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Councilmembers want mayor to move on climate change

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SAN DIEGO -- The City Council Monday called on Mayor Kevin Faulconer to issue a climate action plan to get the city on a more eco-friendly path, including having 100 percent of the energy used in San Diego by 2035 to come from clean and local sources.

The City Council also wants the plan to include boosting the number of trees and parks, bolstering the city's ability to cope with rising sea levels, wildfires, droughts and heat waves and getting building owners to cut energy use.

Lawmakers also hope to have at least half of the daily commutes made by residents to be by mass transit, bicycle or on foot by 2035 in areas where high quality transit exists.

Several members of the panel have said recently that they don't think Faulconer is moving quickly enough on the plan, which will outline actions the city would take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The mayor's office said that work is proceeding on a pace originally envisioned. An update to a draft previously approved by the council could be released by the end of the month, and final adoption could happen in the spring.

While several council members said they were troubled by the timing of the resolution, council President Todd Gloria said it was within the panel's purview to set expectations for such a plan.

“It would make no sense to have the mayor propose a climate action plan that this council cannot support,'' Gloria said. “I believe that the mayor understands this is an issue that needs addressing, that I believe he understands that we want to be bold about it, and that the ultimate plan has to be tangible, measurable and enforceable.''

None of the speakers in nearly 90 minutes of public comment opposed the plan as a whole, but leaders of real estate groups expressed concern that property owners could be forced to make upgrades before being allowed to sell their homes.

"Some folks are already doing are adding insulation to their homes and attics .... improving their windows to be more efficient," said Kayla Race, a member of the Environmental and Economic Sustainability Rask Force. Race argues that olde homes and buildings are a large source of green house pollution and need a good long-term solution.

“This will require thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses to a homeowner before they could sell their home,'' said Leslie Kilpatrick, the president of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. The provision would be costly and have only a minor impact on greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

The Voice of San Diego reports that urgrades could cost roughly $2,000 for an older home with less than 2,000 square ft. The city of Berkley has similar mandates but with an expense cap based on a percentage of a home's sale price.

Gloria and Councilman David Alvarez, the author of the resolution, said the so-called “point-of-sale retrofit mandate'' would be part of the discussion before a final plan is adopted.

The resolution passed on a 5-3 partyline vote, with council members Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman and Lorie Zapf opposed. They said they objected to the timing of the resolution, but looked forward to the upcoming release of the updated draft plan.

A statement released earlier today by the mayor's office said, “Since Mayor Faulconer took office this spring, his administration has been working to bring forward for public review a climate action plan that will be broadly supported by the environmental community, business community, City Council and the public.

“Mayor Faulconer looks forward to a collaborative discussion with San Diegans about the draft plan when it is released in the coming weeks,'' the statement continued. “Following the required public review of the draft plan, it is scheduled to be brought to a public hearing in the same time frame expected under Interim Mayor Gloria, which is spring 2015."

7 comments

  • buc webb

    come on “papa” jerry faulconer…get with it…quit sitting on your butt, and do something…this is just like the plastic bag reforendum…this has to be DONE NOW…

  • Burt

    Once again we have the City Council who doesn’t care what their employer, San Diegan Taxpayers want. First they want to cram minimum wage down the tax payers throat and now Climate Cooling, oops, meant Climate Warming, oops meant Climate Change down our throats. It will be in the best interest of the tax payers to get a petition to recall the City Council, they evidentially have to much time on their hands

  • wes

    I believe we need to focus the data and stop irrational laws. Honestly we need more data and not to go crazy over false date from the left wing groups.

  • Lurch

    Take pics of the Mayor and City Council getting into their cars and post on the Internet, the Wall of Shame. Take the bus, losers!

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