Letter From Mayor Garcetti

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When I released my Sustainable City pLAn in April 2015, I laid out ambitious yet achievable targets that are time-bound and measurable. I also prioritized economic and equity goals that I believe are inseparable from our sustainable future.

True success depends on holding City departments accountable for the results. And we wanted to see marked progress in 2017, 2025, and 2035. Two years after releasing the pLAn, we have produced outcomes that should make all Angelenos proud. Not only have we met or exceeded two-thirds of the 2017 targets nearly a year ahead of schedule, and even achieved some of the 2025 goals early— many of the results have put Los Angeles in a class by itself:

  • We have created over 20,000 green jobs since July 2013, and reduced the unemployment gap between the City and the County to 0.2% (and beating our 2025 pLAn goal early) — proving again that economic prosperity and environmental stewardship go hand-in-hand.
  • We came together in the face of historic drought, and did what many thought was not achievable — reduce our per capita water use city-wide by another 20%, strengthening L.A.’s leadership as the most water-efficient big city in America.
  • We have put up enough solar in Los Angeles in the last year to power over 12,000 homes — and we continue to lead the nation in total installed solar, with the largest rooftop solar system in the world due to come online in the city by the end of the year.
  • We passed the nation’s most comprehensive and ambitious existing building energy and water efficiency ordinance — helping us lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce utility bills.
  • We are 50% of the way to my goal for 100,000 units of housing, which is key to helping improve affordability of housing in our city.
  • We not only set the nation’s most aggressive EV procurement goal — we achieved the goal early, and now L.A. has the most pure battery EVs of any city in the U.S. The over 250 battery electric vehicles so far include the City’s motor pool fleets, and 150 LAPD cars.
  • We are testing the on-road use of innovative cool pavement technology, a promising solution to reducing urban heat islands.

We are gaining quickly on other goals that a year ago seemed a bit out of reach. We are picking up the pace toward our 2017 target for 400 MW of local solar installations, and LADWP projects that we will meet 80% of that goal by year’s end. How are we accelerating our progress? For one, by becoming the first city to allow solar roof permitting online. That change alone slashed interconnection wait-times from up to a year — which was unacceptable — to the current benchmark of two weeks.

We also faced some unexpected environmental challenges, and took action to help support our residents. The Aliso Canyon methane leak disaster threatened our community’s safety and health, and we have a legacy of oil drilling across our city and in our neighborhoods. To help the City address these concerns, I appointed Uduak-Joe Ntuk to be the City’s first petroleum administrator since the 1980s.

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The Exide clean up in Boyle Heights was moving too slowly, so I helped mobilize the city’s resources to help accelerate access agreements and make blood testing available at local libraries. I also signed the ‘Clean Up Green Up’ ordinance, which provides new tools not just for Boyle Heights to address pollution, but Wilmington and Pacoima as well. We hired a ‘Clean Up Green Up’ Ombudsman who is working directly with community groups in these neighborhoods.

As we transform Los Angeles into the most sustainable city in our country, we are also taking seriously our responsibility to act on climate change nationally and globally.

That is why I led 71 other American mayors late last year to write to then President-elect Trump, reaffirming our cities’ commitment to tackling climate change and urging him to join our efforts. The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, which I co-founded in 2014, now has 75 members in red states and blue states. Together, we represent nearly 42 million Americans.

At the international level, the C40 Network, of which I am vice chair, connects 80 of the world’s megacities in sustainability efforts. Collectively, we represent 600 million people and a quarter of the global economy. At C40’s bi-annual mayors summit, I committed to studying how L.A. can do its part to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Closer to home, I will be co-chairing a newly formed joint Leadership Council with UCLA Chancellor Gene Block to help advance the Sustainable City pLAn, and the UCLA Grand Challenge for a Sustainable L.A. The Leadership Council will kick off in April and bring together key leaders from community, business, government, and other sectors to help advance the pLAn goals (including the 4 year update of the pLAn we will begin by the end of 2017, and release early in 2019), inform UCLA research, and engage more Angelenos.

I am very grateful to everyone who has played a role in our progress — most importantly our residents. Angelenos have stepped up by conserving water, reducing energy use, and taking advantage of our growing integrated transportation network. I also want to acknowledge my Chief Sustainability Officer Matt Petersen and his entire team, as well as the 27 sustainability chiefs across our City departments, for helping us advance, and track, all the targets in the pLAn.

We are unique among great cities: We have our own sea port, a major international airport, and our own utility. And we have 292 days a year of sunshine for clean power.

While much work remains to be done, together we can and will succeed in making Los Angeles the most sustainable city in the United States, and the world.

Sincerely,

Mayor Eric Garcetti

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