Calif. Gov. Brown Vetoes Earthquake Safety Proposal
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in late September vetoed a bill that would have directed California municipalities to create a database of structures that would be at risk of collapse as a result of seismic events. AB 2681, put forth by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-North Hollywood), would have required cities and counties to submit an inventory of vulnerable buildings to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services by Jan. 1, 2021.
Brown cited cost as the reason he rejected the measure, but he did not provide an estimate. Legislative staffers suggested the effort would run to tens of millions of dollars, but supporters estimated the total would range from $15 million to $20 million.
The measure had no funding mechanism.
Brown offered an alternative path, calling for state and local governments and building owners to develop a partnership that would develop an inventory in a cost-effective fashion with a realistic timeline.
Expressing disappointment, Nazarian said in a statement that “California is not prepared for the staggering cost in lives and property damage when the ‘Big One’ hits. I look forward to working with the California Seismic Safety Commission to identify and improve building safety across California.”
The League of California Cities and California Building Officials, an association advocating health and safety, came out against the proposal, saying that the legislation would impose too heavy a burden for small building departments.
“If you don’t know how sick you are, or how vulnerable you are, to me it’s a sign of ignorance,” David Korram, Long Beach’s superintendent of building and safety, said.
Supporters of AB 2681 included the Structural Engineers Association of California, the U.S. Resiliency Council, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), the West Hollywood City Council and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.