By Linda Hutchins-Knowles & Susan Butler-Graham
Mothers Out Front South Bay is celebrating another huge victory! Together with amazing allies in the Protect Coyote Valley campaign, we helped to convince the San Jose City Council to vote—unanimously –to protect a large chunk of Coyote Valley from development! At a special Council Meeting on November 6, Mayor Liccardo and the Councilmembers agreed to contribute $46 million in voter-approved Measure T bond funds for a joint land purchase agreement that will protect in perpetuity 937 acres of open space in North Coyote Valley that had long been zoned for industrial development.
Situated in the original territory of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, Coyote Valley is a largely agricultural and undeveloped area on the southern edge of San Jose. One of the last remaining large open spaces in the South Bay, it serves as a critical wildlife corridor between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range, a flood control for Coyote Creek which flows into downtown San Jose, a fresh water aquifer, and a huge carbon sink, absorbing CO2out of the atmosphere. It also contains over 215 species of birds, over 1000 acres of wetlands, and over 4000 acres of farmland. Yet in the City’s master plan, the area has long been slated for industrial and eventually residential development.
The new purchase agreement protects over half of North Coyote Valley, a historic win for local conservation groups, many of whom have been fighting to protect the Valley for decades.
Thanks to mothers and others, San Jose just became the largest U.S. city to ban “natural” gas infrastructure in new construction, firmly securing its role as one of the nation’s most climate-smart cities! With an outpouring of public support, the San Jose City Council members unanimously approved a ban on the use of “natural” (fracked methane) gas infrastructure in several types of new construction: single-family homes, low-rise multi-family buildings (three stories or less), detached accessory dwelling units, and municipal buildings—starting in January, 2020.
During Public Comments, Mothers Out Front South Bay members sat (where else?) up front!
The Mothers Out Front South Bay team is celebrating the unanimous vote by the San Jose City Council on September 17th to adopt the most ambitious policy of any large U.S. city to incentivize the construction of all-electric (not fossil-fueled) buildings. Due to the advocacy of our mothers and allies, the city’s new “reach code" also mandates that all parking spaces in new multi-family buildings be at least EV-ready, giving these residents equal access to EV charging, thus boosting equity and lowering barriers to EV adoption.
Watch the video recorded by James Tuleya of Mother Out Front Susan Butler-Graham on the mic at the ceremony!
We appreciate the climate leadership of Mayor Liccardo who, along with Councilmembers Peralez, Diep, Carrasco, and Davis, listened to the mothers and improved the draft reach code from “meh” to “wow!” We also applaud Councilmembers Jimenez, Esparza, Arenas, Foley and Khamis for voting in favor (Jones was out of town). And we congratulate Mayor Liccardo and the City Council also for voting unanimously to declare a Climate Emergency.
We recommend that the City move forward soon to convene a technical roundtable of experts to educate Councilmembers, staff and developers about the state-of-the-art technology solutions which enable even high-rise buildings to be built all-electric at a lower cost than with fossil fuels. #SJReachForTheFuture!
Members of Mothers Out Front South Bay wait to testify at the September 17th San Jose City Council meeting. Three team members (Rebecca, Susan, Hoai-An) gave stirring public comments, plus Rebecca’s daughter Ariana, whose speech brought down the house.
Mothers Out Front San Francisco was proud to join youth in the September 20 climate strike in our city. It's youth that gives me the greatest hope—and for whom we feel the greatest obligation, of course. Here in San Francisco, the march was led by Youth vs. Apocalypse and many other youth groups. We adults fell into the march after they led. Here's part of our Mothers Out Front contingent; there were more of us marching with younger children.
Mothers Out Front San Jose #inthenews and #onmic for this proposal, with Mother Out Front Susan Butler-Graham reminding us:
“Our kids need us to electrify our buildings as much as possible, and stop building with gas,” said Susan Butler-Graham of Mothers Out Front, a non-profit seeking to move climate change issues to the political forefront.
Watch the video here:
Mothers Out Front San Jose were part of the #ClimateStrike in their city and were captured by the San Jose Spotlight!
As part of Mothers Out Front, a group dedicated to creating a healthy climate and a livable future for children, Deanna Pursai said she was marching for herself and her two children.
After Al Gore released “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006, she said she thought the climate issue was obvious and that decision makers would take action. “I love being a mom, but now I feel guilty,” Pursai said. ”This is going to bring awareness, this is our civic duty.”
Read the whole story:
California mothers are alarmed by an ongoing, uncontained oil spill in Kern County and are dismayed at the lack of independent oversight of California’s powerful oil and gas industry, as this powerful article quoting Linda conveys.
“We have lost all faith in the ability of DOGGR to do its job of protecting Californians, and we call on the Governor to completely reform this corporate-captured agency,” said Linda Hutchins-Knowles, California Senior Organizer for Mothers Out Front. “Regulators should not be allowed to own stock in the very industry they’re supposed to regulate. As California faces serious water scarcity, we need increased protections for our aquifers, not weakened rules.”
Along with over 500 public-interest groups in Last Chance Alliance, mothers and others call on Governor Newsom to protect California’s communities and climate by agreeing to:
STOP new oil & gas permits,
DROP existing production in a just and managed transition, and
ROLL out science-based 2500’ buffer zones between drilling zones and sensitive sites like homes and schools.
Will you amplify our call? Sign our petition to Gov. Newsom to STOP, DROP & ROLL for public health and climate safety. Let’s demand real climate leadership! Thank you!
On Monday, July 22nd, San Francisco's District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman held a hearing on the city’s Climate Emergency response at the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee. The hearing focused on high-priority strategies to achieve deep greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2030, as detailed in a newly-published report, Focus 2030: A Pathway to Net Zero Emissions(Climate Report, July 2019), from the Department of the Environment.
Pictured: Adelita Serena, Sharon Torres, Susan Butler-Graham, Linda Hutchins-Knowles and two youth members met with Field Rep Abby Ellis and two interns at Senator Feinstein's San Francisco office
On June 21, six mothers and others from San Jose and Woodland traveled to San Francisco to deliver 456 hand-signed postcards to Senator Feinstein’s office to urge her to co-sponsor the Green New Deal. That same day, five members of the San Diego team visited Senator Feinstein’s San Diego office to deliver 280 more postcards. Add this to the 165 postcards delivered by the San Francisco team in May, and Mothers Out Front from southern to northern California have given Senator Feinstein over 900 postcards from her constituents!
Rebecca Habermann, Linda Hutchins-Knowles, and other members at San Jose City Council meeting
The South Bay team is celebrating a big milestone in their campaign to Protect Coyote Valley,a 7400-acre stretch of natural and agricultural land. After months of rallying community and Council support, an enthusiastic group of 10 moms and kids delivered to the Councilmembers and Mayor 400 postcards in three languages (English, Spanish, Vietnamese) urging them to protect Coyote Valley from industrial development. On June 11, the Council voted unanimously to consider changes to land use in Coyote Valley in the General Plan update process, a very significant step!