WHAT:

After more than ten years of community struggle, Barrio Logan residents and Environmental Health Coalition celebrated a monumental victory for public health as the owner of Master Plating agreed to stop operating by October 15, 2002 through a settlement agreement that requires a complete clean-up.

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WHY:

Master Plating was a decorative chrome plater operating in extremely close proximity to families and homes. Responding to community demands state and county officials conducted air monitoring that showed levels of chromium 6 detected near the plating company 28 times higher than typical urban areas. Chromium 6 is a toxic air pollutant that can increase the risk of cancer even at very low levels. The highest levels were found in the front and back of the Martinez family residence, located next door to Master Plating.

Master Plating had over 150 violations of environmental health rules in a five year period and pleaded no contest to illegal disposal of hazardous waste in the storm drain and trash in 1994.

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In 2002, the City of San Diego acknowledged the need for a new community plan in Barrio Logan. There are dozens of facilities like Master Plating in Barrio Logan, and the health of local residents can't wait for problems to be addressed one by one. The problem must be addressed from a broader perspective and the closure of Master Plating should be a kickoff to this process.

WHO:

  • Environmental Health Coalition – a nonprofit organization fighting toxic pollution in underserved communities in San Diego and Tijuana
  • Barrio Logan community members
  • Master Plating

WHERE:

Newton Ave, Barrio Logan – within several feet of homes

WHEN:

September, 2002 after more than ten years of community advocacy.

This morning I had the pleasure of joining doctors, nurses and healthcare advocates at the UCSD Medical Center to publicly announce their endorsement of the Yes on B & C campaign to protect children's health in San Diego and uphold the Barrio Logan community plan update. 

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In the first public media appearance by the campaign, the healthcare professionals reflected on Earth Day and the environmental health effects of polluting businesses next to schools, playgrounds and residences that threaten environmental health and justice in San Diego.

I had the chance to speak, announcing that kids in Barrio Logan have the same right to clean air and healthy neighborhoods as every other community in San Diego and the entire city should support Propositions B & C - to protect all of our childrens' health. 

For those of you who may not know, children and families have felt the effects of poor land-use policies since the Barrio Logan communtiy plan was last updated in 1978 and this update gives the community a new chance at having healthy communities by desgnating specific zones for homes, business and industry. This morning's attendees all agreed that the current, incompatible and polluting land-use policies in Barrio Logan must be changed to reverse the trend of unhealthy air causing high asthma rates among our kids.

"The asthma trends affecting Barrio Logan's children are clearly documented," said Dr. Martin Stein, MD Pediatrician. "If Yes on B & C and Barrio Logan's plan isn't upheld, the families there will continue to suffer from a lack of healthy air that sends kids to emergency rooms three times as often as the rest of our county."

press conference 4Barrio Logan is one of many communities in San Diego working on updating outdated community plans to improve neighborhood health, economic development and overall quality of life. There is concern that if Propositions B & C are defeated and the Barrio Logan Plan is repealed, a dangerous precedent could be set, threatening community planning and healthy neighborhoods across the city.

"This isn't a just a threat to Barrio Logan," said Michael Jackson, RN, UCSD Medical Center ER nurse. "If B & C don't pass, we could see children's health in peril all over San Diego."

Voting "Yes" on B & C will uphold the community's plan to keep toxics, pollutants, carcinogens, and flammable chemicals, a safe distance away from schools, playgrounds and homes and increases jobs in our city. Protect our children's health and vote "Yes" on B & C! To learn more, visit www.yesonbandc.com.

Thank you for your continued support for children's healh and Barrio Logan's right to toxic-free air.  

- Georgette Gomez

 

Come to tomorrow night's open house at the Port of San Diego and demand clean air, healthy communities and environmental justice become priorities for the next 50 years in San Diego. The workshop runs from 6-8 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center (140 East 12th St, National City, 91950.) 

Click here for EHC's suggested talking points

Port sid voorakkara and rafael castellanos for port commissionWe have a great opportunity to get involved in shaping the future of our community. The Port is currently developing its guidelines and plan for the next 50 years. While it has taken some actions to address the negative impacts of its pollution on Barrio Logan and Old Town National City -- which experience some of the highest cumulative pollution impacts in the state-- we need it to adopt a clear commitment to clean air, healthy communities and environmental justice in San Diego. Clean air, healthy communities, and environmental justice are not too much to ask.

We want the Port to commit to taking all available action to reduce the cumulative health burdens on its neighbors as it continues to grow and develop.

Please attend on Tuesday, April 22 or Wednesday, April 30 and let the Port know we care about clean air, healthy communities and environmental justice today and for the future of our children. If you are unable to make the workshops, you can still make your voice heard by taking the five minute survey

Click here for more information on the open houses.

In its April 16 UT Editorial, "The real polluters of Barrio Logan," UT San Diego has conveniently drawn data selectively from the Barrio Logan Community Plan environmental analysis, creating a falsified scapegoat for toxic businesses to hide behind. Instead of sticking up for San Diego's children and the opportunity to provide a better life, the UT is promoting bogus claims.

Barrio Logan view from FJV

One of San Diego's busiest freeways, I-5, runs through the neighborhood and industrial shipyards surround the community. Within the boundaries of Barrio Logan, auto body and plating shops operate next door to homes and schools. We know the pollution is a combination of all of these, but we cannot move I-5 or the shipyards.

So, instead of giving up and feeling helpless, the residents of Barrio Logan, the City of San Diego and key stakeholders—including industry— took five years to consider all points of view and generate an all-around solution that can change conditions in the community - better land-use zoning, currently an outdated mess created in 1978.

The new community plan re-zones Barrio Logan so residents and polluting businesses can both operate safely. The buffer zone separates the neighborhood from the heavy industries and shipyards while the rezoning establishes industrial, commercial and residential areas within the community.

The Barrio Logan community plan is not a perfect solution to decades of neglect and discriminatory land-use practices. For right now, this is the first step toward moving families and children away from the polluting industry next door. A YES vote on propositions B and C allows the neighborhood to take that first step.

The major industrial sources of pollution, the shipyards, should act now to reduce pollution they allege to be concerned about, instead of fighting every proposed change for decades – not just in Barrio Logan, but also cleaning up San Diego Bay, rerouting diesel trucks and using less-toxic chemicals. There is no argument that there is much more work needed to clean up Barrio Logan. For now, YES on B and C is the immediate answer.

Georgette Gomez
Environmental Health Coalition

Wow. Our 2014 Awards Celebration: Victory for Healthy Communities, presented by Pacifica Companies, simply knocked the ball out of the park.

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With friends, neighbors, allies, fellow advocates, business owners, sponsors and elected officials, we came together on Thursday, April 10, 2014, and had an incredible night of laughter, good food, award presentations and of course, selfies.

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Click here to view our full gallery of event photos.

Nearly 300 folks spent their Thursday evening supporting EHC and helping us recognize the incredible work done by our #healthyhoods heroes. These heroes include:

Spirit of Justice Award: Ruth Heifetz, EHC founding board member and senior lecturer at UCSD School of Medicine; For a lifetime of dedication to raising awareness among students, professionals, workers and residents to the hazards of toxic pollution.

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Champion Award:

  • Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, City of National City councilwoman; For leadership on the Westside Specific Plan, the implementation of phasing out polluting businesses, adding 201 affordable housing units and more.
  • Lara Gates, plan update manager at the City of San Diego; For stewardship of the Barrio Logan community plan update, enabling all stakeholders to find a just outcome to neighborhood land-use issues.

Community Award:

  • Adriana Alfaro, EHC leader; For years of dedication to improving Old Town National City and tireless work towards achieving environmental justice in the San Diego region.
  • Maria Martinez, EHC leader and promotora; For leading and inspiring community members in Barrio Logan to fight for a healthier neighborhood.
  • The National City and Barrio Logan Community Action Teams; For standing strong as community leaders in National City and Barrio Logan and organizing and empowering other residents to have a voice in the issues effecting their neighborhood.



Using the hashtag #healthyhoods to capture moments for Twitter and Instagram, our guests helped document the evening one selfie at a time. Cumulatively, EHCSanDiego and friends posted close to 150 tweets during the event and got #healthyhoods trending in San Diego; meaning it was the most talked about Twitter subject in San Diego on the evening of April 10. One lucky social media maven even won an EHC t-shirt for tweeting at EHCSanDiego and hashtagging #healthyhoods throughout the event with photos and clever 140-character-or-less phrases.

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Click here to view what all our guests said about #healthyhoods.

Thank you to all our sponsors, including: San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, MAAC, Port of San Diego, the California Endowment, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union and Ryan Brothers Coffee.

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We can't say thank you enough to everyone who joined us to honor the people making healthy and safe communities a possibility for National City, Barrio Logan and all of San Diego. We are humbled and honored to know and work with all of you. See you next year!