The Los Angeles Times asserted at the beginning of the Biden administration that our nation’s new leaders would be looking to California for forward-thinking policy ideas. Our vice president, speaker of the House, and secretary of Health and Human Services all hail from the state. California also has the largest state caucus in the House. It has an outsize influence on policy, to be sure, and many commentators expected that to increase during the next four years.
So, how is it going in the Golden State? Is California implementing what Americans really want to see as national policy? You could place a fair wager that the answer to that question is no just from watching the viral videos of criminals emptying the shelves of retailers like Walgreens and Neiman Marcus. Then there is the problem of out-of-control homelessness. And don’t forget the annual purge of accumulated woodland undergrowth by raging forest fires rather than reasonable conservation policy.
But wait, there’s more. Thanks to aggressive climate policy, California is on the brink of rolling blackouts again. Last summer, solar and wind energy proliferation could not keep up with the heat during a period with no significant wind. According to the Los Angeles Times:
California suffered its first rolling blackouts in nearly 20 years because energy planners didn’t take climate change into account and didn’t line up the right power sources to keep the lights on after sundown, according to a damning self-evaluation released Tuesday by three state agencies.
California suffered its hottest heatwave in 35 years, according to the article. Somehow, the Times blames this on climate change without ever explaining what happened nearly four decades ago. Of course, the climate cabal never does. It doesn’t help their case that the state is on the brink again. On July 9, 2021, the state issued a stage-2 power-grid emergency, the last step before rolling blackouts.
What is California’s secret plan to avoid rolling blackouts with an embattled Governor Gavin Newsom up for recall this summer? Stealing from their neighbors, of course:
California is the biggest importer of power in the U.S. and it lets other states borrow its grid to transport power. Under pressure, Mainzer approached the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and asked if California could hold onto power destined for another state, in a pinch. A few weeks ago, FERC said yes.
California hasn’t rerouted any power destined for other states — yet. But utility regulators in other states, including Arizona, are outraged.
If we all adopted California’s climate policy, there would be no one to steal from in a pinch. Keep in mind that California has one of the most robust ballot initiative processes in the country. Often, the residents vote for the same policies that turn around and bite them because the goal sounds good on paper.
The next victim: bacon lovers. According to Yahoo News:
At the beginning of next year, California will begin enforcing an animal welfare proposition approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 that requires more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves. National veal and egg producers are optimistic they can meet the new standards, but only 4% of hog operations now comply with the new rules.
California only produces 45 million pounds of the 255 million pounds consumed by residents. California residents decided the piggy needed more room to wiggle, which, according to one analysis, will cause bacon prices to jump 60%. For pork producers, the desires of California voters are just not profitable:
In Iowa, which raises about one-third of the nation’s hogs, farmer Dwight Mogler estimates the changes would cost him $3 million and allow room for 250 pigs in a space that now holds 300.
To afford the expense, Mogler said, he’d need to earn an extra $20 per pig and so far, processors are offering far less.
And the processors will face a challenge. Slaughterhouses send different cuts from a single hog to multiple processors. An entire tracking system will be required to comply with the pork regulations. Voters who have no idea how the food ends up on the grocery store shelves voted to make a bacon cheeseburger a delicacy that will be a lot more expensive.
Meanwhile, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, representing the 58th District in Los Angeles County, is taking her second stab at requiring schools to provide free feminine hygiene products. Now it appears that some schools and universities will provide them in the women’s and men’s restrooms if AB 367 passes. The bill as amended states:
California has an interest in promoting gender equity, not only for women and girls, but also for transgender men, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people who may also menstruate and experience inequities resulting from lack of access to menstrual products.
All public schools that meet a 40% poverty level threshold will be required to provide feminine hygiene products free of charge to students in sixth grade and older. All state university campuses and community colleges must also offer them. The estimated cost of this to the University of California system is $750-800 million. Of course, the bill is careful not to use non-gendered language.
It has been said that as California goes, so goes the country. Hopefully, that is true up to a point. Even Californians don’t really want these policies. The state recorded its first population decline ever last year, and in 2019 a survey found that 53% of residents wanted to move out of California. Blackouts were bad enough. How much higher will that statistic go if California runs out of bacon?