Water Day at the L.A. Times

It may have been a fluke, but the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times was seemingly all about water — and the coverage was pro environment. 

The stories included a strong editorial supporting L.A’s approach to California’s water scarcity paradigm and opposing billions for more dams (OK, I’m not a fan of replumbing the Delta, but the rest of the piece was strong). There was a piece on Bolsa Chica’s increased biological productivity after wetland restoration, another in the Sports section about Heal the Bay volunteer Mary Setterholm and her ongoing efforts to teach thousands of inner city kids to surf, and yet another editorial on water scarcity’s potential impact on growth. (BTW, will someone please demand statewide water metering within five years?)

They also ran a small, terrifying piece about fish ebola in the Great Lakes, a puff piece on sports stars’ love for Manhattan Beach and the Bay, and a final editorial on how anti-government political leadership has left us a lot less protected from pathogenic microbes (often from contaminated water) and toxics in our food and consumer products. Last but not least, the paper highlighted the opening of the first downtown park in over a hundred years: Vista Hermosa, a multi-use park that infiltrates polluted stormwater that was built and now managed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

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A Tern for the Better

Professor Howard Towner, LMU & Friends of Ballona Wetlands

A portion of Ballona, the only remaining large coastal wetland in Los Angeles County. Photo: Professor Howard Towner, LMU & Friends of Ballona Wetlands.

One of the region’s unsung environmental heroes, Ruth Lansford, received deserved kudos Saturday night, July 19th, at the 30th Anniversary Dinner for the Friends of Ballona Wetlands. A few hundred supporters, including Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Assemblyman Mike Feuer and “California Gold’s” Huell Howser, came out to the marsh to celebrate Ruth’s incredible conservation efforts.

I’ve always looked at Ruth as the Dorothy Green (Heal the Bay’s founder, heart and soul) of the Ballona Wetlands.  She isn’t trained as a wetland ecologist or a political activist, but she still has been effective because of her passion, perseverance and patience. She has truly led the fight to save L.A. County’s last major coastal wetland.

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L.A. to Shed Plastic Image

On Tuesday, July 22nd, the L.A. City Council will vote on a series of recommendations to reduce urban blight and marine debris.  If the measure passes, we’ll be seeing a lot fewer plastic bag trees lining the L.A. River and our beaches may even look like beaches instead of trash dumps after a rainstorm.

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Criminal Justice

Signal Hill is leading charge to weaken water regulations.

Signal Hill is leading the charge to weaken water regulations.

A major court decision was handed down by an Orange County state Superior Court Judge on July 2 that could have a range of impacts on efforts to address water pollution in LA County. (More in the L.A. Times and Daily Breeze.)

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Something Fishy

Will eating more California fish really make you more healthy?

Will eating more California fish really make you more healthy? Photo: Curt Degler

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Evaluation (OEHHA) has decided that you need to eat more fish, no matter what the health consequences. The state now says that the solution to our obesity and heart disease epidemics isn’t eating fewer In-N-Out double doubles, but to consume more sport fish caught off the shores of California. Don’t worry that many species are riddled with harmful chemicals. And don’t be troubled by the fact that factory fishing has led to the collapse of most major fishery stocks. We can always lean on fish farms and our remaining struggling fisheries to put fish on the table.

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Environmental Bill of Rights

I consulted with a number of environmental leaders in the community to devise an Environmental Bill of Rights for residents in the City of Los Angeles. Most of the rights are applicable to all local communities and has been sent to a number of elected officials, with the hope that they can serve as a catalyst for a sustainable city plan for Los Angeles. I hope everyone uses the bill of rights as a tool to advocate for a more sustainable community that protects the rights of all people and nature.

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Do As I Say…

David Nahai, City of L.A. Mayor Anotonio Villaraigosa and L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslasky

Left to right: H. David Nahai, City of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

H. David Nahai, the general manager and CEO of Los Angeles’ DWP mega-utility, has been taking a lot of heat of late. What was his transgression that made the news, blog and talk radio circuit light up? His family, ensconced in a 6,000-square foot home, is a water waster. Big time.  To the tune of more than 1,000 gallons a day, according to a recent home audit.

And Al Gore has a big carbon footprint because he travels around the world shouting about the perils of climate change to all that are willing to listen. Yes, we want our leaders to lead by examples. But often they don’t, just proving they are human. Was I surprised by the audit? Yes. Does it make me think he’s failed us? No.

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