Let’s Save California Now!
Just a handful of legislative acts might still save California. Here are 12 brief examples:
1. The Hetch Hetchy Smelt and Salmon Act
This so-called “Skip a Shower, Save a Smelt Act” would transfer control of the Hetch Hetchy reservoir releases from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The legislation would dismantle sections of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct west beyond the San Joaquin River, stop the present unnatural diversion of fresh water to San Francisco, and allow instead Hetch Hetchy fresh water to resume natural flows to the San Joaquin River -- thus allowing the San Joaquin River and Tuolumne River to recover their salmon populations.
In addition, the transfers of fresh Hetch Hetchy water into the delta and beyond to the Pacific Ocean would preserve delta smelt populations. To make up the losses, the law would set up Bay Area water commissions to monitor mandatory rationing, recycling, and the recovery of sewage and grey water. It would also assess new taxes for wind and solar salinization plants to replace the 265,000 acre feet currently diverted to Bay Area residential use from its proper role in ensuring healthy fish populations. Aim: To synchronize water resources with water-use advocacy.
2. The Undocumented Immigrant Equity Act
The “I am Juan too Act” would assess all California communities by U.S. Census data to ascertain average per-household income levels as well as diversity percentages. Those counties assessed on average in the top 10% bracket of the state’s per-household income level, and which do not reflect the general ethnic make-up of the state, would be required to provide low-income housing for undocumented immigrants, who by 2020 would by law make up not less than 20% of such targeted communities’ general populations.
There are dozens of empty miles, for example, along the 280 freeway corridor from Palo Alto to Burlingame -- an ideal place for high-density, low-income housing, served by high-speed rail. Aim: One, to achieve economic parity for undocumented immigrants by allowing them affordable housing in affluent areas where jobs are plentiful, wages are high, and opportunities exist for mentorships; and, two, to ensure cultural diversity among the non-diverse host community, bringing it into compliance with the state’s ethnic profile.
3. The Cultivating Diversity Education Equilibrium Act
The “Beverly Hills to the Barrio Act” would ensure that all California school populations reflect the state’s rich ethnic diversity percentages. Schools would lose state aid if their student populations were not commensurate with state ethnic-group target levels. To take one example of the choices available for school districts to partner and find common solutions: School districts in Redwood City or East Palo Alto, for example, would bus more students on those campuses found in numbers out of compliance with statewide percentages to Menlo-Atherton. The latter in turn would bus more of its own students found in excess of state averages to Redwood City and East Palo school districts, until all three campuses reached “diversity equilibrium” and matched the correct racial percentages in the state. Aim: To end disparities in California school testing and performance levels accruing largely due to intrinsic racial and ethnic discrimination.