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 Year

The 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.

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at

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