March 2020 Endorsements

The ECDC made the following endorsements for the 2020 March Presidential Primary taking place on March 3, 2020:

Measure JMeasure implements a ½ cent sales tax for 35 years, with all revenues spent on transportation in Contra Costa County.YES
Measure RWest Contra Costa Unified School District classroom modernization and safety update measure. Issue of $575 million in bonds.YES
Prop 13Authorize $15 billion in state general obligation bonds for construction and modernization of public education facilities.YES
PresidentialThere are 20 names on the Democratic ballot for the 2020 Presidential primary.NO ENDORSEMENT

The club has standing rules on endorsements, which require 60% of the membership present and voting at an endorsement forum to take a position.

July meeting preview

Upcoming July 24, 2018 Meeting Preview – ECDC Leadership

Meeting will be held on July 24, 2018 at the Presbyterian Church at 545 Ashbury Ave, El Cerrito 94530. Meeting begins at 6:30 PM.


  • 6:00 Doors Open:  Pizza available ($5)
  • 6:30  Call to Order
  • 6:30  Approval of Minutes of June 26, 2018 Meeting
  • 6:35  Treasurer’s Report
  • 6:40  Summary of EBoard Actions of June 4, 2018 – Janet Abelson
  • 6:45  Committee Reports
  • 6:55  ECDC Board for next year – Peter Chau
  • 7:00 Upcoming Endorsement Meetings – Peter Chau, Mister Phillips
  • 7:05 October 20 Dinner – Mark your calendar
  • 7:10  Fall Precinct Walking Volunteers
  • 7:15  Announcements


The following are articles and speakers for the Program

7:25   El Cerrito Council Members Greg Lyman and Paul Fadelli

El Cerrito is presently a “General Law City” but is considering becoming a “Charter City.” Residents will have to allow such a change by voting in the general election this November.  As a Charter City, El Cerrito would have more options for funding important local services or important capital projects.  Potentially, the biggest impact for El Cerrito would be the ability to implement a Real Property Transfer Tax (RPTT).   A RPTT could generate approximately $2.7 million annually and would be levied whenever a property is sold and changes ownership.

The City held public hearings on May 1 and June 18th to discuss becoming a Charter City and to hear community input.  The City Council was scheduled to formally consider placing the city charter decision and implementing a RPTT on the November ballot at the July 17, 2018 regular meeting at City Hall.  If the Council agrees to put such an option on the November ballot, Councilmembers Greg Lyman and Paul Fadelli will discuss the background and advantages of becoming a Charter City and review the ballot language and the ramifications of a yes or no vote.

Hon. Greg Lyman has been a City Councilmember since 2008 and was Mayor of El Cerrito for two terms.  He is a civil engineer employed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).  Lyman received Civil and Environmental Engineering degrees from Cornell University.  He was a member of El Cerrito’s special Charter City Committee.

Hon. Paul Fadelli was elected to the City Council in 2016.  Before that he was the Manager of State and Federal Legislation for the SF Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART).  Fadelli has worked for several elected officials in the state and federal capitals.  He holds Political Science and History degrees from UC Davis and a graduate degree in Journalism from UCLA.  He was a member of El Cerrito’s special Charter City Committee.

7:55 Robert Cheasty, Executive Director, Citizens for East Shore Parks

Citizens for East Shore Parks (CESP) focuses on the acquisition and preservation of parkland in the San Francisco Bay Area.   CESP works to protect open space along the East Bay Shoreline for natural habitat and recreational purposes through advocacy, education, and outreach. The mission of CESP is to preserve and enhance the natural resources and recreational and educational opportunities of the east shore of San Francisco Bay, creating a necklace of shoreline parks from the Oakland Estuary to the Carquinez Strait.  Since its founding in 1985, CESP has worked to secure approximately 1,800 acres (730 ha) of public land, primarily through the creation of the 8.5-mile (13.7 km) long Eastshore State Park in 2002. Increasingly, CESP has been focusing on raising awareness of the issues involved with climate change and the resulting rising tides which will impact the Bay Area shorelines and parks.

Robert Cheasty, Executive Director of CESP, will discuss the impacts of climate change and global warming on our EastShore coastline and parks and what can be done about it.  He is the former President and a founding member of the organization.  For the past ten years he has served as President of the Bay Dredging Action Coalition, an organization dedicated to ecologically sound and efficient dredging solutions in San Francisco Bay.  Cheasty has also served as Mayor of Albany and held numerous public positions with the Albany Redevelopment Board, Albany Pension Board, Albany Earthquake Preparedness Program, Solano Avenue Association, and League of California Cities.  Cheasty  also heads a Berkeley law firm specializing in civil litigation located on Solano Avenue.

8:25  Adjourn   

Status of Climate Change


Climate Change represents one of the greatest challenges to global society. It is both a threat and a challenge. The threat is destruction of the life support systems of our planet Earth, on which we all depend for our well-being and our survival, and the challenge is to do this in a relatively short time – in the next few decades. The worsening symptoms are there now scientifically for all to see – rising temperatures, worsening wildfires, worsening hurricanes, worsening tornados, worsening rains, floods and mudslides, and sea rise and worsening coastal storms. Although the Climate Change Treaty was signed in 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, it was with US leadership (with Obama) that the Paris Agreement in December 2015 (23 years later) that the world finally got started with the kind of action needed. Nations said that they would like to aim at keeping temperature rise to below 2.0 degrees C, but the commitments made at Paris were estimated to only get us to a temperature rise of 3.5 degrees C – we are currently at about a 0.7-0.8 degrees average temperature rise and a carbon dioxide level exceeding 400 ppm (parts per million).  Globally, the whole process has suffered a big setback by Trump withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement, and there is now a lack of global leadership.


Trump withdrawing from the Paris Agreement may be called the “Great Leap Backwards”! Further, through the EPA and Scott Pruitt, he has succeeded in dismantling all areas that would provide solutions and taken actions like encouraging coal that would make things much worse. He has dismantled Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) that would have enabled the states to get started with their own clean power plans. North America and the US are suffering much already – Alaska’s glaciers are all melting, and no glaciers may be left in a couple of decades, wildfires are getting worse (2017 was one of the worst), worsening floods/mudslides, worsening hurricanes, and worsening tornadoes (the number of tornadoes in each cell has increased).


With national leadership headed the destructive way, states, cities and counties have had to try and take up the slack. California has been courageously trying to do its utmost, although there is some criticism as to the approach that California is taking towards solutions. Governor Jerry Brown has organized a global conference for early September in San Francisco to try and provide leadership. However, California still has many things it needs to do, both at the State level and at the local government levels.


It is easy to get disheartened. The good news is that the solutions are now there and are understood. – it needs the right type of leadership (that’s why it is critical to get the Republicans out of power), the political will and the funding to do the job. Through a combination of increased energy efficiency and renewable energy we could get the carbon reductions we need. The problem is that the more we wait and drag our feet, the higher the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the more drastic actions that will be needed. We have to move in two directions – first, totally transforming how we live, move and eat  to a low carbon society, and second repairing all of the carbon sink ecosystems – forests, oceans, soils, lakes, and coastal and coral reef ecosystems.

Future updates: In future, I will provide updates on what California’s past strategies and legislations have achieved in terms of Green House Gas (GHG) reductions, and what current bills being pushed in Sacramento are and what they are expected to achieve. (Sierra Club and Fossil Free California). It is obvious as soon as you get on our highways that our fossil fuel driven cars and traffic jams are a big contributor. So, in California we need to push for big changes in transportation (electric cars, and more mass transit, bikes and high-speed rail), and housing developments (must be the most energy efficient and all should have solar panels). At the same time, we need to start preparing all the time to mitigate the effects of our natural disasters – e.g. start preparing our forest areas before the wild fires come, and then prepare the burnt areas to resist mudslides when the rains come.

Pope Francis has recently said that if we don’t solve global warming, our civilization will be reduced to rubble. What I am saying is that if we get seriously started now locally, nationally and globally (for it is GLOBAL problem), we can transform to a much cleaner, less noisy and  joyful existence – but our lives have to be transformed – the great thing is that we will have a planet in which the natural paradise will be rejuvenated, and the productive capacity will be restored – sustainable agriculture, horticulture, forestry and every kind of natural culture (food or natural raw materials). It will a bigger version of what the US did after the dust storms of the 1920s and the 1930s, only this time it will need the activities of us non-farmers to be transformed also, and we need to show the global leadership to not only do it ourselves but also lead and cooperate with the rest of the world.