Gas spewed into the atmosphere less than 18 miles from Pierce College in what is now considered to be the worst gas leak in American history, and caused the evacuation of thousands of residents, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The impact on the community of the Oct. 23 Aliso Canyon gas leak was one of several topics discussed Thursday, May 12, in the Great Hall during Day of Politics.
Neighborhood council consultant Rob Rubine expressed that the gas leak is really a cautionary tale on organizational leadership.
“We didn’t find out about it from SoCal Gas, we found out about it from people like you,” Rubine said.
The facility where the leak took place is operated by the Southern California Gas Company (SoCal Gas), which is owned by parent-company Sempra Energy.
SoCal Gas has maintained that the gas leak is not a risk to the public. However, residents have complained of headaches, nosebleeds and other issues. At least 1,000 households requested relocation from the Porter Ranch area amid complaints about the odor and physical ailments from the leak.
“We have been able to relocate about 2,300 families, and it’s still an ongoing thing,” Rubine said.
The event was organized by Political Science department chair Denise Robb and Sponsored by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Students were able to ask their questions and raise concerns pertaining to the gas leak crisis in Porter Ranch to a panel of state board members.
Day of Politics featured a debate between State Senator Candidates, moderated by ABC news anchor Robert Kovacik. Five of the six state Senate candidates who are running for the office of District 27 got the chance to express their values and initiative to students. Throughout the hour and a half long debate, students wrote questions and topic on a card for the moderator to read to candidates.
At the beginning of the debate, each of the Senate candidates gave an opening statement.
Recreational marijuana use was one topic raised. Senate Candidate Janice Kamenir-Reznik expressed her concerned for marijuana not being used in the proper way, but agreed that it does have some positive medical purposes.
“Someone in my family has a history of not being able to use marijuana responsibly so I don’t necessary agree with use of it recreationally,” Kamenir said.
Each candidate was asked if they had ever taken oil money. During the debate Kamenir-Reznik questioned if fellow candidate Henry Stern received money from Sempra.
“He said that he received this money and donated it, but I have a source that says it was just given to a third party,” Kamenir said.
Candidate George Thomas appreciated everybody who came to the event.
“I’m amazed that all these student came out today and even stayed after the pizza was gone,” Thomas said.
The last event of the day was a meet and greet and question and answer session with Assemblyman Matt Dababneh. Dababneh explained to students the importance of having professors that help students engage in politics.
“It’s important that campuses keep having events like this, especially during an election year, because students need to be as informed as possible,” Dababneh said.