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Monday, Oct 2, 2023


The South Coast Air Quality Management District board on Friday will decide whether to renew the contract of executive director, James Lents. The role played by Lents and the AQMD staff in cleaning up air pollution has long been a subject of debate in the business community. But politics aside, the Business Journal Forum asks:

Has the AQMD done a good job cleaning up Southern California’s air quality?

Andrew P. Cohen

Managing Principal

Gensler Los Angeles

Los Angeles has gone through a tremendous growth spurt, becoming the local hub of the western gateway to the U.S. Given this significant growth, the AQMD has done an admirable job of solving some of the area’s consequential air quality issues.

Ann Adams

Sales Manager

Entertainment Health Alliance

I believe so because I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and it was really bad, so bad that you couldn’t even see the San Gabriel Mountains. But now it doesn’t seem as bad, I can’t even remember the last time I couldn’t see the mountains.

Julia Gouw

Sr. Vice President, CFO

East West Bank

Yes I think so. I remember when I first moved to Los Angeles in 1981 that we had more days in which I could not see the San Gabriel Mountains. Now, you can see the mountains more often so it seems less polluted than it used to be. That can probably be attributed to programs such as car pooling. But we could probably do more in the future to ensure cleaner air.

Dick Torre


Global Capital Markets Inc./

They’ve done a good job cleaning up the air and, in the past few years, have an even-handed way of dealing with the business community in looking for solutions rather than being punitive and dictatorial. That air of unreasonableness seems to have improved along with the air quality.

Diane J. Crumpacker

Fried, Bird & Crumpacker

I think that they are doing a commendable job attempting to better the air quality for all Southern Californians at a time when our population is growing at record rates. Of course it’s the responsibility of all Californians to assist them in their efforts.

Peter Roth

Sr. Manager

Grant Thornton LLP

The bottom line is, whether or not the AQMD is effective, is the quality of the air we breathe here in Southern California. Air quality has continuously improved during the past decade and I feel that they are doing a credible job in accomplishing their mission.

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