A Carbon-Neutral Santa Barbara?

Mayoral Hopefuls Clash Over Environmental Issue

Santa Barbara City Councilmembers Iya Falcone and Helene Schneider squared off in a special Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 10, over the feasibility of achieving carbon neutrality in the City of Santa Barbara by the year 2020.

The feasibility report - prepared by Facilities and Energy manager James S. Dewey - was interrupted often by Falcone, who said she was wary of beginning a long-term environmental campaign during an economic crisis. “I haven’t been working in Recycling and Trash because of the glamour,” Falcone said. “I’ve been working behind these ideas for years. I don’t think this is achievable by 2020.”

The swing vote in the committee, Roger Horton, agreed with Falcone that the feasibility report had “financial assumptions that need to be proven by the Finance Department.”

Finance will only give us more estimates,” retorted Schneider. “We have two questions we need to answer: Do we want to establish the goal? And how do we get there? Though there’s no way to answer every question of finance today, next week, or next month, I want to see the council set the goal.”

Horton also agreed with Schneider, saying, “We need goals. Without goals, you can’t know where you’ve been or where you’re headed.”

Schneider eventually made a motion that a second report on carbon neutrality by 2020 be prepared, this time in cooperation with the Finance Department, to be considered by the committee in 30 to 60 days.

Falcone seconded, adding: “As long as it’s 2030.”

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