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Item H1: Important to PRIORITIZE Climate Action in 2019

From: domainremoved <Mitch>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2019 10:02:24 -0800

Dear City Council Members,

Due to a prior commitment I am unable to join you in person tonight to comment on your very important policy priority and work plan session. I recognize that our community has complex needs and that you will face difficult choices. As a former two-term member of the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) I am all too aware that sustainability measures can be overlooked in such a process, to the detriment of our community.

We are all aware of the increasing negative impacts being felt by climate change throughout California, including the Bay Area region and Menlo Park. And, we are all aware that during this time of federal inaction it is particularly important for local governments to take the lead.

For the past 8 years Menlo Park has made a good deal of progress in building a foundation to become one of the true leaders in this area. The changes made are already resulting in cost savings to residents and businesses by adopting energy efficiency measures, pooling our electricity generation resources with Peninsula Clean Energy, and moving in the direction of becoming a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly community. As a center of innovation the measures adopted by Menlo Park will carry a great deal of weight toward inspiring similar action in many other communities, and our stakeholders stand to benefit greatly by early investment in additional measures.

We are all aware of the challenges of traffic congestion and housing affordability that are plaguing our community. By moving forward with climate action measures related to smarter development, reduced dependence on natural gas, and alternatives to driving alone we have the opportunity for great progress on these issues.

In your deliberations tonight I request that you prioritize three timely and important measures:

• Elevate the Climate Action Plan from a Tier 2 to a Tier 1 measure. In 2020 Menlo Park is likely to achieve the 27%-by-2020 greenhouse reduction target adopted by City Council (which was seen as a “stretch goal” at the time). It took several years for the then Council to adopt these targets upon asking Staff to develop our community’s first Climate Action Plan.

It is VERY important to maintain our current momentum by laying the groundwork in the coming year for the EQC and staff to provide Council with guidance to adopt the next target and identify the initiatives required to attain these targets. (Menlo Spark is poised to help jump-start these efforts.) Failure to lay the groundwork over the next 6-12 months will likely result in Menlo Park having no targets and effectively abandoning this commitment by the end of 2020. By elevating the Climate Action Plan to a Tier 1 measure you will send a strong signal of support to staff and the community for this effort.

• The Downtown Plan Update is included in the proposed City Priority list and will be an important project for the City to complete in 2019. This is a good opportunity to match the green building standards that were set in ConnectMenlo for the M2 Bayfront area, as well as supporting downtown revitalization.

• The Reach Code for Clean Energy Developments, referred to the EQC, is one of the highest impact climate measures that the City can take. EQC is slated to deliberate on this item quickly with ample support from San Mateo County staff and consultants. Because the effort is supported by San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, with roughly $500,000 for consultants and stipends to participating cities, the staff and city resources for this measure will be minimal.

A reach code that supports all electric, zero carbon new buildings, is essential to breaking the cycle of fossil fuel dependency for new developments. As tech leaders such as Google and Apple, as well as housing developers go all-electric and zero carbon with new construction, this is an area where Menlo Park could lead as well. Please consider this Guide on Zero Carbon Development <https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D1dxeRB2RHmZAjn2t6yc4culr_jPCWEs/view?usp=sharing>as a resource on how cities and developers can save money by avoiding fossil fuels in new construction.

Menlo Spark stands by to support your efforts and those of City staff toward a healthy, prosperous city that helps preserve and improve the quality of life for our next generations.

Thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of our community.

Mitch Slomiak


Mitchel J. Slomiak

Chairnan, Advisory Board
Menlo Spark


Achieving Climate Neutrality as a Community
Received on Tue Feb 26 2019 - 10:01:25 PST

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