Sacramento’s New Downtown

November 5, 2016

Interview By Cosmo Garvin

The Sacramento City Council is likely to approve the downtown railyards development plan this Thursday, November 10. Most of the buzz about the project has been around the proposed stadium for the Sacramento Republic soccer team.

The media has paid less attention to the amount and type of housing that will (or won’t) be built there, even though this is probably the most important part of the whole enterprise.

In Cosmo Garvin’s latest podcast, he interviewed Earl Withycombe and Alexandra Reagan of the Environmental Council of Sacramento, who say that “the current plan for the Railyards doesn’t include enough affordable housing, or enough of any kind of housing. They say the project isn’t dense enough, isn’t ambitious enough, about building a transit friendly, environmentally sound, inclusive urban core.”

Clearing CEQA: Study vindicates California environmental law

November 3, 2016

By Matt Kramer

Sacramento News & Review

CEQA gets a bad rap but it’s what allows people to provide feedback on plans for development in CA.

Many critics of CEQA [the California Environmental Quality Act] say that the it impedes business and ties projects up in litigation. However, a new Rose Foundation study places the percentage of projects that end up in litigation at only 0.7 percent. This helps shed light on a much-misunderstood law. “CEQA isn’t just about litigation; it’s also about having to do … reviews on projects that have a significant impact on the environment … It’s really the state’s bedrock environmental law.” says Ethan Elkind, director of the Climate Change and Business Program at the UCLA and UC Berkeley schools of law. #CEQA helps us protect our environment by requiring “that state and local agencies assess the potential significant environmental impacts of proposed development projects and work to minimize such impacts when practical.”

Read more here:

James Corless Named Next CEO of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments

September 21, 2016

Sacramento, CA–The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) has unanimously selected James Corless to serve as its next chief executive officer. He will start April 3, 2017. The decision comes after SACOG’s current chief executive officer, Mike McKeever announced he will retire on December 31, 2016. Upon the announcement of McKeever’s retirement, the SACOG Board of Directors undertook a rigorous six-month national search that included input from SACOG’s member cities and counties, SACOG’s staff, and public and private stakeholders. To support the transition, Kirk Trost, SACOG’s chief operating officer/general counsel will serve as interim chief executive officer effective January 1, 2017.

Read more here:

Developers play big role in Sacramento County supervisor elections

September 3, 2016

By Brad Banan

The Sacramento Bee

Rob Burness, a local environmentalist [and ECOS board member] who worked in the county planning office for about three decades, said the contributions pay off for developers.

“When push comes to shove, the votes follow the money,” said Burness, a member of the Environmental Council of Sacramento. “If you were to look at the significant votes, and the campaign contributions made to supervisors, you would find that they very rarely vote against a contributor.”

Read more here:

CEQA Workshop Success

The CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) workshop hosted by ECOS (Environmental Council of Sacramento) on August 15, 2016 went very well! Thanks to all who attended; we’ve received great feedback saying that it proved to very educational for our attendees.

Our topics included:

  • CEQA process overview
  • Conducting an analysis of a Biological Section
  • Conducting an analysis of a Land Use Section
  • Conducting an analysis of an Air Quality/Transportation Section
  • Real examples of Mitigation Measures
ECOS members are reviewing CEQA basics and how to write comment letters with some of ECOS's top Environmental Impact experts.

ECOS members reviewing CEQA basics and how to write comment letters with some of ECOS’s top Environmental Impact experts.


CEQA is an important tool which was put into place for public transparency and citizen power. We have a lot of work left to do to make our region more sustainable. ECOS can always use help reviewing CEQA documents and we encourage YOU to participate!