Monday, August 16, 2010

Aug. 16 Week Ahead

It's back to school for many. And, with Labor Day approaching, we're just a few weeks away from California's final big election push.

So, let's look at one upcoming story important to public relations professionals.

Land development
California has received much attention over a November ballot measure to suspend a state law requiring reductions in greenhouse gases. Backers of Proposition 23 argue that it doesn't make sense to force companies and institutions to spend large sums of money on greenhouse gas reductions in a bad economy. The state ballot measure, if passed, would suspend "AB 32" until unemployment rates drop to 5.5 percent. (The current jobless rate is more than 12 percent).

However, another state law is on the books, not subject to a "recall" ballot initiative and is on its way to make life more challenging for cities and builders. "SB 375" is designed to "influence" local governments in planning decisions to reduce urban sprawl and encourage more "transit friendly" cities. To read more about the impacts of this law, read a recent Riverside Press-Enterprise story.

While the next few weeks of attention will be on the state ballot measure to suspend one greenhouse gas law, perhaps the more far-reaching law is proceeding.

After water, greenhouse gases are the biggest environmental story in CA. The state will continue to grow, so laws are being written to make communities more sustainable. In general, this means reducing commute times and improving public transportation to reduce air pollution.

Public affairs professionals, mostly those within the building industry, are doing their best to influence the design and implementation of the rules and "targets" surrounding SB 375. The draft plan covers 18 metropolitan areas. The CA Air Resources Board will consider these rules at a Sept. 23 meeting. As you read this, many public affairs officials in the Golden State are busy drafting comments for their clients.

For now, the immediate impact of these proposed rules is with the multi-million-dollar building industry. However, other industries and organizations are gearing up to help cities comply. These will include the public transportation sector, energy devices and others. In short, a lot of industries and private businesses that have or will need public relations help.

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