Valley Air District thinks they are doing a great job!

Remember my rants about the San Jouqain Valley Air Pollution Control District, and the Control Office Seyed Sadredin?

Well, now its time for the board of directors of the Air District. The board is made up by 8 County Supervisors and 3 City Council members. This means there is no environmental or health voices on a board of directors whose purpose is to represent those elements. Also, the valleys Cities are under represented.

Senate Bill 719 proposes to change this. Given the fact that they have been sternly critised by many parties recently, you would have thought that the board would welcome the help SB719 provides. Oh no, folks – they got offended. Here is an op-ed from the Chairman of the Merced / Mariposa Asthma Coalition which articulates the problem alot better than I could:

Another day and another battle lost for those of us living and breathing in the San Joaquin Valley.

Today the Valley Air District Board diverted their attention away from cleaning up our air long enough to discredit two measures that are trying to help them: Senate Bills 719 (Machado) and 240 (Florez). For the folks that managed to sit out the three hours, the political fireworks were well worth the wait. SB 719 is designed to add more representation to the board that currently consists of eight county supervisors representing each of the eight Valley counties and three city council members. The bill would add an additional two seats for Valley cities thereby increasing the voice of local communities. It’s also designed to add two public seats. These two board members would be experts in the fields of air pollution science and medicine.

Is this really that controversial? Public health representatives on the board of a public health agency? Outrageous!

But I guess we should keep in mind this is the same board that on April 30 voted to delay the date to clean up our ozone pollution in the Valley until 2024.

Many members of the public spoke in support of these two bills. In fact, supporters outnumbered opponents by more than 2 to 1. These citizens asked the board to consider the size of our Valley and the incredible health crisis we are facing because of our air pollution. No one got up yelling and screaming but the board members seemed highly offended when someone questioned the job they are doing.

I think the Air District Board is just starting to see the public’s mistrust, and this isn’t even a new formula. The South Coast Air Quality Management District and California Air Resources Board already have publicly appointed members.

I was extremely disappointed that Merced County’s representative Supervisor Mike Nelson, voted to oppose these measures. He stated there isn’t a problem to solve and the board doesn’t look bad in the public eye. Other board members openly stated that they didn’t think the Valley Air District was a public health agency at all, but their mission statement states otherwise:

The San Joaquin Valley Air District is a public health agency whose mission is to improve the health and quality of life for all Valley residents through efficient, effective and entrepreneurial air quality-management

And still others took the opportunity to say that they didn’t think physicians were competent or capable to make such decisions. Are you kidding me!

We should all send thank you cards to Board members Perea, Anderson, and Brar who stood up today and voted to support the legislation. As for the others, I’ll let you decide. To think of our air pollution problem as anything other than public health threat is ridiculous. If you can’t breath, nothing else matters!

Alicia Bohlke
Mother of asthmatic sons
Chair of the Merced/Mariposa County Asthma Coalition


  1. Sabine Verelst Said,

    June 26, 2007 @ 10:53 am

    Thank you for the informative article on geekybrit, Alicia! I share your concern and anger about the Board of Directors and would like to voice my opinion on this. How can I get the contact info for them. I would especially like to write those directors who opposed the bills you mention.

    These people should obvioulsy not be on the board! I will support any public opposition so please let me know how I can help,

    Thank you – and good Luck to your sons!

  2. Valley Air needs major reforming » The Geeky Brit Said,

    July 3, 2007 @ 10:04 am

    […] I have received many emails regarding the post I made the other day (Valley Air Sucks) […]

  3. State Senator Dean Florez blasts Valley Air » The Geeky Brit Said,

    July 3, 2007 @ 11:01 am

    […] Florez’s proposed bill SB719 that supports board reform in the San Juaquin Valley Air District has been hailed as a great idea by many. Except the board, who think they are doing a great job. […]

  4. Stuart Said,

    July 3, 2007 @ 11:05 am

    Alicia can be contacted through Merced Mariposa Asthma Coaltion:

    Merced/Mariposa County Asthma Coalition
    737 W. Childs Ave
    Merced, CA 95340

    Telephone: (209) 385-5490
    Fax: (209) 384-3966

  5. County Supervisor Mike Nelson and Socialists » The Geeky Brit Said,

    July 24, 2007 @ 8:20 am

    […] all those in their electoral district, not just those who elected them. I have come across Merced County Supervisor Mike Nelson a number of times and have been saddened by his obvious contempt of those who disagree with him, […]

  6. Valley Air Board set for reform? (SB 719 Passes Assembly) » The Geeky Brit Said,

    September 14, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

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