Climate Change: what we can be doing…
Also: District Attorney candidate Sharon Henry
PDB’s April 12th membership meeting was attended by 39 members, friends and our guest speakers.
First we heard from Sharon Henry, candidate for Solano County District Attorney. Because there are only two candidates in the race for DA, it is likely to be decided at the June 7 primary election, rather than on November 8th. Ms. Henry shared her background and values and explained her platform. She has been endorsed by the Solano County Democratic Central Committee and Mayor Steve Young. After questions and answers, we held an endorsement vote. PDB members voted almost unanimously to endorse Ms. Henry.
The remainder of the meeting focused on Climate change and action-based solutions presented by local climate activists:
Ben Keller – Co-chair, Legislative Committee 350 Bay Area Action – described 350BAA and explained the role of the Legislative Committee – Work on Legislation, Building Relationships with Legislators and Education and Mobilizing Public and Partners. Outlined priority bills for 2022-AB 2419; SB 917; SB 1482, SB 1010.
Nik Evasco, Youth Climate Organizer and Program Manager, 350 Bay Area – described his role as an organizer and profiled recent actions taken by 350BA. Expressed need for a Solano County 350 faction.
Interim Chair Kathy Kerridge presented a spreadsheet and web addresses for members to take a few minutes and either commit to taking climate action or perform actions in real time. Tap here to view the suggested action items.
Elected officials present: Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown and Benicia Mayor Steve Young.
Mayor Young provided an update on City of Benicia events and issues:
Update on the recent weekend fire at Amports and the status of the pier, which was built and maintained by Amports.
Update on the Mayor’s first meeting as a BAAQMD member. Discussed the status of fine for Valero’s 15-year emissions cover-up. The Mayor is open for suggestions on how the settlement funds are to be spent.
Goal setting meeting: City Council – Saturday, April 23, 8:30am to 6:30pm at the Community Center. Open for public comment, most likely in the morning.
Diversity Festival: April 23 beginning at noon on the Marina Green.
Council Meeting, 4/19/22 – Financial Forecast is the topic.
Saturday, April 30, 1-3pm Candidate Fundraiser – for Sharon Henry, hosted by Terry Mollica at his home
You may want to attend! Benicia’s City Council will meet with staff and the public on Wednesday, to consider five action items requested previously, in context of overall Council priorities. See complete list with links more below.
Of particular interest will be item 4, “Two-Step Request from Mayor Patterson on adopting a Climate Emergency Resolution“. Mayor Patterson submitted this request last summer, with a requested Initial Council Meeting date of July 16, 2019. The “Emergency” request was not brought for Council’s First Step consideration until September 3, 2019. At that meeting, after hearing support from residents Constance Beutel, Marilyn Bardet, Gretchen Burgess, Steve Goetz, Pat Toth-Smith and Kathy Kerridge, Council discussed the request and recommended that it be brought forward for further study “at a future workshop”. (see item 14.B in the 9/3/19 minutes). So that next step is this Tuesday.
(Editor’s note: I am not sure, but my review of the Staff Report and Rules of Procedure seem to suggest that Tuesday’s Study Workshop is NOT to be considered the Second Step in our Two-Step procedure. A Council member’s request for DISCUSSION and action on a City “policy matter” requires two yes votes at Council.)
10.A – QUARTERLY POLICY ISSUES STUDY SESSION (City Manager)
The City Council has agreed to discuss various “Two-Step” requests made by individual members of the City Council at the Quarterly Policy Issues Study Session described in the City Council Rules of Procedure (Attachment 1).
To assist with Council deliberations, staff has included an updated copy of the Council’s priorities for the current fiscal year as summarized in the Work Plan 2019-20 (Attachment 2).
Five topics have been approved by the Council for further discussion and are presented in this report (Attachments 3-7); they follow:
Penalties for Excessive Residential Water Use;
Adoption of a Climate Emergency Resolution;
Preparation of an Advisory Measure related to Cannabis Dispensaries for the November 2020 ballot;
Installation of Rainbow Crosswalks; and
A request to Repurpose and Update the Traffic, Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Committee.
Recommendation: Review the two-step process and the updated Work Plan 2019-20, and then discuss each of the five topics described (Attachments 3-7) and provide direction to staff.
We are all in a key position to make a big difference in fighting climate chaos, because we live in the Assembly district of Tim Grayson – who sits on the Assembly Transportation Committee. The Transportation Committee will be hearing testimony on AB40 very soon.
AB40 would require the State of California Air Resources Board (CARB) to draw up a plan to phase out fossil fuel vehicles by 2040.
AB40 is the successor to AB1745, which came before the Assembly Transportation Committee in 2018, but did not have the votes to move on. AB1745 called for phasing out fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. AB40 takes a two-step approach—first have the CARB develop a feasible plan, and then vote on that plan in 2021.
As climate activists we understand that climate science is telling us that we have to move even faster than the dates that these bills dictate. However, AB40 would give us a foot in the door, and set a clear market signal that we have to eliminate fossil fuel vehicles. Hopefully, this will stimulate automakers to move quickly into making zero emission vehicles (electric or fuel cell).