Building Decarbonization Update: Local Governments in California Consider Strategies to Reduce Natural Gas Use in Buildings
Following up on the October 2019 and February 2020 editions of In the Public Interest, this article provides an update regarding strategies proposed by several cities and counties to encourage or require existing buildings to go all-electric.
October 2023 Update Re: 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.
Mid-Cycle 2022 CALGreen Building Code Update Re: Changes Coming in 2023 to State Energy Code and Green Building Standards
California Building Standards Commission adopts updates to electric vehicle charging requirements for new multifamily buildings Since we first wrote about the latest Energy Code and energy-related CALGreen updates that went into effect statewide in January 2023, some additional important updates have been made to CALGreen. Following this regular triannual update, the California Building Standards Commission […]
From the deadly conflagration in Hawaii to the toxic smoke blanketing the East Coast, this year’s wildland fires have driven home the reality that wildfires are a huge and growing threat. In response to this national crisis, in 2021 President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created the federal Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission, which has just released its final report.
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.
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 […]