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View Diary: Jeff Masters: the Climate Has Shifted to a New State (280 comments)

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  •  funded mandates are key (1+ / 0-)
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    G2geek

    it will take some serious money to build an adapted infrastructure, if we are to do it right. i'm seeing a lot of drip orchards going in out by dixon/vacaville over the past couple of years, but there are a ton of old grandfathered systems that the owners don't have the extra capital to retrofit (but that a major drought will put out of business if they don't retrofit).

    banning unused or underused lawn and water-hungry landscaping in suburban areas is another easy move to free up water. as is rainwater capture and greywater recycling.

    but it all takes coin, and if it is to be done systemically, that means public coin.

    which means the 2/3 tax requirements need to go.

    •  yes, yes, and yes. (1+ / 0-)
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      adrianrf

      BTW, what's "the 2/3 tax requirements"...?

      Seems to me the state is going to spend XYZ dollars on water infrastructure.

      OK, now let's think like an electrical utility: up to a point, negawatts = megawatts; conservation is equivalent to power production.

      Next let's get the state thinking the same way. Funded mandates whereby farmers can adopt high-efficiency irrigation, costs X dollars and conserves Y gallons. That is equivalent to paying Q dollars for R gallons of new water. Now compare to other possible investments: what's the unit cost of water either way?

      There's a point at which paying farmers to cover 100% of the cost of high-efficiency irrigation, is the most economical way to "produce" water. That's where we can make the economic case for doing it.

      And yes, state override of all homeowner association rules requiring lawns. Basically it should be illegal to water any form of non-edible ground cover, end of story. Maybe allow up to a 10' x 10' patch of grass per yard, as a play-space for kids and a place for grownups to lie down in the sun or something. But no more "purely for looks." "Looks" are something we can't afford. Alternately, an exponentially increasing charge for water, that will cost-ration it.

      Rainwater capture is good, but absolutely must be done in a manner that does not lead to mosquito breeding. Mosquitos are evil, evil, evil from a public health standpoint. (See also foreclosed properties with swimming pools: one neglected pool can cause a mosquito plague for many square miles; this ought to be illegal as hell, and "direct action" by neighbors up to & including destroying those pools, is highly justified to prevent public health emergencies.)

      Graywater: I have the solution for that one, all I need is the right business situation to make it go. Which basically means a group of smart people who aren't greedy, and who share the goal of getting this into circulation ASAP. What's needed is $$ to complete the patent process, and then $$ and labor to install a few beta test cases while setting up to manufacture the system for sale. After that the rest is relatively easy.

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 10:50:57 PM PST

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      •  after prop 13 in 78 (1+ / 0-)
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        G2geek

        it has taken a 2/3 supermajority in both legislative chambers of the CA govt to raise taxes, as well as 2/3 supermajorities in any local tax.

        for the state to invest public money in any systemic manner at a scale necessary to be effective, it's going to take a repeal of that requirement.

        •  Oh, "the prop 13 two-thirds tax requirements." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caryltoo

          Adding the words "prop 13" to the original would have made it clear. (Nouns and verbs are free, and this week adjectives and adverbs are on sale. Pronouns are expensive as always.;-)

          Here's the thing about Prop 13:

          We can probably pass a repeal of it for commercial properties.

          But as for residential properties, what's fair and just is to alter the rate of tax at the time a property is sold, not while it's being used as a primary residence either by the owner or by the owner's tenants. As long as an owner or a tenant stays put in a dwelling, it's a home, not a commodity. As for "valuation," there is something fundamentally and outrageously unjust about raising taxes on a home that is not on the market, just because homes up and down the street were sold for whatever price. And the direct consequences of such tax increases are vicious gentrification of neighborhoods and the eviction of people on fixed incomes.

          The core value here is "usufruct," or "production-for-use," as opposed to "production-for-sale." A "house" has two elements to it: one is "home" and the other is "investment." So long as it's being treated as a home by being lived in by a given person or persons, it's off the market, it's not in play, and its value is what it was last sold for. Once it's placed on the market again, it becomes an "investment" or a commodity to be transacted, at which point the tax can be reassessed based on the actual price at which it is transacted.

          Beyond that, the entire system of funding local government (and state gov by extension) on property taxes, is outrageous because it a) fails to confront the issues of income and capital gains, and b) creates differential outcomes for arbitrary collectivities of persons due to local government boundaries.

          The progressive solution is a progressive income tax, an Eisenhower-level ferociously progressive one with the loopholes closed and with capital gains treated the same way as any other income. And if that "chases away the Job Creators" (capital letters to show their God-like status, heh), a new crop will come to town right on their heels and create all the jobs anyone needs, in an economy based on fairness and social justice.

          Further, funding for education and other civic necessities should be distributed equally per-capita within each state, or ideally across the entire United States. Adjustments can be made for local costs of living, and for local conditions such as the need for more extensive school bus networks and off-road-capable firefighting vehicles in rural areas, and more police officers and sanitation workers in urban areas.

          These types of measures will also tend to reduce racial self-segregation by income levels, and a host of other societal evils.

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 02:13:18 AM PST

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