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?
I support energy policies that are accessible and equitable to all consumers. I believe providing realistic solutions that are easily adoptable by all citizens is the best way to fight climate change. Folks need to have access to the resources necessary to make green alternatives an option for them. Addressing the climate crisis is one of my priorities as a legislator. Living in this beautiful state that has struggled with the effects of climate change, and experiencing how devastating the impacts of climate change are has made this a passion of mine. In the legislature, I will continue working towards a zero-emission future, which is a priority. I believe it is essential to establish funding dedicated to increasing accessibility to green solutions for individuals, especially those from low-income households, as well as renters and the middle class. It is crucial to create infrastructure to deal with the constant droughts and fires that climate change has brought to our district. I will champion maintaining and increasing the budget dedicated to ensuring climate justice as an Assemblymember. I will work with stakeholders to understand what funding is necessary and how to maintain it to benefit our communities. As a legislator, I would support government incentive programs that encourage building owners to make changes towards decarbonization and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As decarbonizing is crucial in achieving California’s climate goals, I think it important that there are laws and programs in place to support efforts towards decarbonization. Along with financial incentives I support increasing education and resources for all Californians and meeting our residents and businesses where they are at. It’s not just about the policies we pass, but the implementation of those policies and how we make them accessible to individuals and families who don’t have the capital to invest, have language barriers, and simply don’t know how to navigate our bureaucratic systems to get the resources they need. As a Council Member in Glendale, I am both proud and sad to have been the lone voice against Glendale’s Grayson Power Plant, the Scholl Canyon plant, and in support with my colleagues of closing the Scholl Canyon Landfill, electrification of our fleet, electrification and reach codes, reaching 100% clean energy by 2035, 10% solar by 2027, and in championing proper community outreach and education for our programs and initiatives, expanding our public benefit programs, creating educational partnerships with our schools for recycling. As an Assemblymember, I look forward to continuing to be an environmental justice champion who builds coalitions, leads with thoughtfulness and courage.
- What specific “upstream” policies would you sponsor/support to address the plastics problem, NOT involving recycling, which has been a failure?
It’s not just policies, but the impact the policies we create that count. We are living in times when our lawmakers are more interested in the headline news a policy will get rather than the actual impact and implementation of that policy. I have fought for upstream and downstream policies to address the plastic problem, always bringing to the forefront the implementation of those policies. I am committed to continuing to advocate for policies and regulations that reduce our reliance on plastics statewide. I will support policies that are accessible and equitable in their approach and easy for communities to adopt. I look forward to championing policies that make the greatest impact in that space including helping our schools, our hospitals and the greatest plastic waste industries transition to reusables, all the while creating coalitions for proper community outreach and engagement for our diverse communities.
- 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 restaurants transition away from EPS?
I would propose incentive and financial support programs to support small businesses with any financial concerns related to making these environmental changes. I am a proud supporter of our mom and pop shops and will continue to advocate for solutions that support their development. I know that EPS and Styrofoam products are harmful to the environment. Not only will I champion for changes and education, but I will also support policies to further restrict the use of these products while uplifting business owners. Both can be done and if we are serious about the impact then we must have a collaborative and helpful approach to be successful. I do not believe in passing policy without properly supporting our mom and pops during the transition. As a city councilmember, I advocated for decisions that would include essential outreach to stakeholders including restaurants and other small businesses, and incentive or supportive programs during the transition. I support going after larger businesses and corporations for their single use plastic and waste, especially since these businesses have the resources and ability to make these changes, and looking at different industries and spaces that create the most waste. We must be unapologetic in the investments we make to address our climate crisis.
- 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 know that there are major concerns with the use of artificial turf because of its dangerous chemical off-put and the harm it causes to the environment. I would support increasing incentives to reduce the use of artificial turf and choose more environmentally friendly options for individuals. I believe there needs to be more substantial support and resources available to constituents to make green changes that are more supportive of the environment. Access is my priority in all of my legislative decisions. I believe programs that financially support and offer information to people on how to make environmentally friendly changes are the most accessible options. I absolutely would support legislation that incentivizes real grass.
- 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 do think there needs to be increases in funding allocations for active transportation and transit across the state. I believe it needs to be at least 18%, ideally more, to compensate for the current demand and accommodate the increased need as our residents start to transition to relying less on cars. I believe additional funding should increase the infrastructure to support more walking/biking commuter options – issues that are near and dear to my heart, which I have supported as a councilmember. I also support additional funding for expanding green spaces across the state to further encourage active transportation options.
- Would you support state-subsidized free mass transit throughout the state to increase transit use and decrease vehicle miles traveled?
Absolutely. I believe there needs to be swift action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California and increase environmentally friendly transportation options. Public transportation is also the lifeline for our working class residents. I support policies that encourage these changes while also protecting the current transportation workforce. To make actual change in the VMT in California we need to increase transportation options. I have been a champion of this issue in Glendale and will continue to advocate for funding and programs to increase public transportation options statewide. I will also look to partner with stakeholders and experts to better understand effective strategies to reduce transportation emissions. I will always work with community partners and impacted populations to understand how legislative changes toward green solutions impact them. Workers’ rights are my priority, I believe educating legislators on the impact climate policy has on folks is essential. I will be an advocate for workers in the legislature while also supporting a policy that takes aggressive efforts toward transmission emission reductions.
- 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 am the only councilmember in Glendale who lives in a multi family and if you’ve tuned into any council meeting when recycling is discussed, you’ve heard me talk about how we have failed at reaching our dense populations when it comes to recycling, composting. Most in multi-family units are unaware that the bins have changed, but many don’t know much about recycling, organic waste, etc. Older buildings also just have one trash chute that leads to one large trash bin. While we may have begun the work, we have a long way to go. I think providing a top down and bottom up educational programs that not only target our residents and businesses but our future generations is critical. As an immigrant who grew up in a working class family with language barriers, I know too well that teaching children will not only prepare our future generations, but the children will go home and teach their parents. It’s the story of every working class and immigrant community member. Thought out education programs coupled with funding for local composting and facilities must also come down from the state. I look forward to continuing my proactive relationship with GEC and other environmental organizations and leaders in developing programs, local composting initiatives and helping secure funding for our district which includes and our beloved Jewel City, Glendale which I’ve called home since I was 10.
- 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 an Assemblymember, I will fiercely advocate for the expansion of green spaces in our community, including South Glendale. While the recent redistricting chopped up our city into two Assembly districts, having grown up in south Glendale, having served on the Parks and Recreations Commission and now having the honor of serving as a Council Member, I will partner with the AD52 representative to get Glendale the resources it needs. Public green spaces are so important for the community’s public and environmental health. I believe there needs to be more direct policy and regulation that focuses on increasing green spaces in low income and dense communities. I will work with colleagues throughout the legislature and community based organizations in South Glendale to increase the park space and ensure changes are accessible. One of the first things I did as a council member was put in a request to our state representatives for $22 million funding allocation to be able to purchase a large lot for a big park in South Glendale.
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 a proud advocate against fossil fuels and will never accept money from the fossil fuel industry. I was the only Councilmember in Glendale to have voted against the Grayson and Scholl Biogas Powerplants. Grayson will probably be the last fossil fuel investment made by a city. It was not only an environmentally unfriendly decision, but fiscally irresponsible to invest $530 million dollars in dirty, outdated equipment when we MUST go clean. I recognize that we need to move away from fossil fuel usage in order to combat climate change. It is essential to the public health of our communities and to prevent further environmental injustice. However, I fully recognize that as these transitions take place, we need to be intentional about ensuring we support our workers. The tradespeople in these jobs are active contributors to our community and we cannot abandon them. We must invest in new technologies and program training that help transition our workers as the industry itself moves away from fossil fuels. Any transition also must include a plan to ensure the workforce is safeguarded. I also believe that as we transition off of fossil fuels in consumer products we create accessible incentive programs to support individuals in making these environmentally conscious switches. There needs to be more intention in the legislature to ensure that all communities are considered when developing climate solutions.
- 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?
As a Glendale City Council Member, I am obviously well versed on our environmental concerns, and one of my priorities is environmental justice. One of my personal concerns is the lack of proper community outreach, education and engagement to address our environmental concerns and more so having policies on paper that aren’t being implemented to their potential, and most of it comes from both the bureaucratic processes as well as lack of funding available. In the legislature, I will focus on continuing my work on sustainability efforts in areas that are historically underserved and underrepresented. Access to open space, breathing clean air, drinking safe water are the bare minimum standards – and all too often we are failing our working families. I also want to ensure that public transit is accessible and convenient for people to use, and safe for people to walk and bike to get where they need to go, all while taking care of our environment. We are failing our future generations and our low income communities who do not have access to proper public transit, and that needs to change. I will proudly support or sponsor legislation that would address climate injustice in California. I believe that the effects of climate change disproportionately impact communities of color, immigrant communities and the working class and that there needs to be proactive legislation that addresses that. I think one way to approach climate injustice and the inequity in environmental damage is through strategic planning around the introduction of green jobs and economies as well as how we structure our rebate and incentive programs. One shouldn’t have to have the capital to invest, go through the mazy paperwork then get a rebate to switch to greener alternatives. Policies that focus on prioritizing racial justice and economic equity in the creation of green jobs should be introduced at the state level. I will champion issues that achieve climate justice across the state and work with relevant stakeholders to do so. I also believe that part of achieving climate equity can be found in increasing transportation options within our communities and impactful funding programs to help Glendale achieve its green energy goals.
As a City Council member, I have been a champion of increasing transportation options in Glendale. In the state legislature, I would advocate for funding to increase transportation statewide with an emphasis on clean transportation options and focusing on connecting disadvantaged communities. Through every issue I encounter as a legislator, especially issues relating to climate justice, I will advocate for the issue that most directly advances equity and access. As an immigrant, I know how challenging accessibility can be. I want to ensure that as we advance green economies across the state, we prioritize making jobs accessible to all members of our communities. Not only jobs, but information on climate change or local green initiatives. Access to information for hard to reach populations is crucial in advancing climate justice. The only way to support communities in combating the impacts of climate is to ensure they have accurate, relevant information available to them. We also must make sure that the green energy programs are also geared towards multifamily and renters and incentive programs are instant vs. rebate based. Most of the public benefit programs currently available whether it be solar, HVAC switches or recycling are for single family homeowners and with the assumption that individuals have the capitol to invest, know how to submit paperwork then to be refunded, leaving out our low income and middle class, renters and those in multifamily communities and constituents with language barriers.