CRRA Elections Underway
Nominations for CRRA Board of Directors and Technical Council Executive Committee positions closed April 25. Campaign packets went out May 2 to Board candidates. There are candidates in each of the three Board Districts and eight Technical Councils. The Board approves the ballot on May 15. Elections open May 19.
2014 Annual Conference Keynote Speakers Contracted
Working with our very active Keynote Speaker Committee I have confirmed attendance and contracted with three outstanding keynote speakers for our 2014 Annual Conference - Sadhu Johnston, Deputy City Manager of Vancouver, Canada, Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Dr. Russell Hancock, President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley. Nils Moe, Managing Director of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, will introduce Sadhu Johnston. The Conference Committee will be introducing these names and their backgrounds in greater depth as part of our ongoing conference marketing over the next few weeks.
2015 Annual Conference - Los Angeles Conference Hotel and City Sponsorship Confirmed
On May 1 the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles countersigned the contract to host CRRA’s 2015 Annual Conference. Closely tied to that arrangement is the City’s Bureau of Sanitation commitment to provide $30,000 in cash sponsorship along with other in-kind services as well as senior officials as potential speakers. This concludes a multi-month process of vetting various Los Angeles hotels for accommodations, flexibility and value. The CRRA Board approved the hotel contract in mid-April.
Ad Hoc Certification Committee Focuses on Curriculum
On April 4 CRRA’s the Board-appointed Ad Hoc Certification Committee held its initial conference call. Committee members recommended that recertification credit should be offered throughout the full Conference and not be limited to a single track. This is the dire4ction we are pursuing. The possibility of offering some certification courses on August 3 at Conference was suggested. This will be discussed further by the Board.
The core curriculum for 2015 was discussed including the 1) best mix of courses, 2) inclusion of more sustainable materials life cycle and climate change content, 3) need to focus on mid-career professionals, 4) requirements contained in the national standards, and 5) opportunities to leverage course work with SWANA.
On May 1 the Ad Hoc Certification Committee met again. The Committee discussed a curriculum proposal presented by several Committee members that would comply with the accreditation standards of the National Recycling Coalition National Standards Board. Topics and questions included:
a) Should classes be taught sequentially over several days (the SWANA model) or would offering individual classes around the state meet more of the student market? Trying both methods as well as offering all classes on-line were also mentioned.
b) Will reducing the elective classes from four hours to three hours impact content? The general view appeared to be that would not be the case.
c) How can we best to integrate GHG, climate change and materials life cycle content into the certification program - through each class or in a single class, for example? Possible passage of legislation in California to remove organics from landfills will create a big demand for information on how best to implement such programs. One suggestion was to remove the Overview class from the curriculum proposal and insert another GHG, climate change, materials life cycle class.
d) Should we develop a core curriculum that meets needs specific to California and secondarily work to apply it to national standards? One comment was that our integration of more GHG, climate change and materials life cycle content could lead to changes in the national standard.
These topics will go back to the Curriculum Working Group for further discussion.
On April 9 CRRA offered to explore with SWANA a strategic partnership that might include 1) course integration, 2) joint marketing, and 3) contracted-out administration. We want to set up some conference call and meetings with SWANA leadership to see what is actually possible this year. Key policy and partnership decisions for CRRA would need to be approved by the Board.
Government Relations – Agency and Legislative Activities
Meeting with Cal Recycle Director Caroll Mortensen - On April 1 Board President Tracie Bills, Board Treasurer Rob Hilton and I met with Cal Recycle Director Caroll Mortensen, Ken DaRosa (Chief Deputy Director) and Mark Oldfield (Assistant Director of Public Affairs).
We shared our goals related to membership growth and engagement, annual conference, professional certification and strategic collaboration. Our primary focus at the meeting was to share how the organization is changing and to offer ideas regarding how we can collaborate and work with Cal Recycle.
We specifically we explored the potential for joint workshops. The topics could include financing, mandatory commercial organics and permitting and siting organics facilities. In addition we discussed ways to develop young professionals including promoting their attendance at our Annual Conference. Caroll Mortensen promised to get back to us on these proposals once she has discussed them with her Executive Committee.
Cal Recycle Thermal Resource Recovery Hearing Cancelled - Cal Recycle scheduled then cancelled an April 29 workshop on thermal resource recovery. The goal of the workshop was to address “longstanding concerns regarding the multiple barriers to siting waste to energy facilities.” The workshop announcement also noted that “…new policy approaches are needed to develop a pathway for recovery of energy, fuels and chemicals from solid waste residual that cannot be recycled” The workshop is projected to be re-scheduled in late May or June.
Governor's Budget Proposal for Cap and Trade Investment Plan Hearing – on April 4 I attended the Senate Budget Committee hearing on the Governor's Budget Proposal for Cap & Trade Investment Plan.
State agencies with Cap and Trade allocation programs testified before the Committee regarding their proposed budget allocations. Cal Recycle Deputy Director Ken DaRosa testified briefly as well. For Cal Recycle, the budget proposes $30 million annually for two years. $20 million will be used annually for grants and loans for in-state development of infrastructure to process organic material and recyclable commodities into new-value added products. The remaining $10 million annually will be used to establish a GHG revolving loan fund to provide financial assistance through low-interest loans for recycling market development zones. A significant amount of time was spent taking testimony from the High Speed Rail Authority and the Department of Transportation
Committee Chair Beall was most interested in working with the state agencies over the next few weeks to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions from each prospective program and to use the same methodology to compare where the most reductions could be achieved.
Ultimately, the Senate Budget Committee can negotiate with the Governor's office over the reallocation of Cap and Trade funds between agencies.
CRRA, through the Policy Committee, submitted a letter of support on March 21. I spoke briefly in support of the $30 million allocation of the Cap and Trade Investment Plan to Cal Recycle. I stated that the benefits that would result from new or expanded clean composting and anaerobic digestion facilities would divert more material from landfills and thereby reducing methane emissions.
Hearing on AB 1594 - On April 28 I attended the Assembly Committee of Natural Resources hearing on AB 1594 and AB 1826. AB 1594, authored by Assembly member Das Williams, specifies that green material (i.e., yard trimmings and untreated wood waste) used as alternative daily cover in landfills does not constitute diversion and shall instead be considered disposal beginning in 2020. Letters to the Committee and testimony was overwhelmingly favorable regarding passage of the legislation. CRRA, through the Policy Committee, submitted a letter of support for this bill on April 14. I voiced CRRA support of the legislation during the hearings.
AB 1594 passed the Committee 5 -3 and has been sent to the Appropriations Committee.
Hearing on AB 1826 - authored by Assembly member and Committee Chair Wesley Chesbro would require commercial recycling of organic waste starting in 2016 for businesses generating eight cubic yards or more organic waste. The legislation also requires that each local jurisdiction develop an organic waste recycling program. Letters to the Committee and testimony was verwhelmingly favorable regarding passage of the legislation. CRRA, through the Policy Committee, submitted a letter of support for this bill on April 14. I voiced CRRA support of the legislation during the hearings.
AB 1826 passed the Committee 5 -2 and was sent to the Appropriations Committee. An additional hearing on AB 1826 has been scheduled before the Appropriations Committee on May 7.
Hearing on AB 1893 - On April 29 I attended Assembly Health Committee hearing on AB 1893, a bill that requires that a sharps waste container be sold with the purchase of sharps in California. The bill was jointly sponsored by the California Product Stewardship Council and the California Refuse Recycling Council. CRRA, through the Policy Committee, submitted a letter of support for this bill on April 21. I voiced CRRA support of the legislation during the hearings.
AB 1893 passed the Committee on a vote of 11 - 4 and was sent to the Appropriations Committee.
Website Consolidation and Redesign Project Underway
We are well underway with our long awaited website consolidation and redesign project. Board member Monica Devincenzi and I have been working with the firm of M3iworks, headquartered in Santa Cruz. We have selected a layout to make our site more visually attractive and easier for members to access information, renew membership and sign up for events such as the annual conference. At the same time the design stays within design guidelines adopted in recent years by the Board.
In addition to refreshed design work, we are better integrating our systems using Drupal , the open source content management system, and retaining Wild Apricot, our member management software. This project will create a full one-stop- shop for our members, combine two sites - crra.com and crra.us- and make significant improvements in website security.
We expect to launch the redesigned site in early June.
CRRA Welcomes New and Returning Sponsors
As of May 3, twenty organizations have paid or been invoiced to sponsor CRRA for 2014 - 2015. Ten additional organizations are either currently deciding on their sponsorship levels or awaiting budget approval prior to signing a sponsorship agreement. Our largest sponsor is the City of San Jose at $30,000 followed by Santa Clara County at $10,000. We have changed our policy to assure that all sponsors receive a full calendar year of recognition on our website and in our other materials
We continue to pursue more sponsorship each week and all leads are welcome!