The fight for clean air just got real. On Friday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board will consider the ouster of Executive Officer Dr. Barry Wallerstein. The Coalition for Clean Air is greatly concerned about the future of air quality in the region and the motives behind such a move.
Dr. Barry R. Wallerstein has been with AQMD since 1984 and has been the Executive Officer since 1997. Under his watch, days exceeding the 2008 federal ozone standard have dropped by one third. Today, for the first time, new clean air technologies provide us a viable path to meeting air quality standards.
The AQMD board has a history of being a non-partisan body committed to protecting public health by finding practical solutions to Southern California’s notoriously poor air quality. Both Republican and Democratic board members have made it a priority to move clean air progress forward in a way that makes sense for everyone. We hope that the Capitol Weekly is wrong in their assertion that the board has become a political hot potato.
Experienced, effective, and skilled public servants don’t come along every day. While we understand and appreciate the fact that the board has every right to make personnel decisions under their purview, Dr. Wallerstein has neither been told what he’s done wrong nor given an opportunity to improve his job performance before being dismissed.
AQMD has a responsibility to make sure Southern Californians breathe clean air. The agency needs to be unwavering in their focus and commitment to that goal.
The AQMD Board Meeting is at 9 AM at AQMD Headquarters at 21865 Copley Drive – Diamond Bar, CA 91765.