Mayor Garcetti’s ‘Green New Deal’ would phase out gas-fueled cars in L.A.
■Los Angeles Times - April 29
Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a sweeping plan for a more sustainable Los Angeles on Monday, imagining a city where, by the mid-2030s, 80 percent of the cars run on electricity or zero-emission fuel, 80 percent of the electricity comes from renewable sources, and Angelenos drive 2,000 fewer miles each year than they do now. Garcetti cited the “existential threat” of climate change, which scientists say is fueling bigger and deadlier heat waves, wildfires, and floods in California and around the world. At times, the plan simply reiterates existing commitments on climate and clean energy. But in at least two areas, the plan sets ambitious new targets and lays a foundation for how they might be met: transportation and buildings, which account for three-quarters of the city’s planet-warming emissions. The plan calls for increasing the percentage of electric or zero-emission vehicles in the city from 1.4 percent last year to 25 percent by 2025, 80 percent by 2035, and 100 percent by 2050. The plan also calls for new buildings to be “net-zero carbon” by 2030, with the entire building stock converted to zero-emission technologies by 2050.
San Diego Board of Supervisors divided over SANDAG transportation proposal
■San Diego Union-Tribune - April 30
A majority of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors rejected key parts of the San Diego Association of Governments’ new multibillion-dollar plan for regional transportation. The divided board voted 3-2 Tuesday for the county to oppose much of the new proposal, which would dramatically shift regional transportation priorities toward expanding public transit and away from building highways and roads. The board action calls on the county to advocate for highway and road projects in the new plan and requests that SANDAG seek different sources of funding for public transit projects not already covered in the 2004 TransNet ordinance, which includes the half-cent sales tax voters approved. SANDAG’s new vision, revealed last week, would use TransNet sales tax dollars and other sources of funding to add hundreds of miles of high-speed transit lines throughout the county. The plan also would do away with many long-anticipated highway improvement and expansion projects.
S.F. mayor to campaign on ballot measures streamlining approval of affordable, teacher housing
■San Francisco Examiner - April 24
Mayor London Breed last week announced two ballot initiatives focused on expanding and accelerating affordable housing production throughout San Francisco. Making good on a promise made in her first State of the City Address in January, Breed announced a charter amendment that will fast track 100 percent affordable and teacher housing projects by making approval “by right,” meaning they would be exempt from discretionary review and appeals if they meet zoning requirements. The charter amendment will need the votes of six supervisors to be placed on the November ballot. Breed is also expected to introduce a separate ordinance that would rezone all publicly owned land with the exception of parks to allow for 100 percent affordable housing and teacher housing. That measure would also go before voters in November.
A one-stop shop for affordable backyard homes advances in L.A.
■CityLab - May 1
LA-Más, a Los Angeles urban-design nonprofit, and other organizations involved in The Backyard Homes Project, hope to finance and build backyard homes, or accessory dwelling units, for homeowners who agree to rent them initially to Section 8 voucher-holders for a minimum of five years. The plan would leverage the prerogatives of private homeownership to the public end of increasing the affordable-housing supply. LA-Más is looking to begin with 10 pilot units. Homeowners will get access to loan capital to finance construction, an opportunity to add significant equity to their home, a potential stream of rental income, and administratively, a single point of contact to help navigate a network of city agencies and nonprofits.
UCLA researchers discover cost and time efficient method to recycle water
■Daily Bruin - April 26
UCLA researchers have designed a water vapor capture system that could purify industrial wastewater and agricultural runoff three times more efficiently than existing methods. The study, published in the April issue of Science Advance, was led by Yongho Sungtaek Ju, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor. Ju said he was initially awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to create a system to cool power plants with dry air instead of fresh water. This system also happened to be efficient at collecting water vapor from the air and was later adapted for this purpose. The modified system runs water droplets downward along porous strings while funneling air upward. In the U.S., approximately 39 percent of fresh water is used to cool the systems of power plants, researchers said. From that 39 percent, 3 percent is evaporated into the atmosphere annually.
Hormel Foods installs solar system
■Solar Power World - April 26
Hormel Foods Corporation and IGS Solar have started construction on a solar energy project at the Hormel Foods Swiss American Sausage Company facility in Lathrop, California. The project is slated for completion in July. The project is projected to generate roughly 1.2 million kWh per year — enough to supply more than 15 percent of the facility’s annual electricity consumption.