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Blumenthal Statement

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Blumenthal Statement Powered By Docstoc
					GRB statement: LAFCO meeting
June 6, 2012

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today Regretfully, I
stand before you today to say that I cannot, as Chancellor, accept the
conditions that were proposed during your board's March 7 meeting
As was communicated in our May 14 letter to your counsel, the March
conditions have many policy and legal issues which if adopted would
inevitably result in litigation - taking us back to the expensive and
adversarial situation that ended with the adoption of the
Comprehensive Settlement Agreement.

Let me emphasize that my reference to the likelihood of litigation is not
done lightly. We absolutely believe that some of the proposed
conditions clearly exceed LAFCO's authority to impose which, unlike a
county or city, does not include general police powers to regulate for
the public health, safety and welfare. In summary, here is our view of
each of the conditions proposed in March:

Condition 1 requires the City to off-set all new future increases in
water demand in the proposed sphere of influence area and on the
UCSC main campus. UCSC's main campus is already within the City's
water service area and is not the subject of either our or the city's
applications before you. Neither CEQA nor Cortese-Knox empowers
LAFCO to regulate water use on portions of the campus already within
the City's jurisdiction. Such a condition can only apply to the Sphere of
Influence and Extraterritorial Water Service applications.

Condition 1.a sets a baseline of 176 million gallons per year (MGY)
from which future increases in water demand on the entire UCSC
campus will be offset. The 176 million gallon baseline was established
by a five-year average that includes a year in which the campus
doubled a request from the City to conserve in a drought year and by a
five-year average that includes multiple years of savings due to the
campus's accelerated implementation of a number of water-
conservation projects at the request of the City. The 176 MGY
proposal, in effect, essentially punishes the campus for having far
exceeded our water conservation goals, and it should be obvious that
this is not good public policy. A 206 million gallons per year
baseline is necessary and important and legally required under CEQA.
LAFCO did not file a legal challenge to the Sphere of Influence and
Extraterritorial Service Environmental Impact Report and therefore
LAFCO is required to accept the EIR analysis and conclusions or make
the findings, as required by CEQA, that would allow it to prepare a new
EIR analysis. LAFCO is therefore required to use the 206 baseline.
Condition 1.b attempts to set the initial amount of the university's fee
to the City and confer on LAFCO continuing jurisdiction to adjust the
fee. Under state law, only the City, as the service provider, is
authorized to collect a fee from the University and only after the
amount of the fee is agreed to through a negotiated process as
occurred as part of the 2008 Comprehensive Settlement Agreement
signed by the City, by the County, by citizen groups opposed to our
growth, and by the campus itself.

Condition 1.d defines the conditions in which the City could cease the
delivery of water to UCSC. We agree with the City's position on th
matter, as expressed by City Attorney, John Barisone, in his April 6
letter to you. Not only would the basic health and sanitation needs of
the University's students, staff, and visitors be jeopardized, but this
requirement would further present an extreme health and safety
hazard given the absence of any guarantee that water would be
available for fire suppression. Moreover, my lawyers tell me there is
no provision of State or City law that would authorize the City to
discontinue service for failure to meet a City prescribed conservation
goal (much less a goal prescribed by LAFCO which lacks any
jurisdiction to regulate in this area).

Condition 2, prohibits the City from delivering any water to the North
Campus area until the City enters into a binding HCP agreement and
obtains an incidental take permit from state and federal wildlife
agencies Again, we agree with the City attorney's position that the
condition is illegally tied to the actions of a third party over which
LAFCO, the City and UCSC have no control. There is also no
evidence or findings before the Commission that would a|owo, the
preparation of new EIR analysis and therefore LAFCO .8 required by
law to rely on the EIR's analysis and conclusions regarding the
impacts of the applications.

Condition 3, requires the City to annex the area covered by the
applications before you. We continue to believe that an annexation
condition is unnecessary as outlined in multiple communications with
your board. In December, we were prepared to accept the annexation
requirement in an effort to achieve a reasonable compromise, but I
would in no way describe the March conditions as a reasonable
compromise.

Condition 4, requires the campus to prepare a report evaluating the
feasibility of utilizing a well or wells on the main campus I would like
to point out that this Information has already been included and
analyzed in the LRDP EIR so there is no reason to duplicate it.
In December, your board endorsed a resolution that would have
underscored the importance of the historic 2008 agreement between
the City, County, citizen groups, and the campus. At the time. I
indicated that we were prepared to accept the December conditions.
To be clear, the University previously agreed to LAFCO's proposed
reduction in the scope of the application for extraterritorial service by
134 acres from 374 acres to 240 acres. The University was also
prepared to accept the water neutrality policy proposed in December
as well as the annexation requirement. These are significant
concessions that should not be overlooked. I sincerely believe that in
returning to its December action, LAFCO can put its mark on the
project in a manner that will protect the water resources of the region.

This spirit of cooperation has been the hallmark of the Comprehensive
Settlement Agreement. The University has worked together with the
city, county and citizens to solve problems and relieve impacts to
water, housing, traffic and community concerns such as loud and
unruly parties. We share a common goal of protecting the environment
and the quality of life in Santa Cruz. Consistent with that goal, our
2005 LRDP land-use plan designates 335 acres of undeveloped land
in the upper campus and elsewhere on campus as campus resource
lands that are not planned for development It also designates 410
acres as campus natural reserve to remain in its natural state as
teaching and research reserve. Development in these areas is not
allowed.

In the spirit of compromise, I would even be willing to allocate funds for
water use between 176 and 206 MGY to be placed in a separate
account for water-conservation projects on campus.

I can't stand here today without reminding you of the university's
mission, which I am proud to represent. Any expansion of the campus
would enable us to provide the same educational opportunities to
tomorrow's students that yesterday's and today's students had access
to. And we would be providing those opportunities to an increasing
number of first-generation college students, who are much more
representative of California's population.

In closing, the conditions proposed near the end of your March
meeting are completely at odds with the principled approach to
problem solving that is the reason the City and we are before you
today. I urge you to reconsider the conditions proposed in December.

In fact, if members of this board are prepared to endorse the conditions
imposed in your March meeting, I respectfully request that you extend
at least one courtesy to the campus before taking such a vote: Permit
me to withdraw our application before it is voted upon. This will allow
us all a timeout, and such a pause will give all parties a chance to
consider whether they are truly prepared to once again favor costly
and unproductive litigation, paid for by all our taxpayers, over sensible
and results-oriented cooperation.

Therefore, I urge you to reconsider the conditions proposed in
December.

				
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