YES on AB345. Press Conference Today.
August 4, 2020
I am preparing for my first press conference as a pediatrician on environmental health. The other speakers are Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis (National City) and Mayor Serge Dedina (Imperial Beach). There have been groups working on ensuring the passage of Califronia AB345 for months. These groups include from Mothers Out Front, CA Youth Vs. Big Oil, Climate Health NOW, VISION (Voices in Solidatrity Against Oil in Neighborhoods), The Center for Biological Diversity, NRDC, Sierra Club and STAND LA, and many others.
It is humbling that in that as a johnny come lately, they need the voices of pediatricians from my area. The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (District 66: Torrance/Southern California). As the VISION (Voices in Solidatrity Against Oil in Neighborhoods) writes “Assembly Bill 345, a common sense measure that helps protect millions of Californians, mostly people of color, living near an oil or gas well by establishing a 2500-foot health and safety zone.”
It just happens that this bill is in committee (Sen Nat Resources and Water Committee). They need 5 votes to get it out out of that committee and need one of two state senators to vote YES. The swing vote is a State Senator that represents the district I practice in.
These are my prepared remakrs, which have to be under 2 minutes.
“My name is XXX, and I am Assistant Chief of Pediatrics at XX. I speak today as a private citizen on behalf of fourteen pediatricians who all work and mostly live in the South Bay of San Diego. As general pediatricians at the XX Otay Mesa and Bonita facilities, we care for the children of Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, San Ysidro area and South San Diego. Collectively we care for 24,000 children who live in district 40 as their pediatricians. We see the effects of air pollution from gas and oil wells every day in our clinics. Our children in the South Bay have higher rates and severity of pediatric asthma, we care for many premature babies after they are discharged from the NICU. We work in daytime pediatric clinic and evening pediatric urgent care clinics, and I can tell you our code room where we run nebs and stabilize children with asthma is busy. More often than not, those children are young, Hispanic or black, and live in the South Bay. Now with COVID-19, again the South Bay is hit with a heavier burden of disease. The following fourteen pediatricians as private citizens have cosigned a letter asking Senator Ben Hueso to support AB345 which is a common sense measure that requires a 2,500 foot health and safety setback from schools, day care centers, residential homes, and hospitals. This is a common sense measure that would collectively improve the health and save pediatric lives. I grew in Bonita and Chula Vista. I feel honored today to speak on behalf of the children I take care of and also the community that raised me. I speak on behalf of my colleagues Dr. Joanne Wong, Dr. Sara Valladolid, Dr. Dana Goldberg MD, Dr. Daniel Spencer, Dr. Victoria Pham, Dr. Melissa Morelos, Dr. Naomi Lawrence-Reid, Dr. Dana Patton-Ku, Dr. Vivian Wong, Dr. Damian Ng, Dr. James Moseman, Dr. Sabrina Perrino, Dr. Andrei Fodoreanu and Dr. Vera Lyubasyuk. They could not be here today because they are working. Please vote Yes of AB345 in order to protect the children in our communities.“
It just happens that California State Senator Benajamin Hueso, a crucial vote, is from San Diego District 40. From one of my environmental group partners, “This state Assembly bill would require the state to develop health and safety regulations to protect children, families, and workers who live and work near oil and gas wells including the creation of a 2,500 ft. health and safety buffer zone. Nearly 5.5 million Californians — mostly people of color — live within one mile of an oil or gas well. Living in such close proximity to fossil fuel extraction leads to an increased risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, as well as water contamination, leaks, and toxic chemical spills and explosions. AB 345 passed the state Assembly in January and is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Natural Resources Committee before it goes to a vote on the Senate floor in July.”
So my press conference remarks are done. I’ve practiced them a few times and it is under two minutes. I am speaking alongside the Elected Mayors of two impacted cities, Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis (National City) and Mayor Serge Dedina (Imperial Beach). I was going to blog about home-made pizza dough today and “Confessions of a Mother of a Tween” but this seemed more important.
If you want to advocate yourself as a private front-line community member,
What: testifying in support of AB 345 at the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Water hearing
When: Wednesday, August 5th at 9am (our bill is supposed to be first up!)
Who: supporters of AB 345:
One representative per supporting organization
Please coordinate internally so we do not have multiple people calling who are not frontline community members or constituents. This is an opportunity to show broad support, not to “jam” phone lines.
Unlimited frontline community members
Unlimited folks who are constituents of committee members (list here)
How: call in by phone, 1-888-251-2909 Access Code 736-2831
When you call in, you can listen to the hearing but will be muted
Turn off the volume on the device you are watching the hearing on and listen using the phone audio (which will be real-time, there can be a delay on video audio)
When the chair calls for testimonies in support of the bill, dial 1-0 (one time only)
Be patient and an operator will come on the line to give you a line number (i.e. “you’re line 25”) – there can be a short wait until the operator comes on, do not dial 1-0 again or you will be removed from the queue I recommend marking a tally mark down on paper when you hear that you’re assigned a line number so that you know!
Once you receive a line number, you’re in the queue
When it is your turn to speak, the operator will call out your line number and unmute you (“line 25, please make your comment”)
Immediately start to address the committee – you ONLY get to say:
Your organization/affiliation (include if you’re a frontline resident or constituent – and name which committee member – if applicable)
That you support AB 345
Hang up, resume watching the hearing on the video, post on social media with the hashtag #YesonAB345 and #NoDrillingWhereWereLiving send good vibes that we get all 5 votes we need to keep moving 🙂
I know this seems confusing – if you have any questions or issues, please contact Kobi (firstname.lastname@example.org or text at 214-609-2439) who will be on call to help.