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Monitor Notes: Governing VTA, “How Bad?”, Coyote Valley, Green Fleets

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


Put into Practice

Tell VTA what you think about its governance structure and practices in an online survey open through December 6. The study makes good on a June recommendation from a Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury report that VTA examine governance structures of successful large city transportation agencies to see how it stacks up. The report detailed several concerns about VTA’s operating performance across financial and other metrics. So, the survey asks riders questions about how the board represents their needs and how well it communicates with the public. Riders also can attend a public meeting tonight at 7 p.m., participate in a live virtual meeting on November 21, or leave a voicemail with questions and feedback at (408) 952-4200. Survey findings will be presented at a December 17 VTA board meeting.


On the Sea-Level Rise

Check out a free lecture with U.S. Geological Survey Research Oceanographer Sean Vitousek at 7 p.m. on November 21 in Menlo Park to hear about sea-level rise, extreme water levels, and coastal erosion. Vitousek will get right into it, tackling the question, “How bad could it possibly be?” Well, data listed in the event description serves as a reminder about the civil engineering challenges and coastal flooding concerns at hand. But the lecture will also cover how the combo of satellite observations and modeling can help to predict coastal change. Revisit Monitor coverage, too, for details on other approaches like how marshes can be re-engineered to keep up with sea-level rise.


Upon Reflection

As the Thanksgiving rush sets in, consider slowing down to enjoy a 2.5-mile wellness hike at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve this Saturday, November 23 from 8 to 10:30 a.m. This pre-turkey trot includes “self-reflective” activities for taking care of yourself and the surrounding environment. Open space advocates and Bay Area residents are especially thankful for the Coyote Valley this year. That’s because the San Jose City Council recently approved the $93 million purchase of 937 acres in Coyote Valley, a closely watched move that helps slow urban sprawl, according to a Silicon Valley Business Journal article. Read the Monitor for background on Coyote Valley preservation, and then feast on hike details here.


Driving Change

State agencies will no longer buy gas-powered sedans when they need to add to fleets. That’s according to a new policy directive announced by the California Department of General Services, which manages state government purchasing and contracts. The order aims to lower the state’s carbon footprint and is effective immediately. Also revving up is a second policy requiring state agencies to only buy cars from manufacturers that recognize California’s authority to set its own greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle standards. Drive into a Sacramento Bee article for more on the new rules and the back and forth between California and the Trump Administration over emissions standards.


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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