(October 3, 2006) -- The "Coalition for Clean Air" has chosen as "Greening Award Honorees" LB Harbor Commissioner President James C. Hankla and L.A. Harbor Commission President S. David Freeman...and will bestow the awards at an L.A. event on the evening of October 5 in a presentation by LB Mayor Bob Foster.
The event, titled "The Impact of the November Initiatives -- The Greening of California" will take place at the Museum of Tolerance auditorium.
Among those scheduled to represent the environmental community are Mark Burget of the Nature Conservancy, Tim Carmichael of the Coalition for Clean Air, Andy Lipkis of TreePeople, and David Nahai L.A. Water Board Commissioner. The event is sponsored by the Southern CA Gas Company.
Among the speakers will be Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D., Los Angeles) who authored the "greenhouse gases" measure...but is also believed to have played a role in having blocked a major port clean-air measure by State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV).
In the recently concluded legislative session, Senator Lowenthal authored SB 764 to ensure "no net increase" in air pollution with port expansion. Calling it the most important bill he'd introduced in his years in the state legislature, Sen. Lowenthal introduced the bill for a second time in 2005 after Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed an earlier version, AB 2042, in 2004. In 2005, Sen. Lowenthal also introduced SB 760 (became SB 927) to levy a fee on cargo containers for air projects, rail cargo projects and Port security.
The bills were backed by the City of Long Beach (unanimous 2005 votes of LB's City Council). The Port of LB remained publicly neutral on the measures...but both bills were opposed by the "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities" -- an entity in the which the Ports of LB and L.A. are both dues paying members.
In August, Sen. Lowenthal's "no net increase" bill was (without explanation) blocked from advancing to the Assembly floor by Appropriations Committee chair Assemblymember Judy Chu (D., Monterey Park). This occurred just days after Sen. Lowenthal advanced a bill to reform the drawing of political district lines, currently gerrymandered to permit the reelection of incumbents or party-backed replacements.
A Copley news service report, carried in the Daily Breeze, said Assembly Democrat leadership -- meaning Assembly Speaker Nunez -- was displeased by Sen. Lowenthal advancing his redistricting reform measure. Speaker Nunez's office has failed to return calls from LBReport.com on the matter pending since late August.
In September, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 927, the container fee bill.
The result leaves voters facing Prop 1-B -- which seeks to incur taxpayer debt to expand Port infrastructure capacity -- without the "no net increase" bill's statutory protection against worsened pollution and without the container fee's ongoing funding to clean it up.