Oakland City Council Greenlights “Equity Checklist”

PCAWin6.17.15_1Press Release: June 22nd 2015

(Oakland, CA) – On Wednesday, June 17, the full Oakland City Council voted to approve recommendations for Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) put together by city staff and a coalition of environmental advocates, at the request of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Following the 6-0 vote, which came a day after the hometown Golden State Warriors claimed the NBA title, the advocates declared the outcome a “slam-dunk victory” for both the environment and Oakland’s most vulnerable communities.
 
The Council resolution formally adopted the “Equity Checklist,” the result of a collaborative process between a coalition which includes members of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC), Urban Releaf, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (WOEIP), Oakland Food Policy Council (OFPC), Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), and Bay Localize. Developed to align Oakland’s PCA selection process with the state’s methodology under landmark environmental justice law SB 535, the Equity Checklist contains guidelines for achieving economic equity, social inclusion, and good health for all – particularly in disadvantaged communities which have been identified by the state EPA’s CalEnviroScreen map as bearing a disproportionate pollution burden. By following these guidelines, these communities will become eligible for millions in funding from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GHGRF).
 
In addition to the Equity Checklist, the Council adopted into its resolution a motion to create a Community Advisory Committee that will help ensure robust community participation in the planning and implementation of urban greening projects. The Community Advisory Committee will vet PCA projects according to both community benefits outlined in the Equity Checklist and the potential for the project to effectively meet the specific challenges identified by the PCA map. The Council also amended the resolution to include all eight creeks identified in the city’s Open Space, Conservation and Recreation (OSCAR) General Plan, making projects in these greenways eligible for funding from ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).
 
“This is a huge win for environmentalists and an important step in truly making Oakland one of America’s greenest cities. By adopting the Equity Checklist, the city now has a framework for investment which can transform flatland neighborhoods from environmental hotspots to sustainable neighborhoods,” said Eric Arnold of Urban Releaf. Former Oakland city planner and current OFPC member, David Ralston, called the resolution a “cutting-edge green plan that was shaped by environmental justice advocates.” Yassi Eskandari of SELC noted that, “This is an opportunity to resource new and existing community-based resilience efforts that will increase public health through park access, healthy food, and other projects that mitigate the harmful health impacts of industry, transportation, and development.” Former Port Commissioner Ms. Margaret Gordon of WOEIP stated, “Some of our local infrastructure is over a hundred years old. Designating the PCAs could help the city get some money to fix our broken storm water systems, plant trees, and take care of our neighborhood parks. Flatland residents need healthier neighborhoods. We have been ignored for too long.”
 
RFPs for grant proposals from ABAG and MTC are expected later this year.
 
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For media inquiries, contact:
 
Esperanza Pallana (Oakland Food Policy Council): (415) 412-0585 or epallana@oaklandfood.org
 
Yassi Eskandari (Sustainable Economies Law Center): (805) 637-2734 or yassi@theselc.org
 
Eric Arnold (Urban Releaf): (510) 681-8213 or escribe68@gmail.com

Food Warriors

Everyone always expects the giant to win. Money, fame and power intimidate, but all throughout world history we see examples where the indomitable spirit of excellence, strategy, flexibility, agility, endurance, and deep knowledge of the game will take that giant down. At Oakland Food Policy Council, we know we are up against a global economic system. We formed a council because we know collectively we have the power to transform that system, right here in Oakland, right now. We invite you to be a part of our team and advance our mission to establish an equitable and sustainable food system, one meaningful step at a time. Be a food warrior! Apply to be a council member now! Show us your game face.

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Oakland Food Policy Council has had an amazing year thanks to the commitment and input of our members. We continue to make headway in our initiatives to establish an equitable and sustainable food system. We invite you to join us in this critical work. We are currently accepting applications for membership! Get directly involved in food justice. Ensure the council reflects the communities complexity, expertise and needs. You can find applications and information about serving as a member by clicking here. Any additional questions, please contact Council Director, Esperanza Pallana, at epallana [at] oaklandfood [dot] org. We look forward to hearing from you!