Bonnie Lowenthal appointed to California Emergency Council

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assemblymember bonnie lowenthal

Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal

Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal on Friday accepted an appointment to the California Emergency Council, a high-level panel dealing with disaster preparedness and response.

Assembly Speaker John Perez appointed Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, to the panel, adding her to a list of membership that includes, among others, the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

“I take this responsibility very seriously,” said Lowenthal. “If we’ve learned anything from the Japanese earthquake, it’s that your plans must always evolve. You can never say things are good enough.”

The appointment comes as the state Senate prepares to consider legislation by Lowenthal that will re-establish the Joint Committee on Emergency Management, whose membership includes leaders from both houses of the Legislature.

“There are a lot of things to look at,” she said. “We have nuclear power plants near the sea. We have underground natural gas lines crisscrossing our cities. We have hospitals and schools and civic buildings that aren’t yet ready for a major seismic event.”

The Emergency Council can review existing plans and suggest changes to the way the state coordinates its response to serious emergencies.

“Of course, it’s not just about earthquakes, or fires, or evacuation plans,” she said. “It seems like yesterday that we were bracing for a pandemic flu.

“The bottom line is to determine where our weaknesses are, and what we can do about them,” Lowenthal said.

The City of Long Beach, which Lowenthal represents, was the site of a catastrophic earthquake in 1933 that leveled scores of school buildings and led to the creation of California’s Field Act, the law that mandates seismic standards for school construction.

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