Jerry Brown Lays It Out

Jerry Brown Lays It Out 122910

No doubt piqued by our article in the last edition, governor-elect Jerry Brown has stepped forward to answer some of our criticism.

Brown is very clearly going to make drastic cuts in social services.  As Scwharzenegger promised to do, Brown will have to cut services to those who most need them, social workers and human services administrators.  Oh, and poor Californians.  The most monotonous lesson of history is that the poor suffer most, so this is not really news.

He’ll most likely insist on cuts to universities who have already seen tuition increases.  At the same time Brown has promised to improve education as a way of making life easier for business, probably by driving up the number of over-educated graduates to drive down the value of a degree generally, thus reducing personnel costs for white collar jobs.

Brown is targeting state salaries and retirement packages.  State retirement is the gold standard for working class people, and for bloated college administrators, too, but there simply is no way to avoid drastic cuts, likely with the promise of re-instatement by some date, or “variable” such as “reduction in unemployment to 5%”.   

He is also going to jigger tax changes, though no one is sure what those might be.  Currently, speculation is that he will force businesses to choose a taxation method, one that will not favor “forwarding” likely debt.

Of interest to the Northern Sierra, Brown is going to move ahead with his water plan for the next 50 years.  He expects to protect the environment, provide water to the delta and protect delta communities, and get more clean water to the thirsty cities of central and southern California.  He also intends to refresh the depleted and polluted groundwater in the central valley.  Read his water plan HERE 
His website says:
1. Fully implement Senate Bill 7x7 which calls for improved water efficiency by both urban and agricultural users
2. Support incentives for increased water efficiency and recycling
3. Direct the California Energy Commission in coordination with the Department of Water Resources to adopt water efficiency standards for appliances that reduce both water and energy consumption and to adopt public education programs similar to "Flex our Power" to increase water efficiency
4. Increase capture of urban storm-water through cisterns, groundwater infiltration and other retention facilities
5. Consolidate and facilitate the permitting of recycled and reclaimed water projects

It goes on to say:

1. Improving and protecting the Delta ecosystem and water supply
2. Appointing State and Regional Water Board members who thoughtfully enforce state and federal water quality laws
3. Strengthening programs that regulate discharge of wastewater into California’s rivers, lakes and streams
4. Continuing to implement Integrated Regional Water Management Plans that adopt pollution control measures and support pollution control programs
5. Supporting programs designed to prevent groundwater contamination
6. Securing federal support from the US Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior to provide financial assistance to low-income communities, especially in rural areas, to upgrade water treatment facilities and protect water quality

The Dems have, rightfully, been critical of the Republican love of dams.  In the short term, dams use a lot of concrete and steel, making wealthy people even wealthier.  They create jobs to build and tourism jobs when they’re done.  They encourage downstream development and are a boon to agriculture in dry areas, since the water is released in a regularized, dependable fashion, for use to lengthen growing seasons or grow more valuable and water intense crops.
In the long term, they are ecological nightmares, having the opposite effect below the dam that they do above, turning healthy rivers into industrialized water producing plants.  Agriculture returns salty, metal rich water to the watershed, when it returns any water at all.  One need only look at the Klamath river and tributaries to see how dams harm wildlife, traditional users, and even farmers.
Yet, without using the word “dam”, Jerry promises to build reservoirs and dams, though the expectation is that most would be exteriorized from water flows, meaning they would be smaller reservoirs which do not interrupt the flow of water.
1. Support infrastructure investments, including water storage projects, that achieve the multiple goals of increasing water supply reliability, protecting the environment and other public benefits, such as wetlands protection and restoration, and flood protection
2. Support conveyance and storage investments, such as a peripheral canal or tunnel, that provide a net benefit in ecosystem and water quality conditions and where the beneficiaries pay for the benefits they receive.

This later might actually be good news for us: at least we won’t have to pay for the project.

In other news, Brown fired Lottery Director Joan Borucki, by email, days before he takes office.  

Before he even takes office Brown is wrestling with what must be seen as his biggest challenges as governor.  Maybe Jerry Brown is a tougher old boy than some of us give him credit for.
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