The Land Use Report

A Power Line Project

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Friday, April 25, 2014

NOPOC.org

NOPOC.org

Let me report on a grassroots, community-based effort to head off or change a major project being proposed by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. This is a proposed power line project that would affect Aptos, Corralitos, and Watsonville, all located within Santa Cruz County.

One of the first environmental controversies I remember learning about, when I was a high-school student at Palo Alto High School, in the early 1960’s, was a proposal by PG&E to build a new, high-voltage power line through the communities of Woodside and Portola Valley. Huge, ugly power line stanchions were proposed. They were absolutely vital, according to PG&E, to provide reliable electric service. Nothing you could do about the ugliness. As it turns out, there was something that could be done about the ugliness. An attorney named Pete McCloskey, later a member of Congress, and then an anti-Vietnam War candidate for President, represented the community and won. McCloskey, incidentally, came to a Palo Alto High School “Career Day,” and convinced me that I ought to be a lawyer.

The Santa Cruz County project has a lot of similarities to that earlier controversy. A group called Neighbors Organized to Protect Our Community is going to be fighting the dramatic changes to the current system that PG&E says are required. If you would like to learn more, or to get personally involved, check out the links at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

IndyBay Report on Proposed Power Line Project

PUC Website on Power Line Project

NOPOC Facebook Page

NOPOC Website

Common Ground

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

UCSC - Common Ground

UCSC – Common Ground

This morning, I want to alert listeners to a presentation being given tonight up on the UCSC campus. Wes Jackson, one of the foremost figures in the international sustainable agriculture movement, will speak from 7:00 to 8:45 p.m. His topic? “We Can Now Solve The 10,000 Year Old Problem of Agriculture.” Jackson is the founder and president of The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. Jackson’s presentation will be at the UCSC Sustainable Living Center, A3 Building. You can get full information, including directions, at kusp.org/landuse.

Wes Jackson has pioneered research in Natural Systems Agriculture — including perennial grains, perennial polycultures, and intercropping — for over 30 years. He has been listed as one of Smithsonian’s “35 Who Made a Difference,” and in 2000, he received the prestigious Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, for his “single-minded commitment to developing an agriculture that is both highly productive and truly ecologically sustainable.”

Tonight’s presentation is sponsored by the Common Ground Center, which seeks to connect both students and the community with visionary innovators, activists, and leaders to create a more just and sustainable future. I hope that many KUSP listeners will be able to attend tonight’s presentation.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Information on April 24th Presentation

The Land Institute Website

Information on Wes Jackson

Wes Jackson Video

Right Livelihood College at Kresge

State Water Board Expert Panel Meetings

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

images

SWRCB

Water and agriculture seem to be the “themes for the week” here on the Land Use Report. Today, let me alert you to some upcoming meetings being hosted by the State Water Resources Control Board. These “Expert Panel” meetings will be of particular interest to farmers in the Salinas Valley.

The State Water Resources Control Board governs water use, and oversees water quality regulation, throughout the entirety of the state of California. Under directions provided to the Board in 2008, by a legislative enactment in an extraordinary legislative session held that year, the Board was required to develop pilot projects focusing on nitrate in groundwater in the Tulare Lake Basin and in the Salinas Valley, and to submit a report to the Legislature on the scope and findings of the pilot projects, including recommendations.

One recommendation that came out of this direction was that the Board should convene a panel of experts to assess existing agricultural nitrate control programs and to develop further recommendations, as needed, to ensure that ongoing efforts are protective of groundwater supply quality.

An Expert Panel has now been selected. Meetings will be held on May 5th and 6th, here in the Central Coast Region. Both meetings will be held in San Luis Obispo. You can get comprehensive information by reviewing today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

State Water Board Notice – Expert Panel Meetings

Expert Panel Information

Drought

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ULI.org

ULI.org

Drought is on everybody’s mind, or it ought to be. Today is Earth Day, and that means it’s a good time to talk about environmental challenges facing California and the Central Coast. Drought is certainly among them.

Today, both the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and the Santa Cruz City Council are taking actions in response to drought. The City is imposing water use limits. The Monterey County Board is calling for voluntary action.

Later this morning, the Democratic Women’s Club of Santa Cruz County is holding a special Earth Day luncheon, with a presentation titled, “You Don’t Miss Your Water Till Your Well Runs Dry.” Speaking will be the water directors of the City of Santa Cruz and the Soquel Creek Water District. The event will take place at the Santa Cruz Police Station Community Room, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. A light lunch will be served, but they are going to charge you $10 for the privilege of attending.

On Wednesday, April 30th, the League of Women Voters of Santa Cruz County is sponsoring a luncheon meeting also focused on our difficult water situation. It will be held from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the offices of the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County. Kim Adamson, the water director of the Soquel Creek Water District, will talk about the mid-county water crisis, and what can be done about it. That League event won’t cost you any money, but you should bring your own lunch!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Agenda – Monterey County Board of Supervisors

City of Santa Cruz Report on Water Supply Outlook

Agenda – Santa Cruz City Council

Community Foundation of Santa Cruz Website

Santa Cruz League of Women Voters Website

Event Page – Democratic Women’s Club

A Farm To Market Workshop

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Farmers Guild.org

Farmers Guild.org

The Agriculture Water Quality Alliance, or AWQA, is a partnership working to protect the health of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the productivity of Central Coast agricultural lands. The AWQA promotes a collaborative approach, trying to find a way to meet water quality objectives without relying primarily on governmental regulation. Since 1999, AWQA partners have focused on how best to reduce runoff from agricultural fields, thus reducing the discharge of sediments, nutrients, and pesticides.

The AWQA is advertising a Farm To Market Workshop, sponsored by another organization, CAFF, the Community Alliance With Family Farmers. CAFF events are focused on “real world” ways to promote a healthy agricultural economy, while also promoting healthy food, and environmentally sensitive agricultural practices. The CAFF workshop is tomorrow, from 12:00 o’clock to 3:00 p.m. at the Morgan Hill Community Center. This workshop will provide beginning farmers and ranchers with an afternoon of information sharing, including an informal Q&A with panelists representing wholesalers, distributors, grocery stores, restaurants, and tech companies. There is a complimentary lunch! You can get more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

What is the AWQA? Website

CAFF Website

Event Information Online

For more event information contact Rosemary Quinn

Email – rosemary@caff.org

Telephone – 408-337-5644

An Earth Day Celebration Tomorrow

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Earth Day Santa Cruz

Earth Day Santa Cruz

Earth Day, this year, is April 22nd. If you’d like to read a brief history of Earth Day, please hunt down today’s transcript at kusp.org/landuse, where I have posted a link to the Earth Day Network website.

And if you’d like to participate, personally, in an Earth Day event, this year, check out that transcript! I have links to many such events, around the Bay, and a lot of them will be taking place tomorrow, Saturday, April 19th.

Save Our Shores, based in Santa Cruz, is sponsoring an Earth Day celebration in cooperation with the Marine Mammal Center and the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association, or ALBA. This grand celebration is actually going to take place on the Triple-M Ranch, in the Elkhorn Slough watershed. Many listeners (and, of course, I count myself among them) are very much concerned with the preservation and protection of the marine environment in the Monterey Bay. Note that organizations that have that objective as their primary purpose are trying to do something on the land, to highlight what Earth Day is all about. In fact, how we use the land directly affects our marine environment, and I hope you’ll consider getting out in that environment, tomorrow, in celebration of Earth Day, and to help in a practical way in efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment, here in our spectacular Monterey Bay Region.

There are lots of opportunities to do that, so celebrate Earth Day, wherever you live around the Bay.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Earth Day Network Website

Earth Day 2014 – Santa Cruz

Earth Day 2014 – Salinas

List of Earth Day 2014 Events in Monterey County

Save Our Shores Earth Day 2014 Events

Earth Day 2014 Celebration Flyer

Save Our Shores Website

ALBA Website

The PC Does Capital Improvements

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

City of Santa Cruz

City of Santa Cruz

Recently, I told listeners how important Planning Commissions are, in the context of reviewing the agenda of the Monterey County Planning Commission. Tonight, you could attend a meeting of the Planning Commission of the City of Santa Cruz, and see this truth about the importance of Planning Commissions play out in a different venue.

The Santa Cruz City Planning Commission meets this evening in the Santa Cruz City Council Chambers, starting at 7:00 o’clock. Two items are of very significant importance, from a land use policy point of view.

First, the Commission will consider the City’s 2015-2017 Capital Improvement Program, to determine whether or not the CIP, as it’s called, is consistent with the City General Plan. I often tell KUSP listeners that a City or County General Plan is the local government’s “Constitution for land use.” That is really only true if the actions that the local government takes are, in fact, “consistent” with the adopted General Plan. Public works spending has a big impact on the future of the local community. Unless those spending decisions are consistent with the General Plan, future growth and development will be unconstrained by land use policy decisions.

Second item tonight: new rules for “Accessory Dwelling Units” in the City. This affects both property owners and neighborhoods – not to mention the city’s affordable housing crisis. There is more information at kusp.org/landuse.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Santa Cruz Planning Commission Agenda – April 17, 2014

April 9, 2014 Land Use Report on the Monterey County Planning Commission

A Species In Decline?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wikimedia Commons.org

Wikimedia Commons.org

I like to keep up to date with what’s going on in the land use world, all around the Monterey Bay Region. The San Lorenzo Valley is hidden away among the trees, at the very northernmost part of Santa Cruz County, and sometimes you have to do a little research, to find out what’s going on up there. If you are interested, you should be aware that the Valley Women’s Club maintains a website and distributes an email bulletin, that can definitely help you keep informed on some of the most important issues affecting the San Lorenzo Valley.

A recent bulletin from the Valley Women’s Club alerted me to some news of which I had been unaware. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization. Among other activities, it maintains a “Red List” of threatened species. The Valley Women’s Club reported that the IUCN has now placed the Sequoia Sempervirens, our beloved redwood tree, on that “Red List” of threatened species.

According to the IUCN, and I am quoting here:

It is imperative to place all remaining ‘old growth’ forests … under strict protection. Logging the species should be under stricter regulation allowing regeneration to maturity of this species on all sites where it occurs in commercially exploited forests.

This is not really “news,” but it is a sobering reality check. More public involvement to protect our redwood forests would seem to be in order!

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Valley Women’s Club Website

VWC Article – Bad News for Sequoia Sempervirens

IUCN Red List Bulletin

Information About The IUCN

Red List Entry For Sequoia Sempervirens

The Governance Committee

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Water Supply Project.org

Water Supply Project.org

The “Governance Committee” of the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project will meet tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. If you live on the Monterey Peninsula and are following the proposal to finance and build a new desalination plant, you might want to attend that meeting.

Despite its name, the “Governance Committee” is not able to “govern” the development of the proposed project in any direct way. I think the idea was that there ought to be some locally elected leaders fully engaged in overseeing this proposed project, since it is actually a project that would be carried out by a private, for profit company, California American Water. Cal-Am has lots of customers, who are members of the public, but its main objective is to keep its stockholders happy, and the stockholders might naturally place their own interests above the interests of the public.

As I noted last Friday, voters in the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District will get to decide, in June, whether or not to direct their elected representatives to pursue the possible buyout of Cal‑Am, so that their public water supply is furnished by a public agency, instead of by a private, for-profit company. If you haven’t started studying this important issue, I hope you will!

Meantime, think about attending that meeting, tomorrow. The meeting will be held in the Board Room of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. Links to more information are found in the transcript of today’s Land Use Report.

More Information:

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Governance Committee Website

Governance Committee Agreement

Governance Committee Membership

Governance Committee Meetings and Agendas

Governance Committee Agenda, April 16, 2014 Meeting

The Land Use Report on Measure O

Geologic Hazard Abatement

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Wikipedia.org

Wikipedia.org

Tomorrow, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors will decide whether or not to establish a “Seascape Seawall Geologic Hazard Abatement District,” charged with raising money from property owners who would be benefitted by creating the district, and by efforts to maintain a seawall in the Seascape area. I expect that the district will be established. If you would be affected, and particularly if you object, tomorrow is your last opportunity to speak out. The Board of Supervisors has discretion on whether or not to create the district unless the owners of property constituting more than fifty percent of the assessed valuation of the proposed district object to its formation.

I have links to more information at kusp.org/landuse. This item is a great example of how our governmental system provides mechanisms for collective action, so that what are in one sense “individual” problems can be dealt with effectively. Each individual property owner in Seascape who needs the protection of a seawall can’t finance and maintain an individual seawall. It’s uneconomic and it wouldn’t work. The new district, if established, can provide a way to mobilize collective resources to address problems that individuals can’t deal with themselves.

In fact, isn’t this specific example of exactly what government, in all its forms, is all about?

More Information

Land Use Links

Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog

Board of Supervisors Agenda – April 15, 2014

Agenda Item #44 – Aptos Seascape Geologic Hazard Abatement District

Reference to Geologic Hazard Abatement District in Public Resources Code

LegInfo Website For State Law References