May 11, 2021
Council reviewed a resolution to endorse the Carbon Fee and Dividend Act of 2021, (H.R. 2307). The resolution would recognize the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emission and would align with a City Council decision to adopt REACH practices for all new building in the city. HR 2307 creates a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund that will provide a steadily rising carbon fee and return the revenues to Americans as a dividend. This is estimated to reduce carbon emissions 90 percent by 2050 and to offset the cost of higher energy prices for consumers. The council voted unanimously to send the resolution to the City Environmental Commission for review and recommendations.
Vice Mayor Anita Enander and Council Member Jonathan Weinberg discussed seven of thirty-four bills in the current legislature that have been proposed to watch by the League of California Cities (LAC). Of most importance is opposition to SB 9 and SB 556. The mayor was authorized to sign a letter of opposition to both bills.
SB 9 makes two important changes to state law:
- It allows homeowners in most areas around the state to divide their property into two lots, thereby increasing opportunities for homeownership in their neighborhood.
- It allows two homes to be built on each of those lots, with the effect of legalizing fourplexes in areas that previously only allowed one home.
SB 556 would prohibit a local government or local publicly owned electric utility from unreasonably denying the leasing or licensing of its street light poles or traffic signal poles to communications service providers for the purpose of placing small wireless facilities on those poles.
In addition, the mayor was authorized to sign a letter to support SB 612. The bill aims to ensure all California ratepayers have fair and equal access to benefits associated with investor-owned utility (IOU) legacy energy resources. Public comment supports the Council position on SB 612.
May 25, 2021
After many debates and studies at Council meetings on the fate of Halsey House in Redwood Grove, questions still haven’t been answered adequately. City Council approved funds for three consultants to make recommendation on the property. The Architectural Resource Group will provide historical structure analysis. Page & Turnbull is to provide a historical resource evaluation. Both reports are important because the house is currently a designated historical resource. David J. Powers & Associates will review California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) questions. With active pro and con positions from public comment, it is hoped for a decision from the recommendations to either renovate or demolish the Halsey House part of the Redwood Grove Nature Preserve.
The City Council adopted 3/2 an amended resolution to take a leadership role on the question of the disagreement between statements by Council member Lynette Lee Eng and Los Altos resident Kenan Moos. The resolution noted that the community is affected, and Council meeting time is negatively impacted by the conflict. In the resolution the Los Altos City Council asked residents to join the Council in finding ways to move forward and unite the community. Public comment of nearly eighty residents and seventeen written comments did not lead to resolution. The Council took no further action to resolve the disagreement between Lee Eng and Moos beyond adopting the amended resolution
The City Council received an additional update on the legislative bills the city is asked to oppose or support as suggested by the League of California Cities (LAC). The bills take a position on legislation that affects the cities, mainly on revising housing regulations. The total list from LAC has been reduced to twenty-two bills. The Council agreed on authorization of additional letters for six of the bills moving from the Assembly to Senate or vice versa, including further support for AB 612 and opposition to SB 9.
Claire Noonan, Observer