Napa Climate Now! solicited comments about environmental responsibility from candidates for the Napa City Council.
July 25, 2018
Greetings City Council Candidate:
This questionnaire is from Napa Climate NOW!, an organization of community members concerned about climate change. We educate and advocate on effective actions to stabilize our climate. As a non-partisan group, we do not endorse candidates, but we will share your responses with our mailing list of 200 mainly Napa City residents.
1. What overall strategy should the City of Napa take to reduce emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP)?
My first strategy is for the City of Napa to address this issue regionally with all of the cities and towns within Napa County in the incorporated and unincorporated areas. The Napa County Climate Action Plan is expected to be filed the first quarter of 2019 (after 10 years). Next, we need to review and possibly adopt the California Air Resources Board (CARB) strategy that was effective as of January this year that addresses the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant. We need to particularly look at black carbon that is driving global warming. The Napa Valley is a source of this through diesel engines and agricultural burning. Then is makes good sense to align Napa’s CAP with California’s statewide plans.
Man-made climate change poses an existential threat to our future generations. Although the current presidential administration has rolled back climate change regulations and rescinded our participation in the Paris Climate Accord, I believe that state and local governments are our best paths forward to lead the effort to address and find best approaches to combat climate change. The majority of the traffic that Napa receives is from people that visit or work in the City and County of Napa, but many live out of the area, increasing greenhouse emission gases. I would fight to combat this by working to increase public and alternative transportation options, expand the portfolio of renewable energy in our area and craft other innovative ideas to work towards a collaborative approach to cohesively address climate change and the reduction of GHG and SLCP’s
The City of Napa should take a leading role in reducing emissions of GHG’s and SLCP’s and reducing our overall carbon footprint. Buildings are the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, due to the energy they use for water, electricity, and heating. The city can—and should—control the level of sustainability we require of our buildings.
The City of Napa is also the majority voting block of the Napa Valley Transportation Authority—the agency that runs our public transit system. If we improve the efficiency of our system and increase usage, we can cut down on pollution.
Smart meters are also an easy way for our citizens to better understand their energy usage. We have a responsibility to help our citizens be more accountable for their carbon footprint.
Finally, the City of Napa must lead by example by creating and enforcing policies and programs in our own facilities and operations.
Find ways to encourage building environmentally friendly residential and commercial buildings.
2. Do you favor the municipalities joining with Napa County to enact a county-wide Climate Action Plan?
Alessio: ABSOLUTELY as expressed in the above question.
California continues to be the beacon of hope for our nation. Many California counties and cities have implemented a Climate Action Plan (CAP), and that is something that all communities should be doing. It’s only imperative that we have such measures to ensure that we support our future generations of tomorrow. I would be an advocate, and do whatever possible to ensure that the City of Napa work in collaboration with Napa County and with other local municipalities within the county to address our environment, global warming, and our changing climate and further implement the CAP once the county releases it in 2019. Additionally, It’s crucial to have a local voice that can work with legislators at the state and federal level as well, which I believe I can provide.
Absolutely—no action is not an option, and if we truly want to make a difference, we have to work together with a unity of purpose and commitment. The City of Napa specifically must take a lead in this, considering our GHG emission levels. Sea level rise and the climate change impacts on agriculture and our native plants and wildlife affect all of our community.
The increase in wildfires in our community and Northern California are a perfect example of why we MUST address climate change, together as a community, and immediately. Continued dry periods and high temperatures are triggering an increase in
wildfires, due in large part to the impacts of climate change. If we want better for our community, we need to be better.
Protecting our environment should be a joint effort by all cities in our county and Region. I am in favor of tackling our climate issues together.
3. What specific actions would you promote to reduce emissions in City of Napa operations?
Just as we address recycling, banning plastic grocery bags and water conservation, I would look at small short term strategies and bigger long-term strategies for City operations to take the lead to reduce emissions. This would include but not limited to requesting sour City Manager to include City employees in the discussions creating more awareness and “buy in” for positive change. I also believe in giving incentives and recognition when attempting positive change in behavior. These strategies also need to be tracked and measureable. Long-term strategies that have been discussed and I would like to learn more about are reducing methane due to wastewater treatment by installing anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants in American Canyon, St. Helena and Calistoga.
In order to convince City of Napa residents of the importance of reducing emissions, the city needs to take the lead in responding to this issue. Combating global warming and climate change through the reduction of emissions shouldn’t only be our social responsibility, but our moral responsibility as a governing entity. Therefore, investing in city electric cars and making charging stations more accessible throughout the city are important and something that I would advocate.
Other ways I would promote reducing emissions in city operations would be to implement smart heating and cooling systems. This method would allow city buildings to adapt the temperature depending on how many people are in the building and other variables, with the net effect of reducing energy consumption. Our City has done a street light program in which they have changed all streetlights with LED lights that produces fewer emissions. I would also promote the planting of more trees in our city and in our county, especially as we suffered the loss of many trees through the 2017 October fires. Such action steps like this are important so the city can get buy-in from residents, and so our current and future generations can call this community their home.
Currently more than half of countywide GHG emissions (and almost half of City of Napa emissions) are produced in relation to transportation. The City must take a more active role in supporting public transit, bicycling, walking, and car-sharing.
Specifically, I would promote carpooling amongst employees, advocate for providing public transit vouchers for all employees (employees should be riding our public transit for free to set a good example), encourage and support telecommuting opportunities, encouraging nontraditional working hours where possible (cars that aren’t stuck in traffic contribute less in GHG’s), explore and expand alternative fuel sources within our city fleets, and prioritize solar and other renewable energy sources wherever possible.
Commercial buildings emissions of CO(2) are growing at a fast rate. We need to look at how we build so we design environmentally friendly structures and reduce the impact on our climate
4. What specific actions would you promote to reduce emissions by City of Napa residents?
- Create incentives to replacement of residential and commercial gas water heaters with electric or alternatively-powered units.
- Create incentives to replacement of diesel powered farm equipment with more efficient and clean fuel sources.
Transportation is one of the leading causes of emissions in our country. In order to help reduce emissions, we need to ensure that we collaborate and communicate with other cities and towns in our county in supporting this effort. As someone who lived in American Canyon for a couple of years while in high school, this issue is personal to me. It’s important to note that this is not an American Canyon “only” problem, this is a regional issue. Therefore, collaboration between the different municipalities is key. I would also fight to combat this by implementing trainings and information sessions to educate the community at large of the environmental impact traffic and their daily livelihoods can cause, but reduce by taking necessary action steps. Furthermore, it’s important to work with important and crucial programs like Napa Bike Coalition to deliver this educational piece to residents of our community. I would generally support the idea to better our bike corridors and infrastructure as well. It’s important to also have interconnected traffic signals, which will ultimately help reduce traffic congestion, and reduced vehicle emissions.
Reducing emissions by residents starts with education. People believe that conservation is a sacrifice, or that their individual impact doesn’t make a difference. We must counter
these behaviors and educate people about the true value of conservation and of reducing emissions.
We as a city can also have a big impact on our residents by making the reduction of emissions as cost-effective as possible. I would promote lowering the economic barriers to using renewable energy and greener transportation alternatives.
As a government entity, we also have the power to develop land use policies that minimize GHG emissions. If elected, I would continue to encourage the planning of walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, and seek funding for more ways to incentivize energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy usage by property owners.
Incentivize builders to build environmentally friendly structures for both commercial and residential uses. We need to address our housing issues, and this provides an opportunity to implement designs that reduce CO(2) emissions.
5. Additional comments?
Bottom line our City Council needs to have the leadership to direct our City Manager to take this issue as a priority. We need to get us caught up and on board with current science based strategies that are measured, tracked and accountable to the residents of Napa and Napa County in addition to state regulations. This will require cooperation and collaboration with a city-county wide strategy. This in part can be done by having 2 Council Members and 2 Supervisors work on this issue together. I hope Napa Climate NOW! Will join these efforts.
I’ve served the Napa community at different capacities. I’m currently the Community Engagement Manager for Cope Family Center. I am a first generation college graduate, and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Government from California State University, Sacramento. Prior to working with Cope, I worked for UpValley Family Centers (UVFC) as the Development Manager, supporting their fundraising, budgeting and communications efforts. In my tenure at UVFC, I also worked and mentored at-risk youth. I have also volunteered at Puertas Abiertas.
One of my passions is to further help our community, which is why I have worked in Napa’s nonprofit field the past 6 years and am now running for City Council. I currently serve as the Treasurer for the Napa County Fair Board Association, have served on the Board of the Napa County Hispanic Network for the last five years and am now President of the organization that has given over half a million dollars to first generation students. I also serve on the Fair Housing of Napa Valley Board, and have served on other various boards and committees, including the Cesar Chavez Statue Committee,
Vice President & President of the Democrats of Napa Valley, Congressman Mike Thompson’s Immigration Committee and Napa County’s Spanish Electoral Outreach Committee.
Whether it be on boards or committees, I have been serving our community one way or another. On the side, I serve as an inspirational speaker to our community by speaking at local middle schools, high schools, and our local Napa Valley College (NVC). I have also helped various members of the community to get in touch with local representatives, navigate local government or offer them the right resources in times of need. Whether there’s a disaster, or any regular day, I am ready to serve. I was at the NVC shelter at 2am on October 9, when people were being evacuated to that site. When the Lake County fires happened in 2015, and people were being evacuated to the Napa County Fairgrounds, I was there assisting day in and day out. When the 2014 Napa earthquake occurred, I helped members of the community by cleaning their homes and helped our local church with rebuilding. I have been nominated for the Man of the Year award two separate times in 2013 and 2015, and have received other awards and nominations for my commitment to serving our community.
My humble upbringing, coupled with my passion to serve others has also led me to run for office. Born and raised in Napa, I want to make sure that my children, and the future generations can call this community their home. This will only happen if our generation takes the lead in ensuring that we protect our environment for tomorrow’s future, and I am committed in ensuring that we can accomplish that. It is not only our social, but should be our moral responsibility in doing so. Although I’ve given back to our community at multiple levels, my work is not done, which is why I’ve decided to run for Napa Council. On Council, I’ll provide new leadership and a new perspective. I will fight for the Napans of today and tomorrow, I’m committed to ensuring that we continue promoting the reduction of emissions, the protection of our watersheds and trees, and combating global warming at a local level.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak to your members, and thank you for doing what you do! If you would like to know more about me, my background, or where I stand on the issues, please visit my website www.MaryLuros.com, email me at Mary@maryluros.com, or call my cellphone at (707) 877-6279.
As your elected Councilmember, I will seek our local environmental experts for information and guidance in areas where
I need clarification, education and direction. It is important to engage with each other and work together to protect the environment for the next generations.