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L.A. Gothic

Amy Lethbridge of Community Nature Connection and The City Project’s Robert García hold the Official L.A. State Historic Park Gold Shovel (OLASHPGS) at the grand opening of the park on EarthJustice Day 2017. The OLASHPGS is signed by Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President Kevin de León, Congressman Jimmy Gomez, Mayor Eric  Garcetti, and community leaders.

San Gabriel Mountains: A Symbol of Environmental Justice @Next100Cltn @NRDC

As America’s national monuments come under attack by this administration, civil rights attorney Robert García shares the story of his personal connection to the San Gabriels.

Whitewashing the L.A. River? Displacement and Equitable Greening

Revitalizing the Los Angeles River once offered hope for a more sustainable, livable and socially just city. Whose dreams will come true, and who will be left behind? Civil rights, environmental justice, and health equity strategies by the people offer hope along the river.

Click on the map for a larger image.

There is growing evidence of green displacement and gentrification along the river. As neighborhoods become greener, more desirable, and more expensive, the people who have fought epic battles to improve quality of life for their neighbors and children through parks, schools, and river revitalization can no longer afford to live or even work nearby. Our nation was founded on the ideal that all of us are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government agencies and recipients of public funding need to distribute benefits and burdens of river revitalization fairly for all. Civil rights, environmental justice, and health equity strategies by the people offer hope along the river. That’s how people from Anahuak Youth Sports Association, Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles, Chinatown, the San Gabriel Valley, and others won community victories at L.A. State Historic Park, Río de Los Angeles State Park, Baldwin Hills, and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

The US Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) $1.4 billion plan to green 11 miles of the L.A. River documents there is not enough park space in L.A. County for people of color and low income people, this contributes to related health disparities, and recipients of public funding need to ensure equal access to the benefits of river revitalization and compliance with civil rights, environmental justice, and health equity requirements. The plan by USACE and the City of L.A. is generally a best practice example for equitable planning. The plan, as good as it is, does not address displacement, recreation, and climate change adequately.

USACE recognizes that “gentrification” from river revitalization could cause significant impacts to people along the river, but states that “no clear trends have emerged at the time of this assessment.”

There is a disturbing pattern of displacement along the L.A. River in the 11 mile USACE study area. The percent, number, and density of non-Hispanic White people has increased dramatically, even as they have declined 0.15% throughout L.A. County from 2006 to 2015. In Trópico in northeast L.A., for example, the density of non-Hispanic White people has increased 168%, while dropping 19% for people of color. Incomes have increased significantly – 18% in Trópico, for example. Maps 1-3 and Chart 4 tell these stories in the attached Policy Report.

Recommendations

Greening the L.A. River must expand equal opportunities for everyone to enjoy safe and healthy parks and recreation, fair housing, quality education, good jobs, and climate justice. People have the right to hold public officials and recipients accountable for the fair use of taxpayers’ dollars. We must watch how projects play out on the ground to guard against discrimination in any form. Displacement exacerbates segregation. Civil rights, environmental justice, and health equity laws prohibit discrimination, even when it’s subtle or implicit. Discrimination is illegal, and we need to enforce equal justice laws that protect us all. Government agencies do not hesitate to turn to the courts to protect their interests. Everyday people have the same right to hold their government accountable. Communities of color and low-income communities traditionally have the least resources and the least political power. Environmental justice provides an equal opportunity for everyone to live in a healthy community, and freedom from environmental degradation. Opportunity is a core value that means that we are all entitled to reach our full potential. Discrimination is a major barrier to opportunity, holding people back from pursuing their dreams, and we have a responsibility to eliminate it.

  1. Recipients of public funding need to comply with the equitable planning process to distribute benefits and burdens of river revitalization fairly. River L.A., for example, receives public financial assistance, but maintains “nothing requires equity.”
  2. Government has a responsibility to ensure equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination. California state and local agencies need to comply with and enforce state and federal civil rights, environmental justice, and health equity requirements.
  3. Federal agencies need to comply with and enforce federal laws.
  4. Fortunately, we know what works to keep communities healthy and ensure equal protection of the laws based on race, color, national origin, income, and other factors. These laws include California Government Code 11135 and its regulations, Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and its regulations, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the President’s Executive Order 12898 on environmental justice and health equity, and others.
  5. Funders need to support civil rights and environmental justice strategies to promote equal access to publicly funded resources for all.
  6. We the people must organize and stand up for our rights.

We must remove barriers to opportunity for everyone along the Los Angeles River and beyond.

Download the Policy Report by Robert García and Tim Mok, Whitewashing the L.A. River? Displacement and Equitable Greening.

Samuel García, Take Action ComicsThe City Project. Click on the page for a larger image.

Diverse allies are working together to promote equitable revitalization of the L.A. River, avoid displacement, and ensure compliance with the equitable planning framework. Download Equitable Redevelopment for the Los Angeles River.

Protect Native American Values & National Monuments Robert Bracamontes Black Crow #DefendOurMonuments #MonumentsforAll #BearsEars

Dear Secretaries Zinke and Ross:

We support national monuments with distinct historic and cultural value to Native Americans, and oppose review by this administration under Executive Order 13792 and related actions. The U.S. Department of the Interior has identified 27 monuments that could be scaled back or even eliminated. Secretary Zinke issued an interim report recommending that Bears Ears monument in Utah be reduced. The Department of Commerce is reviewing marine monuments. We stand with our Native American and indigenous sisters and brothers to defend Native American rights, the earth and her people, these monuments, and the Antiquities Act. We oppose any attempt to eliminate or shrink monuments.

We submit the attached public comments on behalf of The City Project, a civil rights and environmental justice non-profit team, and Robert Bracamontes, Bob Black Crow, Yu-va’-tal ‘A’lla-mal (Black Crow), Acjachemen Nation, Juaneno Tribe. We have worked together to help protect national monuments with distinct historic and cultural value to Native American and indigenous people, Standing Rock in Utah, and the Acjachemen sacred site of Panhe and San Onofre State Beach in Southern California.

Any attempt to take tribal, federal, state, and county lands and waters and sacred landscapes reflects the history and pattern of discrimination against Native Americans from the time of contact in 1492. Recent academic studies document this history and pattern of discrimination. See, for example, Benjamin Madley, An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846–1873 (2016); Peter Cozzens, The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West (2016); David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F.B.I. (2016). See generally N. Bruce Duthu, American Indians and the Law (2008). This administration must protect against all forms of discrimination against Native Americans under equal justice, environmental justice, and Native American laws and principles.

We stand with our Native American and indigenous sisters and brothers to defend Native American rights, the earth and her people, these monuments, and the Antiquities Act. We oppose any attempt to eliminate or shrink monuments and to undermine the Antiquities Act, the rule of law, and democratic governance by the people.

We incorporate by reference the public comments by Next 100 Coalition, GreenLatinos, and International Mayan League.

Robert Bracamontes
Bob Black Crow, Yu-va’-tal ‘A’lla-mal
Acjachemen Nation, Juaneno Tribe

Robert García
Director-Counsel
The City Project

Photo Courtesy Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition

 

Public Comments #DefendOurMonuments #Next100Coalition #GreenLatinos #InternationalMayanLeague #BearsEars #MonumentsforAll

Dear Secretaries Zinke and Ross:

We oppose review of national monuments pursuant to Executive Order 13792 and related actions. The U.S. Department of the Interior has identified 27 monuments that could be scaled back or even eliminated. Secretary Zinke issued an interim report recommending that Bears Ears monument in Utah be reduced. The Department of Commerce is reviewing marine monuments.

We submit the attached public comments on behalf of Next 100 Coalition, a group of over 50 organizations committed to a just and inclusive system of our nation’s parks and public lands and waters; GreenLatinos, an international network of conservation, environmental justice, and health equity allies; The City Project, a civil rights and environmental justice non-profit team; International Mayan League, a Maya organization that acts against threats and violations affecting our peoples, the earth, and humanity; and Robert Bracamontes, Bob Black Crow, Yu-va’-tal ‘A’lla-mal (Black Crow), Acjachemen Nation, Juaneno Tribe.

Now is the time to defend our national heritage. The review targets and threatens monuments that focus on the history and culture of diverse communities. An attack on one monument is an attack on all monuments. The order is an attack on the Antiquities Act, on the rule of law, and on democratic governance. We the people are the ultimate check on government.

This review denigrates the work that brought diverse communities together, from those in urban neighborhoods fighting for equal access to nature and recreation, to others protecting cultural identity. Monuments and the great outdoors have the power to improve mental and physical health, enhance learning, and transform lives. Review puts the money interest of oil drilling and mining companies, big business and developers ahead of the needs of the people. President Barack Obama listened to the community in designating monuments. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has vowed to protect monuments in the state.

We stand with our Native American and indigenous sisters and brothers to defend their rights, these monuments, the earth, and her people.

A significant number of these monuments paint a more diverse, inclusive picture of our nation. A 2016 New America poll found that 93 percent of voters of color said it is important to protect public lands and the diverse histories, cultures, and experiences they represent.

Since 1906, 16 presidents, Republican and Democrat, have used the Antiquities Act to preserve 152 national monuments. It is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful laws to conserve our environment and cultural heritage and should be preserved. No president has ever before sought to reduce or eliminate a national monument designated by a prior president. Congress delegated to the president the authority to create national monuments. There is no doubt that the monuments under review were lawfully designated. Only Congress can change those designations, according to public comments submitted by 121 law professors.

We stand in solidarity and resistance with the people to support national monuments and the Antiquities Act.

Robert García, The City Project

Kevin Bryan, Next 100 Coalition

Mark Magaña, GreenLatinos

Juanita Cabrera Lopez, International Mayan League

Robert Bracamontes, Bob Black Crow, Yu-va’-tal ‘A’lla-mal, Acjachemen Nation, Juaneno Tribe

 

* Robert Bracamontes and The City Project submitted separate comments to support national monuments with distinct historic and cultural value to Native Americans.  Any attempt to take tribal, federal, state, and county lands and waters and sacred landscapes reflects the legacy and pattern of discrimination against Native Americans from the time of contact. Recent academic studies document this history and pattern of discrimination. See, for example, Benjamin Madley, An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846–1873 (2016); David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F.B.I. (2016); Peter Cozzens, The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West (2016). See generally N. Bruce Duthu, American Indians and the Law (2008). This administration must protect against all forms of discrimination against Native Americans under equal justice, environmental justice, and Native American laws and principles.

 

De Prensa Libre al NY Times recorrido de museo NuMu de Guatemala a LACMA Kickstarter

LACMA trasladará el recinto de arte contemporáneo más pequeño del mundo de Guatemala.
Acclaimed 89-year old Guatemalan composer Joaquín Orellana will be the subject of the mobile NuMu exhibition.
¡El primer y único museo de arte contemporáneo de Guatemala sale por primera vez de viaje este verano! El Nuevo Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (NuMu) estará abierto al público en el Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) desde septiembre de 2017 hasta febrero de 2018.
Jessica Kairé y Stefan Benchoam en frente de NuMu | Cortesía de Numu

121 Law Profs President Does Not Have Power to Eliminate or Shrink National Monuments #DefendOurMonuments #Next100Coalition #GreenLatinos #BearsEars

We the undersigned 121 law professors with expertise in environmental, natural resources, and administrative law, and related fields, submit these comments to express our serious concerns with the process initiated by Executive Order (EO) 13792, which directs the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to “review” all national monuments designated or expanded after January 1, 1996, that either include more than 100,000 acres of public lands or for which the Secretary determines inadequate “public outreach and

coordination with relevant stakeholders” occurred. The Department of Commerce is conducting a separate review of five Marine Monuments. EO 13792 and the President’s public statements upon signing that order reflect profound misunderstandings of both the nature of national monuments and the President’s legal authority under the Antiquities Act. . . .

The Secretary sent the President an interim report on June 12, 2017 (Bears Ears Interim Report), recommending that the size of the Bears Ears National Monument be reduced . . . .

Most fundamentally, EO 13792 and the Bears Ears Interim Report imply that the President has the power to abolish or diminish a national monument after it has been established by a public proclamation that properly invokes authority under the Antiquities Act. This is mistaken. Under our constitutional framework, the Congress exercises plenary authority over federal lands. The Congress may delegate its authority to the President or components of the executive branch . . . . [T]he Antiquities Act is a limited delegation: it gives the President authority only to identify and reserve a monument, not to diminish or abolish one. Congress retained that power for itself. . . .

It is beyond question that the proclamations creating the national monuments under review . . . identify a wealth of unique and precious resources that qualify as “objects of historic and scientific interest” throughout the reserved federal lands. These proclamations are, therefore, lawful. If the new administration believes that those objects and the lands containing them do not warrant protection, or that factors external to the Antiquities Act should be considered in evaluating national monument designations, the administration must turn to Congress for a remedy.

Public comments from 121 law professors re: the president does not have power to eliminate or shrink national monuments, July 6, 2017

House Committees Natural Resources, Veterans Affairs, Small Business Dem Forum: A Monumental Mistake: The Implications of President Trump’s Executive Order on National Monuments, June 8, 2017

 

NRPA Stop the Monumental Mistake #DefendOurMonuments #Next100Coalition #GreenLatinos #BearsEars

Stand in solidarity and resistance with we the people to support national monuments and the Antiquities Act. Visit www.monumentsforall.org for a complete list of monuments under attack and to submit comments before June 10.

NRPA Parks & Recreation Magazine / Social Equity By Robert García

Under this administration’s executive order to review national monuments designated since 1996, the U.S. Department of the Interior identified 27 monuments that could be scaled back or even eliminated. The list targets seven in California alone: the San Gabriel Mountains, Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails, Berryessa Snow Mountain, Giant Sequoia, Carrizo Plain and Cascade Siskiyou National Monuments. Recently, Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary, issued an interim report on reductions to the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears monument in Utah. He is set to submit a report by August 24 with recommendations for changes to monuments from Maine to California, as well as marine monuments in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Now is the time to defend our national heritage. The review targets and threatens monuments that focus on the history and culture of diverse communities. An attack on one monument is an attack on all monuments. The order is an attack on the Antiquities Act, on the rule of law, and on democratic governance. We the people are the ultimate check on government. We must protect our monuments, and hopefully, before the July 10 deadline, more than 250,000 public comments will be submitted to save the monuments.

“If we want our system of parks and public lands to reflect the incredible diversity of America, then the Antiquities Act is a crucial tool for achieving that goal. Congress is not always able or willing to act quickly enough — or frankly creatively enough — to recognize and preserve sites with cultural or historic significance. Without the act, we might not have sites honoring people like Cesar Chavez or Harriet Tubman or events like Stonewall,” says Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva, lead Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources. Ranking Members Grijalva, Nydia Velásquez and Tim Waltz of the Committees on Natural Resources, Veterans Affairs, and Small Business held a forum on the Hill, June 8, on the order.

A diverse group of advocates testified on the values at stake: Hugo Turek, a Montana rancher, testified that even a rural state with more cattle than people needs monument protection. Megan Duffy from retailer Patagonia testified about economic benefits of outdoor recreation — $887 billion and 7.6 million jobs per year. Carrie Hamblen, CEO and president of Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce and an LGBTQ leader, testified about civic pride and civic engagement in support of White Sands, Prehistoric Trackways and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks monuments. Robert Vessels, a U.S. Army veteran, testified about empowering service members, their families and veterans by providing access to the outdoors and developing volunteer leadership skills. I testified on behalf of Next 100 Coalition, which supports public lands and waters for all; GreenLatinos, an international network of conservation, environmental justice, and health equity allies; and San Gabriel Mountains Forever.

Support the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument


The San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition has worked for more than a decade to earn local support for this monument. The official Community Collaborative has worked with the U.S. Forest Service for three years developing the management plan. Community needs have driven designation and planning from the start.

“We were able to come up with a document that we can all support, which is the first time this has been done when a national monument has been designated to serve the recreational needs of such a large, urban population,” says Liz Reilly, city of Duarte, California, councilwoman, and a member of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

The monument serves 15 million Los Angeles residents in the nation’s second largest urban center, includes 350,000 acres of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests, and logs more than 4 million visits per year. It holds evidence of more than 8,000 years of human history and 600 archeological sites, and hosts a wide variety of year-round activities. The area provides Angelinos with 70 percent of their open space and 30 percent of their drinking water. And, in Los Angeles County, which is park poor, this monument promotes equal access to parks, waters, recreation, climate justice, health equity, quality jobs and education, especially for low income children and children of color. Civil rights groups, health equity and social justice advocates, Native Americans, youth leaders, conservation groups, local governments, gun owners, hunters, hikers, cabin owners, off-road vehicle users and businesses oppose this review.

Celebrate the Values at Stake

President Barack Obama listened to the community in designating the San Gabriels monument. This review denigrates the work that brought diverse communities together, from those in urban neighborhoods fighting for equal access to nature and recreation, to others protecting cultural identity. Review puts the money interest of oil drilling and mining companies, big business and developers ahead of the needs of the people. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra vows to protect monuments in the state.

Thirty Native American tribes came together to support Bears Ears in Utah, the first target of the review, which celebrates the earth and her people, sacred cultural sites and ancient artifacts. Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains National Monuments also protect and celebrate Native American history, values and culture. Their history is our common history.

Support the Antiquities Act

Since 1906, 16 presidents, Republican and Democrat, have used the Antiquities Act to preserve 152 national monuments. It is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful laws to conserve our environment and cultural heritage and should be preserved.

We urge you to stand in solidarity and resistance with we, the people, to support national monuments and the Antiquities Act for all. Visit www.monumentsforall.org for a complete list of monuments under attack and to submit comments before July 10.

Robert García is Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, and a member of Next 100 Coalition, GreenLatinos, and the San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition and Community Collaborative (rgarcia@ cityprojectca.org).

This column is available in NRPA’s Parks & Recreation Magazine (July 2017) online or as an eZine and in the hard copy edition. (NRPA is the National Recreation and Parks Association.)

Gentrification and Displacement, a Constant Concern Along the L.A. River

I took part in the L.A. River Tour with the Urban Waters partnership. Along with excitement about revitalization, people were concerned about gentrification and displacement, especially when the tour arrived at Marsh Park in the Elysian Valley. Housing prices have skyrocketed, and with grassroots organizations like Frogtown Residents Opposing Gentrification (F.R.O.G.) fighting for their communities. Low-income communities and people of color are vulnerable, should not be priced out of where they live or work, and have a right to equal access to parks, school fields, and river greening. The City Project is pushing for equitable development to ensure all communities benefit from environmental and health benefits of the L.A. River.
Headworks Reservoir
Glendale Riverwalk
Ed P. Reyes River Greenway

 

Tim Mok

Graduate Intern

tmok@cityprojectca.org

Soy immigrante. Anniversary of US overthrow of democratically elected Guatemala government

The US violation of international law and human rights in Guatemala led to the killing or disappearance of 200,000 Guatemalan people, the kidnapping and torture of many more, and genocide against Mayan people. Guatemala is an impoverished, oppressed, proud, and defiant nation. Guatemala has produced Nobel Laureates, and people celebrated as Olympic champions, writers, artists, actors, or computer scientists. The Maya people provide the rich heritage of one of the world’s great civilizations. The City Project proudly represents the Archdiocese of Guatemala against the US before the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights for the continuing violations of human medical experiments without consent against innocent Guatemalan people. My family came to the US in the wake of the overthrow when I was four. Robert García.

“On June 27, 1954, democratically elected Guatemalan president Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán was deposed in a US CIA sponsored coup to protect the profits of the United Fruit Company. Read a description . . . from the book Harvest of Empire by Juan Gonzalez. This painting by Diego Rivera, ‘Gloriosa Victoria,’ also tells much of the story. Coup Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas greets secretary of state John Foster Dulles, who holds a bomb with the face of Eisenhower, surrounded by people who were murdered in the coup. To his left is U.S. ambassador John Peurifoy with military officers and CIA director Allen W. Dulles whispering in his brother’s ear. On the right, the archbishop of Guatemala, Mariano Rossell Arellano blesses the act, while Guatemalans protest.”

Thank you to Zinn Education Project.

Visit our work on Justice for Guatemalan People with Paul Hoffman and the UC Irvine Law School International Human Rights Clinic and others.