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?
First, I would finally allow the permitting of solar and wind infrastructure in Antelope Valley, which has been blocked for the last few decades.
Second, I would use county dollars to invest in battery storage technology in order to research which systems operate best in our dry Southern California climate. Third, as a Metro board member, I would push to expand Metro service to the Antelope, Santa Clarita, and San Gabriel Valleys with a fully electric fleet.
Last, I would move forward with banning natural gas in all new construction and create incentives for multifamily and commercial buildings to build rooftop solar and replace vegetation on their green spaces to drought-tolerant native plants.
- What specific “upstream” policies would you sponsor/support to address the plastics problem, NOT involving recycling, which has been a failure?
Much like a carbon tax, municipalities should enact a plastics tax on manufacturing to curb the industrial output of plastics in commercial goods. This would encourage a reduction in plastics for packaging, single-use items, and could potentially address plastics for medical use.
- 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?
Cities like Burbank are moving forward with single-use plastics bans, and I would push to have Los Angeles County follow suit. In order to support small businesses, I would work to create a county fund to purchase sustainable packaging in bulk to be sold at cost to local 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 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’m in favor of banning artificial turf completely and incentivizing the use of reclaimed water and organic fertilizer for all grass fields.
Artificial turf sees heavy use and breaks down into microplastics. Since the major problems with natural grass are the water requirements and potential for toxic fertilizers seeping into the ground, mitigating both of those would eliminate the need for artificial turf.
- 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?
Statewide, we would need at least a 10-15% increase to meet our transportation goals. Locally, we have plenty of funding through recent tax measures to invest in major projects that would greatly benefit the region. LA Metro can afford to remove the fares from all trains and buses and replace expensive sheriff’s deputies with cheaper private security. I’m in favor of moving forward with light rail through the Sepulveda Pass corridor, adding Antelope Valley to Metro’s service area, and adding a stop on the Red Line to service the Burbank Airport.
Once completed, I would also be in favor of creating a plan to transition the NoHo-Pasadena BRT to light rail.
- Would you support state-subsidized free mass transit throughout the state to increase transit use and decrease vehicle miles traveled?
Yes. We should not charge people money for transit services that would be running regardless of ridership. We don’t charge people to drive on the street, so why do we charge people to ride the bus?
- 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?
Many small cities in Los Angeles County cannot afford to provide composting sites, so we must address this as a regional initiative. As supervisor, I would work to create regional composting sites that would directly benefit local jurisdictions using county funds as direct subsidies.
- 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?
The county has a number of revenue streams to build new affordable housing developments. I would partner with local jurisdictions like Glendale to make sure that funding goes toward developments that meet a minimum green space requirement.
In addition, I believe the county should add more grant-funding programs specifically for underserved communities lacking public park space.
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 Money Pledge (https://nofossilfuelmoney.org/).
I am the only candidate in this race who has taken the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge.
I’m committed to permitting the construction of 1,000 megawatts of solar and wind infrastructure in the Antelope Valley.
As supervisor, I will push to instruct the LA County Treasurer and Tax Collector to divest county funds from fossil fuel industries, much like we accomplished recently in Burbank.
I am also committed to fully banning all oil wells, fracking, and natural gas extraction countywide. Instead, we should be using county dollars to fund pilot programs for emerging technologies like hydrogen fuel cells, iron-flow batteries, and geothermal power.
- 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’ve been participating in environmental action for Glendale since the campaign to stop the Grayson Repowering Project. I have supported city council candidates including Dan Brotman and Karen Kwak and have attended numerous council meetings and school board meetings to advocate for positive impacts in the community.
I’ve attended meetings and participated in actions with the Glendale Tenants Union. I have also joined in demonstrations with Glendale parents to protect diverse curricula in schools. In Glendale, I often attend cultural events like Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and various Armenian holidays as well.