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California Capitol Hill Bulletin

                Volume 8, Bulletin 12 -- April 6, 2001    [or see pdf version]


Resources Holds California Water Hearing

Census 2000 Shows Shifts in State's Congressional Districts

Californians Press Administration For Energy Help; House Chair Expected to Introduce Power Plant Siting Bill

Field Hearings in California April 10-12 on Energy Situation

Finance Committee Hears Greenspan On U.S. Trade Policy

USC Report: Sprawl Hits The Wall

Fannie Mae on Reaching The Immigrant Market

E-Commerce Report Makes Policy Recommendations

Census Shows State Leading Significantly in Manufacturing Jobs

Bush Administration's First Complete Budget Request Due April 9

Immigration Briefing Friday, April 6 at 11:30 a.m.


To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic faxed bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill which directly impacts our state. Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods. The e-mail edition is made possible in part by in kind donations from Sun Microsystems and IBM Corp.

Resources Holds California Water Hearing

The House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing on California water issues on Tuesday, April 3, 2001. The hearing was chaired by Rep. Ken Calvert (Corona). Several other members of the California Congressional Delegation also attended, including Subcommittee Ranking Member Cal Dooley (Visalia), and Reps. George Radanovich (Mariposa), Grace Napolitano (Norwalk), and Doug Ose (Sacramento). Rep. Calvert stated that the hearing will lay the groundwork for drafting legislation to reauthorize the CALFED Bay-Delta project. He expects to introduce the bill in May.

Steven Hall, Executive Director of the Association of California Water Agencies testified in strong support of the need to invest significantly in new surface and ground storage capacity. He pointed out that even as California's population has grown, available water supplies have dropped over the last decade from about 5 million acre feet annually to under 2.5 million acre feet. Mr. Hall called for financial investments in water infrastructure similar to the investments made in environmental restoration, which have proven effective over the last several years in restoring fish populations and wetlands habitats.

Sunne McPeak, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council also testified, representing numerous businesses in the San Francisco Bay/Silicon Valley area. Ms. McPeak cautioned the Subcommittee that unreliable water supplies in California pose as serious a threat to business investment as the current power crisis. She pointed out that some high-tech companies have already announced that they will no longer invest in California because of the uncertain power supply, and warned the Subcommittee that unreliable and/or inadequate water supplies could have the same result. She also testified that the Bay Area Council fully supported CALFED's recent Record of Decision on the Bay Delta project, despite some areas were it would have liked some changes.

All witness testimony can be obtained through the Resources Committee's website at: http://www.house.gov/resources .

 

Census 2000 Shows Shifts in State's Congressional Districts

After California's Congressional districts were redrawn following the 1990 Census, each district had an average population of about 572,000 -- or 29.7 million divided by 52. Once remapping is complete following the 2000 Census, the state's 33.9 million residents will be divided into 53 Congressional districts, an average of roughly 639,000 persons per district.

Every Congressional district will be redrawn before the next election, in part because the state must accommodate the added 53rd district and in part to equalize population counts in all districts. Every current Congressional district experienced a population gain over the past decade. Of the 52 existing districts, 24 are smaller than the 639,000 target size, and 28 are above.

According to the Census headcount, the smallest gains (reflected by the smallest current population totals) are in the state's central urban areas. Totals were at or below 600,000 in Los Angeles' 27th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, and 36th districts, as well as in the Bay Area's 9th district and San Diego's 49th district.

The largest growth rates were experienced in the Central Valley and the Inland Empire areas, as well as on the fringes of the state's largest metropolitan areas. Northern San Diego and southern Orange County's 48th district now houses 773,000 people according to the Census Bureau, and neighboring districts numbered 42, 43, 44, 47 and 51 each house more than 700,000. In the Central Valley, the 4th, 19th and 20th districts all grew to or past the 700,000 mark, as did eastern Bay Area's 10th district and northern Los Angeles County's 25th district.

A detailed table of these data, with total population and racial identification by California Congressional district, is available on the Institute's website at http://www.calinst.org/data/califcds.htm or in printable pdf form at http://www.calinst.org/data/califcds.pdf . For more data from the 2000 Census, go to http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen2000.html .

 

Californians Press Administration For Energy Help; House Chair Expected to Introduce Power Plant Siting Bill

Every member of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation and both Senators were among those writing President Bush this week to seek his intervention in the state's electricity crisis, specifically asking his support of temporary wholesale caps on the price of electricity. The letter states, "Mr. President, you have the authority to rein in the impacts of this dysfunctional market and protect the citizens from exorbitant wholesale price spikes." The letter quoted the President's own campaign comments, stating, " In October 2000, when you were in California, you stated, 'I believe so strongly that part of this region is going to suffer unless you have a president who is willing to tell the FERC to do what is right for the consumer.' Now we are respectfully calling on you to do just that." It further states, "We believe that electricity generators should make a reasonable profit and that these profits should be sufficient to encourage the development of needed generation. Federal action to temporarily intervene in California's failed wholesale market can accommodate these needs." Specifically, the letter asks the President to support wholesale rate intervention and investigate recent allegations of overcharging.

Most of the letter's authors are backing legislation introduced this week to require wholesale price caps based on the cost of service plus a reasonable rate of return (new plants would be exempt) and impose refunds for generator overcharges dating back as far as last summer.

Also on the federal front in California's energy debate, House Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee Chairman Joe Barton (Texas) is in the process of drafting legislation to address the state's electricity woes. A primary focus of the legislation is likely to involve waivers of Clean Air Act rules to hasten the siting of electricity generation facilities. The bill will not include wholesale price caps, but recent press reports have been conflicting regarding whether he will seek to prevent Californians and other Western state members to attempt to attach price cap language during the bill's markup. Barton was quoted as hoping for subcommittee passage by the end of April. In a speech this week, Barton commented, "We can't just say, 'Let California take care of California.'"

 

Field Hearings in California April 10-12 on Energy Situation

On April 10 in Sacramento, April 11 in San Jose and April 12 in San Diego, the House Government Reform Committee will hold field hearings to examine the energy crisis in California. The Sacramento hearing will be chaired by Rep. Doug Ose (Sacramento), the new Chairman of the Panel's Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs. The committee is expected to hear testimony from representatives of generators, utilities, government entities, and local organizations who are dealing with the energy problem.

 

Finance Committee Hears Greenspan On U.S. Trade Policy

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on U.S. Trade Policy on Wednesday, April 4, at which Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, testified. Mr. Greenspan pointed out that there is impressive evidence that the dramatic increase in world competition as a result of broadening trade flows has resulted in higher living standards for all countries that engage in cross-border trade, "most especially the United States."

He did recognize, however, the "adjustment trauma" felt by those in the workforce who find that their job skills have become obsolete as they were once in cutting edge industries which have now become noncompetitive. Nevertheless, he stated that the protectionist policy of trying to hold back innovation is unwise, and in fact, not possible over the long run anyway. Therefore, he concluded U.S. efforts should be directed at job skills enhancement and re-training, not at trying to stem the flow of trade to protect dislocated American workers.

The Committee also heard from Mickey Kantor, former U.S. Trade Representative. He also cited the economic benefits of free trade and negotiated trade agreements with U.S. trading partners. But, acknowledging that in the short run some workers would lose their jobs, Ambassador Kantor supported a "vigorous" trade adjustment assistance program to provide new training and employment skills to U.S. workers.

He called for a long-term trade policy agenda that would negotiate new bilateral agreements, address problems with the European Union, and accelerate liberalization of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC). He also called on the U.S. to take on new challenges, such as bribery and corruption in international trade, how to deal with worker rights and environmental issues, discrimination against U.S. audio-visual products, and the way to successfully negotiate services and agriculture trade in the World Trade Organization.

Testimony of the witnesses can be obtained through the Committee's website at: http://www.senate.gov/~finance.

 

USC Report: Sprawl Hits The Wall

The Southern California Studies Center at the University of Southern California and the Brookings Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy recently released a report entitled Sprawl Hits The Wall: Confronting the Realities of Metropolitan Los Angeles. The report shows that the Los Angeles region is in a crisis, with limited additional land on which to grow and few resources left to consume. The report argues that Los Angeles can no longer "sprawl" away from problems of a distressed regional core, a strained environment, and fragile governance structure. It recommends Los Angeles begin to grow smarter, greener and more civic-minded. Specific recommendations are made to assist the region in accomplishing these types of growth.

The report is a result of a two year research project exploring the connections between growth, governance, urban livability, environmental preservation and social equity in the Los Angeles region. To view the report in its entirety please visit the following website: http://www.usc.edu/sc2 .

 

Fannie Mae on Reaching The Immigrant Market

The Fannie Mae Foundation and Georgetown University's Institute for Study of International Migration recently released a handbook entitled Reaching the Immigrant Market: Creating Homeownership Opportunities for New Americans. The handbook, based on the research of 20 financial institutions, provides case studies outlining effective practices which enable the financial industry to reach the relatively untapped market of potential immigrant home buyers.

The report outlines that there are 27 million immigrants in the U.S. with 1 million new immigrants arriving each year, and that 70% of these immigrants live in six states including California. The report focuses on the issues of understanding the immigrant community and culture, and educating and preparing immigrants for homeownership. Other issues addressed in the handbook are identifying non-traditional methods to establish creditworthiness among immigrants, developing culturally tailored loan products to increase ownership opportunities in immigrant communities, and studying innovative approaches and products currently being used by financial institutions to break down the barriers faced by immigrants seeking homeownership.

To view the handbook in its entirety visit http://www.fanniemaefoundation.org (under news and events).

 

E-Commerce Report Makes Policy Recommendations

The Progressive Policy Institute recently released a report, entitled A Third Way Framework for Global E-Commerce, in which it takes a comprehensive look at e-commerce and makes several policy recommendations. Among the report's recommendations: there is no need for a radical reconceptualization of international trade vis-a-vis e-commerce, and WTO nations should adhere to the principles guiding traditional importing and exporting; the moratorium on taxes for electronic transmissions should be made permanent; digitally delivered products should be treated as intangible goods; tariffs on small-value transactions should be eliminated; and consumer education efforts to promote confidence in e-transactions should be promoted.

The full report can be obtained through the group's website at: http://www.ppionline.org.

 

Census Shows State Leading Significantly in Manufacturing Jobs

The Census Bureau released statistics detailing the fifty states involvement in manufacturing, with California not surprisingly surpassing all other states. In all, 1.82 million people were employed in manufacturing jobs in California in 1999. Ohio and Texas followed, with about 1 million manufacturing jobs each. The nationwide total was 16.7 million.

The Census Bureau estimated that total manufacturing employment in all three states and in the nation as a whole decreased slightly from 1998 to 1999, but California fared better than the rest of the country. California's total declined from 1998 to 1999 by fewer than 6,000 jobs while the national drop was in excess of 230,000 jobs.

Payroll paid to all employees in the state's manufacturing sector rose to $69.59 million in 1999 from $68.1 million in 1998. Overall, computer and electronic product manufacturing employed the most workers, with nearly 385,000 employees. Of these, semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing employees accounted for 148,000 workers. The former figure represents almost 25 percent of total U.S. workers in computer and electronic manufacturing. Other large sectors include food manufacturing, with 152,000 workers, compared to 1.49 million nationwide, transportation equipment manufacturing, with 156,000 employees (about 8 percent of the U.S. total), and apparel manufacturing, with 130,000 employees (about 22 percent of the U.S. total).

While California's aerospace industry saw a major decline of 13,500 jobs (to a total of 96,000), the state also experienced small to moderate reductions in manufacturing employment in the food, fabricated metal products, machinery, and computer industries. California's manufacturing employment increased in the textile, apparel, wood product, pharmaceutical, plastics, cement and concrete, semiconductors, electric lighting, and medical equipment industries.

The complete set of statistics (in a 200-page, 3 MB file) may be obtained at the Census Bureau's website at: http://www.census.gov/prod/www/titles.html .

 

Bush Administration's First Complete Budget Request Due April 9

President Bush is expected to release his Administration's first complete budget request on Monday, April 9. While the Administration already issued a 150-page budget "blueprint" in February, it provided only high points and overviews. The upcoming submission -- typically about 2,000 pages -- will provide program-by-program detail of the President's spending and revenue priorities. The Institute intends to issue a quick analysis of some of the budget's California implications after an initial review on Monday.

 

Immigration Briefing Friday, April 6 at 11:30 a.m.

As mentioned in last week's Bulletin, the Population Resource Center and the California Institute will host a luncheon briefing entitled "Immigration and a New America: The Temporary Worker Visa Debate Numbers" on Friday, April 6, from 11:30 am to 1pm in Room 121 of the Cannon House Office Building. Following an introduction by Hon. Anthony C. Beilenson, attendees will hear comments by Dr. Philip Martin, Editor of Migration News, Co-Chair of the Migration Dialogue, and Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis; and Dr. B. Lindsay Lowell, Director of Research for the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University. For more information, contact the Center at 202-467-5030 or prc@prcdc.org .

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