Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.
Voting in the Home Stretch
It’s less than a week before Election Day, but with early voting this year, we’re guessing many of you are among the more than 7 million Californians who’ve returned mail-in-ballots. But for any undecided voters, we’ll make one more plug for League of Women Voters’ non-partisan information and local group resources to nail down decisions about measures and candidates.
As we continue to adjust to voting during a pandemic, there are encouraging signs young people are motivated to get out the vote. About 65,000 California college students registered to vote on 94 campuses during the 2020 College Ballot Bowl that launched in mid-August, according to the California Secretary of State (SOS). That handily beats the 21,000 students who registered using the SOS’s online voter registration system in all of 2016. Bay Area schools helped lead the charge, too. San Jose State University had the fourth-highest registration rates overall in this friendly competition as of October 26.
So in the home stretch of the election, think about how you can continue to give civic engagement the “old college try.” Maybe that means finishing your ballot, or looking for more ways to serve your community? This edition of Notes features a few opportunities to consider.
Homes in Range
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is asking the public to comment on proposed methodology for the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) passed by its executive board. RHNA is a formula that helps the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) calculate how many new homes the Bay Area needs to build to meet housing needs. Looks like the region must plan for 441,000 new housing units during the 2023-2031 RHNA cycle. That’s 253,000 more units than required in the 2015- 2023 RHNA cycle. New state laws, as well as the region’s strong economy and related job and household growth over the past decade, are reasons behind HCD’s estimate. What do you think about housing plans? Comment here. Separately, HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez (pictured) will talk about goals and priorities for tackling California’s housing challenges during a discussion this afternoon with nonprofit organization SPUR. Tickets are $10 for non-SPUR members.
The October edition of the Monitor covered sea-level rise from several perspectives, including the need for coordinated efforts to help communities adapt. Greenbelt Alliance is keeping up this important conversation during a virtual “Future Climate” event on October 29 at noon that’s focused on parks and nature-based adaptation for shoreline flooding. Looking for more information? The California Coastal Commission meets November 4 at 9 a.m. It’ll consider the adoption of a joint statement with the California State Association of Counties and the League of California Cities on guiding principles, opportunities, and challenges related to coastal community sea-level rise adaptation. Share comments (see agenda item 6d) ahead of the meeting.
If you’re feeling extra eager to get up the morning of November 4, you’re in luck. There’s another joint meeting you can attend virtually with the California Air Resources Board, California Transportation Commission, and HCD. The agenda covers topics that jointly affect transportation, housing, and air quality. Look for a presentation from Oakland organizations The Greenlining Institute and ClimatePlan, who’ll discuss how California can align transportation, housing, and climate goals equitably and use state investments to support these goals. U.C. Berkeley professor Karen Chapple (pictured here from Bay Area League Day 2017) is also presenting.
Brainstorming fall activities? Golden Gate Park’s SkyStar Observation Wheel is open and offering rides. The wheel is part of the park’s 150th anniversary celebration. It’s located in the Music Concourse, stands 150 feet, and has 36 enclosed gondolas where you can take in downtown San Francisco and Pacific Ocean views over the course of three rotations. Health and safety precautions, including sanitizing gondolas between use and social distancing in queues, are in place to prevent COVID-19 spread. “Parks have never been more essential to our health and wellbeing, and Golden Gate Park in particular has never been more beautiful or beloved,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg, in a press release.
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.