The Glendale Environmental Coalition issued a set of questions to candidates for Assembly Districts 44 and 52, State Senate District 25, and L.A. County Board of Supervisors District 5. In solidarity with other grassroots groups in the region, we want our local elected representatives to champion the causes we believe are essential for a healthy and sustainable environment. We are posting the answers we received (not all candidates responded) in order to inform our members and the community of the candidates’ stances.
Assembly District 44 Candidate
- What energy policies would you sponsor/support that are consumer friendly to transition to sustainable/renewable energy for energy, building/home, transportation use, etc.? What specific policies or programs would you sponsor or support to engage residents in multi-family housing or the commercial sector?
Affordable housing development should be transit-oriented and help create more walkable communities. I will also advocate for more mixed-use zoning, which can help to reduce traffic and air pollution. I support green building with energy-efficient appliances that don’t rely on fossil fuels. Gas appliances pollute the air we breathe inside and outside our homes. This pollution can cause various health problems, especially for children and people with respiratory conditions. Low-income and BIPOC communities are more likely to live in areas with high levels of air pollution from gas appliances and, therefore, are more likely to suffer from the health consequences of this pollution. I support AB 593 (Haney) as a step in the right direction towards addressing these concerns and would vote for it as an Assemblymember.
Moving to an electric fleet of cars is an important start, and the addition of bidirectional charging systems will help us reduce our use of fossil fuels, but I also support building housing close to public transportation. When residents have access to safe pedestrian and bike access, they will opt to drive less. By doing this, we will reduce our carbon footprint and lower emissions. We also need to be mindful that we are not building housing in dangerous environmental hazards. The San Fernando Valley is impacted by intense heat and wildfires. We must ensure we are creating climate-resilient communities and not putting residents in areas where they could be in danger.
As a legislator, I will advocate for residents and families to improve our public transportation infrastructure, invest in green spaces, and create more walkable communities. As California becomes the leader in clean energy, we will work on providing training for employees to keep up with the changing economy. We must go further and faster to protect our collective future.
- What specific “upstream” policies would you sponsor/support to address the plastics problem, NOT involving recycling, which has been a failure?
I am proud to be endorsed by Ban Single Use Plastic. Plastics are creating global environmental effects that harm every aspect of our lives. Using compostable, reusable, and renewable materials must be a cornerstone of policies to address climate change and get to a zero-waste future. The bans regarding single-use plastics that came before the legislature have gotten us started but are far from doing enough. I support SB54’s increased enforcement mechanisms and emphasis on producer accountability, and I am committed to seeing its goals and timelines are executed on time. As these targets unfold, I am also committed to passing whatever legislation is needed to keep this timeline on track.
- More than half of California’s population lives in jurisdictions that have banned or restricted expanded polystyrene, sometimes referred to as EPS or Styrofoam. Glendale City council took nearly a year to adopt its own ban because of concerns about possible cost and supply impacts to small restaurants. What solutions will you propose or back to help small businesses and restaurants transition away from EPS?
Small businesses need information and real assistance to make transitions that deviate from their business models. Education and outreach efforts go a long way to making the case for current resources that exist to help businesses make more environmentally conscious choices. Beyond outreach efforts, I support allocating funds to assist in this transition and making sure that there are tiers for transitioning based on the size of restaurants so that smaller businesses aren’t unduly affected.
- Artificial turf is plastic, contains carcinogens, gets dangerously hot, harms biodiversity, contributes to the urban heat island effect, can cause and exacerbate sports injuries, and has many other negative impacts. Governor Newsom just signed SB-676 (Local ordinances and regulations: drought-tolerant landscaping), which allows cities to define drought tolerant landscaping as NOT including artificial turf. Other bills limiting or banning artificial turf have encountered serious industry pushback. Would you support instituting a policy prohibiting artificial plastic turf installations in CA? Why or why not? If not, would you support a bill incentivizing real grass (for active uses such as sports fields and picnicking) and discouraging the use of plastic grass?
I would support such a ban – we need to decrease the use of plastics in all regards, and I oppose the use of artificial turf for all the reasons laid out above. Incentivizing real plants for drought-resistant landscaping is an important part of increasing biodiversity and encouraging positive environmental outcomes, and I will support these efforts as a State Assemblymember.
- Do you think the existing state funding allocations for active transportation and transit are sufficient? If not, what % increase do you support, and how would you propose that the additional funding be used?
I support increasing funding opportunities for plans that decrease emissions and make car alternative transportation safer, more efficient, and more convenient for people. I support the highest possible allocation for active transportation the transportation budget can support without negatively affecting other necessary programs. I support prioritizing the California Transportation Commission and Caltrans’s list of active transportation projects and elements and tapping into funding available from the U.S. Department of Transportation, such as the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program for state and regional projects.
- Would you support state-subsidized free mass transit throughout the state to increase transit use and decrease vehicle miles traveled?
Yes. Many residents in the San Fernando Valley rely on buses in their daily lives and deserve clean, accessible transportation that does not contribute to emissions in their neighborhoods and communities. State-owned or supplied vehicles must be kept on a tight timeline for completely switching over to zero-emission vehicles. Senator Leyva’s bill to smog check industrial vehicles was an important first step towards monitoring and curbing emissions, but with such high emission rates, I believe a much faster transition to zero-emission vehicles with enforcement mechanisms is necessary.
I support comprehensive policy measures that will rapidly decrease greenhouse emissions, especially from vehicles, and will prioritize increasing access to public transportation and car alternative transportation. Public transportation is often less available in rural areas, so people in these areas rely more on cars, which may make it difficult for them to switch to EVs, especially if they need to travel long distances on a single charge. To rapidly and effectively decrease vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions, we must address these issues, provide incentives for green transit, and improve access to vehicle alternatives.
- SB 1383, which mandated diversion of organic waste, has not been effectively implemented in most localities. Glendale is shipping organic waste long distances to waste-burning and other undesirable hubs on diesel-burning trucks. How do you plan to address this? What types of programs, local composting initiatives and/or facilities, and funding streams will you support to increase beneficial composting in localities including Glendale?
I strongly support SB 1383, and I believe it should be given the resources it needs to succeed. Just as education efforts were needed about recycling versus trash bins, compost education must also continue for residents to participate effectively. Beyond education, I support funding the construction of more compost facilities to meet composting outputs adequately.
- South Glendale is park deficient and in need of greater access to open space and parks. Compared to 2.2 acres of park space per 1,000 residents north of the 134, south Glendale only has 0.3 acres per 1,000 residents. What specific strategies and funding streams will you pursue to ensure that neighborhoods in South Glendale gain in park space, and that they see a proportional investment in parks and open space when they absorb population growth?
As we build more affordable housing, it must be with an eye toward integrating green space and having access to public transportation. Los Angeles County must make significant strides in expanding its park system, with a strong focus on serving historically underserved communities like South Glendale and neighborhoods with high concentrations of underserved populations. Recent efforts incorporating equity principles into park preservation and expansion are commendable, but greater commitment is needed, including allocating streams to ensure equitable access to green spaces for all residents. Prioritizing the creation of smaller parks on readily available vacant land is one way to expedite the creation of greenspace for neighborhoods. In the longer term, identifying locations ahead of growth, creating a stakeholder engagement, and applying for outdoor equity grants and outdoor recreation legacy partnership funding are all opportunities that I would look forward to working on as an Assemblymember.
- We must end the fossil fuel era and transition to clean, zero-carbon energy as fast as possible. What divestment, subsidy-ending, and incentive proposals will you support to end fossil fuel extraction and use and to incentivize green technologies, industries and products? Please indicate whether or not you have taken the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge (https://nofossilfuelmoney.org/).
I have proudly taken the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge. Our top priority must be addressing climate change as it is the most important issue facing humanity today. We must act aggressively and act now to protect our planet and our future by infusing climate change solutions into our policies. I support a Green New Deal for an equitable transition to clean energy sources that creates and supports union jobs. When we expand public transportation, it must be with clean energy options. As we build more affordable housing, it must be with an eye toward integrating green space and having access to public transportation. When residents have access to safe pedestrian and bike access, they will opt to drive less. By doing this, we will reduce our carbon footprint and lower emissions. We also need to be mindful that we are not building housing in dangerous environmental hazards. The San Fernando Valley is impacted by intense heat and wildfires. We must make sure we are creating climate-resilient communities and not putting residents in areas where they could be in danger. As a legislator, I will advocate on behalf of residents and families to improve our public transportation infrastructure, invest in green spaces, and create more walkable communities.
As Assemblymember, I will advocate for residents and families to improve our public transportation infrastructure, invest in green spaces, and create more walkable communities. I will also work to prioritize investments in clean energy infrastructure in these communities such as installing electric vehicle charging stations and retrofitting buildings to make them more energy-efficient, create training and apprenticeship programs to help residents of these communities get jobs in the clean energy sector, and work with community organizations to develop and implement clean energy projects that meet the specific needs of these communities.
- Tell us about your knowledge of the Glendale community and its environmental concerns. How do you plan to work with Glendale to accomplish its climate and environmental goals?
I have lived in this district for 30 years and have deep ties in our community. I will meet regularly with environmental organizations, such as Glendale Environmental Coalition to solicit their feedback about upcoming policies in the pipeline. I look forward to engaging with our environmental groups as well as Glendale residents to learn how to serve them better and ensure that the policies being implemented truly reflect our values.