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Automotive Repair Industry Issues United Request that CARB Staff Retract Inaccurate and Inflammatory Comments to Media

TO:        Members, California Air Resources Board
FROM:    California Automotive Repair Industry
DATE:    February 26, 2010

Please see attached a copy of a letter to Ms. Mary Nichols signed by seven trade associations representing the California's automotive services industry requesting a retraction of the erroneous statements made to the LA Times by Mr. Leo Kay and Tom Cackette.  Also attached is a copy of the LA Times article published on February 25th entitled “'Widespread fraud' in California's smog test program” with the quotes of Mr. Leo Kay and Tom Cackette highlighted. 
The comments made by these two CARB officials are inaccurate and injurious to the reputations of those participating in the Smog Check program and the many thousands of hard working men and women in the California automotive services industry.  The automotive service industry employs more than 220,000 people in the State of California and is an essential partner in reducing harmful emissions to meet our state's AB 32 goals. 
The comments made by Mr. Leo Kay and Tom Cackette that Smog Check stations and technicians are engaged in "widespread fraud" and that "undercover activity shows it is prevalent" are irresponsible to the vast majority of these businesses and the integrity of this important clean air program. 
The fact is, the Bureau of Automotive Repair believes approximately 200 of the 7,253 Smog Check businesses statewide are engaged in routine illegal smog transactions.  This amounts to about 3% of the total.  Make no mistake -- even this amount is too high to be tolerated.  However, it is difficult for the industry to believe that these numbers could or should be characterized by governmental officials as evidence of “widespread fraud” or that "undercover activity shows it is prevalent."     
It is the industry's hope that CARB staff will take responsibility for this problem and seek to immediately set the record straight with respect to the   inaccurate and inflammatory comments made to the LA Times reporter.   The hard working men and women of the industry deserve better from CARB.  
For additional information please do not hesitate to contact Chris Walker at (916) 442-8888.