Harley Rouda – Con Artist Congressman

Dictionary.com defines “con artist” as “a person who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true.” As Rod Serling used to say to start “Twilight Zone” episodes, “submitted for your approval” is the case of the Orange County Con Artist – Harley Rouda. Rouda would be just another scammer and con-man were it not for the fact that he is serving his first – and hopefully last – term in Congress from Orange County.

Rouda’s cons and flim-flam started long before he ran for Congress – more on that in a minute. However, his mission to convince people “to believe things that aren’t true” shifted into high gear during his 2018 campaign. He ran as a “centrist” Democrat, a moderate who could represent a population largely in the mainstream of conservative thought. Those were all lies, as shown by his sorry record of toeing the far-left line in Congress whenever Nancy Pelosi, AOC, The Squad or any other radical needed his vote.

The American Conservative Union (ACU) annually issues one of the most authoritative vote ratings for members of Congress. They are the go-to source to determine where a member stands on the ideological scale. For 2019, they rated House members on 26 separate votes.

Rouda cast what the ACU rates as a conservative vote 2 times out of 26  opportunities. For the math challenged, that gives him a 7 percent conservative voting profile. How bad is that? The notorious quasi-Marxist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has the same 2 out of 26 record. Ilhan Omar, the Congresswoman who described the 9/11 terrorist attacks as “some people did something,” also has the same conservative rating as Rouda.

Rouda, Omar and AOC voting in lockstep. There is an iron-clad rule in politics – there are no coincidences in politics.

Rouda’s principles and honesty are gelatinous, his character as trustworthy as Gollum in “Lord of the Rings.” A look at his record would indicate that he became a charlatan long before running for Congress.

Rouda or businesses associated with him owed over $200,000 in 31 separate tax liens. Forget the dollar amount for the moment and think about the number 31. A couple of tax liens can easily be written off as forgetfulness or temporary financial hardship. But 31? That shows either frightening incompetence or purposeful evasion of financial responsibilities. 

Voters in his district ought to ask themselves if they’re comfortable with a Congressman whose actions fall in either category. They ought to ask themselves how irresponsible they’d have to be to collect 31 liens.

Many of the tax liens were for non-payment of Unemployment Insurance Tax. So while technically Rouda and associated companies were cheating a state agency, the people most directly cheated were injured workers who rely on unemployment benefits to get them through temporary periods of unemployment.

Several companies Rouda was associated with had their incorporation cancelled because of failure to “file necessary corporate franchise tax reports or pay any such taxes within the time period prescribed by law.”  Rouda and his wife had a mechanic’s lien filed against them that they let languish unresolved for seven years.

Beginning to detect a pattern? Is this really the man voters want crafting the nation’s $4.8 trillion annual budget?  

But wait, there’s more!

While Rouda was chief executive and managing partner of a real estate company, a former vice president sued the company for age discrimination and wrongful termination, alleging that she was fired while on leave for cancer. While employed by Rouda’s company the lady in question was diagnosed with cancer, treated with radiation and chemotherapy and developed a rare blood disorder. As a result, she was away from her office, but continued to work from home during her leave.

She won the suit and was awarded $1.8 million, including $700,000 in punitive damages. Seeking to cut its loses the company did settle with her, but the relevant words here are “punitive damages.” According to Wikipedia, punitive damages “are assessed in order to punish the defendant for outrageous conduct and/or to reform or deter the defendant and others from engaging in conduct similar to that which formed the basis of the lawsuit.” $700,000 worth of “outrageous conduct” – let that sink in for a moment.

But the Harley Rouda hall of horrors has many rooms – in one of which sat a mother who clearly didn’t trust and or feared her son. Rouda’s mother filed a restraining order against him in 2011. Though she subsequently passed away, the order does not deal with small matters and might offer a glimpse of Rouda’s true nature.

Among the actions from which Rouda was officially restrained were “directly or indirectly harassing, annoying, interfering with, harassing by telephone, assaulting or doing bodily harm to plaintiff…at her residence or elsewhere… From selling, mortgaging, moving, destroying, encumbering, secreting, or disposing of or attempting to dispose of any of the personal property, household goods furnishings, retirement accounts, investment accounts, business interests, real estate, personal and/or intangible property of plaintiff.”

That’s quite a list of “don’ts”. Family disputes are of course part of life. A mother feeling the need to get a legal restraining order protecting her from the actions listed above is quite another.

I started this column on a political note regarding how Rouda had lied to his constituents about his beliefs. His voting record is that of a dedicated leftist, marching in lock-step with some of the farthest left members of Congress – or of the North Korean Politburo for that matter. As out of step with this district as that is, it’s not the most compelling reason voters should reject him.

Voters should reject Rouda because character counts.

The character, ethics and values a member of Congress brings to that office is, on a day to day basis, more important than any votes that will be cast. The character of members of Congress reflects not only the inner person but also reflects on the character of the constituents who elect them. The voters of Rouda’s district – of all parties and all ideologies – are good people. They deserve better than him.

Unemployed workers counting on unemployment insurance payments couldn’t trust Harley Rouda. An employee on leave for cancer treatment couldn’t trust Harley Rouda. His own mother didn’t trust Harley Rouda.

Why should you?

Bill Saracino is a member of the Editorial Board of CA Political Review.

Explaining the Confusing California Proposition 19

It’s no secret that ballot initiatives can be confusing, but Proposition 19 takes obfuscation to a whole new level.

Voters can’t be blamed if they can’t remember whether Prop. 19 is the initiative that is a massive property tax hike or the measure that actually has something good for homeowners or the initiative that has something to do with firefighting. The fact is, all three are at least somewhat true — especially the part about the big tax increase.

Let’s clear up the confusion: Proposition 13, passed in 1978, gave California homeowners certainty about their future property tax liability because increases in the “taxable value” of property would be limited to 2 percent per year. Property would be reassessed to market value only when it changed hands. But that tax hike even applied when property owners transferred a property to their own children.

In response, voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment: Proposition 58 in 1986. It allowed for property – a home of any value and up to $1 million of assessed value of other property — to be transferred between parents and children without triggering reassessment, keeping the property tax bill the same.

Prop. 19 would repeal Proposition 58 and force the reassessment of inherited or transferred property within families. The only exception is if the property is used as the principal residence of the person to whom it was transferred, and even that exclusion is capped.

The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that the repeal of the “intergenerational transfer protections” will result in tens of thousands of California families getting hit with higher property taxes every year. The LAO acknowledges that Prop. 19 imposes an additional tax burden in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

To read the entire column, please click here.

How to Realign California Politics

The working class, which still constitutes a supermajority of California’s voters, is being destroyed by the policies enacted by the Democratic party. This is why political realignment in California can happen fast.

In three fundamental areas, public education, land use, and energy infrastructure, California’s current policies are destroying lives, livelihoods, and land. And in all three of these areas, the solutions that will work challenge core premises that California’s Democrats have relied on to claim the moral high ground. But these premises must be defied, because Democrats do not hold the moral high ground. They are ruining everything, from our cities to our forests. How can that be moral?

Dismantling the Public School Monopoly

The obvious example, where a realignment tipping point has already almost been reached, is the moral imperative to nurture the next generation. Everyone agrees: Teach the children well, that they might all have a chance at a bright future. But California’s public schools are failing their students, and the problem is the worst in low income neighborhoods where the importance of a good public education is the greatest.

The solution is equally obvious: Public schools need to experience competition. Parents need to be able to choose from an assortment of accredited K-12 schools; public, public charter, virtual, parochial, private, homeschool, and micro-schools.

To implement school choice, education advocates need to stop trying to push whatever baby step their consultants and donors claim is politically possible, and do what is right. They need to demand school vouchers that parents can redeem at whatever school they wish. Voters have had enough. They’re ready to vote for vouchers.

The biggest barrier to vouchers are the teachers’ unions, whose state and local chapters combined collect nearly a half-billion in dues each year. These unions use hefty portions of that money to buy politicians and lobbyists, impacting legislation that protects their monopolies.

But they are not doing this “for the children.” The do not hold the moral high ground. They oppose school choice because as a monopoly they can perpetually acquire more members, more dues, and more power. And the parallel moral dimension, at least for the leadership of these teachers’ unions, is they can use their control over the public schools to indoctrinate California’s children.

Dismantling the Density Delusion

If there is any area where years of indoctrination have turned ideologically driven opinions into supposed facts beyond dispute, it is in the area of environmentalism. And one of the most fundamental premises of environmentalism, often overlooked, is the delusion that higher density urban areas is necessary to protect the planet. The moral imperative is to save the earth, with “climate change” as the most urgent threat. But no matter what your opinion is about climate change, cramming California’s population into the footprint of existing cities will not have any impact whatsoever on the climate. All it will do is guarantee that housing is unaffordable forever.

If school vouchers is the revolutionary concept that will rescue K-12 education in California, more suburbs on open land is the revolutionary concept that will restore home affordability in California. Almost every premise of the “anti-sprawl” lobby is ridiculous and must be challenged. Single family homes of one or two stories are far less expensive per square foot than multi-story buildings. Building utility infrastructure for new suburbs is less expensive than tearing up streets and easements to retrofit utility conduits to accommodate higher density in cities.

The claim that expanding suburbs contributes to climate change is also ridiculous. Jobs will follow workers to new suburbs. People telecommute. Cars are becoming greener every year.

The idea that land is scarce is equally ridiculous. Using data drawn from 2017 USDA data, only 5.1 percent of California’s whopping 164,000 square mile area is given over to residential, commercial, and industrial use. California’s total urbanized land, 8,280 square miles, is insignificant compared to its 42,498 square miles of grassland, with about half of that used for cattle ranching and dryland farming. To develop a mere 20 percent of this grassland would allow California’s urban footprint to double.

The array of legislation and executive orders designed to prevent new suburban development in California is overwhelming. These laws and executive orders must be overturned, possibly through a constitutional amendment put before voters in the form of a ballot initiative. There is no environmentally compelling reason to block development of new towns and suburbs along California’s major freeways, 101, I-5, and 99, especially if these developments are on rangeland which is of marginal agricultural value and of which only a fraction would be developed anyway.

Expressed as a percentage of California’s vast area, the amount of land necessary to unlock suburban development again on open space is trivial. If ten million Californians moved into homes on spacious quarter-acre lots, four per household, with an equal amount of space developed for new roads and commercial development, it would only consume 1,953 square miles – this would be a 24 percent expansion of California’s urban footprint, i.e., from 5.1 percent to 6.2 percent of all land in the state.

To deny this opportunity to make home ownership affordable to California’s hard working low and middle income residents is based on misanthropic, cruel lies. Allowing suburban development on open land is a moral choice. Until it is again permitted, housing in California will never be affordable.

Dismantling the Renewable Energy Delusion

California’s ruling elite has decided that its citizens will bear the brunt of being the bleeding edge of a global transition to “renewable” energy. But by forcing this advance via government decree, they risk impoverishing a generation merely to leave a legacy of obsolete technologies.

A perfect example is Governor Newsom’s recent decree that new gasoline powered cars cannot be sold in the state after 2035, a mere 14 years from today. What if technologies are found to make gasoline powered cars even cleaner? Or what about natural gas powered cars? What about cars like the Chevy Volt, an extraordinary engineering accomplishment that allows all-electric driving for short commutes, but also delivers 50 MPG in city or freeway driving when in gasoline mode? The Volt died an unwarranted death because California’s green despots did not consider it sufficiently green.

And if California’s energy future is to be exclusively electric, why isn’t nuclear power an option? Why is Diablo Canyon, which could run for several more decades, being decommissioned? Why is California suing the federal government to stop them from increasing the height of Shasta Dam, which would increase hydroelectric capacity?

The selective use of facts to promote “renewables” in California is epic. What sort of analysis has been done as to how much of California’s solar panels, wind turbines and batteries have to be imported? What about lithium and cobalt, imported from nations where the environmental abuse and labor conditions are hideously worse than anything in the U.S.? Why aren’t mining concerns allowed to exploit the abundant lithium deposits in California’s Mojave Desert?

Then there is the question of what happens to all these “renewable” installations when they degrade and have to be replaced. How long will these solar panels and batteries last, and how will they be reprocessed? Even if California achieves a 100 percent renewable electric energy infrastructure, how can it ever be scaled to be applied worldwide, given the raw materials required and the fact that today solar and wind only supply 3.8 percent of global energy? What about new technologies that may come along and render this massive sacrifice obsolete?

Californians deserve reliable and cheap energy. This means nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and clean natural gas. Doing this makes life affordable for working families, and also makes it easier for manufacturers to come back to California, bringing with them well paying jobs.

Destroy the Premises of Misery that Masquerade as Morality

Much more can be said about policies in California that harm people and the environment, but these three are foundational. If you fix the schools you reduce crime and enable upward mobility. If you deregulate so you can build new suburbs on open land you make housing affordable, reduce the overall cost-of-living, and reduce homelessness. If you back off these extreme renewable energy mandates you reduce the cost-of-living and stimulate economic growth.

The premises that must be challenged and destroyed, because they are utterly false, are the following:

(1) More money to feed the teachers union monopoly does not help children learn.

(2) Packing people within the footprint of existing cities does not help people or the environment.

(3) “Renewable” energy is not cheap or reliable, and it is not helping the environment.

The policies that must be promoted without reservations or apology, because they are moral choices that will make California livable again, are the following:

(1) School vouchers must be implemented, so parents can choose whatever school they want for their children.

(2) The regulatory barriers to suburban land development must be all but scrapped, so housing that people want will be affordable.

(3) Hydroelectric, natural gas, and nuclear power must be expanded in California, and renewables mandates must be reduced, so energy will be affordable and reliable.

California’s voters need to understand that these failed policies are pushed by special interests that benefit from misery. The teachers union has a monopoly on education, and the worse things get, the more money they demand. The major corporations, the investment banks, and the pension funds are all in a position to benefit from artificial scarcity of land, because it pumps up the value of their real estate portfolios. The tech giants and the public utilities love renewable energy, because it drives a much larger percentage of consumer spending into paying for overpriced electricity, along with creating a mandatory market for the “internet of things” to manage energy consumption.

Politicians that advocate for school vouchers, suburban expansion, and conventional energy will be viciously attacked by self-righteous zealots, backed up by self-serving billionaires. But the politicians with the courage to stick to this revolutionary agenda will win, because it serves the people instead of the bureaucracy and the billionaires.

This article originally appeared on the website California Globe.

Rebuilding the Small Business Economy in California

(Latest in a series since March on the pandemic’s employment impacts, and rebuilding America’s job base. The previous ones are here.)

The small business economy in California continues to deteriorate rapidly. Small business revenue in California was down 7.2% from January 2020 to early July. In the latest August data, revenue is now down more than 15.9%. The number of small businesses open in the state declined 9.7% from January to early July, by early August the drop had reached 24.7%.

There are several strategies needed as part of the rebuilding process in the months. But they all rest on the same imperative: a reversal of the current politics of small business, which is proving destructive for small businesses and for the broader economy.

Let’s start with some recent history. A few weeks ago, around 150 small business owners in San Francisco rallied at City Hall, calling for the opportunity to reopen. Since mid-July, the City has re-imposed strict economic lockdowns. “Unbelievably, they’re watching as entire business sectors collapse,” announced the owner of a fitness center.

Other than an article in the San Francisco Chronicle business section, though, the rally attracted little attention and response from city government or the Chronicle’s editorial staff. This was not unusual in California in 2020: other rallies by small businesses throughout the state, calling for lifting lockdowns, have been met with indifference by county health officers, elected officials, and the state’s major editorial boards.

Similarly, the conclusion of the California state legislature session in late August brought a flurry of bills, but none that will significantly help rebuild the small business economy. In fact, the bills that were enacted mainly added new costs and regulations on small businesses. John Kabateck, the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the largest of the small business associations in the state with approximately 15,000 small business members, put it this way: “Everyone in Sacramento says that small business is the backbone of the California economy; but then the state legislature acts in a way that is completely oblivious to the realities of small business.”

Kabateck has been a leader in small business advocacy in California for more than two decades. He notes that NFIB-sponsored legislation that would have provided liability protection for small businesses against COVID-19 lawsuits (claiming infection from a place of business), an important element for rebuilding, failed to pass. Also failing passage was a protection sought by small businesses against lawsuits for technical meal and rest break issues linked to employees working at home. At the same time the legislature imposed new requirements on small business for COVID-19 protocols that could result in additional fines and lawsuits (even though the federal and local governments already have imposed several layers of COVID-19 protocols). One small business bill that did succeed was SB1447, providing a tax credit of $1000 for each employee added: a positive action, but not significant in rebuilding.

“You and I and the Wilcoxes stand upon money as upon islands, it is so firm beneath our feet that we forget its very existence” Margaret observes in Howard’s End. California’s professional classes in government, universities, foundations, public interest groups and nonprofits stand upon their own islands of steady paychecks. It is the other class of small business owners, independent contractors and hourly workers who lack the islands of financial security.

This other class hasn’t had influence in state government or the local governments in urban centers for more than a decade. For any serious rebuilding, small business and its allies must find a way to change this. Even before the pandemic, business start up rates in California actually have declined since the early 2000s.

Despite the lack of support in the legislature, the NFIB and other small business groups are taking matters in their own hands, implementing their own set of strategies for rebuilding. They are beginning with the following four, as summarized by Kabateck.

Access to capital: In virtually all regions of the state, local governments, workforce boards and volunteer groups are establishing their own new loan and grant funds for small businesses, some drawing on local CARES Act funds, others on private funds. NFIB has been at the center of most of these, as well as active in ensuring that the state’s smallest businesses are able to access the Paycheck Protection and Emergency Disaster Loan funds.

Assistance to small businesses in negotiating with landlords and creditors: “NFIB has largely stayed out of the renter-owner policy debate, but is making sure member owners are getting the direction they need to make the most informed decisions”, Kabateck explains. “NFIB is advising small employers about where to turn for help in paying rent as well as working with creditors, to help them through this storm.”

Assistance to small businesses in compliance with the numerous COVID 19 return to work protocols: “With so many overlapping COVID-19 mandates from federal, state and local governments, our members are often uncertain on return-to-work protocols. We are helping them sort out their compliance obligations.”

Participation of small business on the state and regional recovery task forces: On the state level, the recovery task is headed by Tom Steyer and dominated by big business, labor and government representatives. Kabateck is part of a Small Business Working Group, trying to balance the perspectives.

All of these are sound strategies, as a start. Beyond them will be others, to be determined by California’s small businesses. But all of the capital programs, tax credits, or compliance assistance in the world will have minimal impact if the perspective of local and state elected officials does not dramatically shift. The small business economy is a resilient one, but it also is fragile. Even before the pandemic, the state legislature had little restraint in adding business mandates, and this has continued during the pandemic.

“Only Connect” is the best-known passage in Howard’s End, with its multiple meanings in terms of personal and social connections and disconnections. But the concept of connection/ disconnection is not foreign to the political. Addressing the growing disconnection of the small business community from the state’s professional classes, now in main control of state policy, will be the basis of rebuilding.

(First appeared in Forbes).

Michael Bernick is counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris LLP, a Milken Institute Fellow and former Director of the California Employment Development Department.

Californians Continue To Suffer From Wildfire-Related Power Shutoffs

At last count, the death toll from the California wildfires stood at 26. With heat and high winds affecting the state, PG&E, the state’s largest electric utility, is again resorting to preemptive power shutoffs — a policy the company initiated last year to prevent its equipment from starting more fires.

The most recent PG&E shutoff affected 22 counties, stretching from Sonoma County south of Santa Rosa to the Sierra Nevada, covering some 200,000 households and businesses. PG&E claims that these Public Safety Power Shutoffs are the most cost-effective approach to reducing wildfire risk from its equipment, as well as the only viable alternative until the company upgrades its transmission and distribution systems.

A detailed analysis suggests otherwise, however. The impetus for preemptive shutoffs arose from the 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed the towns of Paradise and Concow and killed 85 people. The Camp Fire was caused by a defective support on a nearly 100-year-old transmission line. In June, PG&E pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and promised to do better.

In its June 30 Risk Management and Assessment Report to the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E estimated that preemptive shutoffs would cost it $525 million between 2020 and 2022. In reaching this conclusion, though, the company ignored the costs to its customers, left without power for days. Those costs include spoiled food, lost work, and health effects on individuals who rely on home medical equipment.

A Manhattan Institute report I coauthored found that the costs to PG&E customers exceed the benefits from reduced wildfire risk. We estimated that the shutoff in October 2019 cost 750,000 customers between about $850 million and $1.7 billion. As for the benefits: even considering all of PG&E’s service territory, not just the affected counties where the power was shut off; and even assuming that every piece of PG&E equipment was in poor condition and thus much more likely to fail, the expected benefits were just over $500 million—less than one-third the estimated costs imposed on PG&E customers. When looking only at the counties affected by the shutdown, we found that the expected benefits fall to just over $100 million.

In other words, even the low end of the range of costs PG&E imposed on its customers was eight times larger than the expected benefits from reduced wildfire risk. And, even if one assumes that, without the shut-offs, a wildfire would have resulted, its expected costs would still be less than the costs imposed on those 750,000 customers.

The destructive wildfires in PG&E’s service territory have resulted from multiple causes, including poor forest management, which leaves dead and diseased trees untouched and thus provides more fuel for wildfires to develop. Deferred maintenance along power lines has also increased the likelihood that PG&E’s equipment will cause problems. PG&E claims that its preemptive shutdowns will reduce the number of customers affected and restore power more quickly. The company also intends to spend billions of dollars to upgrade its system and reduce wildfire risk, which will push its rates—already 50 percent higher than the U.S. average—higher still.

Wildfires are a fact of life in California and have been for centuries. But decades of fire suppression, environmentalists’ objections to logging, grazing, and thinning, and more people living in wildfire-prone areas have worsened the destruction. Coupled with the recent blackouts in the state—caused by inadequate supplies of electricity, thanks to California’s growing reliance on intermittent wind and solar power—PG&E’s customers seem destined to suffer for the foreseeable future, paying exorbitant prices for unreliable electricity supplies while enduring prolonged power shutoffs.

One hopes that California policymakers and regulators will take action to avoid this dystopian future. But the political winds aren’t blowing in that direction.

Jonathan A. Lesser, Ph.D., is the president of Continental Economics, an energy and economic consulting firm, and an adjunct fellow with the Manhattan Institute. His report, coauthored with Charles Feinstein, “Playing with Fire: California’s Approach to Managing Wildfire Risks,” was published in April by the Manhattan Institute.

This article was originally published by City Journal Online.

Why Can’t Sacramento’s Financial Reporting Match Private Sector Standards?

If you want current financial information on California’s state government, you won’t find it. The most recent consolidated annual financial report for California’s state agencies is for the fiscal year ended 6/30/2018. That’s over two years, or nine quarters ago.

To put this in perspective, America’s publicly traded multinational corporations, with operations spread all over the globe, are required to submit to the IRS detailed 10K reports within 90 days of filing their tax returns, which in-turn are due “the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the fiscal year.”

This means that Walmart, with $514 billion in revenue, or ExxonMobil, with $290 billion in revenue, along with dozens of other mega corporations, have at most 195 days, or just over six months, to pull together and submit a comprehensive financial report on their operations.

In reality, corporations rarely need 195 days. Walmart released its annual report for their fiscal year ended 1/31/2020 on 4/23/2020, eighty four days later. ExxonMobil’s most recent fiscal year ended 12/31/19, and their 2019 annual report was issued prior to their annual meeting of shareholders on 5/27/2020, 148 days later.

So why is it that the State of California, where “the expenses of the primary government totaled $300.7 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018,” still cannot convey similar information for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019? Corporations of comparable size do it in 195 days or less. As of 9/24/2020, California’s 2018-19 fiscal year ended 452 days ago.

What anyone concerned about the California’s state government’s entire system of financial management should wonder is not only why there’s still no report for the fiscal year ended 6/30/2019, but when will the report be produced for the fiscal year ended 6/30/2020. If they could pull together their numbers with efficiency merely matching what corporations have been doing for years, we would see financial reports for the 2019-20 fiscal year by January 15th, if not sooner.

recent article in the California Globe discussed these delays, noting that “California is the only state that has not yet published a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year that ended more than 12 months ago.” In terms of meeting deadlines to file financial reports, the ongoing superior performance of not only corporations, but every other state in America, should put to rest any claims that the COVID pandemic is responsible for this slowdown.

So why does it take California’s state government so long to let taxpayers know how they’re doing? State Senator Moorlach, the only licensed CPA in the state legislature, looked into the reasons for the delay. Also courtesy of the Globe, here’s what he learned:

“We were informed that the Secretary of State’s office and the State Water Resources Control Board have not yet given their data to the Controller. Can you imagine? The Secretary of State? A department run by an independently elected statewide official is late? The same department that had faulty software in place when motor voter was initiated? The same department that will be overseeing the state’s first all mail-in ballot process in November?”

It’s easy enough for the state controller to assign blame to another department, and it is certainly ominous that yet another example of incompetence is directed at the Secretary of State’s office, which we must trust to oversee our election integrity. But the Office of the State Controller has faltered in ways going well beyond delinquent financials.

Back in 2013, the California Policy Center published our first assessment of California’s total state and local government debt.  At that time, we were able to rely on Consolidated Annual Financial Reports not only for all state agencies, but for cities, counties, and special districts. Up until 2002, even California’s school districts had a consolidated annual report. There was even a consolidated annual financial report for the state’s public employee pension systems. All of those reports, with the exception of the one for state agencies, have been discontinued.

These consolidated annual reports, released as PDF documents, contained readable, useful information that made it relatively easy to compile total a debt profile for California’s state and local government agencies. But they have since been scrapped in favor of a “By the Numbers” website that offers superficial analysis in the form of interactive graphs and charts, along with downloadable Excel files that contain an overwhelming amount of data.

To be fair, both of these forms of data are useful. It’s good to see topline data on revenues and expenditures, and it’s good to have a mountain of raw data to pick through. But what’s missing – kind of like California’s disappearing middle class – is a mid-level written analysis where someone has done the work to analyze what’s beneath the topline numbers. Anyone who thinks this mid-tier of explanatory material is not invaluable is invited to download one of these Excel spreadsheets.

For cities, for example, the spreadsheet format consists of 482 rows of data, corresponding to each of California’s reporting cities, then there are 12 columns containing various categories of data. These columns list the name of the city, the estimated population, and other basic information. But that’s just the first tab. The “Cities Raw Data 2018” spreadsheet has 46 tabs containing data. These tabs have enigmatic names, such as “CIX_INTER_SERV_FUND” or “CI_FUNC_REV_EXP. Some of these tabs have several thousand rows of data, since many cities, for example, have several tranches of outstanding debt. Most of these tabs also have several dozen columns, and while these columns for the most part have reasonably explicable headers, no attempt is made to show the relationship between variables, i.e., which columns contain the subtotals and totals of amounts in other columns, and if so, of which other columns. The user is left to painstakingly infer every relationship.

What the California State Controller did, by eliminating these reports, was absolve their own office staff of the responsibility to analyze this data, something they had done for years. Instead they programmed an automated report generator that loads up pretty bar graphs with no explanation as to what is included or excluded in the totals, and no discussion about what any of it means. Then they offered access to the raw data as well, with the almost glib implication that if you don’t like our pretty graphs, dig through this.

To use the metaphor of an elephant to describe what has been lost, what we have today from the State Controller’s Office is a photograph of the elephant, along with a mountain of data describing each and every molecule in that elephant. What we used to have was a biology textbook, clearly explaining the various functioning parts of that elephant, and commenting on its overall health.

California’s state controller is not merely more delinquent than ever on delivering timely financial data on state and local agencies to taxpayers. For much of what it is tasked to analyze and report – cities, counties, special districts, and school districts – the office has cleverly created opacity in the name of transparency. For reporters looking for a quick number, or data miners with the time and the funding to do the state controller’s job for them, no problem. For anyone who wants to know how California’s state and local governments are doing without having to swim through a ocean of raw data, this is a disservice.

We must wonder how things would change if private sector standards were applied to the state controller’s office. How would they cope, if they were told to get their consolidated annual reports completed in six months instead of within 15 months, or more? It is a reasonable expectation.

There are profound differences between huge corporations and California’s state government agencies. But those differences shouldn’t be overstated. They are equally complex. Both contain huge bureaucracies. Both are subject to laws and incentives designed to create diversity in the workforce. Both have fiefdoms and infighting, waste and inefficiency. But there is one crucial difference.

The financial professionals working for the State Controller’s Office are represented by the various union affiliates of the California State Employees Association. Financial professionals working for ExxonMobil, or Walmart, or other mega corporations, do not belong to a union. It is left to the reader to speculate as to what impact union work rules have on the flexibility and accountability of unionized state agencies and their employees, including the Office of the California State Controller.

This article originally appeared in the California Globe.

California’s Energy Scorecard Fails on the World Stage

California, with 0.5 percent of the world’s population (40 million vs 8 billion) professes to be the leader of everything and through its dysfunctional energy policies imports more electricity than any other state – currently at 32 percent from the Northwest and Southwest – and has forced California to be the only state in contiguous America that imports most of its crude oil energy demands from foreign country suppliers to meet the energy demands of the state. 

State energy policies have made California electricity and fuel prices among the highest in the nation which have been contributory to the rapid growth of “energy poverty” for the 18 million (45 percent of the 40 million Californians) that represent the Hispanic and African American populations of the state.

Access to electricity is now an afterthought in most parts of the world, so it may come as a surprise to learn that 16 percent of the world’s population — an estimated 1.2 billion people — are still living without this basic necessity. Lack of access to electricity, or “energy poverty”, is the ultimate economic hindrance as it prevents people from participating in the modern economy.

Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80 percent of humanity, or almost 6 billion, lives on less than $10 a day. Other nations and continents living in abject poverty without electricity realize California, and large parts of the U.S. buying into green new deals, renewable futures, and zero-carbon societies are left with the dystopic reality of mass homelessness, filth and rampant inequality that increasingly characterize the GND core values.

Today, the current world population of 7.8 billion  is projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100

Over the last 100 years, climate-related deaths in developed countries have decreased by 95 percent, mostly attributable to the use of fossil fuels and the products made from petroleum derivatives, that have lifted more than a billion people out of poverty in just the past twenty-five years. We can thank fossil fuels and capitalism for that and more. 

Currently, underdeveloped countries, mostly from energy starved countries, are experiencing about 11,000,000 child deaths every year of which more than 70 per cent are attributable to six causes: diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. About 29,000 children under the age of five – 21 each minute – die every day, mainly from preventable causes

When you include fatalities of “other than children” the world numbers get even worse…

After that slice of morbidity I’d like to present a tad of relatively good news as to why the world is looking at the safety of nuclear power reactors. The worldwide total of nuclear deaths  – not annually, but from inception of nuclear –  including Three Mile Island (March 1979), Chernobyl (April 1986) and Fukushima (March 2011) are LESS than 200.

As a result of safety and ability to provide continuous uninterruptable zero emission electricity, today there are about 440 nuclear reactors operating in 30 countries around the world with 50 more under construction. Significant further capacity is being created by plant upgrading of existing reactors.  Additionally, there are 140 nuclear powered ships that have accumulated 12,000 reactor years of “safe” marine operation. 

Even China, with thousands of coal-fired power plants, already has 46 nuclear reactors in operation and 11 more under construction to provide continuous uninterruptible zero-emission electricity.

  • California’s goal is ZERO nuclear power plants to generate zero emission electricity.

In 2016, natural gas-fired generators accounted for 42% of the operating electricity generating capacity in the United States with 200 more set to open.

  • California’s goal is ZERO natural gas power plants to generate continuous uninterruptable electricity.
  • California’s green goals are to only rely on intermittent electricity from wind and solar and hope that the Northwestern and Southwestern states can generate enough extra power to meet the electricity demands of the 5th largest economy in the world.

With countries around the world and other American states focused on providing continuous uninterruptable electricity, and the more than 6,000 products made from petroleum derivatives for use in the daily lives of their residents, we must give California a FAILING GRADE on the world stage for its energy policies.

If we continue to deny the growing poor populations the benefits of electricity, medicines, heating and countless other developments made possible by deep earth minerals and fuels, to ever achieve the lifestyle benefits afforded the climate activists, then we need to justify our reasoning for allowing those millions of preventable deaths from occurring every year in third world countries.

Ronald Stein is founder and ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily.

Recall Gavin Effort Booms Despite Media Blackout

When the history of the 2020 election in California is written, the prevailing question will be why didn’t the California Republican Party take advantage of one of the biggest populist movements in modern history, the ongoing campaign to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. The period this recall effort has been allocated for signature gathering overlaps neatly with the peak political season, hence there is a tremendous opportunity for CAGOP to capitalize on its momentum.

It’s easy enough to understand why, despite gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures, and being on track to gather more signed petitions than any volunteer effort, ever, there is virtually zero media coverage. California’s establishment radio, press, and television networks are determined to ignore the Recall Gavin 2020 campaign for the same reasons the CAGOP ought to embrace – it is a rebellion that has attracted millions of disillusioned Californian voters and it has the potential to fundamentally transform the political landscape of the state.

For California’s media, this blackout is merely malpractice. Their partisan bias – expressed in how they frame issues, what issues they choose to cover, what facts they choose to emphasize over others, and their many sins of omission – is well established and comes as no surprise. In the case of CAGOP, their lack of support is, to be charitable, due to an excess of caution.

To appreciate the weight of the populist uprising sweeping California, the media, and CAGOP, might choose to attend the next large event organized by the Recall Gavin 2020 campaign, a rally to be held on the north steps of the State Capitol on Saturday 9/19 from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. They will witness not hundreds, but thousands of supporters, showing up in a “Rolling Thunder” vehicle caravan as well as congregating on the north lawn. Smaller crowds at the Capitol, often comprised mostly of people who were paid to attend, consistently manage to attract television cameras and reporters. But to be newsworthy, you have to further the Democrat narrative.

The ingenuity displayed by the Recall Gavin 2020 campaign could teach a lot to the CAGOP consultants and their donors, a tight-knit network that has displayed remarkable continuity while presiding over an unrelenting decline that has lasted for three decades. It comes down to this: If you support the people, the people will support you.

To support the people, CAGOP three choices: First, they can aggressively promote a visionary platform with a few revolutionary but very concrete objectives. Things have gotten so bad, this ought to be easy. Thin the forests. Round up the homeless and put them in supervised tent cities (saving billions). Permit expansion of suburbs on the perimeter of cities which is the only way home prices will ever come down. Keep Diablo Canyon open, along with clean natural gas power plants (saving billions). Widen the freeways. Fix the aqueducts. Build more reservoirs and underground water storage. Enact school choice, preferably by issuing vouchers (saving billions). Start prosecuting criminals and get drug addicts off the streets. Quit harassing businesses (adding billions).

To the naysayers: Stop relying on polling, which is merely a good way for legacy consulting firms to collect, say, $900,000 to compile increasingly unreliable data on voter sentiment. Voter sentiment changes. Leadership and vision change the minds of voters. Get out there, and listen to people. You will be astonished at how close California’s entire population is to embracing a completely new agenda. But not one powerful CAGOP politician or donor has the guts to not just promote a revolutionary agenda, but demand it.

Choice two for CAGOP is even easier. Fire a shot that will be heard around the world by supporting the Recall Gavin 2020 campaign, unequivocally and without reservations. This will serve notice to voters that the party means business, and it’s gone onto offense. Have every CAGOP candidate express their support for the recall, and make it the centerpiece of a statewide slate declaring the CAGOP position on the many ballot initiatives facing voters in November.

Opposing Gavin Newsom gives much needed coherence and excitement to everything else  CAGOP is fighting for in this state. For example, there is not one significant state ballot initiative Newsom is for, that CAGOP is not against, nor is there one that he is against, that CAGOP is not supporting. The votes on many of these initiatives will be close. Enlisting the support of the recall volunteers could make the difference.

Choice three is the strategy that CAGOP is currently pursuing. Their strategy is thus: “Vote for us because we are not Democrats, and therefore you should support us.” That strategy is adequate – not good, but adequate – with the 24 percent of voters who are still registered Republican in California. For the rest, not so much.

Reluctance on the part of CAGOP to support the Recall Gavin 2020 campaign is understandable only if you view grassroots activism as a zero sum game. There are literally tens of thousands of Californians currently circulating petitions to recall the governor. These are people who could be, to mention perhaps the most important variable, walking precincts to recapture battleground seats in the U.S. Congress. But it is not a zero sum game.

The field directors for those candidates in tight races should be delivering their campaign material to the volunteers who are coordinating the recall efforts in their counties. Supporters of the recall are not exclusively Republicans, in fact, in many counties they may not even be majority Republican. But Newsom personifies Democrats, and they’re already fighting Newsom. If CAGOP endorses the recall, these recall volunteers become ripe prospects for conversion.

This bears reflection. Consider this revealing map, prepared by the Public Policy Institute of California (below), that depicts the political geography of the state as if the number of voters in each county drove the size of the space in which they resided. See that tiny, tiny little red patch up in the great white north? That’s your base. Get real. Take a chance. Swing for the fences.

CAGOP strategists and donors have to ask themselves some tough questions: “Are the recall volunteers people who would have otherwise volunteered to help us?” Some of them would have, but the vast majority of them would not. With that in mind, the question then becomes “will these recall volunteers support our candidates?” And to that, one can only say why wouldn’t they? If they’ve had it with Newsom, they’ve had it with his party.

The final question to pose to CAGOP strategists and donors at this critical time is simply this: Why are you blasting out millions of emails deriding the governor, if we’re unwilling to support the recall effort? Emails with subject lines such as “King Newsom will stop at nothing” (9/17), “King Newsom’s Reign Must End” (9/16), or “King Newsom Has Gone Too Far,” (9/06)? Are you kidding? Or do you mean it?

When you stand up for what you believe in, people are attracted. When you say one thing, and do another, you don’t matter. This recall campaign was inevitable. It was unstoppable. From the beginning the opportunity for CAGOP was either to embrace the recall effort, which would unify the base and attract new followers, or ignore it, confirming their status as the residual irrelevancy exemplified by the PPIC political map.

The Recall Gavin 2020 campaign’s lead proponent, Orrin Heatlie, is a capable and determined campaigner who has, from scratch, mobilized an army. There is a path forward for this campaign to beat the odds and put this recall onto the ballot. As will be seen, they are likely to surpass any similar sort of volunteer signature gathering effort in the history of California. Should they come tantalizingly close to success, yet fail, CAGOP will have a lot of explaining to do. Or they can have the courage of their declared convictions, and join the fight.

This article originally appeared on the website California Globe.

San Francisco’s Deathly Compassion

San Francisco has a serious drug problem, particularly among its homeless population. Roughly 8,000 people live on the city’s sidewalks or in its alleyways, public parks, and playgrounds. People with needles in their arms and legs, holding glass pipes and lighters, are a regular sight. Users go limp in doorways and tents, or they career about, dazed and distraught, or angry and violent. Dealers selling heroin, Fentanyl, methamphetamine, and crack are ubiquitous.

So, too, are the advocates for “harm reduction,” which holds that widespread drug use should be accepted but its worst effects mitigated. Organizations such as the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the Harm Reduction Coalition, the Drug Users Union, and even the Department of Public Health, in partnership with The DOPE Project, focus almost exclusively on “safe drug use.” In fact, the Drug Users Union’s goal is “to create a safe environment where people can use & enjoy drugs as well as receive services.” This attitude led to today’s humanitarian crisis: thousands of people living on San Francisco’s streets, languishing in an endless cycle of homelessness and addiction.

Every day of the week, nonprofits and churches such as Glide Memorial partner with the city to distribute drug use supplies to addicts at designated pick-up points. With an empty backpack, I visited three such spots recently in a single afternoon.

Through open doorways, friendly workers asked what I needed. They suggested items and eagerly gave me what asked for—needles (what size?), naloxone (do you know how to use it? Here, let me show you!), rubber tourniquets to pop my veins, little metal cookers for my dope, sharps containers, sheets of foil and straws for Fentanyl, and mounds of alcohol pads, gauze, and bandages. My backpack was soon bursting; I collected 170 needles.

Not one person asked if I was interested in treatment. No one discussed detox or gave me a flyer with listings for local 12-step meetings. No one inquired about my physical or psychological wellbeing. I could have anything I wanted—except for help getting off drugs.

The idea of harm reduction seems noble. Access to clean needles reduces diseases like hepatitis and HIV, and naloxone can bring overdosing people back from the brink of death. Carefully monitored methadone-maintenance programs can return individuals struggling with opiates to a more stable life.

Harm reduction has mutated from ameliorating the collateral negative effects of addiction to promoting drug use as a positive lifestyle choice. Yet the lives of San Francisco’s addicts clearly aren’t improving. They’re sicker, more numerous than ever, and dying in staggering numbers. The body count is rising from Fentanyl, the highly potent synthetic opioid that has become the substance of choice. Last year’s 441 overdose deaths represented a 70 percent increase, and 2020 will likely be another record-breaking year.

Still, true believers carry on, convinced that they’re doing right by helping addicts do more drugs. It’s an unconscionable position. All people deserve a chance to live free of the substances preventing them from a healthy, self-sufficient life. They need someone to say, “I believe in you; let me help you escape addiction,” not, “You’re a drug user, let me help you remain an addict.”

Question the self-described experts, though, and you’re dismissed as a rube, even as their grand experiment—the giant petri dish of San Francisco—is evidence that they’ve failed.

And it’s getting worse. Homeless addicts given hotel rooms during Covid-19 are offered the complete range of drug paraphernalia. Boxes of needles, glass pipes for meth and crack, and Fentanyl supplies are laid out in the lobbies like a breakfast buffet. Fatal overdoses, not surprisingly, have spiked. All the hotels should have been drug-free zones, yet not even one was designated for sober people or for those trying to kick their habits.

The effects of enabling addiction are far-ranging. Low-income neighborhoods, where the majority of homeless drug users concentrate, are disproportionately affected. Poor immigrants, children, and seniors watch as addicts use drugs in front of them, stealing to support their addiction and behaving in other horrible ways. Small businesses can’t operate in such environments and are forced to close.

Condoning illegal drug use means accepting everything that accompanies the business: human traffickingsexual exploitationpolitical corruption, and environmental disaster. Recognizing these connections is essential. It’s why we condemned the ivory trade and child labor. Why do we now give a nod to illegal drugs that perpetuate some of the worst crimes known to man?

We can change course and focus on recovery. Options exist. The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center gives homeless individuals and families a place to stay while they pursue sobriety; the San Francisco Adult Probation Department’s reentry division gives newly released prisoners up to a year in residential drug-treatment programs. It’s time to invest in organizations like Community First Village in Austin, Texas, which recognizes that possession of controlled substances is illegal and provides permanent housing to the chronically homeless—with a work requirement. Residents are expected to abide by the law and take advantage of on-site rehabilitation and counseling. Such organizations give more to those they help by expecting more of them.

Drug addicts need a lifeline, not a millstone. For those who doubt that it’s time to push back against harm-reduction advocates who do little more than throw fresh needles, fentanyl foil, and meth pipes at the sick and dying, I have a suggestion: come to San Francisco and have a look around.

Erica Sandberg is a widely published consumer-finance reporter based in San Francisco and the author of Expecting Money: The Essential Financial Plan for New and Growing Families. As a community advocate, she focuses on homelessness and crime and safety issues.

This article was originally published by City Journal Online.

Californian Responds to Mississippi Sierra Club on Blackouts

Expansion of solar power in nearby states, not solely California, resulted in a lack of available exportable power and rolling blackouts

Re: Louis Miller, Let’s Not Black Out the Facts About California Blackouts, What It Means for Mississippi, Clarion Ledger, Sept. 11, 2020.

Louis Miller, head of the Mississippi Sierra Club, concludes in his above-captioned letter to the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger newspaper that “renewable energy did not cause California’s blackouts”.  As someone who formed a Task Force to manage the 2001 California Energy Crisis for the largest urban water district in California, I felt I had to respond so the public is not misled.

Power and pollution in California are interrelated in a way not found in Mississippi due to topography.  The City of Los Angeles has to import as much as 75% of its power from gas and coal plants from Arizona, Utah and Nevada in order to meet their EPA mandated air quality standards.  Thus, California imports power but also exports or externalizes its pollution to nearby states where it is dissipated into the atmosphere and not trapped in air basins as it is in Los Angeles (“the solution to pollution is dilution”).

California’s cities have the worst air quality in the US because they are in a Basin State with air basins that trap smog from polluting power plants, industries and cars due to an “inversion layer”.  Conversely, Mississippi is a Gulf State and its gulf winds dissipate its emissions.

California and Mississippi have nearly opposite proportions of clean/dirty power: California has 70% installed “clean” power and Mississippi has 79% “dirty” power, mainly gas power plants.  So, if solar power is equally “reliable” as gas power as Miller contends why doesn’t Mississippi have unplanned rolling blackouts too (not to be confused with the planned blackouts California has to avoid forest fires)? Answer: California has base load solar power and Mississippi has none.  

Because of California’s dependence on solar for daytime baseload power, it has a daily energy crisis for about 2 to 4 hours per day starting around sunset when solar power cuts out. California buys imported dispatchable power (gas, coal, nuclear) from nearby states to replace solar power at sunset. But nearby states are also relying on more solar power that creates a daily energy crisis in those states too. There was not enough imported power available during the recent heat wave to meet California’s needs. So, it was the shift to solar power in nearby states, not solely in California, that precipitated California’s power shortfall and blackouts. Solar power in California forced the importation of power from nearby states. But now with the emergence of “microgrids” and the expansion of solar power from other states, the state electric grid is moving back to balkanized grids. But what will back up those microgrids?

Miller asserts that rooftop solar power “cuts out the middleman by eliminating the need to import coal or gas while shortening the distance electricity has to travel across power lines”.

Large solar and wind farms in California are located in the desert at least 100 miles from coastal urban cities or are in other states.

The new middlemen of green power are residential rooftop solar system owners who want to privatize the benefits and hefty subsidies for solar power but socialize the external costs onto other electricity customers.

Miller is misinformed that solar power “results in lower energy bills”.  As California has shifted to heavily subsidized green baseload power, the price of electricity for residential customers deceptively fell from 20.87 cents per kilowatt hour to 19.79 cents.  But total system costs rose from 18.5 to 18.8 cents per kilowatt hour. This is called “cost shifting” where one set of customers (residential solar rooftop) underpay making another (no solar residential, commercial, industrial) overpay. The Public Utilities Commission has to tack on a 14-cent per kilowatt hour tariff to rooftop solar users for escaping their fair share of system and transmission costs for backup power.

Miller also wrongly asserts that solar power results in lower energy bills because “customers aren’t being held hostage to ever-fluctuating fuel prices”. Wholesale electricity prices in California do not fluctuate each minute like the stock market because the grid operator (ISO) runs a day-ahead market by soliciting bids the prior day. 

In October California is going to switch to Time-Of-Use electricity billing instead of time averaging, which will result in price spikes from 25-cents per kilowatt hour to 40-cents per kilowatt hour during sunset hours. So-called cheaper solar power will not be available to defray the price spikes at sunset hours but will exacerbate them.  Before Time-Of-Use billing, the average price of electricity in California in 2018 was 16.58-cents per kilowatt hour compared to 9.24-cents per kilowatt hour for Mississippi.

When the sun goes down owners of solar rooftop systems have to be switched to natural gas power or install some sort of backup power of their own for the nighttime. A rooftop solar system backup battery costs from $5,000 to $7,000 to install and costs from $400 to $750 per kilowatt hour to operate.  By comparison, a natural gas home generator costs about 12.4-cents per kilowatt hour to run (in Florida) according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. But California cities want to mandate elimination of all natural gas use in California citing “climate change”.

Miller quotes Steve Berberich, CEO of California’s grid operations, that renewable energy was “not a factor” in driving blackouts. But, as stated above, it was the expansion of solar power in nearby states, not California, that resulted in lack of enough imported gas power to handle the heat wave.  And one of the reasons that there were rolling blackouts in California on August 14 was that 1,000 megawatts of wind power was suddenly lost when the wind died

This is why California’s “one-size-fits-all” green energy policy is not a wise choice for Plains, Gulf, Mountain or Plateau States. Mississippi would be ill-advised to adopt California’s clean energy policies, baseload power from solar farms and rooftop solar systems tied into its power grid, mainly because it does not have a topography that traps air emissions.  As for lung cancers and asthma, they are declining with the decrease in smoking, not solely on improvements in air quality. Moreover, those diseases involve compromised immune systems and are not purely caused (although are aggravated) by airborne particulate matter (see James Enstrom, PhD., Fine Particulate Matter and Total Mortality in Cancer Prevention, Sage Publications, March 28, 2017).

California’s goal of all green power is only based on a semblance of formal systems planning and instead is based on “political power” planning. The technologies are not even invented yet or the cost well-defined to affordably form reliable micro-grids with battery ranches and hubs connected to solar farms.  California is “muddling through” to its green energy goals with failures and blackouts no matter the costs or consequences.

Wayne Lusvardi appraises private water utilities regulated by the CPUC and has no investments in public utilities or fossil fuels. He is a free-lance writer for CaliforniaGlobe.com