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Event

 
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
Information:
WEBSITE: http://www.report.cpr.ca.gov
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

WEBSITE: http://www.report.cpr.ca.gov
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.
916-445-2841
Office of the Governor
     Constituent Affairs
     State Capitol
     Sacramento, CA 95814
     Attn: CPR Commission
Newspaper articles:
*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. 
http://www.mercurynews.com


BREIF OVERVIEW:
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, 
2004.

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 
solutions.

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 
jeopardy.

*Structural Pest Control Board-(RES 05)This board licenses 2,200 
Companies and 18,000 individuals spraying pesticides on the insides 
of homes.
	*"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.
For updates and info, contact scott at planttrees dot org.