Region 9 Legislative Article for December
The first year of the 2013-2014 legislative session is over. As the Sacramento BEE pointed out “for all his [Governor Brown’s] complaints about the deluge of legislation, by the time Brown finished acting on this year’s legislation, he had accommodated the Democratic-controlled Legislature on all but about 11 percent of the bills it sent him. The final count for the year, according to the governor's office: 800 regular session bills signed, 96 rejected. Over the course of his career, the third-term governor has now signed more than 13,500 regular session bills.”
Some interesting facts about recent history and Governors’ vetoes.
- Governor Brown vetoed his lowest percentage of bills (11%) since returning to office in 2010.
- Governor Brown’s veto rate (12.34%) during his current term (2010-2013) is higher than his veto rate during his first two terms (4.4%).
- Governor Brown considered 896 bills in 2013, compared to 996 in 2012 and 870 in 2011.
- In his first three years in office (1975-77), Governor Brown considered 4,318 bills; during the past three years (2011-13), he has considered 2,762 bills.
- Governors Deukmejian and Schwarzenegger still hold the record for the most bills vetoed in a year, 436 (1990) and 414 (2008), respectively. Schwarzenegger vetoed one of three bills sent to him in 1998 (35.17%).
- In 1982, Governor Brown vetoed just 30 bills of the 1,674 he considered, setting the record for the lowest number of vetoes and the lowest veto rate (1.79%).
- Governor Pat Brown acted on about 7,500 bills during his two terms as Governor (1958-66). He vetoed (including “pocket vetoes”) 512 bills, or about 6%.
- During the last five years, legislators have passed fewer bills than in any other five-year period since 1967.
- Governor Deukmejian vetoed the most bills (2,298 over eight years). However, with 1,970 vetoes over his seven years in office, Governor Schwarzenegger’s annual average (281) is close to Governor Deukmejian’s annual average of 287 vetoes per year.
- Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed three times as many bills in seven years (1,970) as Brown did in his first eight years (528) and twice as many as Governor Reagan in eight years (843).
- During his 11 years in office, Governor Brown has signed 13,299 bills.
Final Action on ASCE Bills
AB 116 (Bocanegra D) Land use: subdivision maps: expiration dates. (Support) Extends the expiration date of any tentative map, vesting tentative map, or parcel map for which a tentative map or vesting tentative map, as the case may be, has been approved, by 24 months. CHAPTERED 7/11/2013
AB 401(Daly D) Transportation: design-build: highways (Support) Would authorize the Department of Transportation to utilize design-build procurement for up to 10 projects on the state highway system, based on either best value or lowest responsible bid. The bill would authorize regional transportation agencies, as defined, to utilize design-build procurement for projects on or adjacent to the state highway system. The bill would also authorize those regional transportation agencies to utilize design-build procurement for projects on expressways that are not on the state highway system, as specified. CHAPTERED 10/5/2013
Infrastructure Financing Districts
AB 229 (John A. Pérez D) Local government: infrastructure and revitalization financing districts. (Support) Would authorize the creation by a city, county, city and county, or joint powers authority of an infrastructure and revitalization financing district, as defined, and the issuance of debt with 2/3 voter approval. The bill would authorize the creation of a district for up to 40 years and the issuance of debt with a final maturity date of up to 30 years, as specified. The bill would authorize a district to finance projects in redevelopment project areas and former redevelopment project areas and former military bases. Two-year bill.
AB 243(Dickinson D) Local government: infrastructure and revitalization financing districts. (Support) Would authorize the creation of an infrastructure and revitalization financing district, as defined, and the issuance of debt with 55% voter approval. The bill would authorize the creation of a district for up to 40 years and the issuance of debt with a final maturity date of up to 30 years, as specified. The bill would authorize a district to finance projects in redevelopment project areas and former redevelopment project areas and former military bases. The bill would authorize the legislative body of a city, as defined, to dedicate any portion of its funds received from the Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund to the district, if specified criteria are met. Two-year bill.
AB 716 (Quirk-Silva D) Infrastructure: state planning and funding. (Support) Adds housing to the list of assets considered to be "infrastructure" for purposes of the state's 5-year infrastructure plan and requires the Strategic Growth Council to review and comment on the plan. Two-year bill.
SCA 4 (Liu D) Local government transportation projects: special taxes: voter approval. (Support) This measure would lower the vote requirement for the imposition, extension, or increase of a special tax by a local government for the purpose of providing funding for local transportation projects from 2/3 of the voters to 55% of its voters voting on the proposition. Two-year bill.
SCA 8 (Corbett D) Transportation projects: special taxes: voter approval. (Support) This measure would lower the vote threshold for the imposition, extension, or increase of a special tax by a local government for the purpose of providing funding for transportation projects from the current 2/3 of the voters to 55% of its voters voting on the proposition. Two-year bill.
SB 152 (Roth D) Licensed professionals: engineers: geologists: geophysicists. (Support) Current law generally regulates the practice of persons engaged in the practice of engineering. The act provides for a temporary authorization to practice engineering, as specified. This bill would delete the existing provisions in the Professional Engineers Act allowing for a temporary authorization to practice as an engineer and would make additional conforming changes. This bill also requires geologists and geophysicists to use written contracts with specified exceptions. CHAPTERED 8/27/2013
SB 425 (DeSaulnier D) Public works: the Public Works Peer Review Act of 2013. (Support) Would allow a public agency, principally tasked with administering, planning, developing, and operating a public works project, to establish a specified peer review group, as defined, and would require the administering agency, if a peer review group is established, to draft a charter, published on the agency's Internet Web site, related to the duties of the peer review group. CHAPTERED 9/6/2013
AB 14 (Lowenthal D) State freight plan. (Support) Would require the Transportation Agency to prepare a state freight plan with specified elements to govern the immediate and long-range planning activities and capital investments of the state with respect to the movement of freight. The bill would require the agency to establish a freight advisory committee with various responsibilities in that regard. The initial state freight plan would be submitted to the Legislature, the Governor, and certain state agencies by December 31, 2014, and updated every 5 years thereafter. CHAPTERED 9/6/2013
AB 145 (Perea D) State Water Resources Control Board: drinking water. (Oppose unless amended) Would transfer to the State Water Resources Control Board the various duties and responsibilities imposed on the department by the California Safe Drinking Water Act. The bill would require these provisions to be implemented during the 2014-15 fiscal year. Two-year bill.
AB 803 (Gomez D) Water Recycling Act of 2013. (Support) Current law requires any person who, without regard to intent or negligence, causes or permits any sewage or other waste, or the effluent of treated sewage or other waste, to be discharged in or on any waters of the state, or where it probably will be discharged in or on any waters of the state, to immediately notify the local health officer of the director of environmental health of the discharge, as prescribed. This bill, the Water Recycling Act of 2013, would provide that this notification requirement does not apply to an unauthorized discharge of effluent of treated sewage defined as recycled water, as defined. CHAPTERED 10/8/2013
AB 850 (Nazarian D) Public capital facilities: water quality. (Support) Would authorize specified joint powers authorities, upon the application of a local agency that owns and operates a publicly owned utility, as defined, to issue rate reduction bonds to finance a utility project, as defined, under specified circumstances. The bill would terminate the authority to issue rate reduction bonds pursuant to these provisions after December 31, 2020. The bill would provide that the rate reduction bonds are secured by utility project property, as defined. The bill would authorize the authority to impose on, and collect from, customers of the publicly owned utility a utility project charge, as a separate nonbypassable charge, to finance the rate reduction bond. CHAPTERED 10/8/2013
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. made the following Water Board appointments. These appointments require Senate confirmation.
Gregory Giusti of Kelseyville has been appointed to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. Giusti has been an advisor and director of forest and wildlands ecology at the University of California Cooperative Extension since 1985. He was an agricultural biologist at the San Mateo County Department of Agriculture from 1981 to 1985 and chief biologist at the Marine Ecological Institute from 1979 to 1981. He earned a Master of Arts degree in ecology and population biology from California State University, San Francisco.
Eric Sandel of Truckee has been reappointed to the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served since 1993. Sandel has held multiple positions at S.A. Engineering since 1978, including principal and engineer. He is a licensed professional engineer and a member of the Truckee-Tahoe Engineers Association and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
William Von Blasingame of Irvine, has been appointed to the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. Von Blasingame has been a member of the OneOC Board of Directors since 2011 and of the Orange Children and Parents Together Board of Directors since 2008. He was senior vice president and general manager of Caribbean Operations at Mirant Energy Company from 2005 to 2007 and chief financial officer and president at Edison Mission Energy, Asia Pacific from 1986 to 2005. Von Blasingame earned a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and real estate from the University of California, Berkeley.
Stefanie Warren of San Diego, has been reappointed to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she has served since 2013. Warren has been an attorney at Luce Forward, now McKenna Long and Aldridge LLP since 2006. She was a law clerk for the Honorable Irma E. Gonzalez at the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California from 2005 to 2006. Warren earned a Juris Doctor degree from Emory University School of Law.
Bruce Delgado of Marina, has been reappointed to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served since 2011. Delgado has been mayor of the City of Marina since 2008 and a botanist at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management since 1988. He is co-president of the Chuck Haugen Conservation Fund.
Jeffrey Young of Santa Barbara, has been reappointed to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served since 2000. Young has been an attorney in private practice since 1994. He was general counsel at the California Aquaculture Association from 1995 to 2000 and associate attorney at the Law Offices of Raymond J. Pulverman from 1994 to 1997. He was owner and operator of Pacific Seafood Industries from 1983 to 1992. Young earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Barbara College of Law and a Master of Science degree in natural resources from California State University, Humboldt.
Newsha Ajami of San Francisco has been reappointed to the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she has served since 2013. Ajami has been senior research associate at the Pacific Institute since 2011. She was a California Council on Science and Technology policy fellow at the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee from 2010 to 2011 and a consultant at Berkeley Economic Consulting Inc. from 2007 to 2010. Ajami was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley from 2005 to 2009. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Irvine and a Master of Science degree in hydrology and water resources from the University of Arizona.
James McGrath of Berkeley has been reappointed to the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served since 2007. He was manager of the Port of Oakland Environmental Department from 1990 to 2005 and a coastal protection analyst at the California Coastal Commission from 1976 to 1990. McGrath was an environmental protection specialist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1971 to 1976. He is a member of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. McGrath earned a Master of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Karl Longley of Fresno has been appointed to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served from 1999 to 2013 and served from 1989 to 1997. Longley has been water resources coordinator at the California State University, Fresno California Water Institute since 2005. He has held multiple positions at California State University, Fresno, College of Engineering, since 1982, including professor, dean and dean emeritus. Longley was a partner and consulting engineer at Hanna Longley and Associates from 1983 to 1985 and a civil engineer at Strauss and Roberts Consulting Civil Engineers Inc. from 1981 to 1982. Longley is a member of the American Water Works Association, the Water Environment Federation and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He earned a Doctor of Science degree in environmental health engineering and a Master of Science degree in water resources and sanitary engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
Carmen Ramirez of Merced has been reappointed to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she has served since 2011. Ramirez has held multiple positions at the Law Offices of Fagalde Albertoni and Flores LLP since 2008, including attorney and associate attorney. She was a redevelopment associate at the City of Merced Office of Economic Development from 2003 to 2007. Ramirez earned a Juris Doctor degree from the San Joaquin College of Law.
Ellen Way of La Quinta has been reappointed to the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she has served since 2004. Way has been owner of Sanders Way Ranch since 1990. She was president of California Women for Agriculture from 2000 to 2002 and an agricultural specialist for California State Assemblymember James Battin from 1994 to 2000. Way was a merchandising representative and food service manager at Sun World International from 1990 to 1994. She is a member of the Western Growers Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation and California Women for Agriculture.
Nancy Wright of Whitewater has been reappointed to the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she has served since 2012 and served from 2000 to 2007. Wright has been vice president at Pete Wright General Contractor Inc. since 1997 and co-owner of the Wright Window Company since 1994. She was co-owner of Peter A. Wright General Contractor from 1977 to 1997. Wright is vice chair of the Riverside County Local Agency Formation Commission and vice president of the Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors.
Charles Stringer of Los Angeles has been appointed to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served since 2010. Stringer has been principal and general counsel at the Renewable Resources Group since 2006. He founded and was owner of the Law Offices of C. M. Stringer from 2001 to 2006 and was senior legal and policy advisor at the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission from 1999 to 2001. Stringer was senior assistant tribal attorney for the White Mountain Apache Tribe from 1996 to 1998 and assistant regional counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10 from 1992 to 1996. He was an associate at Short Cressman and Burgess from 1989 to 1992. Stringer earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Minnesota, School of Law.
Lawrence Yee of Ojai has been reappointed to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served since 2012. Yee has been president and coordinating director of the National Food Commons since 2010. He was a national program leader for food marketing systems innovations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2003 to 2004 and held multiple positions at the University of California Cooperative Extension from 1975 to 2008, including director of the University of California Cooperative Extension in Ventura County and director of the University of California Hansen Trust. Yee is a member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree in agribusiness from Santa Clara University.
Groundwater Workplan Concept Paper: Discussion Draft. California Water Boards.
The Water Boards are developing a work plan that will align their current groundwater protection activities with those of other entities. The proposed framework is organized around five factors: thresholds for water level drawdown, monitoring and assessment of both water level and quality, governance structures capable of preventing negative impacts before they occur, funding for required monitoring and governance, and enforcement activities where protection of groundwater is insufficient.
Region 9 Article for December
ASCE Region 9
Membership and Improving Student Transition
Gregg Fiegel, PhD, PE, GE, M.ASCE, ASCE Region 9 At-Large Governor
As an introduction, my name is Gregg Fiegel, and I am a Professor at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo. December begins my third month as an At-Large Governor for ASCE Region 9. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve you in this role and am looking forward to meeting you over the next three years. One of my responsibilities as a Governor is to assist the Region with membership recruitment and retention. Given my experience as an ASCE Faculty Advisor, I am particularly interested in student transition (where an individual advances from Student Member to Associate Member within the Society). I am eager to work with the Region on this issue.
Many of you know that student membership in the Society is free. Many of you also know that ASCE provides Associate Members with a "sliding" dues scale. Over a five year membership period immediately after graduation, an individual's dues transition from $50 for the first year to $225 for the fifth year. The dues reduction represents a nice gesture by ASCE to our new graduates, many of whom have unique financial concerns. We should regularly remind students of this policy.
Based on my experience working with students and chapters around the country, I estimate our ASCE student groups recruit less than half those students available in civil engineering degree programs. Of those students recruited to ASCE, not all become national members (even though membership is free) and far less than half transition to Associate Member status after graduation. Evidence shows there's quite a bit room for improvement! In speaking with alumni who are not ASCE members, dues are sometimes mentioned as a reason for discontinued membership. However, these young professionals more often cite a lack of free time, geographic obstacles or constraints, and/or competing professional organizations as reasons why they drift from ASCE. In addition, former students of mine sometimes comment that ASCE membership provides less value after the transition. Hearing this from former student officers and project leaders is especially discouraging, given all they have put in and gained while serving their ASCE student chapter. We can do better engaging and connecting with our students.
Student transition has received considerable attention from ASCE over the past several years. In September of 2010, a Task Committee on the subject presented a strategy sketch to the Board of Directors. The strategic issue addressed by the committee was as follows:
The challenges associated with transitioning ASCE Student Members to Associate Members, attracting young engineers to join ASCE, and retaining young engineers as members all play a central role in the Society realizing its future membership, leadership, and revenue potential.
In addressing this issue, the Task Committee presented a series of desired outcomes, a proposed timeline for achieving these outcomes, a list of potential actions, and a series of guiding principles. I have a copy of the Committee's report and am happy to share it with those interested (e-mail me a request at
). Since the Task Committee issued its report, different groups within ASCE have begun to pilot and implement various initiatives, and as a result, recommended best-practices are becoming more and more available. The Member Communities Committee (MCC) currently oversees a task committee focused on student transition efforts.
Over the next several years I hope to work closely with different groups within Region 9 to design and implement initiatives to improve student transition. In the near term, based on my experience working with students and younger members, I believe there are things we can be doing to advance this cause.
- Ø Track and keep in contact with alumni: Student chapters, if they aren't already doing so, should elect an alumni relations officer and begin tracking ASCE graduates. A simple first step in this regard would be to collect permanent e-mails and cell phone numbers from seniors during an end-of-the-year event or graduation ceremony. This information could be shared with the local YMG. Leaders of the student chapter and local YMG could brainstorm ideas for maintaining regular contact with former students and encouraging their continued participation in ASCE activities.
- Ø Engage practitioner advisors: Every student chapter should be assigned two active and enthusiastic Practitioner Advisors (PAs). Sections are responsible for appointing PAs, who provide an essential link between academics and practice. Sections should regularly review PA assignments, strongly encourage PA engagement with students, and recognize PA achievements. PAs should routinely articulate the benefits of ASCE membership to students. Ideally, one of a student chapter's PAs should be a younger member active in the local YMG.
- Ø Bring practitioners to the students: The opposite approach is typically undertaken in practice, right? Students are invited to attend YMG, Branch, and Section events. Yet, student attendance is often limited for various reasons (scheduling conflicts, lack of transportation, etc.). Occasionally bringing practitioners to campus represents an opportunity to engage a larger number of students. Resume workshops, mock interviews, and panel discussions all represent campus activities where practitioners have successfully reached out to large numbers of students. Are there other examples you can share?
- Ø Provide alternatives to the standard speaker-luncheon/dinner: Sections and Branches should consider other activities, in addition to the standard speaker-luncheon. Student chapters regularly sponsor interesting field trips, social activities, community service projects, and athletic events (spectating and participating). Many young professionals are hoping for similar opportunities after graduation. We should not let them down. In San Luis Obispo and other areas, I have witnessed Branch-sponsored community service and outreach projects attended by older professionals, younger members, and students. These experiences are often engaging and very rewarding for all in attendance.
- Ø Identify and mentor our future leaders: When meeting with students we should always be on the lookout for future ASCE "stars". When these students are identified, we should commit to mentoring them through the transition to Associate Membership. Engaging future ASCE leaders early will pay dividends later. Several YMGs, Branches, and Sections within Region 9 currently recognize outstanding graduating seniors with awards. What do students receive in return for these awards? A plaque or certificate? How about rewarding these potential ASCE leaders by paying their first year of Associate Member dues?
- Ø Recruit membership chairs: More people brainstorming membership issues will bring more good ideas. Recently, the San Diego and Los Angeles Sections successfully recruited membership officers. We should create a community of membership advocates addressing student transition, recruitment, and retention issues. We should have membership advocates in each of the student chapters, YMGs, Branches, and Sections, and these individuals should communicate with one another regularly.
- Ø Encourage collaboration between students and younger members: This final recommendation is probably the most important. Our younger members and YMGs should be leading Region 9 in our student transition efforts. A stated goal of Region 9 is to facilitate collaborative activities between groups within the region. In support of this goal, we should be doing everything we can to connect student chapters and YMGs. How should we do this? Please consider sharing your ideas.
I became a member of ASCE about halfway through my undergraduate civil engineering degree program at Cal Poly, and I've been a member ever since. Twenty six years and counting! Transitioning to Associate Membership was an easy decision for me. My goal is to make this decision easy for all of our students. I look forward to working with you on membership initiatives and activities during the next several years.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding membership or student transition, or if you're interested in assuming a membership advocacy role within your ASCE group, please contact Gregg Fiegel at
25th Annual Awards Event!
CLICK HERE TO VIEW 2014 AWARDS EVENT FLYER!