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Jennifer Schwab Headshot

I Can See Clearly Now... Not!?

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I am not old enough to remember, but I have heard plenty of stories from older folks about how a literal cloud of smog once hung over downtown Los Angeles. On a perfect sunny morning, you could see only the lower floors of buildings, no real skyline. This is hard to imagine now, as air quality has improved SO much over the past three decades that downtown L.A. can now join the ranks of other major American cities with its own signature views.

2010-09-20-Jan.51948.jpg Photo: Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive/UCLA Library

2010-09-20-DowntownLosAngelesJanuary2010.jpg Downtown Los Angeles; January 2010

California has always been a leader in environmental legislation, perhaps to a fault. Many in the oil and automotive industries have accused the state's lawmakers of trying to "legislate technology" by mandating virtually impossible reductions in carbon emissions spewing from the tailpipes of our
autos. Funny how after all the complaining, they managed to do so, to the point that literally one 1959 Cadillac, like the ones Elvis used to drive, makes more emissions than 100 of the new Cadillac CTS models that are commonly seen around Los Angeles.

The results of this technology improvement are obvious on most mornings. I can see clearly now, as the Johnny Nash song goes, the skyline of L.A. is very visible on a bright sun-shiney day. As the old cars are scrapped and the age of our national fleet is modernized, the improvement in the air we breathe continues. Being able to actually see this only adds to the proof of concept: sometimes "legislating technology" can actually work.

Despite this improvement in science, technology and air quality, it comes as no surprise that a movement is heating up to set aside the Global Warming Solutions Act, which became law over four years ago. Why? Well, oil companies and their backers contend that with California's 12.4 percent unemployment rate, continuing to make the clean air laws tougher will cost jobs and cause higher prices at the pump. You know the drill.

Port of Los Angeles Air Quality Report Card 2005-2009

At the same time, there is a contingent of intelligencia led by former Secretary of State George Schultz, who claim that the new laws are fostering the birth of the green economy and should be upheld. Makes sense to me -- and the large venture capital firms who already have hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars invested in alternative fuels and renewable energy development plays.

Please contact your legislator no matter where you live to reaffirm your support of California's Global Warming Solutions Act, otherwise known as A.B. 32 -- and your opposition to the sentiment that gave life to Proposition 23, the move to suspend A.B. 32. As we know, many states follow California's lead on things environmental, so if Prop 23 is successful, shock waves will be sent throughout the country.

A lot of folks will be watching closely on November 2nd. Please support A.B. 32 and "just say no" to Prop 23.

Thanks for reading, as always, comments please....

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