The Barbed Wire - November 4, 2022

November 4, 2022
The Barbed Wire on Hiatus for Veteran’s Day November 11th
RCRC and CSAC Request PG&E to Haul Away Wood From Vegetation Management Operations and Elevate the Issue to the CPUC
RCRC Joint Filing Accepted on CPUC Loan Loss Reserve Staff Proposal
Local Governments to Join CPUC Workshop on the Future of the Rule 20 Undergrounding Program
FEMA Awards $4.7 Million Public Assistance Grant to Plumas Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative
U.S. House Bill Introduced to Increase Market Access for American Farmers

The Barbed Wire on Hiatus for Veteran’s Day November 11th

The Barbed Wire newsletter will be on hiatus November 11th, in observance of Veteran's Day. The Barbed Wire will return November 18th. 

RCRC and CSAC Request PG&E to Haul Away Wood From Vegetation Management Operations and Elevate the Issue to the CPUC

On October 31, RCRC and CSAC jointly requested that PG&E immediately begin removing felled wood cut down during utility vegetation management operations.   

While PG&E commendably increased the pace and scale of its vegetation management operations to reduce the risk of utility-caused wildfire, it is regrettable that PG&E is largely refusing to remove trees cut down during those operations.  This refusal is: impairing public safety; increasing fuel loads; compromising property owners’ efforts to create and maintain defensible space; and imposing heavy financial burdens on property owners to abate these hazards created by PG&E.  More than a dozen counties have expressed concerns about this course change and the dangers and burdens it creates. 

On November 3, RCRC and CSAC provided comments to the CPUC on Resolution M-4864, which would allow PG&E to exit Step 1 of the CPUC’s Enhanced Oversight and Enforcement Process.  PG&E was placed on Step 1 of the Enforcement Process because it failed to sufficiently prioritize its vegetation management work on its highest risk power lines in 2020.  As PG&E has focused its work on high-risk lines, the CPUC is considering whether to let it out of the enforcement process.  RCRC and CSAC noted that PG&E’s work is far from done.  By failing to haul away the resulting wood debris, PG&E has failed to complete its vegetation management work on many of those line miles.  As a result, RCRC and CSAC urged the CPUC to either: 

•     Keep PG&E in Step 1 of the Enhanced Oversight and Enforcement Process until the felled wood issue is adequately resolved; or, 

•     Order PG&E to remove felled wood at the request of property owners as a condition of its emergence from Step 1 of the Enhanced Oversight and Enforcement Process. 

The CPUC will take public comment on Resolution M-4864 at its November 17th voting meeting, when this item is expected to be considered.  Members of the public will have 1-2 minutes to speak, and the call-in number will be: 

  • Phone: 1-800-857-1917, passcode: 9899501#
  • Spanish Phone: 1-800-857-1917, passcode: 3799627#  

For more information contact RCRC Policy Advocate, John Kennedy.

RCRC Joint Filing Accepted on CPUC Loan Loss Reserve Staff Proposal

This week, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) accepted RCRC’s formal comments on its Loan Loss Reserve (LLR) staff proposal. This phase of the California Advanced Services Fund proceeding (R. 20-08-021) sets forth the proposed structure for the $750 million LLR program which was established last year through Senate Bill 156. In RCRC’s joint filing with Common Sense, Media Alliance, and the California Community Foundation, comments outline foundational issues and associated concerns with the staff proposal: primarily that the draft proposal does not meet the intended purpose as envisioned by Senate Bill 156. Specifically, the LLR program is intended to provide local agencies the ability to secure broadband funding through credit enhancements such as loan loss and debt service reserve coverage. Provisions limiting the coverage amount of the loan loss reserve and requiring local agencies to show three years of financial records, make it unlikely the program will benefit municipal projects in high-cost rural areas.  

The CPUC will now review all comments submitted to the agency and release a proposed decision for public review and another round of comments. For more information, contact RCRC Senior Policy Advocate Tracy Rhine.

Local Governments to Join CPUC Workshop on the Future of the Rule 20 Undergrounding Program

On Tuesday, November 8th, representatives from RCRC, CSAC, Cal Cities, and Lake County will join other interested parties in a CPUC workshop on the future of the Rule 20 undergrounding program. 

The Rule 20A program provides ratepayer funding for electrical undergrounding projects for aesthetic or access purposes.  The CPUC has suspended annual work credit allocations to jurisdictions and is considering whether the program should be expanded to fund undergrounding related to wildfire risk reduction.  The CPUC is also contemplating how to improve equitable distribution of Rule 20A funds to rural, disadvantaged, and tribal communities.   

At the workshop: 

  • Utilities will present on their non-Rule 20 undergrounding efforts;
  • CPUC staff will discuss Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings as an alternative to undergrounding and the new expedited undergrounding permitting process created by SB 884 (McGuire);
  • The Public Advocates Office will speak about potential sunsetting of the work credit system;
  • RCRC will present on potential expansion of the Rule 20 program to include wildfire risk reduction projects; and
  • CSAC will talk about changes to Rule 20 eligibility criteria and underserved communities.

Lake County Supervisors Jessica Pyska and Eddie Crandell will participate in a round-table discussion on how to enhance coordination between local communities and utilities conducting undergrounding projects and how to increase participation within Tribal communities. 

The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the agenda can be found here.  To register for the web-based meeting, click here.  Alternatively, a call-in number is available at 415-655-0002 (Passcode 2485 839 5545, Meeting Password: Underground1 (863374768631 from phones)). 

RCRC’s recent comments to the CPUC on the future of the Rule 20 program can be found here

For more information contact RCRC Policy Advocate, John Kennedy

FEMA Awards $4.7 Million Public Assistance Grant to Plumas Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative

On November 1st, Congress Member Doug LaMalfa (R–Richvale) announced that a $4,733,821.57 FEMA Public Assistance (PA) grant has been awarded to Plumas Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative. This grant will be used to repair or replace distribution lines, fiber optic lines, and transformers damaged in wildfires, as well as cover hazardous tree removals required to complete the repairs. FEMA funding will cover 90% of the project’s total costs. All work is ongoing and is anticipated to be completed by February 24, 2023. 

U.S. House Bill Introduced to Increase Market Access for American Farmers

On Friday, October 28th, Congress Member Jim Costa (D-Fresno) introduced the Supporting Market Access to Reinvigorate Trade (SMART) Act (H.R. 9244), which aims  to expand programs to develop new business opportunities for American agricultural goods. The SMART Act would double the amount of funding to at least $400 million per fiscal year for the Market Access Program (MAP) and at least $69 million per fiscal year for the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program


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


RCRC Affiliate GSFA Releases Request for Proposals for Consultative Services

RCRC affiliate, Golden State Finance Authority has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Consultative Services to develop two Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS). The work is made possible by a grant from the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration and will cover Colusa County and Inyo/Mono/Alpine Counties. Interested respondents can access the RFP here. Proposals are due Wednesday, November 16, 2022.


Public Workshop for Yolo Bypass Cache Slough Public Access Recreation Action Plan, November 3rd

Solano County, the California Department of Water Resources, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are seeking input on an Action Plan for enhancing public recreation opportunities within the Cache Slough region. The Action Plan will help guide future County and State investments in feasible recreation facilities within the Cache Slough region that are safe, inclusive, and respect local land uses and landowners.  For more information on this effort, please visit the project website.

Workshop Details
Date: Thursday, November 3
Time:  6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.   
Location: Rio Vista Veterans Memorial Building, 610 St. Francis Way, Rio Vista, CA 94571   

RSVP here


Upcoming Webinar Sponsored by RCRC and CSAC, November 10th 

Workforce turnover, increasing (internal and public) demand for greater efficiency, better service levels, and fuller transparency are leading many counties to rethink their processes and technology. Join OpenGov for a live webinar, sponsored by RCRC and CSAC, to learn how your county can use modern solutions to work and serve amidst these forces of change.

With best practices from Tuolumne County, this session with Eric Erhardt, the Assistant County Administrator, will address how to lead change for your administration.

Date: Thursday, November 10, 2022
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PT
Learn More and Register Here


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.

  • Yolo County is currently seeking a Chief Budget Official. To apply for this career opportunity, please email a detailed resume and letter of interest to Vanessa Lee no later than Friday, November 18, 2022 For detailed information about the position, see here.


30x30 Virtual Expo Series

The California Natural Resources Agency is excited to host a virtual expo experience building on the recent 30x30 Partnership Kick-Off Event Community Expo. Join Jennifer Norris, Deputy Secretary for Biodiversity and Habitat, and partners from across state agencies to learn more about the programs, funding, and other resources available to help reach California’s 30x30 goal.

Each Virtual Expo will include a Q&A for you to ask questions about funding programs, technical assistance, and more. Register to join using the links below.

Virtual Expo Series Registration - Upcoming Sessions:


2022 CAL FIRE County Coordinator Statewide Grant Program Application Open Through November 15

California Fire Safe Council (CFSC), in partnership with CAL FIRE, is pleased to announce the opening of the 2022 CAL FIRE County Coordinator Statewide Grant Program application. The application is open from October 3rd, 2022, through November 15th, 2022.

The objective of the 2022 CAL FIRE County Coordinator Statewide Grant Program is to educate, encourage, and develop county-wide collaboration and coordination among various wildfire mitigation groups. Up to 21 counties will receive a one-time grant of $175,000 to be used to cover administrative costs relevant to county-wide coordination efforts, including but not limited to the salary, support, and administrative costs for a designated County Coordinator.


The 2022 Statewide County Coordinator Grant Program application is intended for the remaining counties who did not receive funding as part of the 2021-2022 Northern or Southern Region County Coordinator Grant Program. To apply, counties must be the starting point and invested in the scope and goals of the project. However, counties may choose to direct the application process and funds to the non-profit or public agency that they feel are best equipped to execute the project. Local fire mitigation groups are not eligible to apply unless their county designates them as the primary applicant and provides a letter of support. Only one application per county will be accepted.

To Apply: 

Applications open October 3rd, 2022. Visit the California FireSafe Council website here to learn more. Applications will be available for viewing beginning October 3rd, 2022. Applications will close on November 15th, 2022, at 11:59PM PST.

View the 2022 County Coordinator Statewide Grant Opportunity Announcement in its entirety here.

This grant program and publication are funded in full by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) as part of the California Climate Investments Program.


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: Orange County, November 18, 2022


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, 2022. 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.


Monica Morales, of Rocklin, has been appointed to the Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee. Morales has been Director of the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency since 2022. She was a Deputy Director at the California Department of Public Health from 2016 to 2021. Morales held several roles at the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health from 2011 to 2016, including Deputy Bureau Chief, Chronic Disease Director and Chronic Disease Wellness and Integration Manager. Morales earned a Master of Public Administration degree in Public Policy from Columbia University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Morales is a Democrat.   


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.


Rain and snow will hit California in November. Will stormy weather be enough to squash drought? – San Francisco Chronicle

Meteorologists predict how recent precipitation, as well as projected future snow and rain, will impact California’s drought.


Santa Barbara County helping cities, towns adapt to extreme weather KSBY 

Three new Community Resilience Centers are coming to Santa Barbara County to help cities and towns better prepare for climate change and natural disasters. 


42 Million Americans Still Don’t Have Access to Broadband Internet  Forbes Magazine

Although federal funding is available to help low-income residents pay for internet services, many rural and low-income residents across the country still lack access to reliable high-speed internet. The high prices, low speeds, and unreliable access in rural areas leave many struggling with limited or missed opportunities.