Calvin Tillman is famous for having been the mayor of DISH, Texas, which changed its name from Clark in 2005 as part of a commercial agreement with the satellite television company. But he won't be in Brea tonight to advocate a name change to DirecTV, California. No, Tillman's current California speaking tour is connected with something else he is famous for: moving his family out of DISH due to his two sons experiencing nosebleeds that he blamed on oil fracking operations in his hometown.
Indeed, Tillman has appeared in documentaries that are critical and supportive of fracking (Gasland and FrackNation respectively). The later included an ambush interview of Tillman by Phelim McAleer during the former mayor's California speaking tour in August 2014. (Tillman claims the oil and gas industries funded FrackNation; McAleer says he raised funds via kickstarter.)
Tillman is the founder of ShaleTest.org, a nonprofit that collects environmental data and provides testing to lower-income communities experiencing the negative effects of shale oil and gas extraction. He speaks to communities all over the country about the impacts of oil and gas industry development, and his current swing has taken him to three communities facing controversial drilling/fracking projects: Brea, La Habra Heights and Carson.
He was brought to Southern California by Stop Fracking Brea, Heights Oil Watch, Carson Coalition, Food & Water Watch, California Nurses Association, South Bay Clean Power, Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, Carson City Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes and Realtor/property manager Laurie Gral.
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"Tillman's visit to Southern California is well-timed with numerous community struggles against oil infrastructure," says a statement from Food & Water Watch, the nonprofit that has lobbied against fracking in Brea and La Habra Heights.
"Both Carson and Brea residents are calling for government accountability and urging their city councils to ban several types of unconventional oil production, including fracking, acidization and cyclic steam injection. Heights Oil Watch in La Habra Heights is currently organizing voter turnout for a ballot initiative banning the expansion of unconventional drilling in March."
Tillman already made his La Habra Heights presentation Sunday afternoon. He is scheduled to speak during the event from 6 to 9 tonight at Brea City Hall, 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea. He's scheduled to appear at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Senior Activity Room at Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson St., Carson.