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Santa Barbara County, CA November 6, 2001 Election
Smart Voter

Environmental Issues

By David "Dr. Dave" Bearman

Candidate for Member of City Council; Proposed City of Goleta

This information is provided by the candidate
Dr. Dave responds to Sierra Club Questionaire

1. Would you support an ordinance for Goleta, similar to Ventura County SOAR, which would require a vote of the residents before any agricultural land within an urban limit line could be rezoned for non-agricultural purposes?

Yes. For example, the Bishop Ranch is included within the Goleta Now! boundaries and zoned agricultural. I am very concerned that three votes could change that into a residential development, as has been proposed. The remaining agricultural parcels in Goleta were hard won during the finalization of the Goleta General Plan and I will oppose any re-zoning of those parcels, with the remote possible exception of a really creative low and moderate-income residential development. In addition, annexation of any sizeable piece of agricultural land to the proposed city should also be put to a vote of the people

The best way to control conversion of agricultural lands is to keep them within the county's jurisdiction and to require that all but the rare, isolated residential building must be built within the urban limit line. Almost anything that could be called a development should take place within the urban limit line.

2. Do you consider global warming a problem we should be concerned about? Please explain why you do or do not, and if you do, please tell us how the city might initiate policies to reduce fossil fuels emissions.

Yes, I consider global warming a problem we should be very concerned about. A large number of respected scientists are demonstrating repeatedly, that the temperature of our earth is going up as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. Just as worrisome is the impact of the use of fossil fuels on our health .In the past twenty years we have seen a sharp increase in pulmonary diseases, like asthma, that are exacerbated by the air pollution created by fossil fuels. We must put our focus more on the long -term health of people and the planet, and less on short-term profits.

I support initiating policies that reduce our dependence on cars, including safe bicycle routes, efficient bus transportation, and creating walkable neighborhoods. City vehicles need to be low emission vehicles (compressed natural gas, electric, biodiesel or hybrid) and I will advocate for the small, electric shuttles in Goleta, that have proven to be very successful in neighborhood routes (down State Street or in Carpinteria).

I think the city must have a dual strategy of setting policies which reduce fossil fuel use and encourage the business and industrial community to do so also, and setting an example whenever possible to demonstrate a more efficient way of using energy.

3. Please give us your ideas for an energy plan for the proposed City of Goleta?

Again, the proposed city must have a dual strategy, one for the energy the city uses and another to promote efficient energy use within city boundaries. I would support contracting with renewable energy providers for electricity, and looking into powering micro-turbines from digester gas. Right now, there is discussion about creating a regional energy authority that would give us control over energy generation and provide funding mechanism to generate renewable energy. I support participating in this project. The city can also work with the utilities to promote energy efficiency and establish guidelines and ordinances that require and/or provide incentives for more efficient buildings. When business and industry lower their energy use they lower their overhead. This can and should be done. We have seen everyone respond by conserving energy during the "energy crisis". We need to keep pushing that envelop. I think the city can start with the basics, serve as a role model, and work to engage the community and other agencies to reduce, reuse, recycle and use renewable energy.

Trash and sewage need to be used to create energy, rather than contaminating our earth and ocean. The technology is here, and an energy authority could provide the administrative mechanism, we just need the leadership. I am very interested in pushing these ideas within the city and throughout the community.

4. Would you support transportation policies to make the proposed City of Goleta less automobile dependent? What would you do to accomplish that?

Yes. I have made transportation an essential part of my campaign platform. I support planning policies that promote walkable neighborhoods, safe pedestrian and bicycle transportation, and improved circulation corridors between neighborhoods. I want to see clean, convenient mass transit and reduce commuter traffic. We can do that if the city works with the Air Pollution Control District, UCSB, and other businesses to provide incentives to get people out of their cars at least 2-3 days a week. That could make a big difference. We need to make bicycle routes safe, so that people will ride their bikes and children can safely ride their bikes to school. We need to make alternative transportation and carpooling convenient. Our air quality and health depends on reducing our dependence on cars, and I plan to keep the issue in the forefront to make that happen.

5. Venoco is seeking to conduct slant drilling of the coast. The rights Venoco acquired from its predecessor did not allow such drilling, according to the previous drilling settlement. Do you favor allowing Venoco to proceed?

I oppose the slant drilling, but recognize that the State Lands Commission has authority on that issue. However, I oppose any new oil development going through the Ellwood Oil and Gas Processing Facility, even if all the oil and gas is processed on the platform. I support the Amortization process. The removal of that facility and the Ellwood Marine Terminal are long over-due.

However, I am concerned that the proposed City of Goleta is not fiscally sound, and will not have the resources:  to continue the Amortization Process, (which is not being paid by Venoco);.  to defend an Amortization Ordinance or  to defend a decision that does not allow EOP to transport or process new oil. I am also concerned that if the city has insufficient revenues, people will look to oil development to help fund the city, even though the long-term impacts are costly to our environment and our health.

6. Do you favor long range planning for land use? (25-50) Be specific, but succinct, about traffic, housing, commercial and industrial development.

Yes, I favor long-range comprehensive planning for land use. One of the major tasks that the new council will face is the review of the Goleta General Plan and the Goleta Growth Management Ordinance. At that time there will be an opportunity to change the current zoning and planning policies, which will determine how the rest of the valley will be developed. Because of the shaky finances projected for the proposed city in the Certified Fiscal Analysis, there will be tremendous pressure to develop revenue-generating projects, (read sales tax and bed tax). I will oppose this approach, not only because this will exacerbate the current problem of the lack of affordable housing, but also because there is already an imbalance between commercial and residential development. Much of the vacant land in the proposed city is currently zoned commercial, as opposed to being zoned for the much more needed housing. There must be a re-evaluation of the current zoning to balance industrial/commercial versus residential projects, and the impacts of growth to our infrastructure, which is currently strained. We need to utilize this opportunity to create walkable neighborhoods, create incentives for businesses and developers to incorporate employee housing, increase the stock of low- and moderate-income housing, and improve transportation corridors. This review must be used to bring balance to the city between commercial and residential development, identify and preserve environmentally sensitive habitat, identify potential park and recreation areas, and create policies which create adequate open space and protect our environment, including our view corridors. I will also support preservation of current agriculturally zoned parcels. We must begin to create urban areas that promote a healthy lifestyle rather than the current deterioration of our health and safety that we now face.

7. What is your position on the National Park Service feasibility study of the Gaviota Coast?

I support the study and appreciate very much the perseverance of Rep. Lois Capps and the Gaviota Coastal Conservancy to keep it on track, among others. The urban limit line must be recognized as our line in the sand for the preservation of open space on the southcoast. The city council should use whatever influence and leverage that they may have to protect the rural character of the Gaviota Coast.

I have been dismayed by the misleading propaganda by those who oppose the study and do not seem to understand the potential for development along this coast. We need a comprehensive plan that provides real and lasting protection for this area that is home to so many plant and animal habitats, and that provides public access to this incredible area.

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