A report distributed by the City Administrator’s department this week revealed that in 2008, the City of Santa Barbara generated 11,232 metric tons of carbon dioxide. However, with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent from 1990 to 2012-per Mayor Marty Blum’s participation in the 2005 U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement-the city has surpassed this mark with emissions already 15 percent lower than 1990 levels. According to the report, many projects have contributed to the reduction, including converting traffic lights to LED technology, the El Estero fuel cell project, and various lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) retrofits.
Chapala One, one of the structures at the center of the “Yes on B” campaign’s argument to limit building heights, was given a Merit Award this week by the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for design excellence. The project was juried by a panel of impartial architects who reportedly had no vested interest in the recent dispute over height limits in the city’s historic downtown district.
The City Council directed staff on 12/15 to research the cost of a voter survey that would determine the level of community support for a plastic bag tax. After initially talking about just putting a plastic bag tax initiative on the ballot, the council backed off, voting to have staff look into the idea. Councilmember Dale Francisco was the lone dissenting vote. The city has determined that single-use paper bags are a better alternative to plastic, but still bad for the environment. The cost of the survey could be up to $50,000.
The City Council meeting on 12/15 marked the end of an era, as two councilmembers, Roger Horton and Iya Falcone, joined Mayor Marty Blum in stepping down from the council after two terms. Two of the seats formerly held by left-leaning members will be filled by Michael Self and Frank Hotchkiss, a major shift in the board’s balance. Those two will join Dale Francisco in the conservative minority, while Helene Schneider moves from her council seat to the mayor’s seat at a swearing-in ceremony next year, and Bendy White takes up the remaining council position.