Renewal of Measure U in Sacramento

September 10, 2018

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) has submitted a letter in response to the renewal of Measure U in Sacramento. The content of the letter is below.

Dear Mayor and City Council:

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) agrees with the concerns about the renewal of Measure U expressed in a recent letter from neighborhood groups and their supporters to the Sacramento City Council. We are also concerned that a permanent extension of the City’s local sales tax measure (Measure U) without significant changes in community engagement, budget process, and oversight will mean that City residents who will pay this tax will have no way to ensure that the funds collected are used for the greatest and most equitable community benefit.

ECOS generally supports the four proposals outlined in the letter submitted from the neighborhood groups:

  1. There should be meaningful comminity engagement for all plans and pending decisions that represents our diverse communities. This process should begin well before a final plan or decision is released, and all comments and documents received in that engagement should be publicly available. Engagement should prioritize low-income communities and communities of color.
  2. Once per year, with the annual budget, the City should conduct an assessment of the impact on disadvantaged communities by the previous year spending and proposed spending for the next fiscal year.
  3. The City should implement a participatory budgeting process to get meaningful public input on the spending that will be proposed for each annual budget. This process must conclude before any final budget is proposed for the next fiscal year and include meaningful community engagement. Any final recommendations should include a racial impact assessment of proposed spending.
  4. There should be meaningful citizen budget oversight through a citizen oversight committee that has the ability to convene meetings when the committee deems necessary and to provide recommendations to the City on budget spending and proposals.

We request that the City Council take formal action to adopt these requests before the November election. We look forward to working with you to institute these long-needed changes to the City’s planning and budget process.

Sincerely,
Ralph Propper
ECOS President

To access the letter in PDF, click here.

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July ECOS Board Meeting – Great Speaker Line-Up!

Free and open to the public! Join the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) on our mission to achieve regional and community sustainability and a healthy environment for existing and future residents.
 
We host a brief social/networking reception (with wine and light refreshments) at 5:30 pm. The meeting begins at 6:00 pm.
 
Presenting on July 24th… a panel on Affordable Housing and Transit-Oriented Development!
 
Panelists include:
• Prof. Jesus Hernandez (UC Davis Sociology) – Sacramento Region communities – history and ways to achieve equity
• James Boyle (Planning Director, Sacramento Regional Transit District) – Sacramento City plans for Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance
• Cathy Creswell (Sacramento Housing Alliance, Board President) – How to achieve Affordable Housing in our region
 
We encourage you to use public transit, walking or biking to get to the meeting. Parking is restricted to street parking and is limited. There is secure bike parking in the downstairs hallway.
 
Location: 909 12th St, Sacramento, California 95814 (in the Sierra Club CA conference room on the 2nd floor).
 
 
View the full agenda here: https://goo.gl/YtWF7z
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Evening Hours on Light Rail Gold Line Extended!

June 14, 2018

A win for the Sacramento region! 

While light rail trains on the Gold Line previously stopped running before 7:00 pm, they will now run until 11:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9:30 p.m. on Sunday!

How did this come to be?

Ten years ago, ECOS brought a lawsuit against Caltrans when it proposed adding lanes to Highway 50 to create High Occupancy Vehicle (“HOV”) lanes. Since these lanes are only restricted to High Occupancy Vehicles during certain hours, adding new lanes for this purpose is essentially just a widening of the freeway.

Freeway-widening induces urban sprawl, increases Vehicle Miles Traveled, increase greenhouse gas emissions and does not reduce traffic congestion after all.

That lawsuit was settled in 2008 when Caltrans agreed to pay $7.5 million to SacRT for improved light rail service between Folsom and Sacramento, along the Highway 50 corridor.

In 2017, Caltrans again proposed to create HOV lanes by adding more lanes to Highway 50 without adequately dealing with induced demand for sprawl development and additional miles traveled. Again, ECOS sued.

ECOS met with SacRT to determine what funding from settlement of this lawsuit would help public transit the most along this section of Highway 50, and it was determined that expanding light rail service past 7:00pm would be best, so Caltrans settled by agreeing to provide funding for that purpose.

At ECOS, reducing vehicle trips is an essential part of our work, and new service like this goes a long way toward helping us reach our goals. This project will open up car-free options to many people, as trips that were only possible in a vehicle are now possible via public transit. We are proud to be a part of this effort.

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