Tag Archives: container fees

CA-46: LCV Endorses Debbie Cook

This is from the press release:

Los Angeles, CA-The California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) announced today their endorsement of Debbie Cook, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 46th Congressional District.

“We’re proud to support Debbie Cook because she has shown time and again her commitment to protecting our coastal resources,” said CLCV’s Southern California Director David Allgood. “Mayor Cook has a long record of achievement on environmental, public health and other issues important to the people of the 46th District.”

In 1989, rather than see her city’s parks and beaches destroyed by private development, Cook led a group that collected 18,000 signatures for a successful ballot measure to require voter approval in order to build in Huntington Beach public parks and beaches.

After attending law school, she joined the Bolsa Chica Land Trust legal team, winning a case that protects sensitive coastal habitat throughout California to this day. As Mayor of Huntington Beach, she led the fight to stop the Orange County Sanitation District from dumping partially-treated sewage into the ocean, resulting in cleaner water for our beach’s recreational users.

Cook’s opponent, longtime Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, ignores science to deny that climate change is man-made, favors drilling off the coast of California and has spoken against the landmark Clean Trucks Program at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles – which will slash toxic truck emissions by 50%, significantly reducing the port-related diesel pollution that leads to 2,400 premature deaths per year, according to the California Air Resources Board. He currently has a low 10 percent rating on the League of Conservation Voters’ congressional scorecard.

It’s not surprising that Cook would get the endorsement; what’s crucial here is whether or not she becomes a cause for the environmental movement the way that Jerry McNerney became a cause in 2006.  Rohrabacher’s rejection of port cleanup, which just passed the California State Senate, could be a really salient issue in this district, part of which covers Long Beach and most of which is situated on the coast.  Some hard-hitting ads and mailers accusing Crazy Dana of allowing kids to suffer and die from pollution seem to be in order.

UPDATE: Cook is also pivoting off of the historic nominating speech by Barack Obama at the DNC, holding 200 “Making History” parties in the district and raising money for Cook’s campaign.  This is really a local effort.  You can sign up at her website.

Perspective on The Governor’s Budget Gambit – Pure Cruelty

With this epic FAIL maneuver on the budget, Arnold Schwarzenegger signaling here that his little state employee wage cut gambit didn’t work.  It didn’t produce the kind of compromise he wanted and it sent him tumbling in the polls as he attempted to cynically hold innocent bystanders hostage in an unrelated fight.  So he had to cut off all bills instead.  Maybe now, he thinks, the legislators will take notice.

But let’s understand what he’s doing here.  Yesterday, as a culmination of four years of work, Alan Lowenthal’s bill to clean up the ports of Oakland, LA and Long Beach passed the State Senate.  Eliminating the toxic pollution at the ports would save 3,700 lives annually according to the California Air Resources Board.  The bill would enact a $30 container fee on every import, using that money ($300 million annually) for investment in reducing pollution and improving freight rail.  It’s a milestone bill that is sorely needed to improve the air quality of these communities.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Arnold’s latest stunt will actually kill thousands of people from reversible diseases.

There’s a bill pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee authored by Fiona Ma (AB 2716) which would deliver guaranteed paid sick days to all California workers.  This bill has the support of 73% of the public and would make the state the first in the nation to provide this to their residents.  Arnold would rather stamp his feet and issue ultimatums than improve the lives of Californians and do the bidding of the overwhelming majority of the public.

On health care, while we cannot expect a comprehensive plan to come out of this legislative session, there is a deal coming together that would improve health care for those who have insurance by mandating some strict rules for the industry:

In the final weeks of the legislative session, they are negotiating measures that would limit insurer profits on individual plans, require plans to provide a minimum set of benefits and restrict insurers’ ability to cancel policies retroactively […]

Three million Californians buy health insurance on their own rather than through employers. Insurers keep premiums low — and profits high, their critics say — on some individual policies by limiting the services they cover. Such plans may exclude prescription drugs and maternity services, for example; others may cover only hospital visits.

Many of the policies have big deductibles and require patients to pay large portions of their expenses, costing them much more than coverage obtained at workplaces.

The game-playing by Arnold on the budget means that, in all likelihood, these rules will not go into effect, and individual consumers of health insurance (like me) will remain incredibly vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the insurance industry, which has shown already a penchant to deny coverage and jack up premiums.  That too will put the lives of Californians at risk.

There’s a human cost to the bullshit that Terminator Boy isn’t accounting for.  His head is in the clouds, and he thinks he can bully the legislature liked he bullied people in scripted movies for decades.  But the recklessness will cost money, pain, suffering, and even lives.

Open Thread: News Of The Good

We spend an inordinate amount of time on the bad of California politics here on the site.  And with a system this dysfunctional, there’s a lot of bad to go around.  But as the budget hostage crisis continues, and state workers don’t know if they’ll be able to afford their bills come Monday, I wanted to at least recognize some of the positive developments around the city and state:

• The Governor signed a bill today banning trans fats in all state restaurants and bakeries by 2011.  Combined with the law signed earlier this week to crack down on the sale of downer cattle in US groceries, and the LA City Council moving forward on a one-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles, this is a good week for food safety, nutrition and public health.

• As mentioned by Shayera, the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban plastic bags by 2010, if the state does not mandate a $0.25 charge for every bag by then.  Additionally on the environmental front, there’s also the statewide green building code adopted by the California Building Standards Commission, and another passage for the third year in a row, of a port container fee which would be invested in fighting pollution (Hopefully this time the Governor will sign it).  This too is good.

• Leland Wong was convicted yesterday on 14 counts of public corruption and bribery while he was LA City Commissioner.  Accountability is good.

• In Orange County, the Laguna Beach City Council, which is majority Republican, became one of the first to publicly oppose Prop. 8, the hate amendment.  Saying no to hate is good.

• Unfortunately, not everything is good.  Foreclosure rates are skyrocketing nationwide, more than doubling in the second quarter.  In one incredible example, almost 1 in 20 homes in Merced have been lost to foreclosure, the highest rate in America.  Wow.  Not good.

• A couple more good things: PDLA is kicking off a Legislative Education Project and assigning progressive scores to individual Congressmembers (The first, David Dreier, has a 0).  They’re also going after Lou Dobbs for his criticism of their deeply unserious notion that health care is a human right.

What set off Dobbs’ eruption? Apparently it was his correspondent reporting that PDA “is urging the Democratic Party to adopt a plank at the party’s convention in Denver, guaranteeing accessible health care for all.”

You can help us push back against Dobbs and other media demagogues.

Within a day, you’ll be receiving a follow-up email from Norman Solomon, co-chair of PDA’s “Healthcare NOT Warfare” campaign, about our efforts to bring the principle of guaranteed health care for all into the heart of the Democratic Convention in Denver. And ways you can participate throughout the country.

For now, I want to ask you to click here and help PDA talk back to the media attacks now underway against us.

They should take the lead on Dobbs the way Color of Change took the lead on Fox News.

Friday Afternoon Odds And Ends

There are a bunch of things that I wanted to post about that I might as well highlight in one post, kind of like when Asia recruited members of Yes, King Crimson, and Uriah Heep to create a “supergroup”:

• BeDevine notes that yet another gender-neutral marriage bill has passed the Legislature, and once again Arnold Schwarzenegger has vowed to veto it because “the people have already spoken on that issue.”  Apparently the people don’t vote for their own representatives in the state legislature.  And at what point does the statute of limitations run out on referring to a ballot measure from 2000?

• Senator Loewenthal has pulled back the container fee bill that would have charged importers a $30 fee on each cargo container to go towards fighting pollution at the ports.  This will go into negotiation and probably be passed in some form in 2008.  Hopefully it’ll be a form that will still have some teeth.

• Dan Weintraub makes the fallacious argument that the United Farm Workers are somehow betraying their principles by asking for the ability to form a union after a majority of employees sign cards endorsing it.  He thinks that there’s no intimidation in a secret ballot election, apparently ignoring decades of union busting, threats, and workplace closures that have arisen from attempts to unionize.

• As mentioned in the Quickies, the CA Hospital Association has agreed to a tax in themselves… sort of.  In exchange, they would receive money back to them based on how many poor people they treat.  Most hospitals would actually make money on the deal.  It’s also hard to see how this would do anything to fix our state’s strained emergency rooms, which presumably is where these poor people would be encouraged to go for treatment.

• Also in the Quickies is some good news on the enviroment, as new CARB chief Mary Nichols has set some pretty strong targets for emissions cuts.  They’re first steps but they presage positive developments in the future.

• Finally, the Teamsters waged a successful protest at the California-Mexico border against the Bush Administration effort to allow 100 Mexican trucking companies to deliver goods anywhere in the United States.  This will not only damage our environment and public safety by opening up the roads to unsafe Mexican trucks, it undermines American job security for one of the few good union industries left to our working class.  The goal is to marginalize unionized truckers, pure and simple.  Matt Stoller thinks this could be the next “Dubai ports deal” if the word gets out about it.