Al’s Bright Idea for Hermosa, Ted’s Tough Stance Against Oil & Why I’m Worried About It Mattering

Photo by Jose Bacallao (lifted from Facebook)
Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s Science and Policy Director, Coastal Resources at the podium, California State Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi and State Senator Ted Lieu behind her – Photo by Jose Bacallao (lifted from Facebook)

I was very  happy  to be asked by the Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi’s staff to stand with my environmental brothers and sisters from Surfrider Foundation, Heal the Bay, Los Angeles Waterkeeper and Earthworks in support of Al’s new bill, AB2711 which would oh so cleverly and ironically allow the City of Hermosa Beach to Hermosa Beach to borrow money from the state tideland oil revenues fund to payoff E&B after the city votes to maintain their ban on oil drilling.  (It’s a long story why they’d have to pay in order to maintain a current ban against drilling, but it involves less than mensa major level negotiators from the City Council – Bobko and DiVirgilio – being played like patsies at the poker table when they cut a panicky settlement deal over a law suit they thought they would lose.) 

And what we especially dig about Al’s proposal is that the loan repayments Hermosa Beach would make would be deposited into the State Coastal Conservancy Trust Fund to be used for its Climate Ready Program.  Payoff money to an oil company that actually pays for some of the damage the oil’s company’s products caused every time they are burned.  You’ve got to love it.

And you’ve got to love Ted Lieu’s strong and no holds barred statements in support of Al’s bill and against oil drilling in Hermosa Beach and he made a point of saying, 

“I can’t think of anything more stupid than to do oil drilling in Hermosa Beach.”   

Ted said he has always opposed oil drilling anywhere on our coast and especially in Hermosa Beach.  He spoke about legislation he previously had introduced to try to help Hermosa when McPherson Oil’s lawsuit was still threatening the city.  I applauded him.

sd28_logoThen in a written statement issued by Ted Lieu’s office today he said,

“I commend Assemblymember Muratsuchi for his leadership to help minimize the pressure on the city to allow oil drilling along our coast,” said Lieu after today’s press conference.  “I have always opposed oil drilling along our precious coastline and if the voters in the City of Hermosa do too, then we should do everything in our power to prevent drilling and future litigation.  I look forward to working hand-in-hand with Assemblymember Muratsuchi to pass  AB 2711.”

This is all good news for Hermosa Beach, IF…

The bill has a chance of passing.  

Ordinarily I wouldn’t worry about that but even with both Lieu and Muratsuchi saying they were “optimistic” about getting the bill passed before the (presumed) November election on maintaining the oil drilling ban in Hermosa there was a giant elephant on the pier that most savvy politicos – like your Greenius – can’t stop wondering about –

How are they going to get AB2711 passed in the middle of the powerful backlash being directed at Ted Lieu and Al Muratsuchi from the Latino and Black Caucuses over Affirmative Action?  

You say you didn’t know about that one?  Well Ted Lieu know all about it because he has already lost the endorsements of six black and Latino Democrats who had previously endorsed him and then withdrew their support in a letter they sent him earlier this month.  That doesn’t happen very often between members of the same party.

But much worse than that when it comes to getting AB2711 passed is the way several members of the Legislature’s black and Latino Caucuses withheld their votes on a non-controversial bill, killing a measure by Assemblyman Al.  

sacbeeAccording to the Sacramento Bee

Muratsuchi’s Assembly Bill 2013, a measure to expand the number of electric vehicles entitled to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes, had sailed through two committees with little opposition before falling 11 votes short when it reached the Assembly floor Monday. As an urgency measure that would have taken effect immediately, it required two-thirds approval.

Six lawmakers who had supported the bill in committee reversed and withheld their votes Monday, helping to doom the bill. Three are members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus and three are part of the California Legislative Black Caucus, two blocs that issued a joint statement vowing to push ahead with an effort to overturn the state’s affirmative action ban.

In total, 15 members of the black or Latino caucuses abstained from voting – more than enough to push the legislation over the finish line.

Muratsuchi declined to talk to reporters after the vote.

Sen. Holly Mitchell, the Los Angeles Democrat who chairs the Legislature’s black caucus, said she was not surprised to hear that so many lawmakers had withheld their votes on Muratsuchi’s bill. She was asked whether she expects black and Latino Democrats to continue withholding votes from colleagues they feel do not support a return to affirmative action.

“Perhaps,” Mitchell said, adding that lawmakers who believe in restoring affirmative action are concerned that some Democrats are showing “a lack of commitment to a core Democratic Party priority.”

So while I’m digging Al’s bill and I’m grooving on Ted’s strong support for it I’m wondering if their inner party Democratic fight over Affirmative Action severely handicaps us at this time when we need our State Assemblyman and State Senator’s help now more than ever.  Was today’s press conference just a dog and pony show for a bill that is DOA over a feud we have nothing to do with?  
And I’ve got to add this for the record – I’ve met and talked to Ted Lieu over a dozen different times over the last 10 years.  But he insists on pulling this act with me where he pretends not to know who I am or have any recollection of ever meeting me.  He always looks quizzically at my name badge and asks for my business card.  I find it amusing that he plays this game year after year and even more amusing that he doesn’t know how sadly lame it makes him look.  
But maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe I just don’t make a strong enough impression on Ted and he actually forgets who I am in between our meetings.  And I’ll have to take 100% responsibility for that.   So I’m just going to have to try to work on that and make a bigger more memorable impression on my fellow Torrance city resident for the past 21 years.  
Maybe I’ll ask Marianne Williamson what her advice for me would be when I talk to her next week.



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