The 2018-19 Community Services and Environment Commission (CSEC) work plan represents the culmination of a process begun when city commissions were reformulated last year. The current plan represents a shift in CSEC emphasis away from special events review and towards city-focused environmental issues.
In lieu of this increased environmental focus, the CSEC recently overhauled the city’s Special Events policy, with emphasis on sustainability aspects of recycling and waste management. This includes, with a good push from many concerned citizens, a coming 12/19 ban on single use plastics at city events. Special Events Manager Lisa Janson will now handle most event related business administratively. The city council has approved both the work plan and the new Special Events policy, and the CSEC agenda is set for the coming year.
The current work plan represents a substantial effort from the CSEC’s city staff, which includes Public Works Director Colleen “Fergy” Ferguson and Public Works Project Manager Katherine Wall. CSEC commissioners include: David Morell, Jack Wagner, Kimberly Blattner, Matt Metzler, Sandi Funke, Ken Brown, student member Jacqueline Torres and alternate Jeff van Houten. All the above CSEC actors have worked with good will and cooperation through the commission reformulation and work plan processes. A positive, forward-looking tone prevails on the CSEC.
The work plan has five discreet components: bikes and transportation, Sustainable Sonoma, waste minimization, climate change, and trees, vegetation and landscaping.
Each work plan component includes a number of tasks. Each task has its own ad hoc committee and combination of CSEC commissioners involved, as well as the task’s estimated date of completion, and city staff liaison for oversight and to sign off on task completion. Note that the CSEC is an advisory commission. Advice generated through the plan will proceed incrementally, and be approved by staff and/or city council as the tasks unfold.
The climate change component has eight separate tasks, for example, tasks CC2 and CC4, are respectively to “Identify appropriate methods and metrics for tracking City-wide GHG emissions, including reductions resulting from relevant actions on each of the 22 adopted measures, and coordinate with RCPA regarding these methods and any findings.” and to “Track City performance using these new metrics per CC-2 and CC-3 and coordinate with City staff and/or RCPA to make public reports to the City Council and the public.”
The RCPA is the county’s Regional Climate Protection Authority, the entity that produced the county-wide Climate Action 2020 Plan. Sonoma was the first city in the county, thanks to the forward-thinking city council, to formally adopt its own local, voluntary, climate protection measures from the Climate Action 2020 plan.
According to an RCPA presentation to the CSEC this last year, the city is 9% above 1990 GHG levels now, and it is supposed to be 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. This gives two years for the city to make up a 34% GHG reduction, to arrive on target. Climate change issues overall are challenging and daunting. The CSEC work plan is a major step towards transparent accountability for what the city council has resolved in the past to do, by adopting the above-referenced 22 local climate protection measures, and other city climate measures before that.
This is all to say that the CSEC climate protection work plan is serious business, and the climate change ad hoc committee members, (myself, commissioner David Morell, Chair of the Sonoma Ecology Center Board of Directors, with the critical help of Tom Conlon of Transition Sonoma Valley and the SV Climate Coalition) look forward to giving city staff and city council relevant, merit-based advice to use in their decision-making capacity on climate issues. Progress on work plan climate tasks will be posted on the city website, for the public to be able to track. Members of the council, the CSEC, and the local Sonoma Valley Climate Coalition, and hopefully members of the public, want the city to be as good as possible on climate issues.
Anyone interested in following or becoming involved in the CSEC work plan process, can one, obtain a copy of the plan from city staff Katherine Wall at Public Works, and then contact relevant CSEC commissioners on the ad hoc committees of interest. CSEC meetings are audio recorded, and the meeting packets and agendas are all posted on the city website.
Public involvement in all work plan components is encouraged. If the public would like to keep tabs in person, CSEC work plan progress will be on the CSEC agenda every second Wednesday of the month, 6:30 PM at the Community Meeting Room. Seeing and meeting commissioners is a good way to get involved. Come on down.
As noted above, the work plan will frame the CSEC agenda for one year. The plan will not have to be re-done when new commissioners are re-appointed in February. The end date for all tasks, in all five components, is 12/19.