Climate changes and the continuing drought worry many in California. What new strategies do you believe would ensure that California is able to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific.
In the 1970s I remember reading about the "New Ice Age". Predictions at the time called for a global freeze that would leave the Northern part of the US permanently in snow and ice by the 2000s. As the 1990s approached that prediction turned to "Global Warming" when the "New Ice Age" did not arrive on schedule.
"Global Warming" failed to be warm enough by the 2010s a new label was created, "Climate Change". Now we are at a point where everyone can agree. Yes, the Climate Changes.
The "Climate Change" cause is assumed by certain political arguments to be from man-made CO2. In geologic history there were times when atmospheric CO2 rose at a high rate and affected world climate. However those instances were caused by multiple large volcanic eruptions across the planet. Studies have shown that one volcano eruption is multiple times larger in CO2 production than the combined world car, animal and factory exhausts.
So CO2 can alter Climate, but man-made sources are far too small to produce sufficient climate changing CO2 as we observe from the earth's geologic history.
The primary motivator to all of earth's climate is the Sun. That is what science shows. The Sun does not have a steady production of energy as the "Climate Change" model and it's supporters seem to assume. It waxes and wanes in cycles of varying lengths. There is a Maunder 22 year cycle. There are longer cycles. These long and short Sun cycles where energy output rises and falls are the primary drivers of earth's temperature.
To make a long story short, there are many things in the "Climate Change" model that need modification before it can be reliable for predictions. As we have seen the 1970s "New Ice Age" prediction was completely wrong, then "Global Warming" prediction fell short to become "Climate Change". Only after the Climate Change model's predictions have proven accurate can legislation be based on it. But not before.
California Water on the other hand is not nearly as dire as most in the Legislature think. A 2004 Berkeley study showed that California receives on average 192 million acre-feet (MAF) of water every year during it's 4 to 6 year Wet and Dry cycle. A 2010 study by the US Geological Survey showed California consumed only 42 million acre-feet (MAF) for all purposes: Residential, Commercial, Agricultural and Industrial.
So 192 MAF - 42 MAF = 150 MAF surplus. Of that the Berkeley study showed 71 MAF ran off to the ocean. The remaining 79 MAF per year is left on the land or under it. So even after consuming 42 MAF per year there is still 79 MAF remaining per year on average. I published detailed analysis on my Website MooreForAssembly.com.
A couple of months after publishing my results several Newspapers reported that Stanford scientists had discovered a new aquifer below the Central Valley. It's fresh water storage was estimated at 2 Billion acre-feet. Enough to supply California for 47 years without one drop of rain. See MooreForAssembly.com.
California has a Water Management Problem, not a Water Problem.
Many Californians are concerned about the influence of money in politics. What can the state legislature do to ensure that decision-making by elected officials is not swayed by moneyed interests at the expense of constituents?
The voting public, the citizenry in a free nation, has a civic responsibility and authority to fire corrupt officials at the next election. In California the citizens have another option, Recall. If the corruption of a public official is grevious then there is no need to wait for the next election. Only a few States have the Recall power, California is one.
What many voters want is a State government that will operate within the law and without corruption and without citizen supervision or attention. The Founders never expected such a thing, that is why they gave the citizens authority over their elected officials.
For thousands of years society has had robbers, rapists and murderers. For thousands of years society has punished such offenders. Yet every generation produces a new crop of robbers, rapists and murderers. Should we just disband our police forces and surrender since centuries of effort haven't been able to stop the crimes?
Of course not. We can only contain and manage the problem but never eliminate it. In the case of violent crime the managing authority is with a formal police force. In the case of corrupt, unresponsive or ineffective politicians the authority is with the citizenry. The politicians will always need citizen supervision.
The Founders knew this. It was true in their day and it is equally true in our day. It is a constant in human nature. The politicians have power over your children, property, income, taxes and even your life. To balance the equation the Founders gave the citizens electoral power over the politicians. Who better to choose than the very citizens that would be subject to the bad behavior of the politicians?
In other words if the citizens were not motivated enough to monitor and control their politicians then no one would be.
Asking the politicians to control their money corrupted counterparts is very much like sending the foxes to guard the chicken coop. Something we have all witnessed in the last few weeks and months of this Presidential contest.
The American Constitution provides a formal way to remove any office holder at any time, including the President. First the individual is Impeached, then tried in Congress. If the Impeachment is upheld at trial the individual is removed from office. At that point even an ex-President is subject to civil and/or criminal trial in the State and/or Federal courts. Punishment can be as severe as imprisonment or even execution.
In the State of California the State Senate and Assembly can Impeach the Governor or any member of the State Senate or Assembly. Once Impeached the individual can be tried in State Court.
California's Recall law allows the people to remove any individual from office. This is somewhat equivalent to Impeachment. Once removed from office the individual can be tried in State Court.
"A people that wants to be ignorant and free ... wants what never has been and never will be." Thomas Jefferson, if my memory is correct.
There are a variety of proposals to raise California's minimum wage. Many of these proposals face opposition from business groups who are concerned that they would kill jobs. Do you support increasing the minimum wage in California? In your answer please explain your position on the relationship between wages and jobs with specific reference to the situation in your district.
Raising the minimum wage affects more than just low end private sector employees. It also affects unionized public sector employees.
The effects on each group are very different. The media focuses the voter's attention on low end private sector jobs such as fast food restaurants. The sympathy for these workers is easy to generate and the voting public always goes along with raising the minimum wage. The delicate balance between revenue and expenses that the private sector business owner must maintain to keep the business afloat is upset and can lead to unforseen conequences, such as automation or closure.
Almost immediately after the recent minimum wage increase was passed one San Diego restaurant chain immediately closed it doors. The hundreds of local Home Town Buffet employees had no warning, the restaurants were open one day and literally closed the next. Their large and prominent empty retail space shows like a missing tooth in local shopping centers.
Another restaurant chain, Coco's, has slowly closed several of it's San Diego locations since the minimum wage increase. Hundreds more employees were left without jobs but at least not as quickly as Home Town Buffet employees.
Where do those food service workers go? Their profession is laying off workers, their jobs are disappearing. The answer becomes obvious, they are forced on to Unemployment Compensation, paid by the same voters who as taxpayers provide that Unemployment Insurance and other Welfare benefits.
What happens to the local Sales Tax revenue that all those closed restaurants used to generate for the city or county? It's gone. Who will have to make up for that loss in local Sales Tax revenue? --- you guessed it, those well meaning, sympathetic, minimum wage supporting voters who are also local taxpayers.
The advertised benefits to restaurant workers are equally perverse. Higher costs for each employee mean businesses will have to hire fewer employees along with adding 25 cents to each burger. This is the one economic point that the media accurately anticipates. To compensate the journalists may reveal that no one should expect fast food pay to support a family.
Well, if the journalists would look at a few fast food restaurants they would realize that the staff changes quickly. The people working at the fast food place today are not the same faces from last year. With one exception of course --- the manager and maybe a couple of cooks. The workers never intended to support a family but just get a temporary entry level job.
All that the emotional plea to voters for "fair pay" has done is shrink the tax base, cause hundreds to become unemployed and hollow-out a once profitable part of the local economy while increasing the tax burden on those same sympathetic "fair pay" voters.
Doesn't somebody gain from all this pain?
Well, "Yes" indeed. The public employees who got a pay bump at every rung without asking for a raise from their bosses --- the voting public.
That is one slick "sting" operation.
What are your top three fiscal priorities, recognizing the need to balance the state’s income with its spending?
First, -the High Speed rail project which has languished for years and continually grown in estimated costs to completion should be shelved. There is no demonstrated need for it that is not met with existing modern transportation. It's costs are in the tens of billions of dollars and the return to indiviudal taxpayers when it becomes usable is speculative at best. It is a wonderful 19th Century solution for an era goneby.
Second, -there is an underground dual tunnel project estimated to cost between $16 Billion and $23 Billion that will move water from the Northeast San Joaquin River end of the Delta to the Southwest end where the State Water Project pipeline to Southern California begins.
The pipes will be huge, big enough to drive a car or truck through. There is a major problem with this idea. For centuries the San Joaquin River Delta has been moving that same water from its' Northeast end to its' Southwest end for --- free!
Why, exactly, would the California Taxpayer want to pay up to $23 Billion, most likely more, for a service that is done by Mother Nature for free???
Well the first business-like answer given by proponents is to move water to thirsty Southern California. Remember we're in a drought and So. Cal. needs that water!! There is a problem with that idea. You see, building the underground tunnels doesn't add one drop of water to the State's storage capacity. Those tunnels may even drain the existing storage capacity faster. Then we'll sooner see more pictures of empty reservoirs.
So what should be done? Well --- build more storage facilities instead of tunnels, ie; Dams and Lakes. They won't cost nearly as much as the tunnels and ahem... they will solve the problem.
But the proponents will object --- what about the smelt? That's not something malodorous, but a small bait fish that is native to the San Joaquin Delta. The rumor was, that when sucked into the gates of the pipeline at the Southwest end the wide-eyed little Nemos would emerge as Nemo puree. However a court case over this determined that there was no evidence of such cullinary maltreatment.
We are in California, so lack of evidence has never gotten in the way of a good story. So let's allocate $1 million or $2 million for a Delta Smelt nursery. Release the hatchlings into the Delta whenever the population declines. That's a good business solution that satisfies everyone for a fraction of the Tunnels costs.
Third, -Politicians, political scientists and lawyers create climate change legislation and regulations. Unfortunately politicians, political scientists and lawyers make very bad physical scientists. We saw from the Climate Change answer above, that theory is still not settled science. It needs more work before the politicians, political scientists and lawyers can use it for their purposes. Despite that rather large problem, the politicians and lawyers march forth producing the expected bad legislation and regulations. That should be stopped and the resources dedicated to it should likewise be terminated.