We survived Carmageddon II last weekend, so pat yourself on the back now for having made it! Or as I’ve heard others call Carmageddon, the “Rampture.” The I-405 Freeway, from the I-10 to Highway 101, was closed for the second time in 14 months for the Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project, which will add desperately needed carpool lanes to the 405 Freeway. (Though what we really need is better public transit, but I digress)
Metro and elected officials warned us for months—“It’s coming!”
They pleaded with the public—leave your cars at home, stay away from the area, shop, play, and dine locally. As an L.A. native, I’ve had my fair share of moments of being stuck in dreadful traffic, so when they asked that I leave my car at home, I sure did—both last year and this past weekend. And almost every day of the year—for my own sanity and because our city can use one less car on the road.
In Los Angeles, the reins of power lie in the hands of a very few. By “power” I mean “electricity,” and there are only a few men and women whose job it is to procure and dispense it. Last week I wrote about the “Magic City,” and all the unseen infrastructure and work that goes into delivering the power and water that we city dwellers usually take for granted. There may be no better example of this unseen work than a certain unremarkable-looking Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building. Inside is a two-story main control room lined with a schematic map of the power system, a 180-degree wrap-around diagram that lights up where there are trouble spots and gives workers a robotic bird’s-eye view of L.A.
It is from this nondescript building that the LADWP brings in electricity from all over the American West, no easy task considering that our usage varies dramatically depending on the season and time of day.
When you compare big business’ rationale for opposing an exclusive commercial waste franchise system with the proposal they’re pushing for now, the two are hard to distinguish.
Don’t Waste LA is calling for an exclusive franchise system to serve our businesses and apartment complexes, consistent with the path taken by 55 other Los Angeles and Orange County cities, along with San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Seattle and countless cities up and down the state. The coalition joins the City’s Bureau of Sanitation, the environmental community, waste experts and high-road haulers in arguing that exclusive systems are the only legitimate path for the city to reach its Zero Waste, clean air, job and health and safety goals.
On the other side, Angelenos for a Clean Environment (ACE), as pure an embodiment of “astro-turf” advocacy as has ever been seen in L.A., is a coalition organized by business lobbyist Cerrell Associates,
NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Fund] and Move LA released a report today touting the expansive benefits of sustainability planning in three of California’s largest cities—representing nearly two-thirds of the state’s population. The report explores how Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego are already building the cities of the future thanks to the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, or SB 375, authored by Senator Darrell Steinberg in 2008.
Four years ago, SB 375 was nothing less than a revolution in the way California plans for growth. It linked regional transportation planning to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging a wide range of travel options and giving Californians the kinds of communities they want.
Our analysis found that enacting SB 375 into law was an achievement that distinguished California as a national leader in creating communities that meet both our economic and environmental challenges.