The Barbed Wire: SPECIAL EDITION - December 31, 2020

December 31, 2020
2021 RCRC Officers to be Sworn-in on January 13th – Virtual Reception Later in the Evening
Governor Newsom Extends Wildfire Price Gouging Prohibitions Dating to 2017
Hometown California Season 2….Coming Soon!
The Latest on Revisions to the Board of Forestry State Fire Safe Regulations
End of Year Congressional State-of-Play
List of Major Biden Administration Picks for Cabinet and Notable Administration Roles (as of December 23rd, 2020)
Resumption of the 2021 Legislative Session Delayed Due to Coronavirus Surge
21st Annual North State 2021 Economic Forecast Conference, Sponsored in part by RCRC

2021 RCRC Officers to be Sworn-in on January 13th – Virtual Reception Later in the Evening

The 2021 Officers of RCRC will be sworn in during the RCRC Board of Directors meeting on January 13, 2020.  The 2021 Officers were elected by the RCRC Board of Directors during their December meeting.  Taking the helm in 2021 is Supervisor Stacy Corless of Mono County who will serve as Chair.  In addition, Supervisor Dan Miller of Nevada County will serve as 1st Vice and Supervisor Doug Teeter of Butte County as 2nd Vice Chair.  Immediate Past Chair, Daron McDaniel of Merced County will remain part of the four-supervisor leadership team.  Congressman John Garamendi (D-Yolo) will administer the oath of office to the four officers at the beginning of the morning meeting.

Later in the evening, RCRC will host a virtual reception to celebrate the Installation of Officers as well as honor the recipients of the 2020 Rural Leadership Awards. The highlight of the reception will be a panel discussion with agency leaders on Comprehensive Wildfire Prevention and Response.  To join us for the event, register now.

Governor Newsom Extends Wildfire Price Gouging Prohibitions Dating to 2017

On Thursday, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order extending prohibitions on price gouging in communities impacted by catastrophic wildfires dating back to orders issued by former Governor Jerry Brown in 2017 and including wildfires in 2019.  The Order includes communities in Butte, Los Angeles, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma and Ventura Counties that were impacted by devastating wildfire such as the Camp Fire, the Tubbs Fire and the Kincade Fire. 

The Order extends prohibitions on price increases greater than 10 percent on goods and services in an area where a state of emergency has been declared. Typically, the prohibitions last for 30 days and must be renewed. However, the Governor’s order extended the protections through December 31, 2021 to protect communities that are still rebuilding from price gauging on rent and other goods and services while residents are still displaced. 

The full text of the Governor’s Executive Order can be viewed on the Governor’s website here.

Hometown California Season 2….Coming Soon!

The New Year is beginning, and the next season of RCRC’s Hometown California podcast is soon to follow.  We are kicking off the new season with an interview with Mono County Supervisor Stacy Corless, the 2021 Chair of RCRC. 

After facing a year of devastating wildfires, a global pandemic, and the resulting changes to everyday life, we enter 2021 with new resolve and hope.  Although uncertain what the immediate future holds, Supervisor Corless is focused on the comprehensive wildfire response and long-term recovery necessary for rural California and its communities to survive and thrive.  Tune in next week to get a glimpse of the inspiration that drives Supervisor Corless as a leader in one of California’s smallest counties.  Hear about her experience as a county leader through what was arguably one of the toughest years in recent history, and about her vision for RCRC in the year ahead.

Find all of Hometown California, Season 1 right here.

The Latest on Revisions to the Board of Forestry State Fire Safe Regulations

This week the California Board of Forestry (BOF) announced it would be holding two additional workshops on its proposal to revise the State Fire Safe regulations. This follows an over eight-hour public workshop held December 22nd in which RCRC staff, as well as staff from the Association of California Water Agencies, raised concerns regarding the impacts of the draft regulations, particularly on rural communities. The BOF is set to consider the revised regulations at its January 19th joint committee meeting for submission to the Office of Administrative Law, thus beginning the formal rulemaking process.

The State Fire Safe regulations set forth basic wildfire protection standards for development in State Responsibility Area (SRA) and, beginning July 1, 2021, the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones of the Local Responsibility Area (LRA). The changes made in the draft rulemaking, will have extraordinary impacts on housing production, not only in rural areas of the state, but also in more urbanized regions of California.  For instance, the draft regulations would prohibit any future building construction on property served by a road that has not been upgraded, or that cannot be upgraded to meet current standards, such as dead-end roads.  These upgrade requirements include road widening, re-surfacing, leveling grades and curves, and bridge improvements, from the property line to the nearest fire station, and apply to the building of a single residential unit or any business increasing its "service capacity."  All required upgrades would be at the expense of the property owner.

RCRC staff has been in discussions with the BOF since April of this year on proposed revisions to the State Fire Safe regulations and have offered both written and oral comments on the preceding emergency rulemaking that ultimately made more minor changes to the regulations.  On Wednesday, based on feedback from a working group of local government partners, RCRC submitted a revised rulemaking draft for BOF consideration, which outlined necessary amendments to the current BOF proposal.

Details on the upcoming regulatory workshops scheduled for January can be found here. For more information, please contact Tracy Rhine at

End of Year Congressional State-of-Play

On Sunday evening, President Trump signed into law the $908 billion COVID relief package along with the Fiscal Year 2021 annual spending bill, avoiding a government shutdown earlier in the week. The President signed the legislation after tweeting last week that he intended to veto the package unless Congress increased stimulus checks to $2,000 and “removed unnecessary items from the legislation.” While signing the legislation, President Trump again insisted on an increase in stimulus check payments to Americans as well as the rescinding of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

Despite the COVID relief package and the annual spending bill now becoming law, the prospect of an additional $2,000 in stimulus checks remains a flashpoint of negotiations in Congress as the legislative body closes in on the final days of its 116th Congress. On Monday, the House of Representatives returned to session to override President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as well as pass the CASH Act, which provides for the additional $2,000 in stimulus checks to Americans. The U.S. Senate is expected to follow up with the veto override of the NDAA before Monday when a the 117th Congress convenes. However, complications have arisen regarding President Trump’s demands for additional $2,000 in stimulus checks as well as the rescinding of Section 230.  Notably, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has expressed his intent to filibuster the NDAA override unless the Senate holds a vote on additional $2,000 in stimulus checks. Under Senate rules, Senator Sanders has the ability to keep the chamber in during the holiday week and likely alter the campaign schedules of Senator David Perdue (R-Georgia) and Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia). On Tuesday, both GOP Senators announced their backing of President Trump‘s call for additional $2,000 in stimulus checks, while remaining coy about whether they would break from him over his recent veto of the NDAA. Both Senators face their own separate run-off election on Tuesday, January 5th, which will determine whether Republicans will maintain control of the U.S. Senate.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell commented on the House-passed CASH Act ($2,000 checks) that the bill is too generous for higher earners and “has no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate.” McConnell also affirmed that he would not split up the CASH Act from any legislation rescinding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, stating “the Senate is not going to split apart the three issues that President Trump linked together just because Democrats are afraid to address two of them.”

List of Major Biden Administration Picks for Cabinet and Notable Administration Roles (as of December 23rd, 2020)

  • White House Chief of Staff: Ron Klain
  • Treasury Secretary: Janet Yellen
  • Secretary of Defense: Lloyd Austin
  • Secretary of State: Antony Blinken
  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator: Michael S. Regan
  • Special Presidential Envoy for Climate: John Kerry
  • White House Climate Czar: Gina McCarthy
  • Secretary of the Interior: Deb Haaland
  • Secretary of Homeland Security: Alejandro Mayorkas
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Denis McDonough
  • Secretary of Transportation: Pete Buttigieg
  • Secretary of Energy: Jennifer Granholm
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Linda Thomas-Greenfield
  • Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines
  • National Security Adviser: Jake Sullivan
  • Office of Management and Budget Director: Neera Tanden
  • White House Press Secretary: Jennifer Psaki
  • Top White House Economic Adviser: Brian Deese
  • U.S. Trade Representative: Katherine Tai
  • Surgeon General: Vivek Murthy
  • Health and Human Services Secretary: Xavier Becerra
  • White House Domestic Policy Council Director: Susan Rice
  • Secretary of Agriculture: Tom Vilsack
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary: Marcia Fudge
  • Education Department Secretary: Miguel Cardona
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director: Rochelle Walensky
  • Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response and Counselor to the President: Jeff Zients
  • Chief Medical Adviser on COVID-19: Dr. Anthony Fauci
  • Deputy Chief of Staff: Bruce Reed

Resumption of the 2021 Legislative Session Delayed Due to Coronavirus Surge

Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) have announced a one-week delay in the Legislature’s return to Sacramento to resume the Legislative Session.  Rather than reconvening on January 4 as originally scheduled, lawmakers will return to the Capitol on January 11, 2021 in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus after the holidays.  In a joint statement, Senator Atkins and Speaker Rendon said they made the decision to “keep members, Legislative staff, and all staff in the Capitol as safe as possible”.  The decision comes after a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in the State Capitol during recent weeks, and as the number of new cases in California continue to reach record highs.

21st Annual North State 2021 Economic Forecast Conference, Sponsored in part by RCRC

RCRC is a proud sponsor of the 21st Annual North State 2021 Economic Forecast Conference, presented by the North State Planning and Development Collective at the California State University, Chico. The conference features panels on best practices in innovative education programs; strategies that combine digital and brick-and-mortar solutions for a changing consumer; and community planning for a changing retail/commercial climate. Hear from Rachel Michelin, CEO of the California Retailers Association; Dr. Robert Eyler, President of Economic Forensics and Analytics; and Bob Lanter, Executive Director of the California Workforce Association. 

Date: January 14, 2021
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

More information is available here. Click here to register now.

registration info 


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


Job Opportunity- Calaveras County 

Calaveras County is seeking candidates for open positions, Community Health Assistant I/II/III. To learn more about what Calaveras County has to offer, watch this video. Apply by January 18, 2021. To apply, or for more information, see here.


Upcoming Workshop For 2021 Off-Highway Vehicle Grants and Cooperative Agreements

Mark your calendars for upcoming grant opportunities for local governments and other entities to manage off-highway vehicle recreation.  On January 6-7, 2021, a virtual workshop will be held to offer technical assistance on applying for and/or learning about projects.  These grant dollars support planning, acquisition, development, maintenance, administration, operation, enforcement, restoration, and conservation of trails, trailheads, areas, and other facilities associated with the use of off-highway motor vehicles, and programs involving off-highway motor vehicle safety or education.  Applications are due March 1, 2021 and will be awarded mid-summer 2021. For more information and how to register, see here


DWR Competitive Grants for COD Basins- Submission Deadline: January 8, 2021

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the final Proposition 68 Implementation Proposal Solicitation Package for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. The program will award $26 million to critically overdrafted groundwater basins for Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) implementation projects that address drought and groundwater challenges, groundwater recharge projects, or projects that prevent or clean up contaminated groundwater used for drinking water. Round 1 grant applications must be submitted using DWR’s online submittal tool and will be accepted through January 8, 2021. A Round 2 solicitation is expected to open in Spring 2022, and will offer at least $77 million in additional grants for medium priority, high priority, and critically overdrafted basins. For more information visit the Grants and Loans webpage, or email


California Water Commission Water Conveyance Public Workshops

The California Water Commission is conducting a series of public workshops as part of its efforts to assess a potential state role in financing conveyance projects that could help meet needs in a changing climate. The Commission encourages broad participation, with the goal of learning from diverse voices across the state. Workshops have already occurred for Southeastern California and Southern California have already.  For more information, visit the Programs and Topics page.

Workshop Schedule

All workshops are from 2:45-5 p.m. (entry to meeting site opens at 2:30 p.m.) 

Northern California – Tuesday, January 12, 2021 (register now)

Central California – Tuesday, January 26, 2021 (register now)


Online Tool Connects Residents in High Risk Areas with a Pathway to Home Insurance

As a result of the work of the California Tree Mortality Task Force, in 2018, the California Insurance Commissioner issued a report containing recommendations to address homeowners’ insurance cancellations and non-renewals in tree mortality and other high fire risk areas. The report identified Yapacopia, a public benefit corporation, as the provider of a free online service connecting homeowners in high risk areas—even those who have been denied previously— with insurers, insurance agents, and brokers. The MatchUP Insurance Finder connects county residents with insurance providers quickly. A unique webpage has been created for each county, providing information, links, and useful tools. In addition, Yapacopia will provide a webinar for any county to discuss wildfire preparation and recovery, and insurance issues. More information about Yapacopia and the MatchUP Insurance Finder is available here.


GO-Biz Announces Cannabis Equity Grants Available for Local Jurisdictions

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has announced $15 million is available in Fiscal Year 2020-21 for cities and counties to promote equity and eliminate barriers to populations and communities that were disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition.  Local Jurisdictions may be awarded up to $75,000 for assistance on cannabis equity program development, or up to $5 million in assistance for cannabis equity program applicants and licensees to gain entry to the state’s regulated cannabis marketplace.  Grant applications must be submitted by February 1, 2021. Grants will be awarded no later than May 14, 2021. For more information on this grant and how to apply, see here.


Resource pages, deadline extensions, and available programs to assist communities impacted by COVID-19.


DWR Provides Tips for Holding Online Meetings to Address Groundwater Sustainability Plans

As Groundwater Sustainability Plans are being developed to meet the January 2022 deadline, several counties (and water agencies) have asked for advice for engaging stakeholders and interested parties through online resources.  In response to community interest, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Sustainable Groundwater Management Office has put together examples, tips, and tactics to consider. The DWR tips are available here.


Coronavirus Relief Available from the Small Business Administration

The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering several coronavirus relief options to help alleviate the financial hardships resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19). The programs have received an overwhelming number of applications from businesses, so be sure to check the SBA website for the latest updates on the status of these programs.

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program. After initial funding was quickly depleted, the program received an infusion of an additional $310 billion, allowing the SBA to resume the program on April 27, 2020. Be sure to check the SBA website for the most recent information on the application process and availability of funds.
  • The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance provides up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.
  • SBA Express Bridge Loans can be used to bridge the gap for businesses while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan; small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
  • SBA Debt Relief provides a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are interested in programs for other disasters, the SBA Disaster Loan Assistance portal is available here.


Economic Development Resources for Communities and Businesses Impacted by the Coronavirus

The California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED) has assembled resources for communities and business impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The page will be continually evolving as new resources become available. To go directly to the CALED resources, click here.


Use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds for Infectious Disease Response

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds may be used for a range of eligible activities that prevent and respond to the spread of infectious diseases such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Check out the Quick Guide to CDBG Eligible Activities to Support Infectious Disease Response for guidance and additional information.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) County Resource Page Available

The California State Association of Counties (CSAC), RCRC’s local government partner, continues to provide excellent up-to-date state and federal information to counties on this ever-changing pandemic event.  We encourage visiting CSAC’s COVID-19 resource page, which contains vital links to all CSAC COVID-19 advocacy letters and resources.  CSAC’s staff continues to work around the clock to update activities so that all of California’s counties can remain properly informed.