Encino, CA—Today Congressman Berman did what none of his opponents can do: he kicked off a tour highlighting major projects and legislation he delivered for the Valley. Berman’s “Accomplishments Tour” focused on the preservation of the Santa Monica Mountains, funding for the I-405 expansion, and his record of protecting entertainment industry jobs—key successes that distinguish Berman in the race to fill California’s newly drawn 30th district seat.
“Plenty of people talk about supporting our precious natural resources, but talk is cheap,” said Joe Edmiston, Executive Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, who spoke at the first stop of the tour, which took place on the Berman Trail—named for Congressman Berman—in Franklin Canyon. “Congressman Berman was the leader who delivered the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and funding to preserve 69,000 acres of public land.”
In 1979, while in the California Assembly, Berman authored Assembly Bill 1312 creating the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. In Congress, Berman also secured over $100 million to preserve more than 60,000 acres of land for hiking trails and other recreational facilities—frequented by a group of hikers who thanked Berman at the first stop of today’s tour.
“Congressman Berman has always fought to improve the quality of life for the Valley,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said while headlining the second stop alongside Richard Close, President of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, and Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield, who emceed the tour. “And no issue exemplifies his passion, power, and skill more than his unmatched leadership on the I-405 expansion project.”
Despite false claims made by Congressman Brad Sherman in his television ad and at several candidate forums, Berman was the single most important leader who delivered the I-405 expansion. He secured $130 million in federal support, successfully pressured Governor Schwarzenegger to commit state matching funds, and made sure the project was shovel ready. Moreover, former House Transportation Committee Chair Jim Oberstar recently called Berman “the driving force behind” the I-405 expansion, which is underway and will greatly benefit Valley commuters and small businesses who face heavy traffic congestion along the Sepulveda Pass.
The “Accomplishments Tour” concluded at Universal Studios, where Congressman Berman met with Mark Binke, the Senior Vice President for Universal Cable Productions, Kathy Garmezy the Associate Executive Director, Government & International Affairs of the Directors Guild of America, and Thom Davis, the International Vice President for I.A.T.S.E.—which represents 35,000 rank and file entertainment industry workers.
“Congressman Berman has been a tireless warrior for thousands of rank and file entertainment workers,” said Thom Davis. “He is on the front lines of passing tax incentives for production to stay in the Valley, and he has led the fight to stop copyright infringement, which threatens our jobs.”
Congressman Berman has a long track record of fighting to protect the Valley’s entertainment industry, which employs more than 84,000 people in the greater Valley region and more than 140,000 across Los Angeles County. Last week he introduced legislation to continue tax incentives to combat runaway production in foreign countries. He has also been a leader in Congress for cracking down on online piracy and copyright infringement.
“I was honored to tour the Valley and meet such incredible leaders,” Berman said. “I’ve worked with them to preserve the Valley, secure funding for the I-405 expansion, and protect local entertainment jobs. While we could have visited a number of locations, I’m particularly proud of these accomplishments and will continue to deliver for the Valley.”
Associate Executive Director, Government & International Affairs