Christopher Jones, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, who is overseeing the competition, said June 20 that Tracy has competed strongly against the No. 1 and 2 cities, Davis and Sacramento, since the Challenge began April 1.
Cities must have residents register to begin earning points toward the competition for reducing carbon emissions.
As of Thursday, July 5, Tracy’s 73,280 points put the city slightly behind Sacramento, 112,707, and a distant third to Davis, 160,521.
Tracy has 212 residents participating — second-most to Sacramento’s 221 and third to Davis’ 253 participants.
“It’s been back and forth between these three since the beginning,” Jones said. “Tracy has really recruited well by doing an excellent outreach program.”
The city with the next highest totals, Pleasanton, has 53,165 points and 151 people involved.
By August, three finalists will be named to compete in the final round. Davis has already been named to the list. Those three cities each get $10,000 to continue their sustainability efforts through the end of competition March 31.
Officials from the CoolCalifornia Challenge will also visit each city to support local officials with recruiting more citizens for participation.
“That’s going to be an exciting time for those cities,” Jones said.
Kimberly Matlock, an assistant planner for the city of Tracy, is driving the local effort to sign residents up for the challenge. She is using Facebook, Twitter and the city’s website to spread the word, and she said that once a person signs up, the most important aspect is logging energy use.
“It’s so important, because if you show improvement in your energy use from last month, you get even more points,” Matlock said. “We need to come together and win this for Tracy.”
Tracy’s sustainability efforts in the challenge and its recent steps through legislation to become more environmentally friendly — outlined in a Sustainability Action Plan passed by City Council in February 2011 —have drawn attention from several cities in the nation, including in Illinois, Matlock said. San Joaquin County officials are also talking with the city to start a similar plan at the county level.
“We were the first city in the county to pass such a plan, and it’s really helping us as we rise up as one of the model cities that people are looking at for sustainability,” she said. “I really hope and believe that by winning this challenge, it’s going to be the next big thing for us (Tracy).”
Monica Gutierrez, a management analyst for the city of Tracy, said the city was continuing to work with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to sign up residents so they can begin earning points.
“Bottom line, we want residents to better save on their PG&E bill and help the city of Tracy become the coolest city (in the state),” she said.
A public computer is available in the main lobby of City Hall, 333 Civic Center Plaza, to sign up for the challenge.
For information: http://coolcalifornia.org/community-challenge