Good morning, California.

“Banning oil production in California, as advocated by critics of Gov. Brown, is well-meaning but misguided. … The best approach to keeping oil in the ground is to reduce oil consumption, three-fourths of which is used for transportation.”—Daniel Sperling, California Air Resources Board member, in a CALmatters reader reaction.

Brown seeks to return spotlight to climate change

San Francisco, host of the Global Climate Action Summit this week

Gov. Jerry Brown takes center stage this week in San Francisco, presiding over a Global Climate Action Summit of subnational leaders. CALmatters’ Julie Cart walks us up to it all.

The three-day event—besides underscoring the urgency of global warming—is intended to highlight California’s leadership on the issue and opposition to President Donald Trump’s pro-coal agenda. Brown’s co-host, billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is a harsh Trump critic, not to mention a potential 2020 opponent.

Cart: “Perhaps most intriguing is the inclusion of business in the proceedings. … Brown’s idea is to invite companies to the table, take advantage of whatever solutions they offer, then ask them to commit to specific goals for reducing greenhouse gases.”

Protests: This summit is, after all, being held in San Francisco. Expect Brown to take heat for his supposedly cozy relationship with the oil industry, Cart wrote last week.

Over the weekend, Brown signed two bills intended to thwart Trump administration efforts to expand oil drilling in federal water off California’s shore, and said in a statement:

“California’s message to the Trump administration is simple: Not here, not now. We will not let the federal government pillage public lands and destroy our treasured coast.”

Prediction: In past years, Brown signed the bills establishing renewable electricity targets of 33 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030. Awaiting his signature is Senate Bill 100, Sen. Kevin de León’s bill to wean California off of fossil fuel-generated electricity by 2045. The only question is when he will sign it. The governor’s office has scheduled a major announcement” for 10 a.m. today.


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Tunnel fight coming to a head

The Sacramento San Joaquin Delta

Gov. Jerry Brown’s decades-long fight to alter Delta water flow will face a new test this week.

A legislative hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, a step toward extending State Water Project contracts for another 50 years.

The hearing is informational. On its face, the extension is procedural. The contract extension would allow the state and water users to borrow money to maintain the existing system.

The rub: The extension is a potential step toward approval of Brown’s California WaterFix, the proposal that includes the 30 mile-long twin tunnels to move water from the Sacramento River south to San Joaquin Valley farms, Southern California and Santa Clara and Alameda counties.

A dozen Delta county legislators are urging the hearing be delayed. So is Bay Area News Group columnist Ed Clendaniel, who denounced the $19 billion tunnel project as “the Big Gouge.

Climate summit tie-in: Public Policy Institute of California issued a new report pointing out that sea level rises as the planet warms, so California must adapt its water delivery system.


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Did CA get its stem cell money's worth?

Stem cell researcher

Advances in stem cell research “fall far short” of what proponents promised when California voters approved a $3 billion research bond in 2004, The San Francisco Chronicle concludes in the fourth part of its series this weekend.

Remind me: President George W. Bush’s administration had restricted stem cell research. The late actor Christopher Reeves, who was paralyzed in a horse riding accident, actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s, and then-Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned for Proposition 71. The Catholic Church opposed it. The measure created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and funded new labs, much research, and some advances.

But “many people suffering from incurable diseases have become impatient waiting for scientists to produce the miracle treatments the Proposition 71 campaign said were within reach,” the Chronicle reports.

What’s ahead: The 2004 money is almost gone, and backers of the initiative are contemplating asking voters for another $5 billion in 2020. It’ll be a tougher sell the next time.

Pelosi gets her due

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the once and perhaps future speaker, finally got part of her due: Time Magazine’s cover, Sept. 17 edition.

The San Francisco Democrat has been a power from the time she arrived in Congress in 1987. She was cover-worthy in 2003 when she became minority leader and was even more so when she became the nation’s first woman Speaker in 2007.

In 2007, Time devoted covers to Mitt Romney, Dick Cheney, Al Gore, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Bloomberg (shared), Rupert Murdoch, Barack Obama, Don Imus, Hillary Clinton, Mother Teresa, Vladimir Putin, among others, most of whom were and are men.

Why Pelosi now: “Her Republican successors’ ineptitude has thrown her skills into sharp relief. It’s not a stretch to say Pelosi is one of very few legislators in Washington who actually know what they’re doing.”

And this: “Republicans see her as their biggest asset, and hope to motivate their voters in the midterm elections by putting her image in television ads. None of this fazes Pelosi. ‘If I weren’t effective, I wouldn’t be a target.’”

Some Democrats talk of challenging her leadership. They must answer who could do better. She is, CNN reports, a fundraising juggernaut, $91 million this year. 

Commentary from CALmatters

Dan Walters: Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond, candidates for superintendent of public instruction, propose to vastly increase school spending, adding $25 billion-plus a year. “Where would California get such money?” Walters asks.

Henry E. Brady, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley: “California’s next governor must safeguard the University of California and help it remain the world’s greatest public research and teaching university.”

Erratum: I misreported an item from the San Diego Union-Tribune on Friday. San Diego Gas & Electric Co. plans to spend $3 million on fire safety this fire season, after spending $1 billion earlier.

 

Please email or call me with tips, suggestions and insights, dmorain@calmatters.org, 916.201.6281. Thanks for reading, please tell a friend and sign up here.

See you tomorrow.