Good morning, California.
It is September 11. Please give a thought this morning to that morning, 17 years ago today.
California's next front on climate change
Gov. Jerry Brown signs Sen. Kevin de León’s SB 100
Now that California has decreed carbon-free electricity within a generation, look for a turn to the biggest controllable source of greenhouse gas emissions: transportation.
Back up: On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Sen. Kevin de León’s Senate Bill 100, setting a 2045 goal for utilities to be 100 percent powered by solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, nukes—essentially any clean energy source that isn’t a fossil fuel.
Brown: “California is committed to doing whatever is necessary to meet the existential threat of climate change. And yes, it is an existential threat.”
Internal combustion engines contribute mightily to that threat—and hybrid and electric vehicles are only about 10 percent of California’s new car sales.
- Expect electric vehicles to come up a lot this week at Brown’s Global Climate Summit in San Francisco. Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board chair, will host a panel entitled, “The Zero Emission Transportation Revolution.”
Nichols: “More electric buses are being built in California than any place in the country. … The level of activity and interest in this area is unprecedented in my experience.”
“The big saboteur is Donald Trump,” Brown told the LA Times. “He’s trying to subsidize coal and destroy the electric car.”
- No matter: If anything, Trump’s embrace of coal-fueled legislators’ support for SB 100.
Expect bumps: Rising gas prices have already created a backlash. Witness the initiative to repeal the 12-cent per gallon gasoline tax to pay for road repairs.
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A suicide brings youth tackle football ban back into focus
Fans rally against a proposed ban on youth tackle football.
A proposed ban on tackle football for kids under 12 was shelved by state lawmakers in April. But the suicide last week of a California friend of Donald Trump Jr. could help bring it back.
- Remind me: Youth football advocates protested Assemblyman Kevin McCarty’s bill on the Capitol steps, and conservatives ridiculed it.
- What changed: Jason Hairston, a former UC Davis linebacker who had stints with the 49ers and Denver Broncos, apparently suffered from football-induced chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He shot himself at his Dixon home last week, a few days after returning from a hunting trip with the president’s eldest son. New research into CTE is expected to be released soon.
CTE is a brain injury caused by repeated blows to the head and is common among football players. Children’s brains are especially susceptible, McCarty says.
Kirstyn Hairston, Hairston’s widow, told People: “People have to know what they’re signing up for when they put their kids in football. … Is it worth your kid being suicidal for the game of football, and to kill themselves for it?”
Jason Hairston founded a hunting apparel company, KUIU, in Dixon near Sacramento and became friends with the president’s eldest son, who posted photos of them hunting and fishing.
Donald Trump Jr., upon learning of his friend’s death, posted on Instagram: “Jason, I have no words. I will always remember our adventures and sharing a campfire with you.”
What’s next: McCarty intends to reintroduce the legislation in 2019 and hopes Mrs. Hairston will help.
College rankings get a boost from policy
UCLA and UC Berkeley (yes, in that order) were Nos. 1 and 2 on Monday in the nation’s best known annual college ranking. Five University of California campuses were among the list’s top 10 public universities.
U.S. News & World Report: “The California university system improved in the rankings because of their performance graduating high proportions of low-income students.”
Lesson: All that state tax-funded aid to UC students who cannot afford full tuition—$914 million this year—matters. About three-fourths of UC undergraduates receive some form of financial aid and 56 percent receive enough to cover all their tuition.
Housing isn't the only issue
Transportation costs, another hurdle for the poor
Add the cost of getting from here to there to the barriers confronting low-income Californians.
McCarty: “Drivers had access to 30 times the number of jobs within a half hour commute compared to those who relied on public transportation. The time disparity is particularly fraught for low-wage workers who may have odd hours, work overnight and can often be docked pay or fired for being late.”
Solutions under discussion: A transportation safety net.
De León gets an encomium
Sen. Kevin de León got high praise, but still no big money from billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer at Gov. Jerry Brown’s press conference marking the signing of de León’s legislation weaning California off fossil fuel-generated electricity.
Steyer: “This bill is the perfect example of the kind of leadership and effective government that this state has brought.”
Steyer has endorsed de León’s candidacy for U.S. Senate over Sen. Dianne Feinstein but hasn’t opened his wallet in a significant way.
- I asked in the hallway outside the Capitol press conference room if he will come to de León’s aid: “You mean more involved than a strong encomium for him in front of maybe 30 reporters?”
Well, when you put it that way: With a strong encomium and $4, de León could buy a latte.
Commentary at CALmatters
Dan Walters: The California Chamber of Commerce did even better than usual in sidetracking the liberal measures that it placed on its notorious “job killer” list. One survivor had a familiar author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a San Diego Democrat.
Justin Knighten: A Sacramento communications consultant finds a solution to the immigration issue in the story of his grandmother’s arrival in California, and writes: “[Her] story is hauntingly familiar to what happened at our border not long ago.”
See you tomorrow.