ECOS 2022 End-of-Year Fundraiser

December 2022

Please consider supporting ECOS with a tax-deductible donation. Thank you so much for your generosity.

During the holiday season, let’s remember Mother Earth, and give thanks for her beauty and her stability. As we consider global and national efforts to fight climate change, let us pledge to do more locally.

Over this past year, partners and members of ECOS have worked together to further the sustainability of our land, water, and air in the Sacramento region. As we have for many years, we leveraged our advocacy efforts and relied upon each others’ expertise and good will.

This coming year, we pledge to collaborate again, and support our major jurisdictions and transit agency as they develop programs of projects related to community infrastructure, transportation, and green building to address climate change and take advantage of federal funding now available.

With the climate crisis escalating, we need to be even more effective in our advocacy. We need to persuade our elected leaders to take bold steps to reduce GHG emissions as fast as possible. To do this, we need your help.

We invite you to join us in 2023 and share your time and talents. But for today, please support ECOS with a tax-deductible donation at https://www.ecosacramento.net/donate/.

Best wishes to you and your friends and families.

Report on Activities in 2022

Climate Action Plans (CAP)

Over the past two years, our advocacy resulted in improvements to Sacramento County’s CAP, however many of the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction measures are still vague and unquantifiable. Although we remain concerned the CAP relies too heavily on SMUD’s 2030 clean energy goal, we applaud the County’s collaboration with the City and SMUD on building electrification. We continue to push for an explicit prioritization of infill development near transit over sprawl; requirements for water conservation and transition to drought-tolerant landscapes; and a requirement for new development to be carbon neutral. We support Sacramento County’s Climate Emergency Task Force and look forward to its recommendations. We reviewed early draft chapters of the City of Sacramento climate plan and will soon comment on the adaptation chapter.

Measure A

We are glad to report that Measure A, the sales tax initiative sponsored by large-scale housing developers, has been voted down. This initiative sought to fund the Southeast Connector and road expansion projects that would have spurred sprawl development and hindered our region’s ability to curb GHG.  ECOS opposed the measure and thanks the “Measure A Not OK” campaign.

Affordable living

We continue to support Sacramento Investment Without Displacement and its discussions with the City of Sacramento to develop an ordinance for a community benefits agreement (CBA). To stave off displacement effects of new large projects, the ordinance would require rent supports, affordable housing, complete streets, transit, and prioritization of the local workforce for jobs.

Induced travel demand analysis

We settled our suit against Caltrans for widening the CapCity Freeway (Business 80) bridge over the American River. We were concerned about the growth in air pollution, GHG emissions, sprawl development from induced travel, and damage from bridge construction to bat and plant habitats on embankments. The settlement requires Caltrans to analyze, as part of CEQA, the impacts of induced travel demand (per SB743), and to provide additional structures for bat habitat.

Natomas Projects

Our Natomas Team is leading the charge on three projects that would threaten the future of the Natomas Basin Conservancy, habitat, and farming. The Airport South Industrial and two others are proposed for land zoned for agriculture, outside the City, and outside the County’s Urban Service Boundary.

Water and Habitat

ECOS’ Water Committee advocates for a safe and reliable water supply that supports people, rivers and wildlife, recreation and aesthetic values, and agriculture. Our committee, with 40 others, is a member of the Water Forum, where water priorities are negotiated. As part of the Environmental Caucus, our committee developed a statement of principles for the upcoming negotiations of the Water Forum 2.0 agreement. The Water Committee supports a regional approach to ensure supplies of groundwater and surface water are sustainable for both the community and the environment.

ECOS’ Habitat Committee (Habitat 2020) works to protect our land, water, native plants, and wildlife. Our committee commented on the Delta Conveyance Draft Environmental Impact Report, highlighting problems with how the impacts on our region’s terrestrial species were addressed in the analysis. In eastern Sacramento County, we are working on a campaign to relocate the Coyote Creek Solar Voltaic Project so it will not imperil Blue Oak Woodland habitat. In Rancho Cordova, we are working to preserve a key habitat area in the American River flood plain, opposing a proposed housing development there.  We continue to review implementation of the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan, which will conserve more than 40,000 acres.

Partners and members with whom we worked in 2022, in addition to government entities:

350 Sacramento
Breathe CA Sacramento Region
California Mobility Center
Citizens’ Climate Lobby Sacramento
Civic Thread
Civic Well
Cleaner Air Partnership
ClimatePlan
Community Resource Project
Environmental Democrats Sacramento
Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
Friends of Swainson’s Hawk
Green Incubator
Impact Foundry
International Dark-Sky Association
Legal Services of Northern California
Mark Berry of Rancho Cordova
Measure A Not OK
Organize Sacramento
Physicians for Social Responsibility Sacramento
Regional Rail Working Group
Sac Area Congregations Together (SacACT)
SacMoves Coalition
Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates
Sacramento Area Creeks Council
Sacramento Audubon Society
Sacramento Building Healthy Communities
Sacramento Climate Coalition
Sacramento Community Land Trust
Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association
Sacramento Environmental Justice Coalition
Sacramento Housing Alliance
Sacramento Investment Without Displacement
Sacramento Metro Advocates for Rail + Transit
Sacramento Natural Foods Coop
California Native Plant Society, Sacramento
Sacramento Vegetarian Society
Save Our Sandhill Cranes
Save the American River Association
Sierra Club Sacramento
Splash
Sunrise Movement Sacramento
The Water Forum
The Xerces Society
United Latinos
Valley Vision

ECOS MTG/Board – Nov. 29, 6-8 pm

BOARD MEETING 6:00 – 7:15

6:00 – 6:10 Welcome, introductions, minutes, agenda

6:10 – 6:15 Board plan for 2023 – Susan Herre

6:15 – 6:35 Committee updates, plans for 2023

  • Climate — Ralph Propper
  • Habitat — Sean Wirth/Rob Burness
  • Water — Ted Rauh
  • Organizational Development–Nancy Hughett

6:35 – 7:00 Elections – Jon Ellison
7:00 – 7:05 Treasurer’s report – Earl Withycombe
7:05 – 7:10 Recognitions

NATOMAS PROJECTS 7:15 – 8:00 pm
Heather Fargo, Natomas resident, ECOS Board member, and former City mayor, will facilitate a discussion about projects proposed in agriculturally-zoned areas of Natomas: Airport South Industrial, Upper Westside (formerly “The Boot”), and Grand Park (formerly “North Precinct”). These are outside both the City of Sacramento and the County’s Urban Services Boundary. What is the approval process, and what approach will ECOS take to influence this?

Next ECOS MTG/Board – Jan 25 (Wed, not Tues) at 6 pm

LINK to join: ECOS ZOOM 6656164155

or call: 1 669 900 6833, Mtg ID: 665 616 4155

Essay: Sacramento voters rejected Measure A’s giveaways and political patronage for a reason

ECOS Board Member Brad Banan wrote the following article published in the Sacramento News and Review on November 18, 2022.

By standard political measures, a proposed Sacramento County transportation tax should have won approval in this month’s election. Supporters had a truckload of campaign cash and the backing of the political establishment, among other things.

They spent more than $4 million on Measure A. Opponents spent less than $7,000.

And yet, just like voters nationwide rejected the narrative of an impending “red wave,” so it appears that local voters bucked conventional wisdom and nixed Measure A. As of Nov. 15, 54 percent of voters were opposed to the measure, leading by a margin of 22,000 votes. The measure would have added a half percent to the county’s sales tax for 40 years, raising it to 9.25 percent in Sacramento.

So why did the transportation tax fail?

Click here to keep reading.

ECOS Climate Committee Meeting 11/10

Thursday, November 10, 2022, 6 PM

Jennifer Venema, Climate Action Lead, City of Sacramento

Sacramento Climate Adaptation Plan Preliminary Public Review Draft and Building Electrification: New Building Ordinance; Existing Building Strategy

Link to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6656164155

To phone in: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 665 616 4155

Click here for the agenda.

In 2020, after the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change released its recommendations to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, the Sacramento City Council directed staff to develop an ordinance for electrification of new construction and a strategy for existing building electrification, with a focus on under-resourced communities.

In July, under Jennifer Venema’s leadership, City staff released a draft Climate Action, and now a draft Adaptation Plan. A 2040 General Plan is expected this winter.

Click the links below to learn more about building electrification efforts by the City of Sacramento.

Plus in the meeting we’ll get updates on:

  • Sacramento County Climate Action Plan – Dec. 6 Board of Supervisor Meeting
  • Sacramento County Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force
  • I-80 Causeway Project: Davis/Sacramento

Vote No on Measure A

Dear ECOS Community,

Please share this message with your neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Measure A, on the ballot this November, is presented as a “citizens’ initiative” and therefore requires only a 50.1 percent majority to pass. It is critical that you vote NO on Measure A.

Measure A circumvents the Sacramento BLUEPRINT, California’s climate targets, and federal transportation planning law. It contains roadway capacity expansion projects and a new rural expressway that will induce car travel and sprawl development and pull resources from transit and transit-based development.

Under Measure A, SACOG concluded in its May 2022 analysis, “the region would likely fall short of meeting its state-mandated 19 percent per capita greenhouse gas reduction target by nearly 2 percent,” which is a ten percent shortfall. SACOG also found that failing to meet the mandate “would jeopardize the region’s ability to compete for state transportation and housing funding programs.”

If Measure A passes, the region will take a disastrous step backward, worsening existing economic inequalities and prospects for climate adaptation.

The Measure A proponents falsely say the measure will combat climate change.

• Bill Magavern, Policy Director of the Coalition for Clean Air summed it up: “Don’t be fooled. Despite promising to reduce congestion and improve air quality, Measure A will have the opposite effect by spending taxpayer dollars on the construction of numerous highway expansions throughout the region. The Coalition for Clean Air opposes Measure A because it is a threat to the air quality of the Sacramento region, which already suffers from unhealthy levels of air pollution, and would also result in increased congestion, global warming impacts, and sprawl.”

• In CARB’s October 10, 2022 letter to Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Sing-Allen, Steven Cliff, the CARB Executive Officer, wrote “The combined set of projects in this $8.5 billion measure would be inconsistent with the statewide effort to lessen the impacts of climate change.”

• Mike McKeever, former Executive Director of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), commented, “The most recent mailer from the Measure’s proponents, which claims that Measure A fights climate change, is the exact opposite of the truth. Measure A proponents are so desperate for their $8.5 billion tax that they are spending millions of dollars to spread falsehoods.”

The League of Women Voters, Sierra Club, Sacramento Taxpayers Association, United Latinos, Sacramento Sister Circle, Save the American River Association, and dozens of other organizations oppose Measure A. For more information and a complete list, see MeasureANotOK.org.

VOTE NO ON MEASURE A

Additional references:

• Oct. 27, 2022: Backers of a Sacramento sales tax hike are lying to voters. They should reject Measure A. By Marcos Breton of The Sacramento Bee’s Editorial Board. https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article267915392.html

• Oct. 20, 2022: How special interests exploited a loophole and put a Sacramento County tax hike on the ballot. By Yousef Baig of The Sacramento Bee. https://www.sacbee.com/article267335212.html

• October 10, 2022: Essay: Sacramento journalist breaks down why Measure A would fund new suburban highways, increase greenhouse gases and super-charge sprawl. By Sacramento News & Review Staff, Brad Branan

• Oct. 10, 2022: Sacramento County voters must reject Measure A, an $8.5 billion gift to special interests. By Sacramento Bee Editorial Board. Also Video on Measure A with former SACOG CEO Mike McKeever, Sierra Club Sacramento Chair Barbara Leary, Sacramento Taxpayers Association President Bruce Lee. https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/election-endorsements/article266980846.html

Sincerely,

Susan Herre

President of the ECOS Board of Directors

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.