The Santa Clarita City Council’s discussion of climate change at its most recent meeting was both interesting and frustrating.
At Councilman Cameron Smyth’s urging, council members had before them a draft of a letter that would be sent to our US Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and Representative Steve Knight that in essence supported any efforts that they may undertake to address climate change as they represent us in Washington.
Sounds pretty simple because as Smyth said a healthy environment isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue, it’s a people issue.
But watching this portion of the council meeting, one could not help but notice that once again politics just may have been creeping into the issue after all.
Councilman Bob Kellar clearly showed that he thought the letter was a waste of time and questioned whether climate change exists or not. He also said that businesses get hurt over excessive environmental regulations.
The discussion then turned to what seemed to be a watering down of the letter so as to not give our federal representatives a blank check of support to negotiate onerous regulations in their efforts to fight climate change.
Also, the council spent way too much time grappling with the issue of who should sign the letter—the full council or just the mayor or maybe just the mayor and mayor pro tem.
Really? What are they afraid of?
Finally, the council instructed staff to rework the letter and add all the efforts the city has undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including the purchase of 9,500 acres of open space.
The city should be commended for its efforts in this area. That’s why it was puzzling that the council would struggle with sending out a letter supporting efforts to protect the environment. Either acknowledge existence of climate change and support efforts to combat it or don’t. There’s no halfway on this issue.
We expect our elected officials to make decisions and show leadership. Some people will agree with them, others won’t.
The council will get the letter back at their next meeting and hopefully approve it and send it off.
Kudos to Councilman Smyth for his forward thinking on this issue and for pushing it.