Dia de los Muertos is a cultural holiday honoring the lives of friends and family who have passed away. The day celebrates the lives of those lost rather than mourns their absence.

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On November 2, EHC hosted the annual National City “Calaveritas” event at Paradise Creek Educational Park in the Old Town neighborhood of National City. “Calaveritas” translates to "little skulls." Kids and families decorated these sugar skulls, which are deeply rooted in Mexican tradition.

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We created alters with photos, flowers and decorations dedicated to our loved ones who have passed away. Hundreds of homemade sugar skulls and decorative frosting were provided thanks to community organizer Monserrat Hernandez and community leaders Alicia Sanchez and Maria C. Villanueva.

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On November 8, we're voting no on Measure A to protect our children’s health. Executive Director Diane Takvorian explained in the San Diego Free Press why San Diego should say no to a deceptive 40-year tax increase that pays for freeway expansion and air pollution.

Click here to read her full article on the environmental justice argument against Measure A. 

Measure A Healthy Kids

Measure A is More Bad News for Low-Income Communities

Voters Should Reject Measure A – This year San Diego voters have an opportunity to take a critical first step towards bringing San Diego into the 21st century. Right now, San Diego has an outdated and obsolete transportation system. Measure A will perpetuate that system for another 40 years!

Two generations of San Diegans will be stuck with this backward system instead of clean and just transportation if voters don’t give a resounding NO to Measure A on November 8.

While all San Diegans suffer from this outdated and ineffective system, some people are much more affected than others. Measure A doesn’t do much good for anyone in the region but it is particularly bad for those communities that are already inundated by pollution and surrounded by freeways.

Measure A is Bad for South Bay Communities

More Pollution/More Disease – National City, for instance, is one of San Diego’s poorest cities, with a per capita income under $17,000 per year. Over 90% of the residents are persons of color. The community is highly polluted by heavy freeway traffic on I-5, I-15, SR 54, I-805 and its residents suffer multiple health problems caused by vehicle and truck emissions. As a result, CalEnviroScreen, the state’s tracking tool for pollution impacts, includes the west side of National City, Old Town, among the 10% most polluted communities in the state.

San Diego County remains among the top major urban counties in California for poor air quality. The countywide rate of asthma hospitalizations increased from 9 to 10.3 per 10,000 residents aged 0-17. The rate for National City children is twice as high as the county average.

SANDAG’s freeway expansion obsession doesn’t work! – Instead of using this data to inform transportation planning, SANDAG is ignoring it. Our region’s goal should be to avoid adding more pollution to San Diego overall but particularly in the most impacted communities. But no, despite the already high level of traffic pollution, SANDAG will use Measure A funds to expand the I-5 corridor through National City with four new lanes, one general purpose and one express lane in each direction. The agency’s forecast is that this will result in an average of 238,000 vehicle trips per day. While there are different data for current traffic levels, that is an increase of between 17 and 30%.

Moreover, freeway expansion doesn’t relieve congestion or reduce driving – two oft-cited goals of the regional transportation plan. In October 2015 UC Davis’ National Center for Sustainable Transportation reported that “Increased roadway capacity induces additional vehicle miles traveled in the short-run and even more in the long-run.” More roads mean more traffic in both the short- and long-term. Adding 10 percent more road capacity leads to up to 10% more vehicle miles over many years.

Local Infrastructure – Residents living in a low-income neighborhood in the City of San Diego are ten times more likely to be hit by a car than those that live in most other neighborhoods. Southern San Diego residents not only suffer from high levels of air pollution and correspondingly high rates of respiratory disease, these communities, including Barrio Logan, City Heights, National City, Chula Vista and Imperial Beach, live with crumbling infrastructure like broken or nonexistent sidewalks, a lack of crosswalks to safely navigate traffic and a lack of bike lanes common in many traditionally funded communities.

Well-maintained local infrastructure is a key component to an effective transportation system and should be included in transportation funding.

Finally – To be clear, transit and infrastructure funding are included in Measure A. That funding is badly needed and could benefit the most impacted communities and the entire region. But the price is way too high. Miles of freeways will be built in the worst locations before affordable and accessible transit becomes a reality. Measure A forces lower income San Diegans to subsidize use of our roads with higher taxes and damaged lungs. Measure A will increase disease, air and water pollution and traffic congestion.

Don’t support a tax measure that builds on a flawed plan that will not bring San Diego into the 21st century and will make climate change worse. We have come to the decisive moment when scientific reality must trump politics. We are out of time for half measures.

Our communities deserve better, our children deserve better – smart transportation investments that will ease traffic, address climate change, and reduce disease should come first.

Vote No on Measure A.

This fall, the Governor of California said yes to #healthyhoods and signed four climate justice bills into laws. That’s four incredible reasons to dance.

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With these victories, we’re transforming our communities into #healthyhoods by:

  • Fighting climate change
    With SB-32, we set an unprecedented goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in California – 40 percent below 1990 levels.
  • Better air quality and transparent leadership
    With AB-197, we increased transparency for the California Air Resources Board and required it to publish more data about air pollution.
  • Creating #healthyhoods
    With AB-1550, we put our neighborhoods first in line to receive more funding to become healthy, thriving communities.
  • Planning for environmental justice
    With SB-1000, all general plans must prioritize communities hit first and worst by climate change.

Celebrate justice

We’re proud of our community leaders and our partners at the California Environmental Justice Alliance who mobilize and empower our communities throughout California. These statewide victories prove that when we raise our voices together, we can create lasting change for justice. 

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While Port District plans a massive expansion of its operations and diesel emissions from the Tenth Avenue Terminal, the neighboring community of Barrio Logan has been ranked even higher in the newest draft of California’s environmental justice screening model, CalEnviroScreen.

The new draft version three of CalEnviroScreen, released September 6, confirms the pollution hazards and social vulnerabilities in the Barrio Logan/Logan Heights area.

Barrio Logan was already at the very top of the state in version two of CalEnviroScreen – the highest five percent of all 8,000-plus census tracts in the state. The newly released draft version shows diesel hazards a full 15 percentile points higher than previously estimated for this area. Heart attack risk – a new indicator in version three – is also high, given the relatively young age profile of the community. Asthma continues to be a prominent indicator of disadvantage in the community – Barrio Logan and Logan Heights rank even higher on the asthma indicator this time around. This version of CalEnviroScreen also includes unemployment data for Barrio Logan – which the previous version lacked for this area. Unsurprisingly, it’s high.

Another new indicator measures cost of living based on the “rent-adjusted income” – or, the average income households have left after paying rent. Areas with high housing costs and low incomes rank high on this indicator. Barrio Logan is at the 97th percentile – an alarming result that will not surprise anyone struggling with rising rents in the area.

This small community, the historic heart of Chicano art and life in San Diego, is under siege from pollution, high health burdens, high rents and high unemployment. The community needs clean air, affordable housing and good jobs. Barrio Logan children need to be able to play outside. Instead, they may be subjected to a 500 percent increase in emissions and truck traffic from Port operations at the terminal.

Another draft document just out – the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the redevelopment of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal – indicates the community will not be getting a break anytime soon.

The draft EIR evaluates the impacts of a 500 percent increase in cargo volume coming through the terminal. All this cargo would mean more ships coming, more cranes and forklifts moving cargo, more trucks, more night-time light, more noise, as many as 800 more truck trips a day and a cancer risk estimate of 197 per million – about 20 times more than the level normally considered “significant.” All the extra diesel fuel burning would also generate a huge increase in planet-harming greenhouse gas emissions – a 540 percent increase – not even counting all the emissions generated from ships crossing the ocean to get here.

EHC will be working with community residents and the Port of San Diego to get a better outcome for Barrio Logan. We believe that, at a minimum, the Port must ensure that no net increase in pollution will occur from the redevelopment. Jobs generated from the project must be high quality, and every effort must be made to hire workers from the community. And greenhouse gas emissions must be offset by corresponding decreases on Port property or in the community. Stay tuned for action alerts as the issue moves forward.

Join us on December 13 at 1 p.m. at 3165 Pacific Hwy. to demand the Port be a good neighbor to our communities.

Click here to sign our petition to tell the Port of San Diego to take its plan back to the drawing board.

Joy Williams

Joy Williams
Research Director
Environmental Health Coalition

 

 

  

When we speak in unison, we stay strong, and our communities cannot be ignored. To make election day easy on November 8, we’ve put together this voting guide to highlight the most important propositions for justice in our neighborhoods.

voter empowerment

No on Measure A: Protect our children’s health

Say no to a deceptive 40-year tax increase that pays for freeway expansion and air pollution.

No on Measure C: No Downtown Stadium

Say no to a $1 billion tax dollar giveaway. Put our neighborhoods first!

No on Measure D: Protect Our Neighborhoods

Say no to a stadium or convention center on top of residential neighborhoods.

Yes on K: Restore Democracy

Vote yes to prevent insiders from controlling City Hall. Voters should choose their city representatives from the top two vote getters.

Yes on L: Full Voter Participation

Vote yes to allow San Diego voters to decide on propositions in November, when most people vote.

Pledge to use your voice, and your vote, on November 8, 2016.

Click here to learn about registering to vote.

Learn more about EHC's voter empowerment efforts and how to use your voice for justice on election day.