Ever since Measure B on solar energy got ramrodded onto the ballot last November, I’ve grappled with the question why the environmental movement prefers to cut deals with politicians rather than muster greater support from a public that embraces the green revolution.
A case in point is competing events on Saturday a few miles apart in the San Fernando Valley.
In Panorama City, hundreds of community activists will gather at the High School at 8015 Van Nuys Blvd. for a program than runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s put on by the Valley Regional Congress of Neighborhood Councils, an official city organization. The program is entitled “Building Networks and Plugging into Power” and features sessions called “Road to Empowerment” and “Empowerment Camps” with the goal of building skills that will expend the reach of NCs and their ability to influence public policy.
Just a short distance away in Sylmar at the Lakeview Terrace Library, 12002 Osborne St., three Valley legislators will hold their own competing meeting from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with “environmental and renewable energy experts” and “environmental justice leaders” to build support for solar and wind power initiatives. The public is invited to the event sponsored by the usual list of environmental groups.
“Together, we can cut air pollution that causes health problems and global warming, and create good new green jobs in our communities,” says the email announcement of the meeting.
The three legislators leading this exercise are State Sen. Alex Padilla (former City Council president), Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (former councilman’s chief of staff) and Assemblyman Paul Krikorian (who wants to represent Council District 2).
So I presume they know all about the Valley Congress of NCs and choose to stage their own meeting rather than participate in the city’s official community empowerment event and gain support from 31 NC representatives and other community activists.
Frankly, the green revolution and community empowerment ought to be allies in the fight against political institutions that have failed us over and over again. This isn’t an issue of ideology or partisan poltical advantage.
Or is it?
The meeting announcement sounds remarkable like the language used to try to foist Measure B on the ballot and many of the same players are involved
If you really wanted cleaner air and more renewable energy, wouldn’t you reach out to the general community for input and support rather than mobilizing narrowly-focused organizations?
Wouldn’t you work with the people struggling to bring real democracy to LA and full public participation to the political process?
I know I would.