The Barbed Wire - October 21, 2022

October 19, 2022
Insurance Commissioner Set to Enforce New State Fire Insurance Regulations
California Offshore Wind Energy Leases To Be Auctioned in Early December
U.S. Department of Interior Announces $210 Million for Drought Resilience Projects in the West
EDA Invests in Project Intended to Improve Farmer Productivity and Increase Wages
USDA Announces More Than $71 Million to Support Underserved Communities

Insurance Commissioner Set to Enforce New State Fire Insurance Regulations

Earlier this week, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced the approval of new insurance pricing regulations by the Office of Administrative Law that reward wildfire mitigation and safety efforts made by homeowners and businesses. The approval allows the Commissioner to enforce the regulations, effective as of October 17, 2022. 

The regulations, which were finalized by the Office of the Commissioner on September 1, 2022, require insurance companies to incorporate wildfire safety standards created earlier in the year by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) into any new rate filings, as well as to establish a process to release wildfire risk determinations to residents and businesses within 180 days. While the new regulations do not prevent insurers from non-renewing or canceling existing policies, they are designed to help restore affordable coverage to policyholders in high fire risk areas that are doing their part to fire-safe their homes and businesses. The full text of the regulations can be viewed on the CDI website here. For more information, contact RCRC Senior Policy Advocate, Staci Heaton.

California Offshore Wind Energy Leases To Be Auctioned in Early December

This week, the Biden Administration announced it will auction two sections of the California Coast for offshore wind development on December 6th.

Five areas are available for lease, which together cover over 373,000 acres. The leases include two areas off Humboldt County and three areas off San Luis Obispo County.

More than three dozen entities are potential bidders for the leases, which will be the first offshore wind energy leases on America’s west coast. While there are more than two dozen offshore wind leases in the Atlantic Ocean, these are the first offered off the West Coast. The Administration anticipates the leases could produce over 4.5 gigawatt hours of wind energy, power 1.5 million homes, and create thousands of new jobs.

For more information, contact RCRC Policy Advocate John Kennedy.

U.S. Department of Interior Announces $210 Million for Drought Resilience Projects in the West

On Monday, October 17th, the U.S. Department of Interior announced $210 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to bring clean, reliable drinking water to communities across the West, including $137 million to projects in California. Two of the California projects are located within  RCRC member counties:

  • B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project (Merced County): $25 million to the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Authority, to pursue the B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project. The project is associated with the B.F. Sisk Safety of Dams Modification Project. Once complete, the project will develop approximately 130,000 acre-feet of additional storage.
  • North of Delta Off Stream Storage (Sites Reservoir Project): $30 million to pursue off stream storage capable for up to 1.5 million acre-feet of water in the Sacramento River system located in the Coast range mountains west of Maxwell, California (Colusa County). The reservoir would utilize new and existing facilities to move water into and out of the reservoir, with ultimate release to the Sacramento River system via existing canals, a new pipeline near Dunnigan (Yolo County) , and the Colusa Basin Drain (Colusa County).

EDA Invests in Project Intended to Improve Farmer Productivity and Increase Wages

On Friday, October 14th, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla joined Biden Administration officials and local leaders in Fresno to celebrate the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) investments in the Central Valley. Two groups in the Central Valley, including one within RCRC member counties, were recently awarded grants by the EDA totaling over $88 million. The Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation (F3) Coalition was awarded $65 million as part of the EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. EDA funding will support the launch of an ag-tech hub with the mission of accelerating the development and transfer of technology between researchers at local universities and farmers across the region. Community colleges throughout the Central Valley will also receive access to training and new technology to equip students and workers with the skills needed to access higher quality, higher paying jobs in ag-tech—improving both farm productivity and wages.

USDA Announces More Than $71 Million to Support Underserved Communities

On Friday, October 14th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an investment of over $71 million to help underserved communities. Funding is provided through two key USDA programs: USDA’s 2501 Program and the American Rescue Plan Technical Assistance Investment Program.  Through these programs, USDA is investing $36.1 million in grants to 52 organizations across the country for outreach and technical assistance to underserved and veteran farmers, ranchers and foresters. One of these grants, totaling $750,000, was awarded to the Central Valley and the Peoples Foundation for Connecting Community, Military & Veterans in Santa Barbara County to increase agricultural production. 


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


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:


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.


2022 CAL FIRE County Coordinator Statewide Grant Program Opening in October

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.


Career Opportunities

  • 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.

  • Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (GCID) is seeking a Water Operations Superintendent. This position is open through October 31, 2022. For additional information, see the flyer here or visit the GCID website 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.

  • State Water Resources Control Board is currently accepting applications for two positions, open through October 31, 2022:

    • Delta Watermaster. The job posting is available here.

    • Presiding Administrative Hearing Officer. The job posting is available 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.


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


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.

Jennifer Benavidez, of Roseville, has been appointed Warden at the California Medical Facility, where she has served as Acting Warden since 2021 and served as Chief Deputy Warden from 2020 to 2021. Benavidez was Acting Chief Deputy Administrator at the California Health Care Facility in 2020. She held several roles at Folsom State Prison between 2016 and 2020, including Associate Warden and Correctional Captain. Benavidez was a Correctional Captain at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Headquarters from 2013 to 2016, where she also served as a Correctional Counselor from 2008 to 2013 and Correctional Lieutenant from 2007 to 2008. Benavidez served as a Correctional Sergeant and Correctional Officer at California State Prison Solano from 2003 to 2007 and was a Correctional Officer at the Northern California Women’s Facility from 1997 to 2003. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,332. Benavidez is a Republican. 

Landon Bird, of Copperopolis, has been appointed Warden at Valley State Prison, where he has served as Acting Warden since 2021. Bird served at Deuel Vocational Institution between 2020 and 2021 as both Acting Warden and Chief Deputy Warden. He held several positions at Sierra Conservation Center between 1999 and 2020, including Associate Warden, Correctional Captain, Classification and Parole Representative, Correctional Counselor II Supervisor, Correctional Counselor I and Correctional Officer. Bird was a Correctional Officer at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran from 1998 to 1999 and at High Desert State Prison in 1997. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,332. Bird is registered without party preference. 

Christopher Cabaldon, of Yolo, has been appointed to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Cabaldon has been Partner at Capitol Impact LLC since 2009. He has been Mayor in Residence at the Institute for the Future since 2021. Cabaldon was Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair and Professor of Public Policy & Administration at California State University, Sacramento from 2019 to 2021. He was a Councilmember for the City of West Sacramento from 1996 to 1998 and Mayor of the City of West Sacramento from 1998 to 2020. Cabaldon was President and CEO at EDVoice from 2003 to 2008. He was Vice Chancellor for Policy, Planning & Governmental Affairs at California Community Colleges from 1997 to 2003. Cabaldon was Chief Consultant for the State Assembly Committee on Higher Education and Chief of Staff for the State Assembly Appropriations Committee from 1989 to 1997. He was Legislative Director at the University of California Student Association from 1987 to 1989. He served as a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education from 2011 to 2021. Cabaldon earned a Master of Public Policy degree in Public Policy and Administration from California State University, Sacramento. This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Cabaldon is a Democrat. 

Shannon Coe, of Davis, has been appointed to the State Independent Living Council. Coe has been a Community Parent at WarmLine Family Resource Center since 2018. She was a Program Coordinator at the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers from 2011 to 2015.  Coe was a Consultant at Humanity & Inclusion in 2009. She was an Urban Youth Development Worker at the U.S. Peace Corps from 2004 to 2006. Coe was a Mentor at the Youth Empowerment Project in 2003. She was Acting Program Coordinator at the Fulfillment Fund Teen Access Program from 2002 to 2003. Coe earned a Master of Public Administration degree in International Management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Coe is a Democrat. 

Susan Rotchy, of Dixon, has been appointed to the State Independent Living Council. Rotchy has been Executive Director at Independent Living Resources of Solano & Contra Costa Counties since 2022, where she held several positions from 2005 to 2022, including Program Manager and Benefits Specialist. She was a Substitute Teacher for the Vacaville Public School District from 2007 to 2010. Rotchy was an Optician for Dr. Randall Cummings from 1993 to 1996. She is a member of the In-Home Support, Solano Advisory Committee and the Consolidated Transportation Services Agency Advisory Committee. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Rotchy 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.


In California, unhealthy pollution from wildfire smoke has become dangerously common – KPBS Media

A study conducted by Stanford University finds that 21 times more Californians are impacted by smoke-derived air pollution than one year ago. 



Some San Joaquin Valley towns pay hefty price to keep taps flowing – SJV Water

Reduced surface water allocations are forcing small valley cities to may up to $1,800 per acre foot (1,284%) to supply municipal water.


U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen and Susan Collins Bipartisan, Bicameral Mobile Health Act Signed Into Law - New Law Increases Access to Health Care Services in Rural and Underserved Communities – Sierra Sun Times

President Biden has signed a bipartisan, bicameral MOBILE Health Care Act into law. Legislation provides community health flexibility to use federal funds to establish mobile health care delivery sites to increase health care services in rural and underserved communities.