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.
L.A. County Board of Supervisors, District 5 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?
I am proud to have a 99% 2019 Environmental Score Card and have always stood strong against interests who stand in the way of a transition to sustainable/renewable energy ture. My 24 years on the Pasadena City Council, with responsibility over the city’s Water and Power department, provided me with a strong foundation and understanding of the utility industry and the need to be smart and thoughtful as we plan our energy future. I was also proud to serve as Chair of the California State Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy.
In the State Assembly, I was proud to secure funding for the construction on an advanced manufacturing facility that will produce patented-technology solar panels for low-to-moderate income (LMI) households and significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The bills I authored/supported are examples of the policies I would continue as LA County Supervisor.
AB 2446, the Carbon Intensity of Construction and Building Materials Act, a measure that requires the State to develop a framework for measuring and then reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the construction of new buildings, including those for residential uses. The bill requires the Energy Commission to design the framework to achieve an eighty percent net reduction in new construction by 2045, which is aligned with Executive Order B-55-18 that sets a statewide goal of carbon net neutrality no later than 2045. The rising costs of traditional building materials are a threat to affordable housing in the state. However, through conscious design to reduce materials used and the employment of low carbon construction materials, the embodied carbon of a building can be reduced with little or no incremental cost to the builder. There has been a growing early market for low carbon building materials and further growth of this sector will create economic benefits for the state. There is growing momentum at the Federal level to decarbonize the building sector and California can continue to be a leader on climate by taking early steps to measure and reduce the embodied carbon of building materials.
SB100 “The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018,” which set a 2045 goal of powering all retail electricity sold in California and state agency electricity needs with renewable and zero-carbon resources. This Act also updated the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard to ensure that by 2030 at least 60 percent of California’s electricity is renewable.
AB525 which requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to evaluate and quantify the maximum feasible offshore wind energy generation capacity in waters off the California coast. The bill also requires CEC to establish offshore wind planning goals for 2030 and 2045.
This year, I am part of a group of legislators introducing and moving a bill forward that allows utilities to compensate municipalities and low sharing entities to help them meet our states climate goals.
Among the specific policies or programs that I will sponsor or support as County Supervisor include:
Accelerating the number of charging stations for electric vehicles in the region.
Making it easier and faster to install solar panels for new construction and multi-family housing in L.A. County.
Expediting offshore geothermal power to create a more stable and consistent energy supply.
Supporting all options that help to provide long duration storage options for homes.
Increasing Distributed energy resources (DERs) such as rooftop solar panels and battery storage in L.A. County to transform how electricity is generated, delivered, and consumed.
- What specific “upstream” policies would you sponsor/support to address the plastics problem, NOT involving recycling, which has been a failure?
I was proud to help pass Senator Ben Allen’s Landmark Plastic Pollution Bill. The law is the most comprehensive measure in the nation to address the plastic waste crisis. The new California law calls on the producers of specific materials to form a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) to manage industry efforts to comply with the law’s requirements. The Act goes beyond the standard requirement of other producer responsibility programs that simply cover costs. The new law provides ambitious environmental mandates through a rates-and-dates system that will ensure all covered material is recyclable or compostable within 10 years and calls for a 25 percent reduction in the amount of plastic-covered material introduced to the market within the same timeframe. Additionally, the new law creates the California Plastic Pollution Mitigation Fund, which will dedicate $500 million per year for the next decade – paid for by industry – to fund the monitoring and mitigation of plastics pollution primarily in disadvantaged, low-income, and rural communities.
I am in favor of LA County and the City of Los Angeles efforts to ban certain single-use plastics. As a County Supervisor I will lead efforts to ensure that LA County takes the necessary steps to build on these efforts toward becoming a “zero-waste” region. This would include ensuring that County Departments have zero-waste practices at County facilities and events.
Priorities of mine would include:
Assistance for full-service restaurants that do not have adequate dishwashing facilities to help them comply, especially small businesses in underserved communities.
A review of whether timelines to meet requirements are being tracked and are adequate to meet our goals.
Ensuring that the County Department of Public Works and the Department of Public Health, who both have purview, are collaborating effectively and have the resources they need.
- 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?
Similar to my answer above, I would allocate funds in the County Budget to help small businesses and restaurants to transition from the use of EPS and Styrofoam. We need to support businesses who may not have adequate equipment and facilities to increase their capacity to transition.
I would be creative in goal setting and would give restaurants with 100 seats or fewer a little more time to comply.
- 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 authored a bill in the State Assembly that helps homes remove outdated turf and replace it with low water usage plants.
While the environmental impacts of artificial turf installations are sound, I support studying the economic impacts of artificial turf installations and push for a transition back to grass, especially with public facilities. I know these turf fields have an impact on athletic performance and injury that have paused more investment as well. The Counties Cash for Grass Rebate Program is a good start. Currently, the Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts offer customers a rebate for removing water-inefficient grass with drought-tolerant landscaping. I would review the current rebate rates of $1, with a minimum requirement of 500 sq. ft. and maximum of $5,000, to determine if the formula should be adjusted to increase participation. I am also open to helping low-income households access some part of the rebate before the completion of the drought conversion project.
- 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?
No. Transportation is directly related to climate, safety and mobility. Our transportation budget should be aligned with our climate, safety, and mobility needs and goals. I am in favor of allocating the necessary budget expenditure that we need to support existing biking and walking trips and to also encourage more walking and biking across California. I will prioritize projects in our Transportation budget that will help us tackle the climate crisis and meet the aggressive emission targets that we have set for ourselves. I will also prioritize helping underserved communities and communities of color access more walkable and bikeable options. I do not have the specific % increase in mind but would work with the Glendale Environmental Coalition, other climate action stakeholders, and community members to determine the specific number.
I am proud to have a 99% 2019 Environmental Score Card and have always stood strong against interests who stand in the way of a transition to a carbon-free economy. I advocated and fought for the Gold Line when alternative modes of transportation did not have the support that they enjoy today. But I knew that it was the right thing to do and was also proud to help extend the Gold Line further, securing $290 million in funding for six new stations and introducing a plan to have the Gold Line connect the Burbank and Ontario airports, which would likely extend Metro service to Glendale. In the Assembly, I also helped pass legislation that requires idle and abandoned oil and gas wells to test for atmospheric emissions of hydrocarbon pollutants. There was fierce opposition to that bill as well, but I saw it through, and you can expect no less of me as your County Supervisor.
- Would you support state-subsidized free mass transit throughout the state to increase transit use and decrease vehicle miles traveled?
I am proud of my work to move California towards free mass transit. Last year, I introduced AB 610, which would create the Student Transit Pass Pilot Program to fund the development and implementation of fare free transit passes to California students. The bill also requires a report on the program’s outcomes, including whether the program increased transit ridership among student users, to be submitted to the Legislature. This bill was inspired by my 2022 transit bill, Assembly Bill 1919, which would have required transit agencies to provide free youth transit passes to youth 25 years or younger. I commit to looking at similar and more expansive free-transit programs LA Metro is not as fair dependent as other systems and that should allow us more flexibility in applying free-transit pilots similar to the ones we implemented during the pandemic.
- 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 would increase composting initiatives in LA County. We should also make it cheaper and easier for residents to get compost bins. There also needs to be more education and outreach about the ease of composting and I would support allocating the necessary resources to increase outreach for upstream. Finally, I would support funding the necessary composting facilities that we need to build in LA County.
- 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?
LA County needs to expand parks and prioritize underserved communities like South Glendale and neighborhoods where vulnerable populations. The county has begun to use equity as a guide for preservation and expansion and commit to supporting the funding streams necessary to achieve equity. I also support expediting the creation of small parks on vacant lands.
We also need to preserve the parklands that we have. I consider our parklands and recreational areas part of our heritage and want them to be available to California’s children for generations to come. That is why I authored AB 1767 which increased the maximum fine for dumping, vandalism or destroying property on Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy properties and increased the fine for infractions. Because state bonds used to fund much of the SMMC cannot be used for maintenance, the bill would require that the fines be used to pay the costs of any repairs or clean up related to those violations.
- 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 support legislation to source 100% of Los Angeles County’s electricity from carbon free renewable resources by December 2030 and I support legislation to end the extraction and production of fossil fuels in Los Angeles County by December 2030. In addition, we should end the distribution and sale of fossil fuels in Los Angeles County by December 2035. I am not accepting or soliciting contributions from the Fossil Fuel industry in this race.
- 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 served for 20 years on the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority both as a member and as President. I was an early advocate for the Gold Line as a more environmentally sustainable option and led the planning and execution of the initial stops connecting Pasadena to Downtown LA. In the Assembly, I helped extend the Gold Line further, securing $290 million in funding for six new stations and introducing a plan to have the Gold Line connect the Burbank and Ontario airports, which would likely extend Metro service to Glendale.
I am a lifelong foothills resident, I have a lifetime of friendships and colleagues from Glendale. I am honored to have the support of my friend Assemblymember Laura Friedman who is also a former Mayor of Glendale and former Glendale City Councilmember. The community has been a part of my family’s life and we have long enjoyed cultural activities, gatherings in Verdugo and Brand Parks, shopping, and dining with loved ones in Glendale.