For over a decade, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) has worked with residents in Old Town National City to address food insecurity. Responding to an EHC community survey in 2005, residents were already voicing their concerns about the lack of affordable healthy food in OTNC and its impact on their daily lives. Their struggle for food access has been acknowledged at the federal level by the United States Department of Agriculture that designated Old Town National City as a “food desert”; defined as a part of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthy whole foods1. Residents of National City are suffering and dying from preventable diseases that are a result of poor nutrition and lack of access to healthy food. Within National City, there are approximately twice as many fast food and convenience stores as there are general grocery and fruit and vegetable markets2. Over 50% of children in the National School District are overweight or obese3, and National City residents have the highest rate of heart attacks in all San Diego County4.

In response to this severe community health crisis, residents have been working with city officials to find community driven solutions. Community members have identified the inclusion of a community garden in the Paradise Creek Park plan design as a solution to help increase physical activity and food access.

EHC will continue to work diligently to ensure that National City residents remain in the planning process and that their neighborhood transitions from a toxic to a healthy one . Follow EHC on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates on the Paradise Creek Park community garden and contact Sandy Naranjo, National City Policy Advocate, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for ways to get involved.

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1  American Nutrition Association. USDA Defines Food Deserts. http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/usda-defines-food-deserts
2  National City, National City General Plan (2011), 227. http://www.nationalcityca.gov/home/showdocument?id=5217
3  San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, State of Childhood Obesity in San Diego County (2016), 7. https://sdcoi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/stateofchildhoodobesity-sdcountyfinal1.pdf
4  Schroeder, Lauryn “Coronado has Good Hearth Health, National City Much Less So. Find Your Community on Interactive Map. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/data-watch/sd-me-cardiovascular-rate-20180209-story.html. July 23, 2018.

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Justice for our communities begins with your voice. When we vote we are united, and when we are united we are powerful.

Remember to vote on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Use our voter guide below to vote for environmental justice and advance the policies that will build #healthyhoods for our families.

  • For all voters: Vote NO on Proposition 70
    Preserve funding for affordable housing and better transportation in our communities.

  • For National City voters: Vote NO on B
    Don't repeal voter-approved term limits for the Mayor of National City.

  • For National City voters: Vote YES on C
    Retain voter-approved term limits for the Mayor of National City and create term limits for the National City Council. 

For more information on statewide ballot measures, please click here.

To learn more about EHC's civic engagement work, please click here or contact Jorge Gonzalez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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We have a vision. We bring our voices to the polls to ensure that vision prevails, to resist oppression and to engage in the most powerful demonstration of our collective strength as communities of color.

Thank you for joining us on April 19 to celebrate our dedication to civic engagement and shifting the culture of voting at our 2018 Annual Awards Celebration: United to Vote.

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We kicked off #UnitedToVote with an intimate conversation with Mustafa Santiago Ali, senior VP of the Hip Hop Caucus, former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) senior advisor for environmental justice and our environmental justice champion awardee.

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Mustafa spoke about the necessity for action to achieve environmental justice and the power we have when we come together. He reminisced about his young days as environmental justice was just beginning to earn attention at the national level and how the movement has grown to become more important than ever. 

"Our vote translates into power, and sometimes we forget that," he told us.

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Afterward we were joined by more than 400 of our allies in the environmental justice and civic engagement movement. With our incredible keynote speaker Senator Toni Atkins, President pro Tempore and San Diego City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez, we recognized our 2018 awardees:

  • Mustafa Santiago Ali - Environmental Justice Champion Award
  • Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher - Spirit of Justice Award
  • National City Councilwoman Alejandra Sotelo-Solis - Spirit of Justice Award
  • National City Councilwoman Mona Rios - Spirit of Justice Award
  • California Environmental Justice Alliance - Building Power Award
  • Engage San Diego - Building Power Award

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Twitter buzzed with #UnitedToVote inspiration throughout the evening as our guests chronicled their favorite moments. 

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It will take all of us to change the culture of voting. Thank you for helping us celebrate the trailblazers at the local, state and national level championing environmental justice and the right of all people to have a safe and healthy place to live work and play. 

See you next year!

We recently celebrated a major victory for clean air and public health in Barrio Logan. We applaud the City of San Diego Environment Committee, led by David Alvarez, for unanimously passing the Barrio Logan Clean Air and Safe Streets Ordinance.

As it moves through the city review process, allow us to expain to you how this ordinance came to be and why it matters to our community.

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A Summary: 

The presence of heavy-duty truck traffic in Barrio Logan has become commonplace in our community and has negatively affected our quality of life for many years. Perkins Elementary School, for example, faces daily exposure to harmful air emissions from diesel trucks, noise and safety concerns. 

EHC recommends adoption of the Barrio Logan Clean Air and Safe Streets Ordinance to ensure that Barrio Logan residents can live, work and play in a safe environment.

Current Conditions:

Current policy to address heavy-duty vehicle traffic in Barrio Logan has been helpful but now warrants an update. Right now, the policy does not prohibit truck traffic on all of the streets necessary, especially near schools, senior residential living centers, and residential uses, nor does it address enforcement through fines and/or penalties. Our community has understood the need to amend this in order to mitigate the ever-increasing volume of heavy-duty vehicle traffic in the region. 

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Community Research: 

Boston Avenue between 28th and 32nd Street is zoned as exclusively residential and is the only such zone in Barrio Logan. Residents of Boston Avenue participated in community research by conducting truck surveys, which yielded striking results -- including the documentation of up to 59 heavy-duty vehicles within a two-hour period.

The community research demonstrates the different sources of heavy-duty vehicles entering and exiting through Barrio Logan. Air samples taken during these surveys also indicate spikes in ultra-fine particulate matter -- a chemical found in diesel exhaust that is linked to serious health effects -- as trucks drove by the survey area.

Key Findings from other Port Cities:

  • Oakland, Long Beach, and Los Angeles establish truck routes in their municipal codes
  • These cities also include an extensive list of prohibited streets
  • Truck routes maps are readily available via city website (interactive maps, pdf, etc.)

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EHC Recommends:

The Barrio Logan Clean Air and Safe Streets Ordinance will provide ways to mitigate the impacts of diesel exhaust in and around our community, making it a healthier and safer neighborhood for all people to live, work and play.

Trucks serving local businesses are excluded from these recommendations:

  • Creation and implementation of a truck route in Barrio Logan
  • Amendment of the Commercial Vehicle Prohibition Resolution to include all streets not on the truck route
  • Clear path for enforcement including fines and penalties for those violating the truck route

For questions regarding the Barrio Logan Clean Air and Safe Streets Ordinance, please contact Jerry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We know that our families suffer first and worst from the harmful impacts of climate change due to discriminatory  transportation planning that comes at the expense of historically neglected communities.

We also know that environmental justice is the right of all people to live, work and play in a healthy and safe environment. 

That's why EHC works on transportation justice to bring more accesible, affordable and safe pedestrian, bike and transit improvements to the neighborhoods that need them most.

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We know we deserve climate justice and #healthyhoods and less asthma hospitalizations for our children. 

Our community leaders traveled to Riverside to tell the Air Resources Board we deserve better from SANDAG - our region's transportation planning agency.

That's why we asked for the Air Resources Board to require SANDAG cut its emissions by 25 percent by the year 2035.

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 Our Executive Director Diane Takvorian, who also sits on the Air Resources Board, proposed a higher emissions-reduction target for SANDAG. Board members Dean Florez and John Gioia supported her amendment before the 19-percent target was finalized.

“The lack of strong statewide leadership behind SB 375 simply means local, grassroots organizations have more work to do,” says Ana Reynoso, EHC transportation justice policy advocate. “Residents who journeyed to Riverside for last night’s vote know first-hand that the effects of climate change disproportionately impact communities south of the I-8 freeway and that we needed at least a 25 percent reduction in pollution by 2035 to alleviate that.”

Moving forward, we promise to team up with local allies including Climate Action Campaign, San Diego 350 and more to ensure SANDAG meets the 19-percent reduction standard for San Diego in an equitable and transparent way.

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“We intend to work very closely with the Air Resources Board to ensure it holds SANDAG accountable to implementing SB 375 in a way that prioritizes the communities that need the most immediate help,” says Reynoso.

Learn more about transportation justice here, and click here to get involved.