It’s All About the Climate and Our Children’s Future
Jim Miller, Chair of San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council Environmental Caucus
Nicole Capretz, Executive Director, Climate Action Campaign
Nick Segura, Business Manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 569
San Diego does not have a history of visionary regional planning, but the woefully inadequate Measure A would take our city to a new low by ensuring decades more of inadequate efforts to address both our infrastructure needs and climate change.
Sadly, Measure A is not up to the transportation and climate justice challenges of the present and would guarantee a future for our city that would leave us with no solutions for climate change or traffic congestion while increasing pollution, poisoning our children, and turning a deaf ear to the needs of beleaguered communities of color.
Measure A is a disingenuous effort to slip a blank check to an unaccountable agency more interested in putting a green façade on business as usual than stepping up to the plate and really attempting to meet the needs of the 21st century. This decades-long regressive sales tax is a bad investment for our children’s future. We can, indeed we must, do better.
That is why progressive San Diegans should say No Way to Measure A.
The Quality of Life Coalition, a group of labor, environmental, social justice, and transit organizations representing over 150,000 San Diego County residents, pressed the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) for many months to come up with a better ballot measure that contains a project labor agreement, more robustly funds transit, and adequately addresses climate change. In response, SANDAG gave the coalition a deaf ear, preferring instead to invest lots of money in polling and a massive public relations campaign designed to sell the measure rather than work with the community to craft a better product.
The argument in favor of Measure A claims its deeply compromised plan is the best we can do. This is a perfect illustration of what Naomi Klein identifies as the central issue facing anyone interested in promoting meaningful climate action in that the “structural problem” we face is that people can “simultaneously understand the medium to long-term risks of climate change” and still believe it is in their “short-term economic [or political] interest” to continue business as usual.
This is precisely the situation concerned San Diegans face in dealing with SANDAG’s blindness when it comes to taking the actions needed to address the pressing threat of climate change at the local level.
So the problem is not so much that the folks in the twenty-some labor, community, and environmental groups that comprise the Quality of Life Coalition are demanding “environmental purity” or “perfection,” as some critics have claimed, it is that the advocates of Measure A are satisfied to pursue business as usual and act as if they are still committed to protecting the environment. By insisting that the current political hegemony in San Diego is unchangeable they are suffering from a profound failure of the imagination.
This is particularly frustrating when one only needs to look north to Los Angeles, of all places, to see a far better approach being taken to shape the region’s future with regard to transit, creating good middle-class jobs for local residents, and reducing greenhouse gasses.
In the face of looming catastrophic climate change, this kind of tired incrementalism doesn’t cut it. Something isn’t better than nothing if that something keeps us on a steady course down the suicide path. Perhaps it’s a convenient way to keep our collective cognitive dissonance at bay and feel better; but it is a deeply irresponsible, morally bankrupt approach to decisions that will help seal or save the fate of our children.
So just say NO Way to Measure A.
George Courser says
Miller could not be more correct. Unfortunately, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of damage to the health of our children, SANDAG refuses to alter their Freeway widening near our schools. Measure A should be a reflexive NO vote for all parents and grandparents – and everyone who values the health of our future generations. Please don’t stand by as a government agency dismisses the health of our children and planet. It’s time we all take a stand and vote NO on A.
Gretchen Newsom says
Thank you for this summary on the deceptive Measure A! Just vote #NoWayMeasureA!
“”Measure A is a disingenuous effort to slip a blank check to an unaccountable agency…””
You got that right!
Jay Glicksman says
This article says it well. There are no guarantees that the money will be spent on projects that lower Green House Gasses and insufficient oversight on where the money goes. Money can be spent on widening highways (that will disproportionately affect poorer communities) under the mistaken assumption that it will speed up traffic. There are other problems, too, but as the article says, in sum, this measure is business as usual when we need new, more dramatic solutions.
Mike Bullock says
On August 23rd, the San Diego County Democratic Party had a Measure A debate, followed by a discussion, followed by a vote. As you may know, there are prominent Democratic office holders that were in favor of Measure A. However, we voted to oppose Measure A. I want to thank Chair Francine Busby for a very fair process. It seemed to me that we voted against A because we understood Induce Traffic Demand, which means that whenever additional space is created on a freeway lane, that space will generate additional traffic sufficient to fill up that space. So more lanes, of any type, will not reduce congestion, one iota. We also understand that we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions; not increase them.