Southern California environment news and trends

ATTENTION CALIFORNIANS: Urgent urgency on the radio today 3-5:30 pm

Attention women of Los Angeles, and those who love them, and those who work with them, and those who are physically proximate to them, and are fearful or enraptured and possibly both:

(Actually, before you do, pause for a moment; imagine me as a cross between two characters in the classic film Mr. Mom: Terri Garr, and the guy who played the president of Schooner Tuna (the tuna with a heart). Actually, imagine me as Terri Garr playing the Schooner Tuna guy. If you're thinking about Martin Mull right now, that's on you, and I can be of no help.)

Your country needs you. Actually, not your country. Your local public radio station. And when I say your local public radio station, I mean KPCC. No, we're the one with local news. And when I say TODAY, I mean, between 3:00 pm and 5:30.

A gauntlet has been thrown down. And when I say gauntlet, I mean, a sort of glove. No, I don't plan to smell it. It came from KPCC's estimable John Rabe, the host of Off-Ramp, and KPCC's Frank Stoltze, who is to "downtown bureau chief" what Les Nessman of WKRP is to "guy whose office has a door."

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POLA re-ups with Gephardt group on F4A issues

It happened last week instead of one night, but...the Port of Los Angeles has, for the fourth time, renewed its relationship with a lobbying firm helping it out on Capitol Hill. In doing so it puts a very interesting problem in the lap of LA's new deputy mayor, Austin Beutner.

POLA is very very very interested in amending a law called the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. The act prohibits local authorities from regulating rates, routes and service. Specifically, they're interested in "clarifying and strengthening the rights of local public port authorities to enact essential environmental and security programs," as Philip Stanfield told the Daily Breeze.

The Gepbardt group has been:

working continuously on securing an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA), which currently prohibits state and local governments from regulating drayage truck rates, routes and services, with certain exceptions such as safety. The FAAAA has been interpreted by the courts as preempting certain essential elements of the Port’s CTP. The Port believes that its current program, as enacted, complies with current law and will continue making this case in court. While not guaranteeing any existing element of the CTP, staff believes that amending the FAAAA would strengthen the ability for any publicly-owned port to enact environmental and security programs on par with the extraordinary environmental and security challenges facing the Port.

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Hikers to Half Dome will need paperwork next time

Comes word from the National Park Service that if you're above the subdome, you're going to need a permit for that, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays when the cables are up - and they're only giving out 400 a day. I say "only" - that seems like plenty, and you'll still see crowds up there, I'm guessing. But it seems Yosemite - likely with the input of the climbing community - is looking to cut down on the Russian-bread-line aspect of Half Dome hiking. (You can see a line of hikers packed in on the cables here.

It's become a safety issue - cries for more safety grew louder last June when a young man fell to his death from the congested area. A genius outdoors writer from my hometown paper, Tom Stienstra, has an eyewitness account of the accident and smart discussion of the issues here.

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VerdeXchange: Venue for City of LA Video

Last week I spent a little time at VerdeXchange. (Others spent more.) Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas spoke to LA's readiness for marketing sustainability in local issues. And LA's got a video selling that same idea, that they showed part of, that I've been looking to post, by way of explanation to VX delegates about where the city's at. I can't find the one I saw in the Marriott on line, but I did find one that's clearly related - it's got the same actors in it:

PINE from The Groop on Vimeo.

It was made by locals The Group. Who use the City of LA as a case study for its work, so their statement of the city's goals goes like this: "With the goal of simplifying the complexity of green we approached the problem by creating simple and easy to understand video segments that covered the different topics surrounding sustainability. The live action was shot in Los Angeles with the infographic animations being produced in Buenos Aires Argentina. The result is an education platform that delivers a complex message in a simple package."

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Waiting for Godot and everything else in New Orleans

For Off-Ramp today, I was able to interview Paul Chan who served as artistic director for a production of Waiting For Godot in New Orleans back in 2007. It was one of my last cultural experiences in that city as a resident, and so it holds a special place in my heart.

I'll admit to some skepticism when some artists from someplace else came up with this idea - Bunk excluded, who came up in Pontchartrain Park. I was a carpetbagger. I knew that some carpetbaggers could be flaky. Heck, I was on my way out myself, against most odds and plenty of reason. But Godot won me over. The creative team knew plenty of people, talked to plenty of people. They served gumbo, and the night I went in Gentilly, my ladies The Pinettes, who are the self-proclaimed world's-only all-female brass band led us to the stage, and I got a whole big dose of everything I would soon find in short supply: crawfish, brass, neighbors, community in the streets at all times.

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