Environmentalism shouldn't be NIMBYism
Well, Rick, the end of the week is here, and you will have the last word. I should have thought that out more on the schedule.
The answer to today's question is pretty simple. Cities have no choice but to start to craft plans to deal with "global warming."
If they don't, the attorney general will sue them. The Air Resources Board will have rules written at some point that will tell cities what they must have. The debate will begin all over again because it will be easier for some to comply than others.
I think you and I agree that local flexibility is better than micromanaging mandates from Sacramento bureaucrats or lawmakers.
This system would allow local values and priorities to be represented in the planning process. The diversity of population, land and economy would seem to demand this approach. We will see. There are those, not you Rick, who view CEQA and AB 32 as ways to limit population growth in California.
This is not realistic nor is it wise. In past columns, we've argued over the impact of CEQA. The CEQA process can become so burdensome that it stops needed growth and/or drives prices up.
Even Democrats have recognized the problems that CEQA has caused to growth plans. State Sen. Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch) has been outspoken for some streamlining of the process. His spokesman was quoted a couple of years ago as saying, "There's a feeling among Senate Democrats that CEQA is being abused . . . It wasn't put in place to prevent working people from getting a house. NIMBYs are shutting down too many reasonable housing projects - at the same time, we have a housing crisis."
Jerry Brown, as mayor, asked for CEQA exemptions. State Senate Democratic leader Don Perata supported them.
Rick, don't get me wrong. I'm glad they got exemptions. I'm glad that housing and economic growth projects were streamlined. Republicans voted for those exemptions. I'm for this flexibility.
The frustration is that the courtesy extended to those select areas doesn't get implemented in other regions as they deal with the growth issue. AB 32 complicates that process further and has the potential to be devastating depending on what rules are finally written.
Every area's values should be taken into account, not just those of a select few. That goes for infrastructure projects like roads as well.
One area missing from all this discussion is accountability. How are we going to evaluate the real costs and benefits of AB 32? We don't know. Many California lawmakers will push for a national standard to prevent other states from benefiting further from our unfriendly business climate.
"Economic Climate Change" is an issue for another week, but we need standards that are clear in order to see if what is implemented is working and at what price.
Rick, next time I'm in Ventura I'll give you some sales tax money at a mixed-use project. That will be my contribution toward a sustainable Ventura. But like most Californians, I will come by car.
Mike Spence is president of the California Republican Assembly, California's oldest and largest Republican volunteer organization. He is a member of the West Covina School Board and a partner in Citadel Campaigns, LLC.