California (4)

California Today: What to Know About California’s New Housing Laws

It’s Monday. Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed two bills aimed at easing the state’s housing crisis. Plus, firefighters are scrambling to protect some of the world’s oldest trees from flames.

No matter where you live, you’re probably familiar with the exorbitant cost of housing in California.

The state’s median home price has crept above $800,000, more than double what it is nationwide. Among the 50 biggest cities in the country, we’re home to the top four most difficult places to afford a mortgage. And half of all Americans experiencing homelessness live in California.

Our housing crisis has a seemingly simple solution, according to the laws of supply and demand: Build more housing.

But for decades, resistance from suburban homeowners has stalled development as the problem has only gotten worse.

On Thursday, the state took a step toward creating higher-density neighborhoods as Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two high-profile housing bills.

Though the bills, Senate Bills 9 and 10, endured intense opposition in recent months, neither is all that revolutionary, said Conor Dougherty, a reporter for The New York Times who writes about economics in California.

But the package of housing reforms passed in California over the past four years, including these two latest measures, “is probably the biggest change in housing in 50 years or more,” Conor told me.
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Drought in California

Photo of Lake Shasta in 2019 (when the drought was much less severe than now in 2021) by Bruce Warrington

Much of the Western half of the United States is in the grip of a severe drought of historic proportions. Conditions are especially bad in California and the Southwest, but the drought extends into the Pacific Northwest, much of the Intermountain West, and even the Northern Plains.

Drought emergencies have been declared. Farmers and ranchers are suffering. States are facing water cutbacks. Large wildfires are burning earlier than usual. And there appears to be little relief in sight.…

www.nytimes.com/article/drought-california-western-united-states.html

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California Faces Another Drought as Lake Beds Turn to Dust – A Photo Essay

Water shortages and dry conditions are already affecting the state as the governor has declared an emergency in 41 of 58 counties.

Verdant hillsides losing their hue, receding reservoirs with bathtub rings of newly exposed earth, crops withering in the fields.

These are the visions of California’s parched landscape as the state braces for another potentially devastating drought. Water shortages and exceptionally dry conditions are already beginning to hit home.

The state is facing yet another hot, dry summer ahead, and the governor has declared a drought emergency in 41 of the state’s 58 counties. More than 37 million Californians reside in these drought areas, according to the US drought monitor.

“This is without precedent,” Newsom said at a news conference announcing the first two declarations in April, speaking from the bed of Lake Mendocino that had been reduced to arid, cracked clay. Not long ago, he would have been standing under 40ft of water. ‘Oftentimes we overstate the word historic, but this is indeed an historic moment.…’

The photos are shocking.

www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/may/30/california-drought-water-shortage-photo-essay

From Maui Surfer

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