Hello, Clean Up Green Up LA supporter—
As the year winds down we’d like to catch you up on recent activities in support of our efforts to pass a cutting-edge Clean Up Green Up policy for Los Angeles.
Victory in City Hall
You will remember that Clean Up Green Up scored a big win in City Hall on May 15th when a key City Council committee voted to direct city planners to craft a plan to create the Clean Up Green Up policy. This was a big step towards creating Green Zones to provide environmental relief in some of LA’s most polluted communities and to direct resources and support to their local areas.
Support in the Business Community
Throughout the summer and fall, community organizers and activists reached out to businesses in Boyle Heights, Pacoima and Wilmington—the three LA communities where Clean Up Green Up would establish Green Zones to reduce and prevent further pollution. An array of local businesses in those neighborhoods (and LA business associations citywide) endorsed the Clean Up Green Up policy as a way to support efforts to modernize operations and become more clean and efficient.
Business owners frequently lack the time to track down assistance programs, such as low-interest loans for new equipment. That’s why the Green Zone policy framework created by the LA Collaborative for Environmental Health and Justice is good for local businesses—the policy offers a one-stop ombudsman office to streamline permit processes, navigate regulations, and connect businesses to available resources.
Towards a Cleaner, Greener LA
The LA City Planning Department is presently creating a work plan for the development of the Clean Up Green Up policy recommendations to set the stage for an ordinance. We expect this to come back to the Planning and Land Use Management committee in early 2013.
Clean Up Green Up Part of the Vision 2021 Environmental Plan for Los Angeles
Clean Up Green Up was an important part of the the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability’s recently released “Vision 2021 LA: A Model Environmental Sustainability Agenda for Los Angeles’ Next Mayor and City Council.” The 85-page comprehensive plan addresses the city’s impact on such key issues as energy, air, water and a green economy. The section on environmental justice (page 33) puts Clean Up Green Up front-and-center as a key innovation to reduce and prevent pollution in already overburdened neighborhoods.
Support for Cleaner, Greener Businesses
Liberty Hill Foundation and the four anchor organizations of the Los Angeles Collaborative for Environmental Health and Justice put together workshops around the city this fall so members of the business community could meet representatives from municipal, state and federal agencies to learn about available support to help businesses “clean and green “their operations.
An unprecedented number and variety of agencies participated in each of the events in Boyle Heights, Pacoima and Wilmington—the three areas where a Clean Up Green Up policy would establish Green Zones. Officials from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the City of Los Angeles Community Development Department, the federal Small Business Administration and many other agencies made presentations on the resources available to local business owners: business counseling, marketing training, and loans and grants to upgrade equipment to make businesses run more efficiently as well as help with environmental regulation compliance.
Each business participant received the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Guide to Green, a comprehensive roadmap to programs to support improvements that make operations more energy and water efficient, reduce impacts on worker and community health and help businesses adopt new technologies that help protect environmental quality while increasing productivity.
Green Workshops Across the City Connect Small Businesses With Information and Support
Some forty business and community representatives turned out at the Youth Technology Center in Boyle Heights for the first workshop on the morning of October 3rd. City Councilmember Jose Huizar, an unwavering champion of Clean Up Green Up and whose district includes Boyle Heights, made the opening comments. He praised the gathering as an example of the information-sharing that boosts the community’s businesses and environmental health.
“Part of this program, the Clean Up Green Up campaign, is to show what available resources are out there if we go more green,” Huizar said. “A lot of people ask about the program and where the funding might come from, he said. “You know, a lot of those resources are already out there, it’s just a matter of getting them out there to the community, making people aware of them, and that’s what we hope to do. So I’m excited about this. I think it’s a new way of thinking about local business support and also helping the environment.”
Family Business Finds Help
Jose Saucedo and his son Sal attended the meeting to learn what they could do to jump their business to the next level. Their company, WW1’ Paints, makes water-based coating products rather than oil-based. The Saucedos sought help for business expansion and marketing. Ian Lorenzana of the U.S. Small Business Administration told them about free workshops on obtaining low-interest loans and Jorge Guzman of the City Community Development Department invited them to meet. Union de Vecinos, the L.A. Collaborative member organization advocating for Clean Up Green Up in Boyle Heights, sponsored another green business workshop on November 29th.
East San Fernando Valley and Wilmington Businesses Turn Out
Pacoima Beautiful, one of the L.A. Collaborative’s anchor organizations, turned out neighbor businesses from the East Valley on December 6th, including representatives from the State of California Auto Dismantlers Association. Business owners lingered after the formal presentation to chat with agency representatives.
Coalition For a Safe Environment (CFASE) and Communities for a Better Environment, two of the four organizations promoting Clean Up Green Up, organized a similar event at the Wilmington Senior Citizen Center on December 6th so local Wilmington businesses could learn about available support. Twenty showed up, with others calling to obtain a copy of the Guide to Green. More than a dozen agencies were represented at the event, which was also co-sponsored by the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation and the Office of Councilmember Joe Busciano, whose district includes Wilmington.
Councilmember Buscaino addressed the group and described his office as “all in.” “The Clean Up Green Up Campaign is a great opportunity not only to support our local businesses but also to help the environment, and show that the two can go hand in hand,” Councilmember Buscaino told participants. “It’s a new way of thinking, it’s forward thinking, and let’s think ahead, let’s plan ahead, and let’s not wait,” he added.
Green Zones in the City of Commerce
Los Angeles is not the only California city interested in Green Zones. Neighbors in the City of Commerce, just six miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, live with the health effects of concentrated local pollution and the dangerous health impacts from diesel trucks carrying goods north from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on the adjacent 710 freeway.
East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice has been a leading voice in the fight to establish a Green Zone policy in the City of Commerce. The East Yard organization is named for the nearby railroad yards that are a continuous source of noxious emissions.
East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice take the Lead
The City of Commerce has held a series of four “Green Zone Policy Working Group” meetings in 2012 to discuss land use policies that would protect areas where families and children gather—parks, schools, community centers– from industrial pollution. A key piece of the discussions: economic development strategies to attract green businesses and jobs to the city.
East Yard Executive Director Angelo Logan has been a central player on the City of Commerce Environmental Justice Task Force. Last year the City agreed to the Task Force’s request for a working group facilitated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Now members of the local business community, government officials, labor representatives, residents, researchers, and East Yard staff are all part of the planning to move the City of Commerce closer to environmental justice.
Reducing and Preventing Pollution in City of Commerce
Like the proposed Green Zones of LA’s campaign, the City of Commerce Green Zone plan aims to reduce environmental hazards in the community, prevent pollution and revitalize neighborhoods through targeted economic development strategies. The working group’s monthly meetings are creating recommendations to shape the City of Commerce Green Zone policy. City Council could vote on a Green Zone plan in City of Commerce as soon as May 2013.
Clean Up Green Up Wishes You Happy Holidays and All the Best for 2013!