I was afraid this was going to happen when I posted the 32 claims of greatness made on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s behalf by his supporters — people are starting to challenge the assertion that he’s making Los Angeles “the greenest city in America.”
Some critics note the Department of Water and Power isn’t getting rid of coal burning power plants as much as its buying wind power at an enormous premium from the Northwest — costs that are passed through straight to ratepayers as add-on charges above the soaring rates.
Then, there’s the problem NIMBYs trying to preserve the quality of life in their neighborhoods with his green-lighting every development put on the table to drive revenue into the city treasury and make his campaign contributors happy while increasing the population and the demand for more electricity.
Some cynics even complained that the deal to restore the Owens River Valley started long before he took office and that the “expanded” recycling program for apartment dwellers is so miniscule as to be laughable.
And supporters of the South Central Farm — progressives like the people who published Antonio’s List — didn’t take to kindly to the idea the mayor “developed a new 9 acre farm
in Watts for 150 of the displaced South L.A. Farm families.” They point out the South Central Farm produced food for 350 families before it was bulldozed for redevelopment by Forever 21, which funneled $1.3 million to the mayor’s campaigns and now can supply just 75 families.
There’s just no pleasing all the people all the times or even some of the people some of the time. Isn’t that the point to Antonio’s game?
Here’s how the green-conscious website SustainLane.com rates L.A. — No. 28 right behind New Orleans. Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York top the list. Even Cleveland is 16th.
Here’s the site’s view and commentary on L.A.:
Ahhh… the glitz, the glamour, the sun, the surf. Los Angeles has come
to represent the California dream that draws people from every corner
of the country. But along with screen starlets, suburbia reigns supreme
in the City of Angels. And that’s bad news for sustainability,
contributing to auto-dependence, heavy freeway congestion, and ranking
it second only to Fresno for the worst air quality in the nation. To
combat this, city officials are promoting public transit, but a deeply
engrained (and smoggy) car culture is making this difficult. One thing
that may help get drivers out of their cars and into the great outdoors
is the Los Angeles River Revitalization Plan, a multi-billion dollar
project to transform 32 miles of the river shoreline into a continuous,
carbon-sequestering greenway, uniting communities along the way. City
Councilmember Ed Reyes, who’s overseeing the project, has also been
hard at work planning the Arroyo Seco neighborhood
development–potentially the first LEED-certified neighborhood in the
nation. L.A. plans to up its solid waste diversion to 70 percent by
2015 and is also in the process of creating an environmentally
preferable purchasing program for city operations.
Here’s Antonio’s List: ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
-Tripled the amount of clean,
renewable energy sold by the DWP
-Adopted the Clean Air Action
Plan to reduce air pollution at Port by 45%; working with Labor and
the Environmental community to replace trucks while addressing driver
-Restored water to the Lower
-Expanded curb-side recycling
to multi-family housing, schools, and restaurants.
-Adopted Green Building Standards,
that will reduce carbon emissions more than any other green building
standard in the country.
-Developed a new 9 acre farm
in Watts for 150 of the displaced South L.A. Farm families
-Working with the Apollo Alliance
on a Green Retrofit and Workforce campaign.