Remember when a cadre of Orange County Republicans conspired to take control of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Board last year? The South Coast AQMD is the air pollution control agency covering all of Orange County and the urban regions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
The OC GOP strong-armed Irvine Mayor Steven Choi into replacing his representative on that Board, Irvine Councilman Jeff Lalloway, with a Republican from south Orange County who actually works in the oil industry.
Well, as we predicted, the GOP’s victory was very short-lived. They must have forgotten that we live in a very blue state. And now Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, is working on taking back control of the South Coast AQMD’s Board via his Senate Bill 1387.
De Leon’s bill would allow the state to appoint three additional members to the governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. That would allow the Democrats to take back control of the South Coast AQMD for good.
The Republicans have done quite a bit of damage while they have had the run of the South Coast AQMD – they even fired the agency’s longtime director, Barry Wallerstein, and they replaced him with Wayne Nastri, a former administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest region during President George W. Bush’s administration, who has most recently worked as president of the environmental and energy consulting firm E4 Strategic Solutions.
You can expect the Democrats to oust Nastri as soon as they can.
This should be a lesson to the California and OC GOP. Their party is dying in California. They overreached to take power at the South Coast AQMD. Trust me when I tell you that this sort of thing will never happen again. And the GOP has no recourse as long as they continue to bash women, gays and immigrants, and destroy the environment, thereby wrecking any future they might have in California.
The current SCAQMD board has 13 members, including 10 city and county elected officials and three state appointees – one appointed by the governor, one by the speaker of the Assembly and one by the Senate Rules Committee. SB1387 would double the number of state appointees, allowing them to comprise 37.5 percent of the board, and require that the new appointees “be representatives of bona fide nonprofit environmental justice organizations,” according to an Assembly Appropriations Committee bill analysis, as reported by the O.C. Register.