CalWatchdog Morning Read – October 19

by CalWatchdog Staff | October 19, 2016 9:05 am

Good morning. Happy Hump Day!

Ready for the final presidential debate tonight? Don’t worry, it’ll all be over soon. Before we get to things to watch for tonight, we swing by the Bay Area, where fee increases by the local air quality regulator get passed on to consumers — and the directors enjoy the surplus funds.

Not even a month after sending two dozen people on a pricey trip to New Orleans, a member of the board of directors of the Bay Area’s air quality regulator boasted that the agency was “flush” with cash.

In July, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District was considering whether to hire additional staffers to assist with administering a new regulation when board member Shirlee Zane boasted “this air board, quite frankly, is flush.”

“We can more than afford to hire … extra help to do the assessment,” said Zane, a Sonoma County supervisor.

“We have plenty of money,” Zane added — a sentiment echoed by Katie Rice, a board member and Marin County supervisor.

While the rosy perception of the district’s finances may have been isolated to just a few board members, the willingness to spend on additional staff and a lavish New Orleans trip coincided with what’s become a routine increase in fees charged to those local businesses considered stationary sources of air pollution — costs which experts say are then passed onto consumers. 

CalWatchdog[1] has more. 

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