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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 Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo.

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.

As District 8 City Councilmember David Alvarez completes his two terms, voters will have the opportunity to choose a new champion for our community.

At EHC’s first-ever candidate forum, community members packed the Sherman Heights Community Center to meet Antonio Martinez, Vivian Moreno and Christian Ramirez, the City Council candidates for District 8. District 8 includes Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights, Logan Heights and more, and is one of EHC's core neighborhoods.

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For two hours, our leaders asked each candidate important questions about how they intend to make our communities healthy and safe places to live, work and play. Together we discussed the Barrio Logan community plan update, access to affordable transportation as well as safe places to walk and bike, equity in the City's climate action plan, the increase in temporary homeless shelters, protecting families from displacement and policies that would mediate community air pollution and route trucks out of our neighborhoods. 

  • Panchito, Barrio Logan leader: In order for change in underserved communities to be sustained over time, we need to maintain a pipeline of leadership in all sectors that will continue to champion the causes of our community. How will you create an environment in District 8 that encourages and/or prepares youth to be the leaders of tomorrow focused on building better communities?

  • Silvia, Sherman Heights leader: The issue of affordable housing, homelessness and how to provide supportive services to homeless individuals is directly impacting many residents of District 8. How will you address this community concern?

  • Philomena, Barrio Logan leader: Residents in District 8 deal with many burdens due to close proximity to both the Port of San Diego and the Naval Base. One of these is the impact of limited parking in the community due to shipyard and Navy workers parking throughout the community due to lack of designated parking at their workplaces. . What would you do to solve this ongoing issue?

  • Roddy, City Heights leader: The City of San Diego passed a Climate Action Plan in 2015 with a strong requirement for social equity that EHC members fought hard for. What would you do to prioritize Climate Justice in the implementation of this plan?

  • Maria, Barrio Logan leader: Land use and zoning that allows industries to locate next to homes results in health and safety issues If elected what would be your strategy and plan to address this issue?

Toward the end of the two-hour event, candidates were given the rapid-fire questions on the chart below and the options to choose yes, no or give a 15-second explanation. Candidate initials were marked in the columns for their chosen answers.

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Each of the candidates said yes to:

  • Meeting with the EHC Community Action Teams in Sherman Heights and Barrio Logan within 90 days of assuming office and attending at least two meetings each per year after that
  • Supporting the 2013 community-developed Barrio Logan community plan update
  • Supporting the Children’s Right to Lead-Safe Housing Ordinance Amendment to make housing lead safe at the point of sale
  • Hiring a climate justice staffer to support the City climate action plan
  • Supporting the Barrio Logan clean air and safe streets ordinance to set strictly enforced truck routes
  • Opposing the expansion of the 94 freeway
  • Supporting a free youth transit pass policy in San Diego
  • Standing against community threats from Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Supporting community members when they say they need a street light or a stop sign
  • Fighting for better bus and transit stops that include shelter and shade for people waiting
  • Opposing the continuation of temporary homeless shelters being disproportionately placed in District 8
  • Advocating for better retention practices in the San Diego Police Department
  • Supporting a joint-use park at Perkins Elementary School

Throughout the evening, community members shared their thoughts and takeaways on Twitter

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Thank you to each candidate, to our moderator and Barrio Logan College Institute CEO Jose Cruz and our fearless community leaders and volunteers who made this evening possible.

Don’t forget to use your voice and vote for our next community champion on June 5. If you have any questions about how to vote, contact Jorge Gonzalez at Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. or 619-474-0220 x 122.

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With our vote, we are powerful.

One of the most powerful votes we can cast is for our San Diego City Council member. Our City Council directs how our cities run, including the policies that shape healthy and safe neighborhoods for our families.

In District 8, which includes Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights, San Ysidro and more, we have the opportunity to choose a new community champion.

On Thursday, March 15, EHC proudly hosts a public forum at the Sherman Heights Community Center (2258 Island Ave, San Diego, 92102) for City Council’s District 8 candidates. Join us at 5:30 p.m. to ask Antonio Martinez, Vivian Moreno and Christian Ramirez about how they plan to address important issues in our communities.

The District 8 Candidates Forum will be moderated by Jose Cruz, the chief executive officer of Barrio Logan College Institute, and light refreshments will be provided.

If you plan to attend the event or participate in the Facebook live stream, please RSVP on Facebook.