Archive for the press coverage Category

Footage and Coverage of LA CAN Press Conference on LAPD Lawsuit

Posted in press coverage with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by Cangress
Yesterday morning in front of LAPD Headquarters the Los Angeles Community Action Network announced our lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, LAPD, and the Central City East Association because of their coordinated efforts to silence LA CAN, prevent us from exercising our first amendment rights, and their malicious acts that resulted in the wrongful prosecution of one of LA CAN’s longest term organizers, Deborah Burton.
Click HERE (or on the photo to the left) to read the Los Angeles Times article covering the announcement.

This lawsuit is a result of years of unfair and unjust targeting of LA CAN staff and members by LAPD, a long history of retaliation against us for fiercely and loudly opposing LAPD’s racist Safer Cities Initiative in Skid Row, and, more recently, their efforts to even more blatantly favor the Downtown business community’s position by stifling our right to protest and manufacturing charges against our staff.Through all of the attempts to criminalize us and silence us, LA CAN leaders and members remain unified and strong.  We will continue to organize, continue to protest when needed, and we are hopeful the federal courts will uphold our constitutional rights and direct the City and LAPD to change their tactics, since all efforts at engaging with City officials to stop the years of harassment have failed.

Click HERE to read the official LA CAN Press Conference Statement in its entirety.

Click HERE to view the press packet, which includes the Press Release and a copy of the lawsuit, as well as a few key photos and emails from LAPD Officer Shannon Paulson to employees of the Central City East Association. These documents only scratch the surface of the coordinated effort to prevent LA CAN from exercising our constitutional rights.

Additional Coverage:
Equal Voice, “Los Angeles Group Files Civil Rights Suit Against Police”
Annenberg TV News, “Activist Sues City of LA”

Photos: LA CAN Announces Lawsuit Against City and LAPD

Posted in photos, press coverage with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2014 by Cangress

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VICE: “AN LA HOUSING PROJECT COULD BE GIVING ITS RESIDENTS LEAD POISONING”

Posted in human & civil rights, press coverage with tags , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2014 by Cangress

via VICE:

By Daniel Ross (@1danross)

Eleazer Acevedo and her children in their home inside the Jordan Downs housing project

It’s not necessarily the patchy linoleum flooring, the egg-white cinder block walls, or the bars against all the windows that gave Eleazer Acevedo’s unit at Jordan Downs in Watts, Los Angeles, its penitential quality—it’s more the sparsely furnished rooms, noticeably bare save a few scant furnishings that look as though they’ve been plucked from a dozen different roadsides and yard sales.

“Sit, sit,” Acevedo insisted, pointing towards two foldaway picnic chairs and a narrow stool in her living room—any more than three visitors and those holding the short straws have to sit on the floor. Acevedo perched on the edge of the stool and leaned forward. With her hands cupped between her knees as though in wide-eyed prayer, she began her story.

Acevedo, 29, and her four children—ages 13, 11, five, and three—lived in Downtown LA for 12 years. After losing her job selling clothes, she was forced to relocate three months ago to a much cheaper unit at Jordan Downs—or what was purported to be a cheaper unit. The $600 that she currently pays was supposed to be $400, and three months in, she’s still trying get her rent reduced to something manageable for an unemployed single mother of four.

Acevedo does get food stamps, but in order to pay for rent, electricity, extra food for her children, clothes, gas for her car, and a spreadsheet’s worth of daily expenses, she turns to her friends for financial support—all her family live in Mexico. There’s no spare cash for furnishings. She’s exhausted with worry; the dark shadows haunting her face betray countless sleepless nights. But Acevedo’s concerns extend beyond the immediate. An even greater worry to her is that she has been forced to relocate somewhere that potentially poses a major health risk to her and her children. “When I came here, they never said anything about the development project or the contamination,” she said. “They kept their mouths closed… and I’m worried for my kids because lead is very dangerous.”

The Jordan Downs urban redevelopment project has been decades in the imagination, years in the works, and months under the glow of a green light—a major landmark for a community long bedeviled by crime, poverty, and unemployment. Last August, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved plans to raze the current 700 units and replace them with approximately 1,800 mixed-income apartments along with chain stores and new streetscapes in order create “a vibrant urban village and model for public housing developments throughout the country,” according to the city’s five-year plan for South Los Angeles. This urban village was going to cost around $1 billion. Current government subsidized tenants have been promised one-for-one rehousing, as long as they remain in good standing with the Housing Authority. The full scope of the project hinges on a $30 million Choice Neighborhood Initiative Grant—a sought-after federal grant likely to be awarded in May.

At the center of Jordan Downs is a 21-acre L-shaped industrial site called the “Factory.” Now vacant, adorned mostly with rubble and weeds, the Factory abuts the residential complex; the two are separated by an eight-foot-high brick wall with holes large enough for a child to crawl through. This is the source of everyone’s fears.

A 2011 Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) concluded that the site contains elevated levels of lead, arsenic, trichloroethylene (TCE), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), stating that the “results indicate that lead does pose an unacceptable hazard to children in a residential scenario.” All the contaminants listed pose major health risks, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, including cancer and autoimmune and neurological diseases. A Housing Authority interoffice memo from 2009 said, “Jordan Downs revitalization efforts will include development of other parcels including the parcel on which the 700 units are currently located. It is quite possible that these properties might also suffer from environmental contamination and therefore might require remediation.”

As a result of the HHRA’s findings, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) commissioned a Remedial Action Plan. While HACLA agreed to excavate and move 33,600 cubic yards of soil from the Factory—at a cost of around $8 million—the residential land remains unmentioned. Even after a recent ExxonMobil pipeline groundwater investigation in which the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) sent a letter to the Housing Authority that concluded that “groundwater sampling conducted as part of the M-145/M-8 Pipeline investigation and remediation by EXXON-Mobil Corporation has indicated that groundwater adjacent to the site has been impacted by petroleum hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds,” the DTSC has recommended further evaluation only on the northeastern edge of the Factory—not beyond the wall. The DTSC has yet to sign off on the Remedial Action Plan.

Lenny Siegel, executive director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight (CPEO), a nonprofit, said he has advocated for months that testing be extended beyond the Factory’s boundary. He believes that from the limited data produced thus far, further testing for TCE vapor intrusion (a carcinogen) should be conducted in residential areas at least beyond the north and south boundary of the wall.

“It’s strange to me that you would have indications of TCE with so little sampling… and you don’t have a reading that high and contamination stop at the property line [of the Factory],” Siegel told me. “A property boundary does not define the catchment area of groundwater contamination.”

David Pettit, a senior attorney of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental advocacy group, thinks along similar lines. In fall of last year, the Housing Authority circulated a leaflet among the residents designed to allay fears of contamination-related health risks. The flyer says outright, “There is currently no risk to residents.” The leaflet also states that “collections of soil vapor revealed that Volatile Organic Compounds [an umbrella term under which TCE falls] do not pose a risk for future residents.” Pettit believes that contrary to what the leaflet states, thorough testing on the residential properties needs to be conducted before such assertions can be made.

“The concern, in essence, is that there’s nothing [that’s] been done to investigate soil conditions or soil vapor conditions in the [residential] site,” said Pettit. “The reason I have concerns is, given the neighborhood where this is, I would think you’d want to know whether the people living on the existing units are at risk. And that analysis just hasn’t been done. The thing is, if they build this [development] and people are getting sick because of pollutants that the Housing Authority knows about now, there’s tremendous liability for them down the road.”

Decades of heavy industrialization in and around Jordan Downs means that there are reasons beyond the environmental report’s findings to think that residents are at high risk of contamination, according Pettit. A disused smelting plant from the 1960s sits vacant not far from the housing project. In 2004, 1,250 tons of soil were excavated from the David Starr Jordan High School football field after elevated levels of lead and PCBs were discovered—a result of an explosion at the nearby S&W Atlas Iron and Metal Company recycling facility two years prior. Another lead cleanup operation is currently being conducted at the high school.

Pettit believes that the Remedial Plan falls short of safeguarding residents from lead exposure. “Lead is a neurotoxin that affects brain development. What you see are communities affected by lead that have lower IQs than surrounding communities,” he said. “Once a kid takes it in, the effects are irreversible. Let’s not forget, this is a multi-family project. There’s going to be lots of kids around, and I do know that there is no safe level for lead. I felt the cleanup plan that the DTSC came up with was not health-protective enough.”

In an email, the DTSC stated that using the environmental evaluations conducted following USEPA’s methodology, the highest concentrations of contaminants found in soils onsite would not pose a risk to offsite residents or the school from wind-blown dust. “However, DTSC cannot comment on the impacts of past operations at the site or the surrounding neighborhood, as DTSC did not oversee these processes. It should be noted that testing for contaminants in the surrounding communities will not answer the question as to the source of the contaminants itself. For example, lead-based paint and leaded gasoline were routinely used until the 1970s. Lead-based paint is still part of many of the older buildings. Therefore, finding lead in the surrounding properties would not automatically mean that the site was the source.”

According to Doug Guthrie, the Housing Authority’s president and CEO, officials knew when they acquired the site that a cleanup process would be necessary, and the Housing Authority and developers have complied with all demands made by the DTSC. “We’ve always been very open with all the testing that we’ve done there,” he said. “We entered into a voluntary agreement with the DTSC. We’ve been very cooperative and open when it comes to ensuring that we’re doing the right thing by the residents. At this point in time, we will do whatever the DTSC tells us to do to clean the site.”

Undeterred, community activists have promised to keep pushing for testing beyond the wall’s boundaries. Thelmy Perez, the Housing Collective coordinator at Los Angeles Community Action Network, has worked for months bringing together a collective of residents, advocates, and activists, all of whom she says are concerned for the immediate health of people living at Jordan Downs.

“Where you have a Housing Authority that isn’t being accountable to the residents and is not being transparent about the threat of toxins in the area, it obviously generates a lot of fear in the community,” said Perez. “There are 700 families who live at Jordan Downs and their health is a priority—or it should be a priority.

LA Times Editorial Supports SB 283 – A Bill to Restore Food Stamp Access to People with Certain Drug Offenses Supported by LA CAN and More than 100 Other Organizations

Posted in food access, health access, human & civil rights, organizing, press coverage, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 2, 2013 by Cangress

LA CAN, Hunger Action LA, California Hunger Action Coalition, and more than 100 organizations have been working diligently all spring to ensure that SB 283 is passed.  We are pleased to see the LA Times agrees:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-calfresh-food-aid-drug-offenders-20130628,0,4750480.story

WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED!

Posted in human & civil rights, press coverage, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 8, 2012 by Cangress

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November 8, 2012

AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE RESIDENTS OF 2913 SOUTH FLOWER STREET

Dear Developers, City Officials and Members of the General Public,

This letter is meant to express one simple intention: we will not leave our community without a fight.

We are the residents of the neighborhood known as “University Park” and the building located at 2913 South Flower Street. What we would like for you to know about us is that we know what it is to be a community. With the length of time that we have lived in this building, between 15 and 35 years, we have managed to create friendship, security and trust amongst ourselves. Amongst us, we are never without a safe place to leave our children in time of emergency or a pair of hands that are ready to help. Among our children, we notice that the community which we have created together offers them more than just a sense of security but also healthy social development that includes mutual respect, companionship, and a strong self-esteem. Moreover, among the young students who, several years ago, began living among us, we see a good example for our children. We are part of the neighborhood and the neighborhood is a part of us. Everything we need is within a short distance: work, schools, and transportation. For these reasons we love our community and we will defend our right to live in it.

The changes and the development of the land are evident; our community is not the same as it was five years ago.  Today, what we see through our windows are new luxury buildings, a glorified train which will one day reach the sea, cranes and more cranes, little by little enveloping us. Recently, a group representing a local developer began knocking on our doors, offering us money to leave our homes. We recognize that the immense value that exists within these walls for us does not exist in the development plans of ICON, USC, Palmer, AEG, or even in the plans of the City. For this reason, we wish to make the following very clear: We demand people oriented development. We demand to be included in the development plans because WE WILL NOT BE MOVED.

In closing, we welcome development, and all the benefits that go with it- these benefits belong to us too- however, we do not welcome development that displaces families and destroys communities. We will not stand for it. We will defend our rights, our community, and our homes to the very end.  There is NO PRICE that is worth our stability – emotional, physical, economic and social. We repeat: WE WILL NOT BE BOUGHT.

LA CAN and Play Fair at Farmers Field Announces Lawsuit Against State of California

Posted in press coverage with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2012 by Cangress

Footage of the entire press conference held last week to announce the lawsuit against the of California challenging the constitutionality of the law that granted special privileges for the Farmers Field and Convention Center modification project.

The lawsuit follows the adamant opposition of the members of the Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition to SB 292, viewing it as an unnecessary and unfair attack on the community protections provided by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). A project of this size will have enormous environmental and other health impacts on surrounding communities, and a robust and constitutionally valid process is crucial to protecting community health. The health of more than 260,000 people living in the zip codes surrounding the site is at stake.

See below for news coverage of the lawsuit announcement:

LA CAN on KPFK Radio

Posted in civil rights, human & civil rights, press coverage with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2012 by Cangress

Last week, LA CAN’s General Dogon was on KPFK Radio discussing the ongoing LA CAN, Occupy LA, and Occupy the Hood Los Angeles siege against the Central City Association, mouthpiece of the 1% and a leading force of gentrification of Downtown Los Angeles.

Listen to the show:

LA CAN and Play Fair Farmers Field on KNBC4

Posted in AEG, civic participation, human & civil rights, press coverage with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2012 by Cangress

KPCC Covers the Release of the Play Fair at Farmers Field Health Impact Assessment

Posted in AEG, civic participation, Farmers Field, press coverage, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2012 by Cangress

This morning, LA CAN and Play Fair at Farmers Field Coalition, which includes Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Comunidad Presente, and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, held a press conference to release a Health Impact Assessment report on how the proposed Farmers Field and Convention Center Project would affect local, primarily low-income residents. The report, compiled by Human Impact Partners in conjunction with a panel of residents who live in South Park, Pico-Union, and Downtown LA, includes data and research on how the stadium may potentially negatively impact the surrounding community due to, for example, housing displacement and increased traffic. It also includes recommendations on how AEG and the city can mitigate negative impacts.
For more information, or to read the report, you can visit the Play Fair at Farmers Field blog.

The release of the report was covered by KPCC’s Brian Watt.

via KPCC:

Study: The downside of Farmers Field
by Brian Watt

A new study highlights the potential negative impacts of AEG’s proposed football stadium for downtown Los Angeles. Human Impact Partners conducted the study, with the support of a coalition that includes the Los Angeles Community Action Network, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and Physicians for Social Responsibility–Los Angeles.

The study focuses on the stadium development’s displacement and housing affordability, employment, public safety, and access to open space.

Becky Dennison of the Los Angeles Community Action Network says recent history has shown the development could reduce affordable housing in surrounding neighborhoods.

“We looked at the data from 2000-2010 as Staples Center came on line and then later L.A. Live,” Dennison says. “The race and demographic information in these communities shifted substantially toward upper income, much whiter population and folks were really pushed out of these communities.”

Anschutz Entertainment Group released a draft environmental impact report on the proposal known as Farmers Field. It maintains the stadium wouldn’t likely reduce affordable housing in the Pico Union neighborhood. But Dennison argues that report fails to consider housing losses in nearby parts of downtown and South Los Angeles.

LA CAN Concludes 7-Day Siege at the CCA Headquarters

Posted in civil rights, human & civil rights, organizing, photos, press coverage, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by Cangress

On Monday, June 4th, LA CAN concluded its 7-Day siege at the Headquarters of the Central City Association with marches, rallying cries and a clear message: “CCA, YOUR COPS WON’T SCARE US AWAY!”

Over the past decade, the CCA, the power business lobby in Downtown LA, has been one of the strongest advocates for increased policing and the criminalization of homelessness and poverty downtown. This has made them one of the major foes of poor and homeless residents who have been fighting to preserve their right to exist in a community that many have called home long before the lofts and art galleries that now line Spring and Main.

This most recent action was planned and executed by LA CAN, Occupy LA, and Occupy the Hood L.A. in response to CCA’s successful push to get LAPD to add 50 additional officers to downtown. This is on top of the over 100 uniformed and undercover cops that came to Skid Row in 2006 as part of the Safer Cities Initiative, which was backed heavily by the CCA.

For 7 straight days and nights, over 50 folks camped out in from the the CCA offices located at 626Wilshire Blvd. In the mornings, the groups rallied, passed out fliers to people on their way to work, and maintained a continual visual presence that let CCA know that residents of downtown will not stand idly by as big business and the LAPD attempts to remove their civil and human rights.

For more photos of the action, you can view a slideshow HERE.

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