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663Re: [ALPA_Forum] "PA going carbon neutral" thru Weakly's uncritical eyes

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  • Irvin Dawid
    Jan 22, 2013
      It was my impression that going 'carbon neutral' was only about efforts to green the electricity supply - or did I miss something?  As a utility, it is relevant.

      Irvin Dawid
      1207 Paloma Ave., #7, Burlingame, CA  94010
      650-283-6534 (cell)

      On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM, steveraneyc21 <cities21@...> wrote:

      Here is the Weakly article:


      My comment:

      Some reactions:

      1. Overall kudos to the spirited Green Ribbon Task Force (GRTF) effort.

      2. I was disappointed to read yet another PA Weakly article that failed to set relevant PA/regional/state climate context. This continues to puzzle, given that The Editor understands the context:

      Weekly Editor Jay Thorwaldson started as a Palo Alto Times reporter in 1966, has covered ABAG, and has encyclopedic knowledge of historical Palo Alto land use decisions. Jay wrote a 1968 article on Palo Alto's jobs/housing imbalance, with 2.4 jobs for every household in those days. Jay's take on Palo Alto's current jobs/housing imbalance: "Well-intentioned and environmentally conscious Palo Alto has restricted housing to create a terrible environmental situation with long commutes wasting fuel. It's an insoluble situation. Long commutes damage the social fabric and create lower quality of life. Workers are forced to commute from Manteca, etc. Palo Alto has a drawbridge mentality. Compounding the insolubility, objections raised by neighborhood associations are legitimate."

      The background that writer Gennady Sheyner should have provided: State Senate Bill 375 (SB375) builds on AB32 by adding the nation's first law to control greenhouse gas emissions by curbing sprawl and linking land use to climate protection. The state's press release stated: "Californians need to rethink how we design our communities. SB 375 does this by providing emissions-reduction goals around which regions can plan - integrating disjointed planning activities and providing incentives for local governments and developers to follow new conscientiously-planned growth patterns. ARB (California state Air Resources Board) will also work with California's 18 metropolitan planning organizations to align their regional transportation, housing and land-use plans and prepare a 'sustainable communities strategy' to reduce the amount of vehicle miles traveled in their respective regions and demonstrate the region's ability to attain its greenhouse gas reduction targets. Spending less time on the road is the single-most powerful way for California to reduce its carbon footprint." Then, Sheyner could have pointed out Palo Alto's climate disconnect.

      3. In 2006, there was a missed opportunity when GRTF decided not to add smart growth and land use to the effort. While it is obvious that Palo Alto is a part of the Bay Area, rather than being an island, it is not standard procedure for elite suburb volunteer-led climate efforts to think in this manner.

      4. PA Council continues to make embarrassing statements (with "magical" theories) about smart growth and climate.

      There is a widespread allegation that a "climate hero" councilmember led an effort to overturn the state's Regional Housing Needs Allocation process (a cornerstone of climate protection). Luckily this effort failed, because it would have dramatically increased CA GHG emissions. There is an opportunity for the Weakly to expose our local Lance Armstrong of climate heroism.

      More on the Palo Alto Housing Element and SB375 can be found in a yahoo groups post: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ALPA_Forum/message/657

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