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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Elk Grove and Swainson’s Hawk Mitigation

Dear Friends:

Elk Grove is at it again. At the request of developer Gerry Kamilos and rancher Stan Van Vleck, the City is considering changing its mitigation requirement for Swainson’s Hawks impacts of development in the Southeast Policy Area. This change will put mitigation more than 18 miles from the site of impact. The current requirement is within 10 miles. The Elk Grove area is one of the densest nesting areas of Swainson’s Hawks in California. The Van Vleck Ranch is not. The hearing is June 27, Wednesday at 6.

The agenda and staff report (Item 9.1) are found here http://www.elkgrovecity.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_109585/File/cityclerk/citycouncil/2018/ag-06-27-18.pdf

California Department of Fish and Wildlife prepared an analysis of the suitability of the proposed Van Vleck mitigation property for mitigation for development in Elk Grove and concluded that the property was too far from the site of impact to be appropriate mitigation. That report is included in the Staff report on line. Also included are our previous letters (with allies) explaining why this is a bad idea.

Please send an email to the Elk Grove City Council before June 27 to oppose this change.


Here is what you should include in your comment:

Item 9.1 A Public Hearing to consider a resolution adopting an Addendum to the Certified Environmental Impact Report for the Southeast Policy Area Strategic Plan involving text changes to the EIR and previously-adopted Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP) [p. 1-252]

I oppose the proposed change in mitigation measure for the Southeast Policy Area development impacts on Swainson’s Hawk foraging.

1. The mitigation land proposed is too distant (18 miles plus) from the site of impact to be appropriate mitigation land for development in Elk Grove. Until now, development in Elk Grove has mitigated for impacts within 10 miles of the development.

2. An Addendum to the Final EIR for the Plan area is no way to make a major policy change in Elk Grove’s protection of the Swainson’s Hawk population that its growth is and has impacted. This is a significant change requiring an override of existing Elk Grove policy. It affects 900 acres of mitigation and sets a precedent for much more.

3. The City claims to have an exemplar Swainson’s Hawk mitigation program. Invoking a loophole in its Ordinance to provide a significant deviation from its policy would disqualify the City from claiming its distinction as a protector of the Swainson’s Hawk.

Your name and area/city of residence.


Contact info for emailing City of Elk Grove: you can use this email string –
stevely [at] elkgrovecity [dot] org, dsuen [at] elkgrovecity [dot] org, phume [at] elkgrovecity [dot] org, sdetrick [at] elkgrovecity [dot] org, snguyen [at] elkgrovecity [dot] org, jbehrmann [at] elkgrovecity [dot] org,aablog [at] elkgrovecity [dot] org, swainsonshawk [at] sbcglobal [dot] net

Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk
swainsonshawk [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
Judith Lamare

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Neighborhood Planned for Toxic Waste Site in Folsom

June 12, 2018

How do you think the Aerojet Area 40 Toxic waste site in Folsom should be cleaned up before it is developed into a park, open space and residential area?

A Public Meeting to Review and Comment on the Remedial Action Plan for the cleanup and development of the Aerojet Area 40 Toxic Waste site, which is South of Highway 50 will be held:

June 20 from 6-8 pm,
Folsom Community Center,
Western Conference Room,
52 Natoma Street, Folsom

South of highway 50 just east of Prairie City Road, lies Aerojet Rocketdyne’s “Area 40”, a hazardous waste site waiting be cleaned up. Folsom and local developers are planning a 48-acre park with housing nearby within the Folsom Planning Area at the location of Area 40. A 26-acre “open space” will be fenced off until extremely high soil vapor levels drop to lower levels.

The Department of Toxics Substances (DTSC) released the proposed cleanup plan in May, and a Public Meeting will be held June 20 in Folsom.

While Aerojet Rocketdyne leased this land their industrial activities included separating solvents from propellant-solvent mixtures and open burning of laboratory wastes, propellants, kerosene fuel, and flammable liquids.

Chemicals identified within Area 40 soils and soil vapor were: dioxins and furans, metals, perchlorate, semi- volatile organic compounds and volatile organic compounds. Chemicals identified in groundwater were perchlorate, trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and additional volatile organic compounds.

The proposed cleanup plans are to remove 31,100 tons of contaminated soil from two areas on the site. Note that soil vapors move from the soil into the air. Extremely high levels of volatile organic compounds are in the shallow groundwater. The cleanup plans include measures to require vapor mitigation systems to move chemical vapors from under potential new housing.

How thorough will the cleanup be for the proposed new Community West Park near Prairie City Road? For the open space area north of the park? For the single-family high-density homes just north of the site, and for the commercial and multi-family units to the south?

Levels of contamination: The Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for Area 40 says that the site poses unacceptable risk to human and ecological health, which is true. However, the RAP does not mention that the levels of TCE in shallow groundwater, soil gas and even outdoor air are among the highest observed in California. The site has up to 120,000 μg/L TCE in shallow groundwater, which is 24,000 times the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 5 μg/L TCE. The site has up to 268 million μg/m3 TCE in soil gas, which is 8 million times the EPA default screening level for protecting residents from TCE vapor intrusion into indoor air. The levels of TCE are so high on portions of the site, that levels of TCE in outdoor air 4 foot above the ground pose a risk for fetal heart defects. Levels of TCE are likely to be even higher for infants or small children breathing closer to the ground and individuals laying or picnicking on the ground.

The City of Folsom and the developers are focused on whether the park can go into the proposed area. The risk assessment for human health is based on limited park use.

During the cleanup additional contamination may be found, which could change the scope or nature of the cleanup.

June 20: Learn about this site – make your thoughts known at the meeting scheduled for 6pm at the Folsom Community Center, Western Conference Room, 52 Natoma Street, in Folsom.

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