Every month #ActiveSGV staff shares at least one thing you can do to support a more sustainable, healthy, and equitable San Gabriel Valley. Our February 2020 action opportunities revolve around actions to support Clean Air.
SGV Cities to Select SCAQMD Board Member February 6th
This may be the first time you’ve ever heard of it, but the “South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)” oversees the quality of the air you breathe each and every day. The board has a lot of influence over what, if anything, is done to address air pollution in southern California, which remains among the most polluted air basins in the United States (and world!).
Unfortunately after decades of consistent improvements our air quality has been on the decline the last several years. In 2018 we all suffered from the longest streak of unhealthy air in decades -- 87 consecutive days of smoggy air. The local effects of climate change -- hotter weather, less rainfall -- are expected to make things even worse unless we redouble efforts to reduce local sources of air pollution.
The SCAQMD board is composed of 12 members, one of whom represents the San Gabriel Valley - Michael Cacciotti. A long-time champion of zero-emission technology, public transit, and active transportation, Mr. Cacciotti is a clean air advocate who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He remains one of the only AQMD representatives (or public officials at any level in the SGV) to actually use public transit on a regular basis, commuting to work and events across the SGV via Metro and Foothill Transit. He also regularly walks and/or uses a bike to get to transit.
Other members of the board are not as supportive, a troubling reality at a time when prioritizing cleaner forms of mobility (the #1 source of emissions in our region and state) are critical to reaching our climate and air quality. Over the past decade the AQMD board has also been very divided insofar as how to address air pollution, with a single vote often deciding whether to promote unfunded voluntary efforts to reduce air pollution, or require the biggest polluters to clean up their act. Industry groups supported by major polluters (including oil refineries and petroleum manufacturers) are largely responsible for this state of affairs. These groups have worked quietly behind the scenes to remove AQMD board members that support science-based regulatory actions to clean our air.
Every four years 34 Mayors in the SGV get to select our representative to the board. The selection process for 2020 has been scheduled for Thursday, February 6th at El Monte City Hall. You can speak up for clean air by either emailing your City’s Mayor and encouraging them to support clean air and board incumbent Michael Cacciotti, or attending the meeting in person and doing so via public comment.
Attend the Meeting
Better Buses: Metro to Host NextGen Meetings in the SGV
Making buses more comfortable, convenient, and frequent is critical to making public transit more appealing and accessible in Los Angeles County. In 2018, Metro began taking a step in that direction by reimagining its bus system to better meet the needs of current and future riders through the NextGen Bus Study. After nearly 300 meetings, events, presentations, and workshops, the Draft Plan has been released for review. If implemented, the NextGen Plan would be the most comprehensive overhaul of Metro bus service in decades.
Over the course of 2020 the public with have an opportunity to help shape and refine the final plan. Your first opportunity to do so is in February-March, when Metro will host a series of public input meetings across the County. Each meeting will cover the same material, so attend whichever is most convenient for you. Here's the list of SGV-area meetings:
Gold Line Eastside Extension
As construction is underway to extend the Gold Line to Pomona, planning continues for an east-side extension from the southern terminus at Atlantic Blvd in Monterey Park. Two route options are still under consideration:
Which do you prefer? Metro is conducting a round of community meetings to share the latest information on the project. Learn more and share your feedback at one of these meetings.
Want to learn more? Check out ActiveSGV's new podcast, ActiveLab