Tuesday, January 17, 2012

State of the State: Vision Needed

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The Sustainable  Development  Report  

Issue No. 7 : January 2012 

ELP Advisors works with cities, agencies, stakeholders, foundations and business groups to craft strategies to grow thriving, healthy, vibrant communities. 

Speed Lottery   


The best way to initiate change is by making it fun. We're of the opinion that if it works for kids, it'll probably work for adults as well. Volkswagen sponsors an ongoing search for fun and/or playful ideas that help make the world a better place. If you've got an idea that fits that bill, you can submit it through the company's Fun Theory website.

In 2010, the Volkswagen Fun Theory Award was given to Kevin Richardson for his idea of a

 Speed Camera Lottery. The idea is to make it profitable (and, hence, fun) to follow the posted speed limit. It works like this: motorists will have their speed checked as usual. And, as usual, speeders will risk a fine for exceeding the limit. The incentive for more cautious drivers, however, is that they have the opportunity to win cold hard cash. To boot, the winnings are paid from the fines collected from the speeders.


Volkswagen wanted to try out this theory, so it set up a test in Stockholm, Sweden. A street speed indicator was set up on a street over a three-day test period. Over 24,000 cars passed the speed camera. Before the experiment took place the average speed was 32km/h (20 mph); it dropped to 25km/h (15 mph) during the experiment. What if red light and speed cameras in the U.S. adopted a carrot and stick policy like this? Would the effect be slower speeds and safer streets?

Check your Emissions   

The EPA has just released a nifty mapping toolthat shows users just how many tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) your neighborhood polluters are emitting. Like the rest of the U.S., California's biggest GHG emitters are power plants. The Golden State's power facilities spew over 45.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT CO2 e) into the atmosphere, a fraction of the nation's total output (2.3 billion metric tons). Refineries came in as the number two emitter, with under 26 million metric tons in the state and 183 million metric tons nationwide.

Things get more interesting when you get down to the local level, though. In Los Angeles County, refineries are the biggest polluters, with more than double the emissions of the area's power plants. Orange County, on the other hand, reports that most of its direct CO2 emissions are from local landfills.

Explore the online tool for yourself to see how your neighborhood or region stacks up.

Check Out Metropolis II   

Those of you looking to geek out over Jetsons-esque visions of the future should head over to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) this weekend to check out Metropolis II. The sculpture by Chris Burden is described as "a massive mini-city of towering buildings interwoven and surrounded at all heights by tiny street-like tracks that carry 1,100 toy cars quickly and noisily around." It takes up 500 square feet and is nearly 10 feet tall in parts. Check out this video to see it in action.

Since this work requires an operator to be functional, the sculpture will only be run during specific times, so LACMA urges you to plan your visit accordingly. The sculpture will be operational at the following times:

Fridays: 12:30-2 pm; 3-4:30 pm; 5-6:30 pm; 7-8:30 pm


Weekends: 11:30-1:00 pm; 2-3:30 pm; 4-5:30 pm; 6-7:30 pm

Metropolis will only be operational on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays so mark your calendars.




January 22-24, 2012

Los Angeles, CA

-- Cecilia Estolano moderates a panel about "Scaling up Clean Tech Enterprises: Creating Regional Ecosystems that Support Green Growth" 

-- Save 20% when registering using the following discount code: VXELP


Webinar: Creating a Path for Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure

Thursday, January 26, 2012

10 a.m. PST/1:00 p.m. EST 


Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference Submittals Due February 1st

February 1, 2012 



UCLA Extension Land Use Law & Planning Conference

February 3, 2012 

University of California, Los Angeles 

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

-- Cecilia Estolano participates on a panel called "Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Diminution of Redevelopment"  


 New Partners for Smart Growth 

February 2-4, 2012 

San Diego, CA 

-- Cecilia Estolano moderates a panel on "Smart Water: Aligning Land Use and Infrastructure for Healthier Communities and Cities"  


Creating Reliable Valuations in the Absence of Good Historical Data: ULI Online Live Workshop

February 16-23 

ELP Logo  

 315 W. 9th Street, Suite 1010

 Los Angeles, CA 90015

 Phone: 213-612-4545

 Fax: 213-488-3468





State of the State : Vision Needed  

We start 2012 with irrefutable evidence that local and state governments are undergoing profound and irreversible transformation. California's redevelopment agencies will soon be dissolved, local governments continue to slash services and payroll, a state super-agency is being dismantled, and a $4.8-6.9 billion proposed package of tax increases may not actually yield enough to save education from further budget cuts.


Private employment is slowly growing but our unemployment rate remains high, at least in part because of lay-offs in the public sector. As we send this newsletter out, we anticipate another gloomy State of the State address from Governor Jerry Brown. What does this all mean for sustainable development? It means we need to be clear about our values and then forge new and deeper collaborations among unlikely allies to fight back the pall that hangs over California's governance.  


It means that we need a surfeit of creativity for new approaches to old and deepening problems. While we mark the end of redevelopment and its potential to create more livable, balanced communities, we think it's time to get serious about California needing a real economic development program that is up to the challenge of a globally integrated economy.  


We need a permanent, reliable source of funding for affordable housing and we need a strategy for green growth. We cannot wait for the state to recover its footing. The fact is it will never be the same. Let's dust ourselves off and remake the state in the image of our boldest vision.



Sincerely yours,


Cecilia V. Estolano | Jennifer LeSar | Katherine Aguilar Perez


Out of the Ashes : Framing Sustainable Development as RDAs Dissolve


Last Friday was the deadline for cities to decide whether they would assume the role of Successor Agencies for their soon-to-be-dissolved redevelopment agencies (RDAs). While the Mayor and City Council of Los Angeles decided to orphan the storied Community Redevelopment Agency, cities and counties up and down the state grappled with the chaos of interpreting AB1X26. Some sought to push back the Day of Dissolution from February 1st to April 15th, while Senate President Pro Tem Darryl Steinberg introduced SB 654 to allow local governments to hold onto the $2 billion in low and moderate income housing funds currently on deposit with RDAs. The League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association have put on a brave face hoping to somehow resuscitate redevelopment.  However, Governor Jerry Brown has not given any indication of the slightest interest in reviving redevelopment, especially in the face of continuing budget woes. 


Amidst the swirling activity around short-term efforts to buy more time and clarify the most confusing aspects of AB1X26, it's worth considering what a real sustainable economic development program for the state of California might look like. Let's start fresh with a new mission that uses the most effective tools of redevelopment in the service of long-term economic growth and environmental sustainability.     


Let's retain and update the following redevelopment tools: (1) Flexible, nimble assemblage and disposition of land; (2) brownfields clean-up and reuse; (3) infrastructure investment; and (4) a dedicated funding source for affordable housing.


Here are seven essential elements for a new approach. First, let's start with a vision for a lower carbon economy that generates good paying jobs. This vision includes an integrated approach to mixed-income housing development, urban infill and transit-oriented development, business creation and expansion, and the provision of accessible green and open space. AB 32, SB 375 and the Strategic Growth Council's Strategic Plan give us an outline for this vision.


Second, let's focus on supporting and growing sectors, particularly in the manufacturing and green industries for which California's regions have a competitive advantage. Let's base our support of these sectors on solid data and analysis. Third, let's invest in strategic infrastructure (sewers, stormdrains, water storage and green infrastructure, rail, public transit, renewable power, transmission lines, ports and airports) that will enable sustainable green growth.


Fourth, let's frame our workforce training and development strategies around the needs of existing California businesses in leading and emerging growth sectors that can pay family-supporting wages. Let's create meaningful, enduring partnerships with business, labor, community colleges, CBOs and other key stakeholders to nimbly adjust and deliver training programs that give workers the means to constantly up-skill in a competitive global economy.


Fifth, let's foster and harness creativity and innovation through collaborations among our extraordinary universities, research institutions, venture capital and other investors, start-ups and industry innovators and local, regional and state government staff. Our goal should be to nurture the development of new and emerging sectors through spin-offs, start-ups and business expansion in the fields that hold the best promise for family-supporting jobs.  


Sixth, let's leverage the different roles of government (regulatory, proprietary,

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