By Doug Porter
There was a whole lotta swearing going on yesterday around California, as state and local officials took oaths promising to obey the constitution and whatever else it is they’re supposed to do. Today we’ll look at some of the promises made as politicians used the opportunity to talk about the future.
In Sacramento Gov. Jerry Brown made headlines, announcing a sweeping plan to address climate change. After taking the oath for his fourth and final term, Brown used his inaugural speech to proclaim that California must lead the way if the world is to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.
In San Diego county supervisors Bill Horn and Ron Roberts were sworn in for their final term limited time. Also taking the oath were Sheriff Bill Gore, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Assessor/Recorder/Clerk Ernest Dronenburg, Jr., and Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister.
Doubling Down on Climate Change
Jerry Brown gave his first inaugural address 40 years ago when he took office as California’s 34th governor. Here’s what he said yesterday in his final address that got headline writers around the country excited:
“I propose three ambitious goals to be accomplished within the next 15 years: first, increase from one-third to 50 percent our electricity derived from renewable sources; two, and even more difficult, reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent; three, double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner.
From Think Progress:
While all three of these are ambitious, the one with real teeth is the push for more renewable electricity. California currently has a goal of getting one-third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Brown just moved the conversation forward a decade. If this goal is adopted it could provide the kind of regulatory stability needed for clean energy sources to thrive and for investments to soar.
Speaking at length about the importance of these actions, Brown said that “taking significant amounts of carbon out of our economy without harming its vibrancy is exactly the sort of challenge at which California excels.”
He said he envisions a variety of initiatives in achieving these goals, including expanded rooftop solar, micro-grids, battery storage and “the full integration of information technology and electrical distribution and millions of electric and low-carbon vehicles.”
“All Aboard” in Fresno
Part of the Governor’s vision includes construction a high speed train between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Groundbreaking ceremonies are happening today in Fresno.
From CBS News:
After years of planning and legal challenges, California’s $68-billion bullet train is finally about to break ground.
Work on the first leg of the system gets underway in Fresno, Tuesday, reports CBS San Francisco. Once completed, it will be the nation’s first high-speed rail system.
Traveling faster than a Ferrari at 220 miles per hour, the bullet train will slash in half the six-hour drive from northern to southern California. The multibillion-dollar project is due to run bullet trains from the Los Angeles basin to the San Francisco Bay area in the 2020s.
The train project, which has been on the drawing boards since the 1980s, will be a boon for job seekers in the central part of the state. Trade unions have played a key role in getting the workforce trained for the project.
The unions signed an agreement with the High-Speed Rail Authority to hire workers from federally designated impoverished census tracts for about a third of the project’s work hours.Most of Fresno County fits that bill, with some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. The agreement also includes hiring a subset of disadvantaged workers, including the chronically unemployed, veterans, single mothers and former inmates.
“We have the single-largest public infrastructure project in the history of the state of California coming through the poorest parts of our state,” says Blake Konczal, director of the Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board. He lobbied hard for the agreement and estimates that, at the peak of construction, it will help a minimum of 5,000 workers get hired — and these jobs pay well for the Central Valley. But first, people have to be trained.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari made the train proposal the centerpiece of his candidacy last year, calling it the “crazy train.”
Other Concerns Raised
As the Governor spoke in Sacramento yesterday environmental activists protested his policies on hydraulic fracturing and promoted a February 7th rally in his hometown of Oakland.
The Courage Campaign accused Brown of failing “to address the more than 23 percent of Californians currently living in poverty.”
And then there’s the State Legislature, which has its own agenda in mind. From the Sacramento Bee:
…Brown faces pressure in Sacramento from Democratic lawmakers to restore cuts made during the recession to education and social services. He is also feuding with University of California officials over their threat to raise tuition if Brown and lawmakers do not give the system more money. Brown is expected to respond formally in a budget proposal Friday.
UT-San Diego Economics Experts Go to Work
Meanwhile in Mission Valley Papa Doug’s minions were fabricating their own version of reality. In their world the state’s anti-global warming legislative program has failed because China and India haven’t done enough fast enough to suit them.
Therefore, the reasoning goes, California should stop trying. The people who warned us that Obamacare would tank the economy are now predicting another round of doom and gloom.
From the UT editorial:
Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to double down on AB 32 — the state’s landmark 2006 anti-global warming law — is stark testament to the power of the green religion among California Democrats. It is also a rejection of basic economics and logic.
Dumanis ‘DA Forever’ Campaign Underway
Prior to her 2014 campaign for County District Attorney, Bonnie Dumanis told staffers that this would be her last term. It would appear as though she’s changed her mind.
From UT-San Diego:
San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis hasn’t wasted any time getting back on the campaign trail.
Moments after being sworn in for her fourth term Monday morning, Dumanis said she plans to return to the same spot in exactly four years.
Supervisor Ron Roberts featured a power point presentation at the event re-affirming his vision of a gondola system connecting downtown and Balboa Park. Last June the supervisors gave unanimous approval to a request from Roberts to spend $75,000 in county Neighborhood Reinvestment Program money to hire a consultant to study for an aerial gondola.
Demonstrations Sparked by Mexico President’s Visit
Protests are expected today in nearly a dozen US cities as President Obam meets with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Washington DC.
…the big question going into the meeting is whether and how the presidents will address the ongoing controversy over the Mexican government’s handling of the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, in the southwestern state of Guerrero. The suspected involvement of local authorities along with drug cartels in the students’ disappearance last September—as well as the Mexcan government’s ineffectual response—has prompted massive protests across Mexico, as well as some in the United States.
The case has deeply affected Peña Nieto’s public approval, which is at its lowest in his two-year presidency–lower than that of his predecesors, Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón, and the lowest for any Mexican president in nearly 20 years. The U.S. government—the primary foreign backer of the Mexican government’s drug war— has been generally hesitant to weigh in on the case, though the State Departmenthas faced questions over whether it will review Mexico’s human rights standing.
But what could be the most damaging blow to Peña Nieto’s administration came last month. An investigation conducted by the Mexican magazine Proceso with support from the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California at Berkeley claimed to confirm the Mexican military’s and federal government’s direct involvement in the disappearance of the 43 students.
The Guardian reports:
Before a meeting in Washington on Tuesday between the US and Mexican presidents, Human Rights Watch called on Barack Obama to warn Enrique Peña Nieto that he must do more to stop abuses – or risk losing a portion of aid within a security and justice aid package, known as the Mérida initiative, which is legally conditioned on the country’s human rights record.
“You should make it clear that if Mexico is unable to show significant results in prosecuting human rights crimes, your administration will no longer be able to certify that the human rights requirements in the Merida initiative have been been met,” wrote Human Rights Watch’s director, José Miguel Vivanco, in an open letter.
On This Day: 1916 – Eight thousand workers went on strike at Youngstown Sheet & Tube. The following day the strikers’ wives and other family members join in the protest. Company guards used tear gas bombs and fire into the crowd; three strikers were killed, 25 wounded. 1975 – About a thousand Led Zeppelin fans rioted while waiting for tickets to go on sale at Boston Garden. About $30,000 was done in damage and the show was cancelled by Boston Mayor Kevin White. 1999 – The 106th Congress opened. The first item on the agenda was the impeachment proceedings of President Bill Clinton.
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