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Weaponization of NEPA & Environmental Lawfare – NOT

GreenLatinos and The City Project submitted public comments before the House National Resources Committee.

We reject the premise of the April 25 hearing and the misuse of the term “lawfare” as applied to NEPA. “Broadly defined, ‘lawfare’ is the manipulation of the legal system against an enemy with the intent to damage or delegitimize them, waste their time and resources, or to score a public relations victory.” Hearing Memo p.2. We the people are not the enemy. The use of ‘lawfare’ misstates the facts and the experience of NEPA as applied for over 40 years.

NEPA provides a proven bulwark against hasty or wasteful federal decisions by fostering government transparency and accountability. NEPA ensures federal decisions are democratic at their core by guaranteeing meaningful public involvement. NEPA has achieved its stated goal of improving the quality of the human environment by relying on sound science to reduce and mitigate harmful environmental impacts.

NEPA plays a vital role in distributing fairly the benefits and burdens of environmental policies and programs for all. What the environmental justice movement has demonstrated is that racially identifiable communities are at a greater risk of environmental harms, disproportionately lack environmental benefits including parks and green space, pay a larger cost, and carry a heavier environmental burden than other communities, regardless of income and class.

Latinos are among the strongest supporters of environmental protection for several major reasons, namely, local exposure to pollutants, the effects of climate change and pollution on migrant farmworkers, and the impact of global warming on Latin American nations. Nevertheless, Latinos, and other people of color, are often marginalized by public officials, government agencies, mainstream environmentalists, and the media. Proper enforcement of NEPA with civil rights and environmental justice laws and policies can help address these environmental injustices.

Well-documented and disproportionate threats to healthy communities include environmental exposures to lead, particulate matter, proximity to toxic sites, water contamination, air pollution, and more. All of these are known to increase the incidence of respiratory diseases, various types of cancer, and negative birth outcomes and to decrease life expectancy, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee Report, Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity (2017).

Download the public comments from GreenLatinos and The City Project.

See GreenLatinos

Support Chicano Park #EarthDay 2018

GreenLatinos with civil rights, faith, environmental, conservation, and indigenous communities support Chicano Park, and the community of Barrio Logan, San Diego, CA, in their fight for respect, safety, and the right to celebrate, preserve, and conserve their history and culture.

Chicano Park was founded on April 22, 1970 — the same as the first Earth Day — when the Barrio Logan community joined activists to protest the construction of a Highway Patrol station on the present site of the 8 acre park. The community had already been degraded by the demolition of hundreds of homes to make way for Interstate 5, toxic industries and junkyards, and by the lack of community facilities, good schools, jobs, and medical or social services. The park was designated an official historic site by the San Diego Historical Site Board in 1980, and its murals were officially recognized as public art by the San Diego Public Advisory Board in 1987. In 2013, Chicano Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Chicano Park Mural Restoration Project received the Governor’s 2013 Historic Preservation Award.

See the 2018 letter of support for Chicano Park from other 60 organizations at GreenLatinos.

The City Project has worked with community allies to support Chicano Park since 2006 . . .

Chicano Park Documentary

 

Chicano Park – Los Alacranes

 

African American people moved to Baldwin Hills after SCOTUS upheld equal housing right. CAAM Series Beginnings, Displacement, Planning.

Los Angeles’s View Park in the Baldwin Hills is one of the largest historically African American communities in the United States. The first CAAM program focuses on the beginnings of the community between the 1920s and 1950s, and looks at how the neighborhood changed after the landmark 1948 Supreme Court ruling that declared racial housing restrictions unconstitutional. African American people moved in, resulting in White Flight. The sessions are led by Karen Mack with LA Commons.

The Beginnings of View Park, April 19, 2018 2-4 pm
Making Sense of Gentrification, May 10, 2018 2-4 pm
Implications for Planning & Policy, June 28, 2018 2-4 pm

California African American Museum
600 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

RSVP

The history of the Baldwin Hills is the history of the struggle for equal opportunity. Visit Healthy Living in the Parklands.

Photo California Office of Historic Preservation

Count the Hummers!

Can you find 15?

Gottlieb Native Plant Garden is for the birds, and a certified wildlife habitat and pollinator habitat.

 

Kellogg Park Dream Comes True! Thank you Miguel Rodriguez & CAUSE | Ventura

Miguel Rodriguez writes:

On the eve of the ribbon cutting for Kellogg Park I’d like to thank all of the Ventura Avenue families who attended countless meetings, made tons of calls, and showed up to demand that their voices be heard and that we work together to address childhood obesity and gang violence. Thanks to all, We did it!

Thanks to The City Project and Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) for planting the seeds that helped us organize the community when no one would believe there was a need for a park. Thanks to Stephen DeBaun who spent many days and nights strategizing with me on how to gather public support. Thanks to Beatriz Garcia for investing in my development as a Community Organizer, thanks to The Westside Community Council for taking on the design process, and most importantly: gracias mama’ por sus oraciones!

And thank you to Miguel Rodriguez and @CAUSE for years of working with the community to make this dream come true!

Fair Housing Act April 11, 1968, Overcoming the Legacy of Residential Segregation #fairhousing50

Fair housing is a bedrock civil rights protection, crucial to our nation’s core values of equal opportunity, human dignity, and just democracy for all. A strong and effective Fair Housing Act must continue to help move our country beyond a legacy of segregation and discrimination and toward opportunity for all. The Act reflects the commonsense idea that unjustified obstacles to diverse, prosperous communities should fall in favor of inclusive approaches that work for everyone. The Act has helped free many communities from discrimination and connect millions of residents to opportunity. Due to a variety of factors – some influenced by government, some not – many neighborhoods and communities do not reflect the diversity of our nation. Racial and ethnic discrimination in housing has been practiced by individuals, municipalities, states, and by the federal government. The role of the federal government was perhaps the most powerful force in creating and perpetuating racially segregated communities through housing and economic policies since the New Deal and before. In the face of deeply entrenched patterns of residential segregation and exclusion, Congress enacted the Fair Housing Act to provide for fair housing throughout the nation on April 11, 1968, after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. days earlier on April 4.

Congress and the courts recognize comprehensive legislation is needed to target both intentional discrimination and seemingly neutral policies that have unjustified discriminatory impacts based on race, color, or national origin. Each form of discrimination is instrumental in creating and perpetuating the entrenched residential segregation the Act seeks to eliminate. The Fair Housing Act’s prohibition of unjustified disparate impact remains a powerful and necessary tool for dismantling discriminatory practices and barriers to equal opportunities on a community-wide basis. While public attitudes towards residential segregation have improved in important respects, racial and ethnic isolation continues to persist in ways that make the disparate impact inquiry necessary. Residential isolation has effects across generations that continue to limit the opportunities available to our children and grandchildren. Social science evidence confirms segregation is harmful and integration is beneficial to educational achievement, access to employment, personal, public, and environmental health, park access, and other keys to a fulfilling life.

Congress, the courts, and we the people recognize the disparate impact standard of discrimination plays an important role in uncovering discriminatory intent, and permits people to counteract unconscious prejudices, disguised animus, and implicit bias that escape easy classification as intentional discrimination. Without the disparate impact analysis, government and others would be able to pursue cleverly concealed, intentionally discriminatory acts and policies, as well as seemingly neutral policies no matter how harsh the impact, how unjustified the action, and how readily available the non-discriminatory alternatives. The adverse consequences would cause harm for generations. The Fair Housing Act demands that we remain conscious of the long-term legacy and effects of historical patterns of housing segregation..

Read the “friend of the court” brief focusing on the discriminatory impact inquiry and segregated neighborhoods where many people live, isolated by race, ethnicity, and income from high-performing public schools, good jobs, safe parks and streets, a clean, healthy environment, and reliable public services. Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and other civil rights advocates, including The City Project, filed the brief before the US Supreme Court in the case of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project in 2015. The Court held that the Fair Housing Act prohibits unjustified discriminatory impact discrimination, as well as intentional discrimination.

See the moving video on the fight for fair housing for all by our colleagues and friends at NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc.

The civil rights struggle continues to protect equal opportunity, human dignity, and just democracy for all in and out of court.

Residential isolation today reflects the legacy of racial and ethnic housing restrictions.

The South Gate home of former California State Assembly member and city councilman Hector De La Torre includes this deed restriction.

See Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action Was White (2005) and Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (2013).

UCLA Public Health Masters’ Students Health Equity, Civil Rights, Environmental Justice & Healthy Living in the Parklands

Students in Prof. Diana Bonta’s seminar discuss health equity, civil rights, environmental justice, and Healthy Living in the Parklands. The seminar is in the Master of Public Health for Health Professionals program at the UCLA Fielding Public Health School.

The outstanding students are Anna Gorman, Caitlin Gallardo-Sebti, Catherine Pham, Elaine Kim, Erin Van Hoy, Frances Walsh, Kristen Wolfe, Michael Esters, Neek LaMantia, and Vivian Kanchian with Prof. Diana Bonta and Robert García.

Visit Healthy Living in the Parklands

 

Comey Choked When it Counted & Disgraced Justice

Comey’s great mistake: “He was the F.B.I. director overseeing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. He and his team decided that she had not done anything that warranted criminal charges. And he knew that Republicans would blast him as a coward who was trying to curry favor with the likely future president.
So he decided to go public with his explanation for not charging Clinton and to criticize her harshly. He then doubled down, releasing a public update on the investigation 11 days before the election, even as other Justice officials  urged him not to . Department policy dictates that investigators aren’t supposed to talk publicly about why they are not bringing charges. They especially don’t do so when they could affect an election.
Comey, however, decided that  he knew better  than everyone else. He was the righteous Jim Comey, after all. He was going to speak truth to power. He was also, not incidentally, going to protect his own fearless image. He developed a series of rationales, suggesting that he really had no choice. They remain unpersuasive. When doing the right thing meant staying quiet and taking some lumps, Comey chose not to.
His tragic mistake matters because of the giant consequences for the country. He helped elect the most dangerous, unfit American president of our lifetimes. No matter how brave Comey has since been, no matter how honorable his full career, he can never undo that damage.
Read the complete story The Tragedy of James Comey in the New York Times . . .
Comey disgraced the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where we both served as AUSAs. Robert García, former AUSA for the SDNY.

Photo USAO SDNY, One St. Andrew’s Plaza, New York, NY

Low Riders at the Beach? Yes! Ballona Postcards Student Mural

The student mural Postcards from Ballona “reflects historic and current events in the life of the creek and Culver City.” A close reading reveals remarkably diverse people, values, and insights presented by Culver Middle School students working with the county library.

One panel, for example, depicts a “scene within a scene.” A student spray paints the words “OG VATO” on the wall behind an Original Gangster dude, and there’s a low rider pick up at the beach. Low riders at the beach? Yes. Low riders hold summer rallies near the mouth of Ballona Creek. The rallies bring Latinos and others together to have fun, hang, barbecue, eat and drink, primp their rides, flirt, listen to Latin music, and spend healthy time outdoors. Latin R&B, boleros, and corridos fill the air from weekend shows on local radio station KXLU, Alma del Barrio and Serenata de Tríos. Art LaBoe has sent out dedications for decades (“Smooch! This song goes out from Letty de Lynwood to Freddy in Fresno, ‘I love you, baby!'”).

See low rider beach rallies at The City Project photo gallery!

Visit healthylivingparklands.org.

Billie Holiday April 7, 1915

Billie Holliday Dunbar Hotel South Central L.A. The Great Wall of Los Angeles
© Judith Baca.Sponsored by SPARC