California’s population and economy are booming, and investments in necessary infrastructure have failed to keep up. A housing crisis faces Californians in terms of availability and cost, but many other issues are interwoven with these. The influx of people and businesses requires better access to water and energy resources, along with better and more efficient transportation which allows workers to more easily commute to major employment centers while living in more affordable outlying regions. For decades, our infrastructure has been systematically starved by American politicians who see us as an economically exploitable resource, and who spend our money everywhere but here.
The California National Party believes it is time to invest in California and create the modern infrastructure needed to provide a high standard of living for our citizens, as well as to provide the foundation for continued economic expansion and business competitiveness. Our growth and development plan addresses challenges and opportunities in urban planning, transportation, clean energy production and distribution, water conservation, communications, and disaster prevention.
As laid out in the Environmental plank, the California National Party calls for the transfer of all federal lands to California and its First Nations to be used to meet our water, energy, and recreational needs.
At present, the federal government controls 45% of the territory of California. Although much of this is forests and parklands, it also includes many of our dams, canals, and reservoirs, as well as geographic areas necessary for renewable energy production. This is a uniquely western problem in that the federal government owns nearly half the land of the 11 contiguous western states, whereas east of the Rocky Mountains only 4% of land is federally held. The California National Party seeks to coordinate with our neighbors to secure sovereignty over our own respective territories.
Such lands would subsequently be administered at the city, county, First Nation, and California level depending on a number of factors, including historic use, projected infrastructure needs, environmental concerns, and existing contracts and treaties.
Water usage and accessibility is a key issue for every Californian no matter their job, politics, or place of residence. Investment in water infrastructure, for example to move water from coastal desalination plants to rural farming communities, is needed to ensure access to water at reasonable prices for all communities and farms.
The California National Party therefore advocates for the following:
- Urban water collection through rainwater should be the norm, and should be incentivized in all new construction, urban and rural, where possible.
- Green roofs and other water saving technology should be mandated on all new State buildings, and added to residential building code as a requirement, with upgrade matching funds.
- Ban on neighborhood associations and other private entities fining people for not watering lawns.
- Major government-sponsored research into desalination, to make California the world leader in this technology, and so that we can become a water exporter to dry southwest states. Desalination plants will operate as public utilities, so revenue can support state budgets in the future and repay the up-front taxpayer investment.
California’s energy policies are firmly based on a recognized need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The California National Party supports existing initiatives to:
- Meet the 50% by 2030 renewable energy goal.
- Shift from gasoline to zero-emission vehicles that run on electricity from plug-in electric batteries and/or hydrogen fuel cells.
- Double the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
- Explore the use of renewable gas, including biomethane and biogas, as a substitute for natural gas.
In addition, we support:
- Decentralized energy generation through individual wind and solar units.
- Phased-in upgrades to California’s building codes to make green building technology mandatory for new structures.
- Subsidies and incentives for property owners to upgrade existing structures, using appropriate green technology, in order to reduce the environmental impact, energy consumption, and water usage.
We will work in partnership with Californian industry through the Office of Innovation to make us a leader in green energy, and to smooth the transition to a post-carbon economy. We need focused investment into green energy and methods to reduce the carbon footprint of industry. Patents on this technology will give Californian businesses an edge in the coming post-carbon economy and be a valuable asset in their own right.
Housing and Construction
The rising cost of living poses an existential crisis for many longtime residents, favoring wealthy newcomers and real estate speculators. To ameliorate this stress we support simplification of building permits and environmental review in urban areas to support urban infill and avoid displacing residents. Environmental review should be more efficient, not less stringent, and rent control should be a mechanism to stabilize at-risk communities and limit suburban sprawl.
California can incentivize sustainable development by only providing funds for redevelopment if certain density and mixed-use requirements are met. In particular, projects featuring three or four stories of residential atop first-floor retail will be encouraged. This will facilitate car-free living on a human scale and create a large number of affordable homes. With fewer individual yards, it will be necessary to increase funding for the creation and maintenance of parks and other urban green spaces.
In addition, the California National Party advocates for the following:
- We must end racial segregation of neighborhoods in California. There should be focused investment into infrastructure, parks, schools, and public services such as street cleaning in historically marginalized communities.
- Investment in sustainable, healthy, and high-quality lower-income housing in urban blight areas.
- California must end the creation of ‘poverty islands’ in public housing. Low-income housing should be integrated into neighborhoods and not concentrated into low-opportunity islands.
- As the best farmlands and wildlife habitats are frequently also the most likely to be usurped by residential use, we encourage zoning policies that preserve and enhance forests, greenspace, and working farms.
- California must see to the expeditious completion of the earthquake early-alert system project, similar to Japan’s, so that we can minimize deaths and injuries in the event of earthquakes.
- Encourage planting of native plant species to reduce threat of wildfire.
- Solicitation of designs and bids for a seawall at the Golden Gate of the San Francisco Bay as defense against future flooding, as called for in our Environmental plank.
The California National Party advocates for the following:
- Investment in transportation infrastructure to end the freeway gridlock that wastes time and reduces the quality of life in many of our cities with a transportation policy that focuses on the needs of each region, based on geography and population density.
- Specifically we support a commission to investigate the feasibility of Solar Roadways.
- In urban areas, increased development and expansion of light rail in urban cores to encourage density and reduce congestion, along with intercity rail to encourage mass transit commuters from outlying suburbs.
- For increased regional urban integration, investments in freeways and automobile transit infrastructure must be part of an integrated plan, not the sole option.
- To encourage cycling, dedicated lanes separated from car traffic by a curb or other hard boundary should become the norm, to be employed in all new construction and retrofitted to existing roadways as needed. As well, other bicycle infrastructure such as secure storage should continue to develop, and cities should encourage the deployment of rental fleets where feasible.
- Regional transportation should be consolidated with the goal of increasing efficiency and removing bureaucracy, especially in areas with a number of uncoordinated transit agencies, such as the Bay Area. Such transit plans should be developed in conjunction with regional housing plans with similar simplification and streamlining of the approval process.
- Matching funding from California government for transit infrastructure more strongly tied to amount of traffic and population of surrounding area in terms of ratio to citywide population, not absolute numbers. Lower-density neighborhoods will allow local officials to either zone higher density areas around transit hubs or cover the cost of building and transit maintenance themselves.
- We support high-speed rail, and greater rail connectivity in general, across California, including the efforts by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to establish an initial working system by 2025. High-speed rail links the California nation and allows all of our people to enjoy the wide range of opportunities and experiences our great nation has to offer, with maximum efficiency and minimal cost. Rural areas should be attached to this by a modern bus system consolidated around regional hubs.