By Joe Garofoli : SFGate.com – excerpt
Gov. Jerry Brown wants to loosen requirements on the state’s 43-year-old landmark environmental law and is willing to stare down his core backers in labor and environmental circles, in large part because of what he learned as mayor of Oakland more than a decade ago.
In 2001, frustrated with the pace of his plan to revive downtown Oakland by creating housing for 10,000 residents there, Brown won passage of a state law that would exempt certain parts of the city’s downtown from the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA. Brown believed that the law, which requires public agencies to examine the impact of development projects on the environment, had been commandeered by NIMBYs and others who wanted to slow, if not stop, all development.
A decade later, Brown’s plan has worked in many parts of downtown Oakland. But some officials wonder how much of the area’s renaissance had to do with getting exemptions to the law… (more)