Se Rechaza Plan de Limpieza Exide

September 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

El plan desarrollado por reguladores estatales para limpiar la contaminación masiva cual fue dejada cuando la planta de reciclaje de baterías automotrices en Vernon dejará a demasiada gente en peligro, dijeron activistas ambientales, oficiales elegidos y residentes de municipalidades en cuales se han encontrado niveles peligrosos de plomo y otros contaminantes tóxicos en una rueda de prensa en Commerce este lunes.

El peligro y riesgos para la salud no paran en el portal o en el límite de la propiedad y tampoco deben quedar ahí su limpieza, muchos dijeron sobre el plan del Departamento De Control Sobre Substancias Tóxicas de California (DTSC) para limpiar propiedades contaminada por plomo de la planta cerrada de Exide Technologies.

Casi 200 personas asistieron a la rueda de prensa organizada por la “Coalición Para Comunidades Sin Plomo”, un grupo comunitario que representa a los pueblos de Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Commerce, Bell, Huntington Park Maywood y Vernon, vecindades y municipalidades dentro de la zona de 1.7-millas que beneficiará de la limpieza. Después de la conferencia para los medios, manifestantes caminaron hasta las oficinas de la agencia estatal DTSC en Commerce, en donde exigieron coreando y con gritos una limpieza mayor y más rápida por parte del DTSC.

El peligro y riesgos para la salud no paran en el portal o en el límite de la propiedad y tampoco deben quedar ahí su limpieza, dijeron el Consejal Jose Huizar y diputado estatal Miguel Santiago. (Foto EGP por Fred Zermeno)

El peligro y riesgos para la salud no paran en el portal o en el límite de la propiedad y tampoco deben quedar ahí su limpieza, dijeron el Consejal Jose Huizar y diputado estatal Miguel Santiago. (Foto EGP por Fred Zermeno)

 

Compartida en julio, el plan de la agencia recomienda la remoción de tierra contaminada desde las yardas de aproximadamente 2,500 propiedades, siendo los hogares revelados por investigaciones con los niveles más altos de plomo y en lugares donde niños y mujeres embarasadas están corren riesgos mayores.

El plomo es una toxina peligrosa que es conocida como causa de enfermedades nuerológicas, descapacidades cognitivas o cerebrales, aún a bajos niveles de contacto. Aunque oficiales federales y estatales a cargo de la salud pública hayan establecido niveles aceptables de contacto, expertos dicen que no hay ningún nivel de contacto sin peligro.

Residentes y activistas excoriaron el plan como insuficiente y demasiada despacio para enfrentar al peligro para la salud. Este lunes, señalaron al DTSC que se debe agregar a las vias peatonales y a los interiores de viviendas al plan, y ampliar a la área designada para remediación. Vías recreacionales o “peatonales” se explica como la área entre una yarda o propiedad y la calle, que muchos residentes tratan como una extensión de su hogar.

“Esto no lo aguantarían en Porter Ranch o Beverly Hills,” dijo Monsignor John Moretta de la Iglesia Resurrection en Boyle Heights, uno de los organizadores principales de la lucha para rectificar al los daños causados por Exide.

Moretta aludía a la esfuerza rápida y económicamente fuerte que se efectuó en Porter Ranch, donde los residentes exigieron la clausura de una de la instalaciones de Southern California Gas Co. en Aliso Canyon después que se descubrió un escape de gas en octubre del 2015. Tomó menos de tres meses para trasladar a más de 2,000 residentes, cerrar a las escuelas y re-establecer a los alumnos en otros colegios, mientras los residentes que han tenido que vivir por décadas en la sombra tóxica de Exide todavía esperan que sus hogares se barren de la contaminación.

“Tiene todo que ver con la política y el dinero”, dijo Moretta. “Nuestros oficiales gubernamentales tienen que implementar un plan que sea 100 por cien sostenido por el presupuesto”.

Según los monitores de la calidad del aire, alrededor d 110,000 personas fueron expuestos a emisiones carinogénicos de la planta y más de 10,000 propiedades podrán tener algún nivel de contaminación por plomo. Expertos ambientales califican a la contaminación como la más grande en la historia del estado.

“Nuestros oficiales gubernamentales tienen que implementar un plan que sea 100 por cien sostenido por el presupuesto”, dijo Monsignor John Moretta de la Iglesia Resurrection en Boyle Heights. (Foto EGP por Fred Zermeno)

“Nuestros oficiales gubernamentales tienen que implementar un plan que sea 100 por cien sostenido por el presupuesto”, dijo Monsignor John Moretta de la Iglesia Resurrection en Boyle Heights. (Foto EGP por Fred Zermeno)

El Consejal de Los Angeles Jose Huizar dijo que la comunidad ha “gritado por auxilio” por más de 30 años, mientras la agencia DTSC “permitió” a Exide “contaminar” mientras “nuestros hijos fueron expuestos a contaminación de plomo, en el aire y en la tierra”.

“Y ahora el DTSC está ignorando la necesidad para un plan de limpieza complete que llega a todos los lugares en donde nuestro niños juegan y viven”, Huizar dijo en un correo electrónico a EGP. “El plomo está en todas partes, incluyendo las vías recreacionales, y es razonable que todas las áreas de la zona contaminada se deben limpiar… Esto es, literalmente, una cuestión de vida o muerte”, Huizar dijo. “¿Donde está la urgencia y porque no estamos armando una limpieza entera?” Calificó cualquiera esfuerza de limpieza menos de eso como inaceptable.

EGP intentó contactar al DTSC para una respuesta pero a punto de imprimir todavía no habían respondido, pero previamente, la agencia ha dicho que no tiene suficiente dinero para un limpieza completa – que expertos de salud y el ambiente estiman llegar a los $400 millones o más.

Como parte de su arreglo con autoridades federales para cerrar permanentemente y evitar cargos criminales, Exide accedió pagar $50 millones para la eliminación de sus gasto peligrosos; de eso, $26 millón era para a la limpieza de las vecindades cercanas. Después de mucho clamor de la comunidad, el Gobernador Jerry Brown accedió prestarle $176.6 millones al DTSC para una investigación y prueba igual como trabajo de limpieza en los barrio alrededor de la planta cerrada.

La Supervisora Hilda Solis dijo lunes que la área enmarcada por el plan de limpieza es demasiada pequeña y debe ser ampliada fuera del circulo de 1.7-millas. Ha criticado frecuentemente a los reguladores estatales por no actuar de manera suficientemente agresiva y por ignorar recomendaciones del condado y de los residentes.

Como Moretta, está convencida de que si las comunidades compuestas por Latinos de la clase trabajadora eran, a cambio, de más dinero y anglosajónes, el estado estaría haciendo más.

“Residentes tienen todo el derecho de estar enojados con el paso lento de la limpieza”, diputado estatal Miguel Santiago dijo a EGP. Dijo que había asistido a la manifestación porque tiene una responsabilidad a sus constituyentes seguir presionando a los reguladores estatales, algo que es, para el, una “prioridad principal” desde su elección.

Una encuesta informal de más de 4,000 residentes efectuada unas semanas antes de la revelación por la DTSC de su plan, señalo que muchos de los residentes de la área impactada temen por si mismos y los familiares con quienes viven ser envenenados o padecer de cáncer como resultado haber sido expuesto.

Los coros y gritos el lunes eran muy aparecidos a los que se han escuchado en cientos de manifestaciones, protestas y foros públicos durante los últimos cinco años.

Es una pena la comunidad tiene que recurrir a medidas tan drásticas como las protestas para declamar sus posiciones, dijo Moretta, agregando que los residentes del este y el sureste están recibiendo tratamiento como ciudadanos de segunda clase.

Notó que Sam Atwood, un vocero para el South Coast Air Quality District Management District (Distrito de Manejamiento de la Calidad del Aire Costa Sur) había etiquetado las áreas contaminadas como las peores que había visto en su vida.

“Tenemos hijos y familias en las calles”, dijo Moretta. “Es hora que empieza hacerlo.”

Reportero de EGP Carlos Alvarez contribuyó a este artículo.

State’s Plan For Exide Cleanup Continues to Draw Protests

September 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The plan developed by state regulators to clean up the massive contamination left behind by a now defunct battery recycler in Vernon will leave too many people in danger, environmental justice advocates, elected officials and residents of neighborhoods and cities found to have unsafe levels of lead and other toxic pollutants said at a press conference in Commerce Monday.

The danger and health risks from lead don’t stop at the front door or property line, and neither should its removal, speakers said about the California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) plan to clean properties contaminated with lead from the now closed Exide Technologies plant.

About 200 people attended Monday’s press conference organized by “Lead-Free Communities Coalition,” a community-based advocacy group representing residents of Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Commerce, Bell, Huntington Park Maywood and Vernon, neighborhoods and cities in the 1.7-mile zone targeted for cleanup. Following the press conference, protesters marched to DTSC’s offices in Commerce where they shouted and chanted for DTSC to do more and to do it faster.

At a press conference in Commerce Monday, Monsignor John Moretta (center), joined by hundreds of community activists and elected officials demanded the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control include parkways and home interiors in its Exide clean up plan. contamination zone. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

At a press conference in Commerce Monday, Monsignor John Moretta (center), joined by hundreds of community activists and elected officials demanded the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control include parkways and home interiors in its Exide clean up plan. contamination zone. (EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

The agency’s plan released in July calls for removing lead-contaminated soil from the yards of about 2,500 properties, with the priority being homes tested to have the highest levels of lead and where children and pregnant women are at highest risk.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents all the neighborhoods and cities in the impacted zone, said a canvass of 20,000 homes in the area earlier this summer found that 50% of the homes have children under the age of 6.

Lead is a dangerous toxin known to cause neurological disorders, learning and cognitive disabilities and lower IQ’s even at low levels of exposure. While the federal government and state health officials have set acceptable rates of exposure, health experts say there is no safe level.

Residents and activists have blasted the plan as insufficient and too slow to deal with the ongoing health hazard. On Monday, they said they want DTSC to add parkways and home interiors to the plan, and to expand the area targeted for remediation. Parkways are the area between a yard or property and the street, which many residents treat as an extension of their homes.

They said it’s time for state lawmakers to do what’s right and fully fund the the cleanup  of their neighborhoods.

“They wouldn’t stand for their (DTSC) actions in Porter Ranch or Beverly Hills,” said Monsignor John Moretta of Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights, a lead organizer in the fight to rectify the damage caused by Exide.

Moretta was referring to the quick and well-funded cleanup effort that took place in Porter Ranch, where residents demanded the closure of a Southern California Gas Co. facility in Aliso Canyon after a leak was discovered in October 2015. It took less than three months to relocate more than 2,000 residents, shut down schools and move students to other campuses, while residents living for decades in Exide’s toxic shadow are still waiting for their homes to be cleaned.

“It’s all about politics and money,” Moretta said. “Our government officials need to implement a plan that’s 100 percent funded.”

According to air quality regulators, as many as 110,000 people were exposed to cancer-causing emissions from the plant and upwards of 10,000 properties may have some level of lead contamination. Environmental experts say the contamination is the largest in state history.

Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar represents one of the most heavily contaminated neighborhoods, Boyle Heights. The community has been “screaming for help” for more than 30 years, while DTSC allowed Exide to continue to pollute, he told EGP. “All the while our children have been exposed to lead pollution, in the air and in the soil.

“And now, the DTSC is ignoring the need for a full cleanup plan that reaches all of the places our children live and play,” Huizar said. “The lead is everywhere, including parkways … This is literally a matter of life and death,” he said. “Where is the urgency and why aren’t we doing a thorough cleanup?” He called anything less than a full cleanup unacceptable.

EGP reached out to DTSC for comment but had not heard back as of press time, but the agency has previously said it does not have enough money to do the full cleanup – which public health and environmental experts have put at $400 million or more.

L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (right) joined protesters in Commerce Monday who say the state's plan to remove hazardous waste from homes is insufficient. Sept. 18, 2017 (EGP photo be Fred Zermeno)

L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (right) joined protesters in Commerce Monday who say the state’s plan to remove hazardous waste from homes is insufficient. Sept. 18, 2017 (EGP photo be Fred Zermeno)

As part of its deal with federal authorities to permanently close and avoid criminal prosecution, Exide agreed to pay $50 million for the removal of its hazardous waste; of that, $26 million was to go toward cleaning the surrounding neighborhoods. After a great deal of pressure from the community, Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to loan DTSC 176.6 million for environmental testing and cleanup work in the neighborhoods surrounding the closed plant.

State officials have said they will go after Exide to recoup the money, but no one seems clear on how or when that will happen.

Solis points out that this is not the first time the community has come together to demand a swift and thorough cleanup.

“This week’s rally was months in the making because DTSC is not listening to our communities who are buried in pollution and lead,” she said in an email to EGP. “DTSC’s methodology has limited ability to identify ‘hot spots,’ including parkways in front of homes,” said Solis, who has repeatedly criticized state regulators for not being aggressive enough and for ignoring recommendations from the county and residents.

She said the state is offering vouchers to residents to pay companies to go and “vacuum their carpets and wipe down walls,” and that’s not good enough.

The interiors should be decontaminated by hazardous waste experts at the same time that they remove lead from the exterior, she said.

Like Moretta, Solis believes that if the predominately Latino working class communities were more affluent and white, the state would be doing more.

“Residents have every right to be angry with the slow pace of the cleanup,” Assemblyman Miguel Santiago told EGP. He said he attended the rally because he has a responsibility to his constituents to keep the pressure on state regulators, something he’s made his “top priority” since first being elected. Santiago sent a letter to DTSC asking the agency to look into including parkways in its plan.

An informal survey of more than 4,000 residents conducted a few weeks before DTSC released its plan revealed that many residents in the impacted area live in fear that they or someone in their home may get lead poisoning or cancer due to their exposure.

There’s tremendous interest in how Exide has affected them, Solis said..

The chants and shouts Monday were much the same as those heard at hundreds of rallies, protests and public hearings over the last five years.

Moretta said it’s a shame the community has to resort to drastic measures like protests to make a statement. Residents in east and southeast communities are being treated like second-class citizens, the Catholic priest said.

He noted that Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality District Management District had labeled the contaminated areas the worst he has ever seen,

“We have children and families on [those] streets,” Moretta said, referring to additional areas that should be cleaned.

“They’re [DTSC] suppose to protect people and our environment from toxic substances,” Moretta said. “It’s time they start doing that.”

EGP Staff Writer Carlos Alvarez contributed to this story.

Updated 9/22/17 : Adds information from Sup. Hilda Solis about the availability and effectiveness of vouchers for interior cleaning of homes.

City, County, State Take Up Fight to Defend DACA

September 14, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

The Trump administration’s decision to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
initiative, has sparked a whirlwind of activity at the city, county and state level, all aimed at thwarting the president’s action and to push Congress to adopt a permanent solution for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

The protests and promises of legal battles is not surprising given that one in four DACA recipients – or about 200,000 of the young beneficiaries – live in California.

Speaking in Los Angeles Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra vowed to fight the decision “on every front.”

Becerra, joined by the attorneys general for Minnesota, Maryland and Maine, filed a lawsuit Monday in San Francisco against the administration, arguing that the federal government violated the Constitution and federal laws when it moved to rescind DACA.

“The DACA initiative has allowed more than 800,000 Dreamers — children brought to this country without documentation — to come out of the shadows and become successful and productive Americans,” Becerra said following a roundtable meeting with immigration advocates in downtown Los Angeles. “I’ve never seen a time in our country when we punish kids for coming out of the
shadows.”

Last week, the University of California filed suit against the administration on grounds that the decision would violate the due process rights of thousands of immigrant UC students. That same day, Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar introduced a motion directing the city attorney to either file his own lawsuit or to join the state’s lawsuit being promised by Becerra.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County supervisors added their voices, adopting a measure to support the lawsuits brought by other government bodies and to pursue a financial boycott of sorts of states “unfriendly” to DACA by banning county employees from traveling to those states on county business.

California’s Attorney General Tells Dreamers to Reapply

According to Becerra, with the help of the state’s 200,000 DACA recipients, California has become “the sixth largest economy in the world.”

Federal immigration officials are no longer accepting new requests for DACA, but the agency is hearing two-year DACA renewal requests received by Oct. 5 from current beneficiaries whose benefits will expire before March 5.

Flanked by representatives from immigrant rights groups, Becerra said Tuesday that financial help is available to cash-strapped Dreamers who don’t have the $495 renewal fee. “If you have the opportunity, submit your paperwork,” the attorney general said. “We don’t want anyone to be deprived of the chance to reapply.”

Cynthia Buiza, executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, urged recipients not to “make money an issue.”

Added Martha Arevalo, executive director of the Central American Resource Center: “Don’t let financial concerns be a reason not to reapply. We can find solutions.”

Becerra said the DACA phase-out indirectly affects millions of residents, as well as businesses, nonprofits, and the state’s towns and cities.

“We’ll do whatever we can to win,” he said.

Fifteen other states have also filed a lawsuit challenging the end of the DACA program.

UC Is First University System to Enter Legal Battle

The UC’s lawsuit filed Sept. 8 in San Francisco against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its acting secretary, Elaine Duke, is the first of its kind to be filed by a university. The lawsuit alleges the Trump administration failed to provide proper notice to the impacted population as required by law.

”As a result of the defendants’ actions, the Dreamers face expulsion from the only country that they call home, based on nothing more than unreasoned executive whim,” the complaint reads. UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, spearheaded the Obama administration’s creation of the DACA program in 2012, setting in place a rigorous application and security review process, according to the lawsuit.

Applicants for DACA were only approved if they were in or had graduated from high school or college, or were in the military, or an honorably discharged veteran. They cannot have been convicted of a felony or major misdemeanor or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

“Neither I, nor the University of California, take the step of suing the federal government lightly, Napolitano said. “It is imperative, however, that we stand up for these vital members of the UC community.”

The lawsuit asks the court to set aside Trump’s  action because it is “unconstitutional, unjust, and unlawful.”

L.A. Councilman Calls for City Attorney to Join Lawsuits

Roughly 100,000 DACA recipients are believed to live in the Los Angeles area. A motion introduced last week by L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar states, “These Dreamers were brought here as children and have proven themselves to be lawful residents contributing to the social fabric and diversity of the United States.” It also instructs City Attorney Mike Feuer to pursue legal action on behalf of the city to defend their presence.

When asked to comment on the motion, Feuer spokesman Rob Wilcox said, “Our office is already in discussions with other government entities on how best to maximize our impact on fighting the removal of DACA.”

County to Support Lawsuits, Boycott DACA-unfriendly States

County supervisors voted Tuesday to institute a travel ban on DACA-unfriendly states and to support legal challenges to Trump’s order ending the policy.

Supervisor Hilda Solis championed a one-year restriction on county government travel to nine states that threatened legal action to end the program, saying it could “cost the United States approximately $460 billion in GDP.”

Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia will be subject to the travel restriction, which will not apply in the case of emergency assistance for disaster relief or critical law enforcement work.

The vote was 3-1, with Supervisor Kathryn Barger dissenting and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas abstaining, though they both support DACA and voted in favor of related measures.

The young adults nationwide affected by the administration’s action are contributing to America’s economy, not taking from it, said Sonja Diaz, founding director of UCLA’s Latino Policy & Politics Initiative.

“Ninety-one percent of DACA recipients are employed. DACA is a net positive for the U.S. economy” and ending it would cost California alone $11.3 billion,” Diaz told the board.

David Rattray, executive vice president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, promised the support of business leaders in any fight to restore the program.

Employers have invested in hiring and training so-called Dreamers and are “dumbfounded about how stupid this is, frankly,” Rattray told the board.

Barger, the only Republican on the non-partisan board, said the county should take an aggressive, hands-on role in pressing Congressional representatives to craft new legislation.

“We need to be at the table and we need to push as hard as we can,” Barger said. “This is bipartisan, this is about doing what is right,” quoting then-President Barack Obama’s 2012 remarks saying DACA was “a temporary stopgap measure” to give Congress time to act.

“Congress needs to get to work, they’ve had over five years to do it,” Barger said. “If Congress does not act in six months, shame on them.”

Ridley-Thomas proposed having county lawyers file “friend of the court” briefs in support of several states suing the Trump administration.

DACA recipients are entitled, Ridley-Thomas said, to “the right to privacy, the right to work, the right to move within the halls of government and elsewhere without wondering if someone is going to report you or snatch you.”

The vote on amicus briefs was 4-1, with Barger dissenting.

Based on Solis’ motion, the board will also send a letter to the president and Congress demanding legislative action, a move that garnered unanimous support. The board also directed the county’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to help existing DACA recipients renew their status by Oct. 5.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl introduced a motion to add immigration to a county list of policy priorities, which currently include homelessness, child protection, reform of the Sheriff’s Department, integration of county health services, and environmental oversight and monitoring.

The board’s vote in favor of the new priority was unanimous.

Supervisores Aprueba Complejo de Apartamentos

July 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

La Junta de Supervisores rechazo el martes una apelación por los residentes del Este de Los Ángeles para bloquear el desarrollo de unidades de alquiler asequibles en el boulevard de Whitter y el sur de Downey Road, avanzando con planes para luchar contra la falta de vivienda.

Vacant4(1) SP

La supervisora Hilda Solís dijo que tales desarrollos son muy necesarios para evitar que más personas pierdan hogares.

“No estamos ni siquiera rascando la superficie”, dijo Solís, señalando que la brecha de vivienda del condado entre la oferta y la demanda asciende a más de medio millón de unidades.

El complejo de dos edificios, que se construirá en dos sitios frente al cementerio de Calvary, reemplazará los edificios comerciales vacíos.

Downey I – un edificio de apartamentos de tres plantas y 42 plantas de estilo jardín – incluirá 1,161 pies cuadrados de espacio de venta y estacionamiento en la esquina noroeste de la intersección. Downey II será de cuatro pisos con 71 unidades y 3.208 pies cuadrados de venta y estacionamiento.

Todas menos las dos unidades del gerente serán para los residentes de bajos ingresos y el 15 por ciento incluirá características para los inquilinos con necesidades especiales.

Más de 100 residentes firmaron una carta contra del proyecto, planteado preocupaciones sobre el tráfico, el estacionamiento y la escala del desarrollo en un área de viviendas unifamiliares y dúplex.

“Reconocemos que es deseable alguna forma de desarrollo en estas parcelas”, dice la carta. “Todo lo que humildemente pedimos es que…se considere proyectos que la comunidad realmente quiere y que mejoren la calidad de vida para aquellos que ya viven en esta comunidad”.

Muchos de ellos trataron de persuadir a la junta, tanto en inglés como en español, para que no avanzara.

(EGP foto por Carlos Alvarez)

(EGP foto por Carlos Alvarez)

“Ya hay tráfico imposible…y no entiendo como más de 400 residentes más van a caber en esta comunidad”, dijo Estele Donlucas, diciéndole a la junta que su familia había vivido en la vecindad por más de 45 años.

Otros se preocupan por los contaminantes peligrosos como el plomo y el arsénico.

Las muestras de suelos mostraron “ninguna concentración significativa de plomo”, pero se encontraron niveles elevados de arsénico en dos áreas, una en cada sitio, según un funcionario de bomberos del condado en la división de materiales peligrosos del departamento.

El desarrollador, Meta Housing, ha acorado manejar la limpieza ambiental antes de comenzar la clasificación en los sitios. El amianto y la pintura a base de plomo en los edificios destinados a la demolición serán manejados a través del proceso de permisos.

Muchos residentes permanecieron insatisfechos.

“Nuestras casas serán muy afectadas por todas estas toxinas”, dijo Enedina Paz a la junta directiva. “Creo que ustedes tienen hijos y nietos y no les gustaría que ellos inhalaran toxinas”.

Los votantes aprobaron la Medida H, un impuesta de ventas de un cuarto de centavo para financiar la lucha contra la falta de vivienda, casi un 70 por ciento. Sin embargo, los residentes de muchas comunidades han rechazado el desarrollo de viviendas en sus vecindarios.

Algunos Angelinos ofrecieron su apoyo.

Fanny Ortiz, una residente de Boyle Heights y madre soltera de cinco hijos, incluyendo una con necesidades especiales que requiere 24 horas de enfermería, dijo que el acceso a viviendas asequibles cambio su vida.

“Creo que la vivienda es un derecho humano básico. Estamos en una crisis de vivienda y el desarrollo de viviendas asequibles una solución equitativa”, dijo Ortiz a la junta, agregando que una vez vivió en el vecindario en cuestión.

Como “proyecto de prioridad de tránsito”, el desarrollo propuesto fue concedido una extensión de la Ley de Calidad Ambiental de California, lo que significa que no tendrá que informar sobre los impactos de tráfico en el calentamiento global o en la red de transporte regional.

Solís defendió la decisión de la junta, señalando que las tasas de pobreza en el condado han aumentado por encima del 25 por ciento. Los inquilinos de ingresos más bajos ahora gastan más del 70 por ciento de sus ingresos en el alquiler, Solís observó, citando datos del Instituto de Política Publica de California.

Inmediatamente después del voto del consejo, Solís emitió una declaración.

“Es evidente que tanto la comunidad como Meta Housing son profundamente apasionados por la calidad de vida de nuestros residentes. Cada testimonio que escuchamos en la junta tenía algo en común: la comunidad y su bienestar”, dijo.

“Trabajo todos los días para mantener la seguridad, la calidad de vida y la salud ambiental de nuestros vecindarios de la mejor calidad posible y esos valores se reflejan en nuestro voto para negar la apelación de hoy”, dijo Solís. “Mis colegas y yo estamos de acuerdo en que Meta Housing ha cumplido con todos los requisitos para desarrollar este proyecto, incluyendo una serie de mediadas diseñadas para satisfacer las preocupaciones de la comunidad en materia de salud y seguridad ambiental”.

County Blasts State Plan for Exide Clean Up

July 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis blasted a cleanup plan released by state officials for neighborhoods surrounding the shuttered Exide battery-recycling plant in Vernon, saying the plan moves too slowly and will leave thousands of residents exposed to dangerous levels of lead.

“This community has suffered enough, not only at the hands of Exide, but at the hands of DTSC (state Department of Toxic Substances Control), which allowed Exide to operate on a temporary permit for 33 years,” Solis said Monday.

“The DTSC’s final cleanup plan ignores many of the reasonable concerns raised by the community members.”

The release of the state’s plan comes just days after release of an informal survey or area residents revealed that many residents in the impacted are live in fear that they or someone in their home might get lead poisoning or cancer from the high levels of hazardous chemicals spewed from the plant for decades.

More than 4,200 surveys were completed during a June 10 outreach effort in Bell, Boyle Heights, Commerce, Maywood, East Los Angeles, Huntington Park and Vernon, all within the 1.7 mile radius targeted as having the highest potential for lead exposure and contamination.

DTSC released its cleanup plan last week, saying about 2,500 properties with the most contaminated soil will be targeted in the cleanup effort that will take two years.

According to the department, the cleanup effort will be conducted at properties within 1.7 miles of the plant, prioritizing:

—homes with soil lead concentrations of 400 parts per million or higher;

—residential properties with the overall lead concentration is less that 400 parts per million, but where any individual soil sampling was determined to have a concentration of 1,000 ppm or higher;

—daycare and child care centers with soil lead concentrations of 80 ppm or higher that have not yet been cleaned; and

—all parks and schools in need of cleaning.

Additional properties could be cleaned if funding is available, officials said.

Solis and county Public Health officials called the DTSC’s cleanup plan ineffective, saying it will not identify all the properties in need of expedited cleanup. They accused the state agency of ignoring recommendations from the county and residents.

They also contend the cleanup plan for the interior of homes doesn’t offer assurances that the homes will be safe to occupy, since lead can still be tracked in from the outside.

DTSC officials insisted, however, that the cleanup plan shows the agency’s “strong commitment to protecting the health of those who live in these communities.”

“This cleanup plan is the result of more than a year of effort and community input,” said Mohsen Nazemi, deputy director for DTSC’s Brownfields and Environmental Restoration Program. “We held three public meetings to solicit comments and had an extended comment period. We received about 1,000 public comments, which we carefully reviewed and considered in the final document.

“In response to the public comments we received, DTSC adjusted the prioritization process to streamline it in a manner that continues to protect the health of residents at properties with the highest levels of lead in soil and the greatest risk of exposure to that lead,” Nazemi said.

Regarding concerns over the timing of the cleanup, DTSC officials noted that cleanup operations were suspended last summer when concerns by residents and legislators led to a full environmental review, and the preparation of an environmental impact report that has been in the works ever since.

Community and environmental activists point out that the effort to clean up the hazardous waste, which started at least 5 years ago with calls for closing the plant, has dragged on for far too long.

Exposure to even low levels of lead have been proven to cause lifelong consequences to children in the form of learning disabilities and lower IQs, as well as other health issues.

Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said the two-year process to clean 2,500 properties “does not reflect the urgent risks that lead contamination poses to the people in these communities.

The Exide plant permanently closed in March 2015. When Exide agreed to close the lead-acid battery recycling plant, it committed to pay $50 million for cleanup of the site and surrounding neighborhoods. Of that amount, $26 million is meant to be set aside for residential cleanup.

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation providing a $176.6 million loan for environmental testing and cleanup work in neighborhoods surrounding the now-shuttered plant, with the testing expected to cover about 10,000 properties.

Environmental and health experts during several public hearings put the cost to fully remediate the toxic dangers at closer to $400 million.

DTSC officials said they ultimately plan to hold Exide and any other parties responsible for the contamination financially liable for the testing and cleanup.

Meanwhile, county officials say they will continue to press for a speedier remediation process.

“This wouldn’t be allowed to happen if this was Aliso Canyon,” said Solis, referring to the natural gas leaks in the more affluent community of Porter Ranch.

Oficiales del Condado Critican Plan Estatal de Limpieza Exide

July 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

La supervisora del condado de Los Ángeles, Hilda Solís, criticó un plan de limpieza lanzado por funcionarios estatales para vecindarios alrededor de la planta del reciclaje de baterías Exide en Vernon, diciendo que el plan se mueve demasiado lento y dejará a miles de residentes expuestos a peligrosos niveles de plomo.

“Esta comunidad ha sufrido lo suficiente, no sólo a manos de Exide, sino a manos de DTSC (el Departamento Estatal de Control de Sustancias Tóxicas), que permitió a Exide operar con un permiso temporal durante 33 años”, dijo Solís el lunes.

“El plan de limpieza final de DTSC ignora muchas de las preocupaciones razonables planteados por los miembros de la comunidad”.

La semana pasada, DTSC lanzó su plan de limpieza diciendo que unas 2,500 propiedades con el suelo más contaminando serán los objetivos del esfuerzo de limpieza que tomará dos años.

Según el departamento, el esfuerzo de limpieza se llevará a cabo en las propiedades dentro de 1,7 millas de la planta, dando prioridad a:

  • casas con concentraciones de plomo en el suelo de 400 partes por millón o más;
  • las propiedades residenciales con la concentración total de plomo con menos de 400 partes por millón, pero donde se determinó que cualquier muestreo de suelo individual tenía una concentración de 1.000 ppm o superior;
  • guarderías y centros de cuidado infantil con concentraciones de plomo en el suelo de 80 ppm o más que aún no han sido limpiadas; y
  • todos los parques y escuelas que necesitan limpieza.

Las propiedades adicionales podrían ser limpiadas si hay fondos disponibles, dijeron los funcionarios.

(Department of Toxic Substance Abuse)

(Department of Toxic Substance Abuse)

Los reguladores estatales publicaron su plan dentro de los días en donde Solís y los funcionarios de salud pública del condado llamaron ineficaz el plan de limpieza del DTSC, diciendo que no identificará todas las propiedades que necesitan una limpieza acelerada. Acusaron a la agencia estatal de ignorar las recomendaciones del condado y de los residentes.

También sostienen que el plan de limpieza para el interior de los hogares no ofrece garantías de que las casas serán seguras para ocupar, ya que el plomo todavía puede ser rastreado desde el exterior.

Los funcionarios de DTSC insistieron, sin embargo, en que el plan de limpieza muestra el “fuerte compromiso de la agencia para proteger la salud de quienes viven en estas comunidades”.

“Este plan de limpieza es el resultado de más de un año de esfuerzo y aportación de la comunidad”, dijo Mohsen Nazemi, subdirector del Programa de Restauración y Conservación Ambiental de DTSC. “Hicimos tres reuniones públicas para solicitar comentarios y tuvimos un periodo de comentarios ampliado. Recibimos cerca de 1,000 comentarios públicos, que revisamos detalladamente y consideramos en el documento final.

“En respuesta a los comentarios públicos que recibimos, DTSC ajustó el proceso de priorización para simplificarlo de una manera que continúe protegiendo la salud de los residentes en las propiedades con los niveles más altos de plomo en el suelo y el mayor riesgo de exposición a ese plomo”, dijo Nazemi.

En cuanto a las preocupaciones sobre el momento de la limpieza, los funcionarios del DTSC señalaron que las operaciones de limpieza fueron suspendidas el verano pasado cuando las preocupaciones de los residentes y legisladores condujeron a una revisión ambiental completa y la preparación de un informe de impacto ambiental que ha estado funcionado desde entonces.

Bárbara Ferrer, directora del Departamento de Salud Pública del Condado de Los Ángeles, dijo que el proceso de dos años para limpiar 2,500 propiedades “no refleja los riesgos urgentes que la contaminación del plomo plantea a las personas en estas comunidades”.

La planta Exide se cerró permanentemente en marzo del 2015. Cuando Exide acordó cerrar la planta de reciclado de plomo-ácido de la batería, se comprometió a pagar $50 millones para la limpieza del sitio y los barrios circundantes. De esa cantidad, $26 millones se destina a ser reservado para la limpieza residencial.

El año pasado, el gobernador Jerry Brown firmo una legislación que proveía $176,6 millones en financiamiento para pruebas ambientales y trabajos de limpieza en vecindarios rodeando la ahora cerrada planta, esperando que las pruebas cubrieran unas 10,000 propiedades.

Los expertos del medio ambiente y salud durante varias audiencias públicas pusieron el costo para remediar completamente los peligros tóxicos en cerca de $400 millones.

Funcionarios de DTSC dijeron que en última instancia planean mantener a Exide y a cualquier otra parte responsable de la contaminación financiera responsable de las pruebas y limpieza.

Mientras tanto, los funcionarios del condado dicen que seguirán presionando para un proceso de remediación más rápido.

“Esto no se permitiría que ocurriera si se trataba de Aliso Canyon”, dijo Solís, refiriéndose a las fugas de gas natural en la comunidad más acomodada de Porter Ranch.

Breves de la Comunidad

July 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

LOS ANGELES

(CNS) – Las tarjetas Metro TAP de edición limitada que celebran la candidatura olímpica de Los Ángeles están disponibles en estaciones selectas, anunció la agencia el viernes.

Las tarjetas cuentan con los mundos “Listo para dar la bienvenida al mundo”, e incluyen fotos de opciones de transporte público que los visitantes podrían usar para viajar entre lugares potenciales.

“Los Ángeles tiene la mira puesta en los Juegos Olímpicos y Paralímpicos, y ahora, los pilotos del Metro pueden mostrar su espíritu olímpico cada vez que TAP”, dijo el alcalde Eric Garcetti. “Cuando decimos que estamos ‘listos para dar la bienvenida al mundo’, significa que estamos listos para aprovechar nuestras inversiones históricas en transporte público, para que podamos conectar a los aficionados con parques deportivos de manera rápida y asequible y aliviar la congestión del tráfico en toda la ciudad, al igual que lo hicimos durante los Juegos de 1984”.

Los Ángeles está compitiendo con París para los Juegos de 2024, aunque el Comité Olímpico Internacional espera que la semana próxima apruebe un plan para premiar los Juegos 2024 y 2028 simultáneamente en su reunión en Lima, Perú, en septiembre.

“Metro ya tiene una red de tránsito grande y robusta, y en 2024 planeamos agregar casi 20 millas de nuevo servicio ferroviario a nuestro sistema”, dijo el gerente general de Metro, Phillip A. Washington. “Estas líneas ya están en construcción hoy. Estaremos listos para transportar a los espectadores de manera cómoda y eficiente con el sistema de tránsito interconectado de Metro que sirve a todos los lugares deportivos olímpicos y paralímpicos”.

 

LOS ANGELES

(CNS) – Buenas noticias para los amantes de los perros del condado de Los Ángeles. La Junta de Supervisores ha acordado aumentar el número de perros que los residentes pueden poseer de tres a cuatro.

El Departamento de Cuidado y Control de Animales del condado dice que el aumento del límite les dará a los perros sin hogar oportunidades adicionales de encontrar hogares amorosos e permanentes y de reducir la falta de vivienda en el condado de Los Ángeles.

El aumento fue propuesto por las supervisoras Kathryn Barger y Hilda Solís y aprobando por unanimidad.

 

CITY OF TERRANCE

(CNS) – Las autoridades dieron a conocer el nombre de un hombre que murió cuando su auto se estrelló contra un gran aparejo estacionada en el área de City Terrace del condado.

Joseph Rodríguez-González, de 25 años, murió en la escena del accidente, ocurrido alrededor de las 5:25 de la mañana el domingo en la avenida North Ditman y la calle Marengo, dijo el jefe asistente Ed Winter el domingo.

Rodríguez-González conducía un Audi A4 negro en la dirección oeste en la calle Marengo cuando perdió el control del auto por razones desconocidas, “dando lugar a que la parte delantera del vehículo colisionará con la parte trasera de una combinación de tractor-remolque estacionada a lo largo de la acera norte de la calle Marengo”, según un comunicado de la Patrulla de Carreteras

Exide: Nearby Residents Still Living in Fear

July 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Promises to clean up lead and other toxic waste has done little to calm the fears of people living in the shadow of the now closed Exide battery-recycling plant in Vernon, according to a just released survey.

Three out of four households surveyed during a massive volunteer outreach effort June 10 said they are concerned that they or someone in their home might get lead poisoning or cancer from the high levels of hazardous chemicals spewed from the plant for decades, the unscientific survey found.

More than 1,500 workers visited 16,000 homes in Bell, Boyle Heights, Commerce, Maywood, East Los Angeles, Huntington Park and Vernon and over 4,200 health surveys were completed during the June 10 outreach event, county health officials reported last Friday.

“The results from the survey are alarming,” County Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a statement pointing out that there are large numbers of children and pregnant women living within the 1.7 mile radius targeted as having the highest potential for lead exposure and contamination.

She added that pregnant women and children are at higher risk for “poor health outcomes from exposure to lead and arsenic.”

Exposure to even low levels of lead have been proven to cause lifelong consequences to children in the form of learning disabilities and lower IQs, as well as other health issues.

“For far too long, people around the Exide plant suffered the consequences of lead and other chemical contaminations. Our residents living near Exide deserve better monitoring and follow-up, and we will continue to work with our Department of Public Health and residents to ensure that the necessary clean-up efforts move quickly for the health of our communities,” Solis said.

—Nearly half of households reported there are children under 6 years old who live or spend time in the home or yard.

—65% of households reported that their yards were tested for lead. More than half reported that they have not received the results from soil testing.

—Nearly half of the households reported they are not satisfied with the progress of the clean up activities.

The results of the survey were no surprise to community and environmental justice activists who have long complained that state regulators are moving too slowly to complete the clean up work.

“We’re counting on our elected officials to help us get the lead out of our neighborhoods, so that residents do not continue to be exposed to a known hazardous chemical,” Monsignor John Moretta of Resurrection Church in Boyle Heights was quoted as saying in a statement released by county health officials and Solis’ office.

The survey results show “The California Department of Toxic Substances Control continues to fail these communities that have borne unconscionable health and safety burdens,” said Gladys Limón with Communities for a Better Environment, “The state has the legal and moral duty to swiftly clean up the contamination and provide necessary health services,” she said.

Iris Verduzco with East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice said it’s well known that “lead poisoning negatively impacts cognitive functions and makes educational attainment increasingly difficult. We know that Exide has been and continues to contribute to the lead poisoning that is impacting our communities, our families, and our children,” said Verduzco, explaining they have detected levels of lead “near parks and schools that are considered hazardous waste and unsafe for children and residents.”

All three activists called for urgency in completing blood and soil testing and the decontamination process.

“The survey highlights the need to act with urgency to prevent exposure to continued high levels of lead,” agreed Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, director of the county’s department of public health.

She said her department is continuing to work with other county agencies “and community partners to implement the recommendations to ensure that the residents are supported in their right to live in healthy neighborhoods and homes.”

DTSC is in the process of finalizing the required Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the decontamination process and in January the agency expedited the clean up of properties with the highest risk, including homes with children that tested positive for higher than acceptable levels of lead.

The agency will hold “office hours” today in Bell and in East Los Angeles on Monday, at which time they will help explain testing results to residents and answer any questions they may have. Another session will be held July 18 in Commerce; more details can be found in EGP’s Community Calendar.

The Exide plant permanently closed in March 2015. When Exide agreed to close the lead-acid battery recycling plant, it committed to pay $50 million for cleanup of the site and surrounding neighborhoods. Of that amount, $26 million is meant to be set aside for residential cleanup.

Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year signed legislation providing $176.6 million in funding for environmental testing and cleanup work in neighborhoods surrounding the now-shuttered plant.

Residentes Cerca de la Planta de Exide Preocupados por el Envenenamiento por Plomo

July 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Una mayoría de hogares cerca de la planta de reciclado de baterías de Exide en Vernon están preocupados de que alguien en su casa pueda tener cáncer o envenenamiento por plomo de materiales peligrosos, según una encuesta publicada el viernes 30 de junio.

La Agencia de Salud del Condado de Los Ángeles anuncio los resultados de su labor de divulgación de puerta en puerta el viernes, en el que más de 1,500 trabajadores visitaron 16,000 hogares en Bell, Boyle Heights, Commerce, Maywood, este de Los Ángeles, Huntington Park y Vernon.

“Los resultados de la encuesta son alarmantes”, dijo la supervisora del condado Hilda Solís. “Durante demasiado tiempo, la gente alrededor de la planta de Exide han sufrido las consecuencias del plomo y otras contaminaciones químicas. Nuestros residentes que viven cerca de Exide merecen un mejor seguimiento y monitoreo, y seguiremos trabajando con el Departamento de Salud Pública y nuestros residentes para asegurar que los esfuerzos de limpieza necesarios se muevan rápidamente para la salud de nuestras comunidades”.

“La encuesta destaca la necesidad de actuar con urgencia para prevenir la exposición a los altos niveles de plomo”, dijo la directora de Salud Pública del Condado de Los Ángeles Bárbara Ferrer.

La encuesta se realizó el 10 de junio.

Los resultados de la encuesta incluyeron lo siguiente:

—Tres de cada cuatro hogares encuestados dijeron estar preocupados de que alguien en su casa podría tener cáncer o envenenamiento por plomo de materiales peligrosas;

—Casi la mitad de los encuestados dijeron no estar satisfechos con el progreso de las actividades de limpieza.

—65 por ciento de los hogares reportaron que sus patios delanteros fueron probados para el plomo. Más de la mitad dijo que aún no habían recibido los resultados.

La planta Exide se cerró permanentemente en marzo del 2015. Cuando Exide acordó cerrar la planta de reciclado de plomo-ácido de la batería, se comprometió a pagar $50 millones para la limpieza del sitio y los barrios circundantes. De esa cantidad, $26 millones se destina a ser reservado para la limpieza residencial.

A principios de este año el gobernador Jerry Brown firmo una legislación que proveía $176.6 millones en financiamiento para pruebas ambientales y trabajos de limpieza en vecindarios rodeando la ahora cerrada planta.

Fireworks Spectacular and Concert Saturday at East Los Angeles Civic Center

June 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Looking for a family-friendly outing this holiday weekend? You don’t have to go far thanks to the Los Angeles County Dept. of Parks and Recreation and Supervisor Hilda Solis.

The East Los Angeles Civic Center will be the center of a huge celebration bash on Saturday, July 1, from 4:40 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Great music, artists and a spectacular display of pirotecnics make for great family fun, and a 4th of July to remember.

There’s no charge to attend, admission is free and open to the public.

Event kicks off with an artfest, featuring works and booths from local artists. Enjoy live musical performances as you relax on the lawn or if the spirit moves you, get up and dance.

The festivities will close with a spectacular fireworks display that will light up the sky with bursts of color!

The East Los Angeles Civic Center is located at 5801 E. Third Street, L.A. 90022.

For more information, call (323) 260-2360 or visit http://parks.lacounty,org.

For more local 4th of July events, take a look at EGP’s “Family-friendly 4th of July Calendar of Events” at EGPNews.com/free/4th-of-July

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