Monday, July 9, 2018

Bay Area Council Statement

The Bay Area Council applauds Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislative Leadership’s decision to convene a conference committee dedicated to Wildfire Preparedness and Response. We are pleased that the Governor and Legislature are actively following up on the commitments made in January to ensure a solution focused approach to the critical climate change and weather disaster-related issues facing California. While this response is a major step for the state, we cannot understate the need to address the issue of 2017’s wildfire season liability.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Steven Tavares, East Bay Citizen

It may be one of the most dastardly political schemes in recent state history. After the lead and paint industry in California was recently ordered to pay penalties that could run into the hundreds of millions to remedy illegal lead hazards across the state, the industry is now moving toward placing an initiative on the statewide ballot this November.

The lead lobby’s proposed initiative essentially negates the court ruling and transfers their financial liabilities to taxpayers by requiring the state to back a $2 billion bond to aid in the cleanup of lead. In 2000, Alameda County was one of 10 cities and counties in the state that initially sued five leaders in the lead industry.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Kathy Murphy, The Mercury News

SACRAMENTO — In dramatic fashion, state lawmakers on Wednesday ripped into a California ballot initiative to have taxpayers, not paint companies, pay for lead-paint cleanup while overturning a landmark court ruling that made three manufacturers liable for the cost.

After hearing a panel of paint company representatives and initiative supporters quote President Barack Obama and invoke the racially discriminatory and since-banned practice of “redlining” in mortgage lending, lawmakers exploded.

“I’ve never heard such deceptive testimony in my life,” Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, told the panel, which included an attorney for Sherwin Williams. “It takes a lot to get me angry — you have gotten me angry.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sarah Cafasso, Woods Institute

The perennial threat of wildfire is a growing reality for many California communities. In 2017, almost 9,000 wildfires burned over one million acres of California’s forests and communities across the state, with major fires burning as late as December. Longer, more frequent droughts, higher temperatures, and unpredictable winds from climate change all factor in to the developing landscape of fire modeling and resiliency in California.

To tackle this issue, a group of Stanford scholars joined California State Assemblymember Dr. Bill Quirk in Sacramento, speaking at a briefing on “Fire and the Future of California Forests.” Over 120 people from government, non-profit, and business sectors gathered at the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento, where the panelists focused on practical solutions to wildfires. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Senator Richard Pan and Assemblymember Bill Quirk, Sacramento Bee

Since 2004, cases of disease spread by pests such as ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes have tripled nationwide. According to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, these vector-borne diseases increased in the U.S. from 27,388 in 2004 to 97,075 in 2016.

Around the world, diseases spread by mosquitoes alone kill hundreds of thousands of people each year. Here at home, we are working hard to track and control the spread of West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, chikungunya, dengue, and Zika. Vaccines simply do not exist for most of these illnesses. Vector control is the best and only preventative defense against the health threats they pose.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ed Howard, San Francisco Chronicle

Shhhhh! Listen carefully. You hear a rumbling sound? No, thankfully, that’s not the dreaded Big One. It is the sound of the progressives, who enacted the initiative process as a check on corporate greed, rolling in their graves.

Why so restless? Because a statewide initiative is being circulated by three giant companies that is disguised as charity but underneath is pure grinning greed. It is maybe the most cynically deceptive initiative in our state’s history.

Here’s the story. Corporate conglomerate Conagra Brands (owner of Marie Callender’s, Reddi-wip, and Orville Redenbacher’s, and many more), Dutch Boy paint company Sherwin-Williams and NL (short for National Lead) Industries were found by a state appellate court last year to have for decades “knowingly promot(ed) lead paint for interior residential use,” even though the corporations knew lead exposure was dangerous, especially to children.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A state bill to restart the party advances in Sacramento.

David Downs, East Bay Express

Cannabis cups have been less fun since legalization.

Summer is approaching, which usually means a full slate of cannabis events around the state. But new rules under Proposition 64 have thrown cold water on promoters.

That's because while cannabis events used to take place in a legal gray area, they now require approval by local jurisdictions in addition to the state. Prop 64 allows the state to issue temporary licenses for cannabis events with onsite consumption and sales at county fairgrounds, but local jurisdictions have the power to deny such permits.