Be prepared: The key to handling disasters

Wind-whipped flames on San Miguel Mountain east of San Diego. (Photo: Kevin Key)

OPINION: The destruction in Florida, the cataclysmic floods in Houston, the massive erosion of the Oroville Dam and the ravaging wildfires up and down the Golden State are all real-time reminders of how vulnerable each one of us is to disaster, no matter who we are or where we live. It’s too easy to embrace the fallacy that these terrible things only happen to others.  Instead of hoping for the best, we should plan and prepare for the worst.  The safety of our families depends on it.


Affordable, reliable water for California

Water is pumped into an irrigation canal. (Photo: Straight 8 Photography)

OPINION: On the heels of a record-breaking drought and phenomenal water savings by California residents, Gov. Jerry Brown called upon the state to make conservation a permanent way of life.  The administration established a broad stakeholder group comprised of water agencies, business and community groups and environmental organizations to develop a fair, forward looking conservation framework for the state.


Clean energy crucial for California

Windmills at sunset in the California desert. (Photo: Angie Agostino)

OPINION: Look around lately and it’s hard to ignore evidence of chaos fueled by our changing climate. From the barrage of hurricanes in the Atlantic to the raging wildfires and heat waves throughout the West, climate change is here already and it refuses to be ignored. In the last week, everyone from Miami’s Republican mayor to Pope Francis has affirmed the need for swift action.


Balancing regulation with innovation

OPINION: As the Legislature hurries to complete its final month of work for the year, the Capitol is humming with activity as legislators present and vote on hundreds of bills, advancing them to the governor’s desk. In the case of each bill, the Legislature’s responsibility is the same: To carefully consider its policy merits and its long-term impacts on regular Californians, our economy and our state’s future.


The path to carbon-free electricity

Electrical power transmitted to a large urban area. (Photo: urbans, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Powering our state with entirely clean energy is not a pipe dream. At a time when the Trump administration is making harmful and backward decisions on our climate and energy future, Senate Bill 100 presents a golden opportunity for California to lead the nation. California already sources over a quarter of our electricity from wind and solar sources, empowering us to reach 50 percent renewable energy well before 2030.


Online privacy bill not what it seems

Photo illustration of encrypted internet information and a keyboard. (Image: Alexander Yakimov, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: In the California legislature, a privacy bill – The California Broadband Internet Privacy Act – was originally drafted, ironically enough, in private.  Now, even though it has been amended multiple times, it still remains deeply troubling and will harm California’s consumers. The bill is an example of what most Californians hate about our state’s lawmaking process.  It uses the “gut-and-amend” ploy, which means removing much or all of an original bill’s contents and replacing it with unrelated text,


Don’t reverse Internet privacy safeguards

A woman using wireless broadband launches an app on her tablet. (Photo: Daniel Krason, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: California has a responsibility to get Internet policy right. The state’s ranking as the sixth largest economy understates its influence on the world’s innovation economy. One-third of global venture capital is invested in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Diego. California is the test bed, launch pad and sand box for thousands of apps and Internet services which, if successful, are launched on the world.


Spending cap-and-trade funds: Give priority to most vulnerable

Pollution over Long Beach on a clear day. (Photo: Katharine Moore)

OPINION: Now that it’s reconvened, the state Legislature faces critical decisions about where and how to spend over $1 billion raised by the state’s cap-and-trade program to fight climate change. Those decisions will affect the lives, health and jobs of millions of Californians, and will have an outsized impact on those facing pollution and poverty.


Bail reform threatens crime victims

A jail inmate clutches the bars of his cell. (Photo: Frank60, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: The stated mission of this bill is to drastically reduce the number of individuals detained during pretrial. SB 10, written by Sen. Hertzberg, threatens the safety of victims by allowing the elimination of the private bail sector. The bail system in the state is no longer the determining factor. Instead, a computer program that makes a risk assessment of each arrested individual replaces the current system


Consumer Watchdog: Grill PUC nominee on oil, gas links

Aliso Canyon in Southern California, site of an unprecedented methane gas leak. (Photo: trekandshoot, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Aliso Canyon was the biggest methane well blowout in U.S. history, and we still don’t know why it happened. The California Public Utilities Commission and Brown administration regulators just reopened the facility without the necessary environmental and safety reviews, so we have no way of knowing if it will happen again.

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