BY JENNIFER CABRERA / NOVEMBER 20, 2019
At this Thursday’s meeting, the Gainesville City Commission will consider two resolutions and consider “a proclamation recognizing that we are in a state of climate emergency.”
The resolution “Confirming that Race and Equity is a Core Value that will be Incorporated into the Updated Version of the Comprehensive Plan” is most important because it will become part of Gainesville’s Comprehensive Plan, the document that guides all growth and development within the city limits.
The resolution has a section called “Defining the Race and Equity Core Value” that starts with “A. Marginalized People: To Be Determined.” The term “marginalized people” appears repeatedly throughout the document, but the resolution does not state who will be included in this definition.
According to the document, “Equitable Development” occurs when “quality of life outcomes such as access to quality education, living wage employment, healthy environment, affordable housing and transportation, are equitably distributed for the people currently living and working here, as well as for new residents.”
During the afternoon session, Commissioner Helen Warren has asked the commission to consider the “climate emergency” proclamation. The document Warren has submitted as backup, “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode,” is a 47-page paper written by a psychologist, explaining how to “lead the public out of ‘normal’ mode and into emergency mode” because “emergency mode is contagious.” Margaret Klein Salamon, refers in the paper to her organization’s “Victory Plan.” The plan calls for 12 new federal agencies, “WWII-scale” rationing of greenhouse gas emissions, phasing out fossil fuels by 2025 (“This paper assumes that if the government commits to an emergency mobilization and a maximum commitment of resources toward that end, the abandonment of fossil fuels can be accomplished in years, not decades, which is what science and ethics now clearly demands”), a “substantial reduction in the ratio of cars to people,” curbing aviation, reducing or eliminating the production of meat, and “Full Employment & WWII-Style Tax Fairness.” The document does not discuss funding sources for this mass overhaul of the U.S. economy.
During the evening session, David Arreola has asked the commission to consider a “Resolution Supporting HR 109 Commonly Known as the Green New Deal.” The resolution “implores” the U.S. Congress to pass House Resolution 109 and create a Green New Deal. The Green New Deal has been extensively written about; it is a nonbinding resolution, not legislation, and it was defeated 0-57 in the U.S. Senate in March of this year, with most Democrats voting “present.”
Among other things, Arreola’s resolution calls for “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States” and “guaranteeing a job with family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.” Again, there is no discussion of funding sources for these programs. According to factcheck.org, various experts have said it’s “way too early to even pretend to put cost estimates on the Green New Deal” and it’s “hard to be very precise because a lot of the proposals are broad brush and vague.”