February's implosion of the South Bay Power Plant was a cause for great celebration. South Bay became a different place when the Power plant was built and will be a different and better place, when it is removed. Its removal is a victory for community health, the environment, and for quality economic development.

For the first of a three part series written by Laura Hunter, who led a 20 year effort to stop the South Bay Power Plant from operating, she'll explain why the end of this dirty power plant means the end to decades of damage to downwind environmental justice communities of Chula Vista and San Diego.

Top 10 Ways to Poison-Proof your Home

  1. Keep the 24/7, free poison center helpline on you at all times (such as in your cell phone). 1-800-222-1222
  2. Be sure that cosmetics, personal care products, prescription and OTC medications, cleaning products, dietary supplements and vitamins, pesticides and lighter fluid, and household plants locked away or out of reach of children.
  3. Always keep cleaning products, gasoline, lighter fluid, antifreeze, pain and paint thinners in the containers that they came in.
  4. Never put something that it not food in a food or beverage container.
  5. Do not store food and household cleaners in the same cabinet.
  6. If you are caring for a little one, put purses or bags that may contain above mentioned products where a child cannot reach.
  7. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the home. Make sure they work and change the battery every 6 months.
  8. Never call medicine candy.
  9. Do not take medicine in front of children; they love to do what adults do.
  10. Objects that use small batteries, like toys or remotes, should be kept out of reach of small children. Disc batteries are both poisonous and a choking hazard.

4 million poisonings occur each year – over half to children. Please take these simple precautions to protect your family.

keystone xl climate change rally franco garcia speaks 2Low-income communities of color have long been on the front lines of pollution and dirty energy, and now we're set to be hit first and worst by climate change. Lack of financial resources, vulnerability to poor air quality from asthma, lack of access to affordable healthcare and transportation, and minimal urban tree canopy means that our communities will be most vulnerable to impacts of climate change like hotter summer heat waves in San Diego and impaired air quality, more frequent extreme storms, diminishing freshwater and increased water prices, and rapidly rising sea levels.

keystone xl climate change kayla race bicycle to rallyCommunities on the front lines know we must do everything we can to stop climate change and the dirty energy economy that exploits our natural resources, jeopardizes public health and safety, and threatens our climate stability. So why aren't our national and energy leaders on the same page?

Our President and federal government are considering approval of the huge new Keystone XL pipeline that would transport oil from the tar sands of Canada—one of the dirtiest sources of oil—all the way to the Gulf coast. And in San Diego, our local utility SDG&E wants to build two new dirty power plants.

Both sets of projects would come at great cost to public health and our climate.

It's time we stand up and say San Diego and the United States deserve better. We must demand more from our energy utilities and our elected officials to produce big solutions to the big challenges we face.

keystone xl climate change rally protestors san diego 2

Thanks to Diane Lesher for the photos.

A Community Vision

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@HDatFinance HD, please tell #DOF to approve bond Westside Infill Development in National City. #CommunityApproved ow.ly/hkLgM


@HDatFinance HD, don't forget about community in National City. Please approve funding 4 Westside project. #CommunityApproved ow.ly/hkLgM


@HDatFinance National City wants #AffordableHousing, #Transit-Oriented homes. #DOF, please fund #CommunityApproved project. ow.ly/hkLgM


@HDatFinance It's #CommunityApproved. National City funded it. And now #DOF may destroy it. Please don't let that happen. ow.ly/hkLgM


@HDatFinance HD, please don't ignore families in National City. Support all bonded & #CommunityApproved projects. ow.ly/hkLgM

 

 

When I walk through Paradise Creek, I feel a deep sense of excitement. I can see kids running freely through a brand new park, parents rushing to the trolley station to get to work on time, and community members continuing to convene to see their neighborhood transform into a healthy and affordable place to live.

This isn't the reality today, but it can be when the Westside Infill Transit Oriented Development, an affordable housing and open space project is complete. As long as the California Department of Finance does its part, which is to approve National City's use of bond proceeds issued in 2011. This community project has been in the making for almost 10 years now.

It's the vision of National City residents, who have worked hard to bring sustainable affordable homes to the community that will also protect Paradise Creek. What is now National City's Public Works maintenance area and a charter bus company will become 201 brand new affordable homes. (Skip to view the project plan.)

Even in its infancy, this project has received national recognition.

In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Transportation selected the Westside Infill Development site as part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities Brownfield's Pilot. This pilot project is one of only five in the U.S. and the only one on the west coast. It will protect an existing wetland, locate next to the 28th street trolley station and Kimball Elementary, and provide a brand new public park.

National City has worked diligently with the developers, Community Housing Works and Related Company of California, to finance the project. However, due to National City's Redevelopment Agency's dissolution, the state is questioning the legitimacy of the bond that the city issued to build the project. This means that National City already issued the bond to finance the Westside Infill Development project, but now a statewide agency might deny that use of that money on this community-driven housing complex.

Tell Department of Finance Why This Project Needs Its Funding

California's Department of Finance needs to hear from us. The Westside Infill Development project has been 10 years in the making, it is already financed, and the city just needs the Department of Finance's approval to use bond proceeds.

Please let the Department of Finance know how important this project is for you and our community. You can reach Mr. Justyn Howard & Mr. Steve Szalay Local Government Consultants at California's Department of Finance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. respectively.

 

Originally published in the Equal Voice Newspaper on January 9, 2013bluetruck1

More parks and open space for families and children, and fewer diesel trucks spewing fumes into neighborhoods, were some of the biggest victories for the Environmental Health Coalition last year.

The coalition, works to protect public health threatened by toxic pollution in southern California.

Last year, the Environmental Health Coalition in San Diego, successfully shut down a Barrio Logan warehouse to stop its diesel trucks from polluting the air for nearby residents.

The neighborhood has one of the highest asthma rates, caused primarily, neighbors say, by pollutant-producing industrial businesses that are intermingled with homes, schools and parks.

The coalition also had a significant impact on the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan ‒ saving more than 40 percent of the land for parks and open space.

And in November, the California Public Utilities Commission adopted a number of the coalition's recommendations that will expand the reach of energy efficiency programs funded by ratepayers to low-income neighborhoods in San Diego.

The Environmental Health Coalition was started in 1980 as the Coalition Against Cancer. Since then, more information and awareness about relationship between serious health effects and the chemicals used in homes and workplaces has become available.

Thirty years later, Environmental Health Coalition has become a leader in the environmental justice movement and a resource for community-based organizations working on environmental health and justice, social justice, human rights, and environmental sustainability.