January 30, 2024
As we kick off 2024 we invite you to connect with CivicWell, whether through partnership, events, or unique ideas! We are in a time of expansion and innovation—growing CivicSpark into new regions, partnering with state and federal agencies providing historic levels of community investment through programs like the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Thriving Communities and California’s Clean Mobility Options, and seeing record attendance at gatherings like the California Climate & Energy Forum.
We look forward to collaborating with you, and are highlighting a few ways to do so this year.
Bring a CivicSpark Fellow to Your Agency
Join an Information Session on February 7th
Hosting a CivicSpark Fellow is a proven way to achieve results on your resilience projects. Our latest evaluation report shows that organizations that participate in CivicSpark are 5 to 15 times more likely to achieve their project goals than organizations without a Fellow.
The CivicSpark Partner Application is now open, and the priority application deadline is March 27th. We currently operate throughout California, Colorado, and Washington state, and have plans to expand to new regions by Fall 2024.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits, timeline, cost, or to hear from other CivicSpark partner agencies, we invite you to join our Partner Information Session on February 7th at 11:00am PST.
CivicSpark Partners on the benefit of Fellows:
“[The Fellows] are here to help reach out to these communities. We’ve been able to develop new partnerships based on their work, [which is] very useful.”
“You’ll get a ton of really good work … as well as re-energizing yourself and increasing capacity overall.”
Explore Our Coalitions
CivicWell coordinates a number of coalitions to enhance energy efficiency, support public health, protect natural systems, and create climate-resilient communities.
These coalitions—the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA), the Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition (LGSEC), and the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative (CRCRC)—connect leaders throughout the state on impactful initiatives and gatherings.
Consult ARCCA’s Climate Change Budget Summary
ARCCA and the California Resilience Partnership (CRP) have jointly released a review of the significant Budget Adjustments for Climate Programs in Governor Newsom’s January Proposed Budget. This summary was prepared to provide greater insights into the proposed reversions, reductions, and delays in funding for climate adaptation and resilience-focused programs.
Compared to all other spending categories, the greatest proposed budget reductions are for Climate Change programs, reflecting 34% of total reductions.
Meet the New LGSEC and ARCCA Leadership
ARCCA welcomes incoming Board Chair Kaeleigh Reynolds and Vice Chair Erin Coutts.
Kaeleigh Reynolds is a Project Manager for Sierra Business Council. She works across their Climate and Energy and Economic Empowerment teams and manages Sierra CAMP, helping communities in the Sierra Nevada plan for, adapt, and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Erin Coutts is Executive Director of the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC). Housed at UCLA, LARC is a network of local governments, regional agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses, utilities, and academics working together to advance climate mitigation and adaptation efforts in the LA region. Erin is focused on convening local and regional climate leaders to help them to maximize limited resources and determine the best courses of action for the region.
LGSEC’s new leadership includes Board Chair Demian Hardman-Saldana and Vice Chair Cory Downs.
Demian Hardman-Saldana is a Principal Planner with the Contra Costa County Department of Conservation and Development. He is the energy policy lead for implementation of the County’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) and is staff to the County’s Sustainability Commission. Demian has also been the County representative for the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) since 2013.
Cory Downs is a Sustainability Specialist with the City of Chula Vista and manages its residential Climate Action planning and residential energy and water efficiency outreach. His responsibilities include community GHG inventories, CAP updates, supporting the local Community Choice Aggregator (San Diego Community Power), and leading the decarbonization working group and climate equity efforts. He previously served as an Environmental Scientist with AECOM and Climate Fellow with ICLEI.
LGSEC also welcomes the following new Board members:
- Heather Allen, Sustainability Program Administrator, County of Ventura
- Jane Elias, Energy Section Director, BayREN
- Lujuana Medina, Environmental Initiatives Division Manager, County of Los Angeles
- Alelia Parenteau, Sustainability and Resilience Director, Santa Barbara Clean Energy/City of Santa Barbara
Attend an Event
32nd Annual CivicWell Policymakers Conference
From climate disaster mitigation and recovery to sustainable transportation infrastructure, complex issues require out-of-the-box approaches. The most impactful initiatives may rely on multi-sector partnerships, bipartisan collaborations, and transformative thinking.
At the 32nd annual CivicWell Policymakers Conference—held March 14-17 in Yosemite National Park—we will hear from public and private sector leaders on best practices to support innovative local projects and new ideas for groundbreaking win-win partnerships. Visit the conference webpage to see the speakers and panel topics.
If you are not an elected official but are interested in attending, we invite you to explore our sponsorship opportunities.
15th Annual California Climate & Energy Forum
The 15th Annual CCEC Forum will take place June 25-26 in Palm Springs. The forum will bring together local leaders in energy and climate action for in-depth conversations between local and regional governments, and their partners in State agencies, CBOs, NGOs, and private sector service providers. With the theme of “Collective Innovation: Cultivating Collaboration for Equitable Climate Action,” the program will explore innovative ideas and best practices for collaboration, increasing accessibility for disadvantaged communities, and implementing climate action across sectors.
Help Shape the CCEC Forum – Submit a Session Proposal!
The Call For Session Proposals is open through February 14th. Share your proposals for workshops, panel discussions, presentations, and other sessions here.
Support CivicWell’s Work
If you would like to support and contribute to CivicWell’s work creating thriving, resilient communities, there are several opportunities to do so.
Become a Business Partner
Through our Business Partner Program, we connect our network of local government officials with strategic private sector and nonprofit leaders who can provide a range of support—from planning to feasibility to financial implementation. We strive to provide Business Partners with opportunities to build relationships with local elected officials and leaders, deepen their impact, and grow brand recognition in the resilience field.
Sponsor a CivicWell Event
Both the CivicWell Policymakers Conference in March and June’s California Climate & Energy Forum have a variety of sponsorship options. These events are excellent opportunities to connect with policymakers and climate leaders throughout the state, building lasting relationships and moving resilience work forward.
As the Legislature confronts a projected state budget shortfall between $38 billion and $58 billion and Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed an additional $4.8 billion in cuts and deferrals in climate programs in addition to cuts made last year, renewed attention has turned to climate bond legislation.
AB 1567 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia would place on the ballot a $15.995 billion bond measure covering wildfire prevention, drought preparation, flood protection, extreme heat mitigation, and clean energy projects. The bill is currently in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.
SB 867 by Senator Ben Allen would place on the ballot a $15.5 billion bond measure covering flood protection, drought and water resilience, forest and wildfire resilience, coastal protection, extreme heat mitigation, climate smart agriculture, nature-based solutions, park creation and access, and clean energy projects. The bill is currently in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.
These measures will be the focus of intense scrutiny and negotiations over the next several months among legislators, the Governor, and interested parties to try to reach agreement on the size of a bond measure and what will be included in it. It is likely that, if an agreement is reached, one bill will become the vehicle and it will be for a much smaller dollar amount than the two bills.
Since the Governor must sign a bill in order for it to go on the ballot, his consent is indispensable. As a reference point, the $7.5 billion water bond that was approved by the voters in 2014 was originally proposed for $12 – $14 billion. However, Governor Jerry Brown believed that voters would not support a measure of that size and, consequently, the amount was reduced during negotiations regarding. The same dynamic may well apply this year as proponents test voters’ receptivity to a bond measure through polling over the next few months.
Advocates Eye Bond Measures for Housing and Education
A climate bond will not be the only subject of interest for the November ballot. Last year, several other proposed bond measures were introduced as well:
- AB 1657 by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, a $10 billion bond measure covering a number of housing programs including the Multifamily Housing Program (MHP) for rental and supportive housing, the CalHome program for homeownership, and the Joe Serna, Jr. Farmworker Housing grant program.
- SB 834 by Senator Anthony Portantino, a $25 billion bond measure which would finance secondary mortgages for qualified buyers and underwrite predevelopment costs for infrastructure for specified home construction.
- SB 28 by Senator Steve Glazer, a $15.5 billion bond which would finance capital improvements to educational facilities for seismic mitigation, broadband access, lead and asbestos removal, and water supply improvements, among other things.
- AB 247 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, a $14 billion bond which would finance capital improvements for facilities from transitional kindergarten through community college.
With housing programs taking a $1.2 billion proposed cut in the Governor’s budget, housing advocates will undoubtedly also seek to promote a bond measure this year, and education advocates believe a bond to support school facilities is overdue. The advocates for these subjects have strong and persuasive arguments to support their interests, so sorting out what might go on the ballot will be extremely challenging.
The deadline for legislators and the Governor to decide what, if anything, they choose to put on the November ballot will be in July. Until then, expect advocates for each of these issues to push as hard as they can.
Announcing the 2024 CivicWell Board Officers
We are pleased to introduce the 2024 officers of the CivicWell Board of Directors. Humboldt County Supervisor Mike Wilson and Nevada County Supervisor Heidi Hall have been re-elected as Board Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively. Truckee Town Councilmember Anna Klovstad will serve as Secretary, and Yolo County Supervisor Lucas Frerichs is stepping into the role of Treasurer.
We extend our gratitude to Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams. Das served as our most recent Board Secretary/Treasurer, and will continue on the Board.
We hope you will be able to attend the 2024 CivicWell Policymakers Conference and meet our Board in person!