07/04/2022

News

2011 San Francisco Pension Fix Not Panning Out

The pension reform measure that San Francisco voters passed in 2011 isn’t yielding the savings that city leaders expected, and for several reasons — one of which should worry all pension-paying institutions. That reason: Retirees are living significantly longer than old assumptions.

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Massive Transportation Bill has No $ for CA Bullet Train

Since then, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has been unable to attract outside investors and doesn’t have even 40 percent of the money it needs to complete the initial 300-mile, $31 billion segment — much less the $68 billion needed to build a rail line linking San Francisco and downtown Los Angeles. This has led bullet-train advocates, starting with Robert Cruickshank of the California High Speed Rail Blog, to repeatedly urge Congress and the Obama administration to provide more federal dollars. In planning documents from three years ago, state officials said they were hoping on $42 billion in federal help.

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Solar Plant Nearly Forced to Buy Carbon Emission Rights

The giant $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar plant off Interstate 15 just west of the California-Nevada border has apparently won its fight with state regulators and won’t be classified as a heavy polluter that is required to buy carbon-emissions rights in the state air board’s cap-and-trade program.

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Coal and California: State Not as Green as It May Seem

But on niche websites devoted to energy production and energy markets, the picture of how California is responding to its mandates is more muddled. A recent free report from SNL, the McGraw-Hill financial publication that typically charges for the proprietary information it provides to shareholders and potential investors, puts California’s progress in a different light:

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Tesla Gets Shadowy CA Competitor

Speculation has swirled around the debut of another entrant into California’s crowded, cutting-edge automotive industry. The company, known as Faraday Future, “has been hunting for a place to build what it says will be a $1 billion manufacturing plant for a new line of cars,” reported the San Francisco Chronicle. “Four states are contenders and the company says to expect an announcement within weeks.”

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Largest US Desalinization Plant Nears CA Open

Located in Carlsbad, in the San Diego area, the plant has raised hopes for drought relief — but has brought elevated stakes along with it. “The billion-dollar project is only the nation’s second major seawater plant,” noted the Associated Press. “The first U.S. foray in Tampa Bay is widely considered a flop.” That plant, a decade in the making, lost financing and couldn’t pass performance tests, the AP added. Its capacity was only half that of the Carlsbad plant, expected to churn out 50 million gallons of drinking water every day.

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CA Students Struggle on Nationwide Exams

California fared poorly in the latest round of a bellwether series of key elementary and middle-school tests. “What’s sometimes called the Nation’s Report Card, a sampling of fourth- and eighth-graders in reading and math, painted a dismal picture of a state that insists it is prioritizing K-12 education, on which it is spending $53 billion this fiscal year,” the San Jose Mercury News noted.

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Study: 28% of CA Elderly Impoverished

Now a new UCLA study finds that of the 4 million adults in California who are 65 or older, 1.11 million struggle to make ends meet — an effective poverty rate of 28 percent. That’s more than triple the number of California elderly who were considered impoverished under standard federal measures.

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