As the votes roll in for the presidential election, another important vote took place yesterday. In California, residents voted on Prop 22. According to Business Insider, “Proposition 22 is a November ballot measure that aims to exempt ride-sharing and food-delivery firms from AB5, a California gig worker law that forces Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers as employees.” After an enormous effort by “Gig Firms” to prevent AB5 from impacting their workforce the votes are in. According to Transportation Topics, “Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride-hailing and delivery services spent $200 million in a winning bet to circumvent California lawmakers and the courts to preserve their business model by keeping drivers from becoming employees eligible for benefits and job protections. The titans of the so-called gig economy bankrolled the most expensive ballot measure in state history, which was decided Nov. 3 with 58% of more than 11 million voters choosing to keep drivers classified as independent contractors able to set their own hours.” This landmark decision has enabled these companies to remain in California without having to re-label their drivers as employees.
On September 23rd California Governor, Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring the sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035. According to Yahoo, ”As an announcement from the California governor's office indicates, the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California's carbon pollution, 80% of smog-forming pollution and 95% of toxic diesel emissions…After the order, the California Air Resource Board will develop regulations that will mandate 100% of sales of passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035.” However, there are several questions that arise from the mandate. Most importantly, what does zero-emission mean, is this requirement even possible, and does the public want to go in this direction?
With California reporting a new daily high for new COVID-19 cases, 4,515 new cases on Sunday, the continual concern for virus spread should still be at the top of everyone’s priority list. Over just the last two weeks The United States has seen a 15% case increase. Typical travel destinations in the southeast and on the west coast seem to be the most dramatically affected. The work we have all put in to “flatten the curve” may all be for naught if we, as a nation, continue to jump back to the norm too early. Hospitals are feeling the effects of the dramatic spike in cases already. The White House is making efforts to concentrate on stocking up supplies to combat a potential COVID-19 case rise this coming Fall as lower temperatures may increase the spread.
Berkeley, CA is looking to make strides in the clean energy business. Currently, Berkeley is the only city in the United States that has implemented a ban of Natural Gas in residential and low-rise construction. This natural gas ban is falling in line with the current west coast trend to cut down on fossil fuel dependencies. According to Berkeley City Council member, Kate Harrison, natural gas accounts for 27% of the greenhouse gas emissions.