GEC’s Stop Gas at Grayson Again Rally at Glendale City Hall on Sunday, February 6, was a great success and a great way to be in community with people concerned about the future—Glendale’s and the world’s! We are so grateful for everyone who participated, and especially to the young people, elected officials, and concerned residents who spoke to the crowd.
There were 211 total sign-ins, but some people who attended didn’t sign in, and we estimate the total attendance at closer to 250 people.
Signs carried by people in the crowd had simple and direct messages: “No New Gas!” “Fossil Fuel FREE.” GEC members along with the Sierra Club Verdugo Hills Chapter and the GOCHA-Led Scholl Landfill Committee, had a strong presence.
Jane Potelle started with a history of the original Stop Gas at Grayson campaign, which succeeded in stopping a 262 MW gas plant. She urged us all to insist on less gas than the 93-101 MW in the Final EIR, and a lot more clean energy programs!
State Senator Anthony Portantino spoke next. He was a strong supporter of GEC’s first Grayson campaign, and praised GEC’s efforts now to find a way forward that meets our energy needs without harming the environment. “We need an energy policy that serves our grandchildren, not just us.” He went on to say that engaged community members give elected officials the concern, confidence, and education to take strong stands for positive change.
Monica Campagna has been advocating for GWP to explore more clean energy programs since the city council rejected the first Grayson plan in 2018. She’s looked closely at GWP numbers and analysis. Her message to GWP at the rally: This decade is a make or break time for our future, and we can’t put off big decisions. “We have to push to do more than we think we can do! We need to tell GWP to bring their ‘A’ game. Glendale can do better.”
Joining Senator Portantino on the list of returning alumni speakers from the first Grayson campaign was Ash Rosas, a GEC and Sunrise LA member and college student. Rosas expressed frustration that GWP is still proposing a major fossil fuel investment at Grayson, and voiced strong support for GEC’s clean energy advocacy.
Elen Asatryan, founder and CEO of The Stark Group and a candidate for Glendale City Council in the June 2022 election, noted the City Council’s recent decision to approve GWP’s $40 million Scholl Canyon biogas project despite its environmental impacts and strong community opposition, and asked that people stay engaged and insist on good decisions for the city and our future.
Mia Livas Porter, a state lead organizer for Moms Demand Action and candidate for the newly drawn State Assembly District 52, which includes southern Glendale, told the crowd that parents’ “ultimate hope is to give our children a better future. But we can’t even guarantee clean air or a liveable future right now.” Porter said we should not be wasting one more dime on fossil fuel.
Arlene Vidor, a member of the Adams Hill Neighborhood Association and the city’s Arts & Culture Commission, thanked the community for rallying. “Don’t let anyone say to you that we are so small that what we do doesn’t matter. Right now it is all hands on deck and everyone needs to do what they can!”
Glendale City Council member Ardy Kassakhian talked about his commitment to addressing environmental and climate change issues. “I deeply care about this as a son of an environmental scientist, as someone who grew up in Glendale without being able to see the mountains, as someone who is raising my family here.” Kassakhian also quoted Teddy Roosevelt, “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”
Sunrise LA’s Linnea Norton and Lauren Woods led the crowd in chants for clean energy. Each spoke briefly about their connection to the Grayson campaign. Norton grew up in Glendale and now works as a carbon analyst for forest projects; she said she wants Glendale’s air and environment to stay clean and for this community to be a beautiful place to live. Woods, a high school student who lives in Glenoaks Canyon, said she has experienced two wildfire evacuations from her home, the first one when she was eight years old, and she believes we need to do everything we can right now to phase out fossil fuels and address the climate crisis.
Michael Gordon, a young member of GEC, spoke about air quality, community, and advocacy. “Air pollution isn’t somebody else’s problem—we are all somebody! Glendale can be a great place to live if we don’t take the easy path.” Gordon said we need to address our climate and fossil fuel problems with papers, politics, people, and power!
Chris Khachadour, from State Assemblymember Laura Friedman’s office, spoke about Friedman’s strong record on environmental issues as she has chaired both the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee (2019) and Transportation Committee (2020). She has also addressed plastic pollution, biodiversity, and California’s leadership in tackling climate change.
Glendale City Council member Dan Brotman, who founded GEC and led the first Stop Gas at Grayson campaign, spoke next. He thanked Senator Portantino for his support and encouragement, and also acknowledged the contributions of elected officials Kassakhian and Ara Najarian in addressing environmental and transportation issues in Glendale.
With respect to “climate despair,” Brotman said, “The solution to despair is action. That’s what I’m doing and I can tell that’s what you are doing..” Brotman said that the Glendale City Council is committed to moving us forward and that their collective agenda has sustainability as the #1 priority.
First campaign alumna Madeline Frey stepped up to rally the crowd and remind them that this fight has a history and the people it most concerns are the youth. She first spoke at a 2018 rally when she was just 12 years old. “I’m 15 years old now and still expressing these concerns. In another three years, I’ll be 18 and I will be able to vote!”
Glendale resident Jackie Eco spoke about air quality and how we must clean up our air to prevent pollution-related illnesses—asthma, heart disease, and cognitive impairment in children. She advocated for solar everywhere in Glendale. About fossil fuel projects: “Our children can’t afford it.”
Morgan Goodwin, a Glendale resident and director of the Sierra Club’s Angeles Chapter, ended the speaker lineup on a high note, telling the crowd that local leadership is where all of us have the most influence. GEC has stopped a gas project before in Glendale, and we need to show GWP that they are not seeing this decision point as the opportunity that it is!
MC Jane Potelle, who organized the rally, concluded by urging everyone to email City Council members and tell them to reject the gas proposal as is and ask for more clean energy; tell friends and neighbors to visit the GEC website and social media, share widely, and send messages as well; and most important—watch the February 15 City Council meeting on the YouTube livestream (YouTube, MyGlendale channel).
Thank you to everyone again for your participation and involvement in this GEC rally for clean energy, for climate action, for our future! This was a great community show of support for clean energy for Glendale!