City of L.A. phasing out single-use plastic straws by 2021

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By 2021, all L.A. restaurants will phase out single-use plastic straws with NEW straws-upon-request policy.

LA City Councilman Mitchell Englander to Vacate His Seat December 31 to Join Oak View Group

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A Personal Statement from CD12 Councilmember Mitchell Englander

Dear [constituent],

Serving on the Los Angeles City Council has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life and has gone way beyond a career. I truly love what I do and who I work with.

Recently, I was presented with an amazing opportunity in the private sector to work with some of the most brilliant and well-respected leaders in their industry. While I didn’t seek this out – sometimes tremendous opportunities find you.

Second only to my marriage to Jayne of 25 years and the pride of raising my two daughters, Lindsey and Lauren, serving as Councilmember for the area I grew up in will forever be one of my life’s most significant and gratifying experiences. Given the joy I have received in serving the people of the 12th Council District, it is with great difficulty that I am announcing that I am vacating my Council seat as of December 31, 2018.

Together, we’ve weathered horrific emergencies and tragedies from fires, to train collisions, the largest gas blow-out in U.S. history, and more. Throughout these crises, our community always came together – never running away from, but always toward danger in order to help each other. We became even stronger.

We have accomplished so much together to improve our community and the lives of all residents for generations to come. Together, we have rebuilt parks and opened new ones. In fact, it was just last week that we broke ground on our new Bloom Park in Porter Ranch. We have opened new pools, established at-risk-youth facilities, expanded hospitals, fought to protect our neighborhoods from overdevelopment, protected horse-keeping, created a first-of-its-kind rescue mission shelter for homeless families, opened new veterans’ housing, completed massive community improvements and created new programs like Making Movies that Matter, Clean Streets – Clean Starts, Neighborhoods FIRST, E12 Student Leadership Academy, the City’s first ever Great Street, and so much more.

As Chair of the Public Safety Committee, I am so proud to have helped transform the Los Angeles Fire Department with the implementation of FireSTAT, which has improved response times, saving countless lives every day. We created new programs like our LAFD Fast Paramedic Response and Nurse Practitioner Unit (NPU), which completely revolutionized our fire department now and forever. We were also the largest police department to fully deploy on-body cameras to make sure we remain accountable to the public and to ensure our officers are even more protected. We have also eliminated our backlog for processing rape kits, a priority I set as mission critical.

This is only a fraction of what we have achieved together. The greatest gift has been working with the incredibly engaged and passionate people throughout the 12th District. My family and I are truly honored to have worked with thousands of volunteers who give selflessly to improve our neighborhoods and have forged lifelong relationships with so many.

I am also incredibly blessed to have worked with my fellow elected officials. While we didn’t always agree, I genuinely believe that each one of them has brought their own lifelong experiences to the table and will continue to fight hard for what they believe in. We’ve always shared a common goal – to leave the City and our community better than we found it. I will forever treasure the relationships I’ve shared with my colleagues and so many City staff over the last 15 years.

The most difficult part of this decision will be leaving my team that serves the 12th District every day. The staff of CD12 has been much more than just staff to my family and me. I consider each and every one of them family. I have been incredibly blessed with the best team in the entire City of Los Angeles. Their tremendous work on behalf of our constituents is unmatched, and their never-ending creative ideas and massive achievements are extraordinary. We have also been there for each other for so many milestones in our personal lives – celebrating weddings, funerals and newborns and so much more. My CD12 family will always be part of my family!

If I ever dreamed of fulfillment beyond what being a Councilmember has brought me, it would be to make a significant difference in many more lives and communities. This new endeavor will give me just that. The remarkable people I am joining are not only passionate about their work, they care deeply about improving lives in every community they work in – and they do. They have helped completely turn neighborhoods around, created tens of thousands of good paying jobs, invested significantly in community programs that make a difference, all while creating memories and bringing joy to millions of people throughout the world.

I will be staying on in my position as Councilmember until the end of this year and will remain laser-focused on continuing to represent my district as I have always done. My family and I will also remain deeply involved in all of our non-profit partnerships and volunteer programs for years to come.

It is with tremendous gratitude that my family and I thank you for giving us this opportunity to accomplish so much together over the past decade.

With sincere appreciation,

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LADWP Approves New Community Solar Power Program for Renters

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Pilot Program Targets Areas with Low Solar Penetration

LOS ANGELES (September 26, 2018) – Recognizing that a large segment of the city’s population is unable to benefit from solar power, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners voted September 25 to launch a new community solar program to improve solar equity for renters and to expand geographic diversity of solar projects in Los Angeles.

The pilot Shared Solar Program stems from LADWP’s Equity Metrics Data Initiative, which identified the need to expand the benefits of solar to renters as well as improve the geographic solar diversity in Los Angeles, bringing clean energy to more vulnerable communities.

The program will bring the economic and environmental benefits of this clean sustainable resource to customers who live in multifamily buildings and cannot participate in traditional solar programs. To broaden the geographic equity of local solar projects, the solar power will come in part from new projects built by LADWP in areas identified as having a lack of installed solar. These include economically disadvantaged communities as well as those designated by the city as “Clean Up Green Up” neighborhoods—Pacoima-Sun Valley in the East San Fernando Valley, Boyle Heights near downtown, and Wilmington in the Harbor area. If green-lighted by the City Council, LADWP expects to launch the program in January 2019.

“Every Angeleno should have access to clean energy, and you shouldn’t have to be a homeowner to be part of L.A.’s sustainable future,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The Shared Solar Program will make that possible for more people in our communities — and progress today will keep us on the path to a tomorrow powered by 100 percent renewable energy.”

“The shared solar program gives my constituents in the Sixth District the right to access clean energy,” said Councilwoman Nury Martinez, Chair of the City Council’s Energy, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice Committee. “There should not be economic barriers to saving our environment. This program makes solar power affordable and also creates good, clean energy jobs that our community need most.”

Under the pilot program, participating customers will be able to purchase blocks of solar power—up to 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month—at a 10-year fixed rate, enabling customers to better manage their electricity bill. LADWP has committed to providing up to 10 megawatts (MW) of solar power under the pilot program. LADWP will build new local solar on rooftops of LADWP and City-owned buildings, parking lots, and other structures. Part of the solar power for the program will also come from a large-scale 90 MW solar project due to be completed in 2019 in the Mojave Desert.

“Los Angeles is already America’s No. 1 Shining City, and now thousands more Angelenos will be able to enjoy the benefits of solar power,” said Mel Levine, President of the LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners. “At the same time, the program will help us achieve the Sustainable City pLAn local solar goals and our aggressive renewable energy targets.”

Expanding community solar has been an important component of Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn. Shared Solar is another example of LADWP’s commitment to delivering on the goals of that plan.

“We are absolutely committed to reducing economic barriers to solar power in Los Angeles, and so we are initially giving priority to customers who rent and live in areas that have not benefited from solar through other LADWP solar programs,” LADWP General Manager David H. Wright said.

Wright said the Board’s action today is just a first step. “The program’s end goal is to carve out a reduced rate for Shared Solar to make it affordable for income-qualified and disadvantaged customers,” he said. Toward that end, LADWP is working with community partners to obtain external funding, such as grants, to offset the cost of a discounted low-income rate. The Shared Solar program was crafted to be revenue neutral for non-participants, so that the proposed rate covers the cost of procuring, building, operating, and maintaining the solar projects along with program administration.

“What we won today is one of the nation’s first community solar programs that prioritizes reducing inequities while setting the course for a meaningful transition to renewables,” said Allison Mannos, Director of the RePowerLA Campaign at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). “Since 2014, Repower LA has organized for a new clean energy future at LADWP that benefits low-income ratepayers and could grow over time.”

Shared Solar is part of LADWP’s umbrella of Community Solar Programs. LADWP launched the first Community Solar Program in February 2017—the pilot Solar Rooftop Program (SRP)—which also prioritizes customers who reside in areas of low solar penetration. Under this program, customers receive a fixed payment from LADWP to lease their roof space for a solar system that LADWP installs at no cost to the homeowner. Participating customers receive an annual $360 check for the year for 20 years. Currently, 43 homes have been approved for the Solar Rooftop Program, representing about a total of 110 kilowatts of new clean solar energy for customers who couldn’t install solar on their own.

LADWP is also developing a pilot Virtual Net Energy Metering Program (VNEM) as part of community solar. A VNEM program enables customers in multifamily housing to receive a credit on their bill for solar that is installed on their building. “LADWP’s efforts toward solar equity are growing and so is the Community Solar Program,” Wright said.

Under a Board resolution in June 2018, LADWP committed to accelerating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from its power facilities while expanding energy efficiency and community solar programs that primarily benefit renters in multifamily housing. That action led to an increased investment of $10 million in Community Solar Programs to launch Shared Solar and started the development of the new VNEM Program.

http://www.ladwpnews.com/ladwp-approves-new-community-solar-power-program-for-renters/

Celebrate LA! LA Phil 100 x CicLAvia

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On Sunday, September 30th, CicLAvia is partnering with the LA Phil and Community Arts Resources (CARS) and clearing the roadways between Walt Disney Concert Hall and Hollywood, transforming them into an auto-free zone where you can walk, run, skate, scoot, bike, and wander however you like! Six hubs along the route will feature art, food trucks, screen-printing, kid-friendly fun, and dancing, as well as live music from LA’s best musicians. Think of it as an eight-mile free space saved just for you – do with it what you will!

Los Angeles May Make Businesses Disclose NRA Ties

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The LA City Council will consider a motion requiring businesses wishing to contract with the city disclose their ties to the gun lobby.

Saying the National Rifle Association is one of the biggest roadblocks to gun safety reform, a Los Angeles city councilman introduced a motion Friday that would require city contractors to disclose any ties they have to the organization.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s motion, if passed into law, would not ban NRA-connected contractors from doing business with the city, but require them through a new ordinance to disclose any contracts or sponsorships they have with the gun rights advocacy group.

The City Council approved a similar ordinance last year that requires contractors or prospective contractors to disclose that they have placed bids on President Donald Trump’s border wall. Although it did not place a ban on them working with the city, the ordinance sent the message that Los Angeles would be unlikely to hire a contractor with ties to the wall.

“The National Rife Association (NRA) has been one of the most significant roadblocks to sensible gun safety reform at every level of government across the nation,” O’Farrell’s motion states. “In Congress, next to nothing has been done due to the NRA’s stranglehold and propaganda machine. According to an audit obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA’s spending on political activities from 1998-2017 aggregated to over $200 million.”

The motion says the city of Los Angeles historically has enacted ordinances in support of gun safety.

The motion notes there have been more than 1,600 mass shootings in America since the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in 2012, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which quantifies a mass shooting as when four or more people are wounded or killed in a shooting, not including the shooter.

The NRA did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

“For the sake of transparency the city’s residents and stakeholders deserve to know how the city’s public funds are being spent, and whether taxpayer funds are being spent on contractors that have contractual or sponsorship ties with the NRA,” the motion states.

Following a mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14, a number of corporations that had offered discounts to NRA members cut ties with the organization, including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and the Hertz rental car firm.

O’Farrell’s motion does not state if the city currently has any contractors with ties to the NRA.`

Southland Choked by Unhealthful Air Levels 87 Days Straight

EPA Tightens Air Pollution Limits For First Time In A Decade

It was a summer of unprecedented bad air for the entire Southland.

LOS ANGELES, CA — A thick layer of unhealthy smog blanketed the Southland for an unprecedented 87 days in a row this summer. The region endured 87 straight days of unhealthful air, violating federal smog standards almost every day this summer, it was reported Friday.

It was the longest stretch of bad air in about 20 years, according to state monitoring data show. The streak is the latest sign that Southern California’s battle against smog is faltering after decades of dramatic improvement, the Los Angeles Times reported. Some regulators suspect global warming may play a role because higher temperatures speed the photochemical reactions behind ozone.

“This is one example of the close ties between air pollution and climate change, which makes meeting air quality standards even more challenging and illustrates the urgency for addressing climate change at all levels of government in the U.S. and globally,” Barbara Finlayson-Pitts, an atmospheric chemist at UC Irvine told the Times.

Air Quality officials, however, warn not to read too much into the record stretch of bair air. It’s the level of pollution to be worried about, not the duration, officials told the newspaper.

The spell of bad air started June 19 and continued through July and August, with every day exceeding the federal health standard of 70 parts per billion somewhere across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, The Times reported. It didn’t relent until Sept. 14, when air pollution dipped to “moderate” levels within federal limits for ozone, the lung-damaging gas in smog that triggers asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

It’s not unusual for Southern California summers to go weeks without a break in the smog, especially in inland communities that have long suffered the nation*s worst ozone levels. But environmentalists and health experts say the persistence of dirty air this year is a troubling sign that demands action.

“The fact that we keep violating and having this many days should be a wake-up call,” Michael Kleeman, a UC Davis professor of civil and environmental engineering who studies air pollution, told The Times.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is responsible for cleaning pollution across the region of 17 million people, said that consecutive bad air days is an inappropriate way to gauge progress curbing ozone, that this smog season was not as severe as last year’s and had fewer “very unhealthy” days, The Times reported.

“By all accounts this year is not great, but it’s a little better than last year,” Philip Fine, deputy executive officer for the South Coast air district, told The Times.

Click here for the full Los Angeles Times article.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

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