August 31, 2014
Hon. Governor Edmund “Jerry” G. Brown, Jr.
Re: PLEASE SIGN SB 270 (PADILLA): NEEDED TO PROTECT ENVIRONMENT
Dear Governor Brown:
The Redlands Area Democratic Club has unanimously voted to add our support to this excellent bill, SB 270.
As you know, similar plastic bag takeout bans have been successfully implemented in over 87 cities and counties in California, so there is no doubt that this bill will be manageable and beneficial. We are glad that the bill includes a charge of at least ten cents for supplying paper bags, and that any paper bags supplied must contain reusable material. The setting of standards for reusable grocery bags is also a helpful element of the bill. The exception to allow plastic bags for produce that is not otherwise wrapped is a reasonable one.
Personal observations by some of our club members indicate that the similar ordinance in Los Angeles County has not only reduced the burden of plastic trash, but has encouraged a large proportion of shoppers to bring their own recyclable bags to grocery markets and other stores.
Plastic trash is accumulating in vast quantities in our landfills, and ominously, in our oceans. A scientist who has studied huge floating islands of plastic trash has reported on NPR that the largest such collection is between California and Hawaii, and has reached an incredible size twice the area of Texas.
SB 270 is compatible with the environmental provisions of the state Democratic Party platform. We hope you will support our party’s platform and environmental principles, by signing this important bill into law.
Ronald P. Hattis, MD,
President, Redlands Area Democratic Club
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August 11, 2014
The Honorable Assembly Member Henry Perea
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 69 – OPPOSITION AND CALL FOR WITHDRAWAL OF BILL
Dear Assembly Member Perea:
The Redlands Area Democratic Club, through its Executive Board, has voted to express our strong opposition to your Assembly Bill 69. Your bill would exempt oil companies and other fuel providers from implementation of California’s landmark clean air and clean energy law, AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, for the next three years.
In opposing AB 69, we are acting in defense of Democratic Party principles relating to protection of the environment and the health of Californians. We are dismayed that a Democratic Assembly Member has amended a bill so as to fly in the face of the state Democratic Party platform. The 2014 California Democratic Party Platform specifically includes the following: “Oppose any attempt to rollback or weaken the state’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act.” The platform also calls for achieving targets: “By 2020, return to the state’s 1990 greenhouse gas emissions levels; produce 40 percent of California’s electricity from renewable and sustainable energy sources; and, reduce electricity and natural gas use by 20 percent.” That important goal will likely be missed if AB 69 passes.
The voters of California soundly defeated the last attempt to weaken AB 32, which was Proposition 23 of 2011. That proposition was judged by the voters to be in the financial interest of the oil companies who supported it, but not in the best interests of the citizens of California or of the future of California. The same can unfortunately be said of AB 69. As Democratic voters gradually find out about this bill, there is increasing consternation and concern, and a sense of disbelief that this could be coming from you.
We understand that you are concerned about gasoline prices in the Central Valley. However, gas prices fluctuate during any year by far more than the scheduled implementation of AB 32 requirements is likely to raise them. The only likely beneficiaries of AB 69 are the short-term profit margins of the oil and other fuel companies, who are taking advantage of your bill as their second attempt to weaken the landmark legislation to clean up our air and help control climate change.
The measures that will be implemented through AB 32, including cap and trade, are essential to address this challenge and set the model for other states and nations. AB 69 would undermine the climate change, clean air and social equity benefits of AB 32. Delaying important regulations on gasoline and other transportation fuels, among the largest contributors to climate change and air pollution in California, is a step backward from the progress made so far to protect the public from harmful fossil fuel emissions.
I have personally lived in the Central Valley, where acid fog and smog are worse than in most areas of the state, and I think that your legislative efforts would be better directed at strengthening rather than weakening air pollution control, for the health of your constituents and also for the health of livestock and crops that are key to the region’s economy. The Fresno area is also one of the hottest in the state during the summer months, and both its people and its nationally-crucial agricultural industry are particularly subject to the effects of our severe drought which is related to climate change. We would expect that you should be especially concerned with having this state do its full part in limiting climate change through full and timely implementation of AB 32.
Please withdraw AB 69 from consideration, and avoid embarrassment to our party and our Democratic voters, as well as harm to our citizens and economy as a whole.
Ronald P. Hattis, MD, MPH
President, Redlands Area Democratic Club