CA-33 Issues

CALIFORNIA'S BULLET TRAIN

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We need to modernize our transportation system to provide clean, green, efficient transit for people and businesses throughout the district and state. Our Bullet Train project is at the forefront for solutions of how we are going to do it, and along with  that comes jobs!

In 2006, the California Legislature passed and Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which set the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal into law. To meet that goal will require modernizing our public transportation.

In 2008, Californians went to the polls and voted for Prop 1A authorizing the planning and initial funding for a modernized Bullet Train project which will connect Los Angeles to San Francisco with possible future plans to extend the train down to San Diego and up beyond the Bay area.

Once upon a time, Los Angeles had a great public transit system known as the Red-line. It was infamously deconstructed by a consortium of the oil, tire, and auto companies in the early part of the last century and we have been struggling with the issue of public transportation ever since, being surpassed in technology, and completely missing the bus (so to speak) when it comes to staying modernized in our public transit for far too long. A look at our system compared to those abroad- across Europe, throughout China and Japan - is like taking a trip backward through a time machine. At long last we are stepping ahead with a giant leap, and not a minute too soon. 

At present, our state has over 32 million registered vehicles, more cars and trucks that travel billions more miles than any other state. 

Without high-speed rail, the existing transportation infrastructure cannot possibly meet our transportation needs or achieve the goals set forth to combat the climate crises.

While some decry the cost of the project, it must be noted that the only alternative for improved public transit is to pay for more freeways, highway lanes, and airport runways, with untold costs in the effect on our environment — water and air quality, open space, our food supply, noise, and of course, the most urgent challenge facing us, our crises of climate.

I am completely onboard for California’s Bullet Train!

REDONDO BEACH POWER PLANT

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A little over a year ago, Redondo Beach residents  voted on a ballot initiative that would have rezoned the area where an outdated and no longer compliant fossil fuel spewing power plant still stands. The rezoning would have insured that no new power plant would replace it. 

Much money was spent to confuse the issues surrounding the power plant and, lacking support of key elected representatives, the ballot initiative was narrowly defeated.

The voices of the most credible and powerful elected officials were needed to clarify the matter, but they chose to remain silent. Many residents had been led to believe that their energy needs were dependent upon the operation of the plant and that prices would soar if the rezoning law went into effect-it simply wasn’t true. 

 So let us clarify now.

  • The current plant is going to be retired.  Their contract is up in 2018 and the State has banned their use of the ocean to cool their operations. The owner of the plant, AES, wants to build a new power plant at the same location.  
  • The power plant rarely operates and is not required to supply anyone’s power needs.  
  • The energy produced by the Redondo plant goes to the main grid, it does not stay local, and it does not reduce the cost of power for anyone.  
  • The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) tracks the pollution generated each year by major polluters such as the AES Redondo plant.  They publish this data. Last year, the Redondo power plant emitted 187 tons of carbon monoxide, as well as worrisome levels of numerous other dangerous pollutants.  
  • If a new plant is built, it will generate less pollution per megawatt generated, but it will run at least 5 times more, releasing many more tons of dangerous pollutants for decades.     

I am in strong agreement and support of the Tear Down This Power Plant movement and the No Power Plant organization and its goals.  I believe divesting of this fossil fuel burning, polluting, greenhouse gas-emitting eyesore is an immediate priority. We can get the energy we need from energy conservation and renewable energy sources.

 

 

 

SILICON BEACH & ME

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Innovators, game changers, trailblazers: Silicon Beach and an Independent, citizen funded Congresswoman- the next big things!

There is nowhere it could happen first but here. Silicon Beach, located in the heart of the 33rd district, and this campaign! We don’t do same ole, same old here, when we start something new it becomes a national trend within 5 years, and it usually doesn’t take that long.

Technology, synergy, and organic innovation among the ionic forces of surf, sand, and glittering brilliance is creating a force multiplier that will reverberate around the globe. 

It is absolutely no surprise that companies like Microsoft are zooming in on this energy and it is no surprise that that same energy is fueling our groundbreaking campaign.

Every day, new technologies make it easier than ever for audiences to connect with the communities and the ideas that matter to them. As someone who worked for decades to bring alternative and powerful messages to mainstream America, I understand just how profound a free and open Internet has been for all of us. As a member of Congress, I will be a powerful ally and passionate advocate to guard against misguided legislation like CISPA, and its predecessors-SOPA and PIPA, which would handcuff and stifle the Entrepreneurs of Silicon Beach, and must never come to be law. I am the only candidate in this race speaking out against the TPP, in fact I am yelling it from the rooftops, and make no mistake the multi-national coup d’état known as the Trans Pacific Partnership, will not only override our national sovereignty on labor and environmental laws, it will affect our internet laws and regulations as well. The Internet is too important to our economy, our culture, and our understanding of ourselves to let corporate controlled politicians make drastic or fundamental changes to the way it works. As someone who has fought to make my own voice heard over the noise of corporate media, and as Silicon Beach's representative in the U.S. Congress, I will ensure that the technology industry remains free to innovate,  and to succeed!

Expanding Technological education programs, as well as improving broadband accesses nationally, are investments we must make. A national public wiring project to get the whole country up to modern standards and leading the way, is an imperative component to the Green New Deal,  and is the cornerstone of my vision for our nation.

Silicon Beach is the natural partner to our vibrant, innovative, and creative forces in the 33rd district, which also include Aerospace and Entertainment This is the  sowing ground where imagination, genius, and limitless possibilities abound! 

 

 

LAX EXPANSION

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Under the expansion plan, Los Angeles International Airport's northern-most runway will be moved away from the central terminal, closer to the communities of Westchester and Playa Del Rey. This will allow for the construction of an airplane-taxiing lane that would accommodate the largest airplanes.

Despite the fact that proponents of the project say the expansion would increase safety and generate jobs, SEIU union members oppose the project for reasons of health to the surrounding communities where they and their families live. 

Residents of those nearby neighborhoods are concerned about air quality. Understandably so, the U.S. Citizens Aviation Watch Association (CAW), a coalition of concerned municipalities and advocacy groups, cites several studies linking pollutants common around airports--diesel exhaust, carbon monoxide and leaked chemicals, including lead--to cancer, asthma, liver damage, lung disease, lymphoma, myeloid leukemia, and even depression. CAW is lobbying for the clean up of jet engine exhaust as well as the scrapping or modification of airport expansion plans across the country. In 2011, a Duke University study found that children living close to airports, where leaded fuel is used, have elevated blood lead levels. And as Kevin Drum wrote in his Mother Jones piece, even low blood lead levels have bad health and social consequences.

Currently, aviation fuel is the largest source of lead emissions in the U.S. and will continue to be for at least the next four years. 

The FAA has asked, but has not mandated fuel producers to offer options that would safely allow general aviation aircraft to stop using leaded fuel by 2018.

The L.A. City Council voted 10-3 in favor of the expansion project. Airport officials say they could break ground on the north runway plan in four years. 

As a congresswoman, I will do everything in my power to put off the expansion plans at LAX until safer fuels and higher environmental and health standards are in place.

LABOR UNIONS

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These are unnerving times for American workers, who work more, but earn less. While corporations post record profits, the middle class is shrinking. Not since the time of the Great Depression, has income disparity been this great. While CEOs make millions and corporations make billions, Americans making the minimum wage are struggling to make ends meet.  America is becoming a land of low paying jobs and the we are losing the opportunity to achieve the American dream. 

It is clear that strengthening labor unions is a pathway to rebuilding our middle class. The expansion and contraction of the American middle class during the past century is in direct correlation to the expansion and contraction of public and private union jobs available to American workers. At the height of America’s middle class expansion during the last century, Union jobs and income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans were at the highest levels in history. 

While the right to form a union and engage in collective bargaining is enshrined in U.S. and international human rights laws, unfortunately, for too many workers it is a right that exists only on paper. Workers who join together to form unions face intense employer opposition and harassment.  Labor law is in dire need of reform to return its original intent of allowing workers to come together and form unions and to bargain collectively with their employers over working conditions, wages and benefits. 

When elected, I will publicly support workers who are forming unions by reaffirming the importance of unions to our communities and by taking actions on behalf of workers such as contacting employers and urging them not to interfere with employee free choice, issuing public statements in support of workers, honoring picket lines as I always have done, sponsoring public forums and otherwise supporting union organizing.  I will support efforts to improve and defend labor law and oppose efforts to undermine agencies that protect workers’ rights like the National Labor Relations Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.I will support raising the minimum wage. Please support me with your vote on June 3.

 

HERMOSA OIL DRILLING PROJECT

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For decades past, rapacious oil interests have pursued the black gold that lies beneath Hermosa Beach, even bringing the city’s very existence to the brink under lawsuits over unseen plunder.

  • 1932 Hermosa residents voted to ban new drilling within the city. 
  • 1992 Santa Monica-based Macpherson Oil dangled the prospect of tens of millions of dollars in royalties, the voters in a moment of moral weakness, voted to lift the ban. 
  • 1995 Voters approve Proposition E, which restored the previously held ban on drilling.  
  • 1998 Following a report by the California Coastal Commission that raised safety concerns regarding the project, City Council voted to halt the project. In turn, Macpherson Oil sued the city for breach of contract, claiming as much as $750 million in damages. The legal case dragged on for 14 years, leaving city leaders fearing it might bankrupt the town. 
  • One month before a jury trial was scheduled to begin last year, the city announced it had settled the suit. As part of the deal, E&B Natural Resources would buy Macpherson's stake in the deal for $30 million and limit the city's liability to $17.5 million. But there was one major caveat: E&B could again ask Hermosa voters to overturn the drilling ban. 
  • The current leaseholder, E&B Natural Resources as part of a settlement, has agreed to allow a ballot measure to permit the residents a say in the decision to compromise their precious, pristine environment.  
  • The carrot being dangled is a half billion in revenue over twenty years, but this figure is misleading. The State Lands Commission’s public trust policy requires funds derived from the Tidelands be used for specific projects. The amount of actual revenue that will go into the general fund will be $4.39 million per year over 20 years. 
  • At present, the city is debt free with Hermosa Beach City assets exceeding their liabilities by $80 million; Hermosa can afford to pay the settlement.

Hermosa Beach completed an Environmental Impact Report in the 1990s for this exact location and the Macpherson Oil Project, it concluded that an Oil Drilling Project at 6th and Valley was unsafe and the air quality impact would be too harmful. 

While under the best of circumstances, it is clear that this project poses a threat to the well being of the residents nearest the project site, an unforeseen accident or natural disaster affecting this project could potentially harm the entire Santa Monica Bay. It is time for green renewable energy. We must take the climate crises seriously, we must take the safety of our communities seriously, and we must stand with the residents of Hermosa Beach who are standing strong to “Keep Hermosa Hermosa!"

I am strongly against the proposed E&B oil drilling project, or any future attempts to drill for oil in Hermosa Beach.

 

HABITAT PRESERVATION

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Preserving Our Seacoast Habitats

What is now called California’s 33rd district was once upon a time, and up until recnt years, a vibrant seabird and wetlands habitat. Areas we know as the Ballona Wetlands, Ballona Lagoon, Oxford Lagoon, Marina Marsh, Del Rey Lagoon, Great Blue Heron rookery at Mariners Village are all part of the historical Ballona Wetlands created by the confluence of the Los Angeles River and several other streams. Most of the natural habitat here has given way to modern development and the few open spaces left are frequently in peril from one moneyed interest or another. 

Preserving nature is not just a matter of quality of life for the animals who live here, it is a matter of quality of life for people too.

Great Blue Heron Rookery at Mariners Village

The last remaining parts of the Great Blue Heron rookery which has flourished in the last two decades is at Mariner Village, a residential complex in Marina del Rey that is a nature sanctuary, not only including nesting trees for these majestic birds, but also more than 1,000 mature trees.   The rookery, the trees and the historical charm of this residential complex is threatened with a new development.  I support full protection of the herons and their trees, and I also support the designation of Mariners Village as a historic site, perhaps part of a historic district - a designation that the National Park Service can make.

Del Rey Lagoon & Egret Park

Most of Del Rey Lagoon, south of the Marina channel, is also owned by the City of Los Angeles, and Egret Park - a part of the lagoon - is threatened with development.  As the Congress member for CD-33, I would work to secure Land & Water Conservation bond funding to acquire Egret Park and any other adjacent lands to Ballona that can add to the acreage supporting wildlife and open space on the Los Angeles coast.  

Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve 

I am opposed to any alteration of the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve lands that would remove life-filled soils, bulldoze habitat for wildlife or use public funds to support such destruction of nature.   Our connection with nature is fragmented, and Ballona can be an important place for citizens of our district to reconnect with nature, to better our relationship with the natural world that sustains and inspires us.   Since several federal agencies are involved with the permitting and potential funding of this project, as an elected representative I would use my office to prevent such a detrimental project from proceeding and, instead, engage these agencies with the interested public to support a complete community-engaged process for protecting the wildlife, wetlands, grasslands, meadows and dunes of Ballona.  I support the idea of making the Ballona Wetlands lands part of a National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service 

I am also opposed to the idea of a private foundation co-opting public land, or government's communications by owning and managing an internet website for the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.   This insertion of private interests on to public lands is unacceptable and something I will work to stop.    

When elected, I will immediately introduce a study bill for the National Park Service to look at the possibilities for establishing a Los Angeles Coast National Recreation Area, which would have the Ballona Wetlands as a centerpiece and consider the possibility for other areas along the coast to be included.    Such a designation would not only bring the strongest possible protection for wildlife and native plant populations, but it would also bring the possibility of federal funds for land protection in the coastal areas, as well as funding for eco-tourism related transportation, such as ferry service and other transportation options that could assist in clearing up some of our gridlock.

   

 

 

TOYOTA IS GONE - WHAT ABOUT JOBS?

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The loss of Toyota from Torrance to Texas is a big hit to the economy of the South Bay. While there is plenty of blame to go around, it is not the only sucking sound of jobs to be heard from our district.

Elon Musk’s solar energy company, Solar City, is  taking 900 good jobs to Nevada. With it go good education opportunities as well, as Solar City has already begun working with Nevada’s higher educational providers to develop programs to build a workforce educated in renewable energy. 

What Nevada is hailing as a significant catch for their economy, is a significant loss for ours.  This is only the first step in the company’s vision for growth, and the company will in the not too distant be future be adding many manufacturing and distribution centers for solar power equipment.

In addition to losing Solar City jobs to Nevada, California also didn’t make Tesla’s short list of potential states for the  very green battery manufacturing plant that Tesla Motors Inc. is getting ready to open. Elon Musk is close to naming sites in at least two U.S. states for a planned battery “gigafactory” and will break ground at each to ensure one is ready to supply lithium-ion packs when needed. Unfortunately, it will not be here. Musk explained that the regulatory process for approval in California was too slow to accommodate his plans.

With the loss of Boeing's 777X airplanes to Washington state and the loss for Northrup Grumman of orders for the FA-18 fighter jets (as well as other defense contracts that are winding down), we need to get very serious about how we are going to keep our most vibrant, cutting edge industries here. The pool of talent and skill in our aerospace and defense community is a jewel not only of our district, but of our country. We need to re-envision and re-purpose that talent — creating new sources of income that not only keep but actually add to the abundance of good, high paying jobs in our South Bay. 

Big incentives and fair tax codes are important of course, but they alone are not enough to stave off the job losses we’re experiencing. We need a strategic and modern approach to our situation now, including Congressional reallocation of wasteful defense spending to commercialization projects in the Aerospace and Defense industries. From expanding opportunities for space exploration and manufacturing, to repurposing of defense contractor’s missions toward modernized defense needs and disaster relief in the age of climate catastrophe, there are unlimited opportunities for unrealized growth. And more than anything else, we need a Green New Deal to rebuild America’s infrastructure using cutting edge green technologies. Nowhere is there a pool of skill and talent more prepared for that job than here in District 33.

We must ensure that green energy and technology jobs find a nurturing environment here, with a well educated public workforce, strategic education programs, and art as well as STEM education. Both our youth as well as our more mature workforce deserve all the support, preparation and opportunity to be tomorrow’s job creators and the support system they will need. We need to move forward with transcendent pragmatism that no career politician will bring; we need visionary and imaginative leadership which I look forward to providing both in Congress and in District 33.