Noah Harris here, your new Transportation Policy Advocate with Climate Action Campaign, reporting to you live from my sixth week at CAC. From day one, it’s been a whirlwind of an adventure, and has only become more so as the coronavirus affects every aspect of the world we live in.
Like so many, our team is working remotely.
I had no idea I would be advocating for a more sustainable, safe, connected, and equitable transit system from my couch.
I’m new to San Diego, but grew up in the car-dependent sprawl of Los Angeles. Before moving to San Diego, I spent the last four years living in the greater Boston area, where I relished every opportunity to get acquainted with the city’s transit, especially its bus lines. I could also be found on the expansive network of protected bike lanes often, even in the iciest conditions. It was surprising to me too, but Bostonians don’t let the weather stop them from doing almost anything!
Now, I’m back in Southern California, where cars and trucks pollute our air, warm our planet, and exacerbate inequity, and I’m on a mission to fight for world-class transit in our region.
As I continue to advocate and organize from home, I’ve had some time to reflect on my first few weeks.
Read below about one of my favorite work days so far.
Report Card Press Conference and the KPBS Studio
On Tuesday, March 10th (my second week on the job), Climate Action Campaign held a press conference announcing the release of our 4th annual Report Card, in which we assess the region’s climate planning and climate action.
While I was busy introducing myself to supporters and partners with elbow-bumps (it was the early days of the coronavirus), Maleeka Marsden, Co-Director of Policy and lead author, laid down a clear message: “While we are winning some battles, we are losing the war against the climate crisis.”
Quickly after the press conference, we, Maleeka and I, headed over to KPBS studio, where I watched Maleeka’s interview with KPBS Midday as she shared the key findings from this year’s report.
Wins at San Diego City Council
Shortly after, Maleeka and I rushed over to San Diego City Council, where I nervously gave my first public comment. I spoke in support of the proposed Mt. Etna Project, a 404-unit affordable housing complex in Clairemont. The project, slated to be built in a Transit Priority Area and close to the region’s largest employment center, directly addresses the housing and climate crises. The motion passed 8-1.
Moments after, San Diego joined dozens of other U.S. cities in declaring a climate emergency. Passing 7-1, Maleeka urged council members to accompany this resolution with demonstrated commitments to the City’s Climate Action Plan.
Conclusion: CAC does not rest, and is a critical voice in the region!
As I look back on my first days, (and try to acclimate to my new city under quarantine), I’m reminded that this is a deeply unsettling time. I continue to work with our partners—from a distance—towards the dream of a transportation system that provides San Diegans with real choices. Looking forward to meeting everyone in person, and hope to see you all on the number two bus soon!