Earth Day 2001: A Planet Worthy of Our Affection
by Carolyn Chase
On Earth Day in April, millions of people look to connect with something meaningful to do for the environment all the other days of the year.
More than 60,000 visitors and 200+ exhibitors, supported by 400 volunteers people just like you are needed to help at the EarthFair in Balboa Park, at our VIP (Very Important Planet) Reception, and with Restoration Projects throughout the year. Volunteers can sign up online, or attend a volunteer introduction meeting at locations around San Diego.
San Diego EarthWorks Earth Day 2001 Projects include:
The San Diego Earth Day 2001 theme is A Planet Worthy of Our Affection
San Diego's new Mayor Dick Murphy set the tone with his State of the City address, announcing the ten major goals for his new administration with a vision for San Diego in the year 2020: A City Worthy Of Our Affection. In the tradition of Thinking Globally, Acting Locally, San Diego EarthWorks, the local organizers for Earth Day, chose the global companion to the Mayor's local action context. Five of the ten goals are critical to environmental progress in our region as is the integration of those issues into the other goals.
Mayor Murphy will give attend and present the City's Waste Reduction and Recycling Awards at the Earth Day 2001 VIP reception on Thursday, April 26th. Other awards on the program include: Clean Air awards by the Air Pollution Control District, presented by Supervisor Pam Slater; Energy Awards by the San Diego Regional Energy office; and San Diego EarthWorks' grass-roots EARTH awards (Environmental And Restoration That Helps).
If you have a nomination for a project, group, business or youth who might qualify for an award, contact San Diego EarthWorks at (858) 272-7370 or print out a nomination form from www .earthdayweb.org.
The Mayor's ten primary goals for the next four years are:
Goal #1: Establish An Ethics Commission.
Goal #2: Reduce Traffic Congestion.
Goal #3: Create Neighborhoods We Can Be Proud Of.
Goal #4: Clean Up Our Beaches And Bays.
Goal #5: Restructure Regional Government / Construct An Airport.
Goal #6: Complete The Ballpark
Goal #7: Build A Library System.
Goal #8: Make San Diego America's Safest City.
Goal #9: Pursue Energy Independence.
Goal #10: Complete MSCP (Multiple Species Conservation Plan) Open Space Acquisitions.
For all the details, see: www.sannet.gov/mayor/speeches/sotc01.html.
The following are some excerpts from his speech:
I also told you during my inaugural speech that I would outline my vision for San Diego during my State of the City Address. So what is that vision?
In his book, Cities on the Rebound, former Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut dedicates a chapter to the idea that the aim of a city should be to create places worthy of our affection. Of course, San Diegans love San Diego. But while there is much to celebrate in our city, there are also serious problems. We must embark on a bold agenda to deal with these problems if we want San Diego to still be worthy of our affection in the year 2020.
To have a city worthy of our affection in the year 2020, we must have freeways that are not parking lots. Traffic has overwhelmed our freeway system, threatening our economy and our quality of life. There are three tasks we must accomplish during the next four years.
First, we need to accelerate freeway construction and do a better job of managing rush hour demand. The other objective will be to implement ways to better manage rush hour demand by encouraging and facilitating carpooling, telecommuting, and staggered work hours.
Second, as important as new freeways are to easing traffic congestion in the short term, simply pouring more pavement is not the solution in the long term. We must have better and more convenient mass transit. Our mass transit vision needs to be bigger and bolder than just San Diego Trolley extensions. The Metropolitan Transit Development Board recently adopted a Transit First strategy. Transit First is a plan to make San Diego's public transit system more than just a choice it becomes our first choice. As a former Chair of MTDB myself, I am personally dedicated to increasing the percentage of commuters who use mass transit.
The third thing we need to do to reduce traffic congestion is to develop a land use strategy that discourages urban sprawl and reduces commute distances. This is part of:
During this past year, the City's Planning Department and a 40-citizen advisory board have been formulating such a plan called the Strategic Framework Element.
It calls for San Diego to become a city of villages with higher density housing, commercial, employment, and civic uses all integrated into one community with easy access to transit. This proposal will also help us build more affordable housing and protect open space.
Our task during 2001 is (1) to present this Strategic Framework Element to every official planning group in the City to gather input, (2) to adopt some version of the Strategic Framework Element as an amendment to the City's General Plan and (3) to select three communities as demonstration projects or model villages. Of course, this will never work unless we are willing to make a significant investment in infrastructure and public facilities in these model villages B streets, parks, libraries, schools, underground utilities, and landscaped center medians. We will need to use redevelopment tax increment, CDBG funds, and state grants to fund these improvements.
To have a city worthy of our affection in the year 2020, we must also have clean beaches and bays free of pollution. Last year they were posted or closed 330 days as unsafe for swimming! Mission Bay alone had the majority of postings and closures. This is more than an inconvenience; it is a civic embarrassment!
To tackle these water pollution problems, I am announcing today the creation of a City Clean Water Task Force. It will be cochaired by Councilmember Scott Peters and myself. Our target will be to reduce the number of beach postings and closures in the City of San Diego by 50% by the year 2004.
More specifically, I would envision the Clean Water Task Force working with the City Manager and staff to develop the following during the year 2001:
The State's energy deregulation policies have created an energy crisis that threatens our economy and our personal financial security. And the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been unwilling to protect Californians from greedy power generators. While we can hope that our representatives in Washington and Sacramento will solve this crisis, San Diego needs to carve out its own path to energy independence.
I will be asking the City Manager to create the position of City Energy Czar to pursue the following initiatives:
Our goal should be to make San Diego a model city in energy conservation and the utilization of renewable energy resources.
To have a city worthy of our affection in the year 2020, we need to have preserved our canyons, hillsides, and wildlife habitat for future generations.
The City's Multiple Species Conservation Program provides us this opportunity. At more than 50,000 acres, it is the largest urban open space system ever devised. It will provide permanent protection for some of our most precious hillsides, canyons, and wildlife habitat.
During the 1990's, the City took significant strides in acquiring MSCP open space. However, we need to move as fast as possible to complete acquisition of the remaining open space parcels before development pressures and land costs put these properties out of reach.
You can find the Mayor's complete speech at: www.sannet.gov/mayor/speeches/sotc01.html.
Mayor Murphy also announced several new citizen's advisory committees. San Diego EarthWorks founder and Board Member Carolyn Chase was named Chair of the Citizen's Environmental Advisory Committee.