Environment & Sustainability
As a California State Assemblymember, as a Glendale City Councilmember and Mayor, and as a citizen, Laura Friedman has proven to be an environmental champion. She is uncompromising in her commitment to halting climate change through mandating increased utilization and development of clean energy, and sustainable methods of transportation for people and goods. Laura believes we must both preserve open space, and add to our urban forest, as plants clean and cool the air.
As a former Metropolitan Water Board Member, Laura strongly supports water conservation, capture and storage, groundwater basin protection and recharge, and a robust recycled water infrastructure. Laura has also worked hard to build pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, as well as increasing public transportation options.
Laura will continue to fight for regulations requiring that new chemicals and products be proven completely safe before being allowed to come to market. Too often, regulators are playing “catch-up” after a substance begins to look problematic. Laura believes that the financial impact of delays caused by a stricter safety testing standard pales in comparison to the costs assumed by the public when dangerous products and chemicals are introduced into the environment.
Laura believes that parks, recreation facilities, and open space are crucial to creating healthy communities. Some areas of Los Angeles county are so dense and park-poor that residents are forced to congregate in strip-malls, and children have no option but to play in the streets.
Laura also believes that California should institute a policy of no-net loss of state parks, so that new parkland is created if any land is lost. Laura has fought to increase the funding that the state offers to communities to support parks and open space. A barrier to park creation in older, denser cities is the lack of available land and reluctance to evict vulnerable residents when land is assembled. To address this, Laura suggests that the State help cities replace this loss of housing through low income housing funds being prioritized to low income cities forced to remove housing to create urban parks.
As a State Assemblymember…
Key legislative accomplishments:
• The California Desert Protection Act – A bill that would protect our state’s most important and fragile ecosystem, the desert, by mandating additional environmental review of groundwater basin extraction projects.
• AB 975 – With looming uncertainty at the federal level, Laura proposed legislation that would have updated the state’s current designation of “Wild and Scenic” for rivers and their surrounding habitats to match the far more stringent federal standards.
• Co-Authored SB 5 the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Bond and secured $20 million in funding to be included in the bill for the completion of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk pedestrian and bike bridge connecting Glendale to Griffith Park and miles of existing bike path.
• Received the Sierra Club’s 2017 Political Leadership Award.
• Given a 100/100 environmental score from the Sierra Club.
• Recognized by the Friends of the River as the 2017 River Champion.
As a City Councilmember and former Mayor of Glendale…
• Green building standards which surpassed those of the State of California
• An ordinance requiring large new homes to incorporate sustainability features equivalent to LEED certification
• A ban on plastic bags, which took effect over a year before that of the City of LA
• A ban on anticoagulant rodent poison in City Parks
• A new streamlined rooftop solar ordinance, along with increased funding for incentives encouraging rooftop solar installations
• A resolution in support of the most comprehensive plan to revitalize the Los Angeles River. She successfully advocated for the plan before the Army Corp of Engineers
• Introduced resolutions to support the expansion and protection of the Rim of the Valley Trail and the creation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
• Recently introduced an ordinance to require all developments in Glendale to surpass state storm water retention requirements (yet to return to Council for a vote)
• Has been a strong proponent of Glendale’s “zero waste” and aggressive renewable energy program
• Is the primary driver of the Glendale Bicycle Master Plan and the Safe and Healthy Streets Plan, along with a multitude of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements
• To encourage physical fitness, alternative transportation, and traffic safety, in 2011 Laura held Glendale’s first “Mayor’s Bike Ride,” with over 75 participants
• Has spearheaded Glendale’s “complete streets” policy
• In 2015, under Laura’s leadership, Glendale was awarded the Excellence in Green Region Initiative by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) for its Greener Glendale Plan
• Laura was honored in 2014 with the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters’ Smith-Weiss Environmental Champion Award