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Millions in Stimulus Dollars Prompts a Scramble at City Hall

Audio

Aired 6/16/09

The city of San Diego is scrambling to meet a tight federal deadline to apply for $12 million for energy efficiency projects.

— The city of San Diego is scrambling to meet a tight federal deadline to apply for $12 million for energy efficiency projects.

The city already has a Climate Action Plan but most people, including city council members, have never seen it.

Balboa Park representatives told the city council they have energy conservation plans ready to go.

But Council woman Donna Frye wants wider community input before making decisions. “I don’t think there’s anyone here that doesn’t think Balboa Park is an incredible resource,” Frye said, "but I think you’ll find you might get some even better ideas.”

Nicole Capretz of the Environmental Health Coalition supported that idea. “We’re here to say, let’s get the best and brightest minds at the table.” said Capretz, “To come up with the best plan to spend these efficiency dollars.”

Evan McLaughlan of the Labor Council of San Diego and Imperial Valley wants to avoid projects that hire workers from out of town. “Make no mistake,” he said, “this money is being directed at San Diego to energize the San Diego economy. Nevada’s going to look out for Nevada companies. We need San Diegans to look after the workers that are here in the community.”

And Dwane Crenshaw of the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils says the economic recovery money shouldn’t just go to big name projects. “We don’t want to recover back to where we were,” Crenshaw said. “We want to recover to a place that involves all of those that have been traditionally under served, left out of the equation -- see that they are included.”

The council will apply for quarter of a million dollars to develop an energy efficiency strategy to set priorities and pick the projects. An ad committee, co-chaired by councilwoman Donna Frye and a member of the mayor’s staff, will take public input.

Those who want to tap into the federal stimulus dollars for renewable energy will have just 60 days to pitch their ideas. Applications have to be in to the federal government by October, and the projects are to be complete by 2012.

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