Mark has found plenty of time to take oil & gas industry money, but not much time to protect our health from the oil rigs operating in our neighborhoods.
“Oh my God,” Ridley-Thomas responded. “It’s a matter of public record!” Mark made this statement during a candidate forum in January 2020. He was responding to a question about whether or not he accepts campaign contributions from oil companies. (see LA Times article below).
“Out of more than a thousand contributions, he [Ridley-Thomas] said, four or five came from fossil fuel-related donors.”
Since Mark said it was a matter of public record, we looked at his records. It does appear that he only accepted a small number of contributions to his LA City Council campaign. But, Mark has a lot of other campaign committees and has taken a whole lot more from oil and gas interests over the years. We found $302,700 in donations and then we stopped looking for more. There are just too many political campaign committee reports for our team of volunteers and interns to review.
Here is a list of the contributions to 4 of his campaign committees over the last 20 years: CLICK HERE. To see details of his contributions, please visit the “Political Slush Funds” page which has links to all of his active campaign committees.
While Mark has found plenty of time to collect money from the oil and gas industry, he does not seem to have spent much time making sure the public is safe from oil drilling in Los Angeles. See below (LA City Controller’s Office Review of Oil and Gas Drilling Sites) for details and an interactive map on where the 780 active wells in LA City exist – many next to homes, schools and places of worship.
Mark’s own LA County Department of Public Health issued a report in 2018 about the existing health and safety risks of ongoing drilling (see link below, page 7): “In some neighborhoods, such as South Los Angeles, residences are located only several feet away from the boundary of a drilling site and as close as 60 feet from an active oil well. Two smaller neighborhood facilities, which the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has responded to concerns or complaints, were found in a state of disrepair with environmental conditions that impact the health of neighboring residents.”
If Mark wanted to help keep people safe, his own Department of Public Health proposed a Community Safety Plan (page 23): “Operators should prepare and make available to the public a comprehensive Community Safety Plan, in coordination with City and County departments, including Fire, Building and Safety, and Law Enforcement. These plans should include information on hazardous chemicals stored onsite; air emission monitoring efforts; and health-based exposure thresholds to identify the need for additional mitigation.” Did Mark ask LA County to implement any of this? Not that we can find.
We have included additional links below that provide additional information about the serious health and safety issues posed by the oil wells in Los Angeles.
Fossil fuel money is toxic for some L.A. council candidates
By EMILY ALPERT REYES, DAVID ZAHNISER
February 24, 2020
Los Angeles City Controller’s Office
Review of Oil and Gas Drilling Sites
June 27, 2018
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Public Health and Safety Risks of Oil and Gas Facilities in Los Angeles County
Oil Drilling in Los Angeles
A Story of Unequal Protections
by Community Health Councils, Inc
Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling (STAND-L.A.)
Paid for by Grace Yoo for City Council 2020 General
4045 Wilshire Blvd. Suite A, L.A., CA 90010
Additional information is available at ethics.lacity.org