The Pasadena City Council voted 5-3 on Monday to approve a purchase order with 72 Hour LLC for 17 vehicles – eight sports utility vehicles and nine trucks – as part of the consent calendar portion of the council’s meeting agenda.
But before the matter passed, staff again reiterated that at this point there are no electric vehicles that contain the necessary equipment the city needs. The SUVs will be used for public safety.
Councilmembers Tyron Hampton and Steve Madison voted against the item along with Mayor Victor Gordo.
“We are in trouble right now,” Madison said when discussing the urgency of climate change, Monday marked the third time the purchase order has come up for deliberation. Each time there have been calls for the city to switch to electric vehicles.
“Why is the city looking to enter into an agreement to spend nearly a million dollars on gas guzzling SUVs while the state of California is literally burning because of climate change,” wrote Topher Mathers in correspondence to the city.
In July, the council voted to send the item to a committee after advocates raised the same issue. The Municipal Services Committee heard the issue last week and approved the purchase order which is now back before the City Council for consideration.
The call for climate-friendly vehicles comes as temperatures continue to soar and wildfires rage out of control in parts of the country.
“We have a great fight on our hands, the fight against the devastating effects of greenhouse gas emissions on our quality of life, our property and the survival of our children and grandchildren,” wrote Martha Zavala of the Pasadena Area League of Women Voters. “Increasing heat, storms, and water shortages are frightening portents of things to come unless we make a prompt transition to a new way. “
As part of the approved FY 2022 Operating Budget, a three-year fleet replacement plan is being implemented to comprehensively address the city’s aging fleet,” according to a city staff report. “This three-year plan prioritizes the city’s vehicle replacement needs in support of each department’s operations, ensuring safe modes of transportation and vehicle equipment for staff to perform their duties and services, decreasing fleet maintenance and repair costs, and simultaneously allowing a consolidated effort to group similar vehicle types for economies of scale and efficient purchasing process.