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

Top Environmental Priorities

By Councilmember Marty Blum

Candidate for Mayor; City of Santa Barbara

This information is provided by the candidate
Clean water, recycling and energy conservation are my top environmental priorities.
I was recently asked what I thought were the three top environmental issues facing Santa Barbara. Here is my answer:

First, the natural beauty of the City is one of our greatest resources so that our citizens care a great deal about the beaches. The closures last year were met with alarm, and the voters stepped up to the plate with the passage of Measure B. (See #4 below.) I believe the citizens of Santa Barbara deserve clean creeks and ocean, and I will continue to work toward that goal.

Secondly, solid waste disposal and recycling is urgent because of AB 939 which requires cities to divert over 50% of their waste from the landfill or face huge fines. The City Council has been grappling with this issue for a couple of years now. I support giving Marborg an opportunity to serve half of the households in the City and to continue to lead in recycling. I also support BFi's recent efforts in expanding recycling and continuing to serve half of the City.

We need to increase our recycling efforts, just as we have with the weekly commingled recycling pickup at residences. I am pushing the City to include recycling at all commercial properties, in schools, and in all public places. As I have said, I will not rest until you can recycle an aluminum can wherever you are. The City needs to stop exporting its recycling to other cities. It is time to build a recycling center in the city in conjunction with Art From Scrap, Summer Solstice Workshop, and First Night. Towards this end, the City has recently purchased some property, thanks to the Borgatello family, near the waterfront for this center.

Thirdly, energy conservation is urgent because of the mess the legislators have put us in. It has been reported recently that California will have a glut of energy in 2004 because of the power plants we are building. I strongly support conservation efforts for City facilities and conservation education efforts for our residents. Recently I supported Gregg Hart's idea of distributing four free fluorescent light bulbs to households in the City. This has made a big difference in energy usage in our City. I support easily accessible alternate forms of renewable energy, but do not see our City as a separate municipal utility. Our staff does not believe it is economical for Santa Barbara to become its own power authority, and I can understand why. The infrastructure is quite expensive, so is the bureaucracy. I support the green building alliance and the sustainable building community. Living near work helps, but it is not always possible, and it should not be an excuse to build beyond our planning. As a Council Member, I have asked staff to look into alternative energy and have worked with other jurisdictions like schools and the County.

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