Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.
Environmental News Scoop
Join the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville for its next Environmental Concerns event on Monday, April 12 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Alec MacDonald (pictured), editor of the Bay Area Monitor, is headlining a discussion on how the media can inspire people to take action in support of the environment. He’ll go on the record about the opportunities and disadvantages affecting news coverage of environmental threats and how the Monitor explains these topics — and their policy implications — when reporting on its core beats. Read the April/May edition to see how Monitor reporters explained complex issues related to regional sea-level rise planning, wildfire prevention, bird species protection, and academia’s contributions to emissions reduction goals.
Pollution Screen Time
Officials at the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) are inviting Bay Area residents to a 5:30 p.m. workshop on April 20 to learn about an updated draft version of CalEnviroScreen (CES) 4.0. It’s a mapping tool used to identify and target benefits to disadvantaged communities that face the highest pollution burden and are the most vulnerable to its effects. That makes CES highly relevant to regional programs and funding, including cap and trade, when updates occur. OEHHA will discuss the proposed updates, break into small groups to hear comments, and answer questions during the workshop. Click here for information on joining the event and submitting feedback.
Into the Blueprint
The San Francisco Estuary Partnership is updating the Estuary Blueprint and asking for the public’s input to help guide the work. The Blueprint lays out regional actions to create a healthy, resilient San Francisco Estuary by 2050. The update will review current priorities and fold in new topics, including a stronger focus on equity. Take the survey and prioritize environmental challenges you believe are essential to address. There will be more public participation opportunities going forward, according to the Partnership.
Tuned into Fire Danger
As wildfire season approaches, the City of Santa Rosa is starting to distribute 12,000 weather radios this week that’ll help alert residents during a large-scale emergency like a wildfire. It’s devised a phased distribution plan focusing first on residents living in Santa Rosa’s Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area, a land-use term nonprofit group Greenbelt Alliance explained in a March 12 article. The City also is providing radios to vulnerable populations via nonprofit partnerships. The National Weather Service can remotely activate these radios to broadcast first responders’ warnings. That means emergency messages are relayed even when the power is out, or cell phones don’t work. The City received a $318,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to help pay for the radios.
Autonomous vehicles are designed to be safe and prevent speeding and other traffic offenses. Yet for all these protections, they threaten a revenue-generation source states and municipalities count on: human driver blunders. Fines from traffic violations help to generate about $6 billion in annual revenue to fund infrastructure. The Mineta Transportation Institute looks into how states and cities could make up the shortfall in a new report and related April 22 webinar at 10 a.m. According to the report, officials will need to review their fees and fines and strategize new revenue streams, including drafting violations that take AV features into account.
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Banner photo courtesy OEHHA.