(June 3, 2006) -- Long Beach -- whose residents are impacted by pollution from the city's own Port, the adjacent Port of Los Angeles, four freeways and increased use of the city's Airport -- now has a hometown voice on the powerful South Coast Air Quality Management District governing board.
7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga has been named as the new representative of over sixty eastern L.A. County cities on the SCAQMD board, the air pollution monitoring and enforcement agency for urban portions of L.A., Riverside and San Bernardino counties and all of Orange County.
In a City Hall release, Councilwoman Reyes Uranga said, "The SCAQMD and affected cities must continue to find collaborative solutions to address the air quality in our basin. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as an advocate for clean air in the region. I will be actively promoting policies that could immediately start alleviating air quality health concerns to ensure a better future for our children."
LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill said in the release, "This is a crucial position for Long Beach and the region. Councilmember Uranga is a proven advocate for cleaner air and has been very active in our community by promoting and supporting legislation and rulemaking that would improve our regionís air quality. She is well known for engaging the community in solutions and being a strong voice for communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution."
City Manager Jerry Miller said in the release, "Councilmember Uranga has a proven history of working with a variety of stakeholders to create a universally accepted solution. For example, as Chair of the City Councilís I-710 Oversight Committee, Councilmember Uranga led an unprecedented community input process to design a locally-preferred strategy for improving the I-710 corridor that would protect residentsí homes and address air quality concerns, while balancing the need to improve our failing infrastructure."
The SCAQMD governing Board of Directors has 12 members: nine elected officials (four County Supervisors representing L.A., Orange Riverside and San Bernardino counties + five City Council members representing the cities in each County (because of its size, Los Angeles County has two representatives). The city's reps (such as Councilwoman Reyes Uranga are chosen by city selection committees.
To get the eastern L.A. County SCAQMD post, Councilwoman Reyes Uranga had to obtain a majority of the 61 cities in the Eastern Region (31 city votes) and obtain a majority (1.9 million) of the population of the Easter Region (3.8 million).
Three other SCAQMD Board members are appointed by state elected officials: one by the Governor; one by the Assembly Speaker and one by the State Senate Rules Committee.
The Eastern L.A. County area has been represented by Mayor Beatrice LaPisto-Kirtley of Bradbury since December 1998 The SCAQMD Board usually meets at AQMD's Diamond Bar headquarters on the first Friday of each month.
On April 11, LB's 7th Council district voters reelected Reyes Uranga to a second term on LB's City Council.