Green schools NOW; part 3 of SFV checks; SF/Burbank watering ban & MORE
Today I am sharing an opinion piece co-written with former Assemblymember Cindy Montañez of San Fernando, now CEO of TreePeople, an environmental advocacy group. We are asking lawmakers to support greener schoolyards for a more sustainable future by Aug. 31, and will update you on how successful we were in a future edition of Heart of the Valley.
By Bob Hertzberg and Cindy Montañez
From San Diego to Sacramento, the threat of rising temperatures to our youth continues to worsen.
And as six million California public school students return to class this month, they’ll be walking onto schoolyards covered with asphalt – prison-like, unhealthy environments that are detrimental to a kid's physical, mental and educational health.
Fortunately, state policymakers this month have an historic opportunity to build a lasting, bipartisan legacy to address this systemic injustice by ripping out asphalt, planting trees and “greening” K-12 schools so our youth can grow, learn and play in healthier environments.
As our Legislature works with Gov. Newsom on how to wisely invest our $70 billion budget surplus, we urge them to allocate at least $250 million to support a rapidly growing movement of students, teachers and parents seeking greener schools.
In last July’s budget, an initial funding floor of $50 million was set for greening schools. This amount, however, would only retrofit a fraction of California’s more than 10,500 schoolyards. That’s why we’re calling for an additional $200 million to be appropriated in the final climate-resiliency budget to better support the much-needed transformation of our schools.
Such a commitment would echo Gov. Newsom’s recent call to boost California’s climate blueprint for the world’s first large-economy plan for carbon neutrality.
“Prioritizing community health…and economic growth can work hand in hand,” he said July 22. “We now need to take even bolder action…”
California’s commitment to solving climate change could not be played on a more impressionable stage than in the classrooms and on the playgrounds where future generations learn and play during their formative years.
Yet, it has been 10 years since voters passed Proposition 39, which invested $1.7 billion on school energy-efficiency programs. With temperature trends rising worldwide, now is the time to address the need for more trees and less asphalt.
- Shade from trees can lower surface temperatures by up to 45 degrees and cool the air around them, lowering air temperatures by up to 9 degrees.
- Greening schoolyards produces water-savings and flood-reduction benefits.
- Greener schoolyards supports academic excellence, complements environmental education standards and improves student health and wellbeing.
For an example on how greening schools can work, see this recent story on Vaughn Early Education Center in Pacoima.
Let’s confront this threat to future generations of students. Let’s improve their quality of education, and their health.
Let’s start by the simple act of planting a tree.
Photos show Hillery T. Broadous Elementary School in Pacoima before and after TreePeople led replacement of 30 percent of its asphalt. (PHOTO CREDIT: TreePeople).
For additional news you can use, scroll down to read the next installment of some of the sizeable checks I helped provide to the San Fernando Valley, two Hertzberg Heros and MORE.
Now tell me what is on your mind. Reach out via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my email, or call my office at (818) 901-5588.
Be well, stay safe and remember we are all in this together.
(PHOTO CREDIT: KTLA)
SAN FERNANDO, BURBANK RESIDENTS MUST HALT ALL OUTDOOR WATER USE FOR 15 DAYS BEGINNING SEPT. 6.
More than 4 million residents in Los Angeles County, including all those in the City of San Fernando and Burbank, must halt all outdoor water use for 15 days beginning Sept. 6 while the LA Metropolitan Water District repairs a leak in a water pipeline. The pipeline is currently running at a reduced capacity, necessitating the cessation in water usage to conserve limited supplies. The repairs are scheduled to end Sept. 20. (Other Southland cities under the same order are Beverly Hills, Glendale, Long Beach, Pasadena and Torrance). Officials encourage residents to delay new plantings until project completion, avoid fertilizing lawns and plants and turn off sprinkler timers the evening of Sept. 5. More HERE. Water-saving tips HERE.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Your Central Valley)
VOLUNTARY POWER CONSERVATION ENCOURAGED IN CALIFORNIA
Given the likelihood of high temperatures in the state the rest of the summer, the California Independent System Operator has issued a Flex Alert calling for voluntary electricity conservation. Consumers are urged to reduce electricity use, especially during the late afternoon and early evening when demand is highest; prior to 4 p.m. is considered to be ideal for usage. Here are tips on what residents can do before 4 p.m.:
- Cool your home/workspace by lowering your thermostat.
- Use major appliances, such as your dishwasher or washer and dryer.
- Close window coverings.
- Charge electronic devices and electric vehicles.
Using energy in the middle of the day reduces the likelihood of an outage and increases the likelihood that energy supplies are produced from renewable solar resources. During peak hours, from 4-9 p.m., consumers are encouraged to manage their electricity usage by doing the following:
- Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher.
- Avoid using major appliances.
- Turn off all unnecessary lights.
(PHOTO CREDIT: LA Department of Public Health)
COVID CASES CONTINUE TO DECLINE IN LA COUNTY
COVID-19 cases are continuing to decrease in local hospitals in LA County, although health officials still encourage regular testing to help curb the spread of the virus. There were 1,022 COVID-19 positive patients in county hospitals as of last week, down from 1,059 earlier. Residents should continue to self-test, especially if they have been exposed to COVID-19, have symptoms, are attending a large gathering or are traveling. Those who test positive must isolate, and individuals who test negative but still have symptoms should stay at home and test again within 24 to 48 hours.
(PHOTO CREDIT: LA Parks)
GRIFFITH PARK SHORTCUT BETWEEN SFV AND DTLA CLOSED PERMANENTLY
San Fernando Valley commuters to Downtown Los Angeles no longer will be able to use a popular but dangerous shortcut following a road closure in Griffith Park. The unanimous vote Aug. 18 by the LA Board of Recreation and Parks Commission came after a community outcry when a motorist last April struck and killed 77-year-old cyclist Andrew Jelmert, who was in the final stage of a six-day AIDS ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. About 8,500 commuters daily had used the route to access Interstate 5 and State Route 134/Ventura Freeway. Heavy traffic on the narrow, windy two-lane road had created unsafe conditions for cyclists, equestrians, hikers, pedestrians and wildlife, officials said. They are also considering recommendations to lower Griffith Park driving speeds and to improve bike and pedestrian infrastructure with upgrades such as protected bike lanes and raised crosswalks. More HERE.
(PHOTO CREDIT: City of San Fernando)
RITCHIE VALENS TRIBUTE HIGHLIGHTS FREE SAN FERNANDO CONCERT
Cruise Memory Lane with Viva La Bamba, a rock ‘n’ roll act that headlines a free downtown San Fernando concert from 7 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday Aug. 27. Pacoima native Valens, an American musician who attended San Fernando High School and died in a 1959 plane crash, helped pioneer rock and roll and was a forefather of the Chicano rock movement. Attendees can expect to listen to his classic 1950s and ‘60s Latin Rock music at the San Fernando Mall, 1001 San Fernando Road. More HERE.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Panorama Mall)
PUBLIC MEETINGS ON TRANSFORMING PANORAMA MALL INTO “PANORAMA CITY CENTER” BEGIN TUESDAY, AUG. 30.
The first of three community meetings to discuss redeveloping Panorama Mall into the Panorama City Center will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30 at the mall, 8401 Van Nuys Blvd. Details are pending on the two remaining meetings in September and October. Expected improvements at the 17-acre site include expanded shopping, sit-down restaurants, health and wellness services, event gathering destinations, a range of housing options, remote working areas and landscaped paths steps away from the anticipated Metro Van Nuys Line and the North San Fernando Valley Line. Additional background on the project HERE. Register to share your thoughts on what improvements you would like HERE. For more, email Claudia Cardenas at CCardenas@primestor.com.
Blinky Rodriquez and Bobby Arias.
(PHOTO CREDIT: Unknown passerby)
HERTZBERG’s HEROES – BLINKY RODRIGUEZ AND BOBBY ARIAS
Sen. Bob Hertzberg’s final local heroes serving the San Fernando Valley are William “Blinky” Rodriguez and Robert “Bobby” Arias of Champions in Service, a community group dedicated to helping residents marginalized by poverty, drug addiction and trauma.
With support from staff in offices in North Hills and Pacoima, Blinky (executive director of CIS) and Bobby (president) have spent decades decreasing barriers through violence prevention, parenting classes and mental-health programs.
They helped CIS provide wraparound services like tattoo removal, youth mentorship, gang intervention, reentry counseling and assistance to those exiting incarceration. Their leadership has been nationally recognized and replicated – leading to countless people receiving a second chance rather than a cycle of incarceration.
Bobby learned grit and teamwork playing sports like Pop Warner football. He then polished self-discipline skills while receiving an undergraduate degree from CSU Northridge and then a Masters from USC.
Blinky, raised by a single mom in a family of nine kids, lost a son to a drive-by shooting and twice lost a wife to illness. The one-time national kickboxing champion once shepherded a peace treaty between rival gangs that led to drops in local homicides.
Living in the Valley through triumphs and tragedies clearly inspired them to serve our community because it’s also their community. Lucky us!
BRINGING MONEY TO THE SFV
(PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Hertzberg website)
LOCAL BUDGET WINNERS REFLECT, SERVE SFV DIVERSITY
Here is part three of several local programs and improvements that will soon have a positive impact on a neighborhood near you. Read part one HERE and part two HERE. All are a result of an annual budget process to fund worthy San Fernando Valley projects, and a combined $24 million will be shared. Part four next week! (Photos by Steve Fukushima).
PANDEMIC VICTIMS HAVE MORE REASON FOR HOPE
From left, Luz Hernandez, Joe Schlosser, Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Lydia Floyd and Susanne Hoffman-Kipp receive a $50,000 check on behalf of Hands4Hope LA for its Pandemic Recovering Program.
HOLLYWOOD CAREERS CLOSER FOR FUTURE FILMMAKER MENTOREES
Sen. Bob Hertzberg (center) presents a $300,000 check for New Filmmakers Los Angeles’s High School Mentorship Program. From left are Hyeryeong Song, Andrew Acedo, Margaret Wu, Steven Wolfe, Larry Laboe, Hertzberg, Emma Hughes, Kameishia Wooten, Lauren Muniz and Kelsey Vuong.
BETTER MONEY DECISIONS AHEAD FOR LOCAL AT-RISK YOUTH
Juan Carlos Saucedo and Veronica Alcaraz-Saucedo receive a $120,000 check from Sen. Bob Hertzberg to help the Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship Program for at-risk youth.
REMEMBER, WE ARE A TEAM
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