Green energy, economic growth go together

Capturing energy from the air in the Tehachapi Pass, California. (Photo: Patrick Poendl)

We are cutting per-capita carbon pollution dramatically while growing our state’s economy. Now, for every dollar of goods and services we produce, we emit less carbon pollution than any other major economy except for nuclear-powered France. Contrary to fear-mongering by some politicians, California has cut emissions by 25 percent while growing our economy by 37 percent over two decades.


The Pope, immigration and Father Junipero Serra

A statue of Father Junipero Serra. (Photo: stjunipero.org)

OPINION: Father Junipero Serra was one of California’s first immigrants in 1769. Nearly 250 years later, Californians – whose state is now home to more than 10 million immigrants – watched closely as Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress the following day the canonization.


Raffle bill unfairly aids nonprofits linked to pro sports

Fans enter the Staples Center prior to a Clippers game. (Photo: Eric Broder Van Dyke, Shutterstock)

OPINION: A piece of legislation that would blur the line between gambling and giving is sitting on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. Senate Bill 549 would grant an advantageous exemption from existing raffle laws to an exclusive set of nonprofit organizations affiliated with major league sports teams. The bill would allow only these nonprofits to conduct raffles where half of raffle proceeds are awarded to a winner.


Crucial balance: Environmental safeguards and economic impacts

A sugar factory , Puunene, Maui, Hawaii. (Photo: Mike Brake)

OPINION: Political pundits are saying Gov. Brown, Senate Leader Kevin de León and Sen. Fran Pavley suffered a major political defeat when SB 32 was pulled back and the fuel reduction provisions of SB 350 were removed. We don’t see it that way. This was one skirmish in a long-term battle to balance our environmental, social and economic goals.


Big Oil should read the fine print

As rush hour approaches, traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge. (Photo: Frontpage)

OPINION: The oil company partisans and their legislative allies apparently failed to read past the first five pages of the bill. Buried in the back pages of SB 350 is a full codification of the 2030 and 2050 climate targets that the industry thought it defeated, along with a powerful new set of directives to state energy agencies to meet those targets.


Does curbing drones stifle innovation?

OPINION: One of the next great areas of innovation is at risk because of SB 142, which would make it an offense to fly a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over private property at an altitude of 350 feet or below – regardless of the reason – without the permission of each private property owner in the flight path.


For the West, a regional power grid

Electricity towers, Baylands Nature Preserve near Palo Alto. (Photo: Frank Chen Photography, Shutterstock)

OPINION: If western states work together and expand the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) into a regional grid that serves the region, then they can better coordinate their efforts to meet the president’s Clean Power Plan goals, while also improving efficiency and potentially lowering costs for consumers.


Targeting the schools’ ‘reserve cap’

School kids at work in a California classroom. (Photo: Monkey Business Images)

OPINION: California voters passed Proposition 2 last November to establish a statewide “rainy day” fund. Unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all law, SB 858, also passed last year as part of the state budget process. SB 858 prevents school districts from saving adequately to prepare for their own rainy day by setting a maximum average “reserve cap” of 6 percent on school districts reserves.


A pitch to expand online education

A student going to school on the web. (Photo: Anna Tamila)

OPINION: Like many families throughout California, ours is taking the important step of beginning another school year. Although we live in Sacramento County, my sons will be attending an excellent public school in Sutter County. Or, more precisely, the school will be coming to them. My sons attend the California Virtual Academies (CAVA), an online public charter school offered throughout the state and certified by the state of California.

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