David Pisarra

I am extremely confused by what is happening in our state. Our leadership seems to be at odds with itself (not a first for a government I realize, but still annoying) and I’m left wondering what the future holds for our city and our state.

The New York Times reported on May 4, 2022 that there was a population decline in the state of California for the second year in a row. Contributors such as low  birth rates, Immigration declines, Covid, pandemic relocations, all sorts of issues are raised by such a development.  This of course would normally make a free market theorist think that rents would be dropping due to a lower demand. They’d be wrong. 

Seems like rents are higher than ever and landlords are resolute in their demands from potential tenants. Now I expect that is an outgrowth of the pandemic losses some experienced and may still be working through. Obviously the eviction holds and the non-payment of rent for months on end certainly have impacted landlords negatively. 

Back to our government though, issuing mandates that cities have building minimums they must comply with to increase the housing supply. For example, our fair city has to build some 8,000 additional units, which is approximately a 10-15% increase in our population. This seems like a tremendous increase to me, over a short period of time and with not enough infrastructure for the additional strain on our crowded streets. And if the population is decreasing, why do we need more units? 

Then we have the water issue. California is in the midst of a mega-drought, as is the entire southwest. The government’s reaction to said drought is to start limit the usage of water by residents for watering lawns, household uses and to inform us of the dire situation we are in. We’re told this is a result of climate change and that’s why we need to limit our usages. Maybe next year we’ll have a rainy season and the reservoirs will begin to refill and the water table will come back to normal. 

Yet, when the government has the option of approving a desalination plant (cost of $1.5 billion) that would provide 50 million gallons of water daily, to Orange County, and presumably be a model for future plants that would be built to reduce the needs of Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura and the Central Valley, the commission denies the permits. Activists against the plant (I would love to know which corporations were behind them and paying for their advocacy) cited reports that it is not in fact residential uses that are causing the drops in the reservoirs and water tables but industrial and agricultural uses that are taking the majority share of the water. Perhaps this is Nestle bottling all the water they can, so that it can be sold to us in plastic bottles? 

Rather than putting limits on what Nestle can produce and then sell, or finding ways for industrial/agricultural production to adapt, the state and county sets out conservation limits for residents, and says we need to build more housing to increase our resident population, thus increasing the demand and exacerbating the problem. 

Plus we have this boondoggle of a high speed rail system that is being built at a projected cost (no one ACTUALLY BELIEVES it will come in this low) of $105 billion, for a transportation solution that is not really being demanded by the public. So instead of taking $87 billion and building 58 desalination plants (one for each county in the state at a cost of $1.5 billion) and using the balance of the 18 billion for something useful like, trade schools, public health, mental health programs, homeless support services, or hell just a big damn party for the state, cause now we all got water forever, to grow tomatoes and roses.

All of this is on top of the governor’s announcement this week of a $97.5 billion surplus which we can also use for any of the uses I just listed. But I imagine it will go for another stupid public boondoggle that will line the pockets of a corporation like Nestle, who is probably cheering, if not in fact supporting, the activists who fought to stop the Orange County desalination project. 

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of it all.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist.  He welcomes your questions and comments.  He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra