Southern California environment news and trends

Proposition 26, Part 1: environment arguments

So, what the hell would Proposition 26 do? I'll look at the Yes side, the No side, and the LAO's analysis to find out.

News today is that UCLA law professors released their analysis - that's included in the no side below. In a battle of people I've interviewed in the past, we've got former DTSC chief Maureen Gorsen vs. UCLA's Sean Hecht - both making interesting points about green chemistry regulations' ability to survive in the future.

WHATS GOING ON WITH THE YES ARGUMENT
So, the people backing Prop 26 say they're worried about "hidden taxes" -

In the past decade, state legislators and local officials have been using a loophole to propose more than $10 billion in “hidden taxes” - fees disguised as taxes - on goods and services that Californians use every day, like groceries, gas, cell phones, or even emergency services.

State and local politicians routinely circumvent the state Constitution’s requirements by disguising taxes as fees because fees are easier to pass than tax increases.  At the state level, the Legislature calls many taxes “fees” so they can pass or increase the tax with a bare majority vote – not the two-thirds vote required for taxes.  At the local level, politicians call taxes “fees” so they can avoid voters and our Constitutional right to vote on most tax increases.

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UCLA students can rent bicycles for $35 a quarter

A good commuter bike can cost a bundle — especially once you add on the requisite lights, helmet, locks, rack, and — for the caffeine-addicts — cup holder. But at UCLA, students can now get cycling on a stylish new fully-equipped Felt Café Series hybrid city-style 8-speed cruiser — for just $35.

CAFE 8 M NAVY 2011 USA SMALL

That’s thanks to the brand new UCLA Bike Library, which started renting out bikes to students earlier this week. For $35 a quarter, any UCLA student can be a proud temporary owner of a tricked out Felt cruiser bike — complete with front and rear fenders, front and rear lights, a rear rack, and a cup holder. A similarly-equipped Felt bike would cost $550 to buy — and wouldn’t come with the complimentary bike lock, combination lock, and helmet UCLA’s providing to borrowers.

Jealous about the sweet deal Bruins are getting on bikes? Well, the UCLA students ARE paying for the UCLA Bicycle Library. The money for the program comes from The Green Initiative Fund, created two years ago by a student vote that raised student fees by $4 a quarter in order to fund student-initiated sustainability projects.

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Green picks: Have a green Halloween

Where to go, what to do, how to green. Our event picks for the coming week:

pumpkin events

Tonight: Tue, 10/26: “How Will Cities Survive Climate Change?” is the question Matthew Kahn, author of Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future, will tackle at The Actors’ Gang, 9070 Venice Blvd., at 7:30 pm

Thu, 10/28: Burbank environmentalists can schmooze over drinks at Fall Eco-Mixer: Mixing Business with Green, a Burbank Chamber of Commerce organized by local environmental community group Burbank Green Alliance. The networking event happens at Gordon Biersch, 145 S. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Cost: $10 per ticket (includes 2 drink tickets) for Chamber members who RSVP to info@burbankgreenalliance.org by Oct. 27, $15 at the door for non-members.

Thu, 10/28: Get your two cents in on the future of public transit in Los Angeles at the Metro Board of Directors Hearing on the Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector, happening at One Gateway Plaza, Board Room, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles starting at 9 am.

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(prop) 23 + (prop) 26 - (AB) 32 = X. Find the value of X!

That headline's the most math I've done since I was 15, I think. Like the Barbie says, math is tough.

I have a story on today about Proposition 23 - finally - after all this blogging and monitoring of it.

Patt Morrison's show on Proposition 23 Monday was wonderful and I urge you to check it out. She moderated the yes and no folks, had a panel to ask pointed questions of them, and got stellar questions from an audience at UCLA.

The LAT's Margot Roosevelt raised questions about Proposition 26 during the show. 26 is the supermajority one - to pass a fee, you'd need 2/3 of the Legislature to agree with you at the state level, and 2/3 of the public at the local level. From the voter guide entry:

REQUIRES THAT CERTAIN STATE AND LOCAL FEES BE APPROVED BY TWO–THIRDS VOTE. FEES INCLUDE THOSE THAT ADDRESS ADVERSE IMPACTS ON SOCIETY OR THE ENVIRONMENT CAUSED BY THE FEE–PAYER’S BUSINESS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

  • Requires that certain state fees be approved by two–thirds vote of Legislature and certain local fees be approved by two–thirds of voters.
  • Increases legislative vote requirement to two–thirds for certain tax measures, including those that do not result in a net increase in revenue, currently subject to majority vote.

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Morning greens: More rail, greener trucks, and solar plans

Is L.A. ready to become a connected city? LA Times’ architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne examines the tensions between those who want to preserve L.A. as a “suburban metropolis” — and those who long for a city well-connected by mass transit.

metrohollywood hike

California got $902 million for rail projects from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The money will fund 18 rail projects, including the high-speed rail project between San Francisco and San Jose, reports LA Times.

Santa Monica College got a new solar and energy efficiency project installed and operated by Chevron Energy Solutions. “The $3.6 million project generates approximately 50,660 kilowatt hours each month and is saving the college about $8,100 month, according to SMC,” reports SMDP.

California’s on track to get the largest ever solar project. The Bureau of Land Management gave the Blythe Solar Power Project the go ahead to begin construction on 7,000 acres of federal public land in Riverside County, reports LA Times. According to NPR, “The projects are expected to create more than 2,000 jobs during construction and several hundred permanent jobs.”

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