California

California's Cities Should Look to Oxfordshire

California, now in the midst of a heated debate on high-speed rail, could learn a thing or two from a few small villages in England about consolidating their opposition. Residents from five villages in Oxfordshire created the Villages of Oxfordshire Opposing HS2 (High-Speed Rail 2) action group to voice their concerns about the proposed project.  read more »

Misunderstanding the Bubble and Burst in Sacramento

An opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee by Sean Wirth of the Environmental Council of Sacramento could not have been more wrong in its characterization of the causes of the housing bubble in Sacramento.

The article starts out promisingly, correctly noting that:  read more »

  • The housing bubble spawned the Great Recession
  • Demand exceeded the inventory of houses in the Sacramento area
  • Sacramento prices "soared sky high"

In the Hunt for a Red October

California's precarious budget situation appears to be driving the state closer to potential fiscal ruin. The state is now 28 days into a new fiscal year, operating without a budget, and the deadlocked legislature in Sacramento appears unable and/or unwilling to strike a deal on a new budget able to cover the state's massive $19 billion deficit.  read more »

CA State Treasurer Skeptical of High-Speed Rail

California High Speed Rail officials and the Governor’s office seem to be suffering from selective hearing. Lawmakers and experts at the University of California’s Institute of Transportation continue to challenge the high-speed rail project’s viability due to precarious statistical projections on ridership and cost. One wonders if developers will reconsider upon hearing California treasurer Bill Lockyer’s recent criticisms.  read more »

California: Bad for Business

Looking for a business-friendly state?  read more »

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University of California Report Calls Cambridge Systematics High-Speed Rail Ridership Forecast Unreliable

A just-released report by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Berkeley finds that the ridership projections prepared by Cambridge Systematics (CS) for the California high speed rail system are "not reliable."  read more »

State Auditor Says Only Part of California High Speed Rail Line May be Built

The California State Auditor's report title says it all: High-Speed Rail Authority: It Risks Delays or an Incomplete System Because of Inadequate Planning, Weak Oversight, and Lax Contract Management.

The report, which can fairly be characterized as "damning," criticizes the California High Speed Rail Authority on a wide range of issues, some of which go to the very heart of the project itself.  read more »

I Heart Des Moines

Forbes Magazine just released its "Best Places for Business and Careers" list and it's no surprise to me that Des Moines, Iowa just landed in the top spot. Nearly 5 years ago, I'd have said the same thing you may have just muttered. "Des Moines...that's fly over country...who'd want to live and work THERE?" I fully appreciate your logic with our cold winters, humid summers, and ag-centric heritage.  read more »

Obama Throws Life-Line to Smart Growth Areas

President Obama has announced a special program of assistance for home owners in the five states that have been hit hardest by the housing crisis. The proposed program is targeted at California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Michigan, where house price declines are more than 20% from the peak of the bubble.  read more »

Oregon Tries to Catch California – On the way down!

Oregon’s voters will soon give their judgment on Measures 66 and 67, measures that will raise income and corporate taxes in the recession-ravaged state – with unemployment at 11.1 percent, the eighth highest in the nation. Besides leaving the state with the highest marginal rate in the country, tied with Hawaii, more insidiously measure 67 will impose a minimum tax based on sales, not profits, implying an infinite marginal tax rate for low-profit companies.  read more »