Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Congratulations Oakland on your new Climate Action Plan!

Congratulations Garrett Fitzgerald, Oakland's Sustainability Coordinator, and the rest of Oakland's Public Works Sustainable Oakland Department, and the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (now the Local Clean Energy Alliance) and the rest of the active community supporters, for the unanimous passage of the "Oakland Energy and Climate Action Plan" at the Oakland City Council meeting last night. Read the draft version here, which will be the same as the final, I presume, unless the CEQA process changed something. Sustainability maven Rebecca Kaplan moved for its passage and, except for the one person excused from the meeting (Jane Brunner), it was all ayes.

The eight people giving comments before the passage of the plan all had praise to offer, but also a few constructive criticisms, including the need for the plan to address the need for more trees in Oakland with a master plan for planting. That comment came from a representative of Urban Releaf, from Richmond, CA. After the plan passed, Garrett and the Urban Releaf contingent reconnoitered in the hallway, and I got to hear Garrett tell the woeful tale of how a few years ago Oakland was up for $50,000 in matching funds for urban greening from CalFire, but it was lost because the expenditure, approved at the City Council, was misclassified by a clerk and therefore disappeared along with the opportunity for the matching funds. City layoffs have left the Public Works Department with no institutional memory about the original plan for those funds.

On a positive fiscal note, I learned at the meeting that $35 million in unexpected revenue from economic growth has shown up in Oakland's coffers, and the City Council is gearing up to allocate it. Trees won't be on the priority list before basic infrastructure maintenance and safety, but it's just to say that Oakland should not despair of its ability to renew itself.

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