The Environment: A down-to-earth, low-cost approach
The earth does not hear a politician’s promises, or indeed their intentions.
“We must create a culture where the environment is considered in every one of our actions, and we must do so immediately,” says Tomas. “Ordinary people get this. They have gotten it for years. Oddly, it’s the folks that we send to City Hall and beyond who seem to manage over and over again to pit people against each other, drag their feet, or simply botch it up.”
Tomas O’Grady founded Friends of King not only to enrich education at Thomas Starr King Middle School but to be the first PTO non-profit in California with a sustainability clause written into its bylaws. A tenet of Friends of King states, “We will not fundraise for our children’s education at the expense of their future on this planet.”
Tomas O’ Grady started the recycling programs at Franklin Elementary and at TS King Middle School. Most people do not know this, but the Department of Recreation and Parks does not recycle. Tomas convinced the Department of Sanitation to give some blue recycling cans to the Silver Lake Recreation Center.
“Tomas was talking about recycling at the middle school and the rec
center one day, and I asked him on a whim if there was anything he could do
about getting a recycling program at the Griffith Park
Center. We had made no progress. I had not heard
from him, so I assumed he had forgotten or had failed, and then one day he
called and simply said the blue cans were on their way.”
Stephanie Vendig- Griffith Park Adult Community Center
Tomas’s sincerity and down-to-earth approach helps him get things done. People know his heart is in the right place and respond to that.
Tomas O’Grady and Leonardo Chalupowicz founded EnrichLA in early 2011, and they have been hard at work ever since! EnrichLA is a Non-Profit organization that builds gardens in Los Angeles Schools. It may sound simple, but these garden projects take a lot of time, coordination, and hard work. EnrichLA coordinates soil tests with LAUSD, appeals…Continue Reading »
Something extraordinary happened a couple of days ago in my neighborhood, the Hollywood Dell, that I wanted you to be aware of. For years my neighborhood has been lucky to enjoy a nature trail sitting on 10 lots of undeveloped land where everyone walks their dogs, savors the wildlife, and just finds a bit of…Continue Reading »
Friends, There is an election tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8th in Los Angeles, and I am emailing to entreat you to get out and vote for Tomás O’Grady for Los Angeles City Councilmember representing district 4. I have had the great honor of being roped in by Tomás to innumerable volunteer public service opportunities including but…Continue Reading »
Dear Friends and Neighbors, This coming Tuesday is election day for the Los Angeles City Council, as well as other offices and ballot measures. I am writing to encourage you to vote for Tomas O’Grady for LA City Council District 4. CD4 is huge and irregularly shaped. If you click on Tomas’ website below, there…Continue Reading »
Contact: Alexa Iles Skarpelos Friends of La Rocha co-chair Phone: 323.469.4977 Mobile: 310.497.3982 Email: email@example.com THE FRIENDS OF LA ROCHA TRAIL RECOMMEND TOMAS O’GRADY TOMAS O’GRADY IS A REAL FRIEND TO THOSE WHO WANT TO PRESERVE ACCESSIBLE GREEN SPACE IN LA CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 4 Current LA City Council Member Tom LaBonge never misses an…Continue Reading »
Re-Building Trust…One Penny at a Time 26/02/11 by TOMAS O\\\’GRADY in Blog, FISCAL COMMON SENSE “Take care of the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves.” Remember that saying? We are going to need two things moving forward to bring our public finances, state, city, and federal, into equilibrium. To put it bluntly,…Continue Reading »
Despite efforts like Tomas’s across the state, there is still less than a 20% recycling rate in California. Los Angeles uses 2.4 billion single-use plastic bags per year. AB 1998 failed to get past the state senate this summer. Apparently, lack of courage, not to mention work ethic, is not exclusive to our City Hall politicians. It’s time for the City of Los Angeles to begin charging for or banning outright single use plastic bags.
“We will have to get a few state laws that do not allow charging for plastic bags changed first,” Tomas says.
Folks can avoid the charge by bringing their own reusable bag. Tomas O’Grady supports eco initiatives that give people the chance to save money by adjusting their habits. We already do this successfully with car pool lanes and in the DWP tier billing system.
“When Tomas says something like this, it is not just words or a good
intention. You will see him jot it down and then at the end of a conversation
before we move on to the next topic, he will say, “Okay, let me repeat
what I just heard. You are doing this, I will call him, you will send this, I
will pick up that.’ The message is: tangible things are about to happen and
everyone has to help.”
- Meg Taylor, co-chair, Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council Green Committee
Amid great fanfare, the politicians of the City of Los Angeles announced in July 2008 that absent state action, a city-wide plastic bag ban would be enacted in July 2010. It never happened. Tomas O’Grady will make this happen. “We will do this either by prodding the state to act or acting ourselves,” he says.
The Department of Water and Power is now proposing additional “all tier” rate increases. Good for the environment, you might think. Actually, no.
“A better way is to structure carbon reduction incentive rate increases somewhat like the tax code. Give folks a chance to pay the current rates if they stay within their basic allotment or first tier and add a more significant increase once they go to the second tier. In other words, bluntly, charge the biggest energy users the most. It’s fair and progressive,” Tomas explains.
Tomas is passionate about tangible sustainability and a clean, green planet. He has established his reputation as a man of action locally on public education and environmental issues.
“There is no doubt about it, we must change how we interact with our planet if we want a viable future for our kids and grandkids, and we must do so now,” says Tomas, who considers himself a pragmatic environmentalist. “We can have it both ways: saving money on utilities, living more comfortably, and saving the planet.” Tomas built his own eco-friendly house in Los Feliz, where he lives with his wife Justine and their four kids, and founded environmental volunteer group Farm Feliz.
“Considering the failures of grand government schemes, not to mention their inefficiencies, any environmental efforts or change in policy must begin with people taking action in small, locally focused groups. I believe this can best be done by making small changes and creating an atmosphere of environmental stewardship in the city, so that our children grow up with a sense of responsibility to take care of their homes, their schools, their neighborhoods, their city, and ultimately their planet.”
Tomas has worked to bring campus gardens and green spaces to elementary and middle schools in CD4. “I think it’s critical for children to renew that connection with their food sources and thus the planet. Food doesn’t come from a plastic Cheetos bag. The garden that we created at Thomas Starr King MS brought a softness to that school that a computer or a basketball hoop could never match. Children can now leave the classroom, switch off the AC, and study outside under one of the 20 shade trees we planted.”
Tomas is the organizer of the Eastside Eco-Tour and was the driving force behind a new environmental studies magnet that will open at TS King Middle School next fall.
“To be able to create a sustainable future and to allow them to compete with their peers, we must offer children training in environmental science and its practical applications. Like with so many things, our kids are the ones who will benefit from our foresight and our ability to change our habits. If elected, I will continue to see our schools as the starting point for our environmental efforts. This is a win-win: creating better and more focused educational opportunities while taking care of our planet’s future.”