Accessibility Home page Skip all navigation
CCRL California Center for Regional Leadership
Connecting California's Regions to the State and Each Other
Loading

200 Pine St., Ste. 400
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone (415) 445-8975
Fax (415) 445-8974

CalRegions Email Newsletters Archive

Volume IV, Issue 4 - October, 2003


THE OPPORTUNITY OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL
GOALS AND POLICY REPORT AND AB 857:
A STATE VISION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Contents

  1. Governors, Governments, and an Active California Civic Movement

    Citizen involvement is critical to meet our challenges.
    by Nick Bollman

  2. The EGPR and AB 857: Aligning State Government with a Sustainable Vision

    An opportunity to align state government with sustainable policy and practice.

    A. What are AB 857 and the EGPR?
    B. "The Year of the Planner": The EGPR as part of a greater realignment of state policy

  3. Regions in Action: Regional Dialogues on the EGPR and AB 857

    California's regions engaging with this state policy process.

  4. Implementation and Next Steps

    Effective implementation of the EGPR and AB 857 is crucial.

  5. Regional News and Information

    The latest news and information from California's Regional Collaboratives and other CCRL strategic regional partners.

    A. Upcoming Events
    B. Recent Events
    C. Resources
    D. Projects

I. Governors, Governments, and an Active California Civic Movement
by Nick Bollman, President & CEO, CCRL

nick bollmanThe recall election is a watershed political and electoral event for the State of California. Whether voters are in favor of the recall or not, and whomever they prefer as Governor, there is no question that Californians across the board are fed up with the failure of the current political, electoral, and legislative systems to address and resolve the state's fundamental challenges. But let us not draw the wrong lesson from this experience.

Yes, gubernatorial leadership is absolutely essential for solving fundamental problems -- and the authority and prerogatives imbedded in the "Governorship" can be a powerful instrument for change. No doubt too that legislative leadership and cooperation, with the Governor and across party lines, are essential for developing and adopting bold policy reforms. Active partnership between state and local government throughout the regions of California is also necessary if reforms are to be implemented in a manner that makes a real difference in our communities and our lives.

On the other hand, solving problems is a shared responsibility, not to be left to government alone. Even effective government cannot meet our challenges without the active involvement of citizens, our businesses and our civic associations. At CCRL we have the good fortune to work with a wide range of civic organizations across the state, most especially the 21 Regional Collaboratives in the California Regional Network. We have seen time and again, and in every corner of the state, how an informed and active citizenry can produce the innovative ideas, the commitment to active collaboration, and the results that Californians are looking for.

Whatever the outcome on October 7, only a Governor and Legislature committed to a problem-solving partnership with the civic leaders of the state will be successful. Conversely, any elected official who fails to take advantage of the wisdom of California's civic movement is doomed to further frustration and failure.

We urge all Californians to VOTE -- make your voices heard. But don't stop there. Get informed. Get involved. Demand that elected officials welcome your advice and activism. This great unfolding California experiment in democracy deserves no less.

II. The EGPR and AB 857: Aligning State Agencies with a Sustainable Vision

Though the talk around the water cooler may be all about the recall election, there are monumental changes in state land-use policy swirling just under the surface. And because this revolution is driven by existing law, chances are good that it will move inexorably forward.

Last year, the Legislature passed with bipartisan support, and the Governor signed, the most important California land-use law in the past 30 years -- AB 857. This law and the upcoming release of the Environmental Goals and Policy Report present a state vision for sustainable land-use policy and priorities and direct state agencies to carry out this vision in their budgets, capital plans, and regulatory decisions in a manner that integrates across the agencies. Properly implemented, this process enables California to take a giant step forward toward better planning, smarter investment, and, ultimately, more livable communities. The EGPR and AB 857 will put state government squarely behind the idea of sustainable development and create important new opportunities for state agencies to align with California's regions to achieve a more sustainable future.

But, you may still ask, what about the recall election? Whether the Governor remains in office or is replaced, it is imperative that the state follow through in implementing this report, so that the three priorities of AB 857, approved by the Legislature and the Governor, are instilled deeply, widely, and consistently into state planning and practice.

A. What are AB 857 and the EGPR?

"This EGPR is about changing the way that state government conducts itself."
-- Draft EGPR, 2003

AB 857 established three overarching priorities for state government in land-use and development decisions:

  1. Promote infill development and equity
  2. Protect environmental and agricultural resources
  3. Encourage efficient development patterns

AB 857 also mandates the preparation of a new Environmental Goals and Policy Report (EGPR). Fortunately, this task has fallen to the Governor's Office of Planning and Research, which created a broad-based advisory process, bringing in stakeholders and state agencies to seek the best ideas for implementation. This is a "new governance" approach, based on the idea that implementation is a shared responsibility across state agencies, yes, but also between the state government, regional agencies, and local governments and between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The EGPR provides a 20- to 30-year overview of state growth and development, and uses the values framework of the three E's -- environment, economy and equity -- to understand and address issues such as: planning to accommodate projected population growth; producing an adequate supply of housing affordable to all; using land, water, energy, and other scarce resources more efficiently in all settings; reinvesting in urban areas; improving infrastructure planning and investment; linking "quality of land use" to economic competitiveness; making "legacy" commitments to land and habitat conservation; and other issues so critical to the future of California.

The report aims to bring much-needed consistency to government land-use decisions by going straight to the heart of how state agencies operate: all agency budget requests and functional plans must align with the EGPR policies by 2005. For example, Caltrans will have to consider these factors not only in their plans for highway construction, but also in the design of their new office buildings, their community outreach, their purchasing, and -- perhaps most importantly -- their coordination with local and other state agencies. And while local governments are not in the purview of the EGPR, it will be impossible for the regions to not feel its effects, since the state agencies the report does influence will be required to overhaul their methods of planning and budgeting. For regional agencies and local governments that have embraced the concept of sustainable development, this change will be welcome; for those who haven 't done so, they will now have good reason to consider it.

A Note: Although the EGPR was already required under existing law prior to AB 857, the last time this report was produced, Jerry Brown was still in Sacramento and bell-bottoms were the height of fashion. That 1978 EGPR was well ahead of its time, but largely ignored for many years. For example, it proposed a state Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank - an idea finally adopted in 1999 - which now is a financing authority that helps to provide low-cost funds to qualified local governments, manufacturing companies, and nonprofit organizations. The 1978 EGPR is available at http://www.opr.ca.gov/publications/
PDFs/urban_strategy.pdf
.

B. "The Year of the Planner": The EGPR as part of a greater realignment of state policy

At the same time as they are putting together the EGPR, OPR is knee-deep in what has become the most comprehensive revisiting of state planning practices in the past two decades. In addition to the EGPR, OPR is working on:

  1. The latest iteration of General Plan Guidelines.
  2. New LAFCO guidelines, the first ever developed by the state.
  3. Amendments to the guidelines for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), in conjunction with the Resources Agency.
  4. Providing input on the 5-year state water plan, the first-ever state energy plan, and the state transportation plan.
  5. Assisting Cal/EPA in developing a new environmental justice strategy.

What will this mean? Because all of these documents are being developed at the same time, the ideas in each will feed into each other. Together, they provide the opportunity to reshape state planning practices and agency programs. Because the EGPR will list the state's goals and policies -- its "beliefs" -- in land use and sustainability, it is the key component to ensuring that the principles and practices of sustainable communities are carried forward.

III. Regions in Action: Regional Dialogues on the EGPR and AB 857

During Spring and Summer 2003, the California Policy Reform Network (of which CCRL is a member), in cooperation with OPR and several Regional Collaborative members of the new California Regional Network, put together a series of regional dialogues about the EGPR and AB 857. The regional dialogues brought together local civic, business, and community leaders with the staff leaders at OPR directly responsible for producing the EGPR, so that each could learn from the other about how the state could help regions achieve more sustainable development. These dialogues were vital in helping to ensure that the unique concerns of California's regions are incorporated into the EGPR. The entire process represents a new step forward in California governance: region-based state policy.

  • Pajaro Valley, April 17 (co-sponsored by Action Pajaro Valley): The broad array of local leaders and land-use experts in attendance voiced their concerns for disappearing agricultural land, but added that housing for farm workers and other elements of a healthy farm economy are just as critical to the region's well-being. Another problem is that school board districts are allowed by the state to site their buildings without looking at the larger picture, often driving housing into open-space areas. On the other hand, they pointed to a successful partnership with state agencies in flood plain planning as a model for how AB 857 should be implemented.

    "Regional action happens via communication and collaboration, and sometimes a bulldog role from the state."
    - Attendee at Pajaro Valley Regional Dialogue
  • San Francisco Bay Area, May 1 (at a meeting of the Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Communities): Tal Finney, OPR's interim director, discussed AB 857 and OPR's current projects. One major concern heard was that long, drawn-out CEQA reviews tend to push developers out toward greenfield development over infill housing. Regional air quality, they said, suffers as a result, and commuting times get longer and longer. Alliance members also expressed hope that the state could encourage regional visioning projects like the Alliance's Regional Livability Footprint Project.

  • Sacramento Area, July 16 (co-sponsored by Valley Vision and CPRN): In this region, state employment and buildings have a huge impact not only on the local economy, but on the shape of the community and its quality of life. Community leaders let OPR representatives know that the cheapest decision isn't always the right one, even if state project managers' hands are often tied because they have to accept the lowest bid. State building plans also need to meet all of the priorities set forth in AB 857. Green building design and operations are an important advance, but siting of state buildings (for example, to improve the jobs-housing balance) is also crucial. Achieving one or even two of AB 857 's priorities just isn't good enough.

  • San Diego, August 8 (co-sponsored by San Diego Dialogue and the Quality of Life Coalition): Of specific interest to this region was how its close relationships with Mexico and the military would be reflected in the EGPR. The topic of school siting was also of particular interest for San Diego, especially since, with a scarce supply of buildable land in urbanized areas, a significant amount of affordable housing has been lost in the region to accommodate new schools. Attendees at the regional dialogue noted that the local response to that problem, a Joint Powers Authority established by the city and the school district to replace that housing and cooperate in building schools that use land efficiently, is a good idea that OPR should consider in writing the EGPR.

IV. Implementation and Next Steps

As of this writing, OPR has committed to delivering the Draft EGPR to the Governor in early October. They have presented early drafts for comment and discussion to a Stakeholders Advisory Group, of which CCRL President Nick Bollman is a member. CCRL, with the guidance and input of leaders from thirteen regions, submitted "Commentaries from the Regions" on these draft sections that provided greater context for the EGPR, recommended case studies of effective collaboration between state agencies and the regions, and suggested goals and policies from a regional perspective. These Commentaries are available on our website at http://calregions.urbaninsight.com/publications.html#growth.

It will be just as important that we press ahead in effective implementation of the EGPR and AB 857. OPR intends to recommend that an Executive Order from the Governor be issued to augment the present momentum and provide state agencies with further direction in aligning themselves with the EGPR's policies before the 2005 statutory deadline.

We will continue to keep track of developments, especially following the release of the EGPR. Look for more information in future editions of CalRegions.

V. Regional News and Information

Old Friend, New Job -- Joint Venture: Silicon Valley has announced that Russell Hancock will be its new President & CEO. Dr. Hancock, most recently director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Forum at Stanford University, is also a former Vice President of the Bay Area Council. Marguerite Wilbur, who served as CEO and COO, will continue as a consultant to Joint Venture.

A. Upcoming Events

  • The need for better investment in our workforce has never been greater. The Orange County Business Council, in cooperation with the Orange County Workforce Investment Board and others, will bring the business community together with the County's education agencies to discuss the latest State of the County: Workforce 2003 report and where improvements can be made. This event will be held Wednesday, October 8, from 7:30-10:00 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. Register at http://www.imakenews.com/ocbc/
    e_article000183626.cfm?x=a2897vJ,aRCQc59
    .

  • It may be the industry of the future, but what does the region have to do to grow and sustain biotechnology? The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership's "Economic Outlook Conference 2003" promises to answer these questions, as it focuses on "Biotechnology Emerges: Its Future in the San Gabriel Valley." Find out more about the conference, which will take place Tuesday, October 14, in City of Industry, at http://www.valleyconnect.com/event.aspx?event_id=8.

  • The Transportation and Land Use Collaborative of Southern California will hold a conference about "Latino New Urbanism" on Friday, October 17 (pre-event reception on Oct. 16), at the University of Southern California. This forum, the first of several on this topic, will seek to discuss the nexus between the growing Latino population and future development patterns in Southern California. Information and registration are available at http://www.tluc.net/lnu/.

  • The California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission (CDIAC) of the State Treasurer's Office will host a one-day program on Friday, October 17, in Los Angeles dedicated to providing local government officials with "Tools to Revitalize California Communities." This day-long program will include panel-style presentations and roundtable sessions focusing on information for loans, grants and programs offered through state debt authorities. For more information please contact Lisa M. Harris at (916) 653-3269 or visit CDIAC's website at http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/cdiac.

  • "Which Way California?" asks the South Bay 2004 Economic Forecast Conference, to be held at the Torrance Marriott on Wednesday, October 22, by the South Bay Economic Development Partnership. Register online at http://www.regonline.com/?9928 or call (310) 792-0323.

  • Orange County will predict future issues and concerns for future growth and development at its own Economic Forecast Conference, "Emerging Economic Recovery: Implications for Orange County," sponsored by the Orange County Business Council and the College of Business and Economics at Cal State Fullerton. Join them Tuesday, October 28, from 7 to 10 a.m., at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. Buy tickets online at http://www.ocbc.org/eupdatef.htm.

  • Southern California Compass is more than a visioning project. It is a series of planning workshops where individual residents work together using the latest technology to put their stamp on the future growth of the huge Southern California region.Two of these public workshops are coming up soon: for the Four Corners area on October 29 in Diamond Bar, and for the South Bay on October 30 in Torrance. Find out about them and register online at http://www.socalcompass.org/events/index.php.

  • It's not just about the gadgets -- really. New technologies and techniques are continually improving our ability to involve more people in planning and decisions, analyze how policy decisions impact development, and build agreement among stakeholders. Take a look at the cutting edge at the 5th Working Session of Tools for Community Design and Decision Making: Information Technology in Action, December 11-13 at the San Francisco Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel. Find out more or register at http://www.placematters.us/
    Documents/EVENTS/OpenUpcoming.html

B. Recent Events

  • On July 16, the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley packed the room with engaged citizens for its conference on "Our Future Neighborhoods." Assembly Speaker Emeritus Robert Hertzberg helped out by moderating the panel, and the Urban Design Assistance Team presented its draft report. But, what had the audience energized was the release of a report by the Economic Alliance and the Pepperdine School for Public Policy, also called Our Future Neighborhoods, that looks at the present and future of housing in the Valley and calls for greater efforts at fostering communities through the creation of urban villages.

  • School buildings can be nearly as important to communities as what is inside of them. On July 25, people attending a conference in Sacramento called "Collaborative Planning and Joint-Use Facilities" grappled with policy ideas that could help to foster these cutting-edge ideas. The event was hosted by the Cities Counties Schools Partnership and cosponsored by the California Policy Reform Network.

  • What does the Inland Empire look like after the rapid change of the last few years, and what will the future be? Regional leaders discussed answers to both questions at the Inland Empire Visioning Summit: "Breaking the Mold" on September 5. Following the release of the Inland Empire 2003 Indicators Report, participants identified their visions for the future and mapped specific strategies to help achieve them. The event was sponsored by the Inland Empire Economic Partnership - http://www.ieep.com.

  • The Fresno Regional Jobs Initiative, which is dedicated to creating 25,000-30,000 net new jobs in the region in the next five years, held a "Jobs Summit" at the Fresno Convention Center on September 12. Attendees discussed the preliminary RJI strategy. Find out more about the RJI at http://www.fresnorji.org.

  • Following the enormous success of its first stage (more than 1500 participants in 25 community meetings), the Sacramento Regional Blueprint Project held a meeting on September 18 at the Sierra Health Foundation to plan for its next series of workshops, these at the county level. The Blueprint Project (http://www.sacregionblueprint.org), sponsored by Valley Vision, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, and many other community partners, convenes citizens to make development and growth choices about the future of the Sacramento region.

  • Call it the Sustainability Road Show: From September 30 to October 2, Great Valley Center held a series of three workshops in Modesto, Fresno, and Bakersfield called "Planning, Designing, Building, and Profiting with New Technologies." Developers and planners learned how new communications and energy technologies can increase profits from new residential and commercial developments while addressing the region's air quality and economic development challenges.

C. Resources

  • Douglas Henton, John Melville, and Kim Walesh have written a new book, Civic Revolutionaries: Igniting the Passion for Change in America's Communities, that is "a practical guide for renewing the great American tradition of spirited, breakthrough community leadership." It's a must-read, especially the sections on CCRL and several Regional Collaboratives! Read excerpts and order it online at http://www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/
    WileyTitle/productCd-0787963933.html
    .

  • Gateway Cities Partnership, Inc., has revamped its website, located at http://www.gatewaycities.org. Take a look and find out about their great work in workforce, financial services, sustainability, brownfields, and business assistance -- including several must-read reports in English and Spanish!

  • A new report, Labor Leaders as Smart Growth Advocates, from Good Jobs First suggests that labor leaders are deeply interested in land use and sprawl issues and are increasingly involved in coalition activities to advance Smart Growth. Interestingly, 7 of the 50 labor leaders interviewed are from California, including a noted leader in the field, John Dalrymple from the Contra Costa Labor Council. Over the past year, the California Works Foundation, the "think tank" of the State Labor Council, has been a partner with CCRL and others in the California Policy Reform Network (www.calpolicyreform.net), an effort to bring civic leaders into growth and infrastructure policy reform activities.

  • The September newsletter from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), a well-respected "think tank" on planning and development in the city, focuses on the successes, evolution, and potential of regionalism. With a special focus on regional governance, the newsletter includes the text of a speech by Portland Metro Council President David Bragdon, an update on the ABAG-MTC talks, and more.

  • More and more people are talking about ... tax policy. The Tax Policy Group of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley has released two new documents that are designed to stimulate debate and lead to a deeper understanding of current tax and fiscal systems and issues. The Tax Principles Workbook: A Tool for Critiquing Tax & Fiscal Proposals (online at http://www.jointventure.org/taxpolicyworkbook/) provides a guide for analyzing tax proposals against the principles of good tax policy. The report Current Tax, Accounting & Fiscal Issues Facing California and Its Businesses: A Guide to Understanding Key Issues explains aspects of current tax and fiscal issues to highlight the importance of improving and updating our federal, state and local tax and fiscal systems.

  • Bruce Katz, Director of the Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, outlined ten steps to urban land reform in a presentation given in July 2003 to the Vacant Land Forum. His PowerPoint presentation is available at http://www.brookings.edu/es/urban/
    speeches/20030709_katzvacantland.htm
    . It highlights the steps with innovative case studies and programs from cities and counties that are struggling with vacant land and brownfields.

D. Projects

  • The volunteer leaders of Sonoma County Vision have worked for several years to formulate a common vision of the County's future that would protect its quality of life, enhance its vitality, and seek to ensure its sustainability. Now, they have produced just that: five "Sonoma Principles" plus forward-looking goals and commitments that set priorities, and specific measures to monitor progress toward the goals. The Vision Integration Team of SCV recently made the decision to finalize their work and close the project.
  • Many familiar Regional Collaboratives are among the SoCal groups that have come together to form the Keystone Group, which seeks to improve the business climate in California. The group will conduct research on the reasons that businesses fail or leave the state in order to find preventative strategies. An announcement of the group's establishment was posted on Planetizen at http://www.planetizen.com/announce/item.php?id=564&rf=e.

  • Following several months of work, a Regional Economic Strategic Leadership Team (RESuLTs) has outlined a new strategy and recommended four new initiatives to help Silicon Valley to rebuild its economy, create more jobs, and improve the area's quality of life in the new economic reality. Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network has released its third Next Silicon Valley paper, Building the Next Silicon Valley: Strategy and Actions, which describes this strategy and recommendations. Find it at http://www.jointventure.org/nsv/buildingNSV2003.pdf.

  • Cabrillo College's Watsonville Digital Bridge Academy, an innovative computer technician training program, has received an award letter from the National Science Foundation granting them $749,000 over three years. The WDBA offers a carefully sequenced training program of academic support, training in how to grow in self-knowledge and self-discipline, work experience, and student support to prepare students to be effective Computer and Information Systems support technicians. Find out more at http://www.cabrillo.cc.ca.us/~wdba/index.html.

  • Monthly meetings of the Agricultural Stewardship Roundtable, convened by Valley Vision as part of its Green Valley Alliance project, have focused attention on the rural component of regional planning in the Sacramento area.

  • The Fresno Area Community Regional Initiative and its sponsor, the Fresno Business Council, have joined forces with other regional civic groups to create Fresno Citizens for Good Government. They seek "to provide a powerful, non-partisan voice for citizens who wish to encourage our elected officials to exercise community stewardship in pursuit of solutions that are in the best interests of the totality of their community," especially visionary leadership and comprehensive solutions. Interested? Find out more at http://www.fcgg.org