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LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS PUBLISHED SAN DIEGO'S REPORT CARD

FEB. 26, 2009, SAN DIEGO -- The League of Conservation Voters San Diego (LCVSD), in conjunction with Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter, San Diego Coastkeeper and Sierra Club, San Diego Chapter released a pair of environmental report cards today, one addressing the voting records and actions of the San Diego City Council and Mayor and one on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. This marks the first time the four leading environmental groups have come together to jointly release assessments of the City and County.

“It is important to educate the public about the record of our elected officials on environmental protection, and to hold those officials accountable to a conservation agenda,” noted LCVSD’s President Jamie Gonzalez. “We were pleased to join with some of the region’s leading environmental groups to expand the reach of these assessments.”

The 2008 San Diego Water Quality Report Card examines the voting record of each San Diego City Council member and assesses the Mayor’s performance on issues impacting the health of local waters and coastal habitat over the past year. The City Council and Mayor Jerry Sanders received an overall grade of B+ on the 7th Annual Report Card, with five current and past Council members – Toni Atkins, Donna Frye, Ben Hueso, Jim Madaffer and Scott Peters – scoring in the ‘A’ range. Frye is the only Council member who has received either an ‘A’ or ‘A-’ in all seven City report cards.

“We are excited not only to see those Council members who continue to excel in their commitment to the environment like Donna Frye and Scott Peters,” noted Coastkeeper’s Executive Director Bruce Reznik, “but also those Council members who have seen their performance improve over the years, such as Council members Hueso, Madaffer and Atkins.”

The 2008 San Diego County Environmental Report Card examines the voting record of each County Supervisor, and is the first such report card issued on the county’s governmental agency. The report assesses Supervisors on their actions related to issues impacting water quality, land use, air quality and renewable energy. The County Supervisors’ average grade was a C, with Supervisors Pam Slater-Price and Greg Cox receiving he highest scores at ‘B-’.

According to Scott Harrison, Chairman of the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, “It is clear the County has a ways to go to be good stewards of our environment, though we want to recognize Supervisors Slater-Price and Cox in particular for their efforts to safeguard our natural resources. By assessing the County’s performance for the first time, we hope to see a marked improvement in coming years.”

The goal of both reports is to educate San Diegans about the actions taken by City Council members, the Mayor and County Supervisors, and increase accountability of local elected officials. Both Report Cards were prepared by Strategic Community Consulting, a student-managed consulting firm housed in the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego. The reports were commissioned and funded by League of Conservation Voters San Diego, San Diego Coastkeeper, Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter, and Sierra Club, San Diego Chapter. While these environmental groups commissioned the report, SCC consulted with various organizations and independently assessed the issues and developed this report card.

The City report card, which was initiated in 2002 by San Diego Coastkeeper, reviewed votes taken by the San Diego City Council from October 2007 through December 2008, weighting those votes which had the greatest impact on the health of local waters. The votes considered included water and wastewater rate increases, land-use decisions that impact urban runoff pollution and coastal access, enhancement projects (e.g. stream restoration), the alcohol ban on area beaches, and funding allocation for coastal protection. Mayor Sanders was evaluated on compliance with Federal, State and County regulations and Endorsement of water project proposals. Areas examined included water conservation and recycling efforts, and sewage treatment.

The San Diego County Environmental Report Card reviewed votes taken by the Board of Supervisors from January 2008 through December 2008, assessing the Supervisors on their actions related to four main environmental issues: water quality, land use, air quality and renewable energy. In addition to voting records, the report also measures the allocation of community enhancement funds toward environmental projects, and performance in important on-going San Diego County environmental issues.

Both assessments outlined critical issues for 2009. Border sewage, water conservation and polluted stormwater were identified for the County, while the City faces issues of water supply, land development and watershed impacts, budget concerns, a proposed plastic bag ordinance, and border sewage.

“It is important that these assessment are not only a look backwards,” concluded Richard Miller of the Sierra Club, San Diego Chapter, “but also that they highlight those opportunities for our elected officials to be better stewards of our environment in the future.”

Copies of the 2008 San Diego Water Quality Report Card and 2008 San Diego County Environmental Report Card can be downloaded at www.lcvsd.org.