Progressive Democrats run California, and this is an interesting thing to watch when one of them decides to run somewhere else, such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in quick succession.
Many Californians have been conditioned to believe that they, or their neighbors, are personally to blame for ever-tightening water restrictions and rolling blackouts. It’s because of reprehensible conduct, we’ve been told. People failed to consider the planet and their fellow man, taking too-long showers, washing the car, even having a car, and refusing to heed the warnings to turn off lights and appliances between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
These are said to be sins that will cause the plagues of climate change to be upon us, with doom to follow shortly thereafter.
The thing is, the rest of the country doesn’t think that way. In most of the rest of the country, people think Californians are idiots. Residents in other states expect their government to spend their tax dollars providing needed services to the population. That includes maintaining the roads and providing an adequate supply of water and electricity.
California used to be one of those states. There was a time that the leaders of the Golden State built excellent roads and water infrastructure, and they didn’t stand in the way of building power plants. Those public officials would have found it impossible to believe that a desalination plant planned for Orange County starting way back in 1998 would be killed by the Coastal Commission in 2022 in the midst of a drought emergency because the commission staff thought it might not be sturdy enough to withstand a tsunami that might happen in the next century. Those leaders would have been alarmed to see politicians approving plans to shut down the gas-fired electricity plants that keep the state’s lights on.
Who needs natural disasters when you have California public officials? Our leaders lead the nation in manufactured disasters, skillfully blamed on climate change, which, as we have already established, is entirely the fault of you or your neighbors for driving to work and back, running the dishwasher at 7:00 p.m. and taking a shower that’s longer than a Super Bowl commercial.
As Greta Thunberg would say, “How DARE you.”
However, right in the middle of this highly successful propaganda campaign, the governor of California has decided to run for president of the United States. He denies that, of course, but with the 2024 election bearing down and the president coughing up, Gavin Newsom pressured reluctant state lawmakers to approve a last-minute budget trailer bill that gives new life to gas-fired electricity plants. He also reversed his longstanding opposition to the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, and in spectacular fashion. He offered the plant’s owner a “forgivable” loan of $1.4 billion in taxpayer funds.
It might surprise a lot of Californians that the owner of the Diablo Canyon plant is the much denounced and occasionally convicted investor-owned utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, also known as PG&E. Not so very long ago, Newsom was threatening the utility with a state takeover if it didn’t improve its behavior.
But it turns out that you can’t make enough electricity with sunshine and speeches to run the state of California. On Wednesday, grid operator CAISO, the California Independent System Operator, called a “Flex Alert,” meaning there was a severe shortage of electricity.
During a Flex Alert, residents are warned to sharply curtail their use of electricity by setting the thermostat to an uncomfortably high temperature, refraining from running major appliances, turning off lights and not charging electric cars after 4 p.m.
It’s all voluntary. Of course, if you don’t comply and the electricity goes out, it’s all your fault.
But that’s in California politics, where Newsom is safe. Rolling blackouts would be very bad for his image in Iowa, New Hampshire and the other early primary states. In addition to trying to keep Diablo Canyon open with your tax dollars, Newsom insisted on legislation, the fossil-fuel-heavy energy trailer bill, that lawmakers of his own party described it as “lousy” and “crappy” even as they voted for it.
Severe water shortages that damage or destroy the state’s critical agriculture sector also would look bad to people in other states, where they’re not as sophisticated about these things as we are. They laugh at California flushing massive quantities of fresh water out to the ocean to protect selected fish species and their law firms. Wait until they find out about the whole “drinking recycled toilet water” thing. That’ll really play in Peoria, for the other Democratic candidates in the primary.
At the same time that Newsom is trying to hide the consequences of the state’s idiotic policies, he is doubling down on them, no doubt hoping for glowing national press coverage. Last week he announced a stack of proposals that he wants the legislature to pass before the session ends on the final day of August. Included on the list: limiting oil drilling sites and speeding up the timetables for the state’s 100% renewable energy goal and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
These policies raise the cost of living in California. We reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the “cap-and-trade” program, a hidden tax on energy that raises the price of everything made or moved in the state. We meet renewable energy goals by forcing utilities to sign contracts for electricity generated by renewable energy in addition to paying for electricity generated by something that’s reliable after 4:00 p.m.
Newsom is going to try to sell the rest of the country on the idea that California is a model for the nation and he can do for America what he’s done to us.
If it doesn’t go well, he can always open a piano bar with Eric Garcetti.
Write Susan at [email protected]