Los Angeles County Considers Congestion Pricing
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transport Authority is pursuing a feasibility study on traffic congestion with a draft of a congestion pricing scheme to manage traffic in some of the region's most congested areas. Metro narrowed down three potential locations for a pilot program including the 16-mile stretch of the 10 Freeway between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica, freeways and streets around downtown and canyon streets between the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Basin. Pricing, technology and projected revenue from the project is yet to be decided, but the pilot program will include subsidies for low-income drivers and carpoolers and funding for driving alternatives. Early modeling predicts the range of gross revenue from the program to be between $400,000 and $2.5 million daily. Metro hopes the program will decrease air pollution and traffic in the city, as well as fund other city agencies. Congestion pricing schemes have faced backlash in other areas like New York and San Diego.

Insurance Companies Balk at Covering Properties in Wildfire Areas
State Farm Insurance announced it will no longer accept homeowner insurance applications in California citing rising risks of catastrophe, especially wildfires, increases in construction costs and a "challenging" reinsurance market. Additionally, Allstate has paused new policies in California last year and will not continue to write new homeowner, condominium and commercial insurance policies in the state. State Farm cited it was in the best financial interest for their company, but Allstate did not make a public statement on why they were not issuing homeowners insurance in the state except to "continue to protect current customers." Both pullbacks indicate a growing price of insurance. Two other insurers protecting high-end homes, AIG and Chubb, pulled coverage in California in recent years. State Farm is the leading insurance provider in California and Allstate is the fourth leading property and casualty insurance provider in California.

La Jolla Explores Independent Cityhood
The upscale San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla is exploring the prospect of seceding from the City of San Diego and becoming an independent city of San Diego County, the Association for the City of La Jolla is collecting data from the City of San Diego and completing a fiscal analysis. The association needs 25% of residents' support followed by the support of San Diego residents. The application would then go to San Diego's Local Agency Formation Commission, which will conduct an independent financial assessment. The cities of Del Mar and Malibu, which both incorporated in the 1990s, advising secession proponents in La Jolla. A 2005 study of potential cityhood estimated that La Jolla could owe up to $4.6 million annually in mitigation payments to San Diego.

Beverly Hills Voters Reject Luxury Hotel
Beverly Hills voters rejected a proposal to develop an ultra-luxury hotel project after a long haul fight over the property between a union advocating for affordable housing and a conglomerate owned by Bernard Arnault, chair of LVMH and the world's richest person. The union gathered enough signatures to force the decision to a vote. The new hotel location would be the first property of the chain in North America, promising the city hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue. The project was approved by the city council and the Planning Commission last year. The conglomerate behind the chain has spent almost $2.8 million over a few months on a campaign to promote the project. The pro-housing union spent almost $86,000 over the same period. Residents Against Overdevelopment spent another $16,000 to support the campaign against the hotel. Beverly Hills has struggled to adopt a housing plan or establish any affordable housing nearby the city limits.

Symptoms of Climate Change Growing More Severe in California
The fourth edition of "Indicators of Climate Change in California," published by Cal EPA and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, details the severe increase in climate crisis impacts throughout the state. According to state scientists, the dangers of fossil fuel dependence are abundantly clear and worsening; wildfires, drought, and excessive heat have intensified, placed human health in increased danger, and created irreparable damage to landscapes and communities. Notably, annual average air temperatures have increased by 2.5 degrees since 1895, and eight of the 10 hottest years took place in the last decade. The report, which totals nearly 700 pages, suggests that the state has taken meaningful action in terms of coastal protection, renewable energy, and electric vehicle use, but initiatives must involve stronger actions to prevent the most catastrophic impacts.

CP&DR Coverage: New Perspectives on the Parking Crisis
Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World is the best, and breeziest, book on parking since Shoup Dogg first dropped the mic. By journalist Henry Grabar, who is best known for writing about cities on Slate, Paved Paradise is hip, current, and comprehensive. It covers not just Shoupian economics but also design, business, public administration, culture, and just about every other impact that parking has on America's cities, soul, and psyche in a relatively slim 300 pages. For Grabar, "parking is the primary determinant of the way the place you live looks, feels, and functions." If planners are to truly reform parking in the United States, they need to tell stories just like Grabar does, making the ills of over-parking and under-pricing accessible to everyone.

Quick Hits & Updates

The Los Angeles City Planning Commission is proposing potential citywide expansion of an adaptive reuse ordinance. Originally, the ordinance was adopted in 1999 for the Downtown area and converted 12,000 residential homes from offices. The Planning Commission aims to expand the ordinance as part of the citywide housing incentive program to meet a state mandate of 255,000 additional homes by 2024.

UC Davis's recent Joint Housing Report found the university housed almost 81,000 people in their local community as of fall 2022. Over the last six years, the UCD campus added housing accommodations for approximately 7,000 residents within the surrounding city and on the campus itself. An additional six planned projects would add 2,800 beds by 2030.

Tech billionaire Chris Larsen will provide a total of $2 million in grants to fifty groups to bolster San Francisco shopping districts and residential neighborhood merchants associations in the hopes to revive the city's slow economy recovery in the wake of the pandemic. Grants will also go towards safety measures like more street lights and over 1,000 private security cameras.

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released its California Floating Offshore Wind Regional Ports Assessment to study the requirements and potential scenarios for offshore wind plant developments and the capabilities and constraints of port facilities, setting up concrete recommendations and requirements for potential new clean energy sites statewide.

Attorney General Rob Bonta's office requested the state Supreme Court reconsider San Francisco's First District Court of Appeals ruling against UC Berkeley's plans for a student dorm at People's Park for failing to study noise impacts. The Governor's office voiced concern the ruling will create a leeway under the California Environmental Quality Act to block housing developments.

Think tank California Forward and Governor Newsom released a report recommending actions to expedite $180 billion worth of infrastructure projects in the state. The state anticipates up to $120 billion in federal and state funding for infrastructure projects. California Forward's report includes ways to leverage that total another $60 billion in projects centering equity, environmental sustainability and economic growth, estimating up to 400,000 construction jobs through the plan.

The Marin County Planning Commission voted to encourage county supervisors to reject the state's order allowing two accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on one, single-family parcel. The commission reviewed a letter from the state Department of Housing and Community Development's enforcement unit and rejected the suggested amendments to the city's development code, recommending the county supervisors push back against the order.

According to data from the most recent U.S. Census, San Jose has fallen off the list of top 10 largest cities in the U.S. by population. The city is now 12th largest in the country after population drops of 1% since the year previous and 4% since April 2020.

A new report by financial think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative found cleaning up California's oil sites will cost up to $21.5 billion, exceeding the oil industry's projected profits by three times. The cost of plugging oil and gas wells, deconstructing surface infrastructure and decontaminating sites will far exceed the projected profit of $6.3 billion.