1. Transportation remains the largest source of greenhouse gases in California, and neighborhood oil extraction has been shown to pose significant health and safety risks to residents. Heavy spending by oil and gas companies in local elections casts doubt on whether voters can trust their elected leaders to protect them from these and other impacts. Will you pledge to refuse any donations, whether to your campaign or officeholder account, from the fossil fuel lobby?
I have publicly pledged to refuse all contributions from fossil fuel companies, their PACs, or their executives. Additionally, I do not take money from property developers, or corporate PACs for any industry.
The urgent need to cut carbon emissions from all sectors, including transportation, was what motivated me to run for office.
I founded the Glendale Environmental Coalition (GEC) and led our community’s fight to get Glendale to replace a dirty gas plant with renewable energy. After over 1,200 people showed up at three rallies at City Hall, we won – and the city conceded that our modern, clean energy system will save residents $174 million.
As wildfires spread across California, climate change has become an issue of public safety and health in Glendale. Glendale is among the top 10 cities in California for number of structures facing severe fire risk. Besides increasing fire risk, rising temperatures are also exacerbating smog formation and threatening our precious water supplies. It is not surprising that young people are increasingly anxious about the future.
Time is running out to take action. The consequences for continuing with “business as usual” are dire. I lived in China for many years, and there I saw firsthand what environmental destruction looks like. We don’t want that in Glendale. Whether we are looking at lives lost, or its fiscal impact, climate inaction comes with a price tag we cannot afford.
But every crisis is an opportunity in disguise. This is an opportunity to build community around solutions, to rethink stale approach to problems, and to create new job and career possibilities. There are micro-grids to install and energy efficiency retrofits to complete. There are trees to plant and bike paths to build. It will take work to make Glendale both more sustainable and more resilient. But it will be a better Glendale, a future-proofed Glendale, a jobs rich Glendale, a more neighborly Glendale where everyone participates.
I plan to leverage my knowledge from a career in banking and finance, and as an economics professor at Glendale Community College, to build a greener, smarter and safer Glendale.
Of course, Glendale cannot fix the crisis alone. But we are not alone.
Hundreds of cities, states, and countries are stepping up on climate and making bold pledges. Neighboring Los Angeles just shut down three of its pollution-heavy, gas-fired power plants, to be replaced with renewables. Here in Glendale, we have a similar situation with Grayson Power Plant, an obsolete facility that the City wants to spend millions to rebuild. Rebuilding a gas plant would be an expensive mistake. We have the technology and the workforce ready to replace it with clean sources of energy. All we need is a vision and leadership bold enough to take that step.
Let’s build the green community of the future, starting right here at home. Let’s make Glendale a model of the possible.
As City Councilmember, I will:
- Demand GWP exhaust all other options before considering investments in gas generators at Grayson or Scholl Canyon;
- Insist Glendale commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with State goals and that GWP develop a roadmap to get to 100% clean energy by 2030;
- Promote ordinances to ensure that new commercial and residential construction is as energy efficient and green as possible, including weaning us off of gas for building heating and cooling;
- Support efforts to get people out of their cars, including better mass transit options, more protected bike lanes and a focus on walkability;
- Push to expand our urban canopy to make the City cooler and more walkable and the air healthier and fresh;
- Work to convert our City vehicle fleet to electric power and to phase out gas landscape equipment on City properties;
- Ensure that the new Office of Sustainability be adequately staffed and empowered to hold City departments accountable.
2. Glendale’s car insurance rates are the highest in California, largely related to the dangerous state of Glendale streets and the high likelihood that residents will be involved or the victims of a collision. Do you see these issues providing a mandate to take action to make Glendale streets safer for all road users, and to reconfigure roadways and intersections to tamp down speeding on city streets?
We need to build more public transit, make Glendale more walkable and bikeable, and experiment with other modalities like scooters where we can. We also need to reexamine Glendale’s relationship to cars.
Right now, everyone in Glendale effectively subsidizes cars, via funds that are invested in street maintenance and free parking. People who can’t afford or don’t want a car should not have to subsidize our car culture.
That has deadly consequences. Glendale has some of the worst pedestrian fatality rates in Southern CA, and some of the highest car insurance premiums anywhere in America. The traffic has serious impacts on quality of life, and air quality.
The problem can seem too big to tackle at first. But there are many policies we can implement that have worked in other places, and would work here. We can reduce traffic, mitigate traffic accidents, lower car insurance premiums, and massively cut carbon emissions if we apply the lessons of other cities.
First, let’s get a traffic study done. Glendale has not done a comprehensive traffic study in over 40 years.
In the meantime, we need to make it safer to walk and bike, not just downtown but everywhere. We will need to adopt state-of-the-art road designs that naturally discourage drivers from driving at speeds above the posted limits. It’s past time for Glendale to adopt a Vision Zero to eliminate pedestrian and cyclist fatalities. Besides saving lives, this will have the side benefit of reducing those out-of-control insurance rates.
Glendale produced excellent walking and biking plans for the City, but did nothing to implement them. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and make new plans. We just need to put the plans we already paid for into practice.
We need to give people realistic options to ditch the car. These include better mass transit and better bike infrastructure. Cities with higher levels of transit and bicycle usage are more economically vibrant, healthier, safer and sustainable. How is it that we’ve been totally bypassed when it comes light rail? Every person riding a bike or taking transit is potentially one less car on the road, which also benefits those of us that have no choice but to drive. This is a regional problem which will require a regional solution, but it starts with strong leadership and vision right here.
If we take a thoughtful approach which draws on hard evidence and the experience of successful cities, we can make Glendale a transit model for the region and a place we remain proud to call home.
3. A growing number of cities in Los Angeles County have adopted a “Vision Zero” policy with the goal of preventing traffic related deaths through roadway design. Do you support a Vision Zero policy for Glendale? How do you think the City of Glendale should engage with its community of residents and businesses in order to reconfigure streets to eliminate roadway deaths?
I absolutely support a Vision Zero policy for Glendale. Though making Glendale’s streets safer for bikes and pedestrians will be a long process, it’s fairly easy to find a productive starting point.
Glendale is sitting on a stalled 2017 Pedestrian Plan with several strong recommendations. I will ensure it obtains Council and CEQA approval in order to make walkability a major focus of all downtown and transit corridor development. Implementing the recommendations of this plan would go a long way toward safer streets.
As far as traffic safety in general, urban designers talk of the “Three E’s”: enforcement, education, and engineering.
Enforcement is what you usually hear a desire for from residents: more police to catch speeding drivers and illegal street racers. But there will never be enough police to eliminate this problem entirely. There need to be educational components, like MADD’s successful anti-drunk-driving campaigns, as well as engineering solutions. Our streets should be built in ways that encourage safe driving: narrower lanes for cars, protected bike lanes, crosswalks that have traffic calming features built into them, etc. Many of these solutions have been explored and tested in other cities, and just need to be implemented.
4. Glendale’s’ traffic woes are compounded by the reality that roads around schools are frequently unsafe. This discourages parents from allowing their children to walk or bike to school, and makes the health benefits of active transportation inaccessible for most Glendale youth. If elected councilmember, how would you prioritize student safety and active transportation options around schools?
This issue came up at my very first meet and greet, which was near a school that, until recently, didn’t even have stop signs at the nearby intersections. The road is designed in such a way that it seems to invite speeding drivers. This is not a viable long-term urban design for a road near a school.
As we work toward implementing urban design best practices throughout the city, it makes sense to prioritize areas like these that have especially vulnerable populations.
5. Glendale streets lack a safe bike lane network and the bike routes that are in place too often consist of narrow unprotected bike lanes placed directly adjacent to fast-moving cars or shared use lanes marked with ‘sharrows’ in which people on bikes are put in direct conflict with drivers. Do you see a benefit to building out a robust and connected bike lane network with protected bike lanes to enable residents of all ages and abilities to get around safely by bike, and if so, how will you work to make this a reality?
I absolutely support a large, interconnected, safe, and useful bike lane network. I do not believe sharrows are safe. It will take a combination of grassroots pressure from groups like Walk Bike Glendale and the Glendale Environmental Coalition, as well as leadership from within City Council, in order to overcome the opposition.
6. In 2016, over 70% of Los Angeles County voters supported Measure M, a ½ cent tax to improve mobility options for Angelenos, including a number of bus rapid transit (BRT) lines such as the North Hollywood-Pasadena Transit Corridor. The project was long championed by Mayor Ara Najarian to provide service from central Glendale to and from L.A.’s regional transit network, and. Do you support the use of transit signal priority and dedicated bus lanes on city streets to provide quality and efficient transit service for Glendale residents?
Dedicated bus lanes with their own right-of-way can navigate the city much faster than buses that share the streets with cars. That makes them competitive with cars. No car owner will take the bus if it is slower than a car. If it’s not slower, then that changes the calculation.
The other benefit to dedicated bus rapid transit routes is that ticketing/payment can be handled at stations and stops, making boarding quicker as well.
The fewer barriers there are between a resident and a ride on public transit, the more likely they are to make use of public transit.