In January, Mayor Tom Butt represented the City of Richmond in Sacramento at two state-wide environmental policy meetings.
The mayor met with the League of California Cities’ (LCC) Environmental Quality Policy Committee and presented at the California Climate Change Symposium. And on January 25, he joined the California Climate Change Symposium where he presented on the issue of sea-level rise.
Richmond, which has the most miles of shoreline of any city on the San Francisco Bay, is central to the conversation on sea-level rise and the threats of climate change.
Mayor Butt discussed the challenges faced by cities like Richmond along with representatives from the Governor’s Office, the US Geological Survey, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and other experts.
At the Climate Change Symposium, issues such as drought, ocean acidification, and public health were addressed while concerns over the Trump administration’s attack on climate science were shared across the board.
“Overall, I was reminded that the times we are going through with Trump are not unlike the Dark Ages, when reclusive monks in remote monasteries copied and preserved ancient Greek and Latin manuscripts until they could be rediscovered in the Renaissance,” Mayor Butt stated.
“The scientific community and the political leaders of California are the modern monks who are guarding that flame that will be needed to reignite civilization once Trump leaves office.”
Both the policy committee meeting and the symposium underscored the role of cities, along with state and local agencies, in combating climate change while the Trump administration moves in the reverse direction.
Mayor Butt noted, “My city benefits from the League’s policy committees because we can discuss issues that will affect our budgets and shape future policies. Without these meetings our influence on the state’s decisions would be greatly diminished.”
The mayor suggested that the committee’s work plan include an update on the League’s policy statements on Consumer Choice Aggregation (CCA), and he volunteered to serve on a subcommittee to work on CCA policy.
“These meetings provide an opportunity for city officials to learn about statewide proposals affecting California cities and have their voices heard by the League and translated into direct advocacy efforts,” said League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman.
There are seven standing League policy committees including Community Services, Governance, Transparency and Labor Relations, Environmental Quality, Housing, Community and Economic Development, Public Safety, Revenue and Taxation, and Transportation, Communications, and Public Works.
These committees evaluate proposed legislation as it related to existing policy and make recommendations for legislation where the League currently does not have policy.
The League’s policy-making process allows the issues facing California cities to be debated and the organization’s policy directions to be established.
Close to 400 city officials serve on the League’s policy committees and add their collective expertise, wisdom and opinions to the policy debate that is the foundation of League policy. The recommendations from the policy committee are forwarded to the League board of directors.