The West Coast Migration: How California’s Battle with Climate Change Has Affected the Cost of Living

(Source) Boasting the fifth largest economy in the world, the Golden State is a beacon for various American industries, such as entertainment, technology, and agriculture. Yet population growth has halted. Some who reject the “California Dream” attribute the decline in growth to a so-called West Coast migration, pointing to Tesla’s recent move to Texas, along with that of tens of thousands of other Californians. Others attribute it to a baby bust and a downward trend in international immigration. While these factors, along with the devastation of an international pandemic, have led to the state’s population standstill, the high cost of living seems to remain at the heart of the issue. Although housing costs are largely to blame for the rising cost of living, numerous natural disasters have posed an insurmountable direct and indirect cost to residents. California’s public policy response to climate change could serve to foreshadow what is to come for the nation as a whole.  Among the most outspoken states in favor of zealous climate change policy, California is also one of the most vulnerable, encountering some of the first largescale effects of climate change in the United States. It has most notably been struck by worsening drought, [read more]

Stopping the Spread: How California and Neighboring States Can Better Fight Wildfires

(Source) The title of the piece has been changed to acknowledge that the author has not directly experienced California wildfires. The Journal does not purport to intimately understand the struggles Californians face and we extend our condolences to those who have lost so much in these tragedies. We have all seen the headlines running about the raging forest fires in California and neighboring states. This past summer, dozens of extremely large forest fires ignited across the state of California, ruining rural and suburban communities, damaging and killing wildlife, and covering cities across the U.S. in a smoggy haze. Forest fires are common to California and neighboring states, and fire season always poses a challenge to the state, but over the past ten years, the fires have been larger and more destructive than ever before. From 2001 to 2010, California saw 7.03 million acreage of their land destroyed by fires; from 2011 to 2020, the number increased to 10.3 million acres. Yet, 2020 has topped every year with the largest and most destructive forest fires in California’s history: around 3.2 million acres of land being destroyed (as of September). And, to give a sense, San Francisco is “only” 30,000 acres. Coinciding [read more]

The Future is Female?: The Legal Implications of California’s New Law Mandating Female Representation on Corporate Boards

With women comprising over half the population, their insight is critical to discussions and decisions that affect corporate culture, actions and profitability. Women have different life experiences and perspectives than white men who typically comprise boards, and that makes a difference. Quotas may force companies to look outside of the normal places for diverse yet highly qualified candidates who might not have the typical background for such a position. [read more]

The Expansion of California’s Firefighter’s Rule Beyond its Intended Scope by Harley Glazer

The firefighter’s rule is a legal doctrine that prevents a firefighter from recovering from an individual whose ordinary negligence created the fire.[1] While it may seem harsh to disadvantage those who risk their lives to protect society, there are several policy considerations that support the doctrine.  First, firefighters should not be permitted to sue for the very negligence which begets their employment.[2] Second, firefighters receive specialized training in combating fires.[3] Thus, if they fail to properly employ their skills, they should not place the blame on the fire starter.  Third, firefighters already receive adequate compensation for the risks attendant with their employment.[4] Lastly, the general public should not be subject to double liability, given that the public already pays for the services of firefighters through taxes.[5] However, the firefighter’s rule is inappropriate in certain other contexts, which the legislature should take action to prevent. Several California courts have inappropriately extended the firefighter’s rule to other professions. For example, in Holland v. Crumb, the California Second Appellate Division prohibited a tow truck driver from recovering for injuries he sustained when he was struck by a car while attempting to tow a car that was situated on the side of the highway. [read more]

An Assessment of California’s Watershed Governance: A Perspective on Environmental Justice in Land Use Planning and Development by Valerie Escalante

Southern California faces unique challenges for land use and development.  With more than 50% of the state’s population and receiving less than 2% of the state’s rain fall per year,[1] water has become one of its main challenges.  Furthermore, as a result of Southern California’s varied demography and economic state, environmental justice[2] has emerged as a serious factor in its water challenges.  This note asserts that California’s system of watershed governance[3] in land use planning and development is essential to address these challenges.  This note considers California’s watershed governance scheme and assesses its efficacy as it relates to water concerns in land use planning and development for disadvantaged communities.  As a case study, this note focuses on the Inland Empire region of Southern California.[4] Currently, the existing dire state of the land, infrastructure, and water quality in many disadvantaged[5] Inland Empire cities casts doubt on the efficacy of California’s scheme for watershed governance, but poses a unique opportunity for improvement. This study assesses California’s watershed governance infrastructure on both the state and local level and analyzes watershed governance’s implementation in planning and development with respect to the improvement of disadvantaged watershed communities.  It considers the state of the law for [read more]