Many a back was patted over passage of San Diego’s new plan to deal with climate change.

Elected officials, interest group leaders and independent gadflies all came together to congratulate themselves and each other over the hard work, vision and compromise that went into the most significant long-term policy the city has passed since its long-term growth plan in 2008.

Voice of the YearThe plan has a lot of people claiming credit for it, and each deserves some. Councilman Todd Gloria elevated the plan and pushed it forward as interim mayor. Mayor Kevin Faulconer threw his support behind it — especially the parts that make it unique and enforceable — and got it passed.

But the one constant voice behind the plan – and the one who most often told the public how it would work, why it would work and why it was necessary, was Nicole Capretz. She managed it for a time when she worked in Gloria’s office, and later became a megaphone for its virtues by starting a nonprofit group to advocate for its passage. In that last capacity, she went on a rigorous public meeting tour, visiting dozens of community groups to tell them why they should embrace the plan.

It’s easy to imagine a handful of alternate endings in which San Diego backed out or stumbled, and ended up with a much less ambitious plan to cut its carbon footprint – or none at all. The easiest scenario to imagine, though, is if Capretz wasn’t there to make the city see what it could do.

This is part of our Voice of the Year package, profiling the people who drove the biggest conversations in San Diego this year.

    This article relates to: News, Voice of the Year

    Written by Andrew Keatts

    I'm Andrew Keatts, a reporter for Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0529.

    11 comments
    William Charles
    William Charles

    Why does this un-elected, un-representative Nicole Capretz have so much say in our City government? It seems obvious that she's simply constructing pipelines to siphon taxpayer dollars to her "non-profit" groups

    john stump
    john stump subscriber

    Deuteronomy 25:4

    Thou shalt not muzzle the Oxen ( sic lawyers) while threshing.

    Sean M
    Sean M subscriber

    The details of the plan will be decided by a judge and appealed to a superior court. The law was written to spur lawsuits and no practical steps will be sufficient to satisfy environmental organizations that depend on legal fees for their livelihood.

    Gregory Hay
    Gregory Hay subscriber

    @Sean M: "environmental organizations that depend on legal fees for their livelihood."

    Such as…?
    Otherwise, stop making stuff up.

    Sean M
    Sean M subscriber

    The Sierra club is seeking legal fees for winning its climate change suit against the county. The Center for Biological Diversity relies on millions in legal fees it earns from tax payers. So does Earthjustice and the NRDC. They only get paid if they win or if the defendant settles, usually with a consent decree. This climate change plan gives environmental group an obvious advantage over local governments, expect them to exploit it.

    I am looking forward to learning how much taxpayers will award the Cleveland National Forest Foundation if SANDAGs appeal fails, it should be rich.

    Gregory Hay
    Gregory Hay subscriber

    @Sean M… none of these show them DEPENDING on legal fees for their livelihood. Are you really saying the Sierra Club (and others) only get money from lawsuits, and nowhere else?

    Because that is exactly what you said.

    Sean M
    Sean M subscriber

    You are correct to imply that some payments to the environmental groups are not compulsory, however voluntary contributions to environmental legal group are not as dependable as those ordered by courts, especially when the payments come from taxpayers.

    don lindsay
    don lindsay subscriber

    global warming/climate change...the radical religion of the atheists, marxists and anarchists. It has nothing to do with the weather or the planet, it is merely a means to control the populace and their resources.

    john stump
    john stump subscriber

    @don lindsay You are partially correct,  the Planet will survive long after humans and the other current major life forms are wiped out by the impending Sixth Extinction.  You are also right that any possible survival will require a loss of freedom.  There are many environmentalists who believe that they can drive a Prius and take Jet Plane trips.  These no pain environmentalists want craft beer and a tropical vacation in a distant exotic local 


    We are way past 350 parts CO2with no change in site without major pain .  A major population culling is the more likely future