South Central Los Angeles, CA - July, 24 2008 - Although, in a highly unusual move, the Los Angeles City Planning Dept. waived an Environmental Impact report on Ralph Horowitz’ behalf, the Farmers were able to force the Deputy Advisory Board of the City Planning Dept. to back away from rubber-stamping the waiver. The Board announced on July 2nd, at the opening of the sole public hearing on the matter, that it had received so many letters that it planned to review and reconsider the matter, and to extend the time-line for public comments by 21 days, till July 23rd, 2008.
Within a few short weeks the South Central Farmers have been able to generate stiff and significant opposition to the plan by developer Ralph Horowitz and his City Council sponsor, Councilwoman Jan Perry, to replace the Farm with a major, highly polluting, warehouse distribution center on the Farm land. On July 2, 2008, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, where Jan Perry is also a board member, weighed in with City Planning, strongly recommending that the City “specifically prohibit” land uses at the site that would, in an area already full of warehouses, “further expose” nearby schools, health facilities, the aged and the ill to “additional cancer risks from diesel particulate matter” emitted by large trucks or other vehicles In other words, the District is telling the City “Shut this project down.” “Prohibit its construction and operation.” The struggle for environmental justice is full of situations like this one, and lawsuits are a constant and predictable part of the terrain. The air quality regulators cannot be unaware that any effort on the part of the City to ignore or bypass these recommendations opens the door to a strongly based lawsuit to force the City to comply.
While Ralph Horowitz, Jan Perry, and the Los Angeles City Planning department were planning an end-run on the CEQA process, the community, the South Central Farmers, and supporters; a grassroots movement, delivered and submitted by the July 23rd deadline over 1700 signatures demanding an Environmental Impact Report be required from the Developer and be submitted to the City Planning Department, including: 130 letters opposing the warehouse from families within the 500 ft radius of the site. 1,100 signatures on our petition opposing the warehouse And over 500 letters from the general public demanding an Environmental Impact Report, including letters from all 50 states of the US, Canada, and Australia.
Tezozomoc, one of the organizers for the South Central Farmers stated, "As we have unraveled the Trojan Horse of 'jobs' it has become clear that we must be demanding more than just the EIR. We need to demand that the warehouse be Shutdown! Under no certain terms will the community accept 2700 trucks daily spewing diesel particulate matter that can kill us! Under no certain terms will we accept our children, our schools; Nevin, Carver, Jefferson, our parks; Ross Snyder Recreation, our pedestrian areas; Vernon Metro Station, Alameda Swap meet to be 'exhausted by diesel' particulate matter."
The Farmers have also rallied support from the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Green Party, USA , the Bus Riders Union, The Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, Communities for a Better Environment, and other local and national organizations.
The South Central Farmers is a grassroots community organization dedicated to urban farming, health, education, and policy.
South Central Farmers