Political landscape

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a no-show at a Bob Hope Airport political event Thursday, but the "No on Proposition 23" show went on without him.

The event was called to criticize Proposition 23, one of nine statewide measures on the Nov. 2 ballot. It would suspend a landmark California law that sets sustainability benchmarks until one year after the unemployment rate returns to pre-recession averages of 5.5% or less. The unemployment rate in California was 12.4% in August.

Burbank City Councilmen Dave Golonski and Jess Talamantes, sporting green hard hats, stood on a stage in a new, energy-efficient airplane hangar next to developers, business owners and two dozen members of Carpenters Union Local 1506. Speakers criticized Proposition 23 and the Texas-based oil companies that support it. They also praised the sweeping green measure the governor signed in 2006, Assembly Bill 32.

Schwarzenegger spoke via telephone over loudspeakers set up in the new energy-efficient hangar off North Clybourn Avenue. But his speech was unintelligible as the volume faded in and out and his voice echoed off the high ceilings of the hangar.

Danny Curtin, director California Conference of Carpenters, said Proposition 23 would stifle California's burgeoning green energy business, which includes overhauling older buildings by adding energy-efficient lighting and heating features.

"Retrofitting existing structures, that is going to put a lot of carpenters to work," Curtin said in an interview.

Avjet Corp., a jet management and consulting firm based at the Bob Hope Airport, runs the new hangar. Completed last year, the building generates 10% more energy than it uses, according to Ben Wahab, chief operating officer of builder Shangri-La Construction.

Features include rooftop solar panels, steel beams made of partially recycled materials, "plyboo" —bamboo-based wall materials — landscaping with artificial turf and drought-tolerant plants. The hanger also includes huge, slow-moving fans that efficiently stir a large volume of air.

Other speakers at the event included Mary Leslie of the Los Angeles Business Council, Ruben Guerra of the Latin Business Assn. and Greg Lippe on behalf of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn.

Representatives of the "Yes on Proposition 23" campaign could not be reached. But proponents say that if implemented today, regulations in AB 32 will drive up energy costs, cost cities needed tax revenue and spur a loss of jobs.

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The League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank and Glendale Commission on the Status of Women will host a free forum on the statewide propositions on the Nov. 2 ballot. The event takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Glendale City Council Chambers, 613 E. Broadway.

Members of the league will take questions and offer information on the measures, including financial impacts and arguments for and against the propositions.

The nine measures on the ballot include a proposal to legalize recreational use of marijuana, competing measures on efforts to redraw political districts in the state, competing measures on making it easier or harder to pass budgets and new taxes in the state, a state parks funding measure, a proposal to suspend a green energy law, and several tax proposals that would affect businesses or municipalities.

For more information, call (818) 548-4844 or write to women@ci.glendale.ca.us.

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Americana at Brand developer Rick Caruso spoke plainly about the failings of Los Angeles during a Sept. 22 talk in which he acknowledged that he is "leaning toward" a run for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013, when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is forced out by term limits.

Caruso called the Los Angeles Unified School District an "educational gulag" that should be broken into smaller regional districts.

He hammered plans for the Purple Line, the underground "subway to the sea" on the west side that has been plagues by cost overruns, environmental hazards and fierce critics.

"We have the greatest climate in the world, but we're going to put (riders)in a hole at 100 times the cost," he said, shaking his head. "Let's spend the time we're alive above the ground."

Caruso said Los Angeles needs to kill its business tax to encourage job growth, especially as neighboring cities offer more favorable conditions for investment.

"The cities around Los Angeles are eating our lunch," he said.

Caruso, whose staffers had placed Americana at Brand gift bags on the chairs of all the attendees at the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn. luncheon, asked people to raise their hands if they thought he should run for mayor. Most did.

"The people who didn't raise your hands, please turn in your gift bags," he joked.

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Monday is the first day voters can request vote-by-mail ballots, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Vote-by-mail applications were included in the official sample ballots the office began to distribute Sept. 23 to the county's 4.3 million registered voters.

Voters can choose to get their vote-by-mail ballots by choosing the "permanent vote-by-mail" status on the applications. Nearly 690,000 voters in L.A. have opted for permanent vote-by-mail status.

Such ballots must be received, not just postmarked, by the times polls close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 2.

For more information, visit http://www.lavote.net or call (562) 466-1323.

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