Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Newsom nominates Torres for utilities commission

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has nominated Art Torres, the former California Democratic Party chairman and state legislator who came out as gay during a retirement celebration last year, to serve on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Torres (pictured at left) served more than 20 years in the California Legislature, eight as a member of the assembly and twelve in the senate.

“Senator Torres brings extraordinary experience and accomplishments in environmental, natural resource, consumer and labor issues to the SFPUC as the agency continues its efforts to seismically rebuild our water and wastewater systems and deliver renewable power for San Francisco,” said Newsom in a statement announcing the nomination today [Wednesday, September 22]. “I’m proud to nominate him and grateful for his willingness to serve our City and the SFPUC’s 2.5 million Bay Area customers.”

Among other accomplishments, Torres co-authored California’s landmark Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, known as Proposition 65, to protect California citizens and the State’s drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, Newsom’s office noted in the statement.

Torres also fought against water contamination, pesticide poisoning, and exposure to toxic chemicals and asbestos. His passion to deter pesticide poisoning came from working closely with Cesar Chavez in the early 1970’s as the National Legislative Director of the United Farm Workers Union, according to Newsom’s office.

In March 2009, Torres was unanimously elected statutory vice chair of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, the governing Board of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. The institute, established in 2005, following the passage of Proposition 71, is charged with allocating $3 billion to California universities and research institutions to support and advance stem cell research. He is a colon cancer survivor and serves on the board as a patient advocate.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 22, 2010 @ 4:03 pm PST
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