August 11, 2022

Misuse of environmental high-quality regulation influences UC learners

In summary

The California Environmental High-quality Act is one of these legislation that generate unintended effects, and require a fresh new search.

Were being I to write yet another e book about California politics — which is incredibly not likely — it would be entitled “Unintended Consequences,” detailing how political coverage decrees mutate to have unexpected effects.

Examples of the syndrome are legion, but in this article are just two:

—In the 1960s, recently elected Gov. Ronald Reagan signed two pieces of legislation that purported to reform the treatment and cure of the mentally sick. They set in motion a phaseout of the state’s considerable program of mental hospitals in favor of neighborhood mental health and fitness clinics. Reagan desired to save funds and advocates for the mentally unwell experienced decried the jail-like, abusive atmosphere of the hospitals.

Reagan, successor governors and the Legislature never thoroughly sent on the promise of group mental well being treatment, leaving quite a few of the mentally sick then and since to fend for themselves and contributing to the homeless disaster that now afflicts the point out.

—Two seemingly unique acts in the late 1970s, the extension of collective bargaining legal rights to California’s public workers in 1975 and the passage of Proposition 13, the landmark property tax restrict, in 1978, alongside one another led to general public employee unions’ dominance of the Legislature.

Proposition 13 indirectly shifted monetary responsibility for faculties, and considerably of area authorities, to the condition. As condition and local workforces turned pretty much completely unionized, the concentration of money power in Sacramento gave unions the commitment to reshape the Legislature into an overwhelmingly professional-union system.

The California Environmental Good quality Act, also signed by Reagan, is a third big instance. Its mentioned purpose was to compel sponsors of tasks to consider their impacts on the natural environment and mitigate, as considerably as possible, adverse effects.

About the far more than 50 %-century given that its passage, having said that, CEQA has morphed into a authorized morass that can stall even the most benign projects indefinitely as opponents increase objections that usually have nothing to do with environmental protection.

It’s not uncommon, for instance, for construction unions to threaten or file CEQA lawsuits in unwell-disguised initiatives to drive challenge managers into offering their associates distinctive accessibility to employment. CEQA has turn into so onerous that the Legislature often provides superior-profile jobs — this kind of as athletics arenas — unique exemptions from some of its provisions, together with this year’s Tremendous Bowl stadium in Inglewood.

CEQA is a big component, although not the only 1, in California’s incapability to make ample housing, specially homes for reduced- and reasonable-money people, to meet up with demand. These who don’t want such housing in their neighborhoods use CEQA as a software to stop construction, or hold off it so long that it becomes financially unworkable.

The latest illustration of CEQA’s staying bent for uses never ever envisioned is occurring in Berkeley, exactly where the metropolis federal government and a group named Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods sued to block the College of California’s options to extend enrollment.

Alameda County Decide Brad Seligman upheld their challenge to UC’s ideas for a new tutorial constructing and college housing, declaring that the project’s CEQA studies ended up inadequate and did not completely account for impacts on sound, housing and displacement. The university was also requested to freeze its enrollment at 2020-21 amounts.

It’s the similar type of not-in-my-yard frame of mind that has been so harmful to bridging the hole in between California’s housing demands and its housing creation, and in this situation will block entry by quite a few thousand students who experienced prepared to enter the university.

CEQA’s unintended penalties cry out for reform, anything former Gov. Jerry Brown when explained as “the Lord’s do the job,” even although he was unwilling to consider it on.

It continue to is.