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 52 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?
To address systemic failures in consumer and environmental protection, I would propose legislation that redefines the certification process for equipment, machinery, heavy-duty off-road machinery, vehicles, and heavy-duty trucks, combating the current trend of planned/forced obsolescence. The major players in the California Resource Board Room are Caterpillar and Cummins, which play a significant role in their own certification process. They benefit financially at the expense of consumers and the environment, as resources are extracted to build these items. Items should have a carbon footprint as well as a quantified lifespan. Today, items are built and de-certified before their lifespan runs out. Financial institutions, along with other predators, take advantage of those who purchase items that will be banned before they can pay off the loans on their items. This overreach has led to the monopolization of industries, the loss of small businesses, labor, and an increase in our carbon footprint. Grants expected to go to companies in California were given to corporations outside our state. Grants go hand in hand with lending. A person receiving a grant to upgrade their items would also apply for a loan to purchase the item. A portion of monthly deposits is set aside for small business loans. Californians lost those grants, lenders, and small businesses lost out on funding and loan opportunities. I would introduce legislation to challenge the practice of hot fuel and the blends currently being sold to consumers that do not give us the bang for our bucks. A change in the blend can change the carbon footprint overnight. I would also sponsor legislation that deals with water extraction. Native Americans have water rights before anyone else. Californians should also have access to safe water before it is distributed outside of our state. When it comes to the electrical grid, we must expose how the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) failed us. Changes must be made at the PUC to properly account for and measure the energy produced, harnessed, purchased, and sold. The contracts consumers had with our energy companies were not upheld or enforced. The companies failed to do the build-out, upgrades, and maintenance of our electrical grid. We had devastating fires that killed so many loved ones. The system let them off, and after their gross negligence, they were allowed to stay in business. To add insult to injury, these same corporations now want to increase the cost to consumers once again, for a system we already paid for over and over again. We have not yet had all the lines that were charred in the fires replaced. Furthermore, energy companies have lobbied the state legislature to limit the amount of solar energy consumers can keep. It is unreasonable to force someone who installed solar panels to sell back the majority of the solar energy they harnessed to unfriendly energy companies. If a consumer uses up the percent of energy they will be allowed to use, they are then required to purchase back energy. I was blown away after being informed of this by the chair and other members of the Democratic Party Environmental Caucus, of which I am a member. We must be critical of those who claim to be green when we know that it is the wrong kind of green!
With transportation, I would sponsor legislation that would provide funding for small, cleaner dash buses that would serve local communities. With housing, I would seek federal funding to establish public housing for our seniors, veterans, disabled, and our workforce community. The housing would be homes, apartments, and small condo-style public housing units. The materials for the building of these units should be energy-efficient and made to last. The occupants would also have the ability to purchase the unit or home provided. I would also sponsor legislation to limit over-building especially in contaminated areas.
- What specific “upstream” policies would you sponsor/support to address the plastics problem, NOT involving recycling, which has been a failure?
I would sponsor the promotion of an educational component for current and future businesses owners on best practices for transitioning from plastic to alternative packaging. I would also encourage business owners to allow customers to use their own items for the packaging of their food or other items. The creation of a local supply chain for alternative products must be accessible and affordable for businesses. There are real important uses for plastic so an all out band is not wise. We have huge problems with people and their over use of plastic. The mindset of our society must be altered regarding this topic.
- 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 & supply impacts to small restaurants. What solutions will you propose or back to help small businesses and rest restaurants. What solutions will you propose or back to help small businesses and restaurants transition away from EPS?
I would sponsor the promotion of an educational component for current and future business owners on best practices for transitioning from products that contain EPS or Styrofoam to alternative packaging. I would also encourage business owners to allow customers to utilize their containers when purchasing items. The creation of a local supply chain for alternative products must be accessible and affordable for businesses.
- 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 push back. 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?
The concept of artificial turf has opposing sides. If an alternative surface other than grass can be created that does not contain carcinogens or harm the biodiversity of the earth, we should support this type of alternative turf. Grass vs. turf in public space is very significant. We need water for the grass to grow and remain healthy. Water, grass, and soil are essential for the hydrological cycle of our atmosphere. Some members of the public use turf to save water. The problem is the Supreme Court ruled in favor of corporations which privatized the water. Access to safe water is a human right. The legislature should check the judiciary by passing legislation that clearly defines water as part of the commons, making it a constitutional right. We must go beyond the artificial rationalizing of grass vs. turf. We must reach out to our sports leagues and invite them to join us on a path to a more sustainable future. Families have been devastated due to the harms caused by toxic turf. Let us do better and find alternative solutions to tackle this problem. I believe that safer water should be accessible to all life forms; however, today that simply is not the case in California. The state is in a $68 billion deficit, and higher taxes upon commoners are not the solution. Glendale has a good recycling program. However, Glendale has one of the highest utility taxes in the country. Residents of Glendale are very conscious of the environment; we must continue raising awareness on climate change and living in a sustainable way now and for future generations to come.
- 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 youpropose that the additional funding be used?
I think existing state funds for transportation are sufficient, just not equitably distributed.
- Would you support state-subsidized free mass transit throughout the state to increase transit use and decrease vehicle miles traveled?
I would first call for financial audits of the transportation sector before making such an important financial decision.
- 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?
We have to begin by listening and implementing the recommendations from those who are already doing this work in Glendale. The business sector has to partner with the city so that they donate food that they would ordinarily throw away. Finding facilities that handle the waste in greener ways is key to dealing with solving the answer to your question. Finding ways to ship the waste begins with minimizing our waste footprint at home. Building facilities in Glendale would expose residents to methane gas, something I would not support. Transportation of waste from local repositories should be conducted when there is less traffic. Finding a more effective way to transport waste requires reviewing the current contracts the city has in order to see if they can be amended or not. Researching what other countries have done is important so that we do not make the same mistakes. I am not an expert in this matter but applying basic common sense is the less waste we produce equals the less waste we have to remove.
- 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?
I do not support displacing people nor do I support the over-saturation of people in red-lined communities. We cannot allow developers to continue building without having the infrastructure for it. We do not have trauma centers or medical facilities to deal with underserved communities that exist today. No matter how rich or poor you are in the ER, we all stand in the same line. If there is no room in the ER or no more beds, we are all at risk of losing our lives. Gentrification is a serious issue in South Glendale and in other areas of the district. We must protect the most vulnerable in our society from developers both foreign and domestic who put profit before our communities. Urban social spaces can be created on rooftops, and if the city or county can purchase property with state funds to build green space without displacing people or services, I would support this type of effort. Historically, we have had bad actors when it comes to building equitable housing across all areas in Los Angeles and across California. The burden of housing must be shared and not at the expense of working class neighborhoods. The new housing being erected and the green space being proposed is not affordable to the working class and those living below the poverty line. The new units are economic sanctions which equals the displacement of historically segregated peoples which is also viewed as ethnic cleansing. We have to be mindful of our actions and protect our communities and neighbors from those who do not have the cultural competency or historical connection to areas we have built, served, and lived in.
Divestment, Subsidies, and Clean Energy Incentives
- 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 MoneyPledge (https://nofossilfuelmoney.org/). Local Context
Absolutely, incentivizing green technologies, industries, and products in Glendale is not just a wise choice; it’s a necessary step towards a sustainable and thriving future for our community. By embracing and promoting environmentally friendly initiatives, we not only contribute to the global fight against climate change but also foster a healthier, more resilient local economy. This will enable us to leave a legacy for our future generations to inherit. When dealing with divestment, we must review the investment portfolios. Future investments portfolios have to be more transparent. Past contracts have to be reviewed along with all previous commitments. We have to ensure that previous investments are paying off. I decided to accept the voluntary expenditure ceiling for my campaign and I won’t take money from Big Oil or Big Pharma and I have no problem standing up to special interests. By taking proactive steps now, we can secure a legacy of environmental responsibility, economic prosperity, and improved well-being for generations to come. My experiences collaborating with indigenous communities at Standing Rock, Chiapas, in California, and in other states and outside the country have enhanced my understanding of the life-threatening consequences of extraction. With a profound and compassionate perspective shaped by my own experiences as a person with a birth disability, I carry a deep-seated understanding of the heart-wrenching toll that hazardous environments have exacted upon my beloved family and the cherished community I call home. We must not only look for green alternatives; we need a long-term healthcare plan for victims and their families. We also need a cleanup plan for the environment and one that protects the workers engaged in this work. In addition, the removal of hazardous waste should not end up on reservations or in residential neighborhoods. Investing in green technologies will not only create job opportunities but will position Glendale as a leader in innovation and sustainability. The adoption of renewable energy sources, energy-efficient infrastructure, and eco-friendly practices can significantly reduce our carbon footprint, mitigating the impact of climate change on our city and its residents. Moreover, incentivizing green industries will attract forward-thinking businesses to Glendale, boosting economic growth and diversification. By creating a supportive environment for clean and sustainable enterprises, we send a strong message to investors that Glendale is committed to a future where economic prosperity goes hand in hand with environmental responsibility. Incentives for green products can encourage residents to make eco-conscious choices in their daily lives. Whether it’s through tax breaks for sustainable home improvements or discounts on eco-friendly products, we can empower individuals to contribute to a greener, cleaner Glendale. This not only benefits the environment but also enhances the overall quality of life for our community members. The state should also provide grants to companies to assist them with transitioning. The state must fund our educational and training institutions to prepare our future workforce. It is not just about the present; it’s about building a resilient and thriving community that stands as a beacon of sustainability in the years ahead. When dealing with divestment, we must review the investment portfolios. Future investments portfolios have to be more transparent. By taking proactive steps now, we can secure a legacy of environmental responsibility, economic prosperity, and improved well-being for generations to come.
- 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 believe the answer to the previous questions addresses some of the concerns in Glendale. The City Council has voted in the past in favor of energy policies that community members and groups such as the Glendale Environmental Coalition opposed. I would host Town Hall meetings in conjunction with the stakeholders in Glendale. I would also coordinate my calendar to ensure that Glendale representatives would have meetings scheduled with me throughout my time in office. A calendar along with a budget for the items brought forward has to be created. Past contracts have to be reviewed along with all previous commitments. We have to ensure that previous investments are paying off.