Tell the Air District Board you want better public access
Critical climate action is underway at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, but how are we to stay informed and engaged?
350 Bay Area and the Sierra Club pushed the Air District to develop a regional plan for deep GHG emission reductions. However, when staff recently updated the Climate Protection Committee, only those attending the meeting could witness the discussion because it was not webcast. Thus there's no archive. In 2014, particularly in the Bay Area, this is not OK.
The Air District's Executive Committee met on October 20 and decided to continue business as usual, and not routinely webcast committee meetings. Board members need to hear from us. Our next opportunity to speak up is October 30.
RSVP below to attend the BAAQMD Public Outreach Committee meeting this Thursday, October 30 at 9:30 in San Francisco to support expanded public access.
Tell Public Outreach Committee members we think public access, in the form of webcasting all committee meetings, is a critical part of public outreach.
- The public is driving the Air District's new priorities - Two of the three key policy initiatives highlighted in the BAAQMD approved budget for the fiscal year ending 2015 were initiated through public participation. The Regional Climate Protection Strategy Resolution was initiated by 350 Bay Area, and the Refinery Emissions Tracking Rule was initiated by Communities for a Better Environment.
- Air District Board committees are where policy action begins - The real work in taking strong action on greenhouse gas and refinery pollutant emissions happened in the Climate Protection and Stationary Source committees. The preliminary work for the Air District's third key policy initiative, the Commuter Benefits Program, happened in its Mobile Source Committee. View a list of BAAQMD Committees.
- Public knowledge and participation is limited by lack of access - The Air District's current policy is to webcast all Board meetings. However, committee meetings are only webcast when Air District staff think there will be too many people attending a meeting in person such that two rooms are necessary to accommodate everyone. This leaves anyone who cannot attend public meetings featuring detailed policy presentations, proposals, discussions and recommendations at a disadvantage.
- Webcasts are consistent with the objectives of the Americans with Disabilities Act - Webcasts feature both visual and sound media, and the provide people with mobility issues the ability to monitor and participate in public proceedings. Webcasts are the number one way to provide expanded public access for people with physical disabilities.
- Webcast cost is trivial - The Air District spends about $35 million on Services, Supplies and Capital expenditures. Of that, over $5.4 million is spent on My Air Online, website development, media relations and community outreach. The added cost to webcast all BAAQMD committee and Advisory Council meetings would be about $30,000. Peanuts.
- The Bay Area is ground zero for social media, how can we not have this? - The San Francisco Bay Area is the very cradle of social media civilization. Not webcasting all the public meetings of an agency doing the most critical environmental work of our time, in a region with world class expertise and residents who deeply support this work, especially when the cost is a relative pittance, is not defensible.
- [Add your personal reasons for wanting Air District committee meetings webcast]
If you can't attend the meeting, contact Committee members directly:
BAAQMD Public Outreach Committee Members
Councilperson - Martinez
Supervisor - San Francisco
Supervisor - Marin
Councilperson - Petaluma
Mayor - Berkeley
Supervisor - Alameda
Vice Mayor - Daly City
Mayor Edwin M. Lee
Mayor - San Francisco
Supervisor - Napa
939 Ellis St
San Francisco, CA 94109
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