|"I saw that."|
Sometimes the best stuff to be found on this blog comes out in the comments. And it could be that yesterday was one of those days. Because when you stop and take a good look at the Green Advisory Committee's "Environmental Accords" (or whatever it is they finally decide to call them), it becomes obvious that with an elevation to full Commission status their proposed purview would extend into just about every corner of Sierra Madre civic life. Just as our commenter said. In other words, it isn't really about compost and camellias.
So what we're going to do today is pull a few examples of this rather ambitious effort out of the Sierra Madre Green Advisory Committee's Environmental Accords for all to see. Done in the hopes that when lined up one beside the other, it will become obvious that there isn't much that you are doing here in Sierra Madre that a Green Commission would not consider to be their business as well. And by golly yes, they will be watching.
Action Item #4: Adopt a citywide greenhouse gas reduction plan that meets or exceeds AB32 (or equivalent).
This ambitious plan would require that the residents of this city reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% in the upcoming years. The main identified culprit in this case is your car, with the recommended solution being for them to modify your driving habits. How is that to be done? The Accords also notes the need to establish "a system for accounting and auditing greenhouse gas emissions." I just hope you'll have some good excuses ready.
Action Item #8: Develop and begin to implement a plan to expand affordable public transportation coverage within a quarter-mile of all city residents by 2015.
This one recently took it in the teeth when the City Council voted to curtail some of the already existing public transportation provided here. The Accords further states, "This plan would be expected to be a part of a Transportation component of a Climate Action Plan." In other words, it is another attempt to get you out of your automobile and into something a little more acceptable to the Green Advisory Committee. Like a bus.
Action Item #10: Develop and begin to implement a plan to reduce the percentage of commuter trips by single occupancy vehicles by 10% by 2015.
You as a Sierra Madre resident might take for granted your right to hop into an automobile and head off on your own to do such things as go to work and earn the kind of living necessary to pay the taxes here. The Green Committee wants you to know that is no longer considered to be acceptable behavior. Driving alone, that is.
Action Item #13: Promote a healthy nutritional lifestyle in City events and the community with preferences towards locally grown and organic food supply and local gardening.
I'm not completely certain that the above sentence makes total sense, but picture this anyway. You are out with your youngsters at the 4th of July Parade, or maybe one of those kid crazy Little League events, and your bairn decide they are hungry. But rather than those sugar enriched snacks they prefer, you instead can only buy them carrot sticks and freshly cut celery stalks. Will their little faces light up with joy? Or will they instead tell you they want to go home? I think you know the answer.
Action Item #15: Adopt and implement policies by 2013 to reduce per capita water demand by 15% by 2015 and 30% by 2020.
Could we be seeing the development of a double standard for water here? While developers such as the Kensington folks are venerated for building huge structures where water will be consumed in very large quantities, you the mere resident will be expected to reduce your usage markedly. With the Green Advisory Committee monitoring your water consumption every step of the way.
Action Item #19: Amend or re-adopt building codes to include a rating system.
If you should decide that you want to build a new home here in Sierra Madre, or maybe even refurbish the one you live in now, prepare to be given a grade by the Green Advisory Committee.
Action Item #21: Adopt urban planning principles and practices that promote appropriate density and land use for walkable, bikeable, and disabled-accessible neighborhoods; and transportation is coordinated with land use to provide access to open space for recreation and ecological restoration by 2013.
You might like the way Sierra Madre looks right now. And you might also think that building a 300 condo units (or so) Transit Village downtown is not the reason you moved here. After all, that kind of ambiance could have been more cheaply attained by purchasing a home in Duarte, Azusa or Rancho Cucamonga. But the Green Advisory Committee wants you to know that your single family home lifestyle is no longer acceptable behavior. Prepare to help save the planet by seeing the things you love about this town radically changed.
Action Item #25: Adopt a Municipal Code Ordinance, in compliance with local, state and federal laws and regulations, which protects critical habitat corridors and other key habitat characteristics from unsustainable development.
I am not quite certain what a "critical habitat corridor" in Sierra Madre might be. Unless, of course, it is the path from the woods that the bear takes when he is heading for your trash cans. But what easier way to curtail the scourge of single family homes than to have a law that allows the City to declare them "unsustainable development?" Would a 300 condo downtown Transit Village be declared unsustainable? Of course not. That's where the real money is at.
Which is, of course, what this is really all about.
If you actually like the idea of a Green Commission telling you how to conduct your life, then this evening could be a cause for celebration. For the rest of us tonight's City Council meeting will likely be a far less joyous experience.