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CalRegions Email Newsletters Archive

Volume III, Issue 6 - August/September, 2002

NEW REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTALISM

Contents

A Special Tribute to Carol P. Guyer (1931-2002)

I. The New Regional Environmentalism

Developing a new environmental paradigm with regional solutions at the center.
II. Collaborative Regional Initiatives (CRIs) and Regional Environmentalism
CRIs promote socially and environmentally sustainable development alternatives.
  • Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Development (BAASD)
  • Gateway Cities Partnership (GCP)
  • Sierra Business Council (SBC)
  • Tri-Valley Business Council (TVBC)
III. Linking Regional and Global Environmental Goals
Acting on both the regional and global levels to form a set of values and principles that will create a sustainable global community as well as sustainable California regions.
  • Building Sustainability Capacity for California's Regional Leaders
  • World Summit on Sustainable Development - Johannesburg, South Africa, 2002
IV. Policy Opportunities on the Environment
Regional collaborative efforts and partnerships advance policies to protect and enhance California's natural resources.
  • Protecting California's Watersheds - Local Collaborative Partnerships
  • Protecting California's Natural Resources - Proposition 40
V. Regional News and Information
The latest news and information from California's CRIs and other CCRL strategic regional partners.

A Tribute to Carol Penney Guyer

Carol Penney Guyer was a good friend and mentor to us at CCRL, as she was to thousands of people who had the good fortune to be a part of her life. With deep sadness for a life cut far too short, yet with a gratitude for the fullness of the life she lived and brought to others, it is altogether fitting that we pay tribute to Carol in an issue dedicated to the new environmentalism. Carol had many many interests, in her philanthropy and her artistic and intellectual pursuits, including especially her love of children. I first met Carol in New York in the early 1980’s when we worked together to try to restore decency to city policies on homeless children and families.

In recent years she taught us new ways to think about and act upon environmental issues. She was a globalist who could see the world in every neighborhood. She cared passionately about the natural world, but always with an eye to its interconnectedness with the human community. She insisted that environmentalism without economic understanding and strategy would ultimately fail; and applied this idea with fervor in helping to find pathways to economic justice through combating environmental injustice. She led a large group of us “new environmentalists” to organize a national conference on “Defining Sustainable Communities” in Oakland in 1994, a defining moment for the American sustainability movement.

Born to wealth, Carol spent her whole life giving to others. She gave funds, personally and through the foundation, and was seen as one of the most innovative and strategic grantmakers in the country. But she also gave ideas, and made connections to others, and offered (always) constructive criticism. Mostly Carol gave us (and lived a life of) hope…hope that, if we really did our very best, each and every one of us working together could make the world a better place. For the children and for the children’s children.

Thank you, Carol. In your memory, we’ll keep on trying.

NICK BOLLMAN, FOR THE CCRL FAMILY


I. The New Regional Environmentalism

"If all else is achieved, but we fail to preserve, protect and restore our natural environment, then the achievements will be without moral authority or completion."

- "The New California Dream: Regional Solutions for 21st Century Challenges,"
Speaker's Commission on Regionalism (SCOR)

This issue of CalRegions explores regional environmentalism using the fundamental guiding principle that the environment, like social equity, is a foundational issue on which all other progressive reform rests. The goal must be the creation of a new framework for making and implementing effective environmental policy that achieves regional environmental balance as well as integration with social and economic imperatives.

In "The New California Dream: Regional Solutions for 21st Century Challenges," the Speaker's Commission on Regionalism (SCOR) asks this comprehensive question about enhancing environmental quality: "How will we recover from our environmental degradation; invest and manage to keep clean our land, air and water systems; and protect and manage our natural landscapes and wildernesses as our legacy for the future?" The answer, the Commission concluded, rests in developing a new environmental paradigm, one with regional solutions at the core. Framing strategies at the regional level, whether defined as an air basin or watershed or multi-species habitat, is a compelling organizing principle for improving our effectiveness in environmental renewal and protection.

Californians are deeply committed to the environment. Natural beauty and recreational opportunities are a large part of the California lifestyle. It is the reason that many people move and stay here. Much of the state's economy, historically and today, is based in natural resources, and in particular farming, ranching, and fishing which are only viable through resource conservation and renewal. Out of necessity, because of its extraordinary pollution challenges, California has led the nation with innovations to clean the air and water. This legacy continues, exemplified by Governor Gray Davis signing landmark legislation in July to combat global warming, thus putting California at the forefront of a worldwide effort to reduce greenhouse gases.

The first generation of modern environmentalism was grounded in national action on the environment, in the 1960's and 1970's, through a series of important and remarkably successful national laws to promote clean water, air, and land; recycling; environmental review; energy conservation; and endangered species protection, among others. Over time, regulatory complexity, legal impasse and mounting costs with fewer federal resources have stymied progress on many fronts. In response, over the past decade the federal government has experimented with market-based incentives to try to reach better outcomes. But as the SCOR report outlines, even this approach is fundamentally flawed in three very important ways,

  • There is insufficient horizontal integration across different environmental fields of interest; often resulting in conflict (as with MTBE) at worst, and, at best, missing opportunities to improve coordination across worthy environmental goals
  • There is very little vertical integration of environmental planning, enforcement or other public sector interventions. As a result federal, state and local governments often work at cross-purposes
  • Environmental goals are not sufficiently balanced and integrated with other economic and social goals

These three flaws of current environmental policy can be corrected in part through the new regional environmentalism. First, because most environmental protection has some defining regional spatial dimension, which can be mapped, it is the logical starting point for horizontal integration across environmental fields. Second, the region is a reasonable level at which to foster collaboration among the three levels of government, even though engaging the federal government in partnership at the regional level encounters significant structural and political barriers. Finally, the region is the scale at which the economy operates and therefore is the best setting for integrating economic and social goals with environmental goals and strategies.

To read a full copy of "The New California Dream: Regional Solutions for 21st Century Challenges," by the Speaker's Commission on Regionalism (SCOR), visit www.regionalism.org.

II. Collaborative Regional Initiatives and Regional Environmentalism

Many of CCRL's regional partners actively promote socially and environmentally sustainable development alternatives. Many now seek to understand regional resource needs in the context of national, and even international, natural resource availability.

Integrating Regional Land Use Planning in an Urban/Metropolitan Setting:
Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Development (BAASD)

The Regional Livability Footprint Project was launched to facilitate regional consensus on how the "Ten Commitments to Action" in the Draft Compact for a Sustainable Bay Area relate to land use. The Compact is an instructive example of a regional vision that calls for an integrated approach to land conservation and development. The Footprint Project is being coordinated with the Smart Growth Initiative of the regional public agencies (www.abag.ca.gov/planning/smartgrowth/), which will develop a regional consensus on an "alternative growth scenario" for the Bay Area over the next 20 years. An extensive public participation process is underway. The project will also identify implementation actions and incentives that can help local governments and regional agencies implement desired land use changes.

The project timeline calls for two rounds of public workshops, the first of which were held in September and October 2001. The results of those workshops were distilled and analyzed in preparation for a second round of workshops held in April and May 2002. Participants at these meetings reviewed the results from the earlier workshops and worked to develop a region-wide smart growth vision and identify needed regulatory changes and incentives. The next step is adoption of an alternative growth scenario, and its use as a guideline for the formal transportation and land use planning responsibilities of the regional agencies.

For more information on the next steps in this visionary project, contact the Bay Area Alliance at 510/464-7978 or FootprintBAA@BayAreaAlliance.org. Visit BAASD online at www.bayareaalliance.org/relatedprojects.html.

Integrating Regional Land Use Planning in a Rural/Small Town Setting:
Sierra Business Council (SBC)

The Sierra Business Council (SBC) entered into a public-private partnership with Placer County to form Placer Legacy, a unique coalition of groups and agencies working to protect natural habitats in the Sierras. SBC is uniting counties with organizations such as the Trust for Public Land, Ducks Unlimited and Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust to protect thousands of acres of working landscapes and habitat through win-win partnerships. Cisco Grove, along the banks of the South Yuba River is a critical watershed area and is one of the first areas to be permanently protected through Placer Legacy. The 17-acre site will be improved for recreational use and include a handicapped accessible fly-fishing area, one of the first of its kind in the Sierra. The site will also provide watershed and habitat protection for the South Yuba River. Placer Legacy is set to secure even more natural capital in California's fastest growing county. For more information, contact Steve Frisch at SBC (530) 582-4800, and at sfrisch@sbcouncil.org.

In addition, SBC is helping marry the benefits of smart growth with the need to protect and enhance the social and natural assets that are the foundation of the region's wealth, by hosting smart growth seminars throughout the Sierra region. Examples include a highly successful Smart Growth Seminar in Truckee where forty-three business leaders and government officials from all over the region learned how to use community visioning, form community partnerships and overcome political challenges to smart growth in the Sierra. The seminar highlighted national examples of smart growth policies and ways that Sierra communities could work to get their own programs off the ground.

Visit the Sierra Business Council online at www.sbcouncil.org.

Integrating Economic, Social and Land Use Goals through Brownfield Development:
Gateway Cities Partnership (GCP)

Gateway Cities Partnership (GCP) was awarded support from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to launch the Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot for the Gateway Cities region. The Pilot targets Brownfield sites within the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Compton, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, Paramount, South Gate, and Vernon. Gateway Cities has identified thousands of acres of brownfield sites not being used to maximum capacity because of contamination. This Gateway Cities Pilot identifies brownfield sites with the best potential for reuse through a community-based, site selection process. The Brownfield Assessment Project relies on a partnership between local communities and the private sector for Brownfields assessment and cleanup, leading to the overall economic goal of job creation and enhanced livability in the Gateway Cities region.

Additionally, the GCP Real Estate Recycling Project (RERP) provides cities with a comprehensive inventory of industrially zoned land that has redevelopment potential. The Partnership established the Real Estate Recycling Team to develop innovative approaches to the reuse of industrial land within the region. This initiative converts old unsightly and contaminated industrial properties into new, high-quality aesthetically pleasing industrial space that will accommodate the companies of the new economy and improve neighborhoods. The team, comprised of developers, bankers, local government, and the California Center for Land Recycling, provides technical assistance on brownfield issues to cities in the region. The project helps engage local residents, environmental justice groups, community-based organizations, business leaders, and city staff and elected officials in a consensus-based site selection process. For more information contact Dion Jackson, Real Estate Recycling Project Manager at (562) 817-0822 or dljackso@earthlink.net.

Learn more about GCP Brownfield Projects at www.gateway-partnership.org/brownfield.htm.

Integrating Economic, Social and Land Use Goals through Regional Water Policy
Tri-Valley Business Council (TVBC)

To contain sprawl development, yet permit sufficient development to accommodate population growth and keep the local economy strong, the Tri-Valley region east of San Francisco Bay needs a thriving agricultural economy. But the needed expansion of irrigated agriculture cannot occur unless the Tri-Valley obtains additional agricultural water. To this end, the Tri-Valley Business Council (TVBC), working closely with the cities, counties, and other agencies of the Tri-Valley, as well as a broad cross-section of community representatives, joined together to seek a consensus on the feasibility of long-term plans for increasing agricultural water for the region. The Tri-Valley Agriculture-Water Task Force was formulated to integrate economic profitability and environmental health, while identifying and resolving issues of common concern related to an increase in irrigated agriculture on the urban edge.

The Task Force is currently conducting an Agriculture Economic Feasibility Study to evaluate the current water, land and economic status of the Tri-Valley agricultural region. Information provided by the Task Force and interviews with key individuals involved in soil and water resources have been the main focus of the initial study. The study also includes building a list of potential economically viable agricultural land uses that fit with the goals of the Tri-Valley community and preparation of a minimum of two to three case studies of similar agricultural areas that utilize reclaimed water for irrigation.

To learn more, visit the TVBC website at: www.trivalley.org.

III. Linking Regional and Global Environmental Goals

There are vital regional decision-making and action opportunities to advancing environmental goals, but there are also over-arching environmental issues that are well beyond the regional scope. And though these daunting, global concerns will not be solved solely on a region-by-region basis, nevertheless we must know how as global citizens, our regions can help to improve global sustainability. Ideally, the same set of values and principles that are used to guide us toward more sustainable California regions will be applied to guide and measure our contribution to a more sustainable global community. The challenge is to link the two sets of strategies to each other, so that we think and act globally as well as regionally. Work towards this effort of regional and global linkage has begun on a number of fronts.

Building Sustainability Capacity for California's Regional Leaders
California Center for Regional Leadership (CCRL) is exploring with Redefining Progress and leaders from three or four California regions, the possibility of a pilot project using RP's "Ecological Footprint," to measure a region's relative impact on the world's natural resources. RP is already in partnership with the Bay Area Alliance in such an effort, and RP and CCRL would like to expand this tool to other regions. The goal is to use proven sustainability metrics and cross-regional dialogue to better inform our institutional and personal decision-making. The Ecological Footprint of communities and regions measures how much of the world's biologically productive land is "consumed" to produce resources for and to absorb the waste of a region, using local data on transportation, housing, energy, and income, and data on spending for food, goods and services. This makes local and regional Footprints directly comparable to national and global averages. It is no surprise to discover that a disproportionately large amount of the world's resources are used to support California's regions, but learning how much and in what ways this is so is a learning opportunity that could influence long-term regional decisionmaking.

Visit Redefining Progress online at www.redefiningprogress.org.

World Summit on Sustainable Development - Johannesburg, South Africa 2002
On August 26, 2002, the world will come together in Johannesburg, South Africa to tackle issues ranging from the global environment to global poverty at The World Summit on Sustainable Development. Regarded as the biggest United Nations convention the world has ever seen, the Johannesburg Summit will bring together thousands of participants, including heads of state and government, national delegates and leaders from non-governmental organizations, businesses and other major groups to focus the world's attention and direction action toward meeting difficult challenges.
For more information, go to http://www.joburgsummit2002.com/.

For regionalists interested in this topic, the Carnegie Endowment has launched a special web page as a resource for media, experts, and activists engaged in the upcoming summit in Johannesburg. Visit the site for publications, event transcripts and audio, and access to scholars that can help clarify and edify key topics that will be addressed on the historic occasion in Johannesburg. You can access these resources online at http://www.ceip.org/files/news/WSSD-resources.asp?from=newsnews.

Interested readers can view the Time Magazine cover story entitled "How To Save the Earth," with analysis on the upcoming Johannesburg Summit at www.time.com/time/2002/greencentury/enopener.html.

IV. Policy Opportunities on the Environment

"The most successful examples of regional approaches to governance have been demonstrated by programs that protect natural resources.Flexible, self-organizing, and well defined regional efforts aimed at large landscape planning goals, such as protecting agricultural land or watershed restoration, will help increase acceptance at the local level, and to structure the state's involvement in these issues."

- Elizabeth Martin, Nevada County Supervisor, from the "The New California Dream: Regional Solutions for 21st Century Challenges," the Speaker's Commission on Regionalism (SCOR)


Protecting California's Watersheds - Local Collaborative Partnerships
In response to legislation signed by Governor Davis in September 2000 (AB 2117(Wayne), Chapter 735, Statutes of 2000), the Resources Agency and the State Water Resources Control Board released a report to the State Legislature in April 2002 calling for a formal state watershed policy utilizing the support of local collaborative watershed partnerships. This recommendation was also called for by the Speaker's Commission on Regionalism (SCOR), based on a presentation by the State Resources Agency.

Watersheds offer a useful geographic unit to better make the connections across agency programs, government authorities, and local leaders. Watershed management integrates many issues since it represents the protection, use, restoration, and enhancement of landscapes, water quality, water quantity, ecosystems, estuaries, and floodplains. Regional watershed partnerships have formed in response to overlapping authorities and the challenges of protecting and restoring impaired waters. These partnerships are not usually designed or instigated by government agencies, but they evolve as a result of local leadership - landowners, county officials, water districts, local environmental interests, resource conservation districts, educators, and the general public - to improve environmental conditions and to manage natural resources more effectively on a watershed scale. The RA/SWRCB Report, "Addressing The Need To Protect California's Watersheds: Working with Local Partnerships," indicates that there are approximately 200 to 325 of these regional watershed partnerships operating in California today

Voluntary, community-based, collaborative watershed efforts and partnerships are effective in contributing to the protection and enhancement of California's natural resources. The RA/SWRCB report recognizes this by concluding that there is much the State can do to assist community-based regional efforts. Among the report's recommendations is a call for the adoption of a strategic plan that includes direct support of regional or sub-regional forums for multiple watershed efforts in order to effectively communicate and encourage larger scale planning. Additionally, the state can coordinate regional workshops on available watershed management grant programs for potential grant applicants that are tailored to each region, and encourage partnerships to seek and leverage diverse funding sources (i.e., federal, local, and private) and not depend solely on state grants.

To learn about specific recommendations called for in the RA/SWRCB report, and to read the document in its entirety, view it online at http://resources.ca.gov/
watershedtaskforce/AB2117LegReport_041102.pdf
.
To learn about State Watershed Programs and Partnerships, view the State Joint Task Force on California Watershed Management online at http://resources.ca.gov/watershedtaskforce/.

Protecting California's Natural Resources - Proposition 40
California voters passed the largest natural resource bond measures in the nation's history in March 2002, and it represents a "new environmentalism" approach to environmental investments. Proposition 40, which passed with a 57% majority (2,494,250 votes), provides $2.6 billion to fund water quality and restoration projects for rivers, streams, lakes and watersheds throughout the state. It also improves air quality by providing funds for regional air districts and promoting tree planting in communities across the state, as well as protecting threatened coastal lands. These are traditional and important environmental investments. But it also will benefit many many neighborhoods in California by placing heavy emphasis on improving the quality of life in cities and suburbs. The measure provides substantial funds for safe neighborhood parks, and for programs to give youth safe recreational alternatives to gangs and drugs. It includes funds for youth to participate in the Conservation Corps, environmental education, outdoor recreation and after school programs. Specific program dollars go to planting trees in urban areas, restoring rivers and streams in California cities, protecting open space, and preserving beaches and coastal waters.

Passage of the Proposition 40 clearly demonstrates the importance of community involvement and diverse participation in resource and environmental preservation. A broad coalition of community and public interest organizations, environmental groups, and elected officials worked to ensure the passage of Prop 40.
The campaign itself shattered the myth that the environment is a luxury that communities of color and low-income either do not care about or cannot afford to contribute to. Prop 40's get-out-the-vote drive focused on diverse communities and targeted 500,000 voters with mailers in English and Spanish. In the end, the bond passed with support across ethnic and racial lines: 77% of Black voters, and 74% of Latino, 60% of Asian, and 56% of white voters. 75% of families with an annual income of below $20,000 supported the measure, and the highest level of support for the bond among any income or education level was that of voters with a high school diploma or less, at 61%.

To learn more about implementation and oversight of Proposition 40, visit the Legislative Analyst's Office at www.lao.ca.gov/2002/prop_40/prop_40_050702.pdf.

V. Regional News and Information

SAVE THE DATE!

  • Sierra Business Council's Eighth Annual Conference, "Value Investing in the Sierra Nevada," will take place on Friday, October 4 & Saturday, October 5 in Historic Sutter Creek, California. Registration deadline is September 18th. Confirmed speakers include: James Howard Kunstler - author: The Geography of Nowhere; Doug Henton - President & Founder, Collaborative Economics; and Mary Nichols - Secretary for Resources, State of California Resources Agency. Additional speakers and a full agenda will be posted on the Sierra Business Council website.

    To register, call the Sierra Business Council at 530-582-4800, or register electronically on the SBC website: www.sbcouncil.org/conference.htm.

  • On Thursday September 26, 2002, Joint Venture will co-sponsor with the California Policy Forum a tax and fiscal policy forum. The event, entitled "Taxes and Our Communities - Is Our System Sustainable?" will look at the structure and sustainability of taxes and how our communities are able to address quality of life issues, such as housing and education.

    Registration is at www.jointventure.org/taxforum.html
    .

    The Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network website provides participants with background information on the Forum. Participants are encouraged to briefly review this information prior to September 26th, to achieve maximum results from the presentations and discussions that day at www.jointventure.org/taxforum.html.

  • The Sacramento Area Council of Governments & Valley Vision are hosting the fourth annual Regional Forum on Friday, October 18, 2002. The event, themed "TALL Order: Balancing the Region's Needs" will examine four immediate issues facing the six-county Sacramento region: Transportation, Air Quality, Land use and Leadership needed to guide the region to a successful outcome for the future. The Regional Forum will feature a look at the region's quality of life and economic future, a presentation of the Region's Transportation/Land Use Study, and much more. Interactive devices will be used throughout the day to gauge the viewpoints of the participants. The full-day event begins at 7:30a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Cost is $75.

    For more information visit www.sacog.org/forum2002 or contact Liz Baidoo, event coordinator, at (916) 733-3237.

  • The Alliance for Regional Stewardship will hold its Leadership Forum, November 14-15, at the Marriott Courtyard in Charlotte, North Carolina. Registration Deadline for the November ARS Forum is August 30. Download the ARS Forum agenda and register online www.meetingform.com/stewardship. The ARS Leadership Forum provides an opportunity for regional leaders to share best practices and participate in an active peer-to-peer learning network. In addition to the program, there will be opportunities to visit and learn about innovative approaches being used in the Charlotte region.

    To learn details about the forum, visit the ARS online at www.regionalstewardship.org. Or, contact Chi Nguyen at 650-623-3082 or at info@regionalstewardship.org.

  • Funders' Network For Smart Growth and Livable Communities and Policy Link are sponsoring Promoting Regional Equity: A National Summit on Equitable Development, Social Justice, and Smart Growth, November 18-19 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, California. The summit will explore diverse initiatives that connect low-income people and communities of color to regional opportunities and resources. Participants will hear about efforts in communities around the country to forge more equitable and inclusive neighborhoods and regions and, together, craft a strategic action agenda for moving forward.

    Visit Policy Link for details on the summit and online registration: www.policylink.org/events/regionalequity.html.

EVENTS:

  • On July 11th California Center for Regional Leadership (CCRL) hosted a briefing in the capital for more than 50 key legislative and senior state agency staff. Convened jointly by CCRL and the Smart Growth Caucus (much thanks to Assembly Member Pat Wiggins and staff leader Dan Flynn!), the forum featured presentation by the regional and statewide California Policy Forum (CPF) partners on the concerns, policy focus, and sense of urgency that CPF took away from dialogues held throughout the state. From January through June, CPF and its regional partners hosted seven regional forums; CPF co-sponsored three statewide events; and under CPF auspices, the League of Women Voters Education Fund held 34 local forums.

    View a report of the Sacramento roundtable on CCRL's website at calregions.urbaninsight.com/news/item.php?id=62.

  • Governor Gray Davis signed landmark legislation to combat global warming, putting California at the forefront of a worldwide effort to reduce greenhouse gases. Assembly Bill 1493, authored by Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), requires the California Air Resources Board to develop carbon pollution (greenhouse gas) standards for vehicles in model year 2009 and beyond. The standards will apply to automakers' fleet averages, rather than each individual vehicle, and carmakers will be able to partially achieve the standards by reducing pollution from non-auto sources (e.g. factories, etc.). Californians will continue to choose and purchase vehicles of their choice.


PUBLICATIONS:

  • Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network released Preparing for the Next Silicon Valley: Opportunities and Choices, at an Executive Dialogue at Santa Clara University. The paper develops the ideas presented last December in Next Silicon Valley: Riding the Waves of Innovation, and launches an in-depth discussion about the valley's future and ways to work with one another to make the most of the "Next Wave." Joint Venture's Next Silicon Valley Initiative is working to shape both a framework for understanding and communicating what is happening in the Valley economy, and a process for engaging leaders in a regional discussion of opportunities and strategies for action.

    Preparing for the Next Silicon Valley can be downloaded from the JVSVN website at: www.jointventure.org/nsv.

PROJECTS:

  • The California Voter Foundation (CVF) announced the debut in July of a new county-by-county directory of California voting systems. To create the directory, CVF contacted and interviewed all 58 county election offices and built on previous research compiled by the California Secretary of State's office. When surveying the counties CVF also inquired whether counties currently have any bids out for new voting systems. Many of California's voting systems are expected to change in the future due to a federal court ruling that requires nine California counties that use the pre-scored, "Votomatic" punch card system to replace those systems before November 2004. Proposition 41, bond measure approved by California voters last March, provides counties with $200 million in state funds to purchase new voting equipment.

    The directory is available online at: www.calvoter.org/votingtech/directory.html.