The Barbed Wire - November 18, 2022

November 18, 2022
The Barbed Wire on Hiatus for Thanksgiving Holiday
PG&E Responds to RCRC/CSAC Vegetation Management Letter – Says Wood Haul Program Has Resumed
Legislators Urge CPUC to Adopt Rules for Recurring Fast Trip Power Outages
State Air Board Releases Final Draft Carbon Scoping Plan
USDA Forest Service Announces $20.5 Million in Grants to Protect Water, Increase Wood Processing Capacity
USDA Provides Boost of Nearly $24M for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

The Barbed Wire on Hiatus for Thanksgiving Holiday

The Barbed Wire newsletter will be on hiatus November 25th for the Thanksgiving holiday and will return December 2nd.

PG&E Responds to RCRC/CSAC Vegetation Management Letter – Says Wood Haul Program Has Resumed

On November 15th, PG&E responded to a joint letter from RCRC and CSAC urging the utility to immediately resume hauling away trees cut down during vegetation management operations. 

On October 31st, RCRC and CSAC sent a letter to PG&E’s CEO, Patricia Poppe, outlining local concerns about the utility’s widespread refusal to  haul away felled wood.  RCRC and CSAC subsequently wrote to the Public Utilities Commission, urging regulators to require PG&E to condition its exit from an open enforcement process on a commitment to remove felled wood at the request of property owners.  The Commission responded favorably to our request and tabled Resolution M-4864, which would have let PG&E exit Step 1 of that enforcement process, until a future date. 

In their letter to RCRC and CSAC, PG&E noted that it resumed its wood management program at the end of August.  PG&E will determine regional points of contact for property owners to have felled wood removed, but noted that residents can either contact, call 1-800-687-5720, or visit the Wildfire Wood Management Program webpage in the meantime. 

In response to concerns expressed about contractors leaving trees and chips within defensible space perimeters, PG&E indicated it will continue to remove felled wood within 100’ of a structure “when a property owner provides the appropriate consent”.  It further stated its current practice is to leave wood chips to an average depth of less than 18”, despite defensible space restrictions on the accumulation of chips and fuel. 

RCRC and CSAC expect to meet with PG&E in the near future to further discuss its vegetation management and wood haul programs and attempt to resolve local concerns. 

For more information, contact RCRC Policy Advocate John Kennedy

Legislators Urge CPUC to Adopt Rules for Recurring Fast Trip Power Outages

On November 8th, several legislators sent a letter to the Public Utilities Commission urging it to grant a motion filed by RCRC, East Bay Community Energy, Pioneer Community Energy, Sonoma Clean Power, and Marin Clean Energy to develop a regulatory framework for large electric utilities’ fast trip outages. 

There have been more than 2,200 fast trip power outages in PG&E service territory this year, with the vast majority of those outages occurring between May and October.  While PG&E’s fast trip settings have significantly reduced the number of utility-caused wildfire ignitions, they have also had a debilitating impact on roughly 1.5 million to 2 million customers – particularly in El Dorado, Napa, Placer, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma Counties.   

PG&E has commendably reduced the average outage duration from six hours to three hours per event; however, 104 of the 487 circuits impacted in September (and 58 of the 319 circuits impacted in October) were deenergized for more than eight (8) hours.  Worse yet, dozens of circuits are still experiencing outages lasting 16 hours or more.   

In their letter, Senators Bill Dodd, John Laird, Brian Dahle, Jim Nielsen, and Assembly Members Jim Wood, Megan Dahle, and James Gallagher stressed that “Californians cannot be forced to choose between a safe or reliable electrical grid” and urged the Commission to take action and develop a regulatory framework similar to what was established for Public Safety Power Shutoff events.  Senator Andres Borgeas also sent a letter requesting Commission action. 

PG&E’s response to the Commission can be found here

For more information, contact RCRC Policy Advocate John Kennedy

State Air Board Releases Final Draft Carbon Scoping Plan

On Wednesday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released the final draft of its 2022 Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality (Scoping Plan) to satisfy the five-year update requirements of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. CARB began seeking public input on the Scoping Plan update in June 2021, holding a series of workshops focused on specific sectors such as energy, natural and working lands, and transportation to inform development of a draft that was released in May of this year.  

The Scoping Plan provides the state’s roadmap for reaching its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals through a variety of carbon reduction and sequestration strategies. RCRC provided comments on the May draft Scoping Plan, focusing on the draft’s provisions for forest resilience, reducing methane in landfills, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and viability in rural communities, and the Williamson Act program. CARB will hear the final draft Scoping Plan at its December 15-16, 2022 meeting for approval. For more information, including full text of the Scoping Plan, see CARB’s website.  

For more information, contact RCRC Senior Policy Advocate Staci Heaton

USDA Forest Service Announces $20.5 Million in Grants to Protect Water, Increase Wood Processing Capacity

On Thursday, the USDA Forest Service announced $20.5 million in grants to help states or federally recognized tribes establish temporary bridge programs to protect water resources during forest-related operations and to assist wood processing facility owners to establish, reopen, retrofit, or expand. These funds include $12.5 million through the 2022 Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Program to provide financial assistance for owners of facilities that purchase and process byproducts from forest restoration projects including thinning, wildfire resilience activities and habitat management based on the high priority fire sheds identified in the Forest Service 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy , the Wildfire Risk to Communities and National Insect and Disease Risk Map . The 2022 Temporary Bridge Funding Opportunity allocates $8 million to states and tribes to support the establishment of temporary bridge rental, loan or cost-share programs to protect water resources and reduce water quality degradation during forest-related operations.  The deadline to apply for financial assistance is December 20, 2022. For additional information, including the Notice of Funding Opportunity and application details for both programs, visit USDA Forest Service website here

USDA Provides Boost of Nearly $24M for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the investment of nearly $24 million across 45 organizations and institutions that teach and train beginning farmers and ranchers.  This investment is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BRDDP) that supports a wide range of professional development activities across an array of important topics for new farmers and ranchers, such as managing capital, acquiring and managing land, and learning effective business and farming practices. Four California institutions were awarded grants.

In the RCRC member county of Yolo, two organizations received grants of nearly $750 thousand each. The Center for Land-Based Learning was awarded a grant for a three year project that aims to cultivate success in beginning farms in order to build resilience in critical years (learn more), and UC Davis received a grant for a one year project that leverages the current extension and research OREI-USDA grant between UC Davis, Iowa State, and the University of Kentucky to develop the next generation of integrative farmers in those regions. Learn more about the project here. The Sustainable Systems Research Foundation, in Santa Cruz, was awarded a grant of nearly $50 thousand to expand a previously successful workshop program to focus education and research efforts on beginning Latinx farmers and their small farms in Santa Cruz County and the RCRC member counties of Monterey and San Benito. In San Diego County, California State University – San Marcos was awarded nearly $50 thousand for the G.R.O.W.E.R. Apprenticeship Program (“Generate Real Opportunities through Earth’s Resources”) to develop a training program to offer opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers of historically underrepresented communities. The full list of awards and additional details about the California-based projects can be found here.


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


Career Opportunities

  • Imperial County is seeking applicants for three open engineering positions. These positions are open until filled.

    • Associate Civil Engineer to perform, supervise, and coordinate professional civil or structural engineering work in the field and office.  View details here

    • Assistant Director of Public Works to plan, organize, and assist in the day to day-to-day operations of the Department; prepare and deliver presentations to a variety of commissions and groups; assist in the oversight of the department’s divisions and special districts; and assume responsibility for Department operations in the absence of the Public Works Director. View details here

    • Principal Engineer to plan, organize and direct complex civil engineering work. operations and activities including the office and field design, preparation, review and analysis of engineering and construction plans and specifications; coordinate and direct communications, information, personnel, projects and resources to meet designated County engineering needs and assure smooth and efficient activities; supervise and evaluate the performance of assigned personnel.  View details here

  • Reclamation District 1004 seeks an Assistant General Manager to assist in the day-to-day operations of the district, maintain infrastructure, maintain pumps, maintain equipment, maintain and oversee water meters, coordinate landowner relations, assist in the direction of the field staff, and assist in record keeping. Email questions to  For additional information, see here.

  • Shasta County invites applications for County Health Officer to maintain primary responsibility for the enforcement of public health laws in both the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County. For more information or to apply online see here (view brochureClosing Date:  November 28, 2022, 7:59 am.
  • Tuolumne County Public Works is seeking an experienced integrated waste professional with extensive knowledge of environmental regulations and compliance to oversee the collection, transportation and disposal of solid waste and hazardous materials, provide public outreach and training, promote recycling programs, maintain two closed landfills, and negotiate and monitor contracts for environmental and landfill services. The Director of Solid Waste, as a key member of the management team, will oversee a staff of four and provide expert advice and support to the Director, Board members, and the community.  Bachelor’s degree and three years’ experience in solid waste management with two years at a supervisory or higher level. Flexible schedule 90/8 or 20%-40% telework considered for right candidate. Position is open until filled. EOE For additional details, see here.

  • UC Agriculture & Natural Resources- Davis is currently seeking to hire a Government and Community Relations (GCR) Associate Director to expand and strengthen the UC ANR Government and Community Relations team. This position is open until filled. For more information, see here.


Institute for Local Government Launches New Digital Planning Commissioner Handbook & Regional Trainings

The Institute for Local Government (ILG) recently released an updated version of their Planning Commissioners Handbook. This handbook is designed to support planning commissioners, their staff, and other officials interested in land use and planning; to help local officials understand the planning process; and provide a glimpse of some potential planning challenges commissioners may experience during their terms. The handbook describes the major terms, plans, and policies that make up the framework of local planning, as well as typical stakeholders in the process and the basics of reviewing applications for development.

In conjunction with this release, ILG is hosting regional training sessions for planning commissioners. These interactive sessions will take place in person at various locations throughout the state and will cover topics such as the role of a planning commission, how to work effectively with staff and the governing board, effective community engagement, CEQA basics, required planning documents, and local and regional planning challenges and opportunities. Each session will give participants the opportunity to engage with experts in the field and fellow planning commissioners to hear best practices, emerging trends, and lessons learned. All sessions are FREE but space is limited and registration is required. Find a full schedule and register here.

Next Training: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, February 17, 2023


GO-Biz Cannabis Equity Grants Available for Eligible Local Jurisdictions

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has announced $15 million is available in FY 2022-23 for eligible cities and counties to promote equity and eliminate barriers to populations and communities that were disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition. Local jurisdictions can be awarded up to $75,000 for assistance on cannabis equity program development, or up to $5 million for cannabis equity program applicants and licensees to gain entry to the state’s regulated cannabis marketplace. Grant applications must be received by December 14, 2022 and will be awarded no later than March 31, 2023. For more information on this grant and how to apply, see here.


Access the State Grants Portal for a Multitude of Funding Opportunities

Billions of dollars are up for grabs to public agencies and other entities, including tribes and businesses. Grant seekers can access a centralized portal of grant and loan opportunities here, or sign up to receive new grant opportunities delivered straight to your inbox.


Announcements regarding key staffing changes of importance to California's rural counties.


Stephen Lau, of Placer County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Sacramento County Superior Court. Lau has served as General Counsel at the Sacramento County Employees' Retirement System since 2019. He served as Assistant General Counsel at the California Department of Business Oversight from 2014 to 2019. Lau held several roles at Mennemeier Glassman & Stroud LLP from 2003 to 2014, including Partner, Of Counsel and Associate. He served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable William B. Shubb at the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California from 2002 to 2003. Lau earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Russell L. Hom. Lau is a Democrat. The compensation for this position is $229,125. 

Oscar Pardo, of Sonoma County, has been appointed to serve in an interim appointment as a Judge in the Sonoma County Superior Court. Pardo has been an Associate at Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller & Moskowitz LLP since 2008. He was an Associate at Brayton Purcell LLP from 2007 to 2008. Pardo earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gary Nadler. The Governor’s appointment allows him to immediately assume the position he was otherwise elected to begin in January 2023. Pardo is a Democrat. The compensation for this position is $229,125. 


RCRC press releases and related news clips about RCRC and our member counties. Please note that a subscription may be required to read some external publications.


California commission overhauls rooftop solar proposal – Cal Matters

The California Public Utilities Commission has released a long-awaited overhaul of its proposal to regulate rooftop solar installations, removing an unpopular new fee but reducing how much utilities would pay homeowners for supplying power to the grid. The CPUC’s scaled-back plan eliminates consumer fees. The original was abandoned after criticism that it could hurt the transition to renewable energy.


No Yosemite National Park reservations needed in summer 2023 – Sacramento Bee

This summer, the National Park Service has announced that it will suspend reservation requirements for visitors. The change was welcomed by the Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, which is hoping it will bring tourism levels back to pre-pandemic levels.


'Catastrophic staffing shortage': Northern California sheriff to suspend daytime patrols – Los Angeles Times

The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office plans to suspend daytime patrols starting this week, citing “a catastrophic staffing shortage” throughout the agency. Recent shortages led the Sheriff’s Office to reassign deputies from the operations division to fill vacancies within the courts and jail facility, leaving them “with insufficient staff to sustain 24-hour patrol services.”