Los Angeles

California House Races and the Environment

Control of the House isn’t in play, but some California seats are up for grabs.

Control of the U.S. House doesn’t seem to be in play this year, but there are a lot of individual districts across the country that could flip.  Cook Political lists 28 toss-up races and another 28 that lean one way or the other but are still competitive.  Obviously, I’m not going to try to talk …

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“Knocking on Our Door”: Wildfires Threaten Mt. Wilson Observatory and San Gabriel Foothill Communities

Mt. Wilson Observatory tweet

On Sept. 15, Angeles National Forest reported the Bobcat Fire was within 500 ft. of historic observatory in San Gabriel Mountains

The Bobcat fire blazing in the San Gabriel Mountains is threatening lives and homes, forcing evacuation of communities in foothills clogged with acres of brush dried out by the hottest August ever recorded in California. For flatland Angelenos like me, the fires are both omnipresent and distant, sensed only by the hazy skies and smell …

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Red Paint Will Curb Public Access to Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, One of Los Angeles County’s Most Significant Open Spaces

Parking restrictions in Rancho Palos Verdes

Rancho Palos Verdes City Council votes to eliminate public street parking near Portuguese Bend Reserve

  See a full set of photos illustrating parking restrictions at Portuguese Bend Reserve on the Emmett Institute Flickr page.  Update: Responding to public concern about its new parking restrictions, the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council voted unanimously at its meeting on Sept. 1 to move away from a full parking prohibition. The council voted …

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Beat the Heat

Sunset at Santa Monica Beach

As Angelenos swelter in historic heatwave, city and county governments seek to cool vulnerable residents  

Wildfires sparked by dry lightning storms across California this week are an ominous cap to the state’s historic heat emergency, adding hazardous air quality and evacuation orders to the burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. Fire risk aside, the heat wave is now entering its most deadly phase. Nationwide, heat kills more Americans …

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Do Epidemic-Based Business Closures by Government Trigger an Unconstitutional “Taking”?

Longstanding U.S. Supreme Court Precedents Indicate the Answer is an Unequivocal “No”

Lately, an increasing number of public and private voices have been raised in opposition to business closures ordered by state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.  In many such cases, that opposition has taken the form of lawsuits filed by business owners, claiming a violation of their constitutional rights.  Gun shops across …

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Top 10 Worst Environmental Decisions in California’s History

Ranking the lost landscapes and environmental features

California has a paradoxical history with its environment. On one hand, the state boasts incredible natural beauty, along with a government that is an internationally recognized leader for strong environmental policies. But the state’s residents have also caused severe environmental destruction, particularly in the late nineteenth century — some of which helped spur the mobilization …

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Coastal Beaches, Public Access & the Pandemic

Important Legal & Policy Considerations in Closing Beaches to Protect Public Health

As part of America’s steadily growing restiveness over state and local shelter-in-place directives, the issue of government-mandated public beach closures has recently emerged as a particularly contentious issue.  It’s especially prominent now, given that many coastal states are experiencing their first heat waves of 2020. Many Americans are increasingly weary of and angry over public …

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Los Angeles Air Quality in the Time of Covid-19

Headlines from across the world have trumpeted  one of the few benefits of the Covid-19 shutdown: cleaner air quality.  Los Angeles has starred in those headlines, with many reporters calling attention to the fact that the region had some of the cleanest air in the world during a period  in April.  EPA data also confirm …

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Transit-Oriented Development Shouldn’t Be A Coronavirus Casualty

California still needs more housing close to transit.

In recent weeks, California has emerged as one center of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it continues to face challenges that existed long before the disease reached the state.  Two serious ones: how California will meet its ever more stringent greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and how the state will manage to provide affordable housing for …

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The Bleak California Housing Picture By Numbers

Key recent studies and data can inform the legislative debate

As the debate over SB 50 and other state legislative efforts to boost California’s housing supply heats up, it’s worth reviewing some of the data about how dire the housing situation is in the state. Here are some tidbits: High Home Prices and Rents: According to the California Legislative Analysts Office, the average California home …

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