California Performance Review-An environmental threat
What: California Performance Review-restructuring California government
Timing: Deadline for letters is Sept 30th to the Governor and
thereafter to the legislators by January 2005
Environmental reports are at http://www.report.cpr.ca.gov/cprrpt/issrec/res/index.htm
I am writing to urge you to look at Governor Schwarzenegger's
recommendations in the recently developed California Performance
Review (CPR) to restructure California government. It is important,
if you can, to submit comments (brief or long) to the Governor before
Sept 30th. After September 30th address comments to your legislators.
There was little press about CPR but public hearings were held in
September to restructure California processes in a big way! This is
not David Brower's CPR (Conserve, Protect and Restore). It is not
kind to the environment but it is kind to business. This is despite
the fact he signed into law recently many pro environment bills. This
is very important and the recommendations may be shoved through the
legislators as the Governator has done before. I am also forwarding
part of an email from a lobbyist for Trust for Public Lands that
provides the legislative analysis report. Beware there are loopholes
throughout this benign appearing document that does have a few good
ideas. It has several sections but I focused on environment here.
This rocess will be ongoing as the recommendations go through the
legislator so keep an eye out.
Thanks so much. Comments from the public hearings below are as brief
as I could make them. Thanks, Cindy Russell
P.S. Major comments from environmental groups were.
1) It will lessen accountability
2) It will remove public input
3) It will cost the state more in the long run
4) It will cause a longer term degradation of the environment
5) It will be less "consumer friendly"
6) It will be less democratic
7) The current system works well (California is a national model) and
could be changed minimally to increase communication in departments
without restructuring California in such a dramatic way.
8) This process is too rushed and did not involve all stakeholders
i.e. environmentalists in the development of the recommendations
Environmental reports are at www.report.cpr.ca.gov/cprrpt/issrec/res/index.htm
Contact Governor Schwarzenegger for comments on CPR during
the public comment phase.
Office of the Governor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Attn: CPR Commission
*San Francisco Chronicle Monday, August 16, 2004. "State Boards May
Face Demise" front page by Jane Kay http://www.sfgate.com
*San Jose Mercury News July 31, 2004 Front Page- Governor's Reforms
Would Transform State by Mark Gladstone and Ann Marimow.
On 9/17/04 the only public hearing was held for the environmental
section of the California Performance Review (CPR). The CPR is a
comprehensive set of proposals to "reform" the California state
government. The Governor hired 275 people to write these
recommendations. The report recommends that 118 Boards of California
be eliminated. He claims that this is an effort to "consolidate",
"streamline" and make government more "accountable" and "efficient".
Public hearings provided a different perspective and critics say the
recommendations do the opposite. The Governor claims that this will
save $32 billion. The legislative analysis states that this figure is
at least $100% overestimated. The process started February 2004 with
the writers and process all very secret. Any environmental group that
called was told they didn't know what was going on or who to call.
They were uniformly told their input was not necessary. Not one
environmental group was asked for comments or input in this entire
process before the public hearing. What is at stake? Public hearings
held on September 14th along with public comments were enlightening..
Below is a brief summary. Please review the report. It is a little
vague but each of the 30 or so environmental recommendations are only
a few pages long and are many times quite vague. I am also including
newspaper articles, which highlight issues of concern.
THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE THAT WILL BE UP FOR LEGISLATIVE
APPROVAL IN JANUARY. PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ENDS SOON-SEPTEMBER 30,
Please write to the Governor before September 30th if you have a
chance. After September 30th write to your legislators. A comment
form is included as an addendum to send in with your letter.
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN THE REPORT
Although there are a few small recommendations that make sense, from
the environmental standpoint these recommendations are a boon to
business. No surprise considering Schwarzenegger's major supporters.
We all know the California budget is in crisis but to change the
infrastructure to the degree proposed is giving our precious
California resources away to business. There are better long-term
A major criticism in removing Boards is that they are comprised of
citizens who act as an interface between the public and the state
agencies. They allow for public input and can act as an independent
reviewer. If Boards were removed then public input would drop
precipitously. In addition to an ombudsman role, boards act as
arbitrators of disputes. In this role they have already saved a lot
of money for the state in preventing lawsuits. The EPA has no public
hearing process thus is frequently sued. A lawsuit is the only way to
have a voice that is heard. Here are a few examples of environmental
Boards to be TERMINATED or altered. -
*Air Resources Board: Recognized as a national model for a regulatory
agency that has kept our air quality as good as it has despite
increased pollution from an increasing population and increased
highway construction. I ARB led the way for California to be the
first state to demand less polluting cars and trucks.. Savings
$250.,000.00 per year
*State Water Resources Control Board and the Regional Water Quality
Control Boards: These regional Boards act locally to specific
watersheds and act as an oversight body and one of several agencies
to approve permits for timber harvest where watersheds may be in
*Structural Pest Control Board-(RES 05)This board licenses 2,200
Companies and 18,000 individuals spraying pesticides on the insides
*"Streamline" The San Francisco Bay Conservation and
Development Commission ( RES 30).
*Eliminate the need for the California Integrated Waste Management
Board (RES 23) to approve solid waste facility permits
Other environmental recommendations that are of grave concern are
1) Reduce mandates for solid waste diversion reporting for rural
communities (RES 27)
2) Oil Refinery Construction (RES 14) Written by oil lobbyists.
"Streamlining" the permitting process for i.e. "one stop permitting"
3) Timber Harvest Plan development and review process (RES 21)
"Improve" this by streamlining the permitting process i.e. "one stop
permitting". The regional water quality control boards would be
eliminated thus removing their input as well. In addition parcels of
land less than 10,000 acres would be considered "non industrial
timber" and thereby exempt from the process altogether.
4) Land Conservancy elimination: (RES 12) : Eliminate 5 of the 8 land
conservancies in California. The three selected to remain were of
"statewide interest". Those to be eliminated include San Joaquin
River Conservancy, San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and
Mountains Conservancy, Cochella Valley Mountains Conservancy, San
Diego Conservancy. Public hearings brought out that the conservancies
do much more than acquire land for habitat protection and public
access to open spaces. They often work with local agencies to develop
habitat restoration plans, or they work with local water resource
agencies to address pollution or water use issues.