San Gabriel, CA – On September 21st, 2018, CAUSE held the Energy & Environment Town Hall, which is a part of the VOTE Initiatives (Voter Outreach, Training, and Education Initiatives) at the Grapevine Arbor in San Gabriel.
The program kicked off with an introduction of the CAUSE VOTE Initiatives program by CAUSE Executive Director, Kim Yamasaki. The CAUSE VOTE Initiatives is a year-round civic engagement program that includes voter registration and voter pledges, candidate debates, voter education and registration workshops, and community issue town halls for Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) of all ages.
Next, Tammy Tran, Senior Manager for Community Engagement at Southern California Edison and CAUSE Board Member remarked on Edison’s efforts for Southern California’s transition to clean energy.
Afterwards, Ralph Barnes, General Manager of the Beverly Center and CAUSE Board Member, shared his enthusiasm and support for the day’s event and for the CAUSE VOTE Initiatives program as a whole.
Congressmember Judy Chu gave opening remarks on the importance of ongoing efforts, both on the local and federal level, in the fight for better, healthier environments for our communities. She implored the audience to take action in their communities, emphasizing, “There are so many things we can do on a local level, but it takes public advocacy. And that’s what this forum is all about. I’m so glad that you are having this discussion, that you’re hearing from the experts, so that we can take even more actions to make sure that our environment is good and strong for everybody.”
Vice Mayor of the City of San Gabriel, Jason Pu, expressed his hope for San Gabriel to set an example for other cities and move towards becoming more environmentally friendly and introduced Assemblymember Ed Chau as the keynote speaker.
Afterwards, Assemblymember Ed Chau delivered a detailed keynote speech on the status of environmental issues faced by California and the different ways policy makers are currently addressing them. He also introduced the audience to several key bills that have been passed or introduced in the Legislature.
The Honorable Thomas Wong, Board President of the San Gabriel Municipal Water District, served as the moderator for the panel and introduced the day’s panelists: Scott Chan, Director of Programs at API Forward Movement; Caroline Choi, Senior VP of Regulatory Affairs at Southern California Edison; Lauren Faber, Chief Sustainability Officer at the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Yvette Martinez, Director of Our Water LA.
He expressed his enthusiasm for the town hall and hopes there will be many more like it in the future, “to help more people who are Asian American in our community engage on environmental issues.”
Scott Chan, Director of Programs at API Forward Movement, underscored the importance of having parks in communities and the current lack of land used for parks.
Caroline Choi, Senior VP of Regulatory Affairs at Southern California Edison, explained Edison’s approach to climate change-related issues, which include both mitigation and adaptation strategies, stating “We’re going to have to change things if we’re going to combat global climate change.”
Lauren Faber, Chief Sustainability Officer at the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, expressed her enthusiasm for Los Angeles’ commitment to renewable energy, stating that by the 2020 Olympics, “there will be no fossil fuel buses in Los Angeles…By that time over half of our grid will be renewable energy, heading toward 100%.”
Yvette Martinez, Director of Our Water LA, emphasized the importance of better practices in using our water resources. She explained to the audience, “We waste nearly 100 million gallons of water when it rains…the rain just washes into the oceans, dirty and polluted. We can capture that water and clean it for future use. These are the kinds of things we need to do to adapt to our climate change.”
Afterwards, the panelists opened up for questions from the audience and connected with attending guests after the event.