It’s hard to figure out how many points you can get across in the very limited time for public comment at various agency meetings. In the case of Monday’s San Jose Task Force meeting to revise its General Plan, they gave us two minutes. I decided to make two points and get in a third if there was time.
In my first point, I showed where changes to the Draft General Plan contradicted a policy that “grandfathered”, now-unpermitted uses should be gradually phased out, and suggested alternative language to use.
In my second point, I argued an evenly-split vote at the Task Force over whether to allow environmentally-destructive golf courses on hillsides was not fairly reflected in the revisions to be sent to the City Council, and suggested exactly how to make sure the pro-environment side was represented.
I then checked my watch – thirty seconds left. I hurriedly added that the Plan’s call for massive tree planting in the city, the “Community Forest,” should recommend that the tree types planted be compatible with recycled water. Water-hungry trees that aren’t native to San Jose, like redwoods, also can’t stand the slightly elevated salt levels in recycled water that are no problem for our native oaks. Recycled water diminishes our local environmental impacts, if we make sure our landscaping can use it.
Then I sat down, the public comment period ended. The Task Force members started calling for their own changes, and they called out my suggestions and adopted all of them.
I’m always happy to get any of my suggestions adopted, but all three was fantastic. That was a well-used two minutes.