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Bear Essentials: California ahead of schedule on clean energy goals

May 26, 2023

Before you check out for Memorial Day weekend, see what’s up in California this week:

  • Moving toward renewable at light speed, but is it fast enough?
  • Legislating to stem California’s fentanyl crisis
  • Officers given bunks to sleep in between shifts, rather than affordable housing

The Secret to Political Detox

A new study conducted by UC Berkeley and MIT reveals that bipartisan commitment to democratic ideals could help reduce toxic political polarization and increase positive feelings among voters. The research, published this week in Nature Human Behaviour, found that Republicans and Democrats have strong support for democratic practices, but support erodes when one side perceives hostility from the other. When voters realize their opponents are committed to democracy, they become more committed to it themselves and are less likely to support candidates who violate democratic values. The researchers suggest that political messaging focusing on shared democratic values could build trust and counter anti-democratic sentiments. The study also highlights the need to correct voters' misconceptions about their political opponents. This research received high honors in Stanford University’s Strengthening Democracy Challenge.

Although the findings may seem unremarkable in the case of a largely unipolar state such as California, we can’t help but wonder how similar thinking might play out our own peculiar political fault lines in the Golden State. Issues ranging from housing affordability to homelessness to water, jobs and crime are creating new fissures within our existing political establishment. How we talk about them – and one another – will go a long way toward determining our success or failure.


🤫 Everything you should know

- Like an episode of Supermarket Sweep, Governor Newsom is piling in policy goals to his cart before the legislative session is up. On Thursday, he released a roadmap to a clean energy future, less than one week after Newsom made a big announcement calling on the legislature to pass a package of 11 bills that would allow the state to build key infrastructure faster – and get an additional $60 billion in federal funding if we stick to the timeline. Last week it was infrastructure, with a focus on transportation and semiconductors (and more, honestly), this week it’s about how we’re going to reach California’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2045. California is busy and now it’s up to the legislature to take action. -  The Sacramento Bee

- The newly-minted Select Committee on Fentanyl, Opioid Addiction, and Overdose Prevention met for five hours this week to hear testimony from experts in the field and families impacted by the fentanyl epidemic as the Assembly considers a host of bills to get a handle on the crisis. Cooperation. The angle from which to address the crisis is what divides Republicans and Democrats. Of the 33 bills introduced in the Assembly and Senate, there’s legislation to increase penalties for drug dealers, create a task force to collect data and increase public awareness about the drug, and increase cooperation between state and local law enforcement to “dismantle criminal networks trafficking opioid drugs that pose a threat to California.” What passes will inform how the state responds to the opioid crisis that kills 18 people every day in California. - CalMatters

- “These Bay Area officers slept in cars to avoid crazy commutes. Now, they bunk in barracks” explains how the housing crisis is impacting police officers in San Mateo who are unable to afford to live in the area they patrol. According to Redfin, the median home price in San Mateo is $1.5M, making homeownership out of reach for many officers. The average round trip commute is two hours and 17 minutes, which illustrates how the housing crisis impacts the environment. Without enough housing stock, workers must drive far distances in their (most-likely) gas-powered vehicles. The short term solution is a super small bunk barrack for these San Mateo officers. The better solution: More housing in San Mateo so police officers can afford to live where they work. A better quality of life and better for the environment.- San Francisco Chronicle

🎥💡This is *actually* important

You have a lot of options when it comes to where to spend your attention on the Internet, but we can’t gush enough about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to speed up infrastructure building in California. Here’s what one press conference and 11 bills could mean for the future of our state – in video form for you to share in Insta.

🇺🇸 Memorial Day in California

As we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and died in service to our country, many Californians will be doing so by heading out to enjoy the great outdoors. Here’s some news you can use this Memorial Day weekend: weather forecasts for some of the state’s top destinations.

Image of scientists climbing a Sequoia treet.

🥃 Shot & Chaser

While it’s only been a week since Gov. Newsom released his package of 11 bills he wants to see the legislature pass to speed up infrastructure building, there’s been a chilly reception by lawmakers. “A bunch of complex bills late in the session that must be reviewed - oh no!” SF Chronicle’s Emily Hoeven compares this response to the climate change legislation released by Newsom around the same time last session that they acted on fast.

Image of scientists climbing a Sequoia treet.