Tom Butt for Richmond City Council The Tom Butt E-Forum About Tom Butt Platform Endorsements of Richmond Councilmember Tom Butt Accomplishments Contribute to Tom Butt for Richmond City Council Contact Tom Butt Tom Butt Archives
E-Mail Forum
Day 2 at New Partners for Smart Growth Features Richmond General Plan Health Element

It was an exciting day two at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Washington, DC. We started with a panel discussion facilitated by Elizabeth Shogren, National Public Radio Reporter, featuring Steve Winkelman, Transportation Program Director, Center for Clean Air Policy; Judy Corbett, Executive Director, Local Government Commission; Jemae Hoffman, Sustainable Transportation and Climate Change Lead, Seattle Department of Transportation and James Goldstene, Executive Officer, California Air Resources Board. The discussion focused on the transportation sector, with attendees being reminded that 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicles, and 30% from privately owned vehicles.  The smart growth solution is to focus on moving people, not cars.

I had a discussion with some of the panel members afterwards about appropriate mitigations for the greenhouse gas emissions from the Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project. It was recommended that we might look at local strategies to reduce VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) by using mitigation funding for complete streets, sidewalks, transit, public safety, improving parks and streetscapes, safe routes to school and improving the housing/jobs balance in Richmond.

The next session I attended was “Health, Equity, Environmental Justice and the Built Environment.” Presenters included Robert Glandon, Ph.D., NACCHO (National Association of City and County Health Officials), Ngozi T. Oleru, Ph.D., Division Director, Environmental Public Health Division, Public Health Seattle and King County, WA. We were surprised to see Richmond featured in a partial screening of a portion of a four-hour documentary series, entitled “Unnatural Causes… Is Inequality Making Us Sick?”  to be shown on National Public Television four consecutive Thursdays March 27 through April 17, 2008. In a presentation that several of us found to be unfair and incomplete, Richmond was contrasted with a smart growth Hope VI project near Seattle.

After a lunch hosted by NACCHO, APA (American Planning Association) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), I attended a session “How to Generate Great Architecture for Smart Growth,” put on by a developer, Nathan Norris, Director of Implementation Advisory, PlaceMakers, LLC and Steve Mouzon, AIA, LEED, CNU, of the New Urban Guild. This would have been a great workshop for the Richmond Design Review Board and Planning Commission.

The final afternoon session was like old home week, with Daniel Oacofano of MIG, Richmond Planning Director Richard Mitchell and Tracy Rattray, Director, Community Wellness and Prevention Program, Contra Costa County Health Services, describing the Health Element of Richmond’s new General Plan. The audience was predominantly public health professionals from around the country who took a great deal of interest. Handouts included the February 6, 2007, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors directive “Report and Recommendations on the Built Environment and Public Health” and a letter dated December 4, 2007,  from Wendel Brunner, Contra Costa County Director of Public Health to Richard Mitchell, Director of Planning and Building, describing deficiencies in the Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal project EIR.

The day ended with a reception for the conference principal sponsors and fundrs including the Kaiser Permanente,  Smart Growth Network, EPA, the CDC, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of Realtors, the American Society of Landscape Architects and HDR, Inc.