...and a thug and a dilettante shall tell them

Submitted: Oct 02, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The story begins with an announcement so boring that most readers wouldn’t venture below the first graph. Yet things warm up later down when the actual meaning of the announced progam comes out: it is a plan to make a plan that will serve as a means of circumventing the California Environmental Quality Act. While we can expect nothing less from Mayor Stan “Bully Boy” Thurston, scourge of working people, who was elected by the business interests that seem in the coming election to have left him in a lurch, it is more difficult to understand Councilwoman Rawling’s comments because she built her entire, pitiful political career about to mercifully end on air-quality issues.  But out of the mouths of a political thug and a political dilettante comes the truth: the intent of this $199,500 consultant contract is to make as sure as such consultants can make it that the City of Merced will never ever have to endure the indignity and expense of another CEQA lawsuit. In short, government is for professional staff and the bought elected officials they manage. -- blj

 

Councilwoman Mary-Michal Rawling said greenhouse gas regulation is relatively new, so some developers could be left scratching their heads. The PCAP, when complete, should answer any questions.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions,” she said. “So this just provides some certainty”…Mayor Stan Thurston said the PCAP will prioritize the 150 projects in the city’s climate action plan. It will also do much of the California Environmental Quality Act work that can sometimes tie up new development.

“It’s part of streamlining the CEQA process for the developer,” he said. “If the city has developed this plan, then (developers) can use the city plan and just check off that part of their CEQA process.”

 

 

10-1-13

Merced Sun-Star

Merced hires firm to streamline climate plan, officials say…Thaddeus Miller

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/10/01/3252774/merced-hires-firm-to-streamline.html

With the city’s climate action plan in place for a year, Merced has hired a firm to develop a streamlined plan for reducing greenhouse gases that is easy for developers to use.

Merced City Council hired Rancho Cordova-based PMC Inc. at $190,550 to develop the “programmatic climate action plan,” or PCAP. It must be completed in no longer than three years.

Merced’s general plan has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels, and the PCAP is supposed to serve as a tool for new developers in town. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, a process tied to global warming.

Councilwoman Mary-Michal Rawling said greenhouse gas regulation is relatively new, so some developers could be left scratching their heads. The PCAP, when complete, should answer any questions.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions,” she said. “So this just provides some certainty.”

The state has approved a $250,000 grant that will pay for PMC Inc.’s work. Two other companies submitted bids for the project but promised as much as 300 fewer hours than PMC, which estimated 1,436 hours for the project.

No Merced or neighboring area consultants submitted proposals, according to city documents.

Mayor Stan Thurston said the PCAP will prioritize the 150 projects in the city’s climate action plan. It will also do much of the California Environmental Quality Act work that can sometimes tie up new development.

“It’s part of streamlining the CEQA process for the developer,” he said. “If the city has developed this plan, then (developers) can use the city plan and just check off that part of their CEQA process.”

The PCAP could help Merced get more state funding and, as the process becomes easier to use, the city could see health benefits. That’s a big plus in the Central Valley, known for its poor air quality and high asthma rates, said Councilman Noah Lor.

Merced County is also making moves to reduce greenhouse gases, according to Lori Flanders, Merced County Association of Governments spokeswoman. The county is working with eight others across the San Joaquin Valley to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent by 2020 and 10 percent by 2035.

“It has to be a multicounty effort for it to bring the emissions down,” Flanders said. “One jurisdiction alone isn’t going to have the impact that a whole region could.”

The city of Merced’s PCAP could be complete in about two years, said Bill King, principal planner for the city of Merced and project manager for the climate action plan. In the meantime, city staff is forming an advisory committee and needs local input and volunteers, he said.

 

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