Letters to the Editor

Reform air board

A recent Public Policy Institute of California poll shows that Californians are losing confidence in their elected leaders. One way the governor can restore public trust in the San Joaquin Valley is to sign SB 719.

The Valley is the most polluted area of California. Recently, Stockton was named the most polluted city in the country, above Los Angeles and New York City. One out of every five children in the region suffers from asthma, and there are 1,200 premature deaths each year due to particulate matter pollution.

By reforming the composition of the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District's Governing Board, more communities will have a greater voice in the decision-making process by increasing the number of seats reserved for city representatives. Also, for the first time, two seats on the board will be reserved for health experts, ensuring that the health effects of air pollution are front and center during deliberations.

This issue is too important for us to pass up this opportunity at real reform. The governor should sign SB 719 and send a strong message that our elected leaders recognize air pollution is a serious threat and are going to take decisive action to reduce it.

Steve Westly

Former California state controller

Menlo Park