Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on July 15, 2008
Los Angeles is city of smog and silicone, strips malls and SUVs. While there are some gems like Griffith Park and the Malibu shoreline, the general consensus is that LA is about as natural as Nicole Kidman’s brow line. But don’t get depressed, organizations like Green LA are ensuring that the city gets the environmental TLC it deserves.
75 environmental leaders from Green LA met with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in late ‘07 to discuss eleven pressing issues, or “asks” — ranging from water to transportation, energy to the port. Here are the highlights:
On the issue of the urban ecosystem and water, the group advocated that the mayor declare a state of drought in order to trigger reductions in water consumption as well as appoint a Deputy level staff member to look into public finance alternatives to fund parks.
On transportation, they requested political leadership to implement a 13-mile bus-only lane on Wilshire Boulevard to be completed by 2009.
On the port, group wants the mayor to direct port staff to comply with the missed and current deadlines before allowing further expansion projects. These include reducing emissions from port trucks (partially met); adopting the “San Pedro Bay Standards” to reduce air pollution levels to federal air quality standards (not yet met); and the use of tariffs to encourage port tenants to use cleaner marine fuels (met).
Finally on the issue of energy, the group suggested that the DWP’s renewable energy contracts (which are currently languishing) be approved and implemented. Also, continued investment in energy efficiency, i.e. “$100 million towards green building retro-fits for city facilities”; and the creation of a public process with City agencies on greenhouse gas plans to enhance the public’s understanding of the issues.
Other general requests included committing to regular meetings with Green LA and the creation of a Citywide Sustainability Plan — part of which features a stakeholder process so that residents can buy in.
Getting people invested in their future. Now, that’s a smart plan. Perhaps then LA can get its well deserved face-lift. Au naturale, of course.