California faces a ‘lost generation’ of homebuyers according to the CEO of the California Association of Realtors. Speaking at a presentation during the group’s legislative week, CEO Joel Singer predicted that millennials will have to look elsewhere to become homeowners. From Ben van der Meer at the Sacramento Business Journal:
“State gaps in affordability, rate of home ownership and housing production could push millennials, once they’re in full homebuying mode, to look outside of California, he said.
“Low production of new homes has grown as a problem in recent years. Statewide, far fewer were built than the 175,000 new housing units needed to keep up with need, Singer said.
“In a series of charts, Singer showed an increasing gap between rates of home ownership between younger buyers and older ones, and how the minimum income needed to buy a home has soared in the last two years, particularly in large metropolitan areas, by about $35,000.”
Senate Democrats rejected a Republican proposal that would have required lawmakers to sign up for Obamacare. From Patrick McGreevy, LAT:
“The Assembly Rules Committee split along party lines, with seven Democrats opposing AB 1109 and three Republicans in support of the bill by Assemblyman Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita). The measure would have forced lawmakers to give up the taxpayer-subsidized health plans provided by the Legislature and individually sign up for Covered California.
“Wilk introduced the measure after hearing complaints from several constituents about difficulties in signing up on the Covered California website and limitations on what is covered.”
The Assembly passed a law prohibiting penalties for brown lawns. Also from Patrick McGreevy (Roundup twofer!):
“The measure, AB 1, passed 74 to 0 and now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
“The proposal would bar cities and counties from imposing fines for failure to water lawns during times when the governor has declared a state of emergency based on drought conditions.
“Fines for violating maintenance ordinances can range from $100 a week to a flat fee of $500.”
The State Water Resources Control Board sent letters suspending water rights for roughly 1500 farmers and individuals, mostly in the Central Valley. Fenit Nirappil, Associated Press:
“The State Water Resources Control Board started sending letters to water rights holders, mostly Central Valley farmers in the San Joaquin River watershed, ordering them to stop pumping from streams. The order only applies to those who obtained water licenses after 1914.
“California's water rights system gives priority to those with claims more than a century old in dry years. But even those so-called senior water rights holders in the San Joaquin River watershed will likely face cutbacks in California's fourth year of drought, the board's letter warned.”
Turmoil continues to roil the offices of Assemblymember Nora Campos (D-San Jose) who lost yet another staffer last week. For those keeping track, she’s lost three staffers in as many weeks. From San Jose Inside:
“Minh Pham, a senior field representative in Campos’ district office for the last year, is the latest employee from the San Jose assembly member’s office to defect. He resigned last Thursday, bringing the total number of people who have left Campos’ employ to—well, we’re starting to lose count but it’s roughly double most Assembly offices during the same time period. Sources say Pham was the latest person to give up due to harassment and a lack of support by superiors—mainly Campos’ chief of staff, Sailaja Rajappan.”
From plastic bag bans to soda taxes, activists are increasingly focused on passing legislation at the local level as the way to fight their policy battles. Melanie Mason has the story at the Los Angeles Times:
"’There always were local ordinances that had come from the grass-roots’ in a given area, said Paul Mitchell, vice president of consulting firm Political Data Inc. ‘Now you're seeing a lot of this stuff more consciously being driven … to leverage statewide change.’
“Political operatives who bypass Sacramento are waging their local campaigns with data-driven sophistication.
"’You can't know 3,000 local elected officials personally.... But you can have data on them,’ said Mike Madrid, a Republican political consultant whose firm, Grassroots Labs, specializes in local politics.
“A local official's party affiliation, gender or geographic location can offer powerful clues to how that person may view a given issue. Knowing his or her tendencies and voting histories, ‘you can dramatically move public policy,’ Madrid said.”
The CHP released video of Sen. Ben Hueso’s (D-San Diego) arrest last year for driving under the influence. Click here to see the lawmaker’s attempt to walk a straight line.
And, it’s Friday, the day we look back to see who had the worst week in California politics- who has been singing the Golden State Blues.
For years California’s almond industry was a source of pride – a success story for farmers (and who doesn’t love farmers?), producing a food touted worldwide as a healthy snack, and major boon to the state’s economy, to boot.
Google “California almonds” today and you’ll find a different story. The “Demon nut” has gone from hero to heavy – playing the villain in news stories everywhere from The Atlantic to the BBC. Gone are the days of glowing press reporting on California’s $11 billion almond industry, replaced with a headline role in the California Unified Theory of Drought Shaming.
The negative PR swirl has reached epic proportions, with each day bringing a new crop of bad press dropping on California Almond Board President and CEO Richard Waycott.
Sure, he’s fought the good fight, touting the benefits of his industry and pointing out that almonds don’t use quite as much water as you think… and besides, producing food – healthy food – requires water.
But, in the end, his efforts amount to a drop in the bucket against a never-ending onslaught. Like the rest of us, all he can hope for, is rain.