You have probably heard of Alternative 1, but what exactly is it? What does it mean for Barrio Logan, and why should the rest of San Diego care?

The community of Barrio Logan has one of the oldest existing community plans, last updated in 1979. This outdated plan has led to the development of a toxic environment; unhealthy and unsafe for the community. Neighborhood safety, health and quality of life are compromised by the massive polluting industries operating next door to houses, parks and schools. Barrio Logan has high rates of asthma hospitalization; a level three times the County's average. The intermingling of industries and neighborhoods is clearly not the safiest nor healthiest for children and families, and this is exactly why Alternative 1 was born.

Kids Playing Outside 1

Alternative 1 is the community proposed alternative to the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update to address the environmental injustice placed in our neighborhood. While toxic industries impact the community wellbeing, this plan does not propose to kick them out but to designate a heavy industrial zone away from homes and schools. 

Alternative 1 also recommends:

  • Clear separation of industrial and residential zones
  • Small scale development from residential to commercial
  • Sustainable development
  • Development of maritime supporting business
  • An exclusive, heavy industrial area
  • A parking structure that will serve the workers at the working waterfront
  • Most importantly: A safe place to live, work and play

For five-years, the City of San Diego has facilitated a community-involved process to update to the Barrio Logan community plan, which the City Council will hear on September 17th. From that process came Alternative 1, and the future of Barrio Logan will be determined by a vote.

But we, the community, can make our voice heard before City Council votes. We strongly urge supporters to sign our letter in support of Alternative 1. This plan was supported by the majority of the stakeholders of the community plan update, as well as a unanimous support by the Planning Commission.

David Alvarez Alternative 1

Why should the rest of San Diego care? 

Because these are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles and best friends just asking to live in a toxic-free neighborhood - something most communities never have to experience or fight for. Think about how much you love your clean air, nice parks and safe streets. What would you want for your mothers, fathers, daughters, sons and best friends?

You can watch Georgette Gomez, associate director of toxic-free neighborhoods, speak more about Alternative 1 here.

EHC has been working in Barrio Logan for decades to reduce toxic pollution and improve livability for its residents, but some recently released information quantifies just how serious the situation has become. Results from California's environmental justice screening model, CalEnviroScreen, rank Barrio Logan as the highest at-risk community in San Diego County and in the top 5 percent for the entire state

What is an environmental justice hostpot? It is any area with extraordinarily high levels of toxic pollution, making the neighborhood hazardous to residents.

cal enviro screen

The CalEnviroScreen also takes into consideration a wide variety of other indicators (education, poverty, demographics, medical care, to name a few) to determine which communities are at a higher risk of pollution-related illnesses. Sky-rocketing levels of toxins have given Barrio Logan communities three times the asthma rate of the rest of San Diego. Residents breathe in heavily polluted air as a result of manufacturing shops in their backyards and industrial trucks parked along their streets.

EHC's Research Director, Joy Williams, was recently published in the San Diego Free Press. She described it exceptionally well when she wrote, 

"A strikingly obvious feature of Barrio Logan is that land uses are mixed together in a way not seen in any other community in San Diego. Industries, homes, schools, auto body shops, recycling yards, stores, and parks all share the same compact space, wedged in between the I-5 freeway and the waterfront industries bordering San Diego Bay south of the Convention Center. Heavy diesel truck traffic moves around and through the community; cargo ships run their engines at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal; and the BNSF railyard hosts aging locomotives a short distance upwind of Perkins Elementary School. Smaller industries contribute their own hazards to the community profile – they may be directly next door to homes and may have traffic, odor, vibration, and noise impacts, as well as fire hazards. Pollution close to people is reflected in Barrio Logan's 'hot spot' identity."

But there is hope for change, and a healthy future. For almost forty years, EHC has been working on Barrio Logan's Community Plan Update, which goes to San Diego City Council in the middle of September. If approved, this community plan will relocate massive, industrial businesses from Barrio Logan's residential streets to a specifically designated industrial zone away from homes and schools. Not only will it address incompatible land-use, but incorporate affordable housing conservation of the San Diego Bay waterfront where a plethora of workers are located. 

The only concern lies in preserving the rich cultural history and unique art of Barrio Logan. Although the goal is to create a healthy, livable neighborhood, residents aim to do this while maintaining the unique characteristics that make Barrio Logan one-of-a-kind.

The community has rallied to support the Community Plan Update. It is an urgent necessity for health and quality of life in Barrio Logan, and EHC continues its unwaivering determination to make Barrio Logan toxic free. Hopefully, the CalEnviroScreen's official report will prove just how much help this community needs and they will finally make their voices heard for change in September. 

To find out how you can support Barrio Logan's long overdue basic environmental rights, sign up for our email newsletters and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.   

A Community Vision

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

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


Hundreds of environmental supporters joined A Clean Bay Victory celebration on May 22

In the 1900s, San Diego Bay supported great biodiversity in its shallow open water, salt marshes and mud flats. Currently, more than a third of San Diego County live within five miles of the bay. After years of neglect and poor planning, industries polluted the bay with more than 20 types of pollutants, endangered surrounding communities with 36 types of air contaminants and destroyed 90 percent of the bay's mud flats and 78 percent of its salt marshes. (Skip to the goods--I want to see the photos.)

In 2012, we honored three individuals and one organization that led efforts over the past 32 years to improve San Diego Bay. Each awardee played an integral role in the community-wide efforts that resulted in major environmental victories for San Diego Bay, and ultimately, can lead to a reversal of these trends. Key victories include the decommissioning of the South Bay Power Plant, the adaptation of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan and the cleanup of toxic pollution at the bottom of San Diego Bay. We would like to extend a warm thanks to our proud sponsors: Pacifica Companies, Unified Port of San Diego, The Wild Thyme Company and Bruce and Betsy Gill.

The VIP reception opened the A Clean Bay Victory event at the Star of the Sea Event Center along the harbor in downtown San Diego. A Clean Bay Victory packed The Berkeley event space at the Maritime Museum as attendees from all over San Diego and Tijuana regions raised $38,000 to support EHC in honor of the environmental champions.

More than 320 individuals attended EHC's 2012 Awards Celebration. At the event, former Councilmember Donna Frye launched EHC's Sustainability Circle to secure monthly contributions from donors who support EHC's environmental justice work.

We're planning our next awards event. Please Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. for information.

Highlights of Tuesday's event include:

  • Marco Gonzalez received an award from Ashok Israni, CEO of Pacifica Companies, for his tireless advocacy and legal leadership in the Clean Bay Campaign.
  • San Diego Coastkeeper, a non-profit ally in the Clean Bay Campaign, received an award from City Councilmember David Alvarez for serving as a strong and critical partner with EHC in the fight to preserve San Diego Bay since 1995.
  • Dan McKirnan, EHC boardmember, was honored by Congressman Bob Filner for his commitment to the environmental protection and service as a founding member of the Clean Bay Campaign.
  • Laura Hunter, Clean Bay Campaign director, was commended with the Donna Frye Spirit of Justice Award for over two decades of dedicated work on the Clean Bay efforts for Environmental Health Coalition.