Don’t Let Boss Cats Win: SATX Climate Meetings Start This Week

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Don’t let the boss cats (example, left) cash in on climate change. Join Climate Action SA (the ‘cool cats,’ example right) to make sure community voices lead the development of the city’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Images: Stolen from Boss Cat.

Greg Harman

This week, the first round of committee meetings are being held to help guide the development of San Antonio’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, being promoted as SA Climate Ready. These are open meetings that, we’re told, will include public comments during Citizens to be Heard. What sort of plan the City adopts will have a lot to do with how demanding its residents are.

Sadly, these meetings weren’t promoted in any way to engage the public. (And that failure could have—unless there was a fire, flood, epidemic, or riot we missed—violated the Texas State open Meetings Act.) *

Neither the steering committee/working groups nor their agendas are listed on the City’s Boards and Commissions web page, that I can find. The meetings and agendas are not listed on the Climate Ready website. In fact, the only place these meetings appear to have been promoted is via this single notice on SA Climate Ready‘s Facebook Page (at the time of posting here, two likes and two shares).

That said, it is promising to see that equity values and prizing of grassroots-driven program development are embedded in much of the Climate Action material. These are the sorts of values that the coalition of actual grassroots community organizations, operating as Climate Action SA, have been promoting (some of us for decades) and pledge to guard dog through the pathway of the plan into policy in 2019.

So here we are at step one.

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All meetings, if they go forward, are being held in the Main Conference Room at 1400 South Flores, San Antonio, Texas, 78204.

Tuesday, March 20

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Energy & Buildings Technical Working Group

3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Water & Natural Resources Technical Working Group

5:00 p.m.-7:00p.m.

Steering Committee

Wednesday, March 21

4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Solid Waste Resources Technical Working Group

Tuesday, March 27

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Climate Equity Technical Working Group

Thursday, March 29

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Transportation & Land Use Technical Working Group

What Is the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan?

Who’s on the Steering Committee and Working Groups?

How will the plan be developed?

Values such as equity and justice so often hit turbulence when governmental bodies try to put them into practice. However, you can find textual evidence of their inclusion in many of the CAAP foundational documents, including in the recommended reading list for Steering Committee members.

Check this one:

“What is Equitable, Community-Driven Climate Preparedness Planning?”

 

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* Deceleration was told the City Attorney’s Office looked at our concerns and determined there was no violation of Texas law. This, however, does not mean we have not violated the spirit of open meetings and the values of inclusion and access being promoted by the CAAP teams. Consider, these state laws were created to allow the public ample time and access to their government. Their requirements, for this reason, should represent the bare minimum for us to emulate.

Here is a reminder of what the low bar of inclusion requires (ie. Chapter 551, Texas Government Code):

Sec. 551.043. TIME AND ACCESSIBILITY OF NOTICE; GENERAL RULE.

(a) The notice of a meeting of a governmental body must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times for at least 72 hours before the scheduled time of the meeting, except as provided by Sections 551.044-551.046.

(b) If this chapter specifically requires or allows a governmental body to post notice of a meeting on the Internet:

(1) the governmental body satisfies the requirement that the notice must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times by making a good-faith attempt to continuously post the notice on the Internet during the prescribed period;

(2) the governmental body must still comply with any duty imposed by this chapter to physically post the notice at a particular location; and

(3) if the governmental body makes a good-faith attempt to continuously post the notice on the Internet during the prescribed period, the notice physically posted at the location prescribed by this chapter must be readily accessible to the general public during normal business hours.

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