Dahle addresses Realtors’ issues
Discusses his bid for state senate
The ability to obtain homeowner’s insurance, building regulations that don’t fit rural counties and the housing shortage topped the list of topics on the Plumas Association of Realtors’ agenda May 9 when Assemblyman Brian Dahle stopped by for a visit.
He responded to those issues and discussed his candidacy for the District 1 State Senate seat that will be decided in a special election June 4.
His opponent, fellow Republican and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, had been in Quincy the night before to speak at the League of Women Voters’ forum. Dahle had been unable to attend due to a prior commitment to attend a Future Farmers of America dinner in his hometown of Bieber during which his middle son was scheduled to be recognized for being elected to a statewide position where he will serve as an ambassador for the youth organization.
While Dahle didn’t have the venue or time allotted to cover the host of topics that Kiley was asked about, Dahle did respond to those presented by the Realtors and share some thoughts on his candidacy.
In the assembly
Dahle said his goal when he went to the assembly wasn’t simply to give a speech, write a bill and then see it fail to get out of a committee because of partisan politics.
“I was on the Quincy Library Group; we learned how to communicate,” he said of the group known for bringing environmental, timber and community members together to develop a forest management plan.
“I invited legislators to come out to our district,” Dahle said. And they came — 110 of them over the past few years. “I usually bring them to my farm because I like to talk to them about all the regulations I have to go through on my farm and there’s no cell service, I have their total attention.”
He takes them on a tour of the aftermath of the Eiler Fire, to Burney Falls that includes a state park with dying trees, to a working biomass plant and lumber mill.
“Then when I go back to Sacramento and write a bill, they get what I’m talking about,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of bills passed in streamlining the regulatory environment for timber harvest plans. You can cut trees on your land. You can actually sell them to the mill through the exemptions that I’ve put forth. That’s how we got the billion dollars out of SB109 (taking money from a greenhouse gas fund for vegetation management). I told them I’m not going to vote for this bill until you put money in that helps my communities make themselves safe.”
He said he received support from the Democrats as well as saw the governor sign the legislation.
Why the Senate
Dahle said a lot of his legislation is passed in the assembly because of the relationships he has created, but he doesn’t have that same advantage in the senate.
“My goal is to get to the senate and do the same thing and build those relationships and share with them why I need broadband internet to come to my communities …”
He said he isn’t running to “step up” but to “serve better.”
He enumerated some of what he has already done for the district including saving Plumas District Hospital about $2 million in AB97 cuts that would have had to been paid back, and in which his district as a whole saved $22 million.
He also discussed AB 1665 that he authored with Eduardo Garcia, a Democrat from Imperial, whose district is also lacking broadband service. The bill redirected funding to frontier counties and underserved communities.
Carr and Camp fires
Dahle’s district includes all of the Carr Fire and a portion of the Camp Fire and he discussed efforts to help those communities rebuild.
“We passed a bill to backfill property tax that the counties were going to lose,” he said, because the infrastructure is still needed while the rebuilding is occurring.
He also has a bill going through the process for an exemption from the solar requirement that goes into effect in 2020 if a resident is rebuilding due to a catastrophic event and the governor declares an emergency.
Dahle said that he views marijuana as a gateway drug, but appreciates its medicinal properties and shared a personal story of how it helped the young son of a friend. “There are a lot of good uses for the oils,” he said.
But there are issues: for example, how to reconcile the Proposition 215 (medical marijuana) Proposition 64 (recreational marijuana). “There are conflicts,” he said.
He also has concerns about how cannabis is labeled and described how specific he must be when labeling the seed that he produces on his farm. He worries about cannabis foods or candies falling into young hands.
He favors local control and discussed what various counties in his district are doing. He shared that Trinity County said, “Come in and grow,” but then isn’t realizing the tax dollars expected.
Housing shortage/building regulations
Realtors attribute at least a portion of the housing shortage to the building code regulations that drive up the price building a home — most notably internal sprinkler systems and solar.
Dahle said he was serving on the Lassen County Board of Supervisors when the legislation requiring sprinkler systems passed. “Sprinklers fail and do more damage,” he said and addressed the challenges faced in cold climates.
As for solar, Dahle presented what he called the “duck” analogy, describing how electricity is generated in peak periods (the duck’s head) but is unable to be captured and saved for the times when output drops (swooping down to the body).
Dahle also noted that 27 percent of an electric bill is “legislated upon you.”
Dahle said he met with the state insurance commissioner and discussed the issues facing homeowners who live in high fire zones.
“There is high risk in California and it’s driving up the cost,” Dahle said.
People need to take personal responsibility and make their homes as fire resistant as possible. He would like to see a program developed that would enable that home to be deemed certified and have that reflected in the cost of insurance.
But he realizes that while one property owner might put in the work, a neighbor might not. “Everybody in the cul de sac has to do it; there has to be some teeth in it,” he said.
Part of the problem is that it’s expensive to clear and haul away debris and there has to be somewhere to take it. Dahle points to recent legislation that takes $1 billion from the green house gas fund that was to go to the high speed train and instead divert it to vegetation management and directing it to Fire Safe Councils.
Dahle concluded his remarks by reminding everyone to vote. “The ballots are out; we did well here,” he said referencing the March primary where he captured 45 percent of the local vote in a field of 6 candidates.
“I will be effective for you,” he concluded.