The South Coast Air Quality Management District is the regional
government agency responsible for air pollution control in Los
Angeles and Orange counties and parts of Riverside and San Bernardino
counties. AQMD regulations must be approved by the state Air Resources
Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
What is the Governing Board?
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AQMD's Governing Board adopts policies and regulations that
promote clean air within its four-county area, the smoggiest in
the nation. Federal and state law require that AQMD achieve clean
air standards to protect public health. Before it makes decisions
that affect local residents and businesses, AQMD must consider
ideas and comments from the public. The opportunity to comment
begins in public workshops and ends with a public hearing by the
Governing Board where anyone can testify or present written comments.
The Board usually meets at AQMD's Diamond Bar headquarters on
the first Friday of each month.
Who serves on the Governing Board?
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The Board has 13 members. Ten are elected
officials. Of these, four are county supervisors representing
Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, elected
to AQMD's Board by their Boards of Supervisors. Six are City
Council members representing the cities in each county (because
of its size, Los Angeles County has two representatives, elected by respective
city selection committees, and the City of Los Angeles has one representative,
selected by the Mayor of Los Angeles).
The remaining three Board members are appointed by state elected
officials; one by the Governor of California, one by the Speaker
of the State Assembly and one by the State Senate Rules Committee.
Why are procedures necessary?
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Government agencies like AQMD must create an accurate public
record of how they conduct the public's business. Documenting
the process is necessary to ensure public participation, fairness
and an accurate account to which you and other interested parties
can refer in the future. Holding public workshops, recording oral
and written comments, responding to those comments, publishing
proposed rules and related reports, holding public hearings and
voting publicly are all based on set procedures -- the building
blocks of effective decision-making.
What happens at Board meetings?
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Board Members discuss ways to improve air quality and establish
effective clean air programs. The Board receives reports from
AQMD's Executive Officer and staff who recommend new rules or
rule amendments to help reduce air pollution. The Board also hears
public testimony. After a public hearing, the Board may vote to
adopt a rule as proposed or with changes. In some cases the Board
may postpone a decision and instruct AQMD staff to develop a new
proposal. In addition, the Board approves contracts, policies
and various reports. The Board may also act on budget requests
and personnel matters.
Agenda items that involve relatively simple administrative
decisions are grouped in what is known as a "consent calendar."
Board Members and members of the public may comment on any individual
item on the consent calendar. When discussion is completed, the
Board may vote on the consent calendar as a whole.
Also during meetings, Board Members report on activities of
various committees set up to explore specific issues. Standing
Board committees include Administrative, Legislation, Mobile Source, Stationary Source, and Technology.
Additional committees serve as advisory bodies to the Board. These
include the Advisory Council, the Ethnic Community Advisory, the Local
Government & Small Business Assistance
and Mobile Source Reduction Review Committee.
Where you fit in Return to Top
The public is very much a part of the Board meeting. Public
workshops held weeks before the Board meeting give you the opportunity
to learn about proposed rules and major policies. Written reports
on rules or policies are available before Board meetings. Anyone
can testify on any item pending before the Board, but it's best
to prepare your testimony in advance. You can also bring up new
issues during the open comment session at the end of every Board
Off the record Return to Top
If a Board Member receives information off the record and it
influences the Member's decisions about a proposed rule, the Board
member must put that information on the record. If that information
could substantially influence the Board's vote and was not available
to the public before the close of public testimony, the hearing
must be reopened to allow public comment on the new information.
How to testify at meetings Return to Top
Fill out a "Request to Speak" card and give it to
the Board Clerk. The Board Chairman will call your name shortly
before you are scheduled to appear. If there are seats vacant,
you may sit at the front of the auditorium near the speaker's
microphone so you'll be ready to testify. Please limit your testimony
to three minutes. The Chairman may give you more
time if the issue is complex or if you represent a large group.
If you have prepared written comments along with your testimony,
bring 25 copies with you and give them to the Board Clerk along
with your "Request to Speak" card. Each Board Member
will receive a copy. (Faxes are not accepted.)
After all testimony on a proposed rule has been heard, the
Board Chairman closes the public hearing. Then Board Members discuss
the issue and, usually, vote.
Safe seating Return to Top
Be seated when the meeting is called to order. Fire laws
don't allow standing in the aisles.
If the auditorium is full, AQMD sets up nearby "overflow" rooms where you can
sit and watch the Board meeting on video. If you have asked to testify to the
Board, listen for your name to be called and then move quickly into the
Continuances and changes
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Due to intense public interest and lengthy testimony, the
Board may choose to continue its discussion of an agenda item
at its next meeting.
If significant changes are made to a proposed rule or rule
amendment after public notice has been issued,
the Board can hear public comment on the rule at the noticed hearing
but cannot take action on the changed text. The Board must publicly
summarize the text changes and continue the hearing to its next
regular meeting or later. At the continued hearing, the Board
must allow public testimony on the new text before taking final
In judging whether a text change significantly affects the
meaning of a rule, the Board considers its impact on emission
reductions and regulated facilities, the content of the original
public notice and the possible alternatives.
Auditorium dos & don'ts
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- AQMD's auditorium is equipped with a closed-circuit
video network that captures images from 35mm slides, 8-1/2 by
11 inch printed material and 1/2 inch VHS format videotape. You
may use this equipment to present your own material. For tips
on preparing effective visuals, call AQMD's audio-visual support
staff at (909) 396-2023. NOTE: To guarantee a clear image,
text on overheads should be larger than standard typewriter size--at
least 14 pt--on a white non-glossy background.
- If you need to bring an oversized chart to support
your testimony, make sure it is not higher or wider that 18 inches.
If it is, you'll need to get the Board Chairman's authorization
to bring it into the auditorium. Generally, placards, signs or
posters that are longer than 18 inches or have protruding sticks
or handles are not allowed in the auditorium for safety reasons.
- Megaphones and bullhorns are not allowed in the auditorium.
How you can get help Return to
For more information about AQMD's Governing Board, contact
the Clerk of the Board's Office at
Board meeting agendas and public notices are posted in the
lobby at AQMD headquarters. Proposed rules and amendments, staff
reports and other documents are usually available at the lobby
Public Information Center.
If you have a computer, you can view Board meeting
agendas and minutes on AQMD's web site. To receive Board minutes,
committee meeting notices, or other documents by mail, send your
request to the Clerk of the Board or call
Webcast Return to
The Board meeting can also be viewed via
webcast while it is in
progress or thereafter.
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