Investigation

8 of 9 Water Bond Czars hail from NorCal

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

  Call them Water Bond Czars. They’re the nine members of the California Water Commission and will decide how to implement Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond on the Nov. 4 ballot, should voters pass it. While most media have focused on what’s in the bond, little attention h...

Stormwater tax drowns voters

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
East Jordan Iron Works

California is embarking on a program of capturing storm water from flood control channels for urban landscaping at high costs.  And stormwater capture projects won’t require voter approval under Proposition 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act, because courts have ruled stormwater recapture is no...

Counties vie for ‘disadvantaged’ cap-and-trade bucks

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
San Diego affordable housing tracts, census

  In the fictional town of Lake Woebegon, all of the children are above average. But in the real world of California, all of the counties are disadvantaged. Or so it seemed at a recent California Air Resources Board meeting as officials from all over the state poor-mouthed their districts...

Tiered pricing ends up subsidizing solar panels for the rich

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Tiered electricity pricing

  In a new development for energy conservation, it turns out charging more for electricity, the more juice is used, could be bad for the environment. This "tiered pricing" is also called Increasing Block Pricing. IBP is pushing some homeowners into installing uneconomic rooftop solar pan...

Lack of mental health accounting ‘sheer craziness’

Monday, October 13th, 2014
Prop 63 Logo

  In 2004 California voters passed Proposition 63, based on the promise it would tax the rich to help the state’s mentally ill population. But 10 years later, while it’s been successful in taking about $10 billion from top earners, state officials are largely clueless about whether the ...

Do tiered water rates save water?

Friday, October 10th, 2014

  It must sound crazy in the middle of an epic California drought to say empirical studies show raising water rates to spur water conservation is not likely to result in water conservation. But a study by CalWatchdog.com of comparable water rates in Orange County indicates tiered water ra...

Water subsidies are ‘ancient history’

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

This is Part 4 of a series.  Prior articles in this series showed there are no real water subsidies. But if there are no real water subsidies to farmers from taxpayers, what about all those crop subsidies? According to Mark Borba, owner of Borba Farms in Monterey County, “The days of...

Fact-checking water price subsidies

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
David Zetland

This is Part 3 of a series. Part 1 was on how drought-water pricing violates Proposition 218’s ban on tax increases without a vote of the people. Part 2 was on fact-checking water pricing. Water subsidies are the focus of much controversy in California, with farmers commonly bearing much ...

Quarter-million applicants still waiting for Medi-Cal

Monday, September 29th, 2014

  A quarter-million Medi-Cal applicants have been waiting more than 45 days, and in some cases nearly a year, either to receive coverage or find out why their application has been denied. That’s an improvement from the 900,000 applicants who were languishing in early summer without cove...

Fact-checking drought-water pricing

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
Drought, Sept. 16, 2014

  This is Part 2 of a series. Part 1 was on how drought-water pricing violates Proposition 218's ban on tax increases without a vote of the people. What is good water pricing during a drought? Let's look at some situations. 1. Voluntary conservation A good place to start is the continu...