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September 2009 California Today, PLanning and Conservation League Newsletter

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September 2009 California Today, PLanning and Conservation League Newsletter




Newsletter of the Planning & Conservation League

September 2009

Volume 39, Number 3


People Make Communities

Enthusiasm Grows For Land Use Reform in California
By: Matt Vander Sluis

California is at a crossroads. Decades of sprawl have taken their toll, leaving us with ever-growing commutes, crumbling city centers, global warming pollution, habitat loss, and a deepening health crisis from sedentary lifestyles and air pollution. If we continue down this path, our golden state will be tarnished beyond repair. However, there is another path. Our cities could become alive again, full of vibrant communities surrounded by protected open spaces. In this California, all parents feel comfortable strolling with their children to school. Transit options are cheap and plentiful and get you where you need to go faster than getting in the car. Everyone has a safe place to live - people as well as wildlife. Fortunately there’s a growing willingness to get off the road to ruin and get on the path to plenty. It’s an enthusiasm that extends from the halls of the Capitol in Sacramento to grassroots meetings around the dining room table. Here are just a few of the signs that we’re entering a land use reform renaissance: The passage of SB 375 (Steinberg) in late 2008 opened a new chapter of land use planning in California, linking environmental metrics to planning outcomes in exciting new ways. While the ultimate effects of this new law won’t be known for several years, it’s clear that

regions will be forced to do some soul searching about their smart growth potential. In the Bay Area, the Greenbelt Alliance just released an analysis showing that an expected 2 million new residents could be accommodated by 2035 within existing cities and towns. The analysis was greeted with strong enthusiasm by opinion leaders from San Jose to Marin. The City of Irvine is working on its Climate Action Plan, which would be Orange County’s first city to complete a Plan. City staff involved in the Plan have even developed curriculum to teach at UC Irvine helping other cities, planners and land use advocates develop their own Plan. The PCL Foundation is working hard to leverage these sorts of successes for change across the state. We’re holding regional land use summits in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and the San Joaquin Valley to help non-profit leaders identify opportunities for collective action. We’re hosting activist trainings on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and workshops on using land use tools to fight global warming. New electronic resources are available on our website (see page 7). We’re also helping the State Legislature and state agencies find ways to advance sustainability through better community design. The path forward won’t be easy but momentum is growing and it’s up to all of us to harness it quickly.

CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation

Dear Friends,
1107 Ninth Street, Suite 360, Sacramento, CA 95814 PHONE: 916-444-8726 FAX: 916-448-1789

E-MAIL ADDRESS: [email protected] WEB ADDRESS: http://www.pcl.org Membership to PCL is $35 a year and includes a subscription to CALIFORNIA TODAY. Periodicals postage paid at Sacramento, CA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes for CALIFORNIA TODAY to the PCL Office: 1107 Ninth Street, Suite 360, Sacramento, CA 95814

DAVID HIRSCH, Chairman RALPH B. PERRY III, Vice Chairman DANIEL S. FROST, Secretary-Treasurer COKE HALLOWELL, Trustee GERALD H. MERAL, Trustee

BILL CENTER, President KEVIN JOHNSON, Senior Vice President LYNN SADLER, Senior Vice President SAGE SWEETWOOD, President Emeritus JOHN VAN DE KAMP, President Emeritus


Big Sur Land Trust Breathe California, Sacramento-Emigrant Trails California Association of Local Conservation Corps California Oak Foundation California Trout Greenspace - The Cambria Land Trust Golden Gate Audubon Society The Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. Mono Lake Committee Mountain Lion Foundation Sierra Nevada Alliance Southern California Agricultural Land Foundation Train Riders Association of California The Trust for Public Land

TRACI SHEEHAN, Executive Director TINA ANDOLINA, Legislative Director EVON CHAMBERS, Water Policy Assistant CHARLOTTE HODDE, Water Policy Specialist DR. MONICA HUNTER, Central Coast Water Project Manager JONAS MINTON, Senior Water Policy Advisor JONATHAN BERNSTEIN, Administrative Manager PAUL GILLIGAN, Sierra Nevada Americorp Member AMBER SCHMAELING, Membership & Development Coordinator MATT VANDER SLUIS, Global Warming Project Manager MELANIE SCHLOTTERBECK, Grants & Outreach Consultant

As several of the stories in this installment of California Today demonstrate, our golden state must choose its path to the future in the way we make decisions about the land. Will we support smart, equitable development that accommodates our growing population, finding a way for our children to raise their families with dignity and security but without the damaging effects of continued sprawl? Will we make our streets safe for everyone, reducing automobile accidents and toxic exposure, as well as crime? And will we re-shape our communities to tackle the causes and effects of global warming, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and dealing with sea level rise, wildfires, heat-related deaths, and other impacts? The answer depends on our ability to shape public opinion and change public policy. That’s why I’m hopeful about what the future holds. Through active involvement in local general plans and the CEQA process, concerned individuals across California have consistently impacted the public decisions that affect their communities. Now, with the implementation of SB 375 just beginning, Californians have new opportunities to bring those skills to a regional scale. If we can capture the power of our collective concerns, we can use new tools like SB 375 to create the land use and transportation reforms that will set the stage for an era of smart growth, transit-oriented development, and lower greenhouse gas emissions throughout California. It won’t be easy. There are very powerful special interests working against us. Even with enlightened leadership, institutional momentum can drive toward “business as usual” with steamroller force. Engaging in complicated public decisionmaking processes takes a large dose of energy, determination, and strategy. Recognizing these challenges, PCL is spearheading efforts to bring community leaders together and provide the tools they need for effective action at the local and regional level. We’re also influencing state policy to rewrite the rules that shape community-level decisions. We’ll keep you informed about these initiatives in California Today, through our weekly e-newsletter the PCL Insider, and on our websites: www.PCL.org and www.PCLFoundation.org. We look forward to working with you to make every California community more livable, equitable, and environmentally sound. Sincerely, Traci Sheehan Executive Director

California Affiliate National Wildlife Federation

P.S. To learn more about the exciting new resources available on our website, or what you can do to help, visit our website at: www.PCL.org.


CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation


Offshore Oil Drilling Update, New Legislation to Help
By: Tina Andolina

As part of the budget negotiations this past summer, Governor Schwarzenegger pushed for the approval of a proposal to allow new offshore oil drilling along the Santa Barbara coast. This particular proposal was part of the deal to allow Plains Exploration and Production (PXP) to expand its oil drilling in exchange for a handful of environmental benefits including shutting down some of its drilling platforms in 15 years and donating critical habitat to the state. However, the State Lands Commission (SLC), which is made up of the Director of the Department of Finance, the Lieutenant Governor, and the State Controller, rejected the proposal earlier this year after it was discovered that the environmental benefits of the plan were unenforceable. PXP then worked with the administration to include the rejected proposal as part this past summer’s budget debate. The Senate narrowly approved the proposed oil-drilling lease by a 21-18 vote when it passed the revised state budget in July, but after a long and vigorous debate, the Assembly overwhelmingly rejected the drilling proposal by a vote of 43-28. The Assembly Democrats were virtually united in opposition, with only Charles Calderon breaking ranks. Republican Assemblymember Audra Strickland also voted no. Assemblymember Juan Arambula, who recently changed his affiliation from Democrat to Independent, voted for the bill. Over 60 environmental groups opposed the Governor’s drilling proposal and mobilized Californians to defeat it. Through a coordinated effort, the environmental community showed that the bill was a sweetheart deal for one oil company rather than a real solution to the state’s fiscal woes. While it’s important to raise revenues, especially given the severe budget cuts, it’s unfortunate that the Governor chose to push new oil drilling instead of pursuing a solution that could have offered an ongoing stream of money and helped our environment at the same time. For example, every other big oil-producing state collects revenue on the volume of oil extracted from their state. Collecting revenue from excised oil could generate over $800 million every year, eight times what could have come from the Governor’s plan. Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) announced on August 6, 2009 that he will author legislation which would require the oil industry to pay

California a percentage of the value of the oil they take from California’s lands and sea beds. Should the legislation be adopted, oil companies would have to pay a severance of 10% of the gross value of each barrel of oil pumped in California, resulting in roughly $1.5 billion annually to support state parks, public services, education, health care, and environmental programs. PCL is excited to work with Assemblymember Nava and other stakeholders on this effort to ensure oil companies pay their fair share in California as they do in other states. This is a far more appropriate way to raise revenue from oil drilling than handing out sweetheart deals to one company.

Our group name is: Planning and Conservation League

Go to Twitter.com: PCLeague PCLFoundation

CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation



PCL 's Legislative Agenda For 2009-2010
By: Tina Andolina

PCL launched an ambitious legislative package for the 2009-2010 session by sponsoring measures dealing with water policy, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), pesticides, community development and the fallout from the Bond Freeze. The session ended this year on September 11th and the Governor has 30 days to act on the bills sent to him. Here is an update from the end of the session. Awaiting the Governor’s signature: AB 1364 (Evans) - Allows agencies to amend contracts and grant agreements affected by the bond freeze to protect the integrity of the projects and ensures that those agreements remain valid contracts in the eyes of the state. Two-year bills we’ll focus on in 2010: AB 1408 (Krekorian) - Offers an option to allow developers to invest in conservation measures as a way to secure new water supplies for their developments. AB 499 (Hill) - Makes clarifying amendments to CEQA to ensure that all parties with a direct interest in a

case brought pursuant to CEQA are aware of the pending litigation and parties with no direct link to the case are not unnecessarily dragged into a lawsuit. SB 553 (Pavley) - Increases water recycling to improve California’s water supply. Bills that were held in committee in 2009: SB 565 (Wiggins) - Ensures equity in how and when businesses and nonprofits are paid under contracts and grant agreements. SB 194 (Florez) - Asks local jurisdictions to develop and implement a plan to address the barriers that are part of the cause of regional inequity and infrastructure deficits in unincorporated communities. AB 835 (Monning) - Promotes policies that reduce the use of pesticides with high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Stay tuned to hear more about how PCL is moving forward with supporting this legislation in 2010.

Legislature Tries to Rush Delta Bills
By: Charlotte Hodde

In early August, nearly a month after the deadline for policy committees to review bills, the California Legislature released a complicated and contentious package of five bills* related to management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and water conservation. One of the most sweeping provisions in the bills creates a politically appointed council with authority to approve a Delta Plan. This will likely to endorse the failings of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan without the intention to reduce statewide reliance on the Delta for water supply. However, there are no estimates on how much this will cost and no agreement on who will pay. Provisions calling for “determinations” of water needs for the Delta and ecosystem restoration are weakened by the lack of enforcement mechanisms and specific sources of funding. The package does contain some positive reforms, including requirements for water use reporting and the creation of a Delta Conservancy. In an unusual move, legislative leadership decided to handle the water package through a conference committee process. The conference committee included only one member from the Delta region. This committee was given control over water use decisions throughout the state.

On the last day of session, legislative leadership withheld the Delta package from a floor vote and requested a special session to finish the negotiation. The Legislature intended to pass large-scale water legislation by the close of session after negotiating for weeks to accommodate the Governor’s demand for dams or a peripheral canal. But the legal and political pitfalls of water proved too complex for the expedited timeline set. PCL has been advocating for the Legislature to not rush this decision. It was clear that the expedited schedule and necessary political compromises were resulting in a Delta fix that further threatened the Delta’s ecosystem. Now with more time, we have the opportunity to create a legislative approach that offers a solution for the Bay-Delta that does not displace the current stress of the Delta to other parts of the state. It’s key that this proposal is not just a political deal that falls short of public support and then withers on a future ballot or is punted to political appointees, but one that brings relief to the Delta on the date of enactment.
*Summary of Delta legislative package: www.senate.ca.gov/ftp/SEN/COMMITTEE/STANDING/NRW/_home/


CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation

Greening California 's Landscapes - January 30th
By: Melanie Schlotterbeck

California has faced and will continue to face challenges as it relates to our many intertwined landscapes. Whether the topic is about preserving agricultural lands, designing pedestrian- and bike-friendly developments, or ensuring we have enough water for future demand, PCL has been at the forefront of these discussions and debates. From natural landscapes to urban and rural landscapes, the potential for creative solutions are immense. That is why the focus of our next Environmental Legislative Symposium is about solutions! The 2010 Symposium will be held in Sacramento on January 30th. The theme is Greening California’s Landscapes: Smart Solutions for a New Era. Our solution oriented panels and sessions will address important environmental topics from: planning for the effects of global warming to water justice; transition towns to desalination.

Registration is available online at www.PCL.org. Members receive 30% of general registration rates with a discount code (find the code above the mailing label). Planners will receive CM credit for policy and legal sessions. Attorneys will receive CLE credit for legal sessions (application pending approval). Tune in to the December edition to learn about all the policy panels, How To... sessions and CLE courses offered at the 2010 event.

The Gift of Membership San Clemente Dam
By: Amber Schmaeling By: Jasmine Ketchum


If you would like to provide a friend or loved one with a one year membership to PCL, now is the time to do so! Buy a gift membership for $35. A one year membership includes a subscription to our quarterly newsletter, Cal-Today, discounts on PCL’s annual symposium, early notices about environmental events we are holding in your area, as well as special invitations to member-only events. The cost of membership helps sustain our efforts to protect the environment and quality of life for all Californians. If you would like to give the gift of membership, contact Amber Schmaeling at (916) 313-4517 or email your request to [email protected] It’s through the support of our members that we are able to continue protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land we love!

On Saturday June 6th the Planning and Conservation League (PCL) and PCL Foundation provided a tour of the San Clemente Dam for community leaders, major donors and environmental advocates. This special event was an opportunity to see first hand our work on the Central Coast. For the last several years, PCL Foundation staff have been working to remove the Dam and restore the Carmel River for the health of the watershed and more importantly the protection of residents downstream. The Foundation has been working with several organizations and state agencies to reroute the Carmel River and remove the unsafe and obsolete dam. The state was on board for the removal of the Dam and originally set aside funding for the project, but now the project is stalled. If you would like more information on our efforts to remove the dam, or would like to help support this cause, visit our website for more information www.PCLFoundation.org.

CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation


Amber Schmaeling

The General Plan: A Critical Tool For California 's Future
By: Matt Vander Sluis



CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation

Melanie Schlotterbeck

Interested in fighting for environmental protection and the health of your community? It might be time to get involved in your local general plan update. At any given moment, more than a hundred California cities and counties are in the process of updating their general plans. Required by state law, these documents define the type, amount, and location of future growth. They form the basis for a city’s planning activities and its decisions regarding how and where development occurs - from housing sites to road sizes and sewer capacities. All general plans are required to have seven elements: land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise, and safety. Additional elements may be included to address issues of local concern such as recreation, public services and facilities, air quality, environmental justice, and economic development. Each of these elements outlines policies and implementation actions to reach particular goals. The general plan must also include a land use map that illustrates the distribution of the various land uses and transportation infrastructure. The general plan update process provides an important opportunity to make your voice heard. Most local governments hold numerous public hearings, workshops, seminars, and other events to gather public input for their general plan. To approve a general plan update, the local government must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which contains additional requirements for public outreach and accountability. Engaging in the general plan update process can be useful to advance a wide range of environmental and public health priorities. General plans can help protect people and the environment from catastrophic wildfires by specifying which areas are too dangerous for future development. A general plan

could advance water conservation by establishing programs to help eliminate the water demand from new developments. It could establish policies to address historic discrimination against poor communities and communities of color. The general plan is also an essential tool for tackling our growing global warming crisis. Each city and county should establish a greenhouse gas inventory for the jurisdiction, establish an emission reduction goal for the community, and then integrate policies into the general plan to meet the target. These policies should include concentrating development around transit hubs, protecting open spaces, establishing strong green building policies, and other measures that make it possible for those who live and work in the community to live lower-carbon lifestyles. The general plan should also include policies that prepare the region for the effects of global warming, including sea level rise, increased fire risk, new precipitation patterns and public health effects such as heat waves and new pests and diseases. There are sizeable challenges to engaging in a general plan update. The process can be very technical and often takes several years to complete. Powerful stakeholders such as local developers and business groups may try to push for policies that will damage the environment and worsen public health. In addition, efforts to secure a good general plan can be undermined by subsequent revisions. In fact, while the general plan is considered the constitution for future growth and development, it can be modified several times per year, requiring constant community vigilance. Despite these challenges, creating a positive general plan is still an essential tool for advancing sound environmental and public health policy. If we don’t take a role in shaping our own communities, someone else will. Make your voice heard as your city or county determines its future.


PCLF Launches New CEQA Resources Webpages
By: Paul Gilligan

The Planning and Conservation League Foundation (PCLF) is proud to announce the launch of a new CEQA Resources section to its website, easily found at www.PCLFoundation.org. This effort exemplifies the basic mission of PCLF: To educate and involve the public in environmental policy-making. Throughout the nearly 40 years since its founding, PCLF has published handbooks for community action, assisted decision-makers in drafting effective policies, and has produced action-oriented reports and analysis about California environmental policy. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is California’s premier environmental law and is a powerful tool for public participation. This new CEQA Resources section,

is intended to promote this notion of public participation by providing all community members with the power that is CEQA. Through CEQA, concerned residents can protect their community’s health and environment by ensuring decision-makers hear their concerns. Under CEQA, decision makers must consider the environmental consequences of their decision to approve or disapprove of a project. The new CEQA Resources section is free to use and will provide users access to the CEQA Guidelines and Statutes, as well as a listing of CEQA case law since 1972. More importantly, PCLF has taken the next step by providing documents, templates, and tips to assist the public in effectively commenting on

environmental impact reports and participating in the review process. By providing this new resource, PCLF has added to an already strong portfolio of tools for public empowerment through CEQA that includes The Community Guide to CEQA and the CEQA Workshop series. PCLF is excited to present the new CEQA Resource section to you and we invite you to visit the site. Please direct any comments or suggestion on this new resource to Paul Gilligan at [email protected]

America 's Wildlife Heritage Act
By: Matt Little, National Wildlife Federation

For more than 100 years, America’s Wildlife Heritage Act America’s public lands have played a (H.R. 2807), recently reintroduced by vital role in defining our nation’s Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Walter character, and shaping our culture, Jones (R-NC), provides these economy and natural environment. agencies with a science based fish and Two major land systems - the U.S. wildlife conservation policy for the Forest Service and the Bureau of 21st century. Under this bill, Forest Land Management (BLM) - are Service and BLM land managers specifically managed to provide will have the standards, tools, and Americans with a balanced array of cooperation guidelines needed to natural, social and economic benefits. respond to these challenges and meet As such, Americans receive public these obligations. The Act specifically goods from these “multiple-use” recognizes that healthy fish, wildlife lend the most support for this bill are lands, including water, timber, and plant populations on federal Representatives Bono Mack, Gallegly, energy production, recreation lands are a core indicator of overall Schiff, and Thompson. We would opportunities, grazing, and the land health and ensures that they are like as many members to support the bill as possible, so if you have a conservation of wildlife habitat. managed sustainably. The 500 million acres managed To help build momentum for the moment, please consider calling or by the Forest Service and BLM bill, we are asking all members of the writing your representative and are facing unprecedented threats House of Representatives to co-sponsor urging him or her to cosponsor from global warming, energy America’s Wildlife Heritage Act. In America’s Wildlife Heritage Act development, and recreational impacts. California, key members who could (H.R. 2807). CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation 7




Forest Stewardship Council certified paper containing 50% recycled fiber with 25% post consumer waste, elemental chlorine free and printed with vegetable ink.

VISIT US ON THE WEB: www.PCL.org or www.PCLFoundation.org

PCL History Project
By: Charlotte Hodde

Did You Know?
By: Matt Vander Sluis

Neither Luke Skywalker nor Obi-Wan Kenobi were correct answers to last issue’s photo. After working the phones a little to get the scoop on this archive photo, we learned that it was taken at a press conference in Los Angeles intended to raise concerns about then-Governor Pete Wilson’s weak stance on the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Program. The ZEV regulation originally called for 2% of cars sold in California to be zero emission vehicles by 1998. However, in 1996, when this photo was taken, CARB was wavering on this 1998 target. These gentlemen seem to be wondering whether Darth “Pete Wilson” Vader may have gone over to the dark side because of contributions from the auto and oil industries (note that it is a “gas station attendant” who is putting money on Darth’s chest). Can you tell us the story behind this issue’s archive photo? Please e-mail any information to [email protected]

It’s common knowledge that land use decisions over the last 50 years have damaged the environment. They’ve also wreaked havoc on our own personal lives, as continued sprawl and investment in car-centric infrastructure has separated people from their friends and families through ever-longer commutes. Here are some other facts about the impacts of our land use decisions that might surprise you: • Californians traveled about 16 billion miles on the state highway system in June 2009.1 • Every time a neighborhood doubles in compactness, the number of vehicle trips residents make is reduced by 20% to 30%.2 • Houses with above-average levels of walkability command a premium of about $4,000 to $34,000 over houses with just average levels of walkability.3 • The cost of driving a mile in the U.S. nearly doubled between 2002 and 2007, and California drivers have switched to public transportation and slashed the number of vehicle miles traveled in places where transit is available.4 • The Sacramento Area Council of Governments estimates that implementation of its smart growth blueprint would save $16 billion in infrastructure costs by 2030.5 Sources:
1 http://traffic-counts.dot.ca.gov, www.dof.ca.gov 2 Local Government Commission 3 Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S. Cities 4 Natural Resources Defense Council 5 www.SacRegionBlueprint.org

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