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July 28, 2010

Attacks on Speaker Perez for Ocean Protection Support Go Over the Line

By Marcela Gutierrez
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Editor's Note: This is in response to comments made by anti-ocean protection writer Dan Bacher, calling for the resignation of Speaker Perez, because of his support for the Marine Life Protection Act. The MLPA was supported by a unanimous vote of the California Democratic Party's Environmental Caucus last year.

It is unfortunate that some are so free with their hateful rhetoric and casually accuse our democratically elected leaders of racism and green-washing.

Speaker John Pérez has a strong and consistent record showing his commitment to social and environmental justice. Suffice it to reference his work on AB 890, the law passed last fall to address chronic pollution (manganese) to the City of Maywood's water supply. Championing a solution to the oft-ignored problem that plagues Maywood's mostly working-class and immigrant community is hardly the hallmark of a "corporate green-washer.

Speaker Pérez' support for the Marine Life Protection Act reflects his constituents' views and the strong support for marine conservation shown by California's Latino population. During the process to implement the Marine Life Protection Act in southern California, Latino residents have submitted thousands of supportive letters and petitions. Last October, hundreds of Latino residents from schoolchildren to families participated in an MLPA hearing inLong Beach demanding improved ocean protection in the face of overtly hostile and taunting crowds of sportsfishing telling them to "go back where they came from."

As a Stakeholder in the effort to develop marine protected areas in Southern California, I helped to produce Spanish language informational materials, hold Spanish language outreach meetings and provide translation at all official public events. While there's still work to be done to making sure California's land and ocean conservation efforts are thoroughly inclusive, the MLPA process has been a welcome step in the right direction. With Speaker Pérez' support, I am hopeful for continued progress on conservation and social justice.   

Marcela Gutierrez is Program Manager of Wildcoast, which supports the Marine Life Protection Act.3

(the idea with this link is to drive people to the program! So here it should say:

Name here is Program Manager of Marine Protected Areas.