MTS Board Meeting 2020 Ballot Measure

Residents in environmental justice (EJ) communities are the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System’s (MTS) number one customers, but the transit service doesn’t serve them the way it should. EJ community residents are at higher risk of disease due to transportation-related air pollution emissions and the current transit system doesn’t get them to their jobs. Seventy-percent of jobs are unreachable within 90 minutes by public transit. 

That’s why, we proudly stood with the San Diego Transportation Equity Working Group at the MTS board meeting to demand a 2020 MTS ballot measure that leads with transportation equity which: 

✔️Connects EJ communities to jobs
✔️Makes it affordable to ride the bus and trolley
✔️Ensures San Diego meets regional climate goals
✔️Includes meaningful community engagement

Read our full MTS 2020 ballot measure fact sheet here

Want more? See our media coverage from Televisa or read about our Transportation Justice work here.

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As we reflect back on 2018 and Environmental Health Coalition’s (EHC) accomplishments, we are reminded of your generosity. With your continued support, we promoted public health and fostered environmental justice in the communities that need it most.

As a result of your support, we achieved the following wins in 2018:

  • Affordable Housing for National City Residents - EHC led efforts to add 92 additional apartment units to the Paradise Creek complex along with remediation of contamination.

  • Civic Engagement Impact - EHC leaders educated more than 20,000 residents on the importance of voting to build the community’s voice. Together with our state and local allies, we protected funds for education and maintained revenue for transit and road repairs. In San Diego, we expanded democracy and protected our kids from lead in drinking water.

  • Climate Action Plan Assessment – EHC released an in-depth environmental justice assessment of the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan implementation since 2015. Our report highlights the need for more efficient and affordable mass transit options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and demands the City to increase direct investment in environmental justice communities. View our report coverage: San Diego Union-Tribune and KPBS.

  • Children’s Comic Book – EHC launched the “Comic Alamar,” a digital and print booklet that tells the story of Tijuana’s Alamar River and its importance for regional sustainability.

  • Local Truck Ordinance – EHC successfully advocated for a resolution to redirect heavy-duty truck traffic away from homes, schools, and senior centers in Barrio Logan.

  • Community Hero - I was honored to be recognized by KPBS and the National Conflict Resolution Center as a Community Hero for environmental justice and sustainability.

EHC’s success and recognition would not be possible without our Board of Directors, staff, community leaders and generous donors. Thank you for believing that we are the right organization to make a difference in our community.

The Environmental Health Coalition collaborated with the Tijuana Colectivo Chilpancingo Pro Justicia Ambiental Youth Group, to launch a comic book that tells the story of Tijuana’s Alamar River and its importance for regional sustainability.

Check out the digital version of the comic book "Mi Comunidad y el Alamar, un rio binacional y una comunidad fronteriza,” or “My Community and the Alamar, a Binational River and a Border Community":

 

The Alamar’s riverbank forest is a very important opportunity to mitigate the air pollution emitted by the Mesa de Otay maquiladora industry in Tijuana and by the heavy-duty diesel cargo trucks passing through nearby communities.

Learn more about EHC's Border Environmental Justice work in Arroyo Alamar.

Read the full press release on the comic book launch.

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Mayra Velazquez de Leon is the President and CEO of Organics Unlimited, a family-run organic banana business. Banana cultivation is a family tradition, with an emphasis on natural, organic methods that protect our environment. Mayra remembers fondly that her grandfather would water their crops using water from the river that flowed through their farm. Her father carried on that tradition of respect for natural resources, and in 1972 initiated a partnership to import the first commercially grown organic bananas into the US.

Growing customers and community

Organics UnlimitedMayra explains, “Our mission is to provide the best quality organic bananas and tropical fruits in a socially responsible way. Alongside quality stands our commitment to serving customers and the community.” Organics Unlimited is dedicated to organic farming using sustainable methods not only for the health of the workers and the consumers, but also for the health of the environment. Mayra continues, “Growing organic gives us the ability to sustain the land on which we grow our produce. Without the addition of chemicals, the land can continue to raise wholesome, delicious produce year after year, without the threat of destroying nature’s balance.”
 

In 2005, Mayra created the Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers Fund (GROW), a Donor Advised Fund managed by the International Community Foundation, to provide funding for various social responsibility programs. This includes programs that help improve the quality of life of farmers and communities where Organics Unlimited is located. GROW also provides funding for organizations that share the objective of preserving natural resources and creating healthy environments for our future generations.

Sustainability on both sides of the border

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In 2016, Mayra attended Environmental Health Coalition’s Awards Celebration One People, Una Frontera, and discovered our shared values for sustainability. EHC is the only binational organization fighting for clean air and a healthy environment in the region, thus our mission and values naturally aligned with those of GROW. Since then, GROW has supported EHC on sustainability projects on both sides of the border, such as advocating for renewable energy and mass transit in San Diego and protecting the Alamar River region in Tijuana.

Your donation makes twice the impact with GROW

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This year, we are happy to announce that in addition to our sustainability partnership, GROW is offering match challenge throughout December. “EHC works relentlessly to protect our communities and fight for clean air, so I hope this match will inspire new supporters to join their efforts or give more to EHC,” anticipates Mayra. GROW and an anonymous donor have set a challenge to match $25,000 in donations.
 

For the month of December, know that your donation will make twice the impact. Together, we can raise up to $50,000 for environmental justice in our communities.
 

To learn more about GROW and their social responsibility program, visit Organics Unlimited’s website.

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Both starting and ending in the United States, the Arroyo Alamar (Alamar River) is an example of a U.S-Mexico shared ecosystem. The river is born east of San Diego in Campo, as a network of creeks and springs that join the Tecate Creek south of the border, and travels west through Tijuana and the community of Chilpancingo, it crosses back north and makes its way to the Tijuana River Estuary in Imperial Beach, and into the ocean.

Most of the river in Tijuana has been destroyed and covered by concrete. The Arroyo Alamar is the only stretch of the river where the natural habitat remains and where ducks, owls, raccoons, cranes, woodpeckers and crawfish can be found. The Arroyo Alamar helps clean the air and is one of the few open green spaces left in Tijuana where residents can enjoy nature and wildlife.

EHC is working to preserve this threatened pocket of natural habitat by hosting tours into the river to educate youth, through the recently launched “Cuaderno de Actividades del Guardián del Alamar” (Guardian of the Alamar Activities Booklet), and by working with Mexican authorities to have the Arroyo Alamar be declared a natural protected area.

To learn more about the Arroyo Alamar, please click here, and to learn more about EHC’s binational work, please click here, or contact Anibal Mendez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..