Tuesday, September 17, 2013: A day to be remembered in San Diego history as the day Barrio Logan secured a safe and healthier future with the adoption of a new community plan. With City Council's approval late Tuesday night, environmental justice was restored to Barrio Logan while faith was restored among residents and community members after years of inequality.

Alternative 1 30For the past thirty years, toxic industries have encroached on Barrio Logan, polluting the air and putting the neighborhood at a less than desirable spot in the top five percent of vulnerability in the state.

"This is a community that has been asked to make room for everything," Georgette Gómez, associate director of EHC, told City Councilmembers. "We strongly believe that Alternative 1 encompasses everything that is needed. Now you have the opportunity to do what is right for both communities. Now is the time to validate the people that live here. We urge you to please adopt Alternative 1."

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Yesterday, hundreds of people packed into City Council Chambers to show support for an update to the Barrio Logan Community Plan – which hasn't seen any modifications in over three decades.

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EHC and community leaders addressed City Council in person to put a face to Alternative 1. They shared the treasures of Barrio Logan and the struggles industrial pollution has continued to impose on their neighborhoods and families.

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At the end of the evening, City Council finally voted in favor of Alternative 1 with a 5-4 split.

Alternative 1 20EHC would like to personally thank Councilmember David Alvarez for his leadership and commitment to a vibrant economy and a healthy community and thanks to Councilmembers Marti Emerald, Sherri Lightner, Myrtle Cole and Interim Mayor Todd Gloria for their support.

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"This is an amazing milestone for the community of Barrio Logan, which has faced decades of neglect, a patchwork of incompatible uses and has long suffered from a disproportionate burden of pollution," states Councilmember David Alvarez. "The community has been denied environmental justice; facing enchroachment, traffic impacts, lack of public amenitites and services. With today's approval we take a step forward addressing those impacts and building a vibrant based on the multifaceted character of the community."

Alternative 1 24Barrio Logan's newly approved community plan designates a separate heavy industrial zone away from homes and schools. With this clear distinction between industrial and residential zones, along with a buffer zone that incorporates office buildings and parking structures, Barrio Logan can finally regain a safe place to live, work and play.

Alternative 1 22EHC proudly stands by Alternative 1 and fighting to take this first big step towards restoring an important piece of San Diego's history and culture. After thirty years, Barrio Logan residents and future residents can look forward to the toxic-free neighborhood they deserve.

"The Better Barrio" – A three-part blog series highlighting a time when Logan Heights flourished and enriched all of San Diego.

Looking at Barrio Logan today, one may not know it was once one of the most thriving and desirable destinations in all of San Diego. Long before industrial businesses stood between family homes and schools, Barrio Logan, once known as Logan Heights, had some of the highest housing stock in the area and was considered one of the best parts of San Diego. It has been noted that some of San Diego's most prominent families and politicians settled in Logan Heights in the early 1900s, around the time of major commercial railroad development.

Barrio Logan First Train

The railroads connected San Diego as never before and brought industry, people and money to the thriving area. Soon after, the local businesses began to grow and diversify and more houses were built. The community flourished in the early years of the 20th century before automobile industrialization and the subsequent construction of the I-5 freeway, which very literally divided the community in half.

Since the 1950s, the community has longed to return to its happier and healthier days. We have a chance to put our neighborhood back on its path to a prosperous future by supporting Alternative 1 for the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update on September 17th.

Alternative 1 is the community-supported option for our neighborhood to make the positive changes Barrio Logan has needed for decades and become a desirable and toxic-free San Diego destination once again.

Please join us at City Council (202 C Street, San Diego, CA. 92101) on Tuesday, September 17th at 2 p.m. to restore an important piece of San Diego history.

 

"The Better Barrio" – A three-part blog series highlighting a time when Logan Heights flourished and enriched all of San Diego.

Coronet TheaterPrior to the toxic-air pollution and mixed land-use patterns, Barrio Logan, once known as Logan Heights, stood strong as a healthy and thriving neighborhood.

During World War II the Coronet Theater opened in the heart of the community at 1796 Logan Avenue, and became extremely popular- especially among children. The theater played a variety of child-friendly movies and was well known for supporting local clubs such as Los Gallos. Los Gallos often put on free cartoon shows at the theater for kids.

Eventually, Coronet Theater became a community landmark that grew to host more than just movies, but also popular Latino performers and movie stars when they traveled to San Diego.

Barrio Logan was once a primary destination for San Diego performers and fans alike, and we have the opportunity now to restore our rich community culture.

Please sign our letter and support Alternative 1 for the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update and join us on Tuesday at City Council, 2 p.m. at 202 C Street, San Diego, CA. 92101, to put our community on the right path to a promising and healthy future.

Barrio Logan is one of the oldest in San Diego and rich with history - we deserve a chance to become the thriving community we once were, and it starts with Alternative 1. 

Below is a powerful email we received from a community member, shedding new light on the two proposed updates for Barrio Logan's Community Plan. Please join us on Tuesday, September 17 at City Council: 202 C Street, San Diego, CA. 92101 in support of Alternative 1 to the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update.

 

"This is a plea for support. Barrio Logan is again under attack by greedy industrial leaders and their lobbyist. Please attend the San Diego City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 17 at 2pm and support the community's last effort in support of Barrio Logan as a residential area.

There are two different Community Plans—Alternative 1 is environmental and residential friendly and Alternative 2 is in support of more heavy industrial business and the elimination of homes and residents. The Barrio Logan Community Plan Alternative 1 calls for a more environmental and residentially friendly community. The Community Plan has been in discussion for more than five years. The City Planning department is in support of Alternative 1.

At the June San Diego City Council subcommittee for Land Use and Housing there was lobbying by the industrial community supporting more industrial land use and less residential in Barrio Logan. What was shocking to me was their total disrespect for the residents. One speaker was quoted as saying, "I just do not understand why they want to live there..." Another speaker was quoted as saying, "We want the land from Sicard all the way to Wabash for heavy industrial use."

After that meeting I drove through the area that is being targeted by Alternative 2. I was appalled to think that all of the old time Barrio Logan residents living in older historical homes are being targeted for elimination. What complicates this matter even more is the fact that the San Diego Historical Resources Board at its May meeting approved a haphazard incomplete historical survey of Barrio Logan—which I objected to. (Apparently there was an incident that occurred the day the survey was to begin which frightened those conducting the survey so they scaled there effort down to a cursory effort that was less than professional and called it a cultural resource survey.) A complete historical survey would have identified many of the homes in this area as cultural resources worthy of preservation.

At present there is another big push to invalidate the last five years of work. Besides the lobbyist for those in support of Alternative 2- they have hired Southwest Strategies as their clients to specifically stir the pot in favor of Alternative 2. There is also a new organization called "Que Viva Barrio Logan" to support Alternative 2. The flier that they are posting around the community says, "...support a healthier community by supporting Alternative 2."

In conversation with a Southwest Strategies employee today he informed me that he is advocating for Alternative 2 because it is best for the community. My response was, "No you are supporting it because they are paying you to do so. You do not live in my community. My family has lived in Logan Heights for more than 100 years and Scenario 2 is not the best plan for my community."

Please contact your City Council representative and ask them to support Barrio Logan Community Plan Alternative 1 for a livable environmental friendly plan for Barrio Logan. 

Sincerely,

Josie 

P.S. Now that Chicano Park and the Chicano Park Monumental Murals are listed on the National Register the surrounding community-Barrio Logan-should also maintain what's left of its integrity as a local historic community."

Parents, back to school is here --that means summer is coming to an end! Now is the time for your kids to shift back from play time to study time. And, as a parent, you want the very best for your child in everything: education, fun and health.

Have you thought about how clean is the air in your child's school?
Do you know if your child's indoor environment is safe?

One way to improve the indoor air quality in your child's school is to eliminate the use of cleaning supplies with toxic chemicals and use alternative cleaning methods which work just as well without catalyzing asthma and respiratory problems.

Help make your child's classroom bleach free- Ask the teacher NOT to spray chlorine bleach on your the desks, as this causes asthma in young kids. Water, soap and vinegar can replace bleach when cleaning and disinfecting your child's desk. 

Share Environmental Health Coalition's Multi-Purpose Non-Toxic Cleaning Solution with your child's teachers:

1 Spray Bottle
2 Cups of Water
½ Spoon of Liquid Dishwashing Soap
3 Spoons of White Vinegar
Mix all together in a bottle

A few small changes can make your child and their school healthier. Help children breathe easier and get ready for school by staying asthma free. Children with asthma and other respiratory problems will thank you!

Click here for information about green cleaning and safer disinfectants, wall paints, computers, office equipment, and art supplies.