Gatto touts road-energy bill

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) may have found a new energy source for California — the pavement beneath your car tires.

Last week, Gatto introduced Assembly Bill 306, a proposal to launch tests of “piezoelectric” generation of energy. Essentially, sensors would be placed in roadbeds trembling under the weight of vehicles, harnessing that energy and using it to run nearby streetlights and residences.

Gatto said Israel is using the sensors, and Italy plans to test them on part of the nation’s autostrada, or superhighway. He estimates that energy from one lane on a kilometer-long stretch of busy roadway could generate energy to power 30,000 homes for a year.

Multiply that by three, he said, “and that’s the entire city of Burbank.”

The bill calls for the California Department of Transportation to use existing funds to run two pilot projects, one in Southern California and one in Northern California.

“Even in the test areas it would be extremely productive for our grid,” Gatto said.

He heard about the energy source from a friend in Israel, and has since talked to companies developing the technology, he added. In a best-case scenario, Gatto said, Caltrans may be able to sell the power and use the revenue for road repairs or a bigger investment in the technology.

Antonovich skeptical about governor’s plans

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, the Republican who represents Glendale, Burbank and nearby areas, told members of the state Assembly Budget Committee who came to Los Angeles on Feb. 4 that they need to get more serious about budget reform.

Like other county officials at the special legislative session, Antonovich expressed skepticism that Gov. Jerry Brown’s planned realignment of government services and the proposed June ballot initiative to extend sales, income and vehicle tax hikes will work without deeper reforms.

Antonovich said the state has more than 19,000 employees making $100,000 or more, 5,000 earning $200,000 or more and 1,000 making $300,000 or more.

The governor’s proposed realignment, he said, is like a “magician’s sleight of hand” that will overburden local law enforcement and other agencies.

He also touched on the high-profile public relations campaign to bring a football stadium to downtown Los Angeles, in which supporters seeking to get going on construction want to streamline the state approval process. Antonovich said he and other supervisors want local high schools, libraries and medical centers built quickly, as well.

“Let’s create those with the same priorities and sense of urgency as football stadiums,” Antonovich said.

Parties get their act together for conventions

Local party activists are gearing up for the state Democratic and Republican conventions, slated to take place later this year.

Last month, the California Democratic Party held elections for 12 residents of the 43rd Assembly District to participate, along with party leaders and elected officials, including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and state Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake). The 43rd District includes Glendale, Burbank and parts of neighboring communities in the city of Los Angeles.

Several party regulars were elected in balloting at International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 80 in Burbank, including Adrin Nazarian, chief of staff to Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian; Juliet Minassian of the Glendale Democratic Club; Bridget McCann of the Burbank Democratic Club; and Nayiri Nahabedian, a Glendale school board member.

The California Democratic Convention will take place in Sacramento starting April 29.

The California Republican Party makes its selections for convention attendees differently, with guaranteed spots for party officials and past candidates, such as John Colbert, the unsuccessful 2010 GOP candidate for Congress in the 27th District, and Sunder Ramani, who ran unsuccessfully for the 43rd Assembly seat last year.

Republican officials appoint the other attendees to the convention, according to Felicia Tweedy, the chairwoman of the 43rd District Republican Central Committee. The California Republican convention will be held March 18 to 20 in Sacramento.

Democratic club chooses new leaders

The Glendale Democratic Club recently elected a new slate of leaders. The new officers are: Caro Avanessian, president; Juliet Minassian, first vice president; Kathy Kensinger, second vice president; Martha Main, secretary: and Thomas Patrick O'Shaughnessy, treasurer.

Lombardo thanks Reid for aviation work

On Feb. 2, Charles Lombardo, a Burbank appointee to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority board, was in Washington, D.C., to help honor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) with an aviation industry award.

In recent years, Reid championed an exemption for airports from alternative minimum tax changes that would have caused a significant spike in the debt-service costs for airports engaged in major expansion or capital projects.

“As an industry, we could not ask for a better advocate in the Senate,” Lombardo, who gave the award on behalf of the Airports Council International — North America, said in a statement.

Najarian honored for effort on county plan

Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian is among those to be honored Thursday for work on Los Angeles County’s 30/10 plan, an effort to complete what normally might be 30 years’ worth of public transit projects in a 10-year timeframe to keep up with the region’s needs.

Move LA — a coalition of business, environmental, labor and neighborhood groups instrumental in earning voter approval of the 2008 transportation sales tax initiative Measure R — is recognizing Najarian, who is on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency Board of Directors.

Other honorees include Najarian’s fellow MTA board member and Richard Katz, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) The event will be at the Center at Cathedral Plaza in downtown L.A.

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