Councilwoman Reyes Uranga Irked By Press Event Scheduled To Unveil PoLB-PoLA Clean Air Plan...Without Telling LB Councilmembers Specifics
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(June 28, 2006) -- 7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga, who has used multiple venues to advocate measures to curtail Port-related air pollution and was recently appointed to the SCAQMD governing board, voiced politely stated displeasure at the June 27 City Council meeting on learning that the Port of Long Beach will participate in a press event later today (June 28) to unveil a PoLB-PoLA "Clean Air Action Plan" that presumably addresses community concerns...but didn't discuss its specifics when the Port of LB was permitted to report favorably on its "Green Port" program at the June 20 Council meeting.
Councilwoman Reyes Uranga added that she had requested a briefing on specifics of the plan from Port of LB and City Hall staff...but didn't receive it.
An advisory for today's press event indicates the scheduled attendees include LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill and LB Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal.
Speaking during the "New Business" portion of the June 27 Council meeting (devoted mainly to swearing in new Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal), Councilwoman Reyes Uranga said:
Councilwoman Reyes Uranga: [refers to June 28 PoLB news conference scheduled to present]...a Clean Air Action plan that would really address some of the concerns that we as a community have had, and I am a little concerned that we didn't have that opportunity last week when they were here, that instead of presenting their "Green Port Plan" that they maybe could have used that opportunity to give us an update on the Clean Air Action Plan. Knowing that there's going to be a press conference tomorrow [June 28] I'm hoping that we could bring that back so that we could get a better understanding of what that all means to the community and to the city.
I have asked, and did ask for, some type of briefing from our staff and from Port staff, and we weren't able to receive that, so I guess we have to wait until the press conference.
But I think in light of continued discussion and support of transparency between the Port of Long Beach and the City of Long Beach, I think that that merits some kind of hearing at a Council meeting.
As previously reported by LBReport.com, at the June 20 Council meeting Councilwoman Reyes Uranga questioned Port officials after LBReport.com reported that the "CA Association of Port Authorities" (in which the Port of LB is a member) testified against SB 764 by State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV) that would establish air pollution baselines and a legal deadline for meeting them.
Port of LB officials replied that the Port itself was neutral ("aggressively neutral" said PoLB's Director of Community Affairs/Gov't Relations Carl Kemp) regarding SB 764. The legislation is supported by the City of Long Beach by an explicit City Council directive.
SB 764 cleared the committee on a 7-5 vote and advanced; it previously passed the State Senate.
Following presentation of the Port's first annual "Green Port" report prior to the SB 764 colloquy, LB Harbor Commissioner [and retired LB City Manager] James C. Hankla (elected president of Port's five-member governing board on June 27) came to the speaker's podium and said:
"I just want to assure this Council and members of the public, and I've seen 'em all, you've never had a Board of Harbor Commissioners so committed to working closely with the city as you have today, and that commitment will continue."
Today's news conference promises to announce a "landmark 'Clean Air Action Plan'" that is "the most comprehensive plan in U.S. seaport history to reduce air pollution and associated health risks generated from port-related operations (ships, trucks, trains, terminal equipment and harbor craft)."
Port of LB Says It's Neutral On Sen. Lowenthal's "No Net Increase" In Port Air Pollution Bill Despite Opposition To Bill By "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities"
Port of LB "Stealth Lobbying" Again Against City of LB Via "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities" Opposition To Sen. Lowenthal's "No Net Increase" In Port Air Pollution Bill; SB 764 Passes Ass'y Transportation Committee & Advances
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