Farmworkers, Clean Energy, Buena Vista Park, PCEC oil wells, SBCAN Roundtable, SB Housing Conf

1. County Board of Supervisors meeting, Tuesday, May 10 at 9 a.m. on Farmworkers Bill of Rights and Community Choice Energy
2. Speak up for Buena Vista Park at City of Santa Maria Recreation & Parks Commission Meeting, 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 10
3. Consideration of Final EIR on the Pacific Coast Energy Company's Proposal to add 96 cyclic-steaming wells to its Orcutt Hill oil field, 9 a.m. May 11, SB County Planning Commission, Betteravia Government Center, SM
4. SBCAN North County Roundtable (formerly HOT Committee meeting), Thursday, May 12 will be in Lompoc
5. SBCAN South County Roundtable (formerly HOT Committee meeting) scheduled for May 13 is cancelled
6. Coastal Housing Coalition 2016 Santa Barbara Housing Conference, May 13
7.
 North County "Looking Forward" Awards Dinner, Sunday, May 22, in SM


 

1. County Board of Supervisors meeting, Tuesday, May 10 at 9 a.m. on Farmworkers Bill of Rights and Community Choice Energy

a. Farmworkers Bill of Rights:
CAUSE is asking supporters to come to the May 10 Board of Supervisors' meeting to ask Supervisor Adam as chair to schedule a public hearing or board study session where the supervisors can hear from farmworkers, growers, and other affected community members about the issue of farm-labor conditions.  This session should be held in a location and time when farmworkers can attend, ideally in the evening in Santa Maria. This item is not on the agenda, so we are planning to speak during the Public Comment Period.


b. Community Choice Energy: Item 5 on the Administrative Agenda (a consent item unless pulled and discussed) is approval of a contract with a consultant to conduct the feasibility study of this important proposal. We do not want to see the item pulled from the consent agenda, but if it is, we want to have support for approval of the item.

2. Speak up for Buena Vista Park at City of Santa Maria Recreation & Parks Commission Meeting, 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 10

The City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Commission has an information item (Item 7b) on renovating Buena Vista Park during its 4 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, May 10 in the City Council chambers, 110 E. Cook St., Santa Maria.

We are going to ask them to reconsider their process for arriving at their design and to meet in a collaborative, consensus-building manner with community members. The modern way of rejuvenating old parks calls for community involvement. The city has disenfranchised the very people they should be encouraging to participate in the process. They need to rethink their methods.

We have been told we can only comment during the "Public Comment" period at the beginning of the meeting. Please be there by 4 p.m. for Public Comment.

Plans have been drawn up that would remove the existing bell-shaped sidewalk and central circle that commemorate California's history. The four half-court basketball courts and all the picnic tables would also be removed. The five mature trees might also be removed if "they are in the way."

Please read my editorial at http://www.sbcan.org/keep_the_good_things_at_buena_vista_park for more details.

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Here is their design overlaid on ours. It is possible to accomplish what they are proposing without tearing out what is there.

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Here's what we'd like from the city:

Top Three Points

  1. Keep the existing amenities: the trees, the bell-shaped design of the walkway and the center circle (use it for events), the basketball courts and the picnic tables (disperse them around the park).
  2. Add innovative play structures for all ages of children and for those with disabilities.
  3. Add lighting for safety.

More Detail:

  • Save bell-shaped design and add a bell or two. The design was installed in the 70s to honor El Camino Real and California’s history. Buena Vista Park was deeded to the community in 1897 and turned over to the city in 1906. According to the city’s website, the purpose of creating landmarks is “to promote the general and economic welfare of the City by preserving and protecting those places, sites, buildings, structures, works of art and other objects having a special historical, cultural or aesthetic character or interest for the use, education and view of the general public, and to remind all residents of the City and visitors from elsewhere of the historical backgrounds of the City.”
  • Save the existing trees. The amenities the city wants to add can be added around existing trees. They are not “in the way.” Mature trees cannot be replaced with new trees. They take decades to grow to their full size.
  • Preserve the basketball courts and add more to make one or more full courts.
  • Move the playgrounds further away from the basketball courts to separate the adults from the children.
  • Install innovative playgrounds that will enhance learning, socializing and exercise opportunities for all ages and for persons with disabilities.
    • Design the park with features that will distinguish it from all other parks. What is its signature piece – a unique playground set perhaps, or historic bells, or …?
  • Have an area in the center with power outlets and lighting for special events.
  • Don’t close the entire park for seven months during the renovation. This is possible with our plan.
  • Stretch dollars farther by keeping existing amenities and adding to them.
  • Add trees and plants that enhance the environment for birds and butterflies. Add fruit trees for people.
  • Add bike racks, benches, serenity garden, perimeter walk/run, solar lights, fountains with dog bowls.
  • Perhaps a skating or biking area.
  • Create a nature area behind Camp Fire cabin.

If you'd like more information, please email jeanne@sbcan.org.


3. Consideration of Final EIR on the Pacific Coast Energy Company's Proposal to add 96 cyclic-steaming wells to its Orcutt Hill oil field, 9 a.m., May 11, SB County Planning Commission, Betteravia Government Center, Santa Maria 

In our Action Alert three days ago we wrote:

The proposed Final EIR for Pacific Coast Energy Company’s plan to add 96 cyclic-steaming oil wells to its Orcutt Hill property is to be considered on Wednesday, May 11 by the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission at the Betteravia Government Center in Santa Maria. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. and this item is expected to come up sometime after 10 a.m.

SBCAN will be urging denial of the project. The big picture is that we need to wean ourselves from fossil fuels, especially to address global climate change. This project does not help; instead the county should be encouraging and approving renewable-energy projects. Greenhouse gas emissions are listed in the EIR as a Class II environmental impact. In light of the County’s threshold of 1,000 metric tons of GHG emissions, adopted last year, the GHG impacts of the project are far more limited than they would have been absent adoption of that threshold. Still, 1,000 metric tons of GHG emissions PER YEAR hurts our efforts to maintain our planet’s livability. 

The detailed picture is that there are solid grounds for denial of the project: Class I impacts that are significant and unavoidable in the areas of sensitive species habitats and hydrology and water quality. We should be doing all we can to save endangered species like the California tiger salamander (CTS), among others.

There are alternatives in the EIR that are designed to protect the CTS; PCEC, in its comments on the Draft EIR, wrote that the CTS alternatives, “fail to meet project objectives to an unacceptable degree.” Our county should not put oil-company profits ahead of working to ensure the survival of an endangered species. 

There are also alternatives in the EIR that are designed to reduce the probability of the cyclic steaming exacerbating the oil seeps (which have occurred naturally, but have been exacerbated by cyclic steaming) and to reduce the probability of “surface expressions,” which are the surfacing of steam and other materials injected into the ground. There are also mitigation measures that would reduce the frequency or severity of an oil spill reaching a drainage or waterway. In each alternative and with the mitigation measures, impacts would remain significant and unavoidable. 

We need to argue vigorously that these impacts can be avoided only by denial of the project.

Please join us at the Planning Commission hearing on May 11. If you will join us and would like more information, please call Ken Hough at (805) 563-0463.


4. SBCAN North County Roundtable (formerly H.O.T. Committee meeting), Thursday, May 12 will be in Lompoc

The H.O.T. Committee has a new name -- SBCAN Roundtable to encourage more networking and a broader range of issues. It is being held at a different time, 5 p.m., and in a different town: Lompoc! This is because there are several issues particular to Lompoc and because the Lompoc City Council is having a meeting at 6:30 p.m. on the proposal to build a motorsports park next to the airport in the Santa Ynez river bottom.  

The agenda for our meeting is:

SBCAN North County Roundtable

(formerly Housing, Open space & Transportation Committee)

5:00 PM, Thursday, May 12

NEW LOCATION for this meeting: 104 South H Street, LOMPOC, CA

 AGENDA 

  1. Call to Order by Interim Chair Janet Blevins; Introductions; Agenda Review (5 min.)
  2. Final EIR for Pacific Coast Energy Company's proposal to double their current 96-well cyclic steaming project: Item to be considered at County Planning Commission on May 11; debrief and consideration of next steps. (5 min.) 
  3. Phillips 66 Rail Terminal and other immediate hazards of oil-on-rail: monthly update on status of efforts to convince County of San Luis Obispo to disapprove the project; results of May 12 SLO Planning Commission meeting may be available. (5 min.)
  4. Community Choice Energy: monthly update on feasibility study involving Ventura, SB, and SLO. (5 min.)
  5. Motorsports Park Proposed for Lompoc: At 6:30 P.M., just after our meeting, the Lompoc City Council is holding a special meeting to consider this project, especially the new information that the cost of developing the project has increased substantially. We hope SBCAN members and supporters will attend this meeting. Although SBCAN has no official position on this proposal as yet, it does run counter to our overriding objective of supporting creation of sustainable communities. Though the noise and pollution that may be created by the operation of this project is minimized by its proponents, the fact is that noise and pollution would be created and many local residents are greatly concerned about it. (15 min.)
  6. Bailey Avenue Corridor Annexation: The last time the Lompoc City Council considered this matter, direction was given to staff to initiate action that would lead to Local Agency Formation Consideration of the annexation request. (10 min.)
  7. Farmworkers’ Bill of Rights: continuing discussion on this topic, which has been initiated by CAUSE. (5 min.)
  8. Buena Vista Park in Santa Maria: report on efforts to retain historical and useful elements of Santa Maria’s oldest part, while taking advantage of an opportunity to fund significant park improvements. (10 min.)
  9. Other HOT items of interest to those in attendance: All (5 min.)
  10. Suggestions for next month’s agenda (5 min.)

5. The South County Roundtable (previously H.O.T. Committee meeting) scheduled for May 13 is cancelled because the Central Coast Housing Coalition is holding its annual conference and many of us are planning to attend. The next roundtable is scheduled for Friday, June 10 at noon.


6. Coastal Housing Coalition 2016 Santa Barbara Housing Conference, May 13

Theme: “Solving the Missing Middle in Housing” 

Friday, May 13, 2016 ~ 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 

at the Historic Carrillo Recreation Center 100 East Carrillo Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 

Information about the meeting is available at:  

SB Housing Conference Information

7North County "Looking Forward" Awards Dinner

Please join us in honoring outstanding community leaders during our
2016 North County “Looking Forward” Awards Dinner Sunday, May 22.
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Thanks to the sponsors who have signed up so far:

"Looking Forward"
Sponsor
United Food & Commercial Workers Local 770

Silver Sponsors
Fund for Santa Barbara
May Kwok
United Domestic Workers Local 3930 AFL-CIO

Bronze Sponsors
Daniel & Priscilla Ng
Democratic Club of Santa Maria Valley
Law Office of Marc Chytilo
Lompoc Valley Democratic Club
McCune Foundation
Santa Maria-Lompoc Branch of the NAACP
Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club

Each year Santa Barbara County Action Network honors individuals, businesses and organizations for their outstanding contributions to the community.  The dinner will be held on Sunday, May 22 from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, 3455 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria. 

The dinner this year is dedicated to the memory of Joann Marmolejo and Jerry Connor.

This year’s award recipients are:

  • Chuck Madson, “Looking Forward” Award, for strong leadership and vision in community building, civic engagement, and improving the quality of life in our community.
  • Patricia Solorio, Working Families Award, for helping working families to obtain affordable health care, housing, educational and job opportunities; or to improve wages, benefits, working conditions, and worker rights.
  • Franca Bongi Lockard, Social Justice Award, for promoting fairness, tolerance, equality, respect and compassion for all people in our community.
  • Rosemary Holmes, Giving Back to the Community Award, for giving back selflessly to the community through volunteer activities and community projects.
  • Doug Jenzen, Environmental Protection & Sustainability Award, for valuing, protecting, and preserving our natural resources and environment.

Tickets are available now at www.sbcan.org/events.

SBCAN is a countywide, grassroots organization, dedicated to creating sustainable communities by promoting social and economic justice and preserving our communities’ environmental and agricultural resources.

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Santa Barbara County Action Network
Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN) works to promote social and economic justice, to preserve our environmental and agricultural resources, and to create sustainable communities.