A Breathe of Fresh Air
We want clean air
For politicians and shippers the message is clearCalifornians are ready for tougher controls on air pollution. Are their elected officials ready to respond?
The recently released study on state residents' attitudes toward pollution, by the Public Policy Institute of California, has particular relevance to the Long Beach area as it grapples with the rapid expansion of port operations. A majority of Californians cite air pollution as their No. 1 environmental concern, and an even greater majority see cargo ships, trucks and trains as a large part of the problem.
Secondly, the survey indicates that Californians are willing to support stronger steps to protect the environment and reduce air pollution, even at a potential personal cost. About 70 percent of residents, across the political spectrum, favor tougher pollution controls on the shipping industry (mainly cargo ships, trucks and trains) even if it raises the costs of doing business.
Californians may disagree on a great many issues, but we're very united when it comes to protecting our air, water and other natural resources. The PPIC study confirms this, and gives our elected leaders some clear marching orders.
Heres another one again from the Long Beach Press Telegram:
Righting port's courseNew L.A. commission now can align waterfront plans with community's needs.
According to documents obtained by the L.A. Times under the Public Records Act, it turns out that a port finance director, Lou Colletta, warned that consultants' estimates were too rosy, and that the project's rate of return could be only a tenth of the projected 5 percent return. (The port's usual policy is to expect a 12 percent return.)
Also, despite a warning from the L.A. city attorney's office that a fuller public process was required, the port pushed ahead with a relatively small part of the project, a $44 million promenade extension, some piers, a parking lot and park space. Last month, port officials were about to proceed with a contract to improve Cabrillo Way Marina and adjacent land despite opposition of the city's chief administrative officer until then-Mayor-elect Villaraigosa asked them to postpone the action.
Further, some local residents, the presumed beneficiaries of a cleaned-up waterfront, don't like everything they see coming. And some were incensed to learn that they had been left out of some of the planning. It seems that members of a port advisory commission didn't know about a report providing a timeline and cost estimates for the waterfront redevelopment until the L.A. Times managed to get a copy of it.
You might say this project has become controversial. And you might say it's time the new mayor start pulling together some of the unraveling pieces.
He did that Wednesday, by replacing all five members of the L.A. Harbor Commission. The five are S. David Freeman, former general manager of the L.A. Department of Water and Power; Jerilyn Lpez Mendoza, an environmental lawyer; Douglas Paul Kraus, general counsel for a bank; Kaylinn L, Kim, a lawyer in private practice; and Joe Radisich, president of the Southern California District Council of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
Two of the appointees, Freeman and Mendoza, are outspoken advocates for environmental reform, which is especially good news for the port's neighbors and for the region. (That could be matched by the Port of Long Beach, which just committed $100 million to cleaner air. The twin ports of L.A. and Long Beach are the biggest single source of diesel pollution from ships, trucks, trains and machinery.)