Judge blasts San Diego County’s pay-to-pollute plan — putting 10,000 new suburban units in limbo

By Joshua Emerson Smith : sandiegouniontribune – excerpt

County supervisors (left to right) Greg Cox, Bill Horn and Ron Roberts vote in September 2018 to approve the controversial Newland Sierra housing project, one of several projects relying on carbon-offset credits as part of the county’s embattled plan to fight climate change. (John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)

A county plan that would allow housing developers to pay their way around restrictions on greenhouse-gas emissions looks increasingly to be on shaky legal ground.

The Sierra Club has challenged the plan in court as part of its longstanding fight with the agency over its so-called climate action plan.

A superior court judge issued a tentative ruling in the case on Thursday scolding the Board of Supervisors for its strategy to recognize the purchase of carbon offsets anywhere in the world, rather than forcing home builders to limit climate pollution locally.

The offset strategy doesn’t comply the county’s 2011 general plan, which called for drafting a climate blueprint to reduce emissions within its jurisdiction, wrote Judge Timothy B. Taylor.

“As such, the county violated its general plan and the planning and zoning law by allowing the free use of out-of-county (greenhouse-gas) offsets for projects within the county,” he wrote in the tentative decision.

“The people of the county have a right to expect more from their elected officials …,” he added… (more)

Spread the Digital Wealth

By Ro Khanna : nytimes – excerpt

There are plenty of ways to deliver tech jobs to rural communities.

One key question for the United States in the 21st century is whether noncoastal towns and rural communities, including many communities of color, will be able to participate in the digital revolution. We know that almost all Americans are avid consumers of technology, but many lack the opportunity to do the creative work that fuels our digital economy.

At stake is the dignity of millions of people. Within the next 10 years, nearly 60 percent of jobs could have a third of their tasks automated by artificial intelligence. Many traditional industries are becoming digital. Recently, a senior hotel executive described his business to me as essentially a digital one, explaining that his profit margins were contingent on the effectiveness of his software architects. Today’s hospitality vendors, precision farmers and electricians spend significant time on digital work.

Economists keep telling those left out of our digital future to move to the tech hubs. Sometimes I wonder if they have ever been to places like Jefferson, Iowa, or Beckley, W.Va. If they visit, they will realize that many people there are not looking to move. They are proud of their small-town values and enjoy being close to family. They brag that their town doesn’t need many traffic lights. And they worry about a brain drain...(more)

Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area

When: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 6:00PM
678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
California Historical Society Headquarters

Cost: $10 General Admission,
Free for CHS Members, plus one guest per membership.

his conversation between Richard Walker, author of Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Lenny Siegel, Mayor of Mountain View, will take a hard look at current realities of life in the Bay Area in the midst of the tech boom which has transformed the metropolitan area in a number of ways – and not all to the good, despite the immense growth of companies, jobs and incomes. Despite its liberal leanings, the region is marked by grave inequality, millions of workers struggle to make ends meet, transportation systems are overloaded and, notably, an housing is in full crisis mode, featuring exorbitant rents, mass evictions and displacement, and rampant homelessness.

Mayor Siegel will respond to the book and discuss the challenges to local governments faced with housing shortages, low wage work, traffic jams, and much more, but hampered by insufficient revenues to invest in solutions, suburbanites reluctant to be urbanized, and the power of the tech corporations looming over everything.

Walker and Siegel are long-time observers and historians of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, who connect the present successes and failures of the region to its past and are well positioned to comment on how it has – and has not – changed over time… (more)

High-speed rail gets a financial boost from California’s heaviest polluters

McClatchy – excerpt

Debate over Assembly Bill 398 draws an emotional response from Republican Assemblyman Devon Mathis of Visalia..

A key source of money for California’s controversial high-speed rail project got a big shot in the arm this month from the auction sale of air pollution credits to industrial and commercial buyers.

The California Air Resources Board stands to receive more than $813 million from the Nov. 14 auction – the 17th quarterly cap-and-trade auction of carbon-emission credits since the fall of 2012. California holds its auctions in collaboration with the Canadian province of Quebec. The auctions are part of California’s greenhouse gas reduction program to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels… (more)

The Battle for Brooklyn: Eminent Domain Abuse Gone Wild


The Battle For Brooklyn, a documentary about one man’s fight to stop a private developer from using eminent domain to take his home, recently opened in select theaters in New York City after a successful film-festival run…(more)

The question is always, who decides what is a public benefit?

Public comments on CASA at the December 12, 2018 meeting

12/12/2018 – (includes video clips)

Portion of Santa Rosa Mayor Julie Coombs – concerns over regional mandate with “no Outreach and no funding”:  https://youtu.be/VP_m3SQrafo

Livable California President, Susan Kirsch offers reasons that organization opposes CASA compact:  https://youtu.be/r2Y0oTr6NSs

Making house-razing developer squirm: It feels so good

There are moments when the symbolic aspect of architecture, a structure’s power to embody larger aspirations or fears, becomes impossible to ignore.

We are seeing one such moment in the reaction to the demolition and possible resurrection of the Largent House, architect Richard Neutra’s once-modest and much-altered house on the slopes of Twin Peaks.

It was built in 1936 as a four-room home for a teacher and artist. It was razed in the fall of 2017 by construction workers for the owner, a developer who lives in Florida. San Francisco’s City Planning Commission now insists that it be rebuilt to look as it did on day one… (more)

Regulators mull massive changes to PG&E management, structure

: sfchronicle – excerpt

California regulators are considering whether Pacific Gas and Electric Co. should shake up its leadership, split its core operations into separate companies or be transformed into a publicly-owned utility.

In an announcement late Friday afternoon, the California Public Utilities Commission stressed it had not drawn conclusions but listed those possibilities among a series of provocative questions it will explore in the next phase of a long-running investigation into PG&E’s corporate culture.

The inquiry could have far-reaching consequences for PG&E, the state’s largest investor-owned utility, which is facing existential questions after two years of historically devastating wildfires and a recent pipeline record-keeping scandal that renewed questions about its commitment to safety in its gas operations… (more)

Will CEQA Test Boring Co.’s Transit Projects?

By Kelsi Maree Borland : globest – excerpt

The Boring Co. has canceled its plans to build a transit line along the 405 freeway, and CEQA challenges could be one of the firm’s obstacles.

The Boring Co. has big ambitions to dramatically change Los Angeles’ nearly nonexistent transit network—but that objective may prove to be more dream than reality. The company had announced plans to build a transit line along the 405 Freeway, but scrapped the idea last month after a CEQA lawsuit came forward. While Boring publically said that it wanted to focus on its Dodger “Dugout Loop transit line project, CEQA lawsuits and challenges could be an ongoing obstacle for the tech and development company.

“As I understand it, the Boring Co. hasn’t scrapped the project altogether. It has scrapped one of the originally proposed locations for the project,” Kristina Lawson, partner at Hanson Bridgett, tells GlobeSt.com about the project. “While CEQA may have been one of the reasons the project isn’t moving forward in this location, there were likely cost and infrastructure concerns as well.”… (more)

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