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Long Beach Mayor, Councilmembers Mum Despite "Assault Our Lungs" Language -- Opposed By Clean Air Groups -- Added By Sac'to Dems To SB 1 Gas Tax Hike That Could Hurt LB and S.E. L.A. County Areas In "Diesel Death Zone" is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(April 6, 2017, 5:35 a.m.) -- Residents in Long Beach and cities along SE L.A. County's "diesel death zone" will be more heavily impacted -- in truck-created airborne toxics and associated health impacts -- than most of California if the state legislature (where Democrats gained 2/3 majorities in the November 2016 election cycle) votes in party lock-step today (April 6) to approve SB 1 (imposing 6 cent/gallon gasoline tax increase this July, totaling 12 cents/gallon in July 2019) plus vehicle registration fee increases.

On May 29, Sac'to Dem leaders inserted text in SB 1, opposed by the Coalition for Clean Air, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, that could dilute, delay or possibly derail anti-pollution measures aimed at curtailing truck pollution that continues to plague Long Beach, much of S.E. L.A. County and areas beyond. The added text, which the Coalition for Clean Air calls "Assault Our Lungs," was cynically inserted by Sac'to Dem leadership to gain trucking industry support for SB 1's 20 cent/gallon diesel fuel tax increase. Below are Long Beach-area elected officials who to our knowledge have not taken action as of April 5 to remove that Long Beach damaging text:

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  • State Senator Ricardo Lara (D, Long Beach-Huntington Park). He's proposed a "single payer" state government run health insurance system that he labels "Healthy California."

  • Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D, Long Beach-Lakewood-Paramount.) At a recent meeting of L.A. area lawyers, he noted disparate responses when pollution impacts working class versus affluent areas.

  • Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, Long Beach-San Pedro). Parts of his Assembly district are at ground zero for the Assault Our Lungs verbiage.

  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who on March 23 co-signed a letter with four other CA Mayors endorsing SB 1. To our knowledge, Mayor Garcia has taken no action(s) to insist on removal of the Assault our Lungs verbiage in SB 1. Among other things, he could have publicly called for the text's removal, withdrawn his support for SB 1 and withheld his support until the language is removed.

  • Long Beach Councilmembers Al Austin (chair), Lena Gonzalez Vice Chair) and Stacy Mungo (member) comprise the Mayor-chosen "State Legislation Committee." which last met on January 10 whem they made no voted recommendations on SB 1. On April 4, Committee chair Austin (whose district parallels the 710 freeway) boasted at a City Council meeting that City Hall's Committee/Council-approved "state legislative agenda" had helped advance SB 1 [which allocates part of its tax revenue for local road/street repairs.]

But as noted on April 4, the Committee and Council approved "state legislative agenda" doesn't mention gasoline tax increases. It states that Long Beach will support policies and legislation "to secure the maximum amount of State funding for the construction and maintenance of local roads, infrastructure, transportation projects and major corridors." And it also states that the City will "Support efforts to improve air quality" through the actions that include supporting policies and legislation that would enable the adoption of comprehensive and aggressive State air quality standards for mobile sources, including passenger vehicles [and] heavy-duty trucks, locomotives, and ships..."

In our view, that means the City of Long Beach should at minimum OPPOSE SB 1 unless Sac'to lawmakers remove the Assault our Lungs text...and the City's "state legislative agenda" doesn't mention support for regressive gasoline tax increases that isproportionately impact poor and working class residents.

For the record, below is the Assault our Lungs verbiage added by Sac'to Dem leadership to SB 1 on Mar. 29:

...(d) It is the intent of the Legislature for this section to provide owners of self-propelled commercial motor vehicles, as defined in subdivision (a), certainty about the useful life of engines certified by the state board and other applicable agencies to meet required environmental standards for sale in the state. This section is not meant to otherwise restrict the authority of the state board or districts.

(e) (1) The state board shall, by January 1, 2025, evaluate the impact of the provisions of this section on state and local clean air efforts to meet state and local clean air goals. The evaluation shall include a review of the following:
(A) Compliance with the truck and bus rule (Section 2025 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations).
(B) The benefits and impacts of measures enacted to improve local air quality impacts from stationary sources.
(C) State implementation plan compliance.
(2) As part of the study, the state board shall make recommendations to the Legislature on additional or different mechanisms for achieving those goals while recognizing the financial investments made by the effected entities. In developing the study, the state board shall take into account the report required in Section 38531 of the Health and Safety Code.
3) The state board shall hold at least one public workshop prior to the completion of the study.

Will ANY Long Beach area state Senator or Assemblymember, Democrat or Republican, make a floor motion today to remove the Assault our Lungs language from SB 1? plans to carry today's state Senate and (we expect) Assembly proceedings on SB 1 LIVE on our front page. As of dawn April 6, exact times are uncertain; we'll alert readers via Facebook and Twitter.

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