LA County Board of Supervisors Approves Motion to Help Families Affected by Exide Contamination
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 27 voted unanimously on a motion that dedicates $2 million to help address the urgent health needs of residents affected by contamination from the Exide battery recycling plant.
For decades, Exide operated on a temporary permit issue by the state environmental regulatory agency. During this time, the plant spewed lead, arsenic, benzene and other environmental toxins into the air over Vernon and surrounding cities.
“The hazardous waste emitted by Exide exposed at least 100,000 County residents to lead, arsenic, benzene, and other toxins. Many of these residents will live the rest of their lives with a heightened risk of cancer and other illnesses,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis who authored the motion with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
“Exide and failed oversight by the State have resulted in an undeniably catastrophic mess,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “The County bears no legal responsibility, but we have a moral duty to investigate the scale of the problem and to protect the affected families – especially the children – as well as businesses and workers in the area.”
The motion provides funding for health screenings and also directs county staff to immediately start identifying the most contaminated homes. Additionally, the motion calls for the deployment of promotoras – bilingual community health workers – to help residents take advantage of cleanup vouchers available to them.
“These are not steps that the County should have to take. I wish that the state were responding with the urgency the situation demands. But these families can’t wait any longer,” said Supervisor Solis.
“More than 3.6 million residents face an elevated level of health risks due to years of exposure to toxins. Exide has a long record of non-compliance and of criminal violations,” said Angelo Bellomo, deputy director for health protection for the County Department of Public Health. “The State’s poor record of oversight and failure to cleanup with a due level of urgency is well known.”
The Exide plant admitted to criminal misconduct and closed in March after reaching a negotiated settlement with the U.S. Attorney’s office. Now this motion is moving forward with ways to help residents affected by the plant’s misconduct. To read Supervisor Solis’ motion, click here.
Supervisor Solis' Statement on Affordable Housing
Supervisor Hilda L. Solis earlier this week issued a statement of support for an affordable housing motion authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. She praised the Board of Supervisors for declaring “affordable housing a high priority.”
"We have also taken a bold step to provide more housing, create a more coordinated and effective process for allocating affordable housing funding, and ensure more people are housed. We are doing our part to address the housing crisis,” said Supervisor Solis in her Oct 27 statement.
“However, I want to also use this opportunity as a call to action for the leaders who represent Los Angeles County in the state and federal governments. We need your help. Between the loss of redevelopment funds, dwindling housing bond funds, and cuts to HUD programs, Los Angeles County has lost over $466 million in affordable housing funding,” said Supervisor Solis. “That is a 65% loss in federal and state funding since 2012. We all have a role to play in alleviating the housing crisis. We are striving to do our part, and I hope that other local, state, and federal leaders will soon follow suit."
To read the motion, click here.
Metro Approves Board Member Solis’ I-710 Motion
The I-710 Corridor is a vital transportation artery that connects communities in Southern California to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Forty percent of goods imported into the United States come through these two important ports, making them vital engines that fuel our regional and national economies.
However, the corridor also reports a high rate of accidents and elevated levels of diesel particulate emissions, which pose a major health risk to local communities. Due to population growth, an increase in traffic and an aging infrastructure, commuters on the I-710 corridor experience congestion and perilous safety issues daily.
“The I-710 South project has to work for all stakeholders,” said Supervisor Solis. “We cannot afford to continue building or improving freeways the same way we did 50 years ago. We have to be creative and listen to the community’s needs.”
For more than a decade, Caltrans and Metro reviewed various options on how to improve the I-710 freeway. All alternatives are intended to improve air quality in the corridor as well as improve safety, modernize the freeway’s design and address projected growth in traffic.
While members involved in the 710 Project encouraged even more extensive community participation, local residents have asked Metro and Caltrans to be more responsive to their requests for changes in the project that will better address community needs and concerns. With the support of the project committee, the Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice – for the past two years - led an effort to include more community-serving elements in the I-710 Environmental Impact Report. Despite changes to the Project, many residents did not feel that Metro and Caltrans had enough to qualm their concerns.
Supervisor Solis’ staff worked with Metro and Caltrans to hone the project’s purpose, while simultaneously responding to community concerns and being mindful of fiscal responsibility.
At last week’s Metro meeting, Supervisor Solis – who also serves as a Metro Board Member – introduced a motion that included a request to continue funding the Project’s Environmental Impact Report contingent on considering certain transit, design, and environmental concerns as a part of the project. With community support, the motion passed unanimously.
Grand Opening of Newest Clínica Médica Location
More Clínica Médica San Miguel celebrated its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of its newest branch in the city of Montebello on Oct. 24.
For 35 years, Clínica Médica San Miguel has served the community by providing services to low-income families, children and the elderly at locations throughout Los Angeles County. As innovators in their field, Clínica Médica San Miguel establishes “One-Stop Shop” medical centers, in which they offer a variety of services, including acupuncture, 24-hour urgent care and well-being exams for women.
Clínica Médica San Miguel offers patients access to health care regardless of their socioeconomic status. Residents in Montebello and surrounding communities can effectively attend to their health needs without having to visit an emergency room. For more information, click here.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for I-605/I-10 Direct Connector
Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and local elected officials on Oct. 28 celebrated the completion of the CalTrans I-605/I-10 Direct Connector Project.
For years, commuters on southbound I-605 to eastbound I-10 had a short distance to navigate a merge, which caused dangerous weaving, and lengthy traffic backups and that resulted in high rates of auto collisions and bottleneck congestion.
With more than 36,000 Average Daily Trips, the State Highway Operations and Projection Program (SHOPP) funded the $66 million flyover, replacing the existing shared at-grade connector. These improvements enhanced safety and reduced congestion.
“This project also demonstrates inter-agency coordination,” said Supervisor Solis. “I look forward to working closely with my fellow board members and with the California State Legislature to craft a sustainable, equitable, and reliable funding structure for transportation infrastructure in the San Gabriel Valley - and the region as a whole.”
The flyover is expected to open on November 2, 2015!
SAVE THE DATE
County Parks & Health Equity Workshop
El Monte Senior Center 3120 N. Tyler Ave.,
El Monte, CA 91731
Tues., Nov. 3, 2015
10 a.m. – noon
County Parks & Recreation Puente Hills Landfill Workshop
Andrews Elementary School
1010 S. Caraway Dr.
Whittier, CA 90601
Tues., Nov. 3, 2015
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
County Consumer & Business Affairs Smarter Senior Forum
Centro Maravilla Service Center
4716 E. Cesar Chavez Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90022
Wed., Nov. 4, 2015
10:30 a.m. – noon
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program
East Los Angeles College Stadium Parking Lot
Bleakwood Ave. & Floral Dr.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Sat., Nov. 7, 2015
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
East Los Angeles Field Office
4801 East Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90022
Phone: (323) 881-4601
Fax: (323) 887-7286
Hall of Administration Office
856 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 974-4111
Fax: (213) 613-1739
El Monte Field Office
3400 Aerojet Avenue, Suite 240
El Monte, CA 91731
Phone: (626) 350-4500
Fax: (626) 448-1573