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Monitor Notes: Wildfires, Plastic, BART, Farms, ADUs

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

 

Bills Blaze Prevention Trail

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law last week nearly two dozen bills to help the state improve its wildfire prevention, mitigation, and response efforts. Several bills were authored by Bay Area lawmakers whose districts suffered catastrophic losses during 2017’s Tubbs Fire, which burned in parts of Napa, Sonoma, and Lake counties. Certain measures contain power shut-off rules for Pacific Gas & Electric at a time when Bay Area residents face the threat of outages due to dangerous weather. Read the full list of measures, which includes Assembly Bill 836 (covered by Leslie Stewart in the latest Monitor edition) to set up a statewide grant program for ventilation retrofits to create Clean Air Centers.  

 

Paying with Plastic

Martin Bourque, director of the Berkeley Ecology Center, is leading an Environmental Concerns talk planned by the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville on Monday, October 14 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Bourque will discuss the status of plastics, including how plastic trash is piling up, hard to recycle, and contributing to health problems in humans and animals. Just last week, a San Francisco Estuary Institute study found that 7 trillion pieces of microplastics wash into the San Francisco Bay annually. To learn more about the way we make, use, and throw away things, the League event will include The Story of Stuff Project video, as well as discussion about plastic alternatives. Register here.

 

Listen Up

BART’s new General Manager Robert Powers is headlining a “listening tour,” visiting various stations on Wednesdays this fall to speak with riders while they wait for trains. Powers, appointed in July, wants feedback about the public transit provider’s service and policies. BART is trying to address several challenges, including improving and expanding service, fare evasion, and rider discontent, to name a few. Catch Powers next in Oakland on October 16 from 8 to 9 a.m. at Rockridge Station or 3 to 4:30 p.m. at 12th Street Station. Check BART’s site for other October engagements. Dates for the November leg are coming soon.

 

Life on the Farm

Attend a free Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) screening of “The Biggest Little Farm” on Saturday, October 19. The documentary recounts a Southern California couple’s pursuit to become farmers. They started Apricot Lane Farms in 2011, creating their own version of a farm where plants, wildlife, and livestock all work together. Some of Apricot Farm’s practices include carbon sequestering, a whole-farm approach to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that the Monitor’s Aleta George wrote about last year. The screening starts at 7 p.m., but you can arrive as early as 6 p.m. to meet representatives from local farming groups.

 

Second Thoughts

Are you considering building a second unit on your property? Attend a free County of San Mateo “Second Unit/ADU Resource Fair” on Sunday, October 13 in Redwood City between 1 and 5 p.m. You can tour a pre-fabricated second unit and meet architects, builders, lenders, and other professionals who specialize in building them. Register here and then make yourself at home with updates on bills awaiting the governor’s signature that could make it easier and cheaper to create accessory dwelling units in California.

 

 

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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