First LegisLunch Friday
This Friday, my staff and I will hold the first monthly LegisLunch meeting. In a casual setting over lunch, these sessions will provide the public a chance to meet with my staff and me to share issues or concerns.
Time: April 8 (Friday), 12:00-1:00. Place: Sizzler, 1401 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton
These LegisLunches (yes, it's a new word-my spell check is underlining it in red as I type) will be held the 2nd Friday of every month at the Sizzler, right across the street from my district office. All are welcome-the concerned, the curious, the agitated or the just plain friendly!
No Budget Deal Yet
As of this week, Governor Brown appears to have missed the deadline for a June election on new tax extensions he's sought as part of his budget plan. He may try to seek a simple majority vote for such a measure, or wait for a November election and qualify all of his measures by signature gathering.
Five Republican Senators had been in talks with the Governor over compromises necessary for a comprehensive package which could have included a vote on some tax extensions along with a long list of concurrent reforms. At the top of the list were pension reform and a state spending cap. Unfortunately, some demands were distractions that actually added to state budget woes, such as preserving state subsidies for redevelopment agencies and county fairs.
On the Assembly side, there were casual working groups discussing reforms and counter-proposals, but nothing has reached the level of support of our leadership. Many of my colleagues have gone in opposition to all of Brown's proposals, including his spending cuts. The Republican Assembly Caucus' apparent determination to preserve redevelopment agencies creates an additional $1.7 billion budget hole.
A rebounding economy and rising employment could give the Governor a little breathing room, but structural reforms must be a part of any revenue package.
The Governor made it official-what we've known for well over a year through casual observance has been confirmed.
The Drought is Over.
Heavy rainfall and record Sierra snowpack finally ended the water crisis. State and local water officials should rejoice at the news, but like many in government, they often use crises as a wedge for more funding. The public is not likely to support vast new projects during wet years. That's why the Legislature pulled the pork-laden $11 billion water bond off last November's ballot. Too much rain!
California hasn't built a dam since 1979, although the Metropolitan Water District's Diamond Valley reservoir near Hemet has doubled Southern California water storage. Population pressures affect water demand unevenly, as 70% of state water is used by agriculture. An acre of homes uses less water that an acre of strawberries or cotton.
State water officials are still calling for conservation, although our water systems now have more runoff than they can store. Conservation now will simply assure that more runoff reaches the ocean, where it will eventually evaporate into rain and snow which we'll use all over again. Nature's perfect recycling machine!
Water cannot literally be wasted, like oil, coal or other natural resources. Water is not used up, burned up or destroyed when used-it is simply borrowed, then returned. The actual H2O molecules are indestructible, and the amount of earth's water has been unchanged for billions of years. What does change is how nature seasonally distributes it, and this season has been good.