The Environment

As a child growing up in Silver Lake, I can remember vividly playing outside with my neighborhood friends on summer days, coming in at dusk with a strange tickle in my lungs when I breathed deeply. In those days, it was not strange for the Los Angeles basin and surrounding areas to have 1st, 2nd and even 3rd stage smog alerts. Air quality was embarrassingly abysmal; a byproduct of the pollution resulting from a confluence of local economic activity and our unique geography that traps the pollution.

Thankfully, local authorities took action, forming the Los Angeles Air Pollution Control District in 1947. California’s legislature acted as well. The Air Resources Board (ARB) was created by the legislature in 1967. Government played a role, regulating—and in some cases prohibiting—activity. Today, our region’s air is MUCH cleaner than it once was. And it is getting cleaner.

In the early 2000s, the research office of the California State Senate released a report entitled The Myth of Jobs vs. Resources. The report was earth-shattering in its conclusion: in every economic measure, “states with stronger environmental policies out-perform states with weaker policies.”[1]California is such a state—we have some of the most stringent and effective environmental rules in the union. Despite complaints from some in our community about such government actions, California’s economy has thrived. But, the policies we have today are the result of unique tensions between environmentalists and economic actors on multiple fronts of mutual interest—over water, habitat conservation and preservation, air quality and development. Together, either by compromise or due to circumstance (such as which party is in power), our state has struck a balance that has to this point been made to work.

The 43rd district encompasses a significant swathe of the Angeles National Forest all the way up Acton. Much of the action to preserve this location’s beauty and habitat has already been taken and codified into law and regulation. But, this area’s maintenance requires constant vigilance. As your representative, I will continue to be a good steward of this area.

In short, I believe government, especially at the state level, has a significant role to play in all aspects of the environment. I am a beneficiary of such activity, having grown up here (I can literally breathe easier today). I stand ready to work with all leaders in the community to maintain and enhance our environment. This means business leaders, who are also important and interested stewards of the local and state environment, as well as environmentalists, who care deeply about California's spaces. We must ALL be at the table when a dispute or issue arises and work together to find common ground to move forward.

[1] Adapted from Rawls & Bean, California: An Interpretive History, 8th Ed.., 2001

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