French Deeds Prevent 9th Ward houses from Federal Assistance

Creator:Debbie Elliott
Credit:NPR Despite the city’s strategy of auctioning blighted properties, houses like this remain 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Vandals have stripped the home’s cypress floors and other architectural artifacts.

After Katrina hit the low income neighborhood of 9th Ward, all residents were left neglected. Their homes were destroyed and the federal government left them without safety resources. The neglect they faced from the government was due to the fact that many of these deeds came from the French colonial era and others had their deeds destroyed in the hurricane. Many of these properties were passed down by generations and never formally transferred. The government classified these homes as vacant or blighted. Never truly intending to rebuild the community because black families were being priced out of their community to cater to a different group of people. According to the film The Road Back Home, only 36% have returned to the 9th Ward compared to the 90% that have returned to other communities. Even if they have received compensation for their destroyed home, it was not enough to rebuild it. Since they were being priced out, while the market value was low, the cost to reconstruct it was much higher leaving with no other option but to sell or abandon their home.

Eagle Rock’s Past, Present and Future for School Canyon

By Marisa Vasquez
October 14

As a resident of Eagle Rock for more than 20 years, I have seen the neighborhood go through its share of change. Our small pocket of Los Angeles has always prided itself for being out of sight and out of mind from people who prefer the limelight of Hollywood or Santa Monica. Eagle Rockians live a quiet life nestled in the foothills of North-East LA. We’re quite, at least, until our neighborhood and residents are threatened with injustices.

Right above the 134 freeway is collection of hills known as Scholl Canyon. These hills, though they are admired by residents of Eagle Rock as they are the beautiful backdrop that adds to our neighborhood’s natural beauty, they are owned by the City of Glendale. A section of its 30.56 mi2 extends to the hills that overlook Eagle Rock, which, in comparison, is only 4.25 mi2.

In 1961, a landfill was opened by Glendale in the furthest location from their residents: Scholl Canyon. Recently there was a plan in place to extend the landfill as concerns over the longevity of the landfill came into question. According to the Glendale News-Press, the landfill will reach capacity in 10 years, relieving the stress of expanding the landfill currently.

Scholl Canyon Landfill

In the same article, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis explains that the forgotten plan of the landfill expansion is “a win for all Angelenos, and a step forward for considering smarter waste solutions.” She had mentioned that the consideration of the expansion itself was “an environmental injustice for the residents of my district.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Glendale has been aiming to repeat its history of disposing its waste over Eagle Rock by considering a 12-megawatt power-generation facility right next to the infamous landfill. The energy generated from the facility, according to the Eastsider, will only benefit the City of Glendale. They hope its performance as biogas plant will aid them in “[achieving] the State of California mandated use of renewable energy,” according to Glendale Water and Power. The good intentions of the plant are overridden by the waste it could possibly dump into the neighborhood of Eagle Rock.

The power plant would use the methane produced at the Scholl Canyon Landfill to generate electricity, but leave Eagle Rock with poor air quality and possible long term health risks. The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council (ERNC), was not given enough time to be consulted on the matter while the plant was being discussed. In December of 2018, Solis and L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar teamed up with the  ERNC to request that Glendale conducted an in depth Environmental Impaction Report (EIR) to better asses the decision of the plant. The EIR is scheduled to be released this month.

Map of Solid Waste Facilities in Los Angeles

The successes of Eagle Rock is rare. It is not very often that community members who care for their environment succeed against the larger forces at work. My critique on the matter lies within the history of Eagle Rock’s property value. Within the past 20 years, the neighborhood has gone through gentrification and values on homes have sky-rocketed into the millions. This is a stark difference from when Eagle Rock was home to, what was considered, one of the most dangerous gangs in LA, The Avenues. Coincidentally, the Avenues became increasingly violent in the 1960s, according to KCET. This was also during the time that Glendale greenlit the Scholl Canyon Landfill to begin operating.

With the increase in property value and decrease in gang-related violence, Eagle Rock’s ability to influence their community’s future. This was not the case with Standing Rock when the Dakota Access Pipeline was being considered in 2014. Even with the giant grassroots effort that went viral around the world, the President “Trump signed an executive memorandum ordering the Army to review and approve the pipeline in an expedited manner.”

My concern is, if Eagle Rock’s gentrification did not take place and property its value did not increase, would the city of Glendale take Eagle Rock’s environmental concerns as seriously?

Sorces:

“The Avenues: Highland Park Gang.” KCET, 20 Feb. 2016, www.kcet.org/shows/departures/the-avenues-highland-park-gang.

“Eagle Rock Raising a Stink over Glendale’s Biogas Plant [Updated].” The Eastsider LA, 16 Nov. 2017, www.theeastsiderla.com/news/environment/eagle-rock-raising-a-stink-over-glendale-s-biogas-plant/article_cf3475f0-d944-5977-b248-f9f3129111a7.html.

Hendrickson, Bill. “Methane Controversy Continues at Scholl Canyon.” Boulevardsentinel.com, 1 Sept. 2019, www.boulevardsentinel.com/methane-controversy-continues-at-scholl-canyon/.

“Proposed Biogas Renewable Generation Project.” Proposed Biogas Renewable Generation Project, Glendale Water and Power, glendalebiogasgeneration.com/#project-benefits.

Seidman, Lila. “Glendale Officials Abandon Plans to Expand Scholl Canyon Landfill.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 18 Sept. 2019, www.latimes.com/socal/glendale-news-press/news/story/2019-09-17/scholl-canyon-landfill-expansion-abandoned.

“Who Is Responsible for the Gentrification of Eagle Rock & Highland Park?” The Eastsider LA, 23 May 2019, www.theeastsiderla.com/lifestyle/gentrification/who-is-responsible-for-the-gentrification-of-eagle-rock-highland/article_979f3fa3-f6c4-5e51-b446-cd908c32e0cb.html.

Mattress recycling springs to life thanks to California law

By Cesar Tapia
October 11

Illegal dumping has long been an epidemic throughout the neighborhoods of Los Angeles. You are bound to see piles of a variety of materials strewn about the streets, particularly in areas south and east of the city where the less affluent reside. Those doing the dumping range from contractors looking to save time and money, to citizens who do not have the means to drop off their discarded furniture. This leads to one of the biggest eye-sores you can’t miss, discarded mattresses.

A discarded mattress awaiting removal by the city. (photo by Cesar Tapia)

I became curious about the destiny of these discarded, heavy pads composed of bulky materials that take-up room in our homes yet have become vital to modern lives. I’ve never had to deal with dumping a mattress, that is until my cat urinated on my bed and I was suddenly left with a mattress I had to discard immediately. Having no means to personally drop the thing off at a collection facility, I turned to 311, an information and services portal provided by the city for citizens. I’ve personally used the service to report abandoned cars in our neighborhood and to have curbs with hydrants painted red. I was pleased to find out 311 provided free collection service for bulky items, specifically mattresses. I set an appointment for pickup, your trash collection day, and was pleased to see the mattress had disappeared in the morning. This still left me with the question, what happens to the mattress after it’s collected?

In 2013, California lawmakers set out to curb the growing number of discarded mattresses that often ended up in landfills after collection. With the backing of then-governor Jerry Brown at the time, lawmakers passed the California Used Mattress Recovery and Recycling Act of 2013 (SB 254). The program created a statewide public-private partnership to be run by the industry itself. A non-profit mattress recycling council named the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), better known as Bye-Bye Mattress, was created to administer the program. Under this program, mattress producers recover and recycle their products. A fee of $10.50 is charged to the consumer when they purchase a mattress or boxspring to help pay for the program. The goal was to create a no-cost system, using existing collection methods and infrastructure. Consumers have multiple cost-free methods to discard their used mattresses. They can drop them off at a recycling facility, collection event, or dump. They can also have retailers collect their old mattress, or have the city sanitation department come pick it up for them.

The first annual report for the program proves how effective it has been at reducing illegal dumping. 967,840 out of 1,073,803 units collected were recycled. Over 3 million pounds of foam and 15 million pounds of metal were able to be recycled. These components were then sold to companies that use them to make new products; cotton for insulation, foam for carpets, springs for scrap metal, and wood to create mulch. Some mattresses are able to be reconditioned and sold to the public again. The process begins with a unit placed in a large industrial oven that sanitizes the materials, they are then stripped of padding and remanufactured for the market. In addition to collecting materials, the program has also created green jobs for the community. For example, MRC has paid 40 participating entities in 29 counties to collect abandoned mattresses. It also pays entities to host collection events and covers the costs associated with the transportation of units to recycling plants.

I hope this puts some of you at ease next time you have to discard a bulky mattress, your mattress could be reincarnated into something new. For information regarding mattress collection visit the My LA 311 website.

Sources

Beckner, H. (2017, August). Public Meeting Notice: CalRecycle Proposed State Mattress Recycling Baseline & Goals Workshop. Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://www2.calrecycle.ca.gov/PublicNotices/Details/2157.

Castagneto, N. (2019, July). Public Notice: Approval of the Mattress Recycling Council’s 2018 California Used Mattress Recovery and Recycling Program Annual Report. Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://www2.calrecycle.ca.gov/PublicNotices/Details/3764.

MY LA 311. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://myla311.lacity.org/.

SB-254 Solid waste: used mattresses: recycling and recovery. (2013, September 27). Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB254.

Wall, A. (2019, October 10). Mattress Recycling Council (MRC): There’s More to Every Mattress. Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://mattressrecyclingcouncil.org/.

Stormwater Pollution is Affecting the Health of Los Angeles Residents and Aquatic Organisms

By Michelle Ontiveros 
October 12, 2019

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Litter among the Santa Monica beach.
Getty Images.

Stormwater pollution has been a problem for Los Angeles residents for about the past twenty years. Storm drains are meant to take only rainwater, however, when contaminants like fertilizers, animal waste, litter, or automobile fluids get into the drainages it pollutes the county’s water. When these pollutants reach the county’s water it becomes hazardous to both the residents and animals. Even though it might seem unimportant that one residential or industrial site might cause contaminants to flow into the lakes, rivers, or other bodies of water, a combined concentration of these hazardous chemicals can pose a threat to them. 

Since stormwater flows directly into lakes, rivers, and the ocean through a separate storm sewer system it decreases the quality of drinking water and the safety of the water for recreational uses. With the hazardous wastes flowing into the water streams, it also damages the habitats of plants and animals and fisheries. These animals and fisheries depend on clean water to be able to survive. The oil or grease from automobiles cause an odor and makes the transfer of oxygen hard for aquatic organisms. There are nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that can cause an overgrowth of algae and this also depletes oxygen in the waterways. Not only is chemical pollution a problem but littering also ruins the beauty of the Los Angeles waterways. Litter gets into the sewage system and could end up in the bodies of aquatic organisms, ultimately effecting their longevity of life. 

Image result for storm sewage system in los angeles
Many storm drainage systems become filled with litter and pollutants.
Getty Images.

Stormwater pollution not only poses a threat to aquatic organisms but the Los Angeles residents as well. When residents are exposed to contaminated water they can suffer from acute illnesses. For example, when a high level of nitrogen exists in water it increases the risk of methemoglobinemia. Methemoglobinemia causes shortness of breath and the blueness of the skin. This can also affect pregnant women because it increases the chances of a miscarriage. Waterborne disease is especially very common amongst urban communities because they have large loads of bacteria in stormwater. And while the water is combined with chlorine and falls in line with the state regulations, there are still existing illnesses that affect the health of Los Angeles residents. 

The Los Angeles Department of Public Works has been engaged in a program to help reduce the amount of pollution that enters the storm drainage system. The county has launched a program named the Stormwater Public Education Program that educates the public about what they can do to avoid polluting waterways and help keep them clean.

Works Cited

Gaffield, S., Goo, R., Richards, L., & Jackson, R. (2003). Public Health Effects of Inadequately Managed Stormwater Runoff. American Journal Of Public Health93(9), 1527-1533. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.9.1527

Storm Water | Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. (2019). Retrieved 12 October 2019, from https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/losangeles/water_issues/programs/stormwater/

STORMWATER POLLUTION FAST FACTS. (2019). Retrieved 12 October 2019, from https://dpw.lacounty.gov/prg/stormwater/page_30.cfm

Stormwater Pollution Prevention. (2019). Retrieved 12 October 2019, from https://dpw.lacounty.gov/prg/stormwater/

Climate change worsening California’s Wildfires.

California wildfires have been on the rise in the most recent years. They have a huge impact on the environment and people’s health.

One of the main contributors to the California wildfires is climate change. The climate in California has warmed by 3 degrees in the past decade. Lack of rain is making summers hotter and dyer. The warm weather is drying out plants, making them susceptible to burn. Due to the effects of climate change, fires in California are increasing in size. Studies from sediment cores taken from swamp lake in Yosemite National park, show that there is a correlation between climate change and wildfires thriving. 

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Getty Images


California’s Wildfires have been detrimental to our environment. The environmental damage caused by these fires is not reversible and its effects linger on for decades. After a fire often trees will not grow back due to soil deconstruction and erosion. This affects the wildlife that depend on the vegetation, making it harder to find food. Experts say that sometimes the real damage may not even be known until 10 years down the line. When a wildfire is put out it doesn’t mean that the destruction is over. 

Image result for california wildfire
Getty Images

 The smoke produced by wildfires can carry many harmful chemicals that pollute the air people breathe in, and overall change the air quality. The most recent case of a fire in California was the Saddleridge fire on October 11 in the San Fernando Valley area. The air quality due to the fire was so poor that the Southern California Air Quality Management District issued an advisory Friday through Saturday morning. Exposure to wildfire smoke is very dangerous, people are inhaling things like copper, ammonia, lead, and carbon monoxide. This is associated to asthma, decreased lung function, and heart attacks. California residents have been struggling with this for years especially, especially the most recent years with this issue getting worst.

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This is just one of the many things that climate change is affecting. There are direct correlations between climate change and wildfires from rising temperatures and droughts. With the frequent occurrence of fires and how they are prone to quickly grow in size, things seems to be an issue that California residents are going to have to be enduring.   

Sources:

Carter , R. C. (2019, October 12). Saddleridge fire, Riverside County blazes are polluting the air. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself. Retrieved October 14, 2019, from https://www.dailynews.com/2019/10/11/saddleridge-fire-riverside-county-blazes-are-polluting-the-air-heres-what-you-can-do-to-protect-yourself/

BORUNDA, A. B. (2018, November 15). See how a warmer world primed California for large fires. Retrieved October 13, 2019, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/11/climate-change-california-wildfire/#close

Study of past California wildfire activity suggest climate change will worsen future fires. (2019, October 8). Retrieved October 14, 2019, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191008104659.htm

US wildfire smoke deaths could double by 2100. (2018, September 10). Retrieved October 14, 2019, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180910142417.htm

What Is the Impact of California Wildfires on the Environment? – Essel Environmental. (2019, February 21). Retrieved October 14, 2019, from https://www.esseltek.com/what-is-the-impact-of-california-wildfires-on-the-environment/

The problem with drinking water in the San Fernando Valley

By Tamar Mlikyan
October 13

The San Fernando Valley basin is a significant source of drinking water for the Los Angeles district metropolitan region. It incorporates Glendale, Burbank, San Fernando, and La-Canada. The drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants like leads, Arsenic and CR+6.

THE CHROMIUM PROBLEM  AND BOARD’S CHROMIUM INVESTIGATION  

The Regional Board has been accused by the USEPA United States Environmental Protection Agency of the undertaking of finding the source of hexavalent chromium pollution in the soil and groundwater. If dischargers do not coordinate, the Regional Board, as well as USEPA, may fall back on taking requirement activities to realize satisfactory site portrayal. The Regional Board has been granted an award from USEPA to address this undertaking during the current financial year.

The Chromium S1 water problem began in 1998 when the Los Angeles River Area ULARA was polluted vigorously with Chromium. In any case, the local board discovered that the soil and groundwater were contaminated with Hexavalent Chromium. The Chromium compounds have no taste or smell, Trivalent Chromium Cr+3 is significant for humanity as opposed to Cr+6, it is susceptible to mixing with groundwater and is exceptionally harmful to live beings and plants.  According to the Clean Water Action report 2019, 13 Million Californians’ have been impacted by CR+6. The CR+6 is harmful to human bodies and it can cause so many health problems such as gastroenteritis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, ulcers, and kidney and liver. The Cr+6 is Hexavalent chromium is a heavy metal used in producing pigments, leather tanning, electroplating, metal processing, wood preservation, and in alloys such as stainless steel. The water source has been contaminated by the leaks and discharges from industrial facilities and hazardous waste sites (California, clean water action).

In 1980, the California Department of Health Services DHS, which is responsible for assuring drinking water quality, discovered organic chemical contamination in the groundwater of the San Gabriel Valley. They in-turn requested all major groundwater users to conduct tests, the test result was positive. there were certain industrial chemicals solvents in the groundwater beneath large areas of the San Fernando Valley. The defilement in the soil has been identified in some shallow and profound dividers from the profundities extending from 31 feet to as profound as 580ft below ground surface. In 1999 GWP discovered Cr+6 raised in the drinking water by 97ug/L, but by March 2000, the rate reached 1000 ug/L. In this point were The United States Environmental Protection Agency USEPA started to act and ask all water supply management agencies to work together to solve this issue. The local boards’ chromium examination found 210 CR clients from the database involved 4,040 zones like Los Angeles, Arcadia, San Marino, Compton, Redondo Beach, Pomona, Long Beach, Hawthorne, and South Gate. A portion of these zones has been cleaned -up under the states’ cost recovery program. 

THE PROGONAL PROBLEM-SOLVENTS

As a solution production wells were taken out of service. The water agencies in the SFV territory intently checked the drinking water. After all the exertion expended from the assigned offices, the water met all government and state prerequisites determined by DHS Department of Health services. The main LA water drinking is obtained from Metropolitan water region MWD in south LA. 

The expense of water treatment was assessed to be $180 million over the year, processing imported water at 9.000 gallons per minute. 

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board has gone into a helpful concurrence with USEPA to lead site evaluations, helping with the responsible parties in PRPs, surveying groundwater observing reports, coordinating cleanup, and giving authorization orders. The purpose is to guarantee that progress keeps on being made inside the six Superfund Operable Units in the San Fernando Valley.

The General Manager for The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Jefferey Kightlinger stated in the annual drinking water quality report that ” the quality of Metropolitan’s drinking-water supply remained unaffected” (Kightlinger) insuring that the water is safe.

From our reading “Old Bottle New Wine,” ECUADOR – From 1964 to 1990, Texaco and Mossville, Louisiana communities have been contaminated by the leaks and discharges from industrial facilities and hazardous waste sites dumped large quantities of toxic byproducts into the local rivers or mixed with soil or polluted the groundwater. As a result, the pollution of water created mass health issues. It is reported that their operations resulted in the deforestation of more than two million acres of rain forest, the displacement of indigenous communities, and extensive water pollution that created a regional health crisis. Members of indigenous tribes have unusually high rates of cancer, skin rashes, and respiratory ailments. From this point of view, we can relate that the manufacturers who work in producing chemicals were interested in their own profit instead of people’s well-being. “The mobility of corporations has made it possible for them to seek the greatest profit, the least government and environmental regulations, and the best tax incentives, anywhere in the world”. These circumstances referred to environmental racism. Environmental racism can be defined as racial discrimination in environmental policy making and the enforcement of regulations and laws; the deliberate targeting of people of colored communities for toxic and hazardous waste facilities (Robinson).  


Works cited

California, clean water action. “Facts About Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium 6).” Facts About Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium 6), 2019.

Kightlinger, Jeffrey. “A Letter from the General Manager. Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, 2019.

Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, T. L. A. R. B. (2018, May 3). Chromium Contamination in the San Fernando Valley: Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. Retrieved from https://www.waterboards.ca .gov/losangeles/water_ issues/programs/remediation/chromium/chromium_s1.html.

Problems With Los Angeles Drinking Water: Lead, Arsenic, Chromium 6, DBPs. YouTube video(2018).

Robinson, D. M. (2000, Jun 30). Environmental racism: Old wine in a new bottle. Women in Action, , 75. Retrieved from http://mimas.calstatela.edu/login? url=https://search.proquest.com/ docview/233382935?accountid=10352





Environmental racism: South L.A.

By Elizabeth
October 12

Growing up in Los Angeles can be very overwhelming. There are over 4 million people living in the city of Los Angeles. The amount of traffic that people have to deal with due to this population is insane. I never really noticed until I started getting older because I never really paid attention to it; I was used to seeing that part of the city so often. I realized this is actually a problem. Something that people may tend to forget about South LA is that it is a popular area where almost all shipping from nearby stores and companies products are imported. It is also an area where many of the manufacturers’ warehouses are held. Therefore every morning I am so used to seeing a cargo truck or train with a company’s product. Growing up in South LA but attending school in a different area really taught me how different the environment around me was. While I was in school I was not surrounded by so much pollution. One of my realizations of this big problem in the community was noticing all the air pollution that was increasing each day. Especially when the biggest highways pass through the community. For example “From the traffic pollution constantly emitted from the 10, 110, and 105 freeways, to the air toxins released from industrial facilities, most South L.A. residents are unwillingly bombarded with a wide range of harmful toxins. ” Studies show that because the air quality is so bad it has caused a rise in people suffering from lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke due to the everyday toxins we come in contact with on a daily basis. One of the reasons why this is such a huge problem to our community is not only because it affects the environment we live in but also targets the areas that are predominately populated by black and Latino people. Causing environmental racism that leads back to history when these communities were first being built and created it was a time when we black and Latino folk did not have a say of what we could and could not do. When people were first beginning the beautiful city of Los Angeles that we know today, you can say that nothing really played in our favor. People that were Asian, black, or Latino were prohibited from owning homes in certain areas.”By World War I, deed restrictions were helping to define the insulated, middle-class world of Los Angeles’s Westside. At the same time, acting as private Jim Crow legislation, deed restrictions were also building a ‘white wall’ around the Black community on Central Avenue.” Due to the pre-planning of communities is what caused the issues that are still dealt with today from discrimination on a daily and unfair treatment by the law due to our communities’ circumstances. For example, many of the issues that we deal with daily in our communities just come to show how unfair and unhealthy this is to us. For example, many of the students that attend schools in South LA do not receive the same funding as schools in different areas such as a school in Beverly Hills or “better Area”. For example, “Districts with 55 percent or more of their enrollments made up of low-income and other high-needs students receive a substantial amount of extra funds for each student above the 55 percent threshold. ” This shows how they are better funded than ones of lower-income public schools in our area.

The truth of the matter is that we have been given a responsibility to better the actions that are taken in our communities such as violence and poor living. Why should we take responsibility for the actions of others? Decisions that were made for us without question? People might try to argue that things have changed, that us being minorities in the present-day does not play a big role as it used to. I would disagree, saying that would be ignorant since the whole world we live in was built on a system of oppression by whites. It is proven through all of history, starting from the genocide of indigenous people, to the slave trade. Our ancestors where our roots stem from, what makes our appearance and culture different from one another. Since the beginning of time when white people began to “discover” America, they made policies and laws that played in their favor to take from people’s land and destroy their homes. As the saying goes “history repeats itself” so with that being said.

Sources

Freedberg, L. (2019, February 19). California’s school funding flaws make it difficult for districts to meet teacher demands. Retrieved from EdSource website: https://edsource.org/2019/californias-school-funding-flaws-make-it-more-difficult-for-districts-to-meet-teacher-demands/608824

Shankar, M. (2014, November 14). Land Use in South L.A.: A Legacy of Environmental Crime. Retrieved from KCET website: https://www.kcet.org/shows/departures/land-use-in-south-la-a-legacy-of-environmental-crime