December 13, 2015

Former Mayor, State Senator Fran Pavley Leads at U.N. Convention on Climate Change

From an MSNBC POST of 12/10/15

Our Old Familiar Globe is Gone 

It’s melted and dried, burned and drowned, storm-wracked in ways never experienced before.

The past three decades have been the hottest on record and 2015 is expected to set a scorching new high. As a species we are already moving and adapting, adjusting our definition of hospitable land.

The trouble is us. Our machines spew so much extra gas that we’ve pushed the boundaries of livability. The Earth has warmed 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the start of the Industrial Revolution, an annual average that masks a lot of day-to-day chaos. The fastest warming has occurred in the last few decades—a jaggedly rising line that can’t be explained by natural variability.

The solution is also well understood. The world as we like it requires an enormous amount of power. About 80 percent of that power comes from oil, gas, and coal. But when we burn these fossil fuels—the literal dregs of dead plants and animals pulled from the ground—we emit more and more greenhouse gases. Finding a way to stop these emissions is the only way to stop climate change.

This November and December, President Barack Obama and leaders from every nation are gathered in Paris for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a ten-day meeting of historic proportions.

Harder rains, longer droughts, more frequent heat waves—we’ve seen them all. These are the plague of a 1.3 degree rise in average U.S. temperature since 1900 and the plague isn’t over. The next 1.3 degrees are expected to kill thousands and rob the economy of billions of dollars in the century ahead.

And then there’s California.

By now everyone has probably heard about the state’s punishing drought, the worst in its history. The rains would have slowed without climate change but the heat is what hurts the most. California’s rising mercury—at least 2 degrees on average since 1900—has melted and evaporated trillions of gallons of water.

In the most optimistic scenario, more than 150 countries—rich and poor, developed and developing, inland and coastal—will agree to trim their emissions enough to slow global warming. In fact, they’ve already made those pledges.

But by mid-century we’re still on pace to blow past 3.6 degrees of warming: the guardrail set by scientists and ratified by governments as an outer limit of sanity. Beyond 3.6 degrees there is no precedent for life as we know it.


The future is California.
It’s where lawmakers first responded to climate change and it remains the best signal of where the country—and the world—may go after Paris. To understand why you have to understand the strangely twinned destines of a grey-haired middle school teacher and the current president of the United States.

Obama hopes to make history in Paris, fulfilling his campaign promise to slow the rise of oceans. The school teacher hopes to make history in California, helping the state become the first to do its part to defeat climate change.

They met once in the White House Rose Garden. All but giving up on support from Congress, the president had just announced the first in a series of executive efforts to remake the way America is powered. They include the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever limits on emissions from U.S. power plants. They form the basis of the president’s global promise in the run-up to Paris: at least a 26 percent drop in American emissions over the next decade. But what almost no one knows is that the president’s initiative is built on the work of Fran Pavley, the school teacher who’s also a state legislator.

Since the sweltering summer of 2001, she’s authored or aided every major piece of climate legislation in California. Cap-and-Trade? That was Pavley. The first vehicle emission standards? Pavley again. Should climate change be taught in public school? She made it so.

Pavley fights for laws that are rooted in science, a rather poetic occupation for the great-granddaughter of William Jennings Bryan, the ruddy-faced orator who fought to suppress the science of evolution.

She does her part at home, too, battling her state’s drought with low-water shrubs. She doesn’t use a washing machine or an air-conditioner. She drives a Prius.

But her legacy remains in serious peril.

This is Pavley’s last year in office, her last year to lock in historic reforms, and perhaps the planet’s best chance to adopt the ideas she has championed in California. If the rest of us fail, she fails. If we succeed, she succeeds too. It’s that simple and, quite possibly, that sad. When the president shook Pavley’s hand in the Rose Garden, he didn’t even know her name.


California is ready to address climate change. Fran Pavley can feel it. She’s an affable, optimistic woman of 66, the representative of a picturesque stretch of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, from the bluffs of Malibu to the foothills of the Santa Monica mountains.

At a recent town hall, she introduced herself as a Valley Girl, which is technically true. It’s also the kind of self-deprecation that helps when you’re pushing for cuts so aggressive your own party is divided. Pavley grew up in the smog-filled Fifties, headstrong and outdoorsy. She would flush with rage when recess was canceled by the airborne poison of a million cars.

The first time she felt like Californians were ready for a major piece of climate legislation was 2001. After a two-decade career teaching eighth graders about the making of laws, she was elected to the state Assembly to make some laws of her own. She introduced a bill that would limit tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks, the nation’s leading source of global warming pollution.

A ten-year political firestorm ensued, afraid that fixing the sky would mean nixing the economy.

But Pavley pressed on in California. She pushed the bill through the Assembly the following January. That’s about when the death threats started.

The auto-industry argued that the law was costly, impractical, and utterly unneeded. It used a $5 million war chest to whip up public anger, summoning images of vehicle bans and gas rations. At one point an SUV brigade circled the state Capitol in Sacramento. A man even cleared Pavley’s office with a baseball bat.

But Pavley triumphed in July 2002. Gov. Gray Davis signed her bill in a ceremony in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. Religious leaders talked about stewardship, business leaders talked about eco-profits—and legislators appeased both by voting “yes.”

Ultimate victory, however, was a much slower burn. The state needed a waiver from the Bush Administration to actually implement Pavley’s law. In the three decades since the Clean Air Act was passed, a waiver had never been declined by the Environmental Protection Agency. Officials argued that the government has no right to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and, even if it did, it would not use that authority. The auto industry—which had sued to block Pavley’s law—rejoiced. But the celebration was short-lived.

In April 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in California’s favor: the EPA must take action or provide a science-based explanation for why it doesn’t consider global warming to be a danger to human health and welfare.

In December 2009, the EPA issued an “endangerment finding” for greenhouse gases, formally declaring it proper to regulate them.


By then Obama had already met Pavley in the Rose Garden, where he announced that automakers would have to raise fuel-efficiency to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 and slash tailpipe emissions by some 30 percent. California’s law had become the law of land.

By then Pavley had also passed her second landmark piece of climate legislation: the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. It committed California to the path that it’s on, tamping down carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a goal the state is on pace to accomplish. President Obama, meanwhile, with his assist from Pavley, has America on track to meets its own short-term emissions goals.

But the hardest and fastest work is still ahead.

China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, has pledged to reduce emissions and invest in clean energy. A campaign to starve fossil fuel companies of investment cash has surged past the trillion dollar mark. A half dozen major oil companies have said they support a price on carbon pollution. Pope Francis has become a committed environmental activist.

But there’s still so much to do.

Pavley and her allies have already turned back the clock on California’s emissions, returning them to a level unseen in the state since Ice Ice Baby was a radio hit. They’ve also snapped the link between economic growth and emissions. Population and gross domestic product are up. Unemployment and pollution are down. The lights of the state are still shining. That alone is historic.

But it’s not enough.

The politics of such a transformation are brutal. This year Pavley tried to pass SB32, a companion to her 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. It would have committed the state to a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

That’s in line with mainstream science. It’s also the official goal of California governor Jerry Brown, President Obama and the European Union. No country or state is on track to achieve it, however, and no government has ever written it into law. Pavley was trying to make history once more.

But the Chamber of Commerce called Pavley’s bill a cliff dive for the economy. The oil industry, meanwhile, poured nearly $20 million into ads that undermined Pavley’s bill and attacked a companion provision that would have forced a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use by 2030. The arguments were old saws: gas rationing, financial ruin, government overreach.

And yet, the bill died.

“We’re good until 2020,” said Henry Stern, one of Pavley’s most trusted advisors and a candidate for her Senate seat. “The question is what happens after that?”

The remaining work of Fran Pavley, Barack Obama, and the rest of the climate movement is to find a way to get some of the world’s most profitable companies and powerful nations to give up on a $100 trillion payday. That’s going to be a bit tricky.

Not that Pavley is giving up. Not at all. She’s in Paris as part of a small delegation of California’s climate heroes, including an actual movie star, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a man nicknamed “Moonbeam,” current Governor Jerry Brown.

She’ll use the world’s eighth largest economy to show that we don’t have to choose between business and the environment. She’ll also bring SB32 back for a vote in 2016. And she’ll campaign for Henry Stern, a young lawyer she hopes will not only continue her work but deepen it. Beyond that who knows? Maybe someday soon the president will invite Pavley to the Rose Garden again. This time he should know her name.

November 20, 2015

City Council Election Results

Mayor Illece Buckley Weber

City Council election results again reaffirm the value residents place on Agoura Hills’ identity as “Gateway to the Santa Monicas”

On November 3, Agoura Hills voters re-elected Mayor Illece Buckley Weber and elected Planning Commission Chair, Linda Northrup to our city council – both by wide margins.  
Since 1985, Agoura Hills voters have consistently supported a vision of our city that values its natural resources and unparalleled views. Voters have opted for a city that maintains a small town feel, welcoming projects that share those values, but holding the line against those that do not. Mayor Buckley Weber and Chair Northrup ran on proven voting records, and demonstrated through their actions a strong commitment to environmental protection and carefully planned growth, such as the Agoura Village Specific Plan. The Agoura Village Plan calls for low-key, pedestrian-oriented, “Gateway” style development at the foot of our beautiful Santa Monica Mountains. 

Councilmember-Elect Linda Northrup

As former Agoura Hills mayors, we extend our warmest congratulations to Mayor Buckley Weber and Councilmember-elect Northrup.  We want to recognize and thank them for their service, and for their commitment going forward to continuing the vision we share of Agoura Hills as a special place, surrounded by unspoiled hills and ridgelines, and protected public parkland.

The vote totals can be found on the City's web site, or click HERE.

August 5, 2015

Medea Creek Restoration Begins!

Groundbreaking for the Medea Creek Restoration Project will take place Thursday, August 13 at 10 a.m. next to the ball field at Chumash Park. The project will take a concrete drainage channel and restore it back to a natural creek bed and include a walking trail along the creek from Kanan Road to Chumash Park.
The concrete ditch to be restored
In addition to restoring natural habitat areas, helping to clean water flowing into Malibu Creek, and recharging aquifers, this project will provide a whole new access to Chumash park. The Hillrise neighborhood and lower portions of Morrison Ranch will be able to walk to the park and not have to drive to the Medea Valley neighborhood to get there. And the entire city gets a new, green riparian area and trail to enjoy.

We hope this is just the beginning of many such projects to come. A walking and bicycle path along Medea Creek west of Kanan Road could connect to T.O. Blvd. and the Skyview Townhomes and eventually stretch all the way to Oak Park. Restoration of Palo Comado Creek could provide a bike path, completely free of traffic, along Agoura Road and into the heart of the Agoura Village plan area.

A view of Las Virgenes Creek after restoration

July 9, 2015

Las Virgenes Water Customers Respond to Drought Challenge with 33% Reduction

Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (LVMWD) has reported a 33 percent reduction in June water usage when compared to the same month in 2013. The report has been submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board in compliance with the state’s drought emergency policies. The June reduction builds on the 28 percent conservation figure recorded in May.

LVMWD General Manager David W. Pedersen said, "This is a very positive statement by our customers. While still short of our goal, it’s evident most residents understand the serious nature of the drought and that their individual actions do make a difference. As we enter the hottest weather month, we need everyone to be conscious of how they use water."

Agoura Hills Tomorrow thanks all of those who stepped up to reduce their water usage in this critical drought period.

June 20, 2015

Some Tips on Managing Your Water Use


Surveys show that single-family homes in Agoura Hills use nearly 70 percent of their water outdoors. Reducing usage from this large category can help reduce your water bill and help the region meet its conservation goal.

· Reduce or eliminate lawn areas. Replace lawn with gardens and attractive “California Friendly” plants. It takes five feet of water to sustain a square foot of turf through the course of a year. This is not a sustainable practice.

· Install drip irrigation. It is especially effective for bushes, trees and shrubs. There is no restriction on the use of drip irrigation. Most home improvement stores carry “drip conversion kits” that make it easy to convert one or more of your irrigation zones into drip irrigation outlets. 

· Using drip or hand watering, be sure to sustain trees. A deep watering once or twice per week within the drip line is adequate. There is no restriction on hand watering.

 · Consider a pool cover. Pools evaporate water at about the same rate as lawn areas. Shading your pool or covering it will greatly reduce its water loss and reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature. There are less costly “bubble wrap” types or hard covers for pools and spas where children or animals may be present.

 · Check for leaks around hose bibs, irrigation control valves and make sure the auto-fill valve for a pool or spa is working properly. Here’s an easy test. Turn off all water uses in your home. Then go look at your water meter, usually adjacent to the sidewalk or street. If you see movement on the meter’s flow indicator, you have a leak.

 · Be sure all irrigation spray heads are aimed properly. Check to be sure there is no runoff from your property.

 · Install the new high-efficiency toilets if you haven’t already done so. They use 1.28 gallons per flush or less and some models qualify for a $100 rebate.

· Replace an older washer with a new high efficiency model. Save 30 gallons per load.

 · Be sure your shower head is a newer model. The latest versions provide a good flow and save water. Keep showers to 5 minutes or less.

 · Water used for washing fruits and vegetables can be used to water your plants.

 · Turn off the water while brushing teeth or shaving.

 · Repair any leaks you may find. Those small drips are costly!

April 7, 2015

Deadline Approaches for Water Conservation Incentives

Up through June 30, rebates for water-saving devices are available for LVMWD residential customers through the SoCal Water$mart program.  Take advantage of these opportunities to upgrade your home, reduce water use and save money with rebates.

·         “Mow No Mow” Lawn Replacement Program ($2 per square foot; front and back yards qualify.)  Water-efficient “California Friendly” plants require far less water than traditional varieties.  Las Virgenes Municipal Water District offers a free catalog of water-efficient plants which is also available online at

  • Rebates for qualifying High Efficiency Toilets ($100)

  • Rebates for qualifying High Efficiency Clothes Washers ($85)

·         Weather-Based Irrigation Controller ($80 rebate).  Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers automatically adjust the amount of water applied based on the time of year and prevailing weather conditions. Some models include a feature that automatically shuts down the system during rainy periods.
  • Rotating Sprinkler Heads ($4 rebate each, minimum 15 heads).  Newer rotating sprinkler heads put larger droplets in the irrigated area, reducing losses due to misting and evaporation.

  • Rain Barrels ($75 rebate, maximum four per home)

·         Soil Moisture Sensor System ($80 rebate).  Some existing irrigation timers can accommodate the addition of a “soil moisture sensor” that will prevent irrigation when the water available to plants is adequate.

It’s important to know rebate terms and conditions before you make a purchase, so please carefully read the information found at

Rebates may take several weeks to process. For more information, contact the Las Virgenes MWD at (818) 251-2200.

As we watch our beautiful hills and open spaces already drying up, simple changes can make a difference.

·         Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving.

·         Shorter showers save water and are far more efficient than a bath.

·         Check for leaks indoors and out, especially around irrigation valves.

·         Be sure garden hoses have trigger nozzles.

·         Take your car to a commercial car wash that recycles its water.

·         Save water from rinsing vegetables and use for watering plants.

·         If you have a landscape maintenance service, discuss the importance of saving water with them.


February 8, 2015

Coastal Conservancy Approves Grant

Thanks to so many of you, on January 29 the State Coastal Conservancy unanimously, and enthusiastically, granted $1 million in voter-passed resource bond funds to Caltrans, allowing Caltrans to proceed with planning, design, and environmental compliance for the
wildlife crossing west of Liberty Canyon. Over 100 letters in support were received from residents, impressing Conservancy Board members with the strong support from area
residents. The National Wildlife Federation is now a critical partner in the construction fundraising efforts ahead, shining a bright light at the national level on this first-in-the-nation crossing of an urban freeway the size of Highway 101. The planning documents that will be prepared over the next 18-24 months, will also determine the preferred alternative design and optimal location to connect habitat from the Simi Hills on our north across the freeway to the south into the Santa Monicas and to the sea.

January 14, 2015

Wildlife Crossing Grant Needs Support Letters

Because of the recent death of a mountain lion, in addition to deer, coyotes and other wildlife, trying unsuccessfully to cross the 101 freeway in the Liberty Canyon area of Agoura Hills, an exciting new wildlife freeway crossing is now being planned. The 101 freeway creates an impenetrable barrier for wildlife that is essentially trapped on one side of the freeway or the other, resulting in inbreeding and high animal mortality rates.

The attempted crossings on the freeway also create dangerous conflict between wildlife and high-speed traffic. We now have the opportunity to start a landmark project that will help connect an entire ecosystem from the Simi Hills on the north to the ocean, with a naturalized wildlife crossing of the freeway itself.

On Thursday, January 29, the State Coastal Conservancy will be acting on an application filed by the National Wildlife Federation for $1 million in voter-passed resource bond funds that will allow Caltrans to do the necessary initial project and design review.

The Coastal Conservancy takes community support for projects into serious consideration in deciding whether a grant will be approved.  
Please consider doing either, or both, of the following:
1) Send a simple email in support of the “Liberty Canyon Wildlife Overcrossing” to the State Coastal Conservancy at and copy at Senator Pavley’s District Office. It must be received no later than Sunday, January 25.

2) The meeting will be held at Ventura City Hall, Council Chambers, 501 Poli Street, Ventura at 11:00 a.m., January 29. If you are able to attend and read your letter to the State Conservancy Board in person, that would be a powerful expression of support.

January 11, 2015

Agoura Hills Opens Community Center

Congratulations to the City of Agoura Hills on the grand opening of its beautiful new Recreation and Events Center.

Sited up against Ladyface Mountain off Reyes Adobe Road, and overlooking city hall and the entire city, the building’s architectural design pays homage to Agoura Hills’ identification as Gateway to the Santa Monicas.

Public art pieces incorporated in the landscaping include the mountain lion, bobcat, rattlesnake, and Red-Tailed Hawk, all iconic inhabitants of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area that mark the southern edge of our city.

January 2, 2015

Happy New Year from

One year ago, we founded to help preserve the vision of our city as Gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains, and to provide a historical perspective on policies enacted at the beginning of cityhood and why they may still be relevant today.

Each of us has had the privilege of serving as Mayor of Agoura Hills, beginning with the very first City Council in 1982. Before that, we were just “Agoura,” a western outpost of L.A. County. Peaceful and still rural, families were drawn here from the stresses of urban living by our oak-studded hills, cool breezes, and the promise of a special place to put down roots.
But some saw our region as an opportunity for unfettered development, bringing massive grading of hillsides, traffic congestion, loss of heritage oaks, runaway billboards, and the excessive glare of  commercial light pollution dominating our night skies and moonlit ridgelines.

Although we lived on the fringe of the Los Angeles megalopolis, we were determined not to be swallowed up by it. Since 1982, in election after election, that determination has held.

As we begin this new year, we will be sharing our thoughts on issues that we believe impact our high quality of life. Mostly, however, we want to hear from you. What is your vision for Agoura Hills for the next 20 years? What changes have you seen that you feel have benefited the city? What changes would you like to see made?

This blog is sent to everyone on our City Council and the City Manager. We intend it to be a positive opportunity for all Agoura Hills residents to participate in shaping the City’s future. We hope you will find it interesting, and that you will be a part of the discussion over the next year. Thank you!

Former mayors Fran Pavley, Ed Corridori, Louise Rishoff, Joan Yacovone, Dan Kuperberg, Darlene McBane, Jack Koenig, Jeff Reinhardt