost three square miles, filled with drugs, drinking, human trafficking, violence, rape, murder, hourly overdoses, and despair. Upon my arrival at 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, many were already openly using and buying drugs from street-gang dealers.

“Founded in 1891 to dispense food and clothing from gospel wagons, URM is a privately funded provider of homeless services that today occupies a five-story building in the heart of Skid Row. It practices a faith-based recovery model, offering immediate food and shelter, health care, and life-skills training for up to 1,000 daily clients. URM requires abstinence, order, and sobriety. These requirements make it ineligible for federal money, but it receives $18 million per year in private donations.

“An eternal optimist and man of faith, Bales lost his lower right leg to flesh-eating infections he acquired while caring for the homeless on the streets of Skid Row. He thus personifies sacrificial self-giving, but his philosophy comes with rules and an expectation of lawful behavior from those he helps. Meals are scheduled by groups, based on level of need, gender, and family status. URM requires sobriety; it doesn’t even serve coffee at breakfast, as caffeine could have a negative effect on some of its residents.

“It’s unclear how much power Bales will have as a commissioner when it comes to revising the agency’s failed housing-first policy. The LAHSA Commission, which has authority to make financial, planning, and program policies, has ten members—five appointed by county supervisors, the other five by the mayor and city council. Several commissioners differ with Bales on strategy, though none have spoken out against him.

“Brian Ulf, president and chairman of the board of SHARE! Collaborative Housing—a public-private partnership providing homeless services—believes that Bales will say things publicly that no other service provider or LASHA commissioner would. He describes Bales as “a true spiritual warrior on the streets of L.A., devoid of ego, who acts in a spiritual and humanitarian capacity.”

Retrieved January 12, 2021 from L.A. Homeless Policy Is a Billion-Dollar Failure | City Journal (city-journal.org)

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Fixing the Parkway

As has been sadly documented over the past several years, our beloved Parkway has been slowly degrading to the point where now there are virtual no-go zones, especially in the lower third from Discovery Park to Cal Expo; an area we have labeled the Parkway Skid Row.

Proposed causes and solutions for this have been examined by virtually everyone connected to the Parkway; but we remain committed to the public private partnership approach outlined in detail on our website from our 2007 research report Report3-Governance[1].pdf (pp. 9-16).

However, getting to this requires public leadership political will not yet evident from local government, poignantly expressed in a recent article from Inside Sacramento available at inside East Sacramento December 2021 by Inside Publications – Issuu (pp. 26-27)  

My personal guru on all things bureaucratic, James Q. Wilson, wrote in his magisterial work on the subject about the constraints of public agencies:

“The key constraints are three in number. To a much greater extent than is true of private bureaucracies, government agencies (1) cannot lawfully retain and devote to the private benefit of their members the earnings of the organization, (2) cannot allocate the factors of production in accordance with the preferences of the organization’s administrators, and (3) must serve goals not of the organization’s own choosing. Control over revenues, productive factors, and agency goals is all vested to an important degree in entities external to the organization—legislatures, courts, politicians, and interest groups. Given this, agency managers must attend to the demands of these eternal entities. As a result, government management tends to be driven by the constraints on the organization, not the tasks of the organization. To say the same thing in other words, whereas business management focuses on the “bottom line” (that is, profits), government management focuses on the “top line” (that is, constraints). Because government managers are not as strongly motivated as private ones to define the tasks of their subordinates, these tasks are often shaped by the factors described in the preceding four chapters.”

James Q. Wilson. (1989). Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It.  (p. 115)

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The Plague

In the era of the virus, a look back at the seminal book by Camus, from City Journal.

An excerpt.

“In the late 1940s, Nobel Prize–winning French author Albert Camus saw it all coming: pestilence, quarantine, untreatable illness, a cratering economy, citizens cowering in their homes, and “frontline workers” willing to sacrifice themselves for their neighbors. No, he didn’t predict that a novel coronavirus would leap from bats to humans in the closing days of 2019, but he knew as well as any epidemiologist that terrible diseases periodically explode through human populations, and in his novel The Plague (translated from the French La Peste), he warned his contemporaries about it: “Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world, yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.”

“Arguably the best work of fiction about a disease nemesis ever written, The Plague describes a fictional outbreak of bubonic plague in the French Algerian city of Oran shortly after World War II. It is a story of a pestilence in a modern European city on the African continent with telephones, cars, and other postwar technologies. Colonial France conquered Algeria in 1830 and ruled it until 1962. Camus was born there to “French pieds-noir (“black feet”) parents—citizens who lived in Algeria before independence—in the small coastal town of Dréan (then Mondovi), near the Tunisian border. He studied philosophy at the University of Algiers and joined the French Resistance when the Nazis invaded France in 1940, working primarily as editor-in-chief of the outlawed newspaper Combat. He was an existentialist philosopher as well as an author of fiction, and his novel The Stranger enjoyed a decades-long run as required reading for university students.

“Some assume that Camus’s plague novel is an allegory of the Nazi occupation. It isn’t, really, though he surely drew from his experience in the Resistance when he wrote it. No, The Plague is precisely what it’s purported to be: the story of a city during a horrific outbreak, as told through the perspective of its narrator, Dr. Bernard Rieux. It’s also a morality tale and a warning to all that the human race is bound to experience something like it again. The Plague sears itself into the mind; hardly anyone who reads it ever forgets it.

“A million and a half people live in Oran today, with 3.5 million in the metro area. In Camus’s time, the population was about 200,000, a mixture of French, Jews, Arabs, and Berbers. The city is more than just a setting. Its citizenry, far more than even the narrator, is the novel’s main character. The city itself is hot, dry, and treeless, its residents obsessed with making money and hanging out in cafés. It is entirely ordinary, cramped and provincial, a city on the Mediterranean that oddly turns its back on the sea.

“After a brief prologue, the action begins when, early one morning, as he leaves his surgery, Rieux steps on a dead rat on the building’s landing. Rats are soon everywhere—in hallways, on sidewalks and streets, and in gutters. Rieux finds a dozen in one garbage can. Most of the rats are dead, but some are in their final death throes, hacking up tiny droplets of blood.

“At first, the townsfolk find the rats a disgusting nuisance, forgetting that the feeling of disgust is a human survival instinct, protecting us from contagion by repelling us. The people of Oran seem to have forgotten that rats are vectors for some of the worst diseases—including the worst of all—ever to afflict humanity.

“Geysers of rats then erupt from sewers and drains and die everywhere, in apocalyptic numbers. Even citizens who know next to nothing of bubonic plague or its transmission (the pathogenic Yersinia pestis bacteria travels from rats to humans via fleas) know that something is wrong now. An ancient part of their biological memory has been activated: “This strange phenomenon, whose scope could not be measured and whose origins escaped detection, had something vaguely menacing about it,” the narrator says.

“Soon a man named Michel dies of a mysterious illness. His death goes unnoticed at first, as new outbreaks always do. But it doesn’t take long before people understand that something worse than a mere plague of rats is upon them.

“Rieux goes through the same psychological process as everyone else in the story—the same process that many experienced when the coronavirus pandemic descended on us—beginning with obliviousness before being nudged to a faint awareness. A period of denial follows, which leads to dread, then to horror, and finally to resignation. The early middle of the journey is the hardest, mostly because it’s as surreal as it is dangerous:

“Our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences. A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they haven’t taken their precautions. . . .

“Our townsfolk were not more to blame than others; they forgot to be modest, that was all, and thought that everything still was possible for them; which presupposed that pestilences were impossible.

“Rieux is a doctor. He knows the plague when he sees it, though he has never seen it before. Yet he tries to reason it away at first. Plague is a fourteenth-century malady, isn’t it? Or at least a nineteenth-century one. What’s it doing here, in modern times? He tells himself that plague has vanished from temperate climates, that Western Europe hasn’t known any cases for a long time (though Oran is on the African continent, not in Europe). Then he remembers that Paris had an outbreak 20 years earlier.”

Retrieved January 3, 2021 from Lessons from Albert Camus’s “The Plague” | City Journal (city-journal.org)

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Water is for Fighting

Unfortunately, California is losing the fight, as this story from California Globe reports.

An excerpt.

“California has a long history of squandering its precious water.

“In 2014, California voters approved $7.12 billion in bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects. Of that, $2.7 billion was designated for water storage projects. But nearly 8 years later, there are no new dams or reservoirs, or other water storage projects to collect and store California’s winter runoff. And California is in yet another drought.

“The state officials in charge bow to environmentalists by allowing half of the state’s water to flow out to the ocean, leaving farmers and local governments to fight for the other 50%. The state uses about 47.5 percent of its developed water supply for the environment, including wild river flows, managed wetlands and wildlife preserves, habitat and water quality control for fish, and required Delta outflows, according to the Department of Water Resources. Water is diverted in times of drought and times of plenty to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, leaving much less for irrigation or for Californians to drink.

“Approximately 10% of the remaining water is used by cities, and 40% is used by agriculture. Yet it is always urban use and agriculture forced to conserve.

“This is why the Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022 was written and has begun to qualify as a state ballot proposition. “More Water Now,” as it is known, will be a nonpartisan initiative constitutional amendment.

“When approved by voters, this initiative will accomplish the following objectives:

• Allocate two percent of the state’s general fund to use for projects that increase California’s annual supply of water to farms and cities.

• Permit up to half of the 2% allocation to pay principal and interest on construction bonds.

• Give priority to underfunded projects already approved by voters in Prop. 1 (2014).

• Prioritize projects to deliver abundant and affordable water to underserved communities.

• Funding does not expire until the supply capacity of new projects provides five million acre feet of new water per year for California’s farms and cities.

• Funding for conservation achieving up to one million acre feet per year of water saved.

• Allocate funds based on an all-of-the-above strategy, allowing Californians to repair and upgrade aqueducts, dams, water treatment plants, build off-stream reservoirs, expand existing reservoirs, invest in wastewater reuse and desalination plants, runoff capture, and aquifer recharge and recovery.

• Streamlines CEQA and the Coastal Act. Redefines “beneficial use” to include cities and farms.

• Provides funding for legal defense of projects approved by the California Water Commission and other water agencies against frivolous lawsuits designed to delay the completion of projects.

• Includes funding for R&D of new technologies to deliver safe and affordable water.

“California needs all of the above. Yet once again, because the Legislature, Governor and unelected state water board officials are not doing what is best for the people, the people will have to do what is necessary and vote on an initiative enshrining water use in the State Constitution.

“Recently the San Jose Mercury News editorial board published a scathing editorial denouncing the initiative, and claiming it is “a water grab” to benefit “Big ag” and Central Valley Republicans.

“Say this for Central Valley Republicans and Big Ag backers: When it comes to proposing water projects that benefit Central Valley farmers at the expense of urban users and the state’s fragile environment, they are as persistent as an annoying, leaky faucet,” the editorial board said.

“The More Water Now proponents are not just “Big ag” or Republicans, because everyone in California needs water. And notably, “Big ag” producers grow food, which everyone eats.

“The initiative is supported by a bipartisan and growing coalition of Democrats and Republicans, water agencies, cities, counties, business associations, community groups, construction workers, homebuilders and environmentalists that need the state to invest in water supply projects,” More Water Now explained in a rebuttal.”

Retrieved December 6, 2021 from Why is California’s ‘More Water Now’ Ballot Initiative Already Under Attack? – California Globe

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Suburbs & Ethnicity

Excellent report from New Geography.

An excerpt.

“A few months ago, we reported on the strong attraction of the suburbs and exurbs in the growth of the largest metropolitan areas (a City Sector Model [Note 1] analysis, Minorities Dominate Suburban Growth). That article showed that from 2000 to 2015/2019 (middle year 2017), White Non-Hispanics accounted for only four percent of suburban and exurban population growth in the 53 major metropolitan areas (over 1,000,000 population). Hispanics accounted for 50.9% of the growth, followed by African Americans and Asians (“only” or one-race), each at 19.6% and 5.9% in smaller minority groups, or more than one race (Figure 1).

“Largest Minorities Gain 1.55 Million, White Non-Hispanics Drop 260,000

“This was even more the case in California. The three largest minorities (African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics) dominated suburban and exurban population growth in the six largest California metros to an even greater degree from 2010 to 2015/2019, according to American Community Survey data (Note 2).

“Overall, the three-minority population gain in the suburbs and exurbs of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Diego, Sacramento, and San Jose combined rose by 1.55 million over the period. This compares to the total increase of 1.29 million for the four largest racial and ethnic groupings (the three minorities plus White Non-Hispanics). By comparison, and surprisingly, Minorities accounted for about half the population gain in the Urban Core as in the suburbs and exurbs.

“120% of Suburban & Exurban Growth in the Suburbs and Exurbs

“For minorities, suburbs were where the action has been. The minority population growth was 119.9% of the total, when White Non-Hispanics are included (Figure 2), meaning that minorities grew while White Non-Hispanics declined in total.

“Combining the data for the six metropolitan areas shows that during the 2010s, Hispanic population growth was 65.1% (842,000) of the growth among the four largest racial and ethnic groupings, whileAsians accounted for 55.3% of the growth (716,000). African Americans, whose census reported population is dropping in California (Note 3), were also shown to be declining (minus 7,000) in the suburbs and exurbs, for a 0.6% loss (Figure 3). There was a much greater loss (minus 257,000) in the White Non-Hispanic suburban and exurban population.

“Suburb/Exurb Growth 150% Minority in LA, 90-125% in the Other Five Metros

“The three largest minority populations grew in the suburbs and exurbs more than the overall growth in four of the six metropolitan areas when White Non-Hispanics are included (Figures 4 and 5).

  • In Los Angeles, the three minorities grew 444,000, 53% more than the overall total when White Non-Hispanics are included (289,000).
  • In Riverside-San Bernardino, the three minorities grew 395,000, 25% more than the overall total when White Non-Hispanics are included (316,000).
  • In San Jose, the three minorities grew 151,000, 17% more than the overall total when White Non-Hispanics are included (129,000).
  • In San Francisco, the three minorities grew 260,000, 6% more than the overall total when White Non-Hispanics are included (236,000).

“In the other two metropolitan areas, the three minorities exceeded 90% of the total growth.

  • In San Diego, the three minorities grew 191,000, equal to 98% of the overall total when White Non-Hispanics are included (194,000).
  • In Sacramento, the three minorities grew 121,000, equal to 93% more than the overall total when White Non-Hispanics are included (129,000).

“The Pervasive Minority Dispersion to the Suburbs and Exurbs

“A clear pattern of dispersion among the largest minorities is clear. In each of the City Sector Model suburban and exurban categories (Figure 11, below), the three largest minorities dominate population growth.

“This is evident by the losses sustained across-the-board among White Non-Hispanics, where the population dropped in all three suburban and exurban categories. The largest loss was in the Earlier Suburbs. White Non-Hispanics were the only racial/ethnic grouping that sustained a loss in either the Exurbs or the Later Suburbs (Figure 6).”

Retrieved December 1, 2021 from Minorities Monopolize California’s Suburban and Exurban Growth | Newgeography.com

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Water Infrastructure Needed

Good article from California Globe about this.

An excerpt.

“If Californians are to avoid a future where they have to endure permanent water rationing because of inadequate water infrastructure, a few members of the economic elite will have to break with the pack. As it is, in the wealthiest, most innovative place on earth, ordinary citizens are being conditioned to accept algorithmically monitored lives of scarcity, supposedly to save the planet. But in reality, scarcity is a convenient way to consolidate political power and economic resources in the hands of existing elites, who count on the multitudes to assuage their downward mobility with online Soma.

“So who will break with the pack? Who will be an Angel? For a few million dollars, a sum that any one of California’s hundreds of mega millionaires might throw down the way normal people buy a latte, an initiative to fund water infrastructure could be placed on the ballot. This, at least, would give Californians a choice.

“The More Water Now campaign was formed earlier this year to qualify the Water Infrastructure Funding Act to appear as a state ballot initiative in November 2022. Virtually every expert in California agrees that more water infrastructure is necessary, that conservation alone cannot guarantee a reasonable and reliable water supply to Californians, much less cope with climate change. Projects to capture storm runoff and recycle urban wastewater are urgently needed, and this initiative would provide the funding to get it done.

“Nonetheless, the campaign finds itself offering a solution everyone wants, but nobody wants to pay for.

“Private sector construction unions, who could enlist hundreds of thousands of their members to sign petitions, have an understandable reluctance to take on the environmentalist lobby. Construction contractors that design and build infrastructure have deep pockets, but don’t want to see well funded activists target them in retaliation for their support, jeopardizing existing projects. Water agencies all over California desperately need the funds this initiative would unlock, but worry that the proposals for which they currently await approval would be denied by state bureaucrats with a demonstrated hostility to new infrastructure.

“Farmers offer the most poignant example of why the More Water Campaign hasn’t attracted more financial support. With no water to irrigate crops, they’re just trying to survive. And for the few with the resources to fight, why? They supported the 2014 water bond that passed but still nothing has been built, the 2018 water bond that was narrowly rejected by voters, and the 2020 “Dams not Trains” initiative that didn’t qualify for the ballot. Now, with an initiative that focuses as much on urban water recycling as on storing runoff, the farmers expect help from other sectors, as they should.

“So where are the Angels? Where is the Angel who famously said “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters?” Doesn’t that reflect a more sweeping sentiment, that we need to invest in genuine productive assets, because the real cost of food, water, energy and housing are higher now than they were forty years ago? Whatever happened to the Silicon Valley mantra of “better, faster, cheaper”? Does that value only apply to cyberspace, and not the real world?

“There is a strong environmentalist argument in favor of more water infrastructure. If climate change is a genuine threat, then the need to upgrade California’s water infrastructure becomes more urgent, not less. This initiative funds projects to store storm runoff in off-stream reservoirs and underground aquifers. It funds projects to recycle urban wastewater. It leaves the choice of projects to approve up to the Water Commission, which environmentalists can hardly accuse of being hostile to environmentalist priorities.

“There is also a compelling economic argument for more water infrastructure, but despite its merit, it has no effective constituency today. Subsidizing water infrastructure is easily a tax neutral proposition, if not positive. By lowering the cost of water, the price of food, utility bills, housing, and all other products and services that depend on affordable water go down. This means the tax revenues spent subsidizing water projects are offset by less government spending on subsidies and rebates to low and middle income households. At the same time, the economic growth enabled by more affordable water creates more profits and more tax revenue.

“This simple economic argument, which leans old-school Democrat and decentralizes wealth, used to inform public infrastructure spending without debate. Now it’s rarely even discussed, and when it is, it’s dismissed by libertarian Republicans as wasteful folly and by progressive Democrats as crony capitalism. But back in the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration publicly funded roads, public buildings, rural electrification, and water infrastructure that are still paying economic dividends today. Similarly, back in the 1950s and 1960s, the California State Water Project publicly funded a water system that, despite decades of neglect, enables millions to live in coastal cities.”

Retrieved December 29, 2021 from God Sent the Rain, But We Need an Angel to Build the Infrastructure to Manage It – California Globe

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