Ensure Environmental Justice
Los Angeles faces some of the worst air quality in the nation. But the effects of our poor air quality and other environmental toxins impact certain communities more than others. These areas, known as “toxic hot spots,” contain concentrated pollutants near residences as well as schools, playgrounds, and elder care centers. The risk of pollution-related illness — asthma attacks, heart disease, respiratory distress, cancer, and premature death — is higher in these areas compared to many other areas of the city.
In 2016, community members and activists successfully lobbied the city government to sign into law the Clean Up Green Up (CUGU) initiative. Its goals included minimizing the overconcentration of environmental hazards in overburdened neighborhoods, reducing pollution, and helping businesses “clean up and green up” their operations while still retaining and creating more jobs in the neighborhood. This policy established pilot “Green Zones” that pioneered a municipal land use policy intended to foster environmental justice in traditionally marginalized communities.
As City Attorney, I will expand and build upon these efforts, and ensure that Angelenos living in environmental hot spots are protected from toxic air, water and spillage. I won’t allow big polluters to escape accountability for their actions, which put all of us at risk. My office will carefully monitor corporate actors, particularly those with a history of law-breaking and/or environmental degradation, for violations of state and municipal code when it comes to the environment. Using affirmative litigation, my office will sue violators in order to (1) ensure future compliance and (2) compel polluters to clean up after themselves.
For example, I will sue companies that dump toxic chemicals in communities that are disproportionately low-income, as well as companies that use or used hazardous materials, e.g. lead paint, in homes and structures throughout Los Angeles. I will also sue fossil fuel companies and other entities that have contributed to climate change, with the goal of creating an abatement fund that provides funds to communities most deeply affected by the consequences of climate change and environmental harm.
Lastly, I will stand with the community of Eagle Rock in their fight against the Scholl Canyon trash dump – a dumpsite for trash from Glendale, not Los Angeles – which has steadily risen over the past 50 years. This site pollutes the air in Northeast Los Angeles with dangerous substances, including nitrogen oxides and other airborne particles that have been found to do serious harm to the lungs. This dump site was finally due to close in 2021. However, Glendale has announced plans to expand the site. I will join the Northeast Los Angeles community and do everything in my power as City Attorney to close down this site and block Glendale’s attempt to continue using Los Angeles as its waste bin.