Craig Breon is the Regional Climate Change Program Director for the Sierra Nevada Alliance.
Nearly twenty years ago, I attended the University of Oregon’s Environmental Law Conference in Eugene. One of the featured speakers was a lawyer from India, who had fought for years to implement a vague provision of the Indian Constitution, which declared, “The State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.” After losing in several lower courts, he took the case on appeal to the Indian Supreme Court.
At the end of his conference presentation, in a broad Indian accent, he told us, “I know that many times we all feel that we are simply beating our heads against a wall. And surely, we will emerge with bloody heads…but I think we will have some effect on the wall also.”
Two months have passed since the dramatic Fresno City Council meetings on April 5th and 19th that resulted in forwarding the General Plan Update (GPU) “Alternative A,” a model uniquely different from previous plans. Since then, many inquiries have been made asking how such a turn in public policy was accomplished.
What happened at those meetings? How has the City of Fresno, previously known for its sprawling residential developments, moved forward with a smart growth plan that promotes downtown revitalization, infill and transit-oriented development, and saves prime farmland and open space? How were the people mobilized?
Courtesy of Paul Buxman
Fresno’s City Council will meet on April 5th at 5pm to deliberate the future economic development of the city under its General Plan Update. A broad range of organizations, businesses, advocates and citizens have contributed to the dialogue spanning issues of residential development, transportation infrastructure investments, land use and public service efficiencies, and the health related outcomes from five alternative scenarios under consideration.