Posted on February 22, 2012 by spoutingoff
- Garcetti getting the better of Gold
Today’s guest blogger is Matthew King, Heal the Bay’s director of communications.
Parting can be such sweet sorrow, the Bard once aptly noted. But speakers at a recent farewell roast of Mark Gold seemed to relish dishing out more sorrow than sweetness to Heal the Bay’s just departed president. As the sun set gently over Mark’s beloved Bay, more than 200 friends, family members, current and former staffers, board members, environmental leaders and elected officials gathered at The Beach Club in Santa Monica to send him off to his new gig at UCLA.
Mark escaped being doused in a dunk-tank (thanks to an innovative last-minute fundraising plea to gathered guests), but he couldn’t escape the pointed darts hurled by some of the city’s most influential leaders. He definitely took some ribbing about his hyper-zealous advocacy, wonky-nerdiness and need to always be the brightest bulb in the room.
Eric Garcetti, a veteran member of the Los Angeles City Council, described Mark as the “poop in the ocean guy” who “speaks acronym, not English.” He recounted his utter disappointment about Mark’s reaction to the council enacting a difficult piece of environmental legislation. “He’s always sitting on that high horse. And after you did 90% of the things he asked you to do, then he’d turn around and yell at you about the 10% you didn’t!”
Filed under: Environmental Governance, Heal the Bay | Tagged: farewell roast, Heal the Bay, Mark Gold | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 25, 2012 by spoutingoff
A hare-brained idea: having Gov. Gray Davis get up close and personal with the invertebrates at Heal the Bay's S.M. Pier Aquarium
Mark shares some more of his more memorable moments at Heal the Bay:
The Ahmanson Ranch campaign. I remember: touring the watershed with Board President Tony Pritzker and former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, representing Washington Mutual. Flying up to a WaMu shareholders meeting with Rob Reiner and Alfre Woodard on a private jet to protest the development. The coalition of Hollywood (Chris Albrecht and Reiner), electeds, Native Americans, Mary Weisbrock and Save Open Space, Heal the Bay (Mark Abramson’s covert maps of Ahmanson Ranch riparian habitat were key), and the brilliant campaign work of Chad Griffin and Steve Barkan. Getting screamed at by Reiner at a meeting. The only other person that ever yelled at me like that was my dad. I can only imagine what would have happened if we lost! The anti-climactic press event celebration when the state purchased the land (Governor Davis was being recalled). The joy of taking my kids, Zack, Jake and Natalie, to the Ranch just days after it opened to the public.
Litigation I’ve always been a “sue as a last resort” kind of advocate, but sometimes litigation is the only solution. NRDC’s Joel Reynolds and I spent countless hours with former L.A. County Sanitation Districts’ GM Jim Stahl to settle the full secondary treatment lawsuit about the Carson plant. Once we got through the “sewage is good for the fish arguments” (thank you Willard Bascom of the Southern California Coastal Waters Research Project in the late 1980s) and the “sewage solids are needed to cover up the DDT and PCB contaminated sediments” or “two wrongs make a right” argument, we were able to negotiate a resolution quickly. In fact, it only took the Sanitation Districts four years to build its full secondary facilities. Also, we partnered with NRDC on some industrial waste litigation and an industrial stormwater lawsuit against the Port of Long Beach (led by current criminal court judge Gail Ruderman Feuer). I still remember all the inspections of pretty nasty Port facilities.
Filed under: Heal the Bay | Tagged: anecdotes, Heal the Bay, Mark Gold | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 24, 2012 by spoutingoff
Dorothy and Jack: mentors, friends ... and thwarted wedding photographers
I started volunteering at Heal the Bay as a 22-year- old in 1986. Over the last 25 years, I have some amazing memories. Here is an extremely abridged list of a few of the most memorable.
My first hearing at the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. L.A. County San’s general manager, Chuck Carry, chewed my head off publicly for stating that the Carson Plant was violating the Clean Water Act’s sludge dumping prohibition by discharging centrate (the liquid removed from centrifuged sludge) off of Palos Verdes. After the Regional Board ruled that Heal the Bay was right, wise and kindly board member Chuck Vernon came over to me to offer support for hanging in there against Carry. Definitely a Mean Joe Green-Coke moment. That was the first of my over 200 Regional and State Water Board meetings.
Heal the Bay’s annual meetings At one meeting, U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson and Attorney General John Van De Kamp, two of the three gubernatorial candidates in 1990, gave plenary talks. Wilson announced for the first time that he would create Cal-EPA if he was elected. He won the seat and he did just that. Other annual meetings included a Senate environmental debate between eventual winner Barbara Boxer, Congressman and Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project founder Mel Levine, and Lt. Governor Leo McCarthy, and an L.A. mayoral environmental debate with every candidate but the eventual winner, Richard Riordan. I still remember then-Councilman Nate Holden stating that he’d make Santa Monica Bay drinkable if he was elected.
Surfboard Art — one of the most creative, amazing events in non-profit group history. The brainchild of Olympic swimmer John Moffat, the project gave America’s top artists a Clark Foam blank that they could decorate as they saw fit. The creativity of Board member Cydney Mandel and the leadership of the Dill brothers were key. Boards were created by Lita Albuquerque, Laddie John and Guy Dill, Joni Mitchell, Peter Max, and Ed Moses. But despite a show in the Corcoran Gallery and other locales, it was a horrible fundraiser because the boards were raffled off rather than auctioned off.
Filed under: Heal the Bay | Tagged: anecdotes, Heal the Bay, Mark Gold | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 23, 2012 by spoutingoff
Gold: heading back to school
After spending more than half of my life at Heal the Bay, I’ve decided to move on and test the waters in academia at my alma mater, UCLA. The decision to step down as president of Heal the Bay was one of the toughest decisions of my life. I’ve put my heart and soul into this place and most of my closest friendships are with staff, board, volunteers and colleagues.
As an organization, Heal the Bay has accomplished so much in the last 26 years. No one can say that our local coastal waters are more polluted or that our coastal resources are less protected than they were when the organization started in 1985. Coming to work every day to work on improving everyone’s quality of life in the region, and protecting aquatic life was the best job I could realistically imagine. (I hope Vin Scully will always have the best job I could unrealistically imagine holding). My decision to step down marks a mid-life crisis of sorts. For the last five years, I’ve been obsessed by thoughts that I could have a larger beneficial impact in the environmental field. My experience as an an Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Catto Fellow made me think a great deal about the future and having larger impact.
Filed under: Heal the Bay | Tagged: Heal the Bay, Mark Gold, UCLA Institute of the Environment | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 17, 2011 by spoutingoff
Citing health concerns, State Parks has put the kibosh on the notion of creating a dog beach in Santa Monica. Photo courtesy of OC Weekly.
In Santa Monica, there are two environmental issues that seem to come up every five years like clockwork: fluoridation of drinking water and dog beaches. A few weeks ago, the Santa Monica City Council decided to mollify the dog beach supporters by voting 6-1 to study the feasibility of a dog beach in the city.
Thankfully, the latest battle over dog beaches seems to have come to an abrupt end with state officials making it clear to Santa Monica staff that they will not provide necessary approvals.
As the president of Heal the Bay, a scientist with a doctorate on the health risks of swimming at polluted beaches, the owner of three rescue dogs, a father of three, and the longtime chair of the city’s Environmental Task Force, I’ve been involved at every level imaginable of the great dog beach debate for 15 years.
Although Santa Monica beach water quality has improved dramatically in the last three years (thanks to voter support of Measure V), our beaches still don’t consistently meet water quality standards for fecal bacteria.
Filed under: Environmental Governance, Heal the Bay, Public Health, wildlife | Tagged: dog beaches, Heal the Bay, ocean pollution, Santa Monica water quality | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 29, 2011 by spoutingoff
"Modern Family" and MLB hit it out of the park Wednesday night.
Last night, I enjoyed an amazing half hour of TV after our Rosh Hashanah dinner. Yes, I’ll have something else to atone for a week from Saturday, but it was worth it.
Watching Red Sox Nation and the tomahawk-chopping, unPC Braves complete some of the most epic tank jobs in baseball history within minutes of each other was almost more joy than I could stand. The fact that the longshot Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit to win in extras (including a two-out bomb in the ninth to tie the Yanks) made the night’s drama even more incredible.
But the greatest serendipity of the night came after my wife and daughter kicked me off ESPN to feed their addiction to “Modern Family.” As usual, the writers embedded parallel and goofy plotlines in the 22-minute episode. The rewarding twist came when the starving couple of Cam and Mitchell went to a fundraiser at the Malibu beach house of Mitchell’s boss.
Filed under: Heal the Bay, Media & the Environment | Tagged: " 2011 baseball playoffs, "Modern Family, Heal the Bay, Plastic Bags | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 6, 2011 by spoutingoff
Shark fin dumplings: not a "luxury" item
On Sunday morning, our family schlepped out to Rosemead for my niece’s 17th birthday. The destination for Isabel’s festivities was Sea Harbor, one of my brother Jonathan’s favorite dim sum places in the county. After all of these decades of grubbing with Jonathan, I generally don’t even bother looking at a menu or making an order. However, since it was a seafood palace AND the big vote on AB 376 is scheduled for today or Wednesday, I decided to see what shark fin soup went for on the menu.
Much to my dismay, not only did I see three different kinds of shark fin dumplings on the menu, but now the taste of extinction is affordable for all. The myth of shark fin’s availability for weddings and banquets is just that. In today’s society where shark fin dumplings have become a staple at dim sum, everyone can indulge in the consumption of the ocean’s apex predators. (more…)
Filed under: Environmental Conservation, Legislation, Seafood, Sharks | Tagged: Heal the Bay, Jonathan Gold, Legislation, Sea Harbor, Seafood, shark, shark fin dumplings, shark finning | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 15, 2010 by spoutingoff
After years of debate, Point Dume has been designated as a Marine Protected Area by the state of California.
After two years of marathon stakeholder negotiation sessions, endless contentious public hearings and reams of studies and environmental documents, the California Department of Fish and Game today finally established a network of Marine Protected Areas in Southern California, passing a slightly revised version of the Integrated Preferred Alternative by a 3-2 vote.
The final vote reflects tough compromise. The maps protect some key places from extractive uses, like Point Dume, Naples and La Jolla, but fail to meet scientific guidelines in some locations. (For example, the fishermen won the battle for Rocky Point, and the MPA at Farnsworth Banks is little more than a paper park). The commission also made a few small changes at Swami’s and La Jolla in San Diego County.
The final hearing and vote took place in Santa Barbara, a fitting location given that the northern Channel Islands became California’s first designated marine protected areas years ago.
Filed under: Environmental Governance, Marine Protected Areas, MPAs, Water Quality | Tagged: Department of Fish and Game, Heal the Bay, Marine Protected Areas, MPA, Palos Verdes, Point Dume | 7 Comments »
Posted on May 24, 2010 by spoutingoff
State Sen. Pro Tem Steinberg expressed his support of AB 1998 at Heal the Bay gala Thursday night.
Heal the Bay celebrated its 25th anniversary Thursday night with a fundraiser on the beach in Santa Monica. Sandwiched between freaky winter weather, the gala unfolded on a cloudless, balmy evening that afforded us an extraordinary sunset on the Bay.
More than 900 people came out to celebrate Heal the Bay’s long history of coastal protection and to recognize the environmental achievements of honorees Nicolas Cage, Jack Baylis, Luann Laval Williams and the Walt Disney Co. Incredible board members Barry and Jennifer Gribbon really outdid themselves this year, putting on such a fun and inspiring event that captured the spirit of the organization.
Filed under: Environmental Governance, Heal the Bay, Legislation, Marine Debris, Plastic, Water Quality | Tagged: 25th anniversary, AB 1998, Darrell Steinberg, Heal the Bay, Plastic Bags | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 17, 2009 by spoutingoff
Does end of world mean the end of HtB?
As a father of three, I end up going to a lot of movies. Last weekend, I saw the world nearly destroyed in the action film “2012.” Not that I’m biased, but the highlight of the movie is definitely the annihilation of Los Angeles. As John Cusack drives a gravity-defying limo through the crumbling Westside, two Heal the Bay billboards crash violently to the ground (check out 1:33 in this trailer).
I guess if the world is coming to an end, healing the bay becomes less of a priority. Besides, after director Roland Emmerich gets done with L.A., I’m pretty sure Santa Monica Bay no longer exists post apocalypse. In the film, the Santa Monica Pier (including our aquarium!) and my neighborhood slide into the abyss of what’s left of the bay. (Tragic indeed. I can’t even imagine the fecal bacteria counts after the 10.9 quake.)
Filed under: Media & the Environment | Tagged: "2012", Heal the Bay, movies | 2 Comments »