Environment Report Card offers mixed grades for local officials
San Diego’s first ever climate report card gave mostly good grades to the region’s elected officials.
The review of key votes on environmental issues was put together by several climate advocacy groups, including Hammond Climate Solutions, The Climate Defender’s Action Fund and the League of Conservation Voters.
It is the first time city and county elected officials have been evaluated by their votes on climate-related issues.
The news was good for San Diego County supervisors. Nora Vargas, Terra Lawson Remer and Nathan Fletcher all got A’s. Jim Desmond earned a B and Joel Anderson a C.
Supervisors were graded on votes linked to the county’s climate action plan, sustainability planning and joining San Diego Community power.
“We declared the Tijuana River Valley a public health care crisis,” said Nora Vargas, San Diego County Supervisor for District 1. “(We) created the office of environmental health and climate justice, and we’re ensuring we have a regional decarbonization framework that has an equity lens.”
The advocacy groups also graded the supervisors on votes for an environmental and climate justice office, the evaluation of the county’s transportation policies and preservation of open space.
“I think this is a reflection of who we are in San Diego and as a region. For us, environmental justice, climate justice, is a priority,” Vargas said.
On the city council Joe La Cava, Monica Montgomery Steppe and Vivian Moreno earned A’s. Marni Von Wilpert, Raul Campillo, Stephen Whitburn and Sean Elo-Rivera got B’s. Jen Campbell got a C.
Chris Cate got the only failing grade on the report card. Cate earned fewer than four points for votes on 15 key city of San Diego issues.
The city‘s political decision makers were graded on votes linked to stormwater funding, a park master plan, and fossil fuel divestment.
They were also graded on their vote on a city utility deal, net energy metering for solar customers, and votes on budget items for climate-related issues.
San Diego mayor Todd Gloria’s environmental positions earned him a C on the report card.
“We think that it’s important to hold these elected officials accountable for every climate vote that they’re voting on, and we hope that this report card will be used as a tool for elected officials to see where they’re falling short,” said Karinna Gonzalez, a policy analyst for Hammond Climate Solutions.
Organizers hope voters will use future reviews to help them make climate-friendly decisions at the polls.