The Vanguard has a new home, please update your bookmarks to

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Greenwald and Escamilla-Greenwald Receive "A" Grades from the Sierra Club

In a press release dated May 16, 2008, the Sierra Club Yolano Group issued grades of the Davis City Council candidates.
"Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald and Sue Greenwald rated an “A” grade based on answers to the three questions. Rob Roy, Don Saylor, Steven Souza and Sydney Vergis all received “B” grades."
On April 30, 2008 the Sierra Club Yolano Group and the Davis Neighborhood Coalition submitted 10 questions to Davis City Council candidates. In addition to the candidate forum, each candidate submitted written answers.
"The Management Committee “graded” the candidates based on their responses to the questions that related to the environment. The Sierra Club Yolano Group spent much time deliberating regarding the relative grading of the candidates for this 2008 City of Davis City Council election cycle. In general, the management committee believes that the educational value of the candidates’ answers to the questions - both for the voters and for the candidates is the most valuable portion of this process.

The three main issues discussed in the grading process were: Measure J, Wastewater and Surface Water Capitol Projects, and the future of wood burning in the City of

Each candidate received the range of grades available and the final grades that we are presenting are the average of the management committee's votes - not a unanimous grade. This is not a Sierra Club endorsement of any of the candidates."
Vanguard coverage of the candidates forum can be found by clicking here.

You can find excerpts of the answers on both water and Measure J there.

On the issue of residential wood burning, an issue that has not been discussed much on this blog but is becoming an increasing concern in the city due to its impact on air quality, here are some of the highlights of the candidate's answers.

Sue Greenwald:
"I am in favor of looking into an ordinance for banning wood burning."
Cecilia-Escamilla Greenwald:
"As councilmember, I would like to look toward alternative means by which to heat homes—including Natural gas fireplaces rather than real wood or ideally, more energy efficient building designs to better utilize the winter sun, better keep heat (or cool temperatures in the summer) in the home, and solar power as an alternative means by which to heat one’s home or augment other available energy sources.

I would consider a possible ban or limitation of wood burning pending further study by the city and other experts."
Rob Roy:
"We already have the voluntary “Don’t Light Tonight" program in Yolo-Solano air quality management district. We must inform our fellow citizens about the program so they may now when air levels are at unhealthy levels. Expand the conscious of our citizens be more aware of any negative environmental impact is a good thing.

Collecting a voluntary city-wide email list serve to convey this type of information would be a good thing start on."
Don Saylor:
"While I want to withhold judgment until hearing from the NRC, I think we will probably see a combination of further restrictions on burning using specific appliances, incentives and rebates for purchases of cleaner EPA appliances, and more awareness of the issues pertaining to wood burning and the environmental effects."
Stephen Souza:
"There are already restrictions in place on new construction and new installation of fire-places or wood burning appliances. The Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District's Rule 2.40 requires the use of pellet fueled heater or EPA certified heaters. We should also require that at the time of sale, remodel or a certain date that all fireplaces that do not meet Rule 2.40 be replaced or rendered inoperable.

We can also promote a self-imposed program of “Don’t Light Tonight” whereby residents do not use their fire-places or woodstoves when air pollution is approaching unhealthy conditions."
Sydney Vergis:
"The Model Fireplace Ordinance include two primary components- Voluntary curtailment of wood-burning on low quality air days, and a mandatory upgrade to EPA Phase II Fireplace inserts or fireplace removal upon house sale or remodel.

I acknowledge that the voluntary components of the model ordinance or a Spare-the-Air day will not result in full compliance- I am hopeful that good outreach and coordination between the City, local organizations (Yolano!), and the Natural Resources Commission can pay dividends."
While the Sierra Club did not make endorsements in the city council race, the grades provided are a good guide as to which candidates were stronger on specific environmental positions than others. The Sierra Club did make endorsements in both the County Supervisor and the State Assembly race. (See here for full story). Jim Provenza obtained the endorsement in the 4th District County Supervisor Race and Christopher Cabaldon received the endorsement in the State Assembly Race.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting