GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
Send us your stories, ideas, and information. Insiders welcome - confidentiality guaranteed.

stories along The Way

Friday, April 8, 2011

[HexWatch 2011] A Visit To The L.A. City Energy & Environment Committee

On Tuesday morning, I was out the door at 7:15a, gave the MTA six bucks and took the Orange Line to the Red Line to City Hall in order to be at the L.A. City Energy & Environment Committee by 9:00 to offer two minute public comment at a couple minutes past 10:00a. Had to speak really fast because, after all, I only had two minutes and committee members and staff were anxious to get to their City Council meeting. Here's what I had to offer:

"Madame Chair, Honorable Members of the Energy & Environment Committee,

My name is Bill Haller. In the last few years, I have appeared before your committees as the Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council President representing more than 40,000 stakeholders in our district in CD 6. I have also appeared before this body as the volunteer State Chair of Sierra Club California’s Air Quality Committee representing more than 150,000 club members in our state. Today, I come before you as an LADWP Ratepayer representing what I believe to be the best interests of 3.8 million residents.

In December of 2010, I received a tip as a result of my environmental blogging on Griffith Park Wayist. I began researching and writing about Hexavalent Chromium VI in the Headworks area of Griffith Park. The email document now in your possession was that tip.

This LADWP interoffice document indicates that, on February 1, 2010, more than a year ago, soil sample tests came back to LADWP showing an extremely high level of Hexavalent Chromium VI in the Headworks area of Griffith Park, about eight times the USEPA’s “concern level” for industrial soil exposure. As backup, I have also enclosed my writing from the Griffith Park Wayist blog. For the research links, you’ll have to go to the blog.

We know the name Erin Brockovich. She brought to light the activities of how a private utility tried to hide the incredibly damaging effects of Hexavalent Chromium VI visited on the men, women and children of Hinkley, CA.

Yet here we are in 2011 with the possibility of our own Hinkley and after 14 months of no true information or action by LADWP, the people of the City of Los Angeles still remain largely unaware of the actual danger contained in Headworks soil because someone, some group or some attorney at LADWP thought it in the public's best interest NOT to inform them.

This past year, we have had days and days of high winds, kicking up dirt and dust and days and days of rain.

One question to ask LADWP:

Whose lives, whose families are we protecting by NOT informing the public that there are extremely high levels of Hexavalent Chromium VI buried in Headworks' industrial soil next to a park where our elderly visit, a playground where our children play, and an equestrian center where our athletes and hobby riders keep their horses?

I ask that this committee take immediate action and let the public know with certainty that it is safe to bike, ride and play in the area adjacent to Headworks OR if everybody should steer clear of a life-threatening environmental hazard.

Thank you."