The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has served California residents well since its inception in 1970. The CEQA was signed into law by then-Governor Ronald Reagan in 1970. The design of CEQA was to enable citizens of a community, be it a municipality or statewide, could be informed of planned projects that would affect their environment. If adverse impacts surfaced, it was the governmental agency’s role to ensure the mitigation of those negative impacts.

            The coming Tuesday, Sept 8, the Oakley City Council will decide if to allow a taxpayer-subsidized downtown construction project to move forward. The proposal calls for an Oakley government favored construction company, R&R, to build a 10,000 square foot building on Main Street. Oakley will create a parking lot behind the location for the use of the owners of the building.

            Disappointingly, but not surprising, Oakley government leaders intend to circumvent the CEQA process. The staff of the Oakley governmental bureaucracy is claiming that the project is not of enough size to warrant such an investigation. The claim made despite the admission the building is to align with future new structures the City Council anticipates for downtown.

            The citizens of Oakley deserve far better than this intentional snub of CEQA by our Councilmembers. Many environmental impacts need to resolve. The first, can ECCFPD provide fire adequate protection for the community with the addition of the new building? The second is how will the businesses if there are to be any businesses in the building, impact traffic in downtown. All Oakley residents are aware of the monstrous downtown traffic situation that exists now in Oakley. Imagine what it will be if new businesses are added (not to mention the construction traffic while the building rises).

            In my perception, Oakley residents need to contact the City Council members immediately, demanding the rejection of the motion set for Sept 8 be until a favorable CEQA is issued.

            Stopping the nefarious activity on the Council dais requires three new council members to be selected on Nov 3.

George Fuller, MPA, MA

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