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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Environmental Racism | 04-21-2017
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2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]


Commentary by Laurel M. Taylor
| Friday, Apr 21, 2017

It is a hallmark of a civilized society to manage its waste appropriately. However, it is the hallmark of a morally civilized society to do so without exploiting its most marginalized members and making them bear the burden of detrimental health effects when they are the least likely to be able to defend themselves. That is morally reprehensible and environmental racism.

A previous commentator said then maybe we shouldn’t move next to a dump. So let’s clear up some facts.

Val Verde, and the community and families it entails, were here first. Val Verde was founded in 1924 by Sidney P. Dones and dubbed Eureka Village. It was originally founded as a resort community for African American citizens who were not allowed to use public swimming pools. The theme of racism once more.

Chiquita Canyon Landfill moved in and began operations in 1972 – so the community and families have been here 48 years longer than the landfill. And someone thought it was absolutely OK to build a dump in the heart of this community only 900 feet from the nearest resident.

It is a poor community and has often been mostly minority, so why not marginalize these people? It was assumed they couldn’t or wouldn’t fight back. Just as the homes with 25-foot-deep toxic soil in San Pedro were exploited for corporate profit at the expense of their health and well being. Environmental racism, again.

Here’s a fun fact. The Dakota Access Pipeline was originally supposed to run north of Bismarck, not near the reservation. But the wealthy, white communities of Bismarck said no way, and the pipe was moved next to the reservation. Environmental racism.

It is rampant, and as long as anyone sits by and lets poor communities be exploited for corporate profit, we will all be either vulnerable or culpable.

Poor people move out to the suburbs to find affordable homes, only to be squeezed out by corporate interests that turn their homes into a dumping ground.

We have been accused of NIMBY, “not in my backyard.” Well, I would like to propose that the county of Los Angeles is being OOSOOM – “out of sight out of mind.”

Chiquita has been dumping on Val Verde for 45 years. The county has had plenty of time to figure out a morally civilized alternative to asking a small community to bear the burden for an entire county’s waste. And to add insult to injury, wasted taxpayer dollars building a huge new facility 20 miles from the nearest neighbor and refusing to open it because Chiquita is cheaper. We paid for Mesquite Regional Landfill, and the county should use it.

Enough is enough.

 

Laurel M. Taylor is a Val Verde resident.

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6 Comments

  1. Racism is everywhere! Racism explains everything! This is how progressives think.

  2. Sally White says:

    MONEY TALKS! THIS WAS A NO-BRAINER; ANY INTELLIGENT PERSON COULD SEE THAT THIS LANDFILL NEEDS TO BE COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN! SAD COMMENTARY ON OUR ELECTED & APPOINTED COUNTY OFFICIALS!

  3. CJJ says:

    Those that keep bringing in racism are the true racists

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