Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.
Course of Events
It’s U.S. Inauguration Day and events have been adapted for virtual viewing due to coronavirus and heightened security risks. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will soon be sworn in, followed by other historic live moments. Visit the Presidential Inauguration Committee’s website for celebration details and schedules.
Back in the Bay Area, there is plenty to discuss after such a lively election season. The League of Women Voters (LWV) of Oakland is gathering league and community members to dissect the outcomes of the state and local ballot in the 2020 election. The virtual re-cap event, “What Changed in California?” will take place January 27 at 6 p.m. It’s a chance to share perspective, ask questions about results, and reflect on lessons learned.
The LWV of North and Central San Mateo County and LWV of South San Mateo County are hosting a community forum on February 4 from 7 to 8 p.m. It’s the first in a series that will address rising sea levels and wildfires, as well as options to protect against their impact. The discussion series is part of a partnership with OneShoreline, San Mateo County’s flood and sea level rise resiliency district. OneShoreline CEO Len Materman (pictured) and San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine are featured speakers in this kick-off event. Register here and watch for information about the next forum in March.
At a time when California faces longer and more intense fire seasons, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has created a wildland fire resiliency program and is seeking public comments between now and March 1 about its environmental analysis. The program aims to create healthier and more resilient ecosystems, reduce fire risk, and facilitate fire suppression. In addition to emailing comments, the public can share feedback during a virtual public hearing about the program’s draft environmental impact report (EIR) with the Midpen board of directors on February 25 at 5 p.m. A final EIR will be prepared later in 2021, and if approved, allow the district to expand its vegetation management work across the 26 public open space preserves it manages.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments are asking the public to participate in a survey. They’d like you to rank priorities related to transportation, housing, the environment, and economy that are laid out in the Plan Bay Area (PBA) 2050 blueprint. That input will help MTC and ABAG decide which policy strategies to focus on in the next one to five years. Separately, MTC and Bay Area transit agencies are exploring ways to improve fare policy and payment, an effort transit advocates have long urged to address a jumble of fare structures, passes, and prices in the region. So consider taking this survey to share rider experiences and opinions with policymakers.
Keep Water Flowing
After COVID-19 emerged, Governor Newsom ordered a moratorium on water service shut-offs when people can’t pay bills. But nonprofit planning group SPUR is warning that those customers will eventually face paying a large lump sum or lose water service — disconnections that disproportionally affect low-income communities of color. In a new policy brief, SPUR examines mounting customer debt in Bay Area cities and proposes a combination of solutions, including assistance program approaches, to prevent shutoffs and preserve water agencies’ financial health.
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