CPEHN’s Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, opens the newsletter reflecting on her two years as CPEHN's Executive Director!
Our Ethnic Partner Spotlight features an article from the The California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB) on an upcoming child passenger safety course designed to reduce injuries. This programis a part of CRIHB's dedication to provide safety and injury prevention services to California’s rural Indians.
Transportation is supposed to help us get from one place to another. But for many Californians, our transportation system instead creates huge barriers – to health, safety, opportunity, and more.
Our transportation system is a barrier to health when kids get asthma from tailpipe pollution because there are too many cars on the road, and no other options. It’s a barrier to safety when a family has no sidewalks between their home and their school. And it’s a barrier to opportunity when getting to work requires you to own a car and pay for gas – or spend hours on insufficient public transportation.
These barriers are worst in low-income communities and communities of color, where transportation officials have been more likely to build highways that divide and pollute neighborhoods, and less likely to build sidewalks, bike lanes, and reliable public transportation.
We didn’t arrive at this transportation system by mistake. Instead, there’s a long history of making choices to prioritize car travel and wealthier communities over the needs of California’s most vulnerable.
We’ve seen our leaders begin to shift their thinking in the realm of sustainability, and make sure our climate investments benefit all Californians. But they have not done the same with the much larger pots of money used to maintain and expand our roads and highways.
The Governor’s budget includes a $16.2 billion plan for the state’s transportation needs, with $3.2 billion in proposed new revenue. Unfortunately, the Governor’s transportation plan is business as usual, at the expense of public health and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The $3.2 billion in proposed new funding replicates the Governor’s plan introduced in August last year during the transportation special session. The majority of those funds will go towards repaving roads and expanding trade corridors, doing little to expand active transportation and advance transportation mode shift. Details of the proposal include:
The Safe Routes to School movement has evolved in recent years. Inspired by many factors – changing demographics in America, more professionals of color involved in the Safe Routes to School movement, strong research that sets out the extent and nature of transportation inequities, and deepening organizational, professional, and personal commitments to creating fair communities that support health for everyone – there’s been a real change not only in how the Safe Routes to School movement is talking about equity, but also in what is playing out on the ground. The movement has recognized that to successfully achieve core goals around increasing the number and safety of kids walking and bicycling to school, it is vital to direct resources and craft programs and policies in ways that address the needs of low-income kids and kids of color.
One key sign of these changes is the move by many Safe Routes to School programs to add an E for equity to the traditional 5 E’s of Safe Routes to School. Let’s not kid ourselves – outside of the Safe Routes to School movement, no one has heard of the 5 E’s of Safe Routes to School. But inside the movement, the 5 E’s act as a fairly universal checklist and framework that practitioners use to define a comprehensive Safe Routes to School initiative, making sure that they are covering all the bases necessary to effectively get more kids to school in a healthier and safer manner. And so, it’s been a welcome development over the past several years to see equity becoming an increasingly established part of the framework, leading to 6 E’s – education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement, evaluation, and equity.
The long-awaited revised general plan guidelines include new sections on how cities and counties can promote health communities and social equity in future development. The guidelines can potentially impact health in many ways, and your input is vital to ensuring community voices are part of the process.
Register today to hear about the draft guidelines from the Governor’s Office of Research and Planning, discuss with fellow advocates about the potential impacts of the revisions, and share your feedback on the new health and equity components of the draft guidelines.
Fresno – November 10, 2015 9:00 am to 1:30 pm First Five Fresno County 2405 Tulare Street Co-hosts: CA4Health, California Bicycle Coalition, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño, Centro La Familia, Cultiva La Salud, Housing California, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Raimi + Associates
Welcome to This Week in Equity Engagement on Twitter (TWEET) for the week of October 26, 2015. It’s been a great week leading up to what should be a spooky weekend. But before you endure the tricks and enjoy the treats, check out what’s been up on social media:
Covered California open enrollment starts this Sunday! Enroll early!
This originally appeared on TransForm's blog, TransForum.
With two days left in the legislative session, Governor Jerry Brown and leaders of the Legislature announced Wednesday night that they would remove the provision from SB 350 that would have set a goal for the state to cut petroleum use by 50% by 2030.
Oil industry front groups had been fighting hard against SB 350 to protect their profits, spreading lies through expensive advertising campaigns and lobbying around the state. We're extremely disappointed that not enough of our state leaders stood up to pressure from the oil industry.
Yet even as the Sacramento Bee calls this "a major setback for Governor Brown's climate agenda," there are two significant silver linings to note.
First of all, we know that TransForm's efforts made an impact in the debate about SB 350. Thanks to emails from people like you, state leaders had recently strengthened SB 350 to include investing in ways that make it easier and safer to get around without a car (like bike lanes, safe sidewalks, and reliable buses and trains).
Senator De Leon made SB 350 better as a result of our involvement. We will continue to press for better public transportation, safer walking and biking, and more affordable homes near transit to be a focus of California's climate protection initiatives.
The first week back after summer break has been a busy one in Sacramento, and today might’ve been the busiest day yet. Earlier this summer, Governor Jerry Brown signed a budget deal that stipulated two special legislative sessions, one on health care (particularly Medi-Cal) and developmental services, and the other focused on transportation funding. Today, we saw several hearings as part of both of these special sessions.
Senate Special Session on Transportation
This morning’s Senate special session on transportation focused on a number of strategies to raise revenues for transportation and infrastructure projects. The highlight of the hearing was Senator Jim Beall’s comprehensive transportation funding bill SBx1 1, which includes an increase in the state’s gas tax. Citing a lack of increase over the past two decades, Senator Beall noted that the increases included in his bill would adjust the tax to where it should be had it been increased as a result of inflation since the 1990s. There was testimony from a wide array of advocates in support of the proposal. However, some environmental and equitable transportation advocates expressed a desire for the bill to more explicitly gauge environmental impact and promote active transportation projects. The bill passed out of the committee on a partisan vote. Streetsblog California recently posted an excellent summary of the issues at stake with SBx1 1 and the special session on transportation.
Assembly Informational Hearing on Public Health and Developmental Services
Following our belief that health is about way more than just what happens in a doctor’s office, at CPEHN we have been working a lot in recent years to address the social and environmental determinants that impact our health. One of the main factors we have focused on is transportation. From pedestrian injuries to unequal access to public transit, transportation inequities often coincide with health disparities, particularly in low-income areas and communities of color. One of our successes has been the passage of our sponsored bill AB 441 in 2012, which included health and equity criteria in the state’s transportation planning guidance.
This post originally appeared on TransForm's blog, TransForum.
Across the state, a dozen different agencies are doling out millions of cap-and-trade dollars to hundreds of communities. But who’s counting?
Last week, we launched ClimateBenefitsCA.org, a new website that lets you see what projects California’s cap-and-trade program is funding, and how these investments are making our state’s communities more sustainable, healthy, and fair.
Climate Benefits for California is a searchable online map that shows how California’s climate program is improving people’s lives. You can use the map to see what projects are funded; filter them by geography, program, or year; and add up the benefits.
With the help of the data wizards at GreenInfo Network and a team of collaborators, we’ve collected the grant information released by multiple state agencies and transformed it into a one-stop shop. Here you can find, view, and assess the impacts of investments funded through the California Climate Investments Program (CCIP, formerly the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund or GGRF).
The map also tells the stories of the people and communities who are turning these investments into solutions to our state’s most pressing environmental, social, and economic issues.