Answers to Sierra Club Questionnaire from:
Denise Munro Robb
Thank you for having an interest in the Sierra Club endorsement. Please
return the questionnaire below by 5:00 PM Friday, July 6, 2001. We will be
contacting you to arrange an interview. Should you have any questions
please contact Alan Aronson at 310-322-2323 or 310-775-3818 (pager).
Sierra Club Questionnaire - Los Angeles City Council Races - 2001
1. What is the role of a Councilperson in Los Angeles after charter
reform, especially as it relates to protecting the environment?
Neighborhood councils should have real decision making power over
planning and land use decision. Unfortunately, the watered down charter
included language that only gives them advisory power. Neighborhood
groups are forced to become experts in environmental impact reports,
zoning and other matters in order to preserve open space and prevent
the destruction of their neighborhoods. Let's end all this by allowing
neighborhood councils to make decisions about what kind of development
they want in their neighborhoods. The Councilperson's role is to make
sure that more open space is created and what little open space currently
exists is preserved. We have a lot of wasted space as well such as
parking lots that could become mixed-use housing. There are also vacant
lots that could and should be made into parks or community gardens. It
is the job of the Councilperson to assure that this happens and help make
Los Angeles a more beautiful and healthy place to live.
a) Do you support pursuing only cleaner alternative fuels for City vehicle
Yes. We haven't even begun to tap into alternative forms of energy such
as solar and wind power. Electric engines also currently exist and need
to be utilized. We can no longer continue to be dependent on fossil
fuels as though we have an endless supply.
Do you agree with City actions taken this year to support AQMD
rules mandating alternative fuels for future City vehicle purchases?
Yes. I believe that we have to stop using diesel fuel and our dependence on fossil fuels should and must come to an end.
b) Do you support building light rail:
Along the Exposition rail corridor?
Into East L.A. from downtown?
Along the Chandler Corridor?
Along other existing rights of way?
- This depends on which right of way you're talking about. Some areas are green space and should be preserved. Right of ways that are existing green belts should not be compromised (i.e. San Vicente Boulevard).
3. In considering parks and open space, Los Angeles suffers a severe
shortage of parks. What would you do in your district, and the city as a
whole, to correct this?
I would work with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and state park department to preserve Cahuenga Peak which is currently owned by Forest Lawn Cemetery, the Estate of Howard Hughes and Jefferson Development. This could be a westerly extension of Griffith Park and it would finally connect Griffith Park on the west to the other parks in the Santa Monica Mountain Park system.
Additionally, I would oppose up-zoning any vacant lots that could potentially serve as a neighborhood pocket park.
Blacktop playgrounds in the city's public schools should be converted into active recreational parks.
Under no circumstances would I support urbanizing what little open space we have left in the city. I support redevelopment of sub-standard, economically neglected areas in a community friendly, neighborhood sensitive scale.
In my district, I would have preferred expanding Pan Pacific Park rather than building the Grove mall, another unnecessary shopping center that connects one Banana Republic store to another.
a) The proposed warehouse development for the Cornfields was stopped and
the land will become park space. What is your general position on open space
development like the Taylor Yards and the Cornfields?
I support the re-greening of the LA River and any means to remove the concrete wherever feasible, without creating flood hazards for down stream residents. I also support acquiring any open space that is adjacent to the LA River, be it natural or brown fields like Taylor Yards and the Cornfields.
b) Proposed developments like this are often heavily dependent on public subsidies. How would you handle the demand for public subsidies.
The only public subsidies for development should be for affordable housing in redevelopment areas. Subsidies should not be used to pave natural open space or areas that are ideal for parkland.
What are your views on the use of Mello-Roos bonds for projects like Playa Vista?
I am totally opposed to the use of Mello-Roos bonds for Playa Vista and for projects like Playa Vista. Mello-Roos should not be used to subsidize the paving of natural open space. When I was Executive Director of ADA we were early supporters of Citizens United to Save All of Ballona. I spoke at press conferences with Marcia Hanscom and performed at a benefit for this same coalition. A few months ago I again performed and helped produce a Ballona West Bluff benefit for a lawsuit in which the Sierra Club is a lead plaintiff. We raised approximately $9,000.
c) What position do you have on maintaining the Chatsworth reservoir as natural open space?
It used to be a city reservoir and was drained after the 1971 earthquake because it sits on a fault. It is owned by the City and should remain open space as important habitat for endangered birds.
d) What is your position on the Playa Vista Project?
I am opposed to any development on the Ballona Wetlands and adjacent West Bluffs. We must protect, acquire and restore the Ballona Wetlands as a natural self-sustaining open space and wildlife preserve; the entire 1,087 acres plus 44 acres of the West Bluff should be an urban wildlife preserve and parkland.
4. How would you proposed to expand recycling in LA City?
I am concerned that the trash collectors are putting the trash and the recycling into the same trucks. I would strongly support better supervision to prevent this from happening. I also support recycling for businesses, something that is not occurring. For example, 3435 Wilshire Blvd., where the Sierra Club is located, does not recycle. The amount of trash that is discarded and not recycled in this building alone is obscene. The City of LA should not have re-opened the Sunshine Canyon landfill. Instead, the City should be recycling up to 90% of their trash instead of 50%.
5. What do you believe we should do to encourage water conservation and
The City should continue to give away low-flow toilets and shower heads, however, there is a limit. There is no technological solution to create more water. We've already drained Owens Lake, Mono and others. The best use of reclaimed water is for industrial purposes that are not for human consumption. There's a lot of public concern about the long-term public health consequences. We should not conserve water only to give it to developments like Playa Vista.
6. A substantial expansion of LAX has been proposed. How do you view
There should be no expansion of LAX. Recently headlines have shown that the airspace above LAX is full and it's not safe to expand flights. It would create huge increases in pollution, traffic and noise.
7. a) What issues (environmental and other) do you plan to emphasize
during your campaign?
I am emphasizing neighborhood councils with real decision-making power over planning and land use, increase in public transportation such as light rail and clean-burning buses, saving all of Ballona, elimination of video billboards, creation of more open space, community based policing and much more.
b) What do you anticipate will be the three most important conservation
issues that you will face
if elected, and what actions do you propose to take to resolve them.
1. Preserving all the natural open space such as the Baldwin Hills, Ballona Wetlands, and expanding Griffith Park.
2. Empowering neighborhood councils to control development.
3. Transportation - the BRT down Wilshire, the Bus Riders Union concerns versus light rail advocates, and many other hotly contested issues regarding transportation will require a tremendous amount of bridge-building between competing interests in the district.
8. Please describe in greater detail your public service record in
environmental issues. We are interested in positions you have taken and
activities in which you have been involved.
My environmental activism began at age 12 when I was arrested protesting the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant and also Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo. I was a member of the Orange County Chapter of Alliance for Survival and all the way through high school I attended non-violence trainings and committed civil disobedience. I also participated and was arrested in the Mother's Day protest against the underground nuclear weapons testing in the Nevada desert. Since then, in the past twenty years, I have worked on numerous issues including Forest Forever and Big Green in 1990. From 1989 to the present I have been the President of the Miracle Mile Action Committee which has successfully fought to down zone the Miracle Mile Apartment district and preserve the current historic buildings and affordable housing there. I have been a Ballona Wetlands activist since the early 1990's and am still a member of the Coalition to Save All of Ballona - attending hearings, writing letters, tabling, organizing and participating in clean-up of Parcel C. I have phone banked at the Sierra Club offices and attended a lobbyist training a few months ago at the Sierra Club offices. I attended the Sierra "One-Club" meeting in New Mexico in July of 2000 and am currently a member of the Sierra Club.
9. Please list any endorsements you may have.
LaBedz, Surfrider Foundation *
Sabrina Venskus, Ballona Wetlands Land Trust *
Marcia Hanscom, wetlands activist
Roy Van de
Hoek, Biologist, Naturalist, Environmental Educator
Monica Mayor, Mike Feinstein
Blase and Teresa Bonpane
Rabbi Allen Freehling
Bonnie Raitt, singer
Mike Davis, Author "City of Quartz," "Ecology of Fear"
Kevin McKeown, Santa Monica City Councilmember *
John Anderson (former Presidential candidate)
Nancy Pearlman, LA Community College Board of Trustees*
Nancy Burnet Kent
Dan Hamburg, Former Congressman
Los Angeles Greens
Tonner Canyon Conservancy
Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange*
Jonathan Parfrey, Physicians for Social Responsibility*
Long Beach Greens
Peace and Freedom Party
Nancy Becker Kennedy,
Executive Committee of the President's Committee on
Employment of Person's with Disabilities, Member of the Los Angeles County
Assistance Services Council (PASC), Member of the RTZ Consumer Leadership Group to study the Los Angeles County In-Home Supportive Services, Steering Committee on development of Public Assistance Services Council, Los Angeles County Ordinance, Member of Rancho Los Amigos Consumer Advisory Committee to Los Angeles County IHSS Services *
Sherry and Leo Frumkin
James R. Roberts
Prof. Robert Benson, Loyola Law School*
Ronnie Dugger, Alliance for Democracy*
Dave Adelson, Pacifica Accountability Project*
Faramarz Nabavi, Co-Coordinator, GPCA Grass
Roots Organizing Comm.
For a complete list see www.DeniseMunroRobb.com