Clean air is the right of all citizens and a publicly owned commodity. In the Valley, private polluting industries tax this commodity to the tune of 1,200 deaths per year and some of the nation's highest asthma rates.
Fresno has not had a representative on the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District board since 1992. During recent legislative sessions, proposals were made to provide Fresno with a permanent member on the board, as well as more proportional representation throughout the San Joaquin Valley (most recently, SB 999, which failed by only three votes in the Assembly).
Unfortunately, the Valley's delegation failed to fight for this proposal, continuing this private tax on the public's health. Some Democrats, such as Assemblywoman Nicole Parra, actively fought the bill that would check this tax and provide a greater degree of proportional representation on the district board.
Such failure by our delegation is shameful. Let's hope that next year, our representatives will lead the fight for proportional representation on the air district board. Doing so would provide an appropriate check on this private tax that takes an unacceptable toll on our health and our children's.