Putting the Action Back in CAPs: Best Practices for Updating Climate Action Plans to Align With Statewide Climate Goals
Climate Action Plans are critical to addressing climate change, but many are overdue for an update. With new comprehensive guidance from the California Air Resources Board, there’s no time like the present.
Local Governments on High Alert as New Statewide Ballot Measure Seeks to Restrict State and Local Revenue
A statewide initiative seeking to further restrict the ability of state and local governments to raise public funds through fees and taxes is ready to appear on the November 2024 ballot. Given the potential dire consequences of this measure, many local governments are taking actions now to address it.
Public agencies across the nation have spent the last few years re-examining policing and public safety models. SMW client City of Half Moon Bay is prioritizing improving mental health services as a key feature of its policing reform efforts. The city’s mobile mental health response program, Crisis Assistance Response and Evaluation Services (CARES), provides an alternative response to mental health-related 911 calls traditionally answered by law enforcement. The CARES team also played a supportive role following a January 23 mass shooting event.
Based on Recently Passed SB 54, Local Governments May Consider Banning Certain Single-Use Foodware Items Before Year’s End
The Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act may encourage local governments to ban certain single-use packaging and plastic food service ware materials before January 2024 to avoid its collection requirement.
Under the Brown Act, legislative bodies must conduct their business in open, public, and noticed meetings. Before COVID-19, decisionmakers, staff, and the public almost always attended meetings in person. Infrequently, public agencies invoked a narrow provision of the Brown Act to allow one or more members to “teleconference” into a meeting from a remote location, […]
Constitutional Limits to Abating Homeless Encampments, and Best Practices for a Cooperative Approach
California is home to nearly one-fourth of the nation’s unhoused population, and homelessness in California continues to rise. For example, according to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, from 2019 to 2022, California’s unhoused population increased from approximately 151,000 to 171,000. Of the 171,000 unhoused individuals counted in 2022, 67%, or 115,000 persons, […]
Housing affordability – whether buying or renting – remains a critical challenge for California cities and their residents. An April 2022 report from UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation found that a record number of Californians are housing cost burdened. State housing cost burdens have surged over the last two decades, with home value […]
In late 2021, the California Energy Commission approved updates to California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Energy Code), which regulate energy and water efficiency for newly constructed buildings. The Commission also approved energy-related updates to the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen), which both mandates and encourages sustainable construction practices. Both sets of updated standards take […]
When local agencies sell or lease their surplus land to others, California’s Surplus Land Act (SLA) (Government Code sections 54220 to 24234) requires them to prioritize that land for affordable housing, open space, and school use. Agencies must let affordable housing developers, local park and recreation districts and departments, and school districts know that the […]
A Valuable Tool for Equity Due in part to a long history of unequal land use planning and discriminatory housing and industrial policies, communities of color and low-income communities bear a disproportionate burden of environmental harms. Large polluting industries tend to be sited in or near these communities, leading to higher rates of long-term health […]