Partnership joins SGV restaurant owners, chefs and local officials from the Chinese community to fight proposed ban on natural gas
ARCADIA - The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership joined Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions at a Chinese-language press conference held in Arcadia this week along with local elected officials, restaurant owners, and chefs from the SGV Chinese community to publicly oppose the proposed ban on natural gas in California homes and businesses. This ban is being seriously considered by the Public Utilities Commission.
"What we heard here today is remarkable," said Jon Switalski, Executive Director of Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions, a grassroots organization of natural gas users. "Small business owners, community leaders and concerned citizens have stood here today to say, "Enough!" The State of California is going in the wrong direction in banning the use of natural gas."
Speakers at the press conference, held at the notable Chinese restaurant Meizhou Dongpo at the Santa Anita Mall, emphasized the devastating economic and cultural effects banning natural gas would have on the Chinese communities of the San Gabriel Valley. The region is especially famous for its Chinese cuisine and numerous restaurants, large and small, which are a major economic driver for cities like San Gabriel, Temple City, Rosemead, Monterey Park, Alhambra and Arcadia. In the recently released California Michelin Guide, 62 SoCal restaurants were recognized with honorable mentions - 15 were in the San Gabriel Valley while only 5 were in Orange County. A prestigious Michelin Star was awarded to Bistro Na's in Temple City, which features traditional upscale Chinese cuisine. The elimination of natural gas for cooking purposes would pose an existential threat to the operation of these important Chinese restaurants.
Chef Tian Yong of the Michelin Star restaurant Bistro Na's discusses the importance of natural gas to Chinese cuisine.
"These proposed regulations will significantly hurt businesses that cannot operate without natural gas," said Brad Jensen, Director of Public Policy for the Partnership. "The San Gabriel Valley's local economy would be devastated by this new rule, as would residents and businesses across the state."
The Partnership's Director of Public Policy answers questions about the proposed regulations.
More than 90 percent of homes in Central and Southern California use natural gas for home space and water heating or cooking. Poll data show consumers favor natural gas for those uses because it is more affordable than electricity. State policymakers at the California Energy Commission and Public Utilities Commission are considering the adoption of new regulations that would eliminate natural gas use in new and existing homes and replace it with more expensive forms of energy.
Key speakers at the event included City Councilmembers Chin Ho Liao, from San Gabriel, and Sam Kang, from Duarte. Lili Kang, Sam Kang's mother, spoke at the event as she has hosted a Chinese cooking program on the radio for many years. Leo Wang of the Chinese Caterers Association spoke about the challenges facing the broader restaurant industry. Charles Lu, Head Chef at the Shanghailander Palace restaurant in Hacienda Heights, detailed how difficult it is to run a successful restaurant, how thin profit margins are and how hard you have to work to keep your business going. Annie Wei, Director of Business Development at the Partnership played a key role as organizer and translator at the event.
Councilmember Chin Ho Liao of the City of San Gabriel addresses the press.