The Climate Resolution

There is a Climate Resolution floating around which rumor has it will appear on the City Commission agenda sometime in the near future. As a bit of history, for a long time, the Grand Rapids City Commission did not - as a rule - consider resolutions. That has changed in recent years. For example there was a resolution expression support the West Michigan Express (WMX) transit project in 2019 (August?). The thought behind not having resolutions is that doing so avoids confusion: resolutions are not binding, This is an important point as the contrary is clearly stated in the Climate Resolution's FAQ:

What will happen if the Grand Rapids City Commission passes our resolution?  

Once the City Commission has passed the resolution, it will be necessary for the City, in partnership with the community and with experts, to develop a detailed climate action plan for Grand Rapids. Such a plan will likely include increases in renewable energy production and distribution, energy efficiency upgrades to buildings, expanded public transportation, and many other steps.

While these are all important goals worthy of support this statement is false. A resolution does not commit city staff or the City Commission to any action. Resolutions are not binding; they are not policy documents.

If you are interested in supporting this resolution go here.

It is my perspective that it is well past time for citizens to be organizing for specific policy changes. The current City Commission does not want to have what will inevitably be contentious conversations about topics like Housing, Transportation, and Representation. Those conversations will only happen if they are forced upon them. Housing NOW and TFER (Task Force for Elected Representation) demonstrated the current commission's character. A resolution provides this commission the opportunity to consume more time posturing while compelling them to do nothing.

The old policy of not considering resolutions was the better policy.