Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Giving the Public A Seat at the Table

Transparency is a management guru kind of word that seems to have made the crossover into daily life. It came up this morning in the NP article about the planning rule changes the Supes approved yesterday which allow public release of early draft EIRs. They say it will speed up the process.

Cameron at the EDC doesn't seem to think so -- he's right, there are few developers that go through the whole EIR process every year. And although I'm surprised he hasn't come up on BlogaBarbara before, COLAB spokepiece Andy Caldwell disagreed. Big surprise. Love his quote:"This is a restoration of balance and common sense to the decision-making process," said Mr. Caldwell, noting that planners and builders once communicated more freely".

Ah yes, harking back to the days of yore....when buildings went up without much regulation at all!

Does anybody know a little more about this? Can the public look at the early-draft EIRs as well?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that Andy was foaming at the mouth yesterday, as usual as he launched into changing CEQA regulations, "reforming" the Board of Architectural Review(BAR), etc. These truly are exciting times for Andy and COLAB. They have a board majority that just sort of "aw shucks" itself into destroying our environment to appease development interests. You don't really get the impression that Centeno is out to trash the planet - he just hasn't been convinced that he is doing that yet.

11/23/2005 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Foaming at the mouth..."? "Trash the planet..." Instead of answering a good policy question about mutual public access to early-draft EIR's or providing related general information, the blog features a personal attack on two individuals. Let's don't descend to that level; does anyone instead have answers to the questions? They're important.

11/23/2005 11:55 AM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

After reading almost everything posted at Blogabarbara, especially in the weeks prior and after the election, I am just plain SHOCKED this blog has anything close to a personal attack on two individuals.

And more on point, the buzz once going around was that communications between applicants and county staff cannot be secret, so the enviros and anyone else in the public actually would get more access to the administrative history of an EIR development.

In other works, if the applicant or proponant gets access, the rest of the public also has to get access, and all before the public review draft of the EIR or other document gets released to the public.

If this is not the new reality, somebody do tell.

11/23/2005 12:28 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

This is why it is a good thing, no? The public should have more access -- the question is whether we really use it and whether it makes a difference.

11/23/2005 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything passed on a 3-2 vote and favored by Andy Caldwell is not likely to be positive for environmental protections and public access. Here's the N-P story:

Local News

Supervisors change rules for environmental studies



Clashing over the public's right to participate in the development review process, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday split over a plan to streamline the environmental studies of proposed projects.

The five-member panel voted 3-2 to give developers more flexibility to communicate with the planners and consultants who prepare their projects' environmental impact reports.

South Coast Supervisors Susan Rose and Salud Carbajal opposed the plan after colleagues turned down amendments requiring stricter public access to those communications.

Under the plan, builders can request public release of the early draft of their projects' EIRs. Planners and builders say the changes will speed up the building process by identifying project problems right away.

Mr. Carbajal and Ms. Rose, who had supported the concept in previous meetings, pushed for a provision that planners keep records of all communications between the builder and EIR preparers.

"This is a matter of giving the public a seat at the table, not just the developer," Mr. Carbajal said.

Supervisor Joe Centeno and planners assured Mr. Carbajal that the county already keeps track of communications that result in any changes to the project.

"What we're trying to do is fair," Mr. Centeno said.

Mr. Carbajal also warned that the plan put the burden on the public to obtain a copy of the EIR draft.

Denying that the plan would create more transparency for the public, opponents said it favored developers.

"The proposed amendments only provide transparency for the five developers who go through the EIR process each year," said Environmental Defense Center chief Cameron Benson. "They actually lessen the transparency for the thousands of county residents who will have to live with the impacts of these large development projects."

Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business spokesman Andy Caldwell disagreed.

"This is a restoration of balance and common sense to the decision-making process," said Mr. Caldwell, noting that planners and builders once communicated more freely.


11/23/2005 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Gary said...

All is lost,
All is lost.
Have a good Thanksgiving on the 'morrow.
The cement,
oh, yes, the cement,
Have a good Thanksgiving on the 'morrow.
The cement is coming.

11/23/2005 1:52 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

The action by the Board of Supervisors is just the next chapter of many, with the Bushian style of dismantling environmental and social protection laws without admitting that is what is happening. Firestone continues his bender, with Gray eager to join the party, and Centene not knowing any different.

The real issue is whether the people of the would-be Mission County will have any reason now for wanting to secede from the oppressive, but northward tax-exporting, evils of the remaining Santa Barbara County.

With Firestone on the Board, what incentive any more for north County people to secede, especially as they get more tax money from the South County people to subsidize the north County sprawl and cement lifestyle??

11/23/2005 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

because of all of the above and more to come, the south will probably vote for the county split and the north---well, who knows--kind of depends on what more goodies Herr Firestone can throw their way....

11/23/2005 2:48 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Do not forget that a majority in the proposed Mission County must vote in favor to secede, and a majority for the whole original Santa Barbara County also must vote in favor. In other words, even if a majority of southerners vote in favor of the split, does not matter unless a majority of northerners want it... and why should they if they get their carnage anyway with Firestone there, and money from southern taxpayers to pay for it.

So, the voters who really need to be convinced are those in North County.

11/23/2005 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

musings about the second district race?

11/23/2005 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Third District Lady said...

Can we summarize?

Releasing data early before the applicant and the staff screw with it and spin it is a bad idea?

Opening the process like 8 out of 10 communities in the state already do is a bad idea?

And the reason it is a bad idea is that Andy Caldwell likes it and it was a 3-2 vote.

What a bunch a childish crap.

Find a way in you small little minds to think not react.

11/23/2005 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woa. Lets contol the emotions here.

I understand that we are getting every major endorsement away from Das and to Wolfe. Right now there is no one. Repeat no one supporting Das.

Is there any question why no one wants Das after this behavior.

11/23/2005 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay so we are looking at the environmental review of a proposed developlement. In most cases we would just say no. But the law says that we must do an environmental review prior to killing some greedy developer. So we get the EIR preview and get a jump start on how to kill it. For years the county P and D have given some of us sections or all of the EIR before the public sees it and we figure out how to kill it. I can show you dozens of emails from county staff giving us heads up on eirs before they go public. We create our case and then kill it. Now the north county boys want the developer to get the same deal. Who cares we still can get to them and more people than us can get the draft EIR and kill the development.

Who cares. Better than the developer getting the EIR like we do with no one else. New day. We do not have powre and we still get the info when the rapist get it.

11/23/2005 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Woa. Lets contol the emotions here.

Is there any question why no one wants Das after this behavior."

What "behavior"? This particularly section is about the BOS and the further shifting of the balance away from the CEQA-required environmental oversight of development. What has this to do with Das, except that he has been supportive of EDC?

I am a little (a very little) surprised at Salud's strong support for Wolfe - well, more disappointed than surprised. Seems more a fitting within the establishment than anything else: Wolfe is a personal friend of Rose's and Salud is running with the Montecito (Schwartz)/Hope Ranch (Rose) big dogs now, and seems still surprised he's not hanging in the backroom.

Wish he'd recognize that his district is not only the Montecito megabucks, but some of the strongest enviro-sense in the area and would develop or strengthen his own cojones. Riding in the Milpas Street parade today as "Grand Marshal" is not enough to connect with the people....

11/24/2005 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

correction: the parade is on Saturday, not today.

11/24/2005 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

musings about the second district race?

5:22 PM
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11/24/2005 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoops: try here!

11/24/2005 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Salud, watch out. Looks like you are the new Iya. If you are standing in the way of the Holy Child prepare for sliming. Hang on to your hat Lois, you might be next. Ah, progressives. Ain't they great?

11/24/2005 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

again--please don't confuse 'the holy child' (DAS) and his ilk with 'progressives'....he is more of a reactionary fundamentalist

11/24/2005 5:19 PM  

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