The year in review
Region 9 Legislative Advocate
How Often do Governors Say No to Bills Passed by the California Legislature? In a typical year, the Legislature sends anywhere from 870 to 2,143 bills to the Governor for consideration. However, in 2020, the Legislature passed only 428 bills, which makes this year an outlier when comparing bill outcomes with past years. Of the 428 bills Governor Newsom considered this year, 137 were Senate bills, and 291 were Assembly bills. In total, he signed 372 into law and vetoed 56 bills. This is a veto rate of 13.08% for his second year in office.
The number of vetoes for 2020 is the fourth lowest of all the years reviewed in this report, beginning in 1967. The three years with the lowest number of vetoed bills were under Governor Jerry Brown (1982, 1981, 1978). In 1982, he rejected just 30 of the 1,674 bills he considered, representing a veto rate of 1.79%. Five of the six years with the highest percentage of vetoed bills (2008, 2010, 2009, 2004, 1998) were with Republican governors and Democratic majorities in both legislative houses (the exception was Governor Davis in 2000). Governor Schwarzenegger holds the record for the highest percentage of bills vetoed in a year, 35.17% in 2008. He vetoed more than a quarter (26.4%) of the 7,461 bills he considered over his seven years. Schwarzenegger signed the lowest average number of bills per year (784 per year over seven years).
While the Legislature can override a governor’s veto by a two-thirds vote in both houses, this action is rare and has not occurred since 1980. During the 1979–80 session, the Legislature overrode the Governor’s veto of two bills and eight items in the budget bill. Before that, the Governor’s veto had been overridden on only two occasions since 1973. Source: State Senate Office of Research.
CEQA Reform Jennifer Hernandez, an attorney in the San Francisco office of Holland and Knight, studied lawsuits filed under CEQA from 2010 and published her findings in a 2018 edition of the Hastings Environmental Law Journal. Among her conclusions, “CEQA lawsuits provide California’s anti-housing holdouts – the political minority of as few as one anonymous party – with a uniquely effective litigation tool to simply say ‘no’ to change. By filing a CEQA lawsuit alleging that the (local) agency approving the project has made a mistake in analyzing one or more of the nearly 100 impact issues that must be addressed after nearly 50 years of evolving regulatory and judicial interpretations of CEQA, this political minority can slow projects or stop them altogether.” In her report, Hernandez found:
- 59% of CEQA lawsuits target housing, public service/infrastructure projects, and agency plans/regulations.
- Most CEQA lawsuits target projects in urban population centers, not rural or remote natural preserve areas.
- Most CEQA lawsuits target infill projects in existing communities, not “greenfield” projects on undeveloped lands.
- Infill housing remains a top target of CEQA lawsuits.
At a 2019 hearing on CEQA, the Planning and Conservation League (PCL), an original sponsor of the implementing CEQA legislation in the early 1970s, agreed that the current CEQA process is “challenged” and believed that the time had come to reform CEQA without reducing the benefits it provides.
Let’s look at the CEQA Bills signed and two the Governor vetoed: Newson signed SB 288 (Wiener D-San Francisco) that will provide a CEQA exemption to sustainable transportation projects — public transportation, bike safety, and pedestrian projects; SB 974 (Hurtado D-Hanger) that exempts from CEQA projects that primarily benefit a small disadvantaged community water system by improving the water system’s water quality, and AB 2731 (Gloria D-San Diego) that authorizes the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to obtain site control to support the redevelopment of the Old Town Center site, including a transit and transportation facilities project, in the City of San Diego before completing the environmental review for those actions.
The Governor vetoed AB 3005 (Rivas D-Hollister) that would have expedited permitting and contracting requirements to facilitate the replacement of the Leroy Anderson Dam and Reservoir (Anderson Dam) in Santa Clara Valley. Newsom said (in part) “the bill sets unrealistic timelines for state entities to expedite deliverables” and “it is problematic to set a precedent for a special process and timeline for one project that may undermine the quality of review by departments. Furthermore, a public works project of this magnitude will have significant environmental impacts, and therefore, review through the full CEQA process is necessary.” Rivas wrote of the veto, “I am deeply disappointed to see AB 3005 returned with a veto from Governor Newsom. My constituents and the greater Silicon Valley region are at risk of a catastrophic flood from a large earthquake due to the current conditions of the Anderson Dam. AB 3005 would have expedited the dam’s seismic retrofit project and was vital to [sic] ensuring the water supply and environmental benefits for the region expeditiously. The safety of my constituents is my highest priority…”
He also vetoed SB 757 (Allen D-Santa Monica) to establish specified procedures for the administrative and judicial review of the environmental review and approvals granted for the Twenty-Eight by ‘28 Initiative pillar projects located in the County of Los Angeles. Newsom said, “While I support efforts to accelerate transit projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce miles traveled, enactment of this bill is contingent on the successful statutory extension of the AB 900 statute by SB 995, which unfortunately failed passage in the Legislature.” This illustrates the danger of linking your bill to one of another author.
Annual Legislation Review on Bills followed by Region 9:
SB 757 (Allen D) Would have established specified procedures for the administrative and judicial review of the environmental review and approvals granted for the Twenty-Eight by ‘28 Initiative pillar projects in the County of Los Angeles. Requires subcontractors at every tier to use a skilled and trained workforce to perform all work on the project or contract unless there is a PLA in place. VETOED. Newsom said: “The provisions of this bill are contingent on the enactment of Senate Bill 995 by Senator Atkins, which did not successfully pass in the Legislature. While I support efforts to accelerate transit projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce miles traveled, enactment of this bill is contingent on the successful statutory extension of the AB 900 statute by SB 995, which unfortunately failed passage in the Legislature.”
SB 974 (Hurtado D) Exempts from CEQA projects that primarily benefit a small disadvantaged community water system by improving the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water supply reliability; by encouraging water conservation; or by providing drinking water service to existing residences within a disadvantaged community where there is evidence of contaminated or depleted drinking water wells. SIGNED.
AB 1561 (Garcia, Cristina D) Requires cities and counties to evaluate the impact of government actions on the cost of housing and associated impacts to minority communities and extends by 18 months, the time frame for the expiration, effectuation, or utilization of a housing entitlement for any housing entitlement that was issued before, and was in effect on, March 4, 2020, and will expire before December 31, 2021. SIGNED
AB 100 (Committee on Budget) establishes the Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Commission as a separate unit within the Office of Emergency Services. The bill would reduce the number of commissioners from 20 to 15 and provide that the Governor appoint 10 of the 15 commissioners, with two commissioners appointed by the Legislature and three commissioners serving as representatives of specified state agencies. The bill would establish the background qualifications for the commissioners. The bill would also expand the number of public entities that provide regular updates to the commission regarding earthquake preparedness and seismic safety activities. SIGNED
AB 2800 (Quirk D) Existing law requires the Natural Resources Agency to update its climate adaptation strategy, known as the Safeguarding California Plan, by July 1, 2017, and every three years after that, by coordinating adaptation activities among lead state agencies in each sector. This bill eliminates the sunset on the Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group. SIGNED
AB 2038 (Committee on Transportation) Transportation omnibus bill. This bill makes several non-substantive, non-controversial changes to provisions of law related to transportation. Specifically, this bill: 1) Makes conforming changes in language related to parking offenses; 2) Removes a reference to an obsolete code section and replaces it with a relevant reference; 3) Deletes an outdated reporting requirement; 4) Repeals provisions related to a two-year pilot program. SIGNED
AB 2285 (Committee on Transportation) Makes various non-controversial changes to transportation-related statutes. SIGNED
AB 3005 (Rivas D) Expedites permitting and contracting requirements to facilitate the replacement of the Leroy Anderson Dam and Reservoir (Anderson Dam). VETOED Newsom said: “Notwithstanding the importance of completing projects at the Anderson Dam, the bill sets unrealistic timelines for state entities to expedite deliverables. This will require staff to be diverted away from other critical projects throughout the state that are going through the CEQA process. Although the Anderson Dam projects are a key element of dam safety, it is problematic to set a precedent for a special process and timeline for one project that may undermine the quality of review by departments. Furthermore, a public works project of this magnitude will have significant environmental impacts, and therefore, review through the full CEQA process is necessary.”
SB 559 (Hurtado D) Would have required the Department of Water Resources to report to the Legislature, no later than March 31, 2021, on federal funding approved by the United States Congress in its 2021 Congressional Budget Resolution and related appropriations bills or otherwise provided to the Friant Water Authority or other government agency to restore the capacity of the Friant-Kern Canal VETOED Newsom said: “This bill focuses on a single piece of conveyance and directs DWR to develop a proposal for the state to help fund this specific project. As we address California’s water needs in the coming months and years, we need to evaluate, develop and identify solutions and funding that provide water supply and conveyance for the entirety of the state, not one project at a time.”
AB 2560 (Quirk D) Requires the State Water Resources Control Board to post on its internet website and distribute through e-mail that it has initiated the development of a Notification Level (NL) or Response Level (RL) for a contaminant and the draft NL or RL along with supporting documentation. SIGNED
New Reports of Interest
Ellen Hanak is the director and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Center, and Jelena Jezdimirovic is a graduate student in agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis. They write in Three lessons for California’s water funding challenges in today’s recession, “COVID-19 and climate extremes brought major challenges to water managers in California, and nimble fiscal solutions are needed.”
U.S. Legislators and Regulators Bring New Attention to PFAS. Late summer this year has brought a surge of activity related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research office reported at an industry conference last week that it evaluated ways to divide PFAS compounds into categories for purposes of risk assessment and risk management. This aligns with the approach supported by industry groups but conflicts with demands from environmental advocates that EPA study each compound separately. Because of the complexity and number of individual PFAS molecules, which number in the thousands, categorization would likely expedite the review process.
California Workforce Development Board released “Putting California on the High Road: A Jobs & Climate Action Plan for 2030,” examines “labor conditions in the industries affected by existing state climate policies,” finds “prevalence of blue-collar jobs in the key sectors that must reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as energy, transportation, and manufacturing,” recommends initiatives, such as High Road Training Partnerships, that uses funds from Prop. 39, SB 1, and other sources to build “industry-led partnerships among employers, workers and unions, local workforce development boards, and community-based organizations.”
California Hydrogen Coalition has distributed a report by California Air Resources Board which outlines fuel cell electric vehicle deployment and hydrogen fuel station network development, finds that there are currently 42 open retail hydrogen fueling stations in California, moving toward the goal of 200 stations by 2025 as outlined in an executive order issued by former Gov. Jerry Brown in January of 2018, recommends “Energy Commission fully leverage all funds available for hydrogen fueling stations.”
Legislative Analyst’s Office released a post on “Impact of COVID-19 on State Transportation Revenues,” finds that transportation maintenance and construction programs “should have sufficient budgetary reserves to sustain them in the near term,” while public transit “is expected to face significant funding reductions in 2020‑21 as a result of major declines in diesel sales tax revenues;” also finds that “economic impacts stemming from the pandemic have created a more favorable bidding environment, reducing the cost for some Caltrans projects in recent months.”
DWR released “Water Year 2020: Summary Information“ in which it finds overall precipitation in the state fell between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020, and was “below average” and while “Northern California was mostly dry, parts of Southern California experienced above-average precipitation;” it also says overall reservoir storage through Sept. 30 is projected to be 93% of average or 21.5 million-acre feet.
Appointments of Interest by the Governor:
To the California Water Commission: Samantha F.V. Arthur, Sacramento, Working Lands Program Director at Audubon CA since 2019; Alexandre Makler, Berkeley, senior vice president, western region, Calpine Corporation since 2014. To the Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists: Michael Hartley, Madera, president of Bedrock Engineering Inc. since 2008; Wilfredo Sanchez, San Francisco, formerly senior architect at Apple Media Products and current ranger department manager at Burning Man.
Welcome to Region 9!
Kenneth H. Rosenfield, P.E., F. ASCE, ENV SP
ASCE Region 9 (California) Director
Chair, Region 9 Board of Governors
I begin, and will end, this article with a heartfelt thank you to all ASCE Members! I have the distinct and humbling honor to have been newly sworn in as your Region 9 Director for a three-year term. I am here to represent you and to lead your Board of Governors; creating a bridge between the Society Board of Direction and all of our respective local entities, the Sections, Branches, Younger Member Groups, Student Groups, Life Member Groups and Institutes. Each October begins the new ASCE fiscal year and we have entered the ’21 Fiscal Year which covers the period of October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. This is going to be a great year for our membership, for advocacy, for collaboration, for education, and for improved communications!
My role as Director follows the great lead of those that came before me and the good stewardship model of this organization. Most recently, Kwame Agyare was our Director and he was fully committed to ASCE as well as being passionate about our Region. Thank you, to Kwame for his leadership! I have been fortunate to also associate with the other previous Region 9 Directors; Jay Higgins, Jennifer Epp and Chuck Spinks, through which I have learned much.
Becoming the Region 9 Director was not envisioned when I became active through my membership with ASCE. I was a student member in college, at the University of California, Irvine, and always maintained my membership after graduation. For many years, I was a “passive” member; I enjoyed attending lunch and learn sessions presented by the Orange County Branch, but did not seek to volunteer. When subsequently asked to volunteer for this Branch as Secretary and Newsletter Editor in 2005, I accepted because we have a great organization with many terrific accomplishments; I wanted to extend our important work of enhancing member value. I was elevated through the seats of the Board, Treasurer, Vice President, and became Branch President in 2008. I found volunteering for our organization personally fulfilling and positive for our profession. I then volunteered to serve the Region and became the Chair of the Transportation and Development Committee from 2010 to 2015. During this time, I was selected to become a presidential officer in the Los Angeles Section and held the position of Section President in 2014. I then was selected to be a Region 9 Governor At-large for a three-year term beginning in late 2015. At the completion of that term, I became the Chair of the Region’s Government Relations Committee and, this past year, held the position of Region 9 Vice-Chair.
While serving various positions at the Branch, Section and Region, I became educated and trained on advocacy including its importance to civil engineering, our profession and infrastructure. ASCE does and can advocate on positions of public policy and infrastructure investment. Our organization provides excellent training for anyone interested in this effort. In fact, every member should become an advocate for these causes. You can start by simply becoming a Key Contact at ASCE.org/keycontacts.
I volunteered for a Society level committee becoming a member of the State-Government Relations Committee (SGR) with other volunteers from around the Country for a four-year period. I have participated in multiple Washington DC fly-ins, Sacramento fly-ins, became an Advocacy Captain and was selected to move from the SGR to the Society level Public Policy Committee. I recently completed the year at the position of Chair of the Public Policy Committee, through which, on a rotating three-year return cycle, all 166 ASCE Policy Statement are reviewed and updated. My experience as a volunteer with ASCE has been very satisfying because enhancing our profession is not only good for civil engineering but good for the public health, safety and welfare. I urge you to join in this experience, do not wait for someone to ask you to fill a position. Locate your local officers and offer to volunteer in any way needed. You will not regret it!
In the coming months, your Region 9 Board will be updating our Strategic Plan to align it with the ASCE mission, vision and goals. Fundamentally, our purpose is to help you get the most out of your ASCE membership. We will work to improve communications, update our digital presence, foster the growth and influence of our profession and advocate for sustainable and resilient infrastructure. As we complete the planning efforts, I will provide you with a progress report.
To help achieve the Region’s goals, the Region has, in addition to the Director, six Governors - one for each of the Region’s four Sections, and two At-Large Governors. Your Governors and their roles on the Board are as follows:
- Elias Karam (Vice-Chair), Governor from the Sacramento Section
- Rune Storesund (External Secretary), Governor from the San Francisco Section
- Tapas Dutta, Governor from the Los Angeles Section
- Jeff Cooper (Treasurer), Governor from the San Diego Section
- MJ Hashimi (Internal Secretary), Governor-at-Large (Los Angeles Section)
- Christine Rice, Governor-at-Large (Los Angeles Section)
One of the responsibilities of our Governors is to visit with the Sections, Branches, Younger Member Groups, Student Chapters, Institute Chapters, and Life Member Groups to gain an understanding of their needs and challenges. The Region is happy to help in any way we can. We are your link to the Society's Board of Direction and can bring to the attention of the Society Board any issues that may require action. For your Governors to learn more about your successes, needs, and challenges, please invite a Governor to your next event. The Governors contact can be found on the Region 9 website, http://regions.asce.org/region9. You are also welcome to contact me to attend an event, to address any questions, or to convey an idea you believe will benefit the members in your local organization. My direct contact information is below. The Region 9 Governors and I would like the opportunity to assist you in making your organization and activities a success.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted us all at a professional and personal level. I trust and hope that you are all well and will remain so until this is under control. The pandemic has not seemed to reduce our respective workloads, however, as I speak with my peers, I am told everyone is as busy as ever. We have adjusted to working remotely or in staggered shifts in the office environment while adopting new hygiene standards. We are a remarkable and resilient group of professionals that can tackle any problem. Congratulations to everyone for making the adjustment to this unprecedented situation!
The pandemic did have an impact on Region 9 operations in that our 14th annual in-person California Infrastructure Symposium (CAIS), jointly held with the Sacramento Section, had to be cancelled in March and rescheduled as a virtual event that was held on September 25. The annual Awards Event, typically held in conjunction with the CAIS, was also changed to a virtual event and held on the afternoon of September 24. The Awards Event was well received, all award winners received their plaques along with “five minutes of fame” as a part of the presentations. Many thanks to Awards Chair Adam Killinger, Kwame Agyare, Anne Ettley and all Awards Committee members for this successful event!
The planning efforts for the CAIS, led by Mike Konieczki, past Sacramento Section President, were remarkable and outstanding. Thanks to Darren Mack, Tapas Dutta, Jafar Faghih, Anne Ettley, Richard Markuson, Kwame Agyare and many others for the outstanding efforts to shift the format of this event and make it a success. Well over 200 ASCE members and students participated in the all-day symposium which presented a great lineup of keynote speakers, transportation track speakers and water track speakers. Our sponsors stayed committed to the event and many thanks to them, as well! Please watch for announcements as planning is now underway for the 15th annual CAIS to be held jointly with the Los Angeles Section in 2021.
ASCE is currently in our membership renewal period. Membership is a great value for all of the services that are provided with your annual fee. Don’t forget to also support your local Section and Institutes through membership. ASCE is offering a membership referral program with rewards for facilitating new member sign ups. The program is called the “Member get a Member” drive. Refer nonmembers and earn gift cards for anyone that signs up. To access this program, go to ASCE.org/mgam. Most importantly, now is the time to renew your membership. I have done so, please join me today.
My priorities for my term include enhancing our membership numbers. We are all stronger as a team and a voice for civil engineering with more members. This fosters betterments for the profession and all civil engineers. In Region 9, we have over 18,000 members which represents over 10% of all of the ASCE members. Yet, many civil engineers in California are not members of ASCE. ASCE is the preeminent professional civil engineering organization and works very hard for you to protect our profession, repel threats to licensure, push legislatures for investments in infrastructure and addresses many public policy issues of importance for the public health, safety and welfare. We hold paramount our Code of Ethics, we invest in ourselves through educational offerings, we offer many technical publications and self-learning opportunities through our Institutes, we offer leadership training, leadership opportunities and we offer comradery and friendship amongst our peers. I intend to reach out to all civil engineers in California and implore them to join this great organization. I ask you to join me in this effort.
I am very thrilled to be representing you and look forward to the near future when we can meet again face to face. I wish you all the best, thank you, again, for your support in my term as Director. Feel free to reach out to me for any needs at KennethRosenfield.ASCE@gmail.com or call me on my mobile phone at (949) 322-8560.
2020 Region 9 Awards Recognition Event
Adam Killinger, P.E., G.E., M. ASCE
Awards Committee Chair
What a crazy year… We find ourselves increasingly relying on electronic connectivity as we work through our personal and professional lives. As engineers, we are frequently evaluating the cost/benefit ratio of our situation. Here are some thoughts on our newfound online lifestyles.
• The virtual experience lacks personal connection.
• The people that need it most cannot seem to figure out the mute function during a zoom meeting.
• Awkward overlapping virtual face-to-face small talk while the group leader is running 10 minutes late.
• Coffee and unconsciousness compete for brain control during that first morning meeting you woke up for only 10 minutes earlier.
• The commute is much better.
• More time with the family.
• Blaming connectivity, you can escape that TPS report meeting your boss has been driveling on about.
• And pants are now optional!
As all of us have had to endure the inconvenience of COVID (tragically for some it has been much more than just an inconvenience), ASCE Region 9 was forced to postpone and ultimately move to a virtual format for this year’s awards event. Excepting for a few expected technological hiccups along the way, this year’s event proved worthwhile and – most importantly – provided the deserved recognition of many civil engineers and projects in the state of California.
This year Region 9 recognized 13 individuals for their work in advancing our profession and 22 outstanding projects. The top award for Project of the Year went to I-5/Genessee Avenue Interchange Reconstruction Project located in San Diego, California. The Project owner is Caltrans District 11 with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. as the Engineer of Record. This project is a premier project in the San Diego Region that incorporated freeway, active transportation, and complete street elements to improve mobility for all users in an employment dense community. Caltrans, the City of San Diego, SANDAG, and UC San Diego partnered to construct the $117 million project which features a new multi-modal interchange, a 1.5 mile class I multi-use path with a pedestrian/bicycle overcrossing, new sidewalks, ramp improvements, and bike and auxiliary lanes.
Please check the Region 9 website, http://regions.asce.org/region9/awards, for a complete rundown on award recipients, and please consider nominating one of your projects and individuals for recognition through your Section. All winners in eligible categories at the Section level are automatically rolled up to Region 9 to be considered for award recognition. We look forward to seeing you again next year!
2020 California Infrastructure Symposium
Michael Konieczki, PE, D.WRE, M.ASCE
2020 California Infrastructure Symposium Chair
Sacramento Section Past-President
Fellow ASCE Members and Infrastructure Enthusiasts, We did it! On September 25th, the 2020 California Infrastructure Symposium (CAIS) was held with over 200 Engineers, Policy Makers, Academics, and Students in virtual attendance. Thanks to all of you that registered for the event. I hope you enjoyed the amazing presentations from our speakers on this year’s theme: Driving the Economy Forward with Infrastructure.
My personal, unending gratitude to the entire Symposium Committee. Thanks to their tireless efforts in the COVID-19 chaos of this year, we were able to pivot from our planned in-person event in April, to an extremely successful virtual event in 6 short months. It took a huge amount of volunteer hours to coordinate with speakers, develop procedures, and modify format to a pull this all off.
Another key to the 2020 CAIS’s success was the tremendous generosity and understanding of our sponsors. The dedication to ASCE and continued commitment to the 2020 CAIS given the required change in “venue” are extremely commendable. Thank you to all ours sponsors:
A special thanks to Anthony Hernandez of HDR, Anne Lynch of GHD, and Tino Maestas of Odin Construction for volunteering their time and moderating our sessions. These three had the hardest jobs of the day; introducing our speakers and keeping the sessions running on time. Thanks again for the great work.
I trust that each of you that attended the Symposium this year found it well worth it. I hope you plan on attending the 2021 CAIS when it is co-hosted by Region 9 and Los Angeles Section. I for one will be there.
NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN FOR THE FOLLOWING POSITION:
ONE (1) REGION GOVERNOR FROM THE SAN DIEGO SECTION
AND SOCIETY PRESIDENT-ELECT
Sacramento Section Update
Supporting Student Scholarships During the Pandemic
Megan LeRoy, PE
President, Sacramento Section
On a smoky and warm morning, in the beginning of October, volunteers from ASCE Sacramento Section and Odin Construction set up for the annual Golze Golf Tournament at The Ridge Golf Course in Auburn California. In the midst of the pandemic and wildfires, tournament attendees donned face coverings and signed waivers acknowledging the health risks posed by COVID-19. In addition to the standard check-in procedures, hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks were available to participants for their use. The goodie bags also included some sanitizing wipes. Neither of these items took away from the tournament festivities nor the attendees continued support of the student scholarship fund. The tournament was shorter this year as there was no indoor banquet after the day of golf. Fewer golfers were in attendance compared to last year’s tournament but attendees seemed enthusiastic to spend the day away from their computers supporting student scholarships. Many companies who chose not to send golfers to the tournament still contributed financially to the event’s success.
The tournament is organized and run by Louay Owaidat with Odin Construction Solutions, Denise Dutra Maloney with Maloney Construction, and Brad Quon with Construction Testing Services. Under their outreach and direction, the tournament was extremely successful. I had the opportunity to sell raffle tickets with Denise Dutra Maloney. She was amazing at convincing golfers to purchase raffle tickets for the raffle prizes. Countless hours behind the scenes went into this successful event. Many tournament sponsors and attendees had attended the event in previous years. There were many familiar faces at check-in though recognizing them was more challenging with face coverings.
This tournament supports the Alfred R. Golze Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to college students in the Sacramento Section. Scholarship recipients are ASCE student chapter members attending California State University, Chico; California State University, Sacramento; University of California, Davis; and University of the Pacific. Last year, the event raised over $100,000 and supported 21 student scholarships. This year, the tournament attendees committed $115,000 in scholarship funds. Louay, Denise, Brad, and the Alfred R. Golze Committee continue to support students who have shown academic achievement and are active members of their ASCE Student Chapter. Mark your calendars for the first Thursday of October 2021 for our 15th annual golf event benefiting student scholarships. Our goal is to raise $150,000 next year!
By Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate
Recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled California’s second attempt at a comprehensive plan to reopen. Gone is the county “monitoring list” system, which has been criticized as confusing and fragmented. In its place is a framework that sorts each of the state’s 58 counties into a tier, which will determine how much businesses are restricted.
August also saw the end of the strangest Legislative session in my more than 30 years of advocacy. We saw the Legislature approve a broad authority for Coronavirus response in March – and then go on recess through July. Then, despite Leadership directives that the remaining focus be on Coronavirus, homelessness, and disaster response, we witnessed hours of floor debate on a variety of issues that didn’t fit into any of those three areas.
Legislation. Update on bills that went to Governor (or died).
AB 310 (Santiago D-Los Angeles) would have established the Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank Commission DEAD.
AB 2285 (Committee on Transportation) Transportation. Makes various non-controversial changes to transportation-related statutes. ENROLLED
AB 2560 (Quirk D-Hayward) Requires the State Water Resources Control Board to post on its internet website and distribute through e-mail that it has initiated the development of a Notification Level (NL) or Response Level (RL) for a contaminant and the draft NL or RL along with supporting documentation. ENROLLED
AB 2800 (Quirk D-Hayward) Eliminates the sunset on the Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group. Senate Natural Resources and Wildlife Committee. ENROLLED ASCE position: Support
AB 2932 (O’Donnell D-Long Beach) Allows the City of Long Beach to use the design-build contracting process to award contracts for curb ramps that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. ENROLLED.
AB 3005 (Rivas, Robert D-Hollister) Expedites permitting and contracting requirements in order to facilitate the replacement of the Leroy Anderson Dam and Reservoir (Anderson Dam). ENROLLED
SB 414 (Caballero D- Salinas) would have created the Small System Water Authority Act of 2019 and state legislative findings and declarations relating to authorizing the creation of small system water authorities that will have powers to absorb, improve, and competently operate noncompliant public water systems. DEAD
SB 559 (Hurtado D-Sanger) requires DWR to report to the Legislature, no later than March 31, 2021, on federal funding approved by the United States Congress in its 2021 Congressional Budget Resolution and related appropriations bills or otherwise provided to the Friant Water Authority or other government agency to restore the capacity of the Friant-Kern Canal. ENROLLED
SB 758 (Portantino- La Cañada Flintridge) would have extended the deadline for hospital buildings to be brought into substantial compliance with seismic standards until January 1, 2032, and require the office to revise its regulations to reflect the revision of the deadline as emergency regulations. DEAD
SB 55 (Jackson D-Santa Barbara) until January 1, 2025, would exempt from the requirements of CEQA emergency shelters or supportive housing projects meeting certain requirements. ENROLLED
SB 288 (Wiener D-San Francisco) would provide a CEQA exemption to sustainable transportation projects — public transportation, bike safety, and pedestrian projects. ENROLLED
SB 757 (Allen- Santa Monica) establish specified procedures for the administrative and judicial review of the environmental review and approvals granted for the Twenty-Eight by ’28 Initiative pillar projects located in the County of Los Angeles. ENROLLED
SB 974 (Hurtado D-Sanger) Exempts from CEQA projects that primarily benefit a small disadvantaged community water system by improving the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water supply reliability; by encouraging water conservation; or by providing drinking water service to existing residences within a disadvantaged community where there is evidence of contaminated or depleted drinking water wells. ENROLLED
SB 995 (Atkins D-San Diego) Extends for four years the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (AB 900) until 2025; and makes housing projects that meet certain requirements, including specified affordable housing requirements, eligible for certification under the Act. DEAD
New Reports of Interest
The Legislative Analyst’s Office released “Improving California’s Response to the Environmental and Safety Hazards Caused by Abandoned Mines,” it finds that cost of remediating “an estimated 47,000 abandoned mines” in California “is likely to be in the billions of dollars,” while funds are “limited” and “spread across multiple agencies,” recommends legislature create a single state agency responsible for prioritizing cleanup projects and a new funding stream that “could be supported by state and federal dollars.”
The AB 1755 Partner Agency team, led by the Department of Water Resources, released an updated AB 1755 Implementation Journal, which details the “implementation strategy and accomplishments to date” for AB 1755, the Open and Transparent Water Data Act, which was signed into law in 2016 and allowed for the creation of a statewide integrated water data platform that would integrate existing water and ecological data information. Its most recent update includes “numerous links to water and ecological data resources,” including a user interface survey that “seeks input to help ongoing implementation efforts.”
The Legislative Analyst’s Office released “What Threat Does Sea-Level Rise Pose to California?,” it found “Climate scientists have developed a consensus that one of the effects of a warming planet is that global sea levels will rise,” forecasts “between $8 billion and $10 billions of existing property in California is likely to be underwater by 2050, with an additional $6 billion to $10 billion at risk during high tides,” also says, “higher ocean water levels could force up the water levels underneath the ground as well, leading to flooding, saltwater intrusion into fresh groundwater supplies and toxic contamination by carrying hazardous materials to the surface.”
The Public Policy Institute of California has released its report, “Making the Most of Water for the Environment: A Functional Flows Approach for California’s Rivers,” recommends making policy decisions that follow “components of a river’s flow that sustain the biological, chemical, and physical processes upon which native freshwater species depend,” without mandating “restoration of natural flows or the maintenance of historical ecosystem conditions,” but rather focusing on “preserving key functions — such as sediment movement, water quality maintenance, and environmental cues for species migration and reproduction — that maintain ecosystem health.”
Appointments of Interest
To the California Transportation Commission: Michele Martinez, 40, Santa Ana, Democrat, founder and consultant at Emergent P4 Advisors since 2020.
To the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors: Nancy Miller, Sacramento, partner at Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP since 2015; Lynn Schenk (reappointed), San Diego, lawyer in private practice and chief of staff to Gov. Gray Davis from 1999 to 2004; Anthony Williams, Orange, legislative affairs secretary in the Office of Gov. Gavin Newsom since 2019.
To the Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists: Rossana D’Antonio, Malibu, deputy director at the Los Angeles County Public Works Dept. since 2016.
By Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate
Governor Gavin Newsom released a final version of his Water Resilience Portfolio. The Administration’s blueprint is intended to ensure California can cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, over-reliance on groundwater and other challenges. The portfolio outlines 142 state actions to help build a climate-resilient water system in the face of climate change. The actions tie directly to Administration efforts to carry out recent laws regarding safe and affordable drinking water, groundwater sustainability and water-use efficiency. State agencies are expected to track and share progress on portfolio implementation with an annual report and stakeholder gathering. For more information, visit www.waterresilience.ca.gov.
Legislation. Update on bills that are moving.
AB 310 (Santiago D-Los Angeles) [Gut and amend] Would, among other things, establish the Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank Commission and place the I-Bank under the supervision of the commission. The bill would require that the commission be comprised of the Governor, the Treasurer, the Controller, or their designees. The bill would require the commission to appoint members of the bank board, as specified. The bill would eliminate the I-Bank Fund spending limit with respect to educational facilities, environmental mitigation measures, and parks and recreational facilities. Senate Governance and Finance Committee
AB 2285 (Committee on Transportation) Transportation. Makes various non-controversial changes to transportation-related statutes. Specifically, this bill: 1) Extends the requirement for a person driving a vehicle to slow down and move over for certain stationary vehicles displaying flashing amber or emergency lights on the freeway to also apply on local streets and roads; 2) Extends the pilot program for alternative license plates and vehicle registrations issued by the DMV until January 1, 2023; 3) Continuously appropriates interest earnings derived from revenues deposited in the RMRA to Caltrans for maintenance of the state highway system or purposes of the SHOPP; 4)Extends by one year, until January 1, 2022, the requirement that CARB dedicates 20% of California Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program (Clean Truck Program) to support early commercial deployment of existing zero- and near-zero-emission heavy-duty trucks. Senate Transportation Committee
AB 2800 (Quirk D-Hayward) Climate change: infrastructure planning. Existing law requires the Natural Resources Agency to update its climate adaptation strategy, known as the Safeguarding California Plan by July 1, 2017, and every three years after that, by coordinating adaptation activities among lead state agencies in each sector. This bill eliminates the sunset on the Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group. Senate Natural Resources and Wildlife Committee. ASCE position: Support
AB 2932 (O’Donnell D-Long Beach) Allows the City of Long Beach to use the design-build contracting process to award contracts for curb ramps that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Senate Consent Calendar.
AB 3005 (Rivas, Robert D-Hollister) Expedites permitting and contracting requirements in order to facilitate the replacement of the Leroy Anderson Dam and Reservoir (Anderson Dam). Senate Natural Resources and Wildlife Committee
SB 995 (Atkins D-San Diego) Extends for four years the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (AB 900) until 2025; and makes housing projects that meet certain requirements, including specified affordable housing requirements, eligible for certification under the Act. Assembly Natural Resources
CEQA Statutory Exemptions
Three bills were “gutted and amended” to create new CEQA statutory exemptions.
SB 55 (Jackson D-Santa Barbara) until January 1, 2025, would exempt from the requirements of CEQA emergency shelters or supportive housing projects meeting certain requirements. The bill would require an agency that determines that an emergency shelter or supportive housing project is exempt from CEQA pursuant to these provisions to file a notice of exemption with the Office of Planning and Research.
SB 974 (Hurtado D-Sanger) Exempts from CEQA projects that primarily benefit a small disadvantaged community water system by improving the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water supply reliability; by encouraging water conservation; or by providing drinking water service to existing residences within a disadvantaged community where there is evidence of contaminated or depleted drinking water wells.
New Reports of Interest
CALPIRG Education Fund released an updated “interactive map” of results reported by schools from tests of lead found in their drinking fountains, finds “more than 2,100 school drinking fountains tested positive for lead at 1,300 schools in the state over the past three years,” also finds “nearly 18 percent of all California schools required to test have still not reported results.”
The California Transit Assn. has released “Transit is Essential: Recommendations for the Future of Transit,” finds transit agencies “are facing and existential threat that jeopardizes the economic, social and physical well-being of the communities in which they operate,” recommendations include: “direct riders to wear face coverings; support installation of protective barriers for operators where feasible… provide emergency funding to transit agencies.”
Legislative Analyst’s Office has released its “Supplemental Report of the 2020-21 Budget Act,” which outlines “statements of legislative intent that were adopted during deliberations on the 2020-21 budget package,” including California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s “Prison Infrastructure Improvement Strategy,” in which by January 10, 2022, the department “shall submit to the budget committees of each house and the Legislative Analyst’s Office a report containing an assessment of all special repair/deferred maintenance projects estimated to cost over $5 million and all major capital outlay projects that are likely to be needed over the next ten years or more.”
Appointments of Interest
To North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board: Shaunna McCovey, McKinleyville, director of natural resources and governmental affairs for Resighini Rancheria since 2020.
Outgoing Region Governor’s Perspective
By Yazdan T. Emrani, P.E., M.ASCE
ASCE Region 9 Governor from the Los Angeles Section
This will be my last official communique as the outgoing Region 9 Governor from the Los Angeles Section. It has been an honor and privilege serving members of ASCE Region 9 and especially the Los Angeles Section, and all I can say is wow, how time flies!
Region 9 has a very strong Board consisting of Governors representing the four sections of Region 9, which include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Sacramento, as well as two At-Large Governors and a Director. Additionally, serving on the Board are the presidents of the four sections and chairs of the various Region 9 committees that provide invaluable updates and input.
I was fortunate to have served in various roles during my tenure on the Region 9 Board including serving as the Vice Chair of the board last year. Additionally, my role has included serving as the Chair of the Infrastructure Policy Committee (IPC). I have also served as the Chair of the Nominating Committee, where I am happy to report that we were able to nominate a very good candidate, Tapas Dutta, who was recently voted in by the membership, and whom will be replacing me as the incoming Los Angeles Section Governor, starting on October 1, 2020. I wish Tapas the best and am confident that he will do a great job.
In reflecting on my ASCE service, although I had been involved with ASCE since college, this involvement became much more pronounced after I moved from Texas to California over 20 years ago. I found my local Orange County Branch to be a vibrant and active community and decided to transition into a much more active role; first through my involvement with the Orange County Infrastructure Report Card and then joining the Orange County Branch Board and eventually becoming the President of the Branch in 2007.
My first involvement with Region 9, however, came in January 2006, when I was asked by the great Carl Blum, the first Director of the newly formed Region 9 Board, to take on the role of Co-Chair for a first ever state-wide infrastructure report card. This was a daunting task and something that had never been done before in California. There had been a handful of other statewide report cards done at that time, but California is unique and we wanted to make sure that our final product is comprehensive, accurate and can withstand any arrows that are thrown at it. To add to the pressure, earlier, in May of that year, California lawmakers approved a series of bills that would place a record $42 billion public works spending plan before voters in November. Our goal was to educate the voters on the condition of the infrastructure in California in a credible, comprehensive, and defendable manner, so they could have all the facts at their disposal to help with their voting decision.
I appreciated the confidence placed in me by Carl, and together with my other Co-Chair, Mike Kincaid, was able to put together a great team of almost 100 volunteers to get this done and release the first ever California Infrastructure Report Card (CAIRC) in September 2006. The report card generated a lot of publicity on the condition of the infrastructure in our state, especially since the grades were not what people expected. The report card release was a great experience but it was made much sweeter a few weeks later, when California voters approved the infrastructure bond package.
My involvement with Region 9 continued as the Co-Chair of the Infrastructure Report Card Committee and in 2012 Mike Kincaid and I were able to bring a lot of the veterans of the original CAIRC back plus we added new volunteers to update the 2006 CAIRC. The 2012 update of the CAIRC was released in September 2012, almost six years to the date of the original report card. I continued my service on the Region 9 Board as the President of the Los Angeles Section in 2014 and eventually was elected to my current position in 2017.
Speaking of the Region 9 Board, we have accomplished a lot over the last three years. These have included releasing the 2019 California Infrastructure Report Card, which was an update to the 2012 CAIRC, thanks to the efforts of John Hogan and Tony Akel, and their great team of volunteers. We hosted the annual Legislative Day events at the Capitol Mall in Sacramento. The Region Board also continued holding its annual main event, the California Infrastructure Symposium & Region 9 Awards Dinner, each year, partnering with the local Sections including San Francisco in 2018, and San Diego in 2019. Our 2020 event was scheduled to be held in Sacramento earlier this year, however, it had to be postponed unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. But fear not; where there is a will, there is a way, and as engineers we always find a solution to any challenge. In this case, we will be holding a virtual symposium on September 25, 2020. The 2020 Symposium Chair, Mike Konieczki and the entire Symposium Committee have done a great job putting together an excellent program. This year’s symposium is packed with great speakers from across the state and promises to be a very informative program that you can participate in, from the comfort of your own office or home!
Region 9 has also continued to advocate for infrastructure related bills that are of interest and value to our membership and to that end the Government Relations Committee has continued to do a great job leading this charge. I would like to thank Richard Markuson of Pacific Advocacy Group, the Region Board’s legislative advocate. Richard has done a great job in his legislative liaison work, outreach, and reports. One of the great benefits of serving on the Region 9 Board is that you get to meet a lot of different ASCE members from across the state. I have especially enjoyed meeting a lot of students and YMF members over these past few years and I am very excited to see the continued level of enthusiasm and involvement across Region 9.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity and thank my fellow Governors and Board members for their dedicated service, friendship and comradery. There are couple of folks that I would like to specifically thank; first being Kwame Agyare, our outgoing Director, for his leadership, especially in the active role he took on the ASCE National Board of Direction policies and initiatives. Next would be Anne Ettley, our Region 9 coordinator extraordinaire! She has been great at making sure we are all on task with all things Region 9 and to top it off, she has spoiled us with her fantastic cupcake baking skills! Last but not least, I would like to welcome our incoming Director, Kenneth Rosenfield who will be taking office on October 1st. I have no doubts that Ken will do a great job and will continue the tradition of excellent leadership for Region 9.
In closing, although my role as Region 9 Governor is ending, my involvement will not. I am looking forward to continuing my service to Region 9 as the Chair of the IPC and to help promote Region 9’s message on policy issues especially in support of the need for continued infrastructure investment. If you would like to help or volunteer with any of our efforts, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Government Relations Committee Update
ASCE Region 9
Kenneth H. Rosenfield, P.E., F.ASCE
Chair, ASCE Region 9 Government Relations Committee
The Government Relations Committee (GRC) of Region 9 exists to monitor State legislative activity emanating from Sacramento with an interest in evaluating and acting upon legislation that will impact our profession, infrastructure, regulatory controls and other State initiatives. The GRC is also actively engaged in the annual ASCE advocacy day in Sacramento.
The legislative year begins each January and this year started true to typical form in that many legislative bills of interest were initiated. These bills ranged from efforts to enhance building seismic preparation requirements, setting up some additional infrastructure funding through bonds, and clarification of the definition of surveying, among many others. The GRC held monthly teleconference meetings with interested committee members and reviewed and monitored legislation in January, February and March, recommending positions on legislation for Board approval. During this time, however, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the State and the legislature adjourned without taking action on any but a few emergency legislative bills. While both houses of the Legislature held routine hearings early in March, it became apparent by the third week of that month that business as usual was no longer “business as usual.” As of March 20th, both houses recognized that pursuant to the Governor’s March 4th proclamation of a state-wide emergency related to Covid-19, and his subsequent orders to prohibit large public meetings, there was an urgent need to approve, and the Legislature passed, an emergency $1.1 billion spending authorization for Covid-19 response. The legislature then recessed their sessions.
By mid-May, with the June 15th State constitutional requirement to pass a budget in mind, the Assembly briefly returned to sessions to hold budget hearings. In large part, this was in response to the Governor’s “May budget revision” that called for significant cuts to state spending based upon projections of major reductions in state revenue, exacerbated by the decision to delay most April 15th tax payments until July. The Senate also returned to sessions and both legislative houses eventually passed a perfunctory budget by the deadline that was “balanced” upon a number of assumptions of Federal support and drawdowns of the State’s reserve funds. Later in June, the Assembly passed a handful of budget cleanups and headed back home until the middle of July, the Senate soon followed suit. The legislative houses returned to sessions in Sacramento as of July 27th. No significant legislation on infrastructure or civil engineering is expected to move forward by the legislative deadline of August 31st. The Governor has until September 30th to approve or veto legislation. The GRC, comprising about a dozen active members, continued to meet monthly and have diligently volunteered their time to assist the process of legislation review. I thank them for their commitments and efforts.
Our signature advocacy event is our Sacramento fly-in, our advocacy day. This is typically held during the second week of May. The committee is responsible for coordinating the annual Region 9 Legislative Fly-In and the follow up local visits, which are intended to encourage an ongoing dialogue between ASCE members and their legislators on issues of importance to ASCE. This year, following a year in the planning and coordination, we were scheduled to have a joint advocacy day with members of ACEC and members of APWA. This collaborative effort was conceived and planned to break down barriers between our groups and to strengthen the impact engineers would have when calling upon their elected officials to make infrastructure funding and other issues a priority. ACEC was kind enough to spend significant staff time to set up the event for the benefit of all. Unfortunately, this event had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. We will seek to set up this important event again as soon as it is safe to do so and will also plan to open it up to participation by other like-minded professional organizations.
In the meantime, in the short term, as face to face visits are not recommended for health reasons, it is important for all of us to become virtual advocates for our profession and infrastructure. I recommend that you maintain contact with your elected officials through their websites and any virtual town halls they may hold. And, very importantly, I recommend you become a key contact of ASCE. This helps the Society to advocate at the Federal level and it is simple to do. Volunteer to become a Key Contact at https://www.asce.org/keycontacts/
The ASCE Region 9 Government Relations Committee actively monitors and recommends positions on statewide legislative and regulatory proposals that affect civil engineers and support the standing policies of ASCE. If you would like to learn more about the activities of the Region 9 Government Relations Committee or join this committee, please contact me at KRosenfield@lagunahillsca.gov.
By Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate
May saw the return of committee hearings in the State Capitol – but in an entirely new format. Eschewing the usual setting in multiple hearing rooms, the Legislature met exclusively in 4202 and 4203 and on the floor of the two houses. While some in-person witnesses were accommodated – most testifying occurred via telephone.
Assemblyman Jim Frazier, chair of Assembly Transportation Committee, responded to the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s 2020 Business Plan — “Once again, it seems the High-Speed Rail Authority has released in the 2020 Draft Business Plan a proposal for its future that it can’t afford and that won’t deliver what is promised. Every version of the Business Plan has increased costs and reduced scope and no longer resembles the vision promised in the 2008 ballot measure. Despite efforts by myself and some of my colleagues, the Authority continues to propose electrifying a segment of a train line in the Central Valley that will add billions of dollars to the project and provide little or no benefit. I believe there is a way to rescue this project from failure, but I think it requires honest evaluation and true cost-benefit analysis, neither of which the Authority has ever been able to provide. Every iteration of the business plan comes with new promises without results. It is going to take a lot of explanation for me to believe that, this time, the Authority’s cost and ridership estimates are legitimate and this is something the state should continue to invest in.”
AB 2038 (Committee on Transportation) Transportation: omnibus bill. Transportation omnibus bill. This bill makes several non-substantive, non-controversial changes to provisions of law related to transportation. Specifically, this bill: 1) Makes conforming changes in language related to parking offenses; 2) Removes a reference to an obsolete code section and replaces it with a relevant reference; 3) Deletes an obsolete reporting requirement; 4) Repeals provisions related to a two-year pilot program. Approved by Assembly Transportation. (Y:15 N:0 A:0)
AB 2285 (Committee on Transportation) Transportation. Makes various non-controversial changes to transportation-related statutes. Specifically, this bill: 1) Extends the requirement for a person driving a vehicle to slow down and move over for certain stationary vehicles displaying flashing amber or emergency lights on the freeway to also apply on local streets and roads; 2) Extends the pilot program for alternative license plates and vehicle registrations issued by the DMV until January 1, 2023; 3) Continuously appropriates interest earnings derived from revenues deposited in the RMRA to Caltrans for maintenance of the state highway system or purposes of the SHOPP; 4)Extends by one year, until January 1, 2022, the requirement that CARB dedicates 20% of California Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program (Clean Truck Program) to support early commercial deployment of existing zero- and near-zero-emission heavy-duty trucks. Approved by Assembly Transportation. (Y:15 N:0 A:0) (P)
AB 2560 (Quirk D) Water quality: notification and response levels: procedures. Requires the State Water Resources Control Board to post on its internet website and distribute through e-mail that it has initiated the development of a Notification Level (NL) or Response Level (RL) for a contaminant and the draft NL or RL along with supporting documentation. Approved by Assembly E.S. & T.M. (Y:9 N:0 A:0)
AB 2800 (Quirk D) Climate change: infrastructure planning. Existing law requires the Natural Resources Agency to update its climate adaptation strategy, known as the Safeguarding California Plan by July 1, 2017, and every three years after that, by coordinating adaptation activities among lead state agencies in each sector. This bill eliminates the sunset on the Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group. Approved by Assembly Natural Resources Committee (Y:8 N:3 A:0) ASCE position: Support
AB 3213 (Rivas, Luz D) High-Speed Rail Authority: high-speed rail service: priorities. This bill would require the High-Speed Rail Authority, in directing the development and implementation of intercity high-speed rail service, to prioritize projects based on specified criteria. Approved by Assembly Transportation Committee (Y:15 N:0 A:0)
AB 3256 (Garcia, Eduardo D) Economic Recovery, Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2020. Proposes the Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Climate Resilience, Drought Preparation and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2020 (Bond), subject to voter approval in the November 3, 2020, statewide general election. This bill proposes the issuance of $6.98 billion in general obligation bonds to implement its provisions. Approved by Assembly Natural Resources Committee (Y:7 N:1 A:3)
AB 3278 (Patterson R) High-Speed Rail Authority: passenger train service. Clarifies that the prohibition contained in Proposition 1A of 2008 on operating subsidies for passenger train service applies to high-speed train service using the high-speed train system owned by the CHSRA, regardless of whether the service is provided directly by HSRA or provided by a third party under a lease agreement with HSRA. Approved by Assembly Transportation Committee (Y:12 N:1 A:2)
SB 795 (Beall D) Economic development: housing: workforce development: climate change infrastructure. This bill allocates $10 billion over five years to several existing housing, homelessness, and pre-apprenticeship programs, as well as creating two new infrastructure financing programs at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) Approved by Senate Housing Committee (Y:8 N:2 A:1)
SB 974 (Hurtado D) California Environmental Quality Act: small disadvantaged community water system: exemption. Exempts from CEQA projects that primarily benefit a small disadvantaged community water system by improving the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water supply reliability; by encouraging water conservation; or by providing drinking water service to existing residences within a disadvantaged community where there is evidence of contaminated or depleted drinking water wells. Approved by Senate EQ Committee (Y:6 N:0 A:1)
SB 1238 (Hueso D) Department of Transportation: highways and roads: recycled plastics study and specifications. This bill requires Caltrans to conduct a study to assess the feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and life-cycle environmental benefits of including recycled plastics in asphalt used as paving materials, and, depending on the findings, authorizes Caltrans to develop specifications for the use of recycled plastics in asphalt. Approved by Senate Transportation Committee (Y:12 N:0 A:2)
New Reports of Interest
Caltrans released a report on the Business Logo Sign Program, that evaluates the program, which was established in 1978 to allow businesses to place their logos on freeway signs in rural areas, “defined as populations of less than 5000.” Once the population surpasses 10,000, Caltrans replaces business logos with generic signs unless the logos were placed before January 1, 2003, or were placed through legislation. The report finds there are 38 areas in the state with populations over 10,000 where logos for 236 businesses are on freeway signs and two of those areas, one along Hwy. 65 in Lincoln and the other along Hwy. 80 in Truckee, were established by legislative exemption. The report recommends allowing the areas established through legislation to sunset on January 21, 2021, and to not expand the program to other areas.
The Legislative Analyst released “The 2020-21 Budget: California’s Spring Fiscal Outlook,” that presents “two potential scenarios – a somewhat optimistic ‘U-shaped’ recession and a somewhat pessimistic ‘L-shaped’ recession – and assumes a baseline level of expenditures.” The report finds there would be an $18.1 billion deficit under U-shaped recession and a $31.4 billion deficit under L-shaped recession; either way, “budget deficits persist until at least 2023-24 with multiyear deficits summing to $64 billion in the U-shaped recession and $126 billion in the L-shaped recession.”
The DWR released its’ final Agreement in Principle for the State Water Project Contract Amendment for the Delta tunnel. It sets forth terms of an agreement between state water project public water agencies and DWR for amending supply contracts to pay for construction and maintenance of tunnel; topics include how public water agencies may opt-out of costs and benefits and how an agency may assume additional costs and benefits.
The California Energy Commission released “Energy Insights” to show “changes in supply and demand since March.” The findings include: “1) Average weekday demand for electricity in California declined by more than 4 percent in late March and 9 percent in April compared to the same time last year. 2) Residential energy use by customers in the three investor-owned utilities increased by 8.9 to 12.4 percent for 2020 year-to-date compared to the same period last year, but this was offset by substantial reductions in commercial and industrial demand. 3) Natural gas demand during April 2020 was up about 6 percent, compared to April 2019. 4) In the Pacific Gas & Electricity service territory, natural gas demand for electricity generation was up about 12 percent for April 2020 compared to April 2019. 5) Gasoline production declined 47.5 percent; jet fuel production dropped 68.3 percent; and diesel production decreased 33.2 percent.”
Pacific Research Institute released a study titled “Legislating Energy Prosperity.” It finds “California implements 218 different energy efficiency regulations, incentives, and tax programs that reduce job and income growth across the state,” also finds CO2 emissions “peaked in 2007” and have since “fallen over 14 percent nationally but only by 9 percent in California;” recommends changing California’s approach to “unlock potential economic opportunities that include more affordable gasoline, more affordable electricity, badly-needed new job opportunities, and higher family incomes while still achieving the same goal of lowering GHG emissions.”
Appointments of Interest
As deputy director of the State Water Project at the California Department of Water Resources: Ted Craddock, El Dorado Hills, acting deputy director since 2019.
The Committee on Preparing the Future Civil Engineer and the Engineer Tomorrow Initiative
By Kenneth H. Rosenfield, P.E., F.ASCE
Vice-Chair, ASCE Region 9 Board of Board of Governors
Region 9 Director-Elect, ASCE Board of Direction
Member, ASCE Committee on Preparing the Future Civil Engineer
There is an awareness among many that the knowledge base civil engineers must now acquire to keep up with the world’s complexity and increasing regulatory and standards growth cannot be accomplished in a four-year baccalaureate degree. While mentored experience and on the job training is a significant contributor to enhancing knowledge, postgraduate education is typically required in order to meet several of the recommended outcomes in the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge, third edition (CEBOK3). This advanced level of education may be obtained through a master’s degree program or through alternative learning options. In either case, we, as a profession, must recognize that the future of the profession will require more education.
The ASCE Board of Direction (BOD) has approved the following definition of this issue:
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), as the acknowledged leader of the civil engineering profession, has a responsibility to establish and advance standards to fulfill its mission to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. This responsibility includes the establishment of a body of knowledge (BOK) to describe the minimum knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for the future professional practice of civil engineering. ASCE has determined there is a gap between the CEBOK and the current educational and experiential requirements for professional licensure in civil engineering. Additional education and relevant experience is required for the future civil engineer. Otherwise, civil engineering is at risk of losing relevance and its place as a learned profession.
To address the issues identified in this statement, the BOD designated a new committee, the “Committee on Preparing the Future Civil Engineer” (CPFCE). Encompassing the former Raise the Bar committee and its associated initiative, the new charge statement is the Committee “shall advance the Society’s educational qualifications and professional standards for the practice of civil engineering.” This Committee's function is fully aligned with ASCE Goal No. 4 which states, “ASCE advances the educational and professional standards for civil engineers.” The BOD has refreshed the efforts on the importance of all civil engineers striving to meet the outcomes of the CEBOK3
(see https://www.asce.org/Civil_Engineering_Body_of_Knowledge/) and to identify new pathways for future civil engineers to be recognized for the attainment of those outcomes. Among the specific tasks assigned to the CPFCE were updating Policy Statement 465 (see https://www.asce.org/issues-and-advocacy/public-policy/policy-statement-465---the-civil-engineering-body-of-knowledge-and-the-practice-of-civil-engineering/), developing a new brand and creating a communications plan to inform the membership of this new direction. It is an exciting time of new energy being invested into this important effort, recently branded as “Engineer Tomorrow.”
The Engineer Tomorrow initiative has an emphasis on early outreach to all student and younger members and, as well, to inform all membership levels. CPFCE members are available to speak with your group and to share the goals and benefits of the Engineer Tomorrow initiative.
Informed by the services of a marketing consultant, the CPFCE communications team finalized a formal communications plan in late 2019 to build awareness around the evolving initiative.
Within this plan, The CPFCE has identified the following objectives as essential to fulfilling its purpose:
• Increase awareness of the need for post‐graduate education and mentored experience for CEs to fulfill the necessary body of knowledge
• Increase the percentage of CEs enrolling in post‐graduate educational programs
• Underscore the positive impact of higher educational standards on the profession as a whole
• Empower individuals to take responsibility for the future of the CE profession
• Highlight the opportunities and successes of ASCE members with advanced education
• Prompt members with advanced degrees to mentor and encourage others to gain additional skills, knowledge, and education
A task committee of CPFCE has also completed a robust evaluation of if and how professional certification could be used to acknowledge attainment of the CEBOK3. In 2019, the task committee presented an interim report to the BOD which included research on certification processes and programs offered in other fields and how aspects of these systems may be applied to credentialing within the civil engineering profession. The committee also reviewed the available certifications relevant to civil engineering practice, including those offered by ASCE via Civil Engineering Certification, Inc. (CEC) and by other organizations. Data gathered confirmed that no single existing certification is universally recognized as the qualifier of the appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes for the practice of civil engineering, including its specialty areas, at the professional level, and meeting the outcomes of the CEBOK3. The task committee has concluded that this may present an opportunity for ASCE to develop such a system, informed by the success primarily evidenced in the medical profession’s model. More recently, the task committee worked with a market research consultant to gather data from various stakeholders within the engineering industry related to the desirability, feasibility, and viability of a certification program. The results of this research are currently being evaluated and will be presented to the BOD before any decision is made on creating a certification program.
For more information on the Engineer Tomorrow initiative and to schedule a presentation to your group, please contact ASCE’s Manager of Professional Advancement, Jennifer Hofmann at JHofmann@asce.org, or you may contact me, Kenneth Rosenfield, Region 9 Director-Elect, at firstname.lastname@example.org.