Solar Flare-Up

L.A. Weekly did its readers a great disservice by running Beth Barrett’s dangerously one-sided story on Measure B, the Green Energy and Good Jobs for Los Angeles Solar Initiative. By focusing on political wrangling instead of the issues that really matter to the planet, and to the people of Los Angeles, Barrett fails to tell the other side of the Measure B story — the one that explains why every major environmental group in California, the Sierra Club, NRDC, the League of Conservation Voters, Coalition for Clean Air, Heal the Bay, the American Lung Association, business owners, public-health and community advocates and many others support the measure. Among the details Barrett did not bother to include in her story:

• Air pollution prematurely kills 18,000 Californians every year — more than the number killed in car accidents. The Green Energy/Good Jobs initiative will set an aggressive renewable-energy policy and will install 400 megawatts of clean local solar energy that will eliminate 400,000 tons of greenhouse gases from our air, thereby reducing health care costs and saving lives.

• Measure B will create thousands of much-needed green jobs in this tough economic climate. In addition to installation and maintenance jobs at the DWP, thousands of manufacturing, engineering and administrative jobs will be created to support a vibrant new solar industry.

• The initiative will establish a job-training and outreach program targeting underserved communities, and will spur local green-business development with a bid preference for local manufacturers.

• The people of Los Angeles will still have the lowest electricity rates in Southern California — and will enjoy significant savings in the long run because L.A. will own the low-maintenance source of renewable energy.

The time for bold action is now: Our economy is suffering, our climate is warming and voters are looking for innovative policy and energy solutions to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution. Los Angeles should be applauded, not ridiculed, for moving forward toward meeting Mayor Villaraigosa’s ambitious renewable-energy and greenhouse-gas-reduction targets.

President Obama recognizes the crucial role that green-energy technologies play in putting our nation on more secure footing for the future — his stimulus plan includes billions to create green jobs, green energy and green infrastructure that will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and help reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil. By passing Measure B, the people of Los Angeles will be doing their part to jumpstart the local economy and reduce our region’s contribution to global warming by ending our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.

Sandra Hamlat, Board Member, Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters


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