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Monitor Notes: Right to Water, Residential Energy, EBRPD Projects, SMART Tax

Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.


Clean Water Action

Plunge into a new policy-driven report from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) about the state’s progress in delivering clean, safe, affordable, and accessible water. Achieving the Human Right to Water in California: An Assessment of the State’s Community Water Systems also includes a data tool that scores water quality, affordability, and accessibility for each of the state’s community water systems. Take a look and send OEHHA comments about the report and data tool between now and October 21. OEHHA is expected to conduct workshops during the comment period, too, so check back here for updates.


Bundle of Energy

Making buildings more energy efficient is necessary to tackle climate change. That’s why the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) is hosting an event the morning of Wednesday, September 18, focusing on steps local governments may take to cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from existing residential buildings. This includes benchmarking, time-of-sale ordinances, reach codes, incentives, and climate action plans. Speakers will include city officials from Davis, Oakland, and San Jose. Does that spark your interest? Register for this free event. For those who would like to participate remotely, there is also a webinar option.


Outdoor Living

Bay Area residents will soon have more open space to explore. The East Bay Regional Park District recently provided an update about development and features of three parks. The old Brickyard site at McLaughlin Eastshore State Park in Berkeley will transform into a recreation area with bike racks, walking paths, and improved San Francisco Bay Trail connections. Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline will sit at the Oakland touchdown of the Bay Bridge and include a renovated Bridge Yard building that will be the park’s recreational anchor. Lastly, a 2,500-acre regional park in Concord is being planned in the former Naval Weapons Station. Click here for more on trails, habitat restoration, and which site sports an observation deck.


Lay It on the Line

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) board wants to ask Sonoma and Marin county voters to approve a quarter-cent sales tax extension to help the commuter rail operator restructure debt and save money. The sales tax (approved in 2008 under Measure Q) ends in 2029. Without an extension, SMART’s reserves are expected to run out in the fiscal year 2024. SMART has carried more than 1.4 million passengers since opening in 2017 and will open two new stations in Larkspur and downtown Novato late this year, according to the agency’s website. Some uncertainty surrounds the buildout of other promised North County extensions the Monitor wrote about in 2016. The board will review plans during September and October and take final action in November to potentially put the measure on the March ballot — keep track of meeting dates here.


Monitor Notes is produced by Cecily O’Connor. To receive it by email, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your email address in the box under “RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES,” and click the red “SIGN UP” button.



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