I went to a water meeting Friday in at the Los Amigos County Club , and Downey’s Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-South Gate spoke to a crowd of about 40-60 water people and other public officials.
The meeting in itself was fairly interesting. The state this week is releasing a 1,500-page environmental document outlining plans for a $12-$14 billion plan to build a giant tunnel to route water around the river delta in Sacramento. There will be a big, $11 billion water tax proposal on the November ballot related to the plan. The thing has to do with the big state aqueduct that carries water to Southern California.
Even more interesting was that Lara came across as a sentient being, a rare trait in politics.
He said nobody is able to explain to him what a “green job” is, which is refreshing coming from a Democrat.
He would like to see regular old blue-collar manufacturing jobs come back, and come back fast.
Lara is on a big committee to help bring the NFL back to L.A., but he joked that he hoped the Raiders weren’t coming back.
He said Sacramento air is a little too clean and gives him allergies.
“I tell folks I like to see my air before I breathe it,” he said.
Of course, he’s in favor of raising taxes to balance the state budget, like most of his party.
We’ll see what the voters think of that.
He also has a few interesting pieces of legislation.
– Lara suffered some sexual abuse as a child, and he’s proposing a law that would take away the not-for-profit status of agencies that hide child molesters.
– He’s trying to eliminate “pay to play” school programs, that make it so poor kids can’t participate in sports, the ASB or other school programs that cost money.
He still was a little bit of a politician. Use of the word “folks” is a sure sign that someone is full politics mode. And in press releases, he calls his proposed legislation “landmark.” It will be one of 100 likely “landmark” proposals offered up this year by state lawmakers.
It’s the second time I’ve seen Lara in action. Last time, he spoke about the re-entry of convicts into the community with Rep. Isadore Hall, D-Compton. Unlike a lot of windbag politicians, Lara generally keeps his mouth shut and listens to people. He seems committed to children. And he doesn’t seem to mind upsetting people who disagree with him. He kept talking and talking to people after the meeting, and his poor staff member was pretty stressed out because Lara was going to late to his next meeting.
I’m hoping Ryan at myrawpolitics.com will catch up with him soon for an interview. He’s running for state senator, but his new district wouldn’t include Downey.