Press runs AB 2923 opposition articles after bill passes to Governor to sign

Wonder what  took BANG [bay area news group] so long to weigh in? All their newspapers [AJ, East Bay Times, Piedmonter,et al]  carried this editorial in opposition to AB 2923, but many not until after the bill passed!

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/08/24/editorial-stop-bart-power-grab-for-land-use-authority/

Many Opponents did not seem to grasp the impact of this bill until late in the game. If you oppose the bill tell the Governor to veto it!  https://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php    Phone: (916) 445-2841  Fax: (916) 558-3160

Coalition to Preserve LA Praises Conservationists: They Stopped Gov. Brown from Wiping Out Environmental Protections Under CEQA

businesswire – excerpt

“This is a lie designed to kill CEQA, which is used modestly to attack only the worst developments.”

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Coalition to Preserve LA applauds the Sierra Club, the Planning and Conservation League and scores of groups who fought and today stopped Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to gut CEQA and Coastal Act environmental protections for virtually any urban project where developers agreed to add an insignificant number of affordable housing units.

In June, we urged our supporters, and those who believe developers are the last ones who should decide their communities’ fates, to call Gov. Brown to protest Trailer Bill 707. Brown’s now fully dead idea would have trampled over the California Environmental Quality Act and Coastal Act, handing the wheel to developers who have shown that without environmental oversight they will gladly place thousands of children in harm’s way, create massive surface street gridlock and destroy unique and beloved neighborhood character.

The Coalition is sponsoring the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative on the March 2017 Los Angeles ballot to end developer control over what L.A. becomes. Contact us to attend our events, or to very easily donate and send a message, at 2PreserveLA.org…

CEQA is a crucial tool to assure safe housing, but this year a raft of California legislators who take money from developers tried to pass some 30 bills to tear CEQA apart. In USC’s watershed Children’s Health Study of 3,600 children, scientists proved that youngsters living near freeways suffer chronic lung damage. UCLA found a higher risk for premature babies. Experts say this tainted housing cannot be “mitigated” with filters, trees or tight windows — microscopic metal and rubber particles still lodge in the lungs and brain…

The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, which is almost finished gathering more than 62,000 signatures for the March ballot, gives L.A. residents the power to “call a time-out” and shape what L.A. becomes. We believe environmental review is crucial to preserving safety, fighting gridlock and ending the current destruction of neighborhood character to build a luxury housing glut in Los Angeles.

The fight to protect CEQA is not over. Los Angeles city leaders have falsely claimed that CEQA is being abused and has increasingly pushed development disputes into court. Said Stewart “This is a lie designed to kill CEQA, which is used modestly to attack only the worst developments.” A new study from the NRDC shows that CEQA is used very seldom in court, has no effect on development costs, and is a key tool to force healthy out-of-court compromise.

Additional information available at ethics.lacity.org

Please visit us at neighborhoodintegrity@gmail.com / http://2PreserveLA.org(more)

Op-ed: Jesse Arreguín is right to oppose Jerry Brown’s anti-democratic give-away to the real-estate industry

By Zelda Bronstein : berkeleyside – excerpt

Zelda Bronstein is a former chair of the Berkeley Planning Commission.

In his July 19 op-ed published on Berkeleyside, Garret Christensen slammed Berkeley City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguín for opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s Trailer Bill 707. Christensen called the legislation “an important state affordable housing bill” that “Berkeley and its councilmembers, especially those with aspirations of becoming mayor should welcome…with open arms.” “[I]t is truly baffling to me,” he declared, “why anyone who calls themselves a progressive is opposed to the governor’s proposal.”

In fact, Trailer Bill 707 is opposed by many people besides Arreguín who call themselves progressives— for example, the representatives of  the 60-plus organizations, including Public Advocates, the Council of Community Housing Organizations, Jobs with Justice San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and SEIU 1021, who signed a July 8 letter urging the state legislature to reject the bill.

Brown’s proposal, they wrote, “gives developers the power to force approval of projects “’by right’ without public or environmental review.”

For Christensen, the lack of public or environmental review is a boon that would eliminate “Berkeley’s extra layers of approval requirements.” What he deems “extra” is anything beyond the “objective zoning standards” specified in the bill.

The problem: zoning is an essential but limited land use planning tool. A development could meet a city’s zoning and still displace existing tenants, small businesses, and jobs. By removing the right to negotiate with developers over such issues, Brown’s bill puts communities, especially disadvantaged ones, at the mercy of the real estate industry. Meanwhile, as the letter cited above notes, “privileged communities…can merely maintain or redesign zoning restrictions to keep out affordable housing.”

In any case, the amount of affordable housing created by Trailer Bill 707 is piddling, as Christensen himself intimated: “If a multi-family housing project includes a certain percentage of affordable units (the exact percentage depends on the level of affordability, but ranges from  5% to 20%) and meets the city’s zoning laws, the city must grant the permit.” In other words, as much as 95% of the new housing authorized by Brown’s proposal could be unaffordable.

Moreover, a proposed development could meet a city’s zoning and still damage the environment. That’s why Trailer Bill 707 is also opposed by the Sierra Club.

Christensen acknowledges that “[t]here is some environmental opposition to the bill…, since infill developments including the requisite amount of affordable housing would be exempt from CEQA [California Environmental Quality Act] review.” But in his view, “these concerns are misplaced, since any honest accounting shows much lower carbon and water impact from allowing people to live in a denser, transit-rich city like Berkeley instead of making them commute from a far-flung car-dependent suburb.”… (more)

Comments are appreciated on the source as well as on social media sites. This is the most important campaign in the state. The more to remove local control over deciding how to build our cities by removing the options we have now to oppose projects we don’t like. This includes good ones as well as bad ones, but if this goes the state has taken away our options to control our environment. The only way to overturn this is to put new politicians in office who want to decentralize power and protect our rights to choose how we live.

Best comment I have seen on the subject: “If Jerry Brown really wants to help the housing crisis, he would repeal costa hawkins” – good point. How about it Jerry? Let’s repeal Costa Hawkins.

Coalition to Preserve LA Slams Gov. Brown’s Attack on CEQA, as a Health Disaster for Children

businesswire – excerpt

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Coalition to Preserve LA strongly opposes Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to gut CEQA and Coastal Act environmental protections for virtually any urban project where developers agree to add an insignificant number of affordable housing units. We urge our supporters, and those who believe developers are the last ones who should decide their communities’ fates, to tweet and call Gov. Brown immediately regarding Trailer Bill 707. Brown’s twitter is @JerryBrownGov, and his phone is (916) 445-2841.

“It would be great if we could call a time-out and try to plan better, but it’s not practical.”

Tweet this

Brown’s wrongheaded plan tosses aside the California Environmental Quality Act and Coastal Act, handing the wheel to developers who have shown that without environmental oversight they won’t hesitate to place thousands of children in harm’s way, create gridlock and destroy neighborhood character.

The Coalition is sponsoring the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative on the March 2017 Los Angeles ballot to end developer control over what L.A. becomes. Contact us or donate at 2PreserveLA.org…

Under the guise of saving the environment, Brown has argued that cramming family housing into already congested areas reduces global warming. Now Brown claims that halting environmental review in congested areas is the best way to create affordable housing. While the City Council recently approved ineffective changes to address Black Lung Lofts in L.A., Brown must do better: end his war on CEQA and the Coastal Act and find another way to increase badly needed affordable housing units in California… (more)

Please visit us at neighborhoodintegrity@gmail.com / http://2PreserveLA.org

Contacts

The Coalition to Preserve LA
Jill Stewart, (916) 595-9033
or
Media Contact:
John Schwada, Mobile: (310) 709-0056
john.schwada@gmail.com

The Supreme Court Eyes CEQA

The Supreme Court Eyes CEQA

 

The best prospect for reform of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is no longer with the Legislature or the Governor, but at the California Supreme Court.

Over the past several years, hopes were high that the political branches would dig in to drain the CEQA litigation swamp. Governor Brown famously called CEQA reform the “Lord’s work.” Outgoing Senate leader Darrell Steinberg made reform of this law an “agenda priority” in 2013.

But for all the sound and fury – not incidentally as California struggled to recover from a deep recession – the rhetoric signified nothing. The legislative reform efforts fizzled and even Governor Brown has expressed a diminished enthusiasm for reform. Indeed, one of the most significant CEQA bills over the past four years expanded its scope to include Native American religio-cultural beliefs.

Enter the high court… (more)

Governor Changes His Mind on CEQA Reform

Governor Changes His Mind on CEQA Reform

jdsupra – excerpt

In published reports, Gov. Jerry Brown discussed that he has had a spiritual conversion, of sorts, on his plans for CEQA reform. He strongly telegraphed that, if he wins a second term, he will not be making a push for CEQA reform. The Contra Costa Times reports:

“Brown said his hopes to [take up CEQA reform] have dimmed significantly. He wouldn’t say CEQA reform is dead, but he compared hurdles in changing the law to revising the Catholic Church’s persistent opposition to birth control.  ‘Once you start to fiddle with the theology of CEQA, you get into difficulties,’ Brown said.”

These statements are in strong contrast to Brown’s August 2012 observation that “CEQA reform is the Lord’s work.”… (more)

Brown Suspends Environmental Law in Drought Declaration

Brown Suspends Environmental Law in Drought Declaration

by : kcet.org – excerpt

The state’s foremost environmental law no longer protects wildlife or the environment from the effects of the state’s response to the drought, after an emergency drought declaration was signed by Governor Brown at a press event in San Francisco Friday morning.

Buried in the language of the declaration, unmentioned at the press event which focused on voluntary conservation programs, is a clause exempting the state’s responses from having to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the backbone of the state’s environmental protection law.

The declaration claims that compliance with CEQA would get in the way of swift reaction to the effects of the drought emergency.

Here’s the text in question, section 9 of Friday’s drought declaration:.

9. The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will take actions necessary to make water immediately available, and, for purposes of carrying out directives 5 and 8, Water Code section 13247 and Division 13 (commencing with section 21000) of the Public Resources Code and regulations adopted pursuant to that Division are suspended on the basis that strict compliance with them will prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency.

Division 13 of the state’s Public Resources Code is the technical, “codified” name for CEQA.

The section also exempts the Department of Water Resources and the Water Board from compliance with section 13247 of the state’s Water Code, which means the agencies don’t have to comply with water quality plans.

The exemptions apply to the agencies in carrying out orders in the drought declaration relating to dam releases and transfers of water between the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Both CEQA and the requirement that agencies follow water quality plans serve to protect California’s beleaguered fish populations, including the Central Valley’s salmon runs and the Delta smelt, which is listed as Endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.

Water quality violations in the smelt’s habitat have recently restricted agricultural water diversions from the Sacramento River: if more water is diverted as a result of exemptions from state environmental law, the smelt — whose population fell to a near-record low in the past year — could be history: its range is restricted to a narrow band in the delta where seawater and freshwater mix, and diversions in a drought year could push that “mixing zone” too far inland for the fish to survive.

Meanwhile, exempting the state’s water agencies’ drought measures from CEQA means that diversions and transfers won’t be subject to third-party scientific analysis or public comment.

Though the exemptions went unmentioned at the San Francisco press conference, they aren’t a particular surprise from Brown, a longtime foe of CEQA. We’ll be tracking the implementation of this exemption and reporting on comment from water and wildlife activists as the story develops… (more)

CEQA Works on Governors drought state of emergency declaration

CEQA Works on Governors drought state of emergency declaration

Dear CEQA Works members:

Long time no talk. As I’m sure most if not all of you are aware, Governor Brown today made his drought emergency declaration. While there are many positive aspects of the declaration – raising awareness of the drought, added pressure for reduced water usage, release of funds to address the drought, etc. – there are also some significant concerns with the announcement, including the suspension of some water quality laws and CEQA (see # 5 of his declaration) to allow for more water transfers. We are working to assess what this could mean and develop a gameplan to address. Before this announcement, I was planning to send out a CEQA Works update next week highlighting various CEQA-related bills (not many thankfully) and other rumblings from the Capitol, but wanted to give everyone an early heads-up with the drought declaration. I will send a more detailed CEQA update next week (including our thoughts on the drought declaration), and plan to set a call in February. Thanks all!

Note: – the CEQA section is order #9 in the Governor’s drought declaration (though #5 also raises concerns with consolidating the Federal Central Valley Project with the State Water Project, which presumably would be done without CEQA per order #9).

Bruce Reznik
Executive Director, Planning & Conservation League/PCL Foundation
breznik@pcl.org
http://www.pcl.org/

Very sneaky, Walmart: How the mega-retailer rolled back California regulations

Labor, environmental, and political leaders cry foul as Calif. Democrats curtail landmark environmental law

By : salon – excerpt

Labor, environmental, and political leaders cry foul as Calif. Democrats curtail landmark environmental law

While Washington has been warring over the shutdown and the debt ceiling, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed bills expanding access to abortion and restricting local police collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement – bills that advocates hope will join past Golden State laws in proving to be national precedents. But if those bills have gotten little notice amid the showdown in Washington, another – signed by Brown the Friday afternoon before the shutdown – has gotten even less. It’s a “reform” that critics say waters down what’s been the country’s strongest statewide environmental law – and represents Walmart’s latest lobbying coup in a state where Democrats control every branch of government.
“It’s amazing to me how few people are willing to stand up to this corporation,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. “And mainly because they’re afraid.”… (more)

Democrats now see downside of CEQA

Democrats now see downside of CEQA

By STEVEN GREENHUT : ocregister.com – excerpt

SACRAMENTO – Although many of California’s legislative Democrats are eager to “test drive” the new two-thirds majorities their caucuses hold in the Assembly and Senate – i.e., pushing the limits of their power to advance their progressive agenda – others are focusing on a sensible reform that almost everyone knows is slowing job growth.

Passed in 1970 at the height of the nation’s push to clean up the environment, the California Environmental Quality Act created a convoluted bureaucratic process to “mitigate” environmental harm from major new projects. One can argue whether the high costs the act imposes in terms of delays and reports have helped preserve the state’s ecology, but there’s no question it delays the construction of just about everything… (more)

Without CEQA protections, citizens have little hope of controlling the growing governmental disdain for public opinions with regards to increasing public debt to fund controversial projects like Big Rail. If you care about controlling government spending, you should care about protecting CEQA.

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