When I moved back to the beach, I joined my local League of Women Voters chapter, LWV of the Beach Cities. LWV is organized parallel to levels of government. So, you join at the local level, and that automatically signs you up for state (LWVC) and national (LWVUS) levels.
The national and state levels work very hard on expanding and defending voting rights and fair votes (including fighting gerrymandering). We had a setback at the Supreme Court recently, but we'll continue fighting at the legislative level.
If you are a student or have one in your household, ask them to join the LWV. Student memberships are free and it is a great inter-generational way to influence politics. Like the League of American Wheelmen, membership is coed, despite the historic gendered organization name.
I volunteered to help at the county level, LWVLAC (LA County). I wrote that am versatile; I can cover water, air or climate change. LOL. I found myself covering air, water AND climate change--at least until I can scheme to get more people to join the county board.
I dutifully signed up for email lists of the relevant government agencies like air and water quality boards at the state, regional and local levels. I try to read most of the email traffic, to familiarize myself with the local concerns and actions. It is eye-opening.
|The view from my handlebars as I rode my bike along the Ballona creek bike path in April 2019.|
Ballona Creek watershed is regulated for 7 types of things that we don't want in it. Limits are set for the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). I pulled these tables from the Ballona Creek Watershed Management Group EWMP Adaptive Management Report December 2018.
|7 types of things regulated by TMDLs.|
In dry weather, the trend is improving for most things except heavy metals and bacteria.
|Dry weather Ballona creek pollution trends.|
|Wet weather Ballona creek pollution trends.|
The copper surprised me. There are no copper mines or kale farms in this area. What is the source of the copper that is ending up in our waterways and estuaries?
What about zinc? Are we using that much zinc oxide sunscreen?
The answer is cars. Lots and lots of cars.
Copper is prevalent in brake dust and stop and go traffic generates a lot of brake dust. Copper-Free Brake Initiative:
On January 21, 2015, EPA, states, and the automotive industry signed an agreement to reduce the use of copper and other materials in motor vehicle brake pads. The agreement calls for reducing copper in brake pads to < 5 percent by weight in 2021 and 0.5 percent by 2025. In addition to copper, this voluntary initiative reduces mercury, lead, cadmium, asbestiform fibers, and chromium-six salts in motor vehicle brake pads.Zinc Sources in California Urban Runoff estimates that tire wear is responsible for 240,000 kg of zinc in urban runoff. The next largest source is zinc surfaces (galvanized steel, etc), at 40-100,000 kg.
The bacteria? It's dog and human poop. Pick up after your dog.
The homelessness crisis is harder to solve, but it's a major reason why bacterial TMDL exceedances have gone up along with the number of people setting up camps along our waterways.
It's all related. Our housing crisis. Our car culture. Our water. Our air.
Next up, the Regional Housing Needs Assessment scandal that is building up in our backyard.
Hell-no! You will not do this in my name.
Until next time, please read some background info about RHNA.