By Bill Hendrickson
On Tuesday evening, hundreds of advocates for renewable power generation at Glendale’s Grayson power plant gathered in front of the Glendale City Hall to demonstrate before a City Council meeting. Speakers included adults and children, all calling with passion for elected officials to require Glendale Water and Power (GWP) to find and use 100% gas-free, renewable sources to create electricity at Grayson.
The demonstration was organized by a team of Glendale residents led by Dan Brotman. Over the past year, Brotman’s protesters have put pressure on GWP to switch to renewable energy, with noteworthy results: GWP has reduced its original proposal for 250 megawatts of power from gas to 93 megawatts, with additional power to come from solar energy and batteries. In addition to reducing the use of environmentally harmful fossil fuel, the changes have led to savings of “$170 million, so far,” said Brotman.
There’s a takeaway here for Northeast Los Angeles, namely: Sustained, organized protest can get GWP to budge. That’s important, because people in NELA (and Glendale) need GWP to come up with better ways to deal with methane gas pollution from the Scholl Canyon landfill in the hills above Eagle Rock. GWP has to be led where it does not want to go: to a cleaner, greener future.
Another lesson from the Glendale protests is that leadership can emerge from the grassroots. Brotman told the crowd at the Tuesday night gathering that to get all the way to gas-free power generation in Glendale, “We need change on the City Council.” And, at that point, Brotman announced to a cheering crowd: “I’m going to run for City Council.”