CASA 2020 City Council Questionnaire
Candidate’s name: Amos White
Candidate’s contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alameda’s Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (CARP) was adopted by the City Council in September 2019. Our questions relate to your commitment to the implementation of the plan.
1. Equity – CARP recognizes that climate impacts are disproportionately distributed across Alameda and not all households have the same ability or resources to respond to and recover from extreme weather events and hazards. What three specific actions you believe will be most important to address these disproportionate impacts?
As an African American environmentalist and CASA Steering Committee Member, I am acutely aware of the municipal and agency planning and budget priorities that historically ignore our frontline and impacted communities of color.
To address that we serve our most vulnerable community members equitably, I would:
● Support greater proportion of planned investments be prioritized as high and above other CARP strategies for our targeted impacted neighborhoods and communities.
● Center our impacted communities in funding priorities, decision making and implementation as key to our island’s resiliency. This is also central to my work as Vice Chair of the bay area Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force (CEMTF).
● Actively recruit more Black, Indigenous, Asian and persons of color to CASA and city commissions for more representative community voices. It’s time for a change, to show that everyone belongs here by enabling them to represent their communities in these CARP expenditures.
2. A/26 – CARP calls for the City to consider “Chang[ing] zoning to allow more multifamily use, reduced parking requirements, and increased allowable density while shortening overly lengthy permitting timelines.” page 32. Given the environmental impact of single family housing, do you support the measure proposing to repeal Article 26 and amend the General Plan to repeal the prohibition against building multi-family housing in Alameda and the Citywide density limitation of one housing unit per 2,000 square feet of land?
I support the eventual repeal of Article 26. However, I do not support this measure. The key here is public input and in supporting the General Plan.
I was in favor of City Council’s June 2 decision to repeal Article 26-1. The section that banned multi-family housing. If that’s all that was to be on the ballot, I would support repeal. However, on July 7, Council at last minute, in the middle of a pandemic, with not much public notice, input nor discussion, voted to repeal all of Article 26. This is not fair nor open process that we expect from Council. The process was rushed, was not fair nor open, and comes too soon without full consideration of follow on or impact as per the General Plan. The entire General Plan comes up for review next year. The relevance and need for Article 26 should be part of that larger discussion and review along with comprehensive environmental impact reports and traffic studies.
If it passes, I am not opposed to repealing Article 26. Though I would support the measure only after a fair, open, public process that includes detailed, informed, data-driven, comprehensive study and replacement policy that protects neighborhood integrity and historic preservation.
3. Climate Outreach and Education -The success of CARP implementation depends on everyone understanding our climate vulnerabilities, acknowledging their role in reducing climate impacts, supporting adaptation efforts, and forming cooperative resilient neighborhoods. How do you intend to educate all Alamedans, foster collaboration within our community and engender ownership of the solutions by our individual residents and businesses?
The key to surviving the climate crisis and other disasters is community.
As your Council Member, I will:
● Lead on Climate Action Implementation. I will ask our City to prioritize funding for marketing and outreach so that we can educate all Alamedans as to our individual role and responsibility to reduce our carbon footprints.
● Create new partnerships and collaborations. In my role as Vice Chair of the bay area Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force (CEMTF) I am working with partner agency NorCal Resilience Networks to present their community based model here in Alameda as one that fosters collaboration within our community.
● Develop additional Public/Private Collaborations to accelerate our Climate Action & Resiliency Plan implementation to meet or exceed our 2030 carbon reduction goals!
4. Funding and Staffing – “CARP requires committed and long-term staff and resources to successfully implement the plan.” page 143. Will you prioritize hiring of staff, including the Sustainability and Resilience Manager, Climate Action Coordinator and Climate Fellow during the next budget cycle? Will you support revenue measures, such as a Facility Bond (to fund adaptation projects) and an increase to the natural gas Utility Users Fee (to fund mitigation measures)?
The climate crisis is our single greatest threat as a city. Even more than COVID. We must make staffing a priority. As chair of CASA’s Climate Emergency Mobilization Committee, I advocated for a separate Department for the Environment to oversee and manage the implementation of Alameda’s CARP. I also supported CASA’s letter to the City which specifically amplified our “need of a sophisticated Sustainability Manager or Officer with enough breadth and depth of knowledge, skills and ability to adequately lead the local coordination and implementation of the plan, but also to represent and lead in the regional collaboration efforts.”
I would support the hiring of Sustainability and Resilience Manager, Climate Action Coordinator and another Climate Fellow during the next budget cycle to achieve our goals. We must have the competent leadership of a Manager or Director level position to both own the CARP and its implementation, and participate in regional efforts for plan alignments and cooperative agreements of support.
We must also be better focused on response and recovery, the key to resilience, in both plan, staffing and funding. Therefore, I would support a climate tax or a Climate Equity Action Fund like Berkeley’s Measure HH that would raise $2.4 million a year for local climate action, while cutting utility taxes for low-income households. This way we get equity and climate action built right in.
5. Implementation – CARP’s success requires turning plans into actions and a major component of this is fostering partnerships with a wide variety of groups and organizations across town, as well as engaging residents most impacted by the effects of climate change. What efforts should Alameda undertake to provide leadership on regional solutions? How will you build the coalitions and partnerships with both other local governments and Alameda residents and organizations necessary to realize CARP’s vision. What tangible results have come from your past collaborations and partnerships on these issues?
As the saying goes, “No man is an island,” I say no island is an island, either. As an island city, Alameda is projected to lose 34% of our land mass due to sea level rise. We must continue to forge collaborative partnerships with adjacent municipalities to align our climate action plans and funding. Alameda must lead the charge in climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience if we are to survive and rebound from the climate and environmental impact driven by climate crisis, including smoke, heat, extreme cold, drought emergencies, pestilence and pandemics.
As your Council Member, I will continue serving my community on the Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force and as chair of CASA’s Climate Emergency Mobilization Committee. I will also continue to push for our city staff and city manager to engage regional agencies of BCDC, BayCAN, Bay Adapt, CEMTF and the MTC to advocate for continued investments that target our vulnerable city to climate and sea level rise.
As a result of my SF Bay Area regional climate work, I helped:
● Increase access to climate action planning, funding and collaborations for the Bay Area’s 9 counties, 100 cities and CBOs that participated in our Climate Emergency Mobilization Virtual Summit Series.
● Launch 100K Trees for Humanity urban reforestation initiative, to plant 100,000 trees in the cities of Alameda, San Leandro, and Oakland to accelerate their climate action plan goals.
● Co-author and institute the passage of Alameda’s Climate Emergency Declaration, March 2019.
● Facilitated the passage of more than 10 Bay Area county, city and township Climate Emergency Declarations as CEMTF Chair of Outreach and Education Committee.