One of the advantages of blogging is that it gives us a chance to write some more informal, behind-the-scenes information than appears elsewhere, like in our Green Footnotes newsletter or Action Alerts.
A while back I blogged about our Op-Ed on Coyote Valley that the Merc published. Spending time on an Op-Ed is a gamble, because it’s a lot of work with no guarantee of publication. The version we sent them was the seventh draft, and although I was the named author, every staff member at CGF spent time looking at it.
To give an example of the work involved, I thought it would be interesting to show the first draft. The fact that it’s very different from the final shows the work of everyone involved. The other interesting part is the effect of needing to be as clear as possible, which in practice and under the constraint of a word limit meant reducing the number of arguments from the draft below and explaining them more clearly. Anyway, I hope it’s interesting!
Like a train that jumped its tracks yet plows uselessly forward, the
The environmental report misses or underplays many environmental impacts, but the root problem isn’t the report – it’s the underlying project. The
This unfortunate legacy project of the Mayor Gonzales administration provides benefits only to the developers who own and wish to eliminate the farms. Lacking a real public benefit,
Most prominently, they say “better here than in Central Valley” – the idea being that all the people who would live and work in a developed Coyote Valley would otherwise be forced to commute long distances by car from California’s Central Valley to the Bay Area. So many errors in such a short statement, the most prominent being that
The allegedly-green developers may respond that
The other environmental claim is that it’s better to plan now than to do a rush job later. Certainly, one could point to the Coyote Valley Cisco project during the Gonzales administration as a rushed job with poor planning and environmental harm. However, if we put off development now and at a future point a developer felt a tremendous urge to rush things, then a future mayor who is competent and not in the developer’s pocket could demand more environmental protections and public benefits to accommodate the rush, not fewer. Bad past planning is no reason to destroy farmland unnecessarily.
More important, what’s the rush? The last time we felt a hurry to build more office space, we couldn’t have been more wrong and are now living with the consequences.
Right now, thousands of acres of farmland persist up to the limits of a major Bay Area metropolis. Wild badgers and elk even manage to cross