For decades, Michael Cacciotti had been fighting for the betterment of South Pasadena, working tirelessly as a city council member to ensure that air quality improves and the environment is protected.
Now he has been given a larger role to advocate in that fight after being sworn in last Friday as vice chair of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).
Cacciotti has been a governing board member for the agency since 2008, and the new position only further advances his efforts to minimize emissions through his push for electric vehicles, encouraging eco-friendly lawn and garden equipment, while stressing the importance of public transportation, cycling, and walking as part of his clean air crusade.
The SCAQMD is responsible for regulating stationary and mobile sources of air pollution to ensure the air meets state and federal air quality standards. Updating regulations, providing technical assistance, educating the public, enforcing rules all come into play for the agency.
Cacciotti points out that mobile sources are 80% of the cause of pollution in the air basin, coming from heavy duty diesel trucks, ships, locomotives, airplanes, off-road construction equipment, cars and trucks, commercial and residential lawn equipment. Stationary sources of pollution like landfills, oil refineries, power plants, factories and businesses also are all attributed to the problem.
“I am honored to be a part of the important work that we do to improve lives for our local residents through South Coast AQMD,” said Cacciotti said in a statement. “I am motivated to know I have my fellow board members trust and confidence as we continue to work towards our goal to reduce air pollution over the course of the coming years.”
He will sit alongside Vanessa Delgado, a former state senator, who assumes the chair position for SCAQMD, becoming the first Latina chair in the organization’s 47 years of existence.
“I want to thank my fellow board members for nominating me to lead our team in our critical mission of cleaning the air,” said Delgado. “I am proud of our accomplishments during my three years with the Board and look forward to continuing our fight for clean air.”
Cacciotti has been a South Pasadena City Council member since 2001, serving five terms as mayor, and was a deputy attorney with the State of California Department of Justice for about 20 years before retiring. In his role with the SCAQMD, he represents 34 cities in eastern Los Angeles County. Cacciotti also sits on multiple committees for the clean air agency, which covers a major portion of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties, including the Coachella Valley. He is the longest serving member on the SCAQMD board.
“I especially like working with my colleagues on the board to implement our purpose, which is to help reduce air pollution and improve air quality in the South Coast Air Quality Management District basin,” he said. “It’s exciting that I have the opportunity to work with my fellow colleagues on the board, an incredibly talented staff at the AQMD, and all of our partners, in working together to improve air quality.”
The local council member also says reducing air pollution is an important step toward ensuring good health, noting: “Pollution makes the air we breathe more toxic,” said Cacciotti. “It can aggravate conditions like asthma, bronchitis, heart diseases, and it has been linked to increased mortality from lung cancer. That’s why I’m proud to serve on this board, now as vice chair, continuing to help protect all of us.”