Village Laguna is grateful for all the city has done to meet its commitment to the U.S. Mayor’s Agreement on climate change. We support the staff recommendation, and we have a few suggestions for further contributions to the battle against global warming.
1. Solar power for City Hall and the Senior/Community Center seems to have been ruled out for aesthetic reasons; staff recommends “monitoring evolving solar power technologies for opportunities of less obtrusive solar panel systems.” We feel that concerns about how the panels will look from the neighborhoods far above can be addressed and any view obstruction minimized so that we can take this further step to reduce carbon emissions. We hope that an evaluation of this possibility that goes beyond aesthetic considerations can be conducted soon.
2. Both developing a remote parking site and extending the hours of bus service (at least on weekends) are reported to be infeasible because of budgetary constraints. We hope that these projects will receive a higher priority in the future as the city’s financial position improves.
3. It is reported that the school district staff has procedures for encouraging the use of their bus system for transporting students to and from school. We hope that in your upcoming meeting with the school board you will initiate a discussion of ways of doing more to help reduce the number of daily trips in private cars to and from our schools.
4. The possibility of increasing the city’s use of reclaimed water is dismissed as impractical because of previous indications from the two water districts that the cost of the required infrastructure is prohibitive. Because the increasing scarcity of water is making measures that were once considered too expensive more attractive, we encourage the city to enter into new discussions with the two water districts and the South Orange County Wastewater Authority with regard to the potential for gradually increasing the use of recycled water for landscape irrigation.
5. The measures taken so far are commendable and can be expected to have had some effect, but the Action Plan has provided no way of measuring progress. We don’t expect a method for measuring carbon emissions at the city level, but we wonder if some proxy measures might be developed that would give us an idea of where we stand. It is heartening to read, for example, that the city is now recycling 70 percent of its waste, and we can imagine how much extra effort we will need to make to reach the state’s new goal of 75 percent. Could staff produce information on how much electricity we’re saving annually in comparison with the base year of the Climate Protection Action Plan? Could the Water District come up with figures that would tell us what’s happened to annual water use under its conservation campaign?
We congratulate you on this excellent start and urge you to continue in this direction.
Richard Picheny, Laguna Beach