Over the last two weeks, LA has been forced to accept a grim reality:

The effects of climate change are already upon us.

We need action now -- today -- to avoid total climate emergency.

Here's what’s happening -- and what we can do here in LA. (thread) latimes.com/california/sto…
The 1st, 3rd, and 4th largest fires in California history are all burning at the same time.

In LA, we've experienced the worst smog in almost 30 years -- during one of our hottest weekends in recorded history.
latimes.com/california/sto…
Over just two days of LA’s scorching Labor Day weekend, at least 18 people experiencing homelessness died.

The rest of our unhoused neighbors have been forced to breathe poisonous air for weeks.
Climate change and air quality are related, even without wildfires. Smog production is accelerated by rising temperatures.

LA has already experienced a 2.3°C increase in average temperature since 1895: twice the average increase in the continental US. washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/…
In Sacramento, Gov. Newson is proclaiming “climate change is real.”

But in the first six months of 2020, the number of oil and gas drilling permits CA has issued is up 190%.

In July 2020, Newsom’s office issued 12 new fracking permits to Chevron alone. washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/…
In LA, we aren’t responding to climate change with any urgency -- and sometimes we’re even going backwards.

Last month, every city councilmember but one voted to relax emission standards at the Port of LA, which will soon become our biggest polluter.
dailybreeze.com/2020/08/14/la-…
Our Mayor's Green New Deal, meanwhile, aims to get LA to net-zero emissions by 2050.

But this goal is 20 years behind what climate experts say is required to avert catastrophe. la.streetsblog.org/2019/04/30/gar…
LA must mobilize to fight climate change quickly. Today. Now.

The good news: it’s within our power.

Unlike most cities, LA’s utility company (LADWP) is publicly owned -- which means it does not operate for profit and is controlled by the city.
Right now, only about a third of LADWP’s energy comes from renewable sources -- while over half comes from burning coal and natural gas.

It's time to accelerate a shift toward renewables and away from fossil fuels.

Our City Council has the power to do it.
We can direct our local utility to increase investments in large solar projects, as well as smaller solar systems distributed throughout the city.

The LADWP can also enact a massive Green New Deal program to retrofit buildings across the city and increase energy efficiency.
We can cut vehicle emissions through investing in protected bus and bike lanes, pedestrian-friendly street design, and planting *a lot* more trees.

I wrote last week about LA’s shrinking tree canopy and what we can do about it here:
LA can enforce large setbacks between oil wells and schools/residences, and ban gas hookups in new homes like Berkeley, San Jose, and other California cities have.

Ventura County’s Board of Supervisors just did all of this and more yesterday!
These are dark times for Los Angeles. A pandemic has made it dangerous to socialize inside, and toxic air is making it dangerous to go outside.

But there *are* solutions. We just have to channel all our energy into pushing our local leaders to act.
It’s time to abandon the politics of complacency in LA. We need action now.

I know that so many of you feel the same urgency I do. That’s what gives me hope in otherwise bleak times.

If we mobilize now, we can still avert serious harm. But we can't wait. And we can't give up.

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More from @nithyavraman

10 Sep
In the aftermath of another heat wave, it's worth talking about trees.

Trees play a big role in mitigating heat. But about 1/5th of LA’s tree canopy is found in just four neighborhoods.

That means 1% of LA residents live among 18% of our trees. (thread) treepeople.org/sites/default/…
Areas without trees experience the Urban Heat Island Effect, where heat from the sun gets trapped in the concrete and released throughout the day, further increasing temperatures.

These areas can be between 5 and 20 degrees hotter in summer than tree-covered parts of LA.
Heat islands put our unhoused neighbors, along with Angelenos who lack access to adequate air conditioning, at higher risk of heat-related death -- a preventable tragedy that claims around 60 to 70 lives each year in LA.
kcrw.com/news/articles/…
Read 11 tweets
27 Aug
Small businesses in LA are in crisis. With less financial cushion and less access to loans, many are in danger of shutting down forever.

Mass small business closures would be a huge blow to our city -- and to BIPOC communities in particular.

What can we do about it? (thread)
When COVID-19 hit LA, almost 14,000 businesses in LA temporarily shut their doors.

And while many have reopened since, it is estimated that about 60% of small businesses across the country are at risk of permanent closure.
yelpeconomicaverage.com/yelp-coronavir…
BIPOC-owned businesses have been less likely to get funding under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Businesses in Leimert Park, Chinatown and Boyle Heights got less support than businesses in three mostly-white LA neighborhoods. washingtonpost.com/business/2020/…
Read 18 tweets
20 Aug
In May, our campaign released a policy for rent forgiveness in LA. On Tuesday, my opponent released one too.

Our economic situation is rapidly evolving, and I want to dig into these policies so LA can move to help tenants quickly.

This thread might get wonky but stay with it!
In the rent forgiveness motion my opponent, David Ryu, released Tuesday, relief payments are funded by government loans from the Fed's "Municipal Lending Facility."

I see the appeal! I suggested using these loans to fund rent forgiveness back in April.
But after we talked about using Municipal Lending Facility loans to help fund rent forgiveness, we learned more details about the terms of those loans.

Without major changes, these terms are not good for LA. They’re likely worse than what we could get on the private market.
Read 13 tweets
6 Aug
The pandemic has led to a rise in takeout and delivery, and that means more plastic containers and utensils. How is LA making sure we recycle all this waste?

The truth is, we aren’t. We never were. Our local approach to plastic needs big changes. (thread) cnbc.com/2020/06/28/cor…
LA has the largest residential recycling program in the US, collecting about 800 tons of recycling per day from 750,000 homes a week.

But how much plastic actually gets recycled? In California, less than 15%.

The rest goes to landfills. spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/new…
One reason less plastic is getting recycled? China stopped buying our plastic waste in 2017, forcing local recycling centers to close.

Just last year, California’s largest operator of recycling centers closed all 284 of its locations. 750 jobs were lost. latimes.com/environment/st…
Read 9 tweets
18 Jul
In April, I wrote about how LA’s street vendors have a long history of being treated unfairly by city government, including during the pandemic.

Today, even as restaurants are encouraged to expand outdoor dining, vendors are still being left out. (thread) la.eater.com/2020/4/21/2122…
After years of advocacy in LA, street vending was finally decriminalized in 2018. But permitting was slow: of more than 10,000 vendors, only 29 were issued permits.

Then COVID-19 hit, and one of our City Council’s first responses was to crack down on all unlicensed vendors.
Street vendors, some of whom had already spent money applying for permits, found themselves on the wrong side of the law once again.

With many ineligible for unemployment and government loans, vendors have been forced to choose between losing their income and breaking the law.
Read 10 tweets
16 Jul
LAUSD classes will now be online-only into the fall. But many kids can't participate: they don’t have high-speed internet. It's one of many ways COVID-19 has exposed LA's digital divide.

But could LA provide internet access as a basic human right?

Let’s talk about it! (thread)
LA currently has among the slower broadband speeds of any city in America.

And because two-thirds of us have *only one option* for our internet provider, we’re often paying higher prices for poor service -- with no incentive for companies to improve. arnicusc.org/publications/c…
So many residents in LA County have no internet access at home.

25% of all families with K-12 students don’t have access to both a computer and a broadband connection.

In neighborhoods like East LA and Watts, the percentage leaps to more than half.
annenberg.usc.edu/news/research-…
Read 10 tweets

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