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Bear Essentials: First Edition

April 14, 2023

It’s the team at the NCC and we want to introduce Bear Essentials, our weekly everything-you-need-to-know and some things you don’t email. We promise to keep the content fresh, relevant and occasionally snarky. Onward!

It’s Friday, April 14. A lot has happened this week. Here’s what you need to know: 👇

  • Dreams derailed: innovative home loan program halted after overwhelming demand
  • “Citizens for a Better Eureka” oppose parking lots being convertible into affordable housing for the eNvIrOnMeNt
  • Cuts are coming: Biden admin’s Colorado River plan hits California hard

💧 California Dreaming Water Anxiety

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, faltering water security is no longer a doomsday scenario brandished by climate hawks. A new study reveals that over a third of Californians have experienced water supply issues due to extreme weather events, with drought being the most common.

Researchers from the Union of Concerned Scientists, UC Berkeley, UCLA, San Jose State and Texas A&M, surveyed around 700 Californians to understand their perceptions of climate change risks to water supplies. The study found that 85% of respondents expressed concern about the future reliability of California's water supply due to extreme weather events.

Impacts were relatively evenly distributed across education, income level, and water provider, but significant differences emerged across gender and racial divides. Women, genderqueer/non-binary individuals, Latino, and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) residents were more likely to report water supply impacts.

The findings are crucial for local, regional, and state governments, water managers, and decision-makers who need to understand how residents perceive climate risks and listen to those with personal experiences to inform future water management strategies.

One historically rainy winter doesn’t change the facts on the ground: Our deteriorating water storage and delivery system is more than an infrastructure problem. It’s a major black eye for a state that prides itself on its commitment to fostering economic, environmental, social and racial equity.

Read the study

🤠 The Round-Up

- The state created a program to help first time home buyers by loaning them the 20% down payment needed to land their first home. The innovative fund was so wildly popular that it ran out of funds just two weeks after launching. The California Dream for All Shared Appreciation Loan has helped 2,300 Californians, but it’s clear many more want support considering how rapidly it was tapped dry. The good news is that the fund will be replenished once borrowers pay back the loan – but that won’t be until their house is sold or their mortgage is paid off. Low and middle-income Californians shouldn’t hold their breath in waiting to apply since it will likely be years before money is returned - The San Francisco Standard.

- “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants” and we’re taking that approach to NIMBYs who insist on using the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to stop much-needed housing. “Citizens for a Better Eureka” are objecting to affordable housing being built on former parking lots once owned by the city. We’re wondering why parking lots must be preserved to protect the environment and so is the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) who called the lawsuit “bullshit,” saying the Citizens for a Better Eureka are actually not motivated to protect the environment, only protecting the status quo. - Lost Coast Outpost.

-  For the first time in history, the federal government is considering cutting the amount of water California, Arizona and Nevada receive from the Colorado River -- by as much as one-quarter. Cuts would affect agriculture, access to drinking water, and power since the water powers turbines in Lake Powell and Lake Mead. California has benefitted from the "law of the river" which allocates water based on seniority and water rights. That status quo is untenable for Arizona and would nearly extinguish the aqueduct that carries drinking water to Phoenix and Tucson. This Sophie's choice will have electoral implications if Biden leaves Arizona and Nevada out to dry, and inevitable lawsuits from California farmers who rely on water from the Colorado River to water their crops that feed the country and the world - New York Times.

🌧️ April showers bring May flowers and unprecedented rainfall in Fresno

Since 1878, there have only been six years when Fresno has recorded more rainfall than it has in 2023. Fresno has had 17.59 inches of rain since July – significantly higher than the 11.5 inches of rain normally seen during the rainy season. But what does this mean for the rest of the year and is the drought over? We wish! Historically, rainfall is reduced in the years following heavy precipitation.

So, we better get on that desalination and rainwater capture to avoid future droughts!

❓Three questions with California Political Pro, Jim Gonzalez

Our weekly series introduces you to California leaders who are fighting for a new era of opportunity in our state.

1. What legislation do you want to see passed this year?

California broke important barriers with landmark legislation AB 2011, which was a great compromise to jumpstart affordable housing in California. We need to continue that momentum. The bills that are being authored and co-authored by Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks and others give young people hope that they can still afford to live in California and there will be a supply of affordable housing for them.

2. What's one thing you love about California?
It's a dynamic state in so many different ways, especially when you think of its history and the diversity of its people. All of this diversity has become the strength of California and it doesn't matter the industry, be it entertainment to tech to agriculture to hospitality, in California you find just an amazing combination of true gems.

3. Why should our readers be optimistic about California?
California is the absolute definition of resilience. The state has faced many economic and natural disasters from which it has recovered, which no one thought was possible. The resilience of California creating new economic opportunities is in its DNA and that’s going to continue.

☀️ This is your sign to go to see poppies this weekend

California poppies are blooming in all of their glory. Be like the people in this photo and go enjoy the poppies this weekend (just stay on the trail otherwise you’re bound to get yelled at).

💡The More You Know...

The CHIPS Act of 2022 contains $278 billion to elevate America’s ability to compete with China in semiconductor production. California should lead the pack when it comes to receiving investment for R&D, manufacturing, and workforce training. Check out the NCC’s white paper “Seizing the Semiconductor Opportunity” where we make the case for California being the next innovation hub for American competitiveness on semiconductors.

😵‍💫 Tweet for thought