Frontlines to Headlines May 2016

by Joe Rihn on May 16, 2016



After nearly a decade of grassroots research, organizing and advocacy by a Liberty Hill supported coalition, the environmental justice initiative called Clean Up Green Up has been signed to law as a new L.A. City policy! Clean Up Green Up establishes pilot Green Zones in Pacoima, Boyle Heights and Wilmington, reducing air pollution and helping businesses become more environmentally friendly.  See the Los Angeles Times and Random Length News for coverage of the City Council’s vote and the Mayor’s Earth Day signing ceremony. 


Following pressure from grassroots groups, Governor Brown is allocating $176.6 million to clean up lead contamination around Vernon’s now shuttered Exide plant, which polluted surrounding neighborhoods for decades.  However activists from East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ) are saying the danger stretches far beyond the 1.7 mile radius targeted for cleanup.  Get more on the story from Milwaukee Public Radio. EYCEJ also appeared in a Random Length News article, along with Coalition for a Safe Environment, that described how community activists helped prevent the construction of a massive rail yard near the ports that would have increased pollution in already overburdened neighborhoods.

StreetsBlog L.A. reported on safety improvements, including new bike lanes, coming to a stretch Van Nuys Blvd in Pacoima that is notoriously hazardous for pedestrians and cyclists. The article quoted Pacoima Beautiful planning director, Max Podemski, who said the street’s new layout will better reflect how residents actually use it.


Dignity and Power Now (DPN) appeared in a Sierra Madre Weekly article on the conviction of L.A. County Sherriff’s Department official, Paul Tanaka, for obstructing a federal investigation into abuse in L.A. County jails. Mark-Anthony Johnson of DPN praised the verdict and called for more transparency in law enforcement 

A federal district court judge ruled that the City of Los Angeles can no longer confiscate homeless peoples’ belongings without warning.  Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA-CAN) played an important role in the case as reported by ABC 7, KPCC and Curbed L.A. 
The New York Times published an op-ed by All Of Us Or None founder Dorsey Nunn, about how ceasing to ask job applicants about criminal history—“banning the box”—can help open doors to success for children of former convicts. Jacobin Magazine also mentioned All Of Us Or None in an article on mass incarceration, citing the group among organizations proposing concrete solutions to the problem.
According to the Davis Vanguard, Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) is co-sponsoring SB 1286, which would increase transparency in investigations into police use of force. YJC member, Brandy Brown, spoke at the state capitol during a rally supporting the measure. Reveal News also reported that YJC and Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) are co-sponsors of AB 2298, a bill that would require California to notify people when they are added to the state’s gang database and establish the right to appeal.  


 Ten years after L.A.'s historic "Day Without an Immigrant March" on May Day 2006, CHIRLA and other groups rallied to support the immigrant community and push back against hateful speech from Donald Trump. The Guardian, Fusion and KPCC covered the event.

The Huffington Post ran a piece by Garment Worker Center director, Marissa Nuncio, highlighting the struggles of low wage workers in L.A.’s garment industry and calling for higher wages and enforcement of labor laws.

An Asian Journal article on American society’s increasing demand for domestic workers quoted Pilipino Workers Center executive director, Aquilina Soriano Versosa, who pushed for stakeholders in the long-term care industry to prepare for the challenges of an increasingly large elderly population. 
A TakePart report on the Fight for $15 movement mentioned Restaurant Opportunities Center – Los Angeles (ROC-LA) and used a member’s story to illustrate workers standing up against wage theft.
The Long Beach Post reported on substandard living conditions faced by renters who fall outside the scope of Long Beach’s tenant laws, mentioning Housing Long Beach (HLB)’s efforts to strengthen protections for renters in the city.
A KPCC story on large-scale residential development in Koreatown featured comments from Alexandra Suh of Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) who warned that new luxury units could price out the neighborhood’s low income immigrant communities. 
Community Coalition hosted a town hall meeting with LAUSD superintendant, Michelle King, where community members pushed for increased funding for the district’s highest needs schools. See the Los Angeles Wave and the Los Angeles Sentinel for more.

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