Why ECOS is opposed to Measure A

October 18, 2022

ECOS’ Executive Committee has voted to oppose Measure A, the Sacramento County sales tax initiative on next month’s ballot. Here are some reasons to vote NO on Measure A:

Measure A is designed to circumvent the Sacramento BLUEPRINT, California’s climate targets, and federal transportation planning law. Its highway projects are not included in our region’s long-range plan, the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS). They have not gone through any public process or analysis against accepted smart growth planning principles, goals, and laws. Why? Because these projects would not pass the test. So, the measure’s proponents have skirted the process, and spent over a million dollars for a “citizens’ initiative” to make us pay for projects that enable their sprawl developments.

Measure A is full of roadway capacity expansion projects and a new rural expressway. These projects will induce more car travel and sprawling housing development. This will pull resources from infill development, with its attendant economic revitalization, better transit access, affordable and energy efficient housing, and community enhancements.

Being anti-planning has another serious dollars and cents impact for our region. SACOG, our metropolitan planning organization, has shown that the measure’s projects would cause our region to exceed federal air quality standards and greenhouse gas targets, making us unable to receive State and federal transportation and housing funds.

Measure A will mean a dismal and economically disastrous step backward; a forty-year prospect of regional decline and a worsening climate. So, can we consider and pursue other options?

We admire cities in Europe because they have many layers of development, making the character of the streets inviting, alive, and culturally valuable. In Sacramento, we have just an initial layer of built form, and in many places the buildings are dilapidated and no longer work economically. We are ripe for another layer of development to fill in. Sacramento should take this moment in its history to flex forward, to turn away from the automobile as the primary means of getting around. This is what the climate challenge demands and what future generations will need.

Let’s work together to write an initiative for 2024 that puts local transportation funding where it needs to go: locate higher capacity transit where more people live and where bus ridership is high; create new accessible public plazas and parks, connected by boulevards and promenades; and provide housing for people of all income levels within walking distance to transit, food, and schools. And, let’s show the federal and State government that Sacramento can be a reliable partner for funding by uniting around a vision.

On Thursday, the SACOG Board meeting will feature an example of coalescing behind a vision with a workshop/case study of the Salt Lake City region, Envision Utah. October 20, Agenda Item 18: https://sacog.primegov.com/Portal/Meeting?meetingTemplateId=3358

Below is SACOG’s map of the Measure A proposed projects and their estimated effect on vehicle miles traveled (VMT.)

Please vote NO on Measure A.

Click here to read our full statement, including footnotes.

ECOS Comment Letter re CARB Draft 2022 Progress Report, California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, Jun 2022

On July 14, 2022, ECOS submitted a comment letter regarding the CARB Draft 2022 Progress Report, California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, dated June 2022.

Below is an excerpt from our letter.

…we ask that CARB collect and analyze information that is more current, and report on
SB 375 progress more frequently, so the public has a better sense of our climate status and jurisdictions can more timely make course corrections.

Based on the current report, we are not on a trajectory to prevent climate change. We urge CARB to
work with the state legislature to implement the recommendations and suggestions [we have out forth in this letter].

Click here to read the letter in full.

Stop the diversion of 147,000 acre-feet of American River Water to San Joaquin County

On July 6, 2022, the Environmental Council of Sacramento submitted a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board Administrative Hearings Office (AHO) supporting the AHO’s recommendation to cancel San Joaquin County’s application #29657 from 1990.

Below is an excerpt from the letter.

While not the subject of the AHO’s recommendation, the diversion of 147,000 acre-feet of American River Water to San Joaquin County, as envisioned in application #29657, would have substantial adverse impacts to the American River and would disrupt the Water Forum’s 29 years of work to meet water needs, protect river flows, manage river temperatures for salmon and steelhead, and restore aquatic habitats in the Lower American River. The up-stream diversion would likely impact river flows and summer temperatures. With climate change and the projected demand in this region, the river cannot absorb an additional 140,000+ acre feet of diversion and still maintain the fishery and full recreational potential of the lower American river.

Click here to read the letter in full.

Kassis property along the American River in Rancho Cordova

The Environmental Council of Sacramento, Habitat 2020 and the Sierra Club Sacramento Group submitted a letter regarding the Kassis property along the American River in Rancho Cordova (APN #’s: 075 0450 009 0000 and 075 0450 006 000).

We are contacting your board to alert you to what appears to be ongoing Clean Water Act violations and asking that you monitor the property and ensure that future violations do not occur.

Click here to read the letter in full.

Support for the Cosumnes Subbasin Groundwater Authority’s (CGA) Demand Management and Multi-Benefit Recharge Projects and Actions to Achieve

On June 14, 2022, ECOS submitted a letter of support for the Cosumnes Subbasin Groundwater Authority’s (CGA) Demand Management and multi-benefit recharge projects and actions to achieve.

Below is the content of the letter.

Subject: Support for the Cosumnes Subbasin Groundwater Authority’s (CGA) Demand Management and Multi-Benefit Recharge Projects and Actions to Achieve

We understand that CGA is working to secure funding for implementation of the multi-benefit recharge and demand management Projects and Actions identified in the CGA Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).

ECOS appreciates CGA’s initiative to make progress towards basin sustainability, environmental uplift, and shallow well protection.

If a letter of support from ECOS will be of value in assisting CGA in obtaining grant funding for these Projects and Actions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are committed to support environmentally beneficial efforts to return the Cosumnes subbasin to sustainability.

We note that the amount of annual groundwater pumping in the subbasin is based on estimates because of the low number of wells with actual pumping metered data available to the GSAs. Given the current condition of the subbasin and the need to rely in part on demand management to reach sustainability, we support efforts to increase the number of metered wells and other actions the GSAs pursue to improve the reliability and accuracy of groundwater pumping information utilized in the management of the Cosumnes subbasin.

We also appreciate the development of the CGA Citizen Advisory Committee. We have identified ECOS representative Neil Dubrovsky to serve on the committee. Neil has extensive groundwater expertise and experience and is particularly familiar with public sources of groundwater monitoring data that may prove useful as projects are developed.

ECOS recognizes the ongoing, complex effects of climate change on the environment and people
in the Cosumnes and Greater Sacramento regions, and California as a whole. We believe that action is needed now and that time is of the essence. Collaborative efforts that address both demand management and multi-benefit recharge, as well as implementation of real time monitoring networks, offer the best chance for timely improvements to basin sustainability, environmental uplift, and shallow well protection.

We look forward to working with CGA in its journey toward returning the Cosumnes subbasin to sustainability.

Click here to view the letter in full.