I started volunteering at Heal the Bay as a 22-year- old in 1986. Over the last 25 years, I have some amazing memories. Here is an extremely abridged list of a few of the most memorable.
My first hearing at the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. L.A. County San’s general manager, Chuck Carry, chewed my head off publicly for stating that the Carson Plant was violating the Clean Water Act’s sludge dumping prohibition by discharging centrate (the liquid removed from centrifuged sludge) off of Palos Verdes. After the Regional Board ruled that Heal the Bay was right, wise and kindly board member Chuck Vernon came over to me to offer support for hanging in there against Carry. Definitely a Mean Joe Green-Coke moment. That was the first of my over 200 Regional and State Water Board meetings.
Heal the Bay’s annual meetings At one meeting, U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson and Attorney General John Van De Kamp, two of the three gubernatorial candidates in 1990, gave plenary talks. Wilson announced for the first time that he would create Cal-EPA if he was elected. He won the seat and he did just that. Other annual meetings included a Senate environmental debate between eventual winner Barbara Boxer, Congressman and Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project founder Mel Levine, and Lt. Governor Leo McCarthy, and an L.A. mayoral environmental debate with every candidate but the eventual winner, Richard Riordan. I still remember then-Councilman Nate Holden stating that he’d make Santa Monica Bay drinkable if he was elected.
Surfboard Art -- one of the most creative, amazing events in non-profit group history. The brainchild of Olympic swimmer John Moffat, the project gave America’s top artists a Clark Foam blank that they could decorate as they saw fit. The creativity of Board member Cydney Mandel and the leadership of the Dill brothers were key. Boards were created by Lita Albuquerque, Laddie John and Guy Dill, Joni Mitchell, Peter Max, and Ed Moses. But despite a show in the Corcoran Gallery and other locales, it was a horrible fundraiser because the boards were raffled off rather than auctioned off.