As of May 2012
Driving Smart and Sustainable Municipal Level Policymaking: In April 2012, the City of Del Mar instituted new policies to reduce waste as a result of Equinox Center's 2011 and 2012 Quality of Life Dashboard findings in which Del Mar was found to have among the highest waste per capita rates in the County. Click here for a Del Mar Times article about this development.
“I was impressed (and depressed) with the data on Del Mar's waste generation and it was an important factor in pushing for a better waste contract that highlighted recycling and lower trash generation," said City Councilmember Donald Mosier. "I personally would like to see Del Mar reduce the per capita trash generation to the lowest in the region, not the highest.”
Providing Expert Counsel to Guide Water Planning: In October
2011, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to approve
Councilmember Sherri Lightner's proposed overhaul of city water policies
-- the first of its kind in more than a decade.
Councilmember Lightner said: "Equinox Center was a key player in helping draft my Comprehensive Water Policy for the City of San Diego. The work the organization has done related to water in our region provided actionable data that improved the Policy. Equinox Center has a reputation for commonsense approaches to complex problems and its support and insight was instrumental."
For more on why this water policy overhaul is noteworthy, click here.
Advancing Recycled Drinking Water: In the past year, the San Diego City Council, Mayor Sanders and the Union Tribune took positions in support of San Diego’s first recycled drinking water project to which they had previously been opposed.
Equinox Center was instrumental to this outcome, conducting independent research on the pros and cons of recycled water, publishing a policy brief, and collaborating with a broad coalition of business, environmental, labor and community groups to disseminate our findings. Based on its research, Equinox believes purified recycled water is a viable source to add to San Diego County’s water portfolio.
Informing the Public about Vital Issues Impacting Quality of Life for all San Diegans: In just two years, Equinox Center has helped produce more than 50 TV news segments and media articles, reaching an audience of more than 3.5 million in 2011 alone with vital information about key issues facing our region.
Working with media partners ABC 10News, Voice of San Diego and other key local media, Equinox has informed the public about issues like: how to ensure a more sustainable and economical water supply, addressing our region’s traffic problems and accommodating our population growth through smarter land use. Through our blog, e-newsletter and social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, we’re also communicating directly to the public about growth challenges and policy solutions—“bringing them home” through clear and compelling language and real-life stories, and encouraging civic engagement.
Convening Policy Makers with Business and Community Members: Through events like our May 2011 convening “I-5 Widening: Boon or Boondoggle,” and our November 2011 Equinox Salon "Connected: the Surprising Power of Real-Life Social Networks to Drive Change," Equinox convenes members of the community for thoughtful, non-partisan dialogue about how our region can creatively solve its most pressing growth challenges. The I-5 convening, and follow-up editorials that resulted, helped to raise the profile of the issue of how and whether to widen interstate 5 in a balanced way, supporting negotiations surrounding the widening between SANDAG and Senator Christine Kehoe.
"Dashboard on Tour"—Educating the Public and Policy Makers: By taking the San Diego Regional Quality of Life Dashboard (now
in its second year) “on the road,” Equinox Center is showing our
region’s decision makers that setting clear targets and measuring
progress on the most vital issues impacting our region’s quality of life
can be done. To date, we’ve given more than 80 presentations of the
Dashboard and related policy implications, to city councils, mayors,
planning commissions and other elected officials, as well as business
and community groups.
Equinox Center relies on community support to continue and expand these efforts. Please click here to learn more about ways you can support our work to build a better future for the San Diego region.
Informing the Debate on California’s Landmark Climate Change Law: Every City Council meeting at which Equinox Center testified regarding Proposition 23 on the November 2010 ballot voted to oppose Prop 23, including the City of Carlsbad, which had never in its history passed a city resolution regarding a statewide ballot proposition. Ultimately, the measure was defeated on the ballot.
When AB 32, California’s landmark climate change legislation was under attack through Proposition 23 on the November, 2010 state ballot, Equinox Center was asked to present independent research and analysis on how rolling back the law might affect quality of life in San Diego County. Equinox Center’s board chair Aaron Contorer presented the Center’s data on issues like transportation, greenhouse gas emissions, air quality and other relevant issues to three city councils (Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carlsbad).
Incentivizing Efficient Use of Water: In 2010, the City of San Diego’s water department piloted in three neighborhoods a water pricing structure that would help incentivize conservation and discourage waste. The department will likely move forward with overhauling its water pricing structure in 2012 based on good results from the pilot. Equinox played a key role in this decision by providing the Mayor’s staff with balanced research on how steeply tiered water pricing structures have been effective in other California cities.
Conducting Independent Research and Publishing H2Overview: A clean, reliable water supply is the lifeblood of the San Diego region’s quality of life and economy. Equinox Center’s four-part “H2Overview” policy brief series tackles critical water supply issues through balanced analysis and solutions about how our region can ensure a sustainable and economical water supply for the future. The H2Overview series presents concrete, data-backed recommendations for San Diego’s decision makers on how we can use water more efficiently and develop more reliable, local, sources of water.
Here's what people are saying about Equinox Center's work:
- San Diego City Councilmember Sherri Lightner:
Equinox Center was a key player in helping draft my Comprehensive Water Policy for the City of San Diego. The work it has done related to water in our region provided actionable data that improved the Policy. Equinox Center has a reputation for common sense approaches to complex problems and its support and insight was instrumental.
- Frank Urtasun, Regional Vice President,External Affairs, SDG&E:
I just absolutely love the Dashboard and the whole Equinox model of measuring these various indicators, and then just stating the facts. Just letting the facts speak for themselves, and letting the facts create change here for the region. That’s a very, very powerful tool that few organizations utilize. But the Equinox Center seems to have nailed it. We think that the work they’re doing is absolutely critical for the region.
- Emily Young, Senior Director Environment Analysis and Strategy at The San Diego Foundation:
Equinox’s work demonstrates the value of the non-profit sector in advancing some of the gains we’ve made in areas like climate change and land conservation. We hope the [Quality of Life Dashboard] will contribute to community dialogue and action to create and sustain a strong economy and a healthy environment.
- Mark Thiemens, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCSD and climate change scientist:
I personally will find the Dashboard useful for making points directly, whether for lectures or congressional visits.
For more on what people are saying about Equinox Center, click here.