I’ve been clear – our Town’s ability to negotiate with UNC and other developers on environmental standards (or pretty much any other issue) is directly related to how well we practice what we preach.
Southern Park is a great example. The Mayor and the incumbents (sans Jim Ward) thought the difficult decision was to authorize the removal of half the trees at Southern Park to build soccer fields. I like soccer fields, but it is clear to me that the difficult decision was really one of how to align their commitment to carbon reduction (CRED) with the gross reduction of trees.
Along those lines, I’ve had a number of folks email me about the Sierra Club endorsement process. These folks know that, besides Jim Ward, I’ve called for stronger protections – protections within a measurable framework – than the incumbents I’m challenging. The talk, it appears, doesn’t always follow the walk.
I hope to enumerate those discrepancies (fuel usage, light and noise pollution, tree replacement, etc.) but, until then, here’s an example from this Spring where Jim Ward took up my call to bolster our Town’s credibility by implementing measurable energy efficiency goals at a project WE THE PEOPLE are paying for…
X-Posted from my campaign site:
A common theme of both my activism and my campaign is that if we don’t measure the results of our policies then we can’t tell if we’re achieving our goals. Worse, if we’re trying various strategies to solve an issue, without proper oversight, we can’t select the most effective – cost-wise and goal-wise – solution to run with.
I’ve asked the Council many times over the last few years for a proper accounting on a number of issues – how much the citizens have spent on Lot #5, costs over-runs for the Town’s new Operation Center, fuel usage, reducing our street light electricity bill, etc. – but those requests have been uniformly batted down by the majority – which, this year, is most of the incumbents I’m running against.
I’ve argued that to be good stewards of the publics money, we must accurately report our failures and successes.
And to bolster our credibility, we have to “walk the talk”.
Take energy efficiency. While all the incumbents pay lip service to the concept, Jim and I were the only two folks running this year that called for specific, measurable energy reduction goals for the Lot #5 project. Yes, the LEEDs certification process can be expensive and flawed, but relying on a developer that has already demonstrated a consistent pattern of failing to follow through on initial expectations (the promise to keep the citizens cost to $500K, for instance) to police themselves is foolhardy.
If not LEEDs, then some other objective standard was called for – a specific methodology that an independent consultant could verify.
How else do we bolster the credibility of our environmental stewardship?
As you can see from this video, Jim makes a good case for why not “walking the talk” in one sphere can directly diminish your leverage in another.
Just as I said many times prior to Jim’s statement, how can we call on UNC or any other developer to adhere to the highest standards if our Town practices “do as I say, not do as I do”?