Santa Monica’s sustainable landscaping program

Taking a look at interesting programs in other areas, I came across Santa Monica’s program to provide grants for landscaping that replaces water-thirsty turf and other plants with water-conserving landscaping, including native plants. Sustainable landscaping has not been a focus of CGF, but it’s not completely unrelated, either. Some of the water that the good citizens of Santa Monica have been pouring on their lawns was diverted from its original destination, the San Francisco Bay. Conserving that water is a great idea. And just as CGF is concerned with conserving natural, open areas, making developed areas more natural also seems...

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Forum this Sunday on conservation easements

Today’s the last day to register for an interesting-looking community forum put together by the League of Women Voters, and cosponsored by CGF (among others), Conservation Easements: Land Preservation Tools for Local Communities. The afternoon will include two panel discussions on conservation easements and open space easements, two important tools communities can use to protect open space. And don’t miss a special presentation awarding the Mary and Wallace Stegner Award for Environmental Stewardship to CGF co-founder Lois Crozier-Hogle, who recently announced the donation of an 11-acre conservation easement. The forum’s this Sunday, February 6 from 3-5 pm, at Congregation Beth...

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Could be worse – news on Coyote Valley

We would like San Jose to take a break on developing Coyote Valley, considering that more appropriate prospects for urban redevelopment exist that could be hurt by siphoning business to the south. We knew, however, that this was unlikely, so the next best news is that San Jose did NOT clear the deck for an Environmental Impact Report necessary for developing Coyote Valley. Following Morgan Hill Mayor Kennedy’s suggestion (and maybe my own encouragement), the City directed staff to produce a list of alternatives for developing Coyote Valley prior to beginning the actual EIR. Unfortunately, the Mercury News missed this...

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Coyote Valley/HCP news

The Gilroy Dispatch has a very informative article on how a delay in the County’s Habitat Conservation Plan is playing into attempts to develop Coyote Valley. The Dispatch quotes CGF several times in the article. And the Pinnacle newspaper has the latest news on the Coyote Valley Task Force approving an outline of the overall plan for the valley. Things are heating up over this sorely mistaken project – we will do everything we can to stop it or at least to minimize the damage it will cause. -Brian

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CGF takes legal action to stop sprawl

Yesterday, CGF and Save Almaden Valley Rural Alliance filed a lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court to stop San Jose’s illegal effort to bring sprawl to Almaden Valley. San Jose has an unfortunate reputation of only listening to environmental groups after the groups have sued the City. Hopefully the City will listen now, or the courts are going to make them listen. -Brian

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News bits

The Metro has a nicely-titled “Secrets ‘R’ Us” piece, half-way down its collection of news items titled “The Fly”. Metro picks up where The Pinnacle newspaper left off on the story of how CGF is fighting the County’s attempts to disclose environmental documents to developers while locking them away from everyone else. The Merc has a good article on fighting invasive plant species in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties. This is an issue that may eventually involve CGF – invasive species are generally considered the second biggest threat to biological diversity in developed countries, with habitat loss being the...

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Looking to the future

An excellent Op-Ed in today’s Merc by Tom Steinbach from Greenbelt Alliance looks to the future of San Jose and says if “Downtown North” is developing, why develop Coyote Valley? We may not be quite as enthusiastic about the North First Street development as Greenbelt, particularly because of the jobs-housing imbalance, but the point is right on target that Coyote Valley is not needed for development. Any growth that does occur in San Jose should be more central and not destroy farmlands. This Op-Ed brings Greenbelt and other environmental groups even closer towards common ground regarding Coyote Valley, so it...

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Looking to the past

“Throwing a Long Shadow” is the title of a new exhibit opening Sunday at the Los Altos History Museum featuring CGF’s cofounder, the author/environmentalist Wallace Stegner. More information about the exhibit is at the museum website. The Merc has a good article on the man other authors have called the only American author who deserved a Nobel Prize. CGF is co-sponsoring the exhibit, featuring materials from our archives. I have read simple comment letters on environmentally-destructive projects that Stegner wrote, just like the ones I write today. The difference, however, is that even his comment letters were works of art....

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Proposed casino moved away from Santa Clara County

In somewhat-good news for controlling sprawl in Santa Clara County, a proposal to place a Native American casino right across the border in San Benito County has been moved further south, to just north of Hollister. The original location was in an environmentally-sensitive floodplain and wildlife migration corridor shared between the two counties, and was close enough to promote sprawl in Gilroy. The new location eliminates some of those impacts, but would still increase traffic on Highway 101 that would ratchet up pressure to widen the highway, and may still have growth impacts on Santa Clara County. As The Pinnacle...

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Coastside: Bedford Falls or Pottersville?

Last week’s Half Moon Bay Review includes a thought-provoking editorial by Montara resident Barry Parr, who compares alternate realities for the San Mateo County Coast. This is just the kind of long-range thinking that inspires those of us at Committee for Green Foothills. As the editorial says, together we CAN create the positive vision provided by Bedford Falls, and keep Pottersville from coming to our communities. – Kathy

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