Regulation Activist: Grid Mismanagement Led to Blackouts

Californians were hit with power shut-offs last weekend and were told to conserve energy by minimizing use as power needs could exceed availability. But some energy experts are doubtful that unusually high demand led to the shutdowns, alleging mismanagement on the part of the state’s energy grid operator.

Photo by Pixnio user Bicanski. Public domain image.

Labor Advocates Say Inspector Shortage Jeopardizes Workplace Coronavirus Safety

As workers head back to their jobs, they are navigating the new workplace safety reality of operating in a global pandemic. Labor organizers say the protections against catching the novel coronavirus on the job are insufficient at many workplaces, and lack enforcement. They allege that California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, is critically short-staffed. Erika Monterroza, a spokesperson for Cal/OSHA, said in an email the staff shortage doesn’t keep the agency from meeting its mandate. “We believe that this agency is not doing what it should be doing.

Community-Land-Trust

Bill Could Help Keep Some Rentals Affordable

Tenants would gain a potential pathway into permanently affordable housing — to weather the COVID-19 pandemic — under a bill making its way through the state Legislature. Assembly Bill 1703 would require most owners looking to sell residential rental property to give the property’s tenants, as well as designated groups like nonprofits, the opportunity to make the first offer to purchase. If any of those outside groups bought the building, rents would be capped to help protect low-income tenants from displacement — a major threat as the state faces a recession and widespread job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill’s sponsors are trying to guard against a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis’ fallout. “If you mapped where most homes were lost, and who lost them, they were Black and brown communities,” said Peter Cohen, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, one of more than 40 groups that sponsored the bill and brought the concept to the state Capitol, where Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) wrote and introduced it.

March 2020 Election Guide: Prop 13

Facilities Construction at Public Schools — Proposition 13 would authorize a $15 billion state bond measure to provide matching funding to districts for renovation and construction of facilities. $9 billion are slated for K-12 schools, and $6 billion for public higher education institutions. The measure prioritizes districts that have health and safety needs, like lead in their water, or that are too small to raise adequate funds through taxes.