The Barbed Wire - November 15, 2019

November 15, 2019
RCRC Hosts Homeowners’ Insurance Ad Hoc Committee Meeting in Ventura County
RCRC Sponsors Placer Conservator Dinner
Rural Broadband Update
Appropriations Update

RCRC Hosts Homeowners’ Insurance Ad Hoc Committee Meeting in Ventura County

On Thursday, RCRC hosted its third Homeowners’ Insurance Ad Hoc Committee (Committee) meeting.  This meeting was held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Ventura County.  RCRC member counties have been disproportionally impacted by recent homeowners’ insurance cancellations and non-renewals following years of devastating wildfires in California.  

The Committee meeting including presentations from the following speakers:

  • Anneliese Jivan, President, California FAIR Plan Association
  • John Spykerman, Division Chief, Ventura County Fire Department
  • Matt Wyatt, District Manager, Ventura County Building and Safety Office
  • Winston Wright, Planning Manager, Ventura County Resources Management Agency
  • Jay Spurgin, Public Works Director, City of Thousand Oaks

In June, the RCRC Board of Directors approved a resolution creating the Committee.  The Committee is tasked with considering potential solutions for the increase in homeowners’ insurance cancellations and non-renewals in high fire risk areas.  In particular, how county governments can develop programs and measures to encourage greater community-wide access and affordability to homeowners insurance. 

The potential solutions include, but are not limited to, introducing additional insurers into rural areas, working with the insurance industry on an insurance risk-reduction model, examining insurance industry risk modeling, re-creating/revising California’s Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plan (FAIR Plan), and working directly with policy advocates, the California Legislature, and the Department of Insurance to explore other options.

Members of the Committee include the following County Supervisors:

1. Sherri Brennan (Tuolumne; Chair)

2. Bob Williams (Tehama)

3. Lee Adams (Sierra)

4. Kevin Cann (Mariposa)

5. Diane Dillon (Napa)

6. Randy Fletcher (Yuba)

7. Dan Miller (Nevada)

8. Brian Oneto (Amador)

9. Lori Parlin (El Dorado)

The Committee is tasked with issuing a report of findings no later than the August 2020 Board of Directors meeting.

RCRC Sponsors Placer Conservator Dinner

On Wednesday, RCRC staff attended the Placer Land Trust’s 2019 Placer Conservator Dinner at the Ridge Golf Club and Events Center in Auburn.  RCRC served as a Guardian Sponsor of the event, which recognized Jim Branham and Bob Kingman of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy with the 2019 Placer Conservator Award.  

“Jim and Bob have been friends of RCRC for years, and we were honored to support this event recognizing their contributions,” said Greg Norton, RCRC President and CEO.  “Jim and Bob have devoted their careers to the protection of California’s natural resources, and we congratulate them on being named 2019 Placer Conservators!”

The Placer Land Trust has worked with landowners and conservation partners to preserve more than 11,000 acres of natural and agricultural land in Placer County since 1991.

Rural Broadband Update

This week, Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), both members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced the introduction of their Broadband Parity Act, bipartisan legislation that would bring all federal broadband programs to the current definition of what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines as high-speed internet (currently 25/3 Mbps).  

This bill would ensure that all communities receiving federal broadband support have access to internet service that is actually at “broadband” speeds.  Currently, there are over twenty federal broadband programs promoting access to fixed broadband service.  However, some programs define an area as “served” when service is at 25/3 Mbps speeds, while others define being served as having access to much slower 10/1 Mbps speeds.  This discrepancy in bandwidth speeds means that the federal government is often investing in inadequate broadband services.  This bill will remove such inconsistencies in service and improve broadband access for rural America. 

Appropriations Update

Leaders in the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have reported modest progress toward a year-end spending deal following a private meeting Tuesday.  As had been previously anticipated, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-New York) confirmed that the new stopgap spending bill, expected to come up for votes next week, would last through Dec. 20th.

The Tuesday leadership meeting suggested negotiators may finally be prepared to work together to reach a deal, though the reaction of President Donald Trump remains in question.  Democrats are reportedly hoping to settle on spending allocations before negotiating on specific bills, while Republicans hope to settle allocations and border wall funding simultaneously.


Announcements regarding hearings, grants, and public comment notices of importance to California's rural counties.


$100M Available for Disadvantaged Communities and High Fire Threat Districts Through Self-Generation Incentive Program

The Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) started as a program for incentivizing natural gas fired Co-Generation installations, and was modified to include Energy Storage a few years ago.  When the program was modified, the California Public Utilities Commission also added an Equity Budget.  The Equity Budget is to ensure that economically disadvantaged ratepayer groups have a chance to access some of the funds by setting up a separate allocation.

The Equity Budget now has $110M in available funding, including $100M available for one of two uses: Energy Storage in Disadvantaged Communities; and, Energy Storage for Critical Resilience purposes in High Fire Threat Districts (HFTD), primarily in public sector applications.

The program is anticipated to start accepting applications beginning April 1, 2020, and the funds are expected to move extremely quickly.  Local governments that are interested in applying for these funds should plan to have completed applications ready for submission by late March 2020. 

On Wednesday, RCRC hosted a webinar to provide further information, and assist counties with understanding the tasks that need to be completed for an application, and the options available to help with application preparation.  A recorded version of the webinar can be accessed here.  For additional questions, please contact Michael Day at (916) 577-1114.


The Economic Impact of Tourism on California’s Rural Counties

After nine consecutive years of growth, California’s travel and tourism economy continues to surge.    Visitors pumped more than $140 billion in travel spending in the last year, stimulating business development and providing Californians with more than one million jobs.  Increased travel spending is leading to record-setting hotel construction and more than $4 billion in annual investments in theme park, restaurant and other tourism-related infrastructure. These projects are creating secondary employment effects, generating high-quality jobs in building and construction. 

Not only does tourism support the state, the industry is a boon for city and county budgets.  Last year, visitor spending generated $11.8 billion in tax revenue for state and local jurisdictions and was among the top three sources of funding for many counties.  This revenue helps fund vital programs and infrastructure projects and saves California households an additional $890 in taxes each year to maintain state and local services.  That’s enough money to resurface 17,000 miles of two-lane roads or employ 107,000 police officers.

It takes more than having the perfect destination to attract visitor dollars.  For more than 25 years, Visit California’s marketing programs have delivered billions of dollars of new visitor spending and helped establish California as the number one travel destination in the U.S.  Over the next five years, Visit California will be building on this success by investing $500 million in global marketing campaigns to ensure that the state remains a top consideration when travelers around the world are planning a trip.

Learn more about the economic impact of tourism upon your county and the benefits of travel and tourism to California’s economy.


Siskiyou County Seeks County Administrator

The ideal candidate is an experienced county administrator/executive, or senior level executive from a comparable public sector organization; some relevant private sector experience may be helpful.

Details on the County Administrator position can be accessed here.


Shasta County Seeks County Executive Officer

Located at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley, nestled between Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen, Shasta County covers over 3,800+ square miles of rivers, lakes, mountains, State Parks, and National Forests. Easily one of the most picturesque counties in all of California, Shasta County, population 180,000, has an economy based on agriculture, tourism, timber, medical services, and retail businesses. Shasta County has a wealth of resources in a business friendly atmosphere promoting thriving industries.

Shasta County offers all of the amenities of the big city while retaining a comfortable small town atmosphere. With its natural beauty, diversified culture, affordable housing, excellent educational system, abundance of recreational opportunities, and excellent quality of life, Shasta County is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

Details on the County Executive Officer position can be accessed here.