The condition of the environment around us (the natural environment and built-out environment) affects our daily quality of life.  Quality of life is defined by many determinants.  We live in a large city that contains flood control channels, major storm and sewer drains, utility transit corridors, interstate freeways, etc. and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean.  LAX and Santa Monica Airport are both in the near vicinity.  There are regulatory rules and committees that address the impacts of all of these elements of our urban environment.   We will track meetings and reports related to air and water quality, pollution, etc. on this page.  If you have an interest in helping to track any of these important issues for WSSM, please contact us.  

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Sustainable Works 2012 Los Angeles Green Living Workshops   

Get solutions to some of today's greatest environmental challenges and SAVE MONEY in the process.

Funding provided by LADWP through a grant from the US Dept. of Energy 


Sustainable Works Los Angeles Energy & Water Green Living Workshop

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Sustainable Works also presents an action oriented 1½ hour 6 week Workshop series covers:

Water · Energy · Waste · Chemicals · Transportation · Shopping/Food · Reduce Energy & Water usage · Save $ on Utilities · Cut landfill Waste · Understand latest Eco-info   

The Green Living Workshop will broaden participant's scope of environmental problems by showing them the global, national and local impacts of their daily choices.  Participants will also be given ten impactful solutions that they can take action on as well as a Sustainable WorksBook, which is a great resource for their continued journey towards sustainability.

Workshop Participants can:  Receive Resource Saving Tools, Win Raffle Prizes

To find out the dates and locations of upcoming classses or for answers to your Questions  Email Residential Greening Program Director  Gina Garcia  at:   gina.garcia@sustainableworks.org

-For more information, visit:

www.SustainableWorks.org

Sustainable Works is a project of Community Partners.

 

  WATCH FOR 2013 DATES!



Families, children and residents of all ages get a chance to meet Sanitation collection truck drivers and staff, enjoy truck demonstrations and facility tours as well as receive information about recycling and a host of Sanitation services.


Sign up to adopt a new tree or bring used tires (up to four per residence) for recycling.  Pick up free bags of mulch.  Enjoy refreshments.


 PLANT AN OCEAN FRIENDLY GARDEN...

   ... with help from the Surfrider Foundation

What does a garden have to do with the ocean?

Urban runoff is often the primary source of ocean pollution. But where do the pollutants come from? Gardens and adjacent hardscape like roofs and driveways can be a major source:

  • pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and sediment (soil)
  • oil, engine exhaust and brake pad dust
  • dog poo...etc.

It can run off the property during rain storms and during dry periods, with sprinklers overwatering and overshooting the landscape. The use of gas-powered equipment to mow lawns, prune and haul away over-planted and improperly spaced vegetation generates air pollutants, eventually settling onto roofs and streets and gets washed into waterways. Every 8 months, 10.9 million gallons of oil runs off streets and driveways and into our nation's waters - equivalent to the amount lost in the Exxon Valdez spill.

But gardens can be beautiful, resourceful, wildlife-friendly and prevent runoff. Vegetable and fruit gardens can do this, too. Here's how: The Ocean Friendly Gardens TM (OFG) Program educates and assists people in "applying CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention - to their gardens to revive their watersheds and oceans:"

Conservation of water, energy and habitat through a native plants (add allow some climate adapted plants smile, spaced for mature growth.

Permeability through healthy, biologically active soil, and utilizing materials for - or making a cut in - driveways, walkways and patios that allow water to percolate into the soil.

Retention devices like rain chains, rain barrels and rain gardens retain water in the soil for the dry seasons or save it to water veggies, preventing it from running off the property.

To find out more, visit the OFG page of the Surfrider Foundation at:
http://www.surfrider.org/programs/entry/ocean-friendly-gardens


ADVERTISING IN PUBLIC PARKS? The LA Parks Foundation is apparently considering taking sponsorship dollars from companies and would like to acknowledge their support on large banners in various park locations. Volunteers from around the city came to the Dept. of Parks and Rec Commission meeting on March 23rd in Griffith Park to tell the Commissioners that city parks are special places and should not be plastered with advertising messages and banners especially because many ad campaigns will target the children who play there. Permitting signage could potentially weaken the city's ability to enforce existing sign rules. Because of freedom of speech issues, it will be impossible for the Commission or Foundation to allow/disallow signage or sponsorship banners based on content making it impossible to remove signage inappropriate for young children. Most citizens learned about the sponsorship plan in watching an interview with Commission/Foundation Chairman Barry Saunders on KCET. The Foundation was criticized for not involving local citizens to engage in discussion about the proposal that would affect parks in their own communities. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHARGE UP L.A.!

LADWP LAUNCHES NEW ELECTRIC VEHICLE HOME CHARGER REBATE PROGRAM 

LADWP provides rebates of up to $2,000 to residential customers who purchase or lease a qualifying electric vehicle (EV) and install a rapid, Level 2 charger and a separate time-of-use meter at their home. The rebate is also available to residents living in apartment buildings or condominiums as long as they receive permission from the property owner and or homeowner association.

The rebate is designed to cover “out-of-pocket” charger and installation expenses, after other discounts and incentives are deducted, for the first 1,000 customers that submit a completed application. Out-of-pocket expenses include the customer’s final cost for the charger and related equipment, and installation performed by a contractor.
To obtain more information on the new rebate program and download an application, please go to Residential Electric Vehicle Home Charger Rebate Program

For more information on the rate options available for EV customers view the Residential Electric Rate Options for EV Owners webpage.

 

 Get Water Quality Grades on the Go

Beachgoers can now check the latest water quality grades at 650+ West Coast beaches via Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card mobile app for the iPhone or Android, at www.beachreportcard.org.

The new, free Beach Report Card app provides the only access anytime and anywhere to a comprehensive, weekly analysis of coastline water quality.  The mobile app delivers A through F grades, weather conditions and user tips throughout beach locations in California, Oregon and Washingtonto swimmers, surfers and anyone who loves going in the ocean water.

In addition to discovering which beaches are safe or unsafe, beachgoers can look up and save their favorite local beaches, as well as learn details on beach closures.

Know before you go!

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WSSM Appeal of Lodge Cellular Telephone Installation Granted!

 

WSSM’s appeal of the approval of a cellular antennae installation on the roof of the Westwood Blvd. Masonic Lodge was heard on May 4th before the WLA Area Planning Commission. Over many months, we have worked with the residents of Glendon Avenue and nearby businesses to challenge T-Mobile’s proposal to locate a facility there.  We questioned whether the installation in that location is needed and/or whether it could be co-located elsewhere.  Some of the data we reviewed was conflicting.  In addition, because the Lodge has continued to be a nuisance to its neighbors by virtue of the unsupervised party rentals allowed, we voiced our opposition to the lease agreement between the Lodge and T-Mobile.  During the appeals process we learned that TMobile and AT and T are slated to merge.  That raised additional questions as to whether this installation might not be needed in the future.  (It is believed that AT & T holds the leases on the antennas at Westwood and Olympic a very short distance away.)   Federal law prohibits health concerns as being raised in any challenges to cell installations. 

Our appeal received key support from CD 5 and the testimony presented by CD 5 Planning Deputy Chris Koontz.  

Because of expected increases in cellular demands, phone companies are increasing the number of antennae installations around the city.  Local community groups are urging the LA City Council to adopt new measures that will help to rein in unsightly and undesired antennae installations. A report on the topic as requested by the Council is due from the City Attorney’s office shortly.  Homeowners are going outside of their homes to find new installations being placed in their front and side yards without any prior notification.  Installations in some locations tower over homes and yards.  The City could do much more than it is currently being done.  The time is now. 

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CEQA PROTECTIONS MAY BE THREATENED

CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act) was passed in 1970 to institute a statewide policy of environmental protection. While CEQA does not directly regulate land uses, it requires state and local agencies within California to follow a protocol of analysis and public disclosure of environmental impacts of proposed projects and promotes the adoption of all feasible measures to mitigate those impacts. 

CEQA instructs all state and local agencies to give major consideration to environmental protection in regulating public and private activities and further directs those agencies to withhold approval of projects for which there exist feasible and environmentally superior mitigation measures or alternatives. 

During the economic downturn, there have been efforts to remove CEQA protections so that construction projects can be expedited.  Most notably there was legislation introduced in Sacramento that now exempts the proposed Majestic football stadium project in the City of Industry from CEQA compliance.  Likewise, AEG is attempting to seek a waiver from CEQA compliance stating that they should not have to answer any challenges brought against their proposed downtown LA stadium project.  Lawmakers in Sacramento have introduced various measures to exempt specific projects from CEQA requirements. 

WSSM has joined with the California Planning and Conservation League and many other groups around the state to defend CEQA against efforts to circumvent it.  It is one of the few mechanisms available to local communities to challenge projects that could have devastating impacts and it opens the door to negotiations with developers to seek mitigations to offset some of the impacts of their projects. 

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Camden Avenue and Exposition Boulevard Sewer Rehabilitation Project

Click for details.

NEW CITY RULES FOR PARKWAY PLANTINGS ADOPTED

LA Times:  Saturday, October 30, 2010 -- Home Section, page E8

                                              NEXT TO THE BEATHEN PATH

The Los Angeles Board of Public Works approved new rules Monday for residential parkways, that strip of ground between the sidewalk and the street. The city’s revised Residential Parkway Landscape Guideline allows homeowners to plant certain drought-resistant groundcovers without a permit. Previously, the only permit-free plantings allowed were street trees and lawn.  “A lot of people look at the parkways as an extension of their frontyard, and it really has a different purpose and therefore has to be held to a different standard,” said Lance Oishi, senior landscape architect for L.A.’s Bureau of Street Services.

Technically, parkways are part of the street, Oishi said. They are not private property, even though homeowners are required to maintain them.  “People have to be able to get across the parkway, and sometimes they’re too shrubby or bushy, so those generate complaints for us,” Oishi said, noting that the last time the city issued parkway guidelines was in 1974.  The new guidelines were developed to address the need for what the city calls “obstruction-free pedestrian passage” that is drought-resistant and free of exposed thorns or rigid spines. Homeowners can select from a list of 20 types of turf (including buffalo and Bermuda grasses) and turf alternatives, such as certain types of sedges, some yarrows (mowed occasionally to control height), chamomile, dymondia, creeping thyme, even some types of strawberries.

Permits, which start at $400, are required for all other plant materials or landscape improvements, including concrete, decomposed granite, bark chips and storm-water capture systems. For a PDF of the guidelines, go to http://bss.lacity.org, then click “Engineering,” then “Residential Parkway Landscaping Guideline.”

 — Susan Carpenter

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LIFE EXPECTANCY STUDY FOR RESIDENTS OF LA COUNTY

In July, the LA County Health Services Dept. completed a study that looks at expected life expectancy in the county with data broken out for individual cities in the county and for individual LA City Council Districts based on 2006 data.  For LA's CD 5, the expected life expectancy for someone born in 2006 is estimated to be 83.6 years, placing CD 5 as number 13 (12 listings are higher than CD 5 out of a total of  103 in the county).   (The life expectancy of the 103rd listing is 72.4 years, a difference of  11.2 years from CD 5's rate.)

If you would like to view the full study's results, visit:

http://zev.lacounty.gov/pdfs/Life-Expectancy-Final_web.pdf

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