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Villaraigosa's Green Initiatives: Failing, Or Just Slow?

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Mayor Villaraigosa promised when first elected to turn L.A. into "the greenest big city in America," but it isn't looking like he's succeeded, at least not yet.

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The Daily News surveys the mayor's green failures:

As mayor he committed to boosting the city's renewable energy portfolio, promised to make traffic flow faster to reduce emissions and launched the Million Trees L.A. initiative to literally make the city greener.

Yet, to the average Angeleno, the improvements seen are minimal. The city has yet to develop the major solar energy program it had sought. Traffic continues to bog down commutes. And where are those million trees?.....

Villaraigosa's office does claim to have planted 280,000 trees during his administration.


His vision to create a Clean Tech Corridor in downtown Los Angeles has languished, a victim to the economy and talks that broke down with Italian car maker AnsaldoBreda, which had talked about building an assembly plant downtown.

Villaraigosa and the Department of Water and Power also failed to pass Measure B, the solar initiative defeated by a grassroots effort in the 2009 election.

The mayor's office says in defense of its environmental record that under his administration, a switch to LED traffic signals will have long-term environmental payoffs, and that the 20,000 already installed have cut carbon emissions by 25,000 tons. The office also says that L.A. under Villaraigosa is using 19 percent less water than in 2006, and has conserved 318 gigawatt hours of power.

Mark Gold of Heal the Bay back in January laid out an enviro agenda for Villaraigosa, including "Completion and adoption of a sustainable city plan for Los Angeles," "Approval of the Water Quality Compliance Master Plan, coupled with implementation funding," and "City Council approval of a Low Impact Development ordinance in early 2010."

The L.A. Times has noted all the way back in January 2008 that Villaraigosa was far from his green goals, working off reporting from the late, lamented L,A. CityBeat that is no longer online.

Image by Flickr user Eric Richardson. Used under user Creative Commons license.

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