Keep Baldwin Hills Clean and Green for Generations to Come
Robert García, Elise Meerkatz, and Seth Strongin Policy Report May 2010
THE CITY PROJECT The mission of The City Project is to achieve equal justice, democracy, and livability for all. We influence the investment of public resources to achieve results that are equitable, enhance human health and the environment, and promote economic vitality for all. Focusing on parks and recreation, schools, health, and transit, we help bring people together to define the kind of community where they want to live and raise children. The City Project works with diverse coalitions in strategic campaigns to shape public policy and law, and to serve the needs of the community as defined by the community. CONCERNED CITIZENS OF SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES The mission of Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles is to work for social justice and economic and environmental change within the South Central community. www.ccscla.org. The City Project 1055 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1660 Los Angeles, CA 90017 Phone (213) 977-1035 Fax (213) 977-5457 Visit our web site and blog at www.cityprojectca.org www.greaterbaldwinhillsalliance.org www.baldwinhillsoil.org Contributions are tax deductible
TABLE OF CONTENTS I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY............................................................................................................................ 5 II. OVERVIEW ................................................................................................................................................ 10 III. A POSITIVE VISION FOR THE BALDWIN HILLS PARK AND COMMUNITY.......................... 14 IV. THE BALDWIN HILLS PARK AND COMMUNITY ......................................................................... 14 A. The Baldwin Hills Parklands ..................................................................................................................15 B. The Baldwin Hills Community and African American Los Angeles..................................................16 C. The Struggle for the Park Never Ends...................................................................................................18 1. Stopping the Power Plant 2001 ..........................................................................................................19 2. Stopping the Garbage Dump 2003.....................................................................................................20 3. Saving the Conservancy and its Budget in 2004...............................................................................20 4. Stopping 24 New Oil Wells................................................................................................................21 D. Green Access and Equity .......................................................................................................................21 1. Green Access and Equity for Los Angeles County ..........................................................................22 2. Childhood Obesity and Park Access in Los Angeles County ..........................................................24 3. Green Access and Equity in Southern California .............................................................................24 4. Green Access and Equity throughout California ..............................................................................25 5. No Place to Play Across the Nation ...................................................................................................27 V. THE BALDWIN HILLS OIL FIELD ....................................................................................................... 27 A. Problems in the Oil Field .......................................................................................................................27 1. The Baldwin Hills Dam Burst............................................................................................................27 2. Expanding Oil Field Operations.........................................................................................................27 3. Noxious Gas Emissions in 2006 ........................................................................................................28 4. Lax Oversight of Oil Operations........................................................................................................29 B. The Oil Field Zoning Regulations (CSD) and Environmental Impact Report ...................................30 VI. THE VALUES AT STAKE ...................................................................................................................... 31 A. Diverse Values Bring People Together.................................................................................................31 1. Fun .......................................................................................................................................................31 2. Human Health .....................................................................................................................................31 a. Physical Activity and Obesity.........................................................................................................32 b. Youth Development and Violence Prevention ..............................................................................33 c. Stress, Depression, and Mental Functioning.................................................................................34 d. Recovery from Illness and Stress ..................................................................................................34 3. Social Cohesion – Bringing People Together ...................................................................................34 4. Economics, Green Jobs, and Wealth Creation ..................................................................................34
5. Climate Justice and Conservation ......................................................................................................35 6. Spiritual Values in Protecting the Earth and its People....................................................................35 7. Equal Justice and Democracy ............................................................................................................36 B. The Values at Stake Are Reflected in the Baldwin Hills Parklands....................................................36 VII. CIVIL RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE LAWS........................................................... 37 A. Civil Rights Standards............................................................................................................................37 B. Social and Economic Effects under CEQA Guidelines .......................................................................39 C. Responses To Environmental Justice Counter-Arguments..................................................................40 VIII. CONCLUSION....................................................................................................................................... 43 APPENDIX Baldwin Hills Urban Decay, Deterioration and Oil Field………………………………..….53
Keeping the Baldwin Hills Clean and Green for Generations to Come Robert García, Elise Meerkatz, Seth Strongin1 May 2010 I. Executive Summary The purpose of this Policy Report is to engage, educate and empower the community as well as public officials to protect human health and the environment in the Baldwin Hills community, park and oil field through various means. This information is relevant, among other reasons, in the preparation of the following studies, plans and reviews: (1) An equity analysis and plan for the Baldwin Hills oil field operations and zoning regulations under federal and state laws, including civil rights laws; (2) The health survey of the Baldwin Hills by the County; (3) The implementation plan for the oil field regulations; (4) The study of the oil field regulations approved by the Board of Supervisors in August 2009; (5) A proper review in an environmental impact report under civil rights and Environmental Justice laws; (6) Compliance review by state officials to ensure the County as a recipient of state and federal funds is complying with state and federal civil rights and Environmental Justice laws in the Baldwin Hills, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its regulations, California Government Code 11135 and its regulations, and the California Environmental Quality Act; and (7) Compliance review by federal officials to ensure the County as a recipient of federal funds is complying with federal civil rights and Environmental Justice laws in the Baldwin Hills.2 Each study, plan or review needs to include the following elements: (1) A clear description of what is planned; (2) An analysis of the impact on all populations, including minority and low income populations; (3) An analysis of available alternatives; (4) The documented inclusion of minority and low income populations in the study and decisionmaking process; and (5) An implementation plan to address any concerns identified in the equity analysis.3 The County of Los Angeles is allowing the Texas oil company Plains Exploration & Production Company (“PXP”) to drill up to 600 oil wells in the Baldwin Hills in the next 20 years, an average of 30 wells per year. The oil company drilled an average of only 10 wells per year over the past 20 to 25 years, as shown below. The fact of the matter is that PXP wants to dramatically intensify its drilling activities. Thirty wells per year is about triple the drilling rate for the past 20 to 25 years before 2005, when PXP dramatically ramped up its drilling operations and surrounding communities experienced more problems. The oil field zoning regulations that the County approved in 2008 (known as a “community standards district” or “CSD”) allow 54 wells to be drilled per year, with a maximum of 600 wells over the next 20 years. The County would have no discretionary review over the 600 new wells. A conditional use permit would only be triggered if PXP seeks to drill more than 600 new wells over the next 20 years. PXP has
aggressive plans which are new and which were brought about by the high price of oil and the advent of new technology. PXP's lawyer argues, "People who live in surrounding communities knew the oil field was there when they decided to move in."4 Actually, people lived in the Baldwin Hills first, long before any oil field operations started. In any event, Los Angeles has grown and the setting around the oil field has changed significantly since the oil field began production in 1924. The oil field is now located in the one of the nation's largest and most populous metropolitan areas, in the heart of African American Los Angeles. The area is the identified home of Baldwin Hills Park, which when completed will be the largest urban park created in the United States in over a century and the greatest public works project in the history of a community that has long suffered from environmental degradation and discrimination. PXP and the County argue that PXP has a vested right to drill new wells. We disagree. PXP does not have a vested right to drill wells. Even if it did, public officials could still regulate expansion or intensification of oil field operations to protect public health, safety, morals and the general welfare. Drilling a new well results in the installation of new structures on the land: the drilling pad, the derrick, the borehole and its casings, the accessory structures for processing drilling mud, the pumping equipment, and more. Those new structures require new permits before they may be constructed, and local public officials may regulate those structures through zoning regulation. The public’s right to regulate an existing use of land for oil production may reasonably include regulation of the number, location, and manner of drilling new wells. Public officials remain free to condition or even refuse to grant new drilling permits for unwarranted intensification or expansion of even a vested right. Public officials could determine that an oil producing business has realized or will realize a sufficient return on its investment, and a prohibition on oil production thereafter is justified. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant so held in the decision upholding the right of the people to regulate the oil field in the case of Plains Exploration & Production Co. (PXP) v. City of Culver City in March 2010.5 The first chart of oil wells below shows that, until PXP ramped up drilling in 2005, the Baldwin Hills oil field was averaging about 10 wells drilled per year. From 1985-2004, 203 wells were drilled, for an average of 10.15 wells per year over the course of 20 years. From 1980-2004, 243 wells were drilled, for an average of 9.72 wells per year over the course of 25 years.6
The second chart of abandoned wells below also shows that, over the same timeframe, the Baldwin Hills Oil Field was averaging about 18 existing wells plugged per year. From 1985-2004, 356 wells were abandoned and plugged, for an average of 17.8 wells plugged per year over the course of 20 years. From
1980-2004, 406 wells were abandoned and plugged, for an average of 18.24 wells plugged per year over the course of 25 years.
The CSD does not require any oil well abandonment over the next 20 years. Until 2004, the abandonment rate was higher than the drilling rate. A 20 year timeline is a relevant measure because the oil field zoning regulations themselves have a 20 year horizon. We do not count since 2005 on because PXP dramatically ramped up drilling in comparison to prior years. Once PXP’s drilling increased, the long-established communities surrounding the oil field could no longer ignore the problems caused by the oil field operations. Until 2008, there was no EIR informing decision-makers or the people of the actual and likely future impacts of the oil field on their lives. There is still no adequate EIR. And the County is only now working on a long-needed health study of the Baldwin Hills. People lived in the Baldwin Hills long before oil field operations began. Native Americans lived in the area for thousands of years. There is archeological evidence of a village there. Spaniards, Mexicans or Californios lived in the area for one hundred and fifty years beginning in the 1790s in what became Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera. Ranch land was used for sheep and cattle grazing from the 1880s until the 1920s, while “Lucky” Baldwin owned much of the land. Oil was discovered in 1917, and oil production began in 1924.7 The County recognizes the significance of Baldwin Hills in African American culture. With Sugar Hill in Harlem, the Baldwin Hills is an epicenter of excellence for African Americans across the nation. In any event, people in the community have a right to expect that drilling would not get worse than it has been since they moved in. PXP cannot simply escalate the drilling rate that has been occurring over the past 20 to 25 years. Those are the drilling rates that the residents should expect, not the tripling of oil drilling that PXP now wants to perform. This is why an alliance of community advocates seek to keep the Baldwin Hills clean and green for generations to come in and out of court, including Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles represented by The City Project, the City of Culver City, Community Health Councils, Natural Resources Defense Council, Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community, and the Greater Baldwin Hills Alliance. See generally www.greaterbaldwinhillsalliance.org and www.baldwinhillsoil.org.8 The current environmental catastrophe caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and subsequent finger pointing, including among regulators, demonstrate the need for the people to be vigilant in protecting themselves in the face of the Siren call of oil company profits. Oil drilling in the Gulf is based on advanced new technology, but the oil spill requires relying on “some equivalent of a fire drill with paper towels and buckets for cleanup.” 9 [T]he oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico has revealed itself to an angry and desperate public, smearing tourist beaches, washing onto the shorelines of sleepy coastal communities and oozing into marshy bays that fishermen have worked for generations. . . . The billowing plume of undersea oil and water has thwarted the industry’s well-control efforts and driven government officials to impotent rage. It has demonstrated the enduring laxity of federal regulation of offshore operations and has shown the government to be almost wholly at the mercy of BP, the company leasing the rig, to provide the technology, personnel and equipment to stop the bleeding well.10 There need to be proper protections for human health, the environment, and equal justice in the Baldwin Hills.
II. Overview The community vision for the Baldwin Hills is to create a two-square mile park, the nation’s largest natural urban park in over 100 years, in a dense and diverse community that has long suffered from discrimination and environmental degradation including an adjoining oil field. The Park in the historic heart of African-American Los Angeles will provide the park-poor region with much needed green space for recreation and health, conservation, education, and economic vitality. This transformation from oil field to parkland was promised to the community in the late 1990s as the oil field was winding down operations at that time -- before PXP purchased the leasehold interests and conducted sophisticated sonar studies of the oil field’s more challenging reserves. Spurred by the damaging release in 2006 of noxious gases caused by oil drilling impacting surrounding neighborhoods, the County recognized that expanded operations in the oil field that encompasses nearly 1,000 acres in the midst of a highly urbanized environment with over a million people required the modernization of anachronistic zoning regulations. The EIR that the oil company paid for and the new oil field zoning regulations adopted in 2008 were supposed to "ensure that oil field operations are conducted in harmony with adjacent land uses, to minimize the potential adverse impacts of such operations so they are compatible with surrounding land uses . . . to protect the comfort, health, safety and general welfare of people living, working and recreating in the surrounding areas."11 Unfortunately, the oil field regulations and EIR missed the mark in many ways. The following defects, if corrected, would result in meaningful reforms to benefit the health, economic vitality, environment, and quality of life for the people in the Baldwin Hills: • • • • • • • • • • • •
The County allowed too many new wells to be drilled in the next 20 years.12 The County did not fully disclose foreseeable effects on human health.13 The County improperly included emissions from prior drilling projects in the air quality baseline.14 The County failed to adequately consider the risk of major oil spills.15 In "mitigating" the noise impacts of drilling, the County allows a noise increase in residential areas already subjected to excessive noise.16 The County did not evaluate the oil drilling regulations for consistency with the 2002 Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan.17 The County failed to adequately analyze the social, economic and Environmental Justice effects and physical changes caused by the project.18 The County abdicated its obligation to consider greenhouse gas emissions.19 The County failed to include feasible mitigation measures that would help protect surrounding residents.20 The regulations unlawfully deferred the implementation of enforceable mitigation.21 The County failed to describe or consider the actual project.22 The County failed to consider available alternatives.23
These matters are fully covered in the petitioners’ briefs in the cited Baldwin Hills litigation, and the analysis generally will not be repeated here. People of color and low income communities in the Baldwin Hills disproportionately bear environmental burdens, including the urban decay and deterioration of the oil fields. They are disproportionately denied environmental benefits such as parks, and economic benefits such as oil company profits. The EIR recognizes the significance of the Baldwin Hills in African American Los Angeles:
The Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles has long been a geographical focus for African Americans. The African American movement towards the Baldwin Hills area is rooted in a number of factors, including racial segregation that existed throughout the Los Angeles area in the 1950s . . . . As segregation began to fall in the 1960s, middle and upper class African Americans disproportionately moved westward from South Central Los Angeles. White flight from advancing blacks opened up opportunities to rent or buy housing. Hundreds of houses and apartment complexes were built in Baldwin Hills in the 1950s providing larger more comfortable houses that were desirable to the more affluent African Americans that moved to the area. . . . By the late-1950s and early-1960s, Baldwin Hills became the heart of affluent African American culture in Los Angeles.24 A disproportionate percentage of people of color -- 70% -- live in the Baldwin Hills area compared to the County as a whole (51%). Fully 50% percent of the residents are African American, compared to 10% in the County. Economically, over 18% live in poverty.25 East of the Baldwin Hills, 90% of the residents are Black,00 22% of residents live in poverty, and the median household income is $39,244, compared to 18% and $42,189 for the County. (The annual income needed for a family of four to provide for its basic needs in Los Angeles was over $63,000 in 2005, more than three times the federal poverty level.)26 Within 1½ miles of the Baldwin Hills oil field, the morbidity/mortality rate is higher due to breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, emphysema, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, as compared to the County.27 African Americans suffer disproportionately from higher disease and mortality rates.28 Baldwin Hills residents have over twice the rate of chronic respiratory conditions compared to the County as a whole.29 The Baldwin Hills area is one of the most park-poor areas in California, with less than 1 acre of park space per 1,000 people. This is far below what the California legislature defines as park poor – less than three acres of parks per thousand residents. Lack of parks has a profound effect on the quality of life of the residents of the Baldwin Hills. Park and recreation opportunities have a direct effect on human health including childhood obesity and diabetes; youth development; education; positive alternatives for at risk youth; violence prevention; and conservation values and economic vitality, among others. Part III of this Policy Report discusses a positive vision for the Baldwin Hills community, park and oil field. Part IV discusses the background of the Baldwin Hills community and park, and the continuing history and pattern of discriminatory access to park, recreation, and health resources. Part V discusses the Baldwin Hills oil field. Part VI discusses the values at stake. Part VII discusses Environmental Justice and equal protection under federal and state civil rights laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its regulations, and California Government Code 11135 and its regulations. The Appendix includes images of, and text describing, urban decay, deterioration and the Baldwin Hills oil field. The following map from the EIR illustrates the distribution of people of color in the Baldwin Hills study area.
Figure 4.16-1 Distribution of Minorities in the Study Area30
The following map from the EIR illustrates the distribution of poverty in the Baldwin Hills study area.
Figure 4.16-2 Distribution of Poverty in the Study Area 31
III. A Positive Vision for the Baldwin Hills Park and Community Los Angeles is park poor, and there are unfair inequities in access to parks and green space, because of a lack of vision by civic leaders for the past eight decades and more. In 1930, the firm started by the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted proposed a comprehensive and coherent network of parks, playgrounds, schools, beaches, forests, and transportation to promote the social, economic, and environmental vitality of Los Angeles and the health of its people. According to the Olmsted Report in words that remain true today: Continued prosperity [in Los Angeles] will depend on providing needed parks, because, with the growth of a great metropolis here, the absence of parks will make living conditions less and less attractive, less and less wholesome. . . . In so far, therefore, as the people fail to show the understanding, courage, and organizing ability necessary at this crisis, the growth of the Region will tend to strangle itself.32 The Olmsted Report recommended 71,000 acres of parkland, and another 92,000 acres in outlying areas, with 440 miles of connecting parks and parkways, including a parkway along the Los Angeles River. The Olmsted Report proposed the joint use of parks, playgrounds, and schools to make optimal use of land and public resources, and called for the doubling of public beach frontage. Implementing the Olmsted vision would have made Los Angeles one of the most beautiful and livable regions in the world. Civic leaders killed the Report because of politics, bureaucracy, and greed in a triumph of private power over public space and social democracy.33 The Baldwin Hills parklands should form a vital part of a comprehensive and coherent region-wide web of parks, playgrounds, schools, beaches, forests, and transportation that promotes human health and economic vitality, and reflects the diverse cultural urban landscape, with equal justice, democracy and livability for all. IV. The Baldwin Hills Park and Community The County recognizes that the Baldwin Hills area is park poor and that this can have devastating consequences on quality of life. The EIR states: The area surrounding the Baldwin Hills is one of the most park-poor urban areas in California, with less than 1 acre of park space per 1,000 people, far below the nationally recommended standard of 6 to 10 acres per 1,000 people. . . . Lack of parks has a profound effect on the quality of life of the citizens of the affected areas. Availability of parks and recreational opportunities have a direct effect on health, youth development, education, public safety, conservation values and economic values, among others, for any given geographical area (Garcia, White 2006). FEIR 4.10-3 (citing García and White, Healthy Parks, Schools, and Communities for the Los Angeles Region (2006)) BH 000679). In May 2002, the California Department of Parks and Recreation with the Baldwin Hills Conservancy published the Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan as required by law.34 The purpose of the Master Plan is “to serve as a guide for future natural open space and parkland acquisition and improvements, facility development and habitat restoration within the Baldwin Hills, and for connections to trails, parks and other public facilities.”35
A. The Baldwin Hills Parklands Completing the Baldwin Hills Park will be the greatest public works project in the history of a community that has long suffered from environmental degradation and discrimination. Easily accessible to millions of people, with stunning views of the Los Angeles basin, the Pacific Ocean and surrounding mountains, the Baldwin Hills offer a unique opportunity within a dense and diverse urban community that is park poor to create a world-class park and natural space for all the people of California to enjoy. The Baldwin Hills are one of the most park-poor areas in California, with barely one acre of parkland per 1,000 people. Childhood obesity rates are among the highest in the Los Angeles region. The Baldwin Hills Park provides badly needed park and recreation opportunities. Children crave the simple joys of playing in the park and need places for physical activity to help reduce the epidemic of obesity and diabetes. Within a five-mile radius of the Baldwin Hills there is only one picnic table for every 10,000 people, one playground for 23,000 children, one soccer field for 34,000 people and one basketball court for 30,000 people. On weekends and especially on holidays, the gates to Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, the only regional park serving three million people within five miles, are often closed before noon because the heavily used park has simply run out of space. 36 Despite degradation due to urbanization, roads, and oil development dating back to the 1920s, many native plants and wildlife remain in the Baldwin Hills. Within minutes of urban Los Angeles, “the delicate balance of plants and wildlife is maintained, where a tranquil recreational experience is easily accessible, and where people can go to enjoy the natural world that is an important part of protecting the health and quality of life in urban communities.”37 Various parks and recreation sites are in the area, including Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, the Ladera Ball Fields, the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, and Culver City Park.38
The following map from the EIR shows the oil field and parklands in the Baldwin Hills study area.
B. The Baldwin Hills Community and African American Los Angeles The Baldwin Hills rest at the environmentally and demographically diverse center of Los Angeles. The Park lies at the intersection of the African-American, Latino and non-Hispanic white communities. The community just east of the Baldwin Hills is over 90% African-American, compared to about 11% in Los Angeles generally, and 22% of the residents live in poverty.39 The African-American community surrounding the Baldwin Hills is the historic heart of AfricanAmerican Los Angeles. Along with Sugar Hill in Harlem, the Baldwin Hills has traditionally been an epicenter of excellence for African-American life and culture across the United States.40 It is necessary to connect the historical dots to understand how and why African-Americans came to live in disproportionate numbers in the areas surrounding the Baldwin Hills without adequate access to parks and recreation.
Despite the prominent role of Blacks in early Los Angeles, Black residential and business patterns began to change in response to discriminatory housing and land use patterns in the twentieth century. 41 The concentration of African-American homes and businesses, and the lack of parks and recreation, in these neighborhoods is not an accident of unplanned growth, but the direct result of the continuing history and pattern of discriminatory land use planning, restrictive housing covenants, federal mortgage subsidies limited to racially homogenous neighborhoods, and discriminatory New Deal economic policies. Prof. Ira Katznelson's book When Affirmative Action Was White documents how racial inequities were aggravated by economic policies dating back to the Great Depression that had the impact of excluding blacks and increasing income, wealth, and class disparities. A continuing legacy of discriminatory economic policies is that the average black family in the United States holds just 10% of the assets of the average white family.42 People of color suffer from the double whammy of disproportionately being deprived of environmental benefits, including parks, while bearing environmental burdens, including toxic sites located in their communities. The national study Toxics Waste and Race at Twenty 1987-2007 documents that California has the nation's highest concentration of people of color living near hazardous waste facilities. Statewide, 81% of people of color living near hazardous waste facilities are people of color. Greater Los Angeles is the worst in the nation, with 1.2 million people living less than two miles from 17 hazardous waste facilities. 91%, or 1.1 million, are people of color. Although about one-third of United States residents are nonwhite, more than half of the people living near such facilities are Latino, African American or Asian American.43 Los Angeles pioneered the use of racially restrictive housing covenants in the early twentieth century. Restrictive city ordinances, housing covenants, and other racially discriminatory measures dramatically limited access by black people to housing, jobs, schools, playgrounds, parks, beaches, restaurants, transportation, and other public accommodations.44 Blacks increasingly became concentrated in South Central Los Angeles. The California Supreme Court sanctioned restrictive covenants in 1919, and California courts continued to reaffirm them as late as 1947. The Federal Housing Authority not only sanctioned racially restrictive restrictions, but developed a recommended formula for their inclusion in subdivision contracts.45 When the United States Supreme Court declared racially restrictive housing covenants unconstitutional and unenforceable in the 1950s, African Americans were free to move west from South Central Los Angeles in search of a better life in the Baldwin Hills. The landmark decisions in Shelley v. Kraemer 46 and Barrows v. Jackson,47 decided in 1948 and 1953, respectively, legally abolished racially restrictive housing covenants. Even after the Supreme Court declared those decisions to be the law of the land, however, the Los Angeles Urban League identified 26 different ploys that white homeowners used to exclude blacks, including payoffs by neighbors to discourage home sales to prospective black buyers, vandalism, cross burnings, bombings, and death threats.48 Until the late 1950s, the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Real Estate Boards contained a provision explicitly prohibiting real estate agents from introducing people of color into white neighborhoods. Banks and developers were unwilling to break the racial lines set by white homeowners and real estate agents. “In the postwar era many individual white homeowners, and virtually all the public and private institutions in the housing market, did everything possible to prevent African Americans from living outside areas that were already predominantly black."49 Impact litigation to prohibit housing discrimination in California continued until the landmark United States Supreme Court case in Reitman v. Mulkey in 1967.50 In the 1960s, as social and legal segregation began to fall, middle and upper class blacks moved westward from South Central Los Angeles. White flight from advancing blacks opened up opportunities to rent or buy housing. Urban renewal programs targeted ethnic areas and wiped out many
nineteenth century buildings and neighborhoods.51 By the 1990s, the Baldwin Hills area, including the Crenshaw District and Leimert Park, had become the geographical focus of black Los Angeles.52 Professor Josh Sides describes the unique role of the Baldwin Hills in the history of African Americans in Los Angeles and across the nation: By the late 1950s and early 1960s, blacks had pushed west and south of West Adams into Leimert Park and the exclusive area of Baldwin Hills, which quickly became the heart of affluent black Los Angeles, a position it still holds today. A five-square-mile area of unincorporated hillside west of Leimert Park/ Crenshaw and south of West Adams, Baldwin Hills boasted large homes and expansive views. Largely undeveloped until the 1940s, hundreds of houses and apartment complexes were built there in the 1950s. As they had in Compton, blacks moved into new and large homes, with an average of four to six bedrooms per household. African Americans in Baldwin Hills were generally much better educated than their South Central counterparts, a fact that translated into greater job opportunities in the post-boom economy. Accordingly, just over 71 percent of all employed African Americans in Baldwin Hills were whitecollar workers. Many Baldwin Hills residents were typical of those who fled South Central after the Watts riot; according to the 1970 census, 57 percent of blacks in Baldwin Hills had lived in the central city in 1965. In addition to superior housing, residents of Baldwin Hills and the nearby Leimert Park and Crenshaw areas also enjoyed many more conveniences as consumers. While many Watts and Willowbrook residents were forced to buy groceries at overpriced liquor stores, Baldwin Hills residents had other options. The Crenshaw Shopping Center -opened in 1947, as one of the first planned suburban malls in the United States -- was the most popular shopping area for local residents. And, during the 1960s, the Baldwin Hills Center and the Ladera Center also opened, offering residents even greater selection and convenience. Central to this improved consumer selection, and middle-class life in general, was the greater mobility of Baldwin Hills residents relative to blacks in the central city. Whereas 57 percent of Baldwin Hills households had one car, and 37 percent had two or more cars, a survey of Watts residents found that 57 percent did not own a car. Perhaps the greatest advantage to residing in Baldwin Hills was the superior quality of the area’s public schools. In 1971, the Los Angeles Department of City Planning described Baldwin Hills public schools as the “the best schools of any city area inhabited primarily by black people" and “on par with those in West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley." In addition to boasting low dropout rates and small class sizes relative to public schools in Watts and South Central, public schools in Baldwin Hills were also more racially integrated.53 C. The Struggle for the Park Never Ends Los Angeles is marred by a history and continuing pattern and practice of racialized private and public space. Historic barriers to open space and recreation are perpetuated today by the poverty of parks in Los Angeles and disparities in access to parks, recreation, and open space based on race, ethnicity, income, and poverty.54 Laura Chick, as the Controller for the City of Los Angeles, has documented the need for a strategic plan to improve access to parks and recreation and alleviate unfair disparities based on race,
ethnicity, and income. The City of Los Angeles has failed and refused to develop and implement such a plan to date.55 As Professor Sides documents in his history of African-American Los Angeles: Though never codified in law, there were many real racial barriers to the alluring amenities of public life in Los Angeles. African American youth, eager to escape the heat of central city summers, seldom found refuge in city swimming pools. In many parks, such as Centinella Park in the all-white suburb of Inglewood [near the Baldwin Hills oil field], blacks were simply not allowed in the pool. In other parks, blacks were allowed to swim only on the day before the pool was cleaned.56 Media accounts extensively document the determination of the people to fight for parklands in the Baldwin Hills, and highlight the disturbing juxtaposition of the oil field and the surrounding natural environment. “Despite offering some of the best views in the Los Angeles Basin, the Baldwin Hills have had a tough time earning their due respect. They've been scalped and terraced, deluged by a burst dam in 1963 and pecked away by hundreds of creaking oil pumps for more than 70 years. High above the urban plain, the terrain now is a mix of eroded ravines, middle-class homes and working oil fields,” according to Joe Mozingo in the Los Angeles Times.57 “Right now much of the Baldwin Hills resembles a conservationist's nightmare, not a dream. But parks officials are imagining -- and planning for -- something different. . . . Surrounding the tidy lawns of the existing park are bulldozer-battered slopes smothered in sagebrush and weeds. Adjacent ridges and canyons are dominated by oil fields, ugly as can be,” according to another Times reporter.58 People in the Baldwin Hills have long looked forward to the opportunities that the Baldwin Hills Park will provide for their children and their quality of life. According to David McNeil, Executive Officer of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, the Park offers benefits that residents other parts of the county enjoy: “Anyone who lives in the Hollywood Hills has Runyon Canyon. . . . Anyone who lives on the Westside has the Santa Monica Mountains. In the Valley, you've got all the trails that are out there. But kids south of the 10 Freeway don't get to do that, unless they go on a bus and drive for an hour and a half each way, which pretty much eats up a lot of the school day. Accessibility has always been the big barrier to outdoor education, and the scenic overlook is going to be the key to letting these kids get that.” 59 The City Project has worked with Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles and community leaders to save the Baldwin Hills community and parks for ten years by stopping a proposed power plant in 2001, stopping a proposed garbage dump in 2003, saving the Baldwin Hills Conservancy and its budget in 2004, and stopping proposed oil wells in 2007. 1. Stopping the Power Plant 2001 The community stopped PXP dead in its tracks from putting a power plant in the planned park in 2001, as reported in the Los Angeles Times: In poor black neighborhoods in Los Angeles, the economic ladder is often perched against the Baldwin Hills.
There, on that lonely hump in the urban plain, lies hope. There, doctors and lawyers and politicians make up one of the wealthiest black communities in the nation. And there, in the heart of the hills, conservationists are hoping to create the crown jewel: a 1,200-acre state park. That partly explains the outrage aroused when [PXP] proposed building a 53-megawatt power plant in the middle of that envisioned green space, on what is now a working oil field. Neighbors managed to come together with environmentalists and civil rights activists in such a strong coalition that they may have rung the project's death knell. . . . To many, the power plant proposal was another slight in a long history of discrimination, from the days of racist real estate covenants to white flight to zoning decisions that seem to put the unwanted--the power plants and chrome plating facilities-in minority neighborhoods.60 The Times supported the creation of a park in the Baldwin Hills in two editorials 2001: “In Baldwin Hills, residents eager to see oil fields transformed into a 1,200-acre park turned out en masse . . . to protest plans to build a power plant on the property. The near- unanimous opposition prompted [PXP and] La Jolla Energy Development Inc. to withdraw from this ill-advised project, allowing work on the imaginative park plans to go forward.”61 According to the second Times editorial: “The community's outcry against the power plant . . . is an outpouring of support for a grand dream of a park in one of the most park-deprived areas of park- poor Los Angeles. The million people who live within a five-mile radius need this oasis.” “Baldwin Hills is not the place to solve the state's energy crisis.”62 The power plant company withdrew its proposal to meet the needs of the community: "‘We listened to the community,’ La Jolla [energy company] President Steve Wilburn said in an interview Thursday. ‘We need to find another place for this [power plant].’"63 After the power plant company listened to the community and withdrew, PXP finally gave up and abandoned the power plant proposal.64 "This effort goes to show that if you show up in numbers and participate and have the facts behind you, you can win,” according to then state Senator Kevin Murray (D-Culver City).65 “Stopping the power plant was a watershed moment in the history of the region and for the historic heart of African American Los Angeles,” said The City Project’s Robert García, as quoted in the Los Angeles Sentinel.66 2. Stopping the Garbage Dump 2003 In 2003, the community defeated the attempt by the City of Los Angeles to put a garbage dump at the base of the park. The state had already purchased land for the park, and the community alliance that fought to keep the dump out pointed out that the “land purchased for the park . . . would be worthless because no one would visit a park that reeks of garbage and smog from passing dump trucks.” The alliance said that placing the dump in the Baldwin Hills would be “a slap in the face of the African American community.”67 The community won and stopped the dump. 3. Saving the Conservancy and its Budget in 2004 In 2004, the Governor’s office threatened to eliminate the Baldwin Hills Conservancy. The community fought back and won.
“First they fought off a power plant. Then they defeated a garbage dump. Now people who have struggled for decades to transform a forlorn patch of hills and swamps into a park stretching from the Baldwin Hills to Culver City are preparing to take on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger,” according to Lisa Richardson reporting for the Los Angeles Times.68 “The community has fought hard for this world-class park and they will not stop fighting now,” said Erica Flores [a Staff Attorney with The City Project] . . . . “We will work with the community and do everything possible to preserve the Baldwin Hills Conservancy and save the park in Baldwin Hills. This is not the first time that the park has been threatened. This community has fought before. This is a community that has had its share of degradation. There are very few places where families can go. This is a park that is right in the backyard of our families.” 69 “This is an important fight. If we don’t win this fight, we don’t have a park. We are considered to be park poor in our community. The reason that the conservancy was established was because we have been neglected in terms of open space and park space. It is a critical need in our communities because there is so little open and park space,” according to Bill Vanderberg, spokesman for Friends of the Baldwin Hills.70 The community defeated the threat to eliminate the Baldwin Hills Conservancy. 4. Stopping 24 New Oil Wells In 2007, PXP submitted an application to the State Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR, pronounced “dogger”) for 24 new oil wells, without proper environmental review. The community stopped PXP from drilling those wells, as reported in Los Angeles City Beat. At the moment, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,400-to-1,500 wells dot the landscape all along South La Brea Boulevard as it goes up and over the big bulbous dome that rises up between the I-10 and South L.A. What difference could 24 new wells make? To those who are looking past the age of oil, it makes all the difference in the world. Last December, Houston-based oil and gas company PXP, which owns nearly 900 acres in the region, submitted a routine permit application with county and state agencies in order to open up additional wells, but residents' reaction was anything but routine: There was an instantaneous outcry from an increasing number of activists and local dwellers who advocate retiring the pumps and transforming the area into a park.71 D. Green Access and Equity The Baldwin Hills reflect the pattern of unfair disparities in access to park and recreation resources in Los Angeles County, in Southern California, throughout the state, and across the nation based on race, color or national origin, as well as poverty and income. A survey by the Public Policy Institute of California reported that a majority of residents (58%) believe that compared to wealthier neighborhoods, lower-income and minority neighborhoods have more than their fair share of toxic waste and polluting facilities. Fully 64% of Californians believe poorer communities have less than their fair share of well-maintained parks and recreational facilities. Latinos are far more likely than non-Hispanic whites (72% to 60%) to say that poorer communities do not receive their fair share of parks and recreational facilities. 72 Unfair park, school, and health disparities are not just the result of bad management or dumb policies and
practices. Compliance with the civil rights laws is necessary to eliminate "business as usual" that perpetuates the pattern and history of park, school, and health disparities. According to the academic authors of Rethinking Urban Parks, “racist ideology and practices underlie the cultural processes and forms of exclusion we describe in urban parks and beaches. We intend this work to be antiracist at its core, and to contribute to a better understanding of how racism, as a system of racial advantage/disadvantage, configures everyday park use and management.”73 The EIR recognizes that the Baldwin Hills area is park poor and that this can have devastating consequences on the health and quality of life for the community.74 1. Green Access and Equity for Los Angeles County The following map shows green access and equity in Los Angeles. Children of color living in poverty with no access to a car have the worst access to parks and to school fields with five acres or more of playing fields. These children disproportionately suffer from the highest levels of child obesity.75
2. Childhood Obesity and Park Access in Los Angeles County The prevalence of childhood obesity for 128 cities and communities in Los Angeles County is shown in the following map and analyses published by the county health department.
Cities with less open area set aside as parks, recreational area, or wilderness area were more likely to have a higher prevalence of children who are obese. The prevalence of childhood obesity varied significantly among cities and communities, from a low of 4% in Manhattan Beach to a high of 37% in Maywood, and was found to be strongly associated with economic hardship. The County Health Department found a higher prevalence of obesity in cities or communities where the economic burden (higher poverty, unemployment, median income, lower educational attainment, more dependents, crowded housing) was greater.76 The Health Department did not consider obesity disparities based on race, color or national origin, as discussed below. 3. Green Access and Equity in Southern California The Southern California Association of Governments (“SCAG”) directly addresses the need to improve access to parks and recreation for all, particularly low-income communities, in the 2008 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) Environmental Justice Report. According to SCAG: Public parks serve all residents. . . . However, not all neighborhoods and people have equal access to these public resources,” including local, state, and national parks. A multi-agency effort must be undertaken in order to further address and
remedy the issue of inequity of park access.77 Access to parks is inequitable, particularly for low-income neighborhoods, in the five county Southern California SCAG region. The following map adapted from the SCAG Environmental Justice Report illustrates the inequitable disparities in access to parks based on income. Communities in the bottom 20% income level, shown in the red hot spots, have virtually no parks in their communities.
4. Green Access and Equity throughout California Los Angeles County is one of the eight counties in the state with the greatest need for green space – in combined terms of the fewest acres of green space per thousand residents, and highest levels of child obesity, youth, poverty, and people of color. These facts are illustrated in the following map and analysis.78
5. No Place to Play Across the Nation Nationally, there are disparities in access to safe places to play based on race, color or national origin, as well as income and poverty. While 87% of non-Hispanic respondents reported that “there are safe places for children to play” in their neighborhood, only 68% of Hispanics, 71% of African Americans, and 81% of Asians agreed, according to the Census Bureau survey “A Child’s Day.”79 Almost half (48%) of Hispanic children under 18 in central cities were kept inside as much as possible because their neighborhoods were perceived as dangerous. The same was true for more than 39% of black children, 25% of non-Hispanic white children, and 24% of Asian children.80 Non-Hispanic white children and youth were most likely to participate in after school sports, with Hispanic children and children in poverty least likely.81 Children involved in sports and extracurricular activities tend to score higher on standardized tests and are less likely to engage in antisocial behavior.82 V. The Baldwin Hills Oil Field A. Problems in the Oil Field 1. The Baldwin Hills Dam Burst On December 14, 1963, the Baldwin Hills Dam burst, causing a massive flood. The 20-acre basin behind the dam had been filled to a depth of 70 feet and held approximately 250 million gallons of water. The flood inundated an area of one square mile with mud and debris, killing five people, damaging or destroying 277 homes, and causing $12 million in property damage.83 The damage could have been far worse, but fortunately a dam caretaker noticed the crack starting to form a few hours before the flood started and was able to warn most of the local residents to evacuate the area. Dramatic footage of the actual flood can be seen on YouTube.84 The site of the dam was in close proximity to the Inglewood oil field. According to a landmark Stanford University study in 1971, the crack in the dam was caused by subsidence, in which the ground underneath dropped several feet over time. The subsidence was accelerated and supplemented by oil extraction and injection at high pressures to push oil out, according to the study.85 The area that had been the Baldwin Hills Reservoir before the dam burst in 1963 is now part of the Kenneth Hahn State Recreational Area. First, the park encompassed 50 acres and was then expanded to cover 320 acres.86 Now there are plans to expand this parkland further, connecting it with the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook that opened in April 2009 as part of the planned 1,200 acre (2 square mile) park. 2. Expanding Oil Field Operations As a result of the past 85 years of drilling, and driven by higher oil prices, the oil company must now use “enhanced recovery techniques,” that involve injecting high pressure water into the earth to extract the oil and gas from reservoirs located generally between 1,000 and 10,000 feet beneath the surface.87 In late 2006, PXP pursued deeper drilling (more than 6,000 feet below the surface), leading to increased risk and the noxious gas releases described below. 88 Enhanced recovery extracts a mixture of water (97%), gas and oil, which PXP then processes at a central plant on-site to remove the crude oil from the water and remove hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, ethane, propane, butane, etc., from the natural gas.89
Residents say the renewed assault on the land is polluting the air and causing their homes to crack. ''It's like a loud consistent hum under your feet,'' said resident Fran Baker, who blames myriad health problems, including cancer, on the oil field. She said she can feel the ground shiver in the middle of the night.90 “They stand to profit -- tremendously -- at the expense of the community," noted 28-year resident Sally Hampton. "And drilling in our neighborhood is not going to solve the oil crisis.”91 Complaints about noise and fumes are routine in the neighborhood. "It's scary enough that I might have to move," said Gary Gless, a community resident. "Thousands of homes will be affected.”92 “[R]esearchers from the U.S. Geological Survey . . . have indicated that portions of the Baldwin Hills are actually uplifting as a result of secondary recovery-related waterflood operations. . . . It is also possible that, as secondary recovery becomes more widespread, waterflood operations may be accompanied by an increase in the potential hazard of earthquakes induced by injection of water, as has occurred in two locations in Colorado . . . with earthquakes in excess of magnitude 5.”93 “The [Baldwin Hills] Oil Field . . . includes portions of the seismically-active NewportInglewood Fault, which is capable of generating up to a 7.4 earthquake.”94 3. Noxious Gas Emissions in 2006 Around midnight on January 10, 2006, residents of the Culver Crest neighborhood evacuated their homes when noxious gases drifted into the area. Culver City received approximately 60 complaints about the odors. The Culver City Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the South Coast Air Quality Management District ("SCAQMD"), and the Los Angeles County Health & Hazardous Materials Department sent representatives to investigate.95 According to the SCAQMD Report: [O]n January 10th at 21:30hrs, [PXP's] crew had encountered a large methane gas pocket (trap) during the drilling activities at a depth of 8850ft. The build up of methane gas immediately occurred during the drilling operation in which a large amount of drilling spoils and other contaminated base material sprayed out from the well head during the shut down process which occurred until nearly 1:30hrs on January 11th. Approximately 400 barrels of petroleum contaminated mud was stockpiled inside an adjacent open sump with at least 10 barrels on the ground surrounding the drill rig equipment. At 06:00hrs, [the SCAQMD Inspector] inspected the sump location and detected a very heavy petroleum odor throughout the location. The nearest residence is less than 1/2 mile south of the drill rig site.96 On February 6-7, 2006, gases once again drifted into neighborhoods around the oil field. SCAQMD received complaints from Culver Crest residents and West Los Angeles College.97 PXP nevertheless shrugged its shoulders and claimed "there was no gas release and really nothing we could do to prevent it -- it was routine, daytime operations."98 The SCAQMD issued a notice
of violation to PXP because "[d]ischarge from oil well drilling operation caused nuisance to a considerable number of people."99
As shown in the map, those who live, learn, work, play and pray in the large area marked in yellow and orange risk being exposed to noxious gases. This risk disproportionately impacts people of color, because they disproportionately live in the area, as demonstrated by the demographics of the community.100 4. Lax Oversight of Oil Operations There is a history of lax oversight of PXP oil operations. One state engineer charged with granting new oil well permits owned stock in the oil company whose wells he was approving, and solicited donations from the oil companies he regulated for his wife's nonprofit, according to emails obtained by the Associated Press and an investigation by the State Auditor.101
''Just keep up the good work,'' state regulator Floyd Leeson, an engineer with the state Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources, wrote to a PXP official in 2005, ''and I will TRY to keep (my boss) from hitting you guys with any more retarded fines . . . Remember, I'm on YOUR side . . . go PXP!' In another exchange with PXP in 2005, Leeson complimented his own work on behalf of PXP. ''I'm a good 'shill' if I say so myself.''102 After the 2006 gas leak, Leeson warned PXP that they should submit their requests for new oil permits before his agency placed a hold on new permits. After the county issued a temporary moratorium on new drilling in June 2006, Leeson approved 24 new wells in three days, a process that at the time could take weeks.103 Once the community began to complain about the State permit process, Leeson was investigated by the State Auditor, who found that he misused his position and should have protected the State's interests. His agency pursued ''adverse action'' against him, and Leeson resigned. 104 According to Michael Bauer, president of the Culver Crest Neighborhood Association, their ''worst fears were confirmed'' by the exchanges between the state regulator and PXP. ''These revelations shock our faith in the integrity of the oversight process for oil drilling in our community,'' he wrote. ''Both the regulators and the oil company acted irresponsibly . . . This is a classic case of the fox guarding the hen house, where we are the defenseless chickens.'' 105 B. The Oil Field Zoning Regulations (CSD) and Environmental Impact Report Although operations had been ongoing since 1924, at the time of the January 2006 noxious gas release, there were limited County zoning regulations controlling oil field operations, and none controlling expansion.106 In June 2006, the County Board of Supervisors adopted an urgency ordinance "to impose additional temporary restrictions on the drilling of new wells and the deepening of existing wells in the Baldwin Hills Zoned District and initiate a zoning study to consider potential additional permanent regulations of these historical oil and gas production operations in that area, including a determination of the appropriate environmental review to be required."107 The emergency ordinance was ultimately extended until June 2008. In August 2006, the Board of Supervisors voted to extend the urgency ordinance in order to “consider a possible permanent zoning ordinance amendment with respect to oil well operations,” noting that “in the past year, there has been a number of complaints by nearby residents,” and that “[t]hese complaints coincide with a dramatic upsurge in the drilling and deepening of oil wells in this area.”108 The County ultimately concluded that an environmental impact report would be prepared for the oil field zoning regulations, and the impacts of the oil field activities would be thoroughly evaluated.109 After six hearings before the County Planning Commission and two hearings before the Board of Supervisors, the County adopted the final EIR and oil field zoning regulations in October 2008, just before County Supervisor Yvonne Burke left office. The EIR and oil field regulations do not adequately protect human health and the environment, for the reasons outlined above.110
VI. The Values at Stake The Baldwin Hills parklands offer multiple benefits. These benefits include the simple joys of playing in the park; social cohesion, or bringing people together; improved physical, psychological, and social health; youth development and improved academic performance; positive alternatives for at risk youth; violence prevention; economic vitality for all; climate justice and promoting conservation values of clean air, water, and land, and habitat protection; art, culture and historic preservation; promoting spiritual and indigenous values in protecting the earth and its people; and sustainable regional planning. Fundamental principles of equal justice and democracy cut across these other values.111 A. Diverse Values Bring People Together 1. Fun Fun is not frivolous. Children have the right to the simple joys of playing in parks and safe green spaces. The United Nations recognizes the right to play as a fundamental human right.112 The United States was founded in part for the pursuit of happiness.113 2. Human Health Social science research demonstrates how important physical activity is for the full development of the person. For example, recent studies on the impact of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 on progress in the work place and human health found that equal access to sports makes a long term difference in a person’s life. “It’s not just that the people who are going to do well in life play sports, but that sports help people do better in life,” according to the author of the report. “While I only show this for girls, it’s reasonable to believe it’s true for boys as well.”114 A large body of research shows that sports are associated with all sorts of benefits, like lower teenage pregnancy rates, better grades and higher self-esteem. But until now, no one has determined whether those improvements are a direct result of athletic participation. . . . Now, separate studies from two economists offer some answers, providing the strongest evidence yet that team sports can result in lifelong improvements to educational, work and health prospects.115 Using a complex analysis, a study from the University of Pennsylvania showed that increasing girls’ sports participation had a direct effect on women’s education and employment. The changes set in motion by Title IX explained about 20 percent of the increase in women’s education, and about 40 percent of the rise in employment for 25-to-34-year-old women. The study untangles the effects of sports participation from other confounding factors — school size, climate, social and personal differences among athletes — and comes closer to determining a cause and effect relationship between high school sports participation and achievement later in life.116 A separate study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that the increase in girls’ athletic participation following the enactment of Title IX was associated with a 7 percent lower risk of obesity 20 to 25 years later, when women were in their late 30s and early 40s.117 According to a recent academic study published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, park access is a strong indicator of physical activity, and there are disparities in park access for low
income populations and people of color. Key findings include the following. Park proximity is associated with higher levels of park use and physical activity among a variety of populations, particularly youth. Having more parks and more park area (e.g., acreage) within a community is associated with higher physical activity levels. Lower-income populations and some racial and ethnic populations have limited access to parks and recreational facilities. These disparities partially explain lower physical activity levels among these populations. Perceived park aesthetics, condition and safety may be associated with park visitation and physical activity levels within parks.118 Human health includes more than reducing obesity and diabetes, and includes the contributions of the built environment to the full development of the person and community through physical activity, youth development and violence prevention. Parks and open space provide health benefits to all people, from young children to senior citizens, and everyone in between. These benefits broadly include increased physical activity, improved psychological well-being, and fewer doctor visits.119 Parks and physical activity are an integral part of a comprehensive approach to healthcare and the built environment. As the nation struggles to come to grips with spiraling costs of medical care, improving the built environment through parks and green space should be embraced as a form of preventive care. Indeed, many experts consider providing safe parks and other recreation spaces as a primary form of preventive medicine.120 a. Physical Activity and Obesity This is the first generation in the history of the country in which children could have a lower life expectancy than their parents if childhood obesity is not reversed.121 Organizations such as the California Endowment,122 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation123 and the Trust for America’s Health 124 recognize that access to safe and healthy places to live, work, learn, and play is vital in the fight against obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and the President’s Council on Fitness and Sports have announced a goal of increasing the proportion of adolescents who engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes five days a week by 2010.125 Evidence-based research illustrates the profound health implications of the lack of parks and recreation. The precipitous decline in children's physical activity levels, and escalating rates of childhood obesity and diabetes, are alarming national epidemics.126 More than one out of every four adolescents in California (29%) -- nearly one million teenagers -- get less than the recommended levels of physical activity.127 Inactivity and obesity are even more significant among people of color and low-income communities. Physical activity can help prevent childhood obesity and related health problems including diabetes. Children who are physically fit perform better in school.128 After engaging in physical activity, children perform better on tasks requiring concentration. Physical education quality and quantity are particularly deficient for less affluent students and those in racial and ethnic groups at high risk for overweight and obesity.129 Regular physical activity, along with a healthful diet, is key to preventing obesity and many chronic health conditions associated with obesity. Insufficient physical activity contributes to obesity and to risk of complications and death from chronic conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and some cancers.130 It is also associated with greatly increased costs for medical care and lost productivity. The combined cost to California of overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity is estimated to be $41.2 billion annually.131 The cost of obesity in the United States is $117 billion annually, including health care costs and lost productivity. 132
There are unfair disparities in overweight and physically unfit children in California based on race, color or national origin, as illustrated in the following chart. Overweight and Physically Unfit Children in California133 Race/Ethnicity
Getting children and adults physically active can help combat obesity. Children and adults who live in communities with parks, athletic fields, nature centers and other recreational facilities are more physically active.134 This is particularly true for low-income communities. One study found that people in low-income areas who live within one mile of a park exercised 38% more than people who lived farther away.135 Unfortunately, low-income areas often lack places for physical activity, including parks and school fields. This is one reason that children and teens in low-income areas and children of color have a lower percentage of physically active youth and are especially vulnerable to obesity.136 Access to safe parks or other places for physical activity, along with other characteristics of the neighborhoods where adolescents live, have an important effect on whether teens meet recommendations for physical activity, and whether they get any activity at all.137 In California, the percent of teens engaging in regular physical activity is higher when teens have access to a safe park than when they have no access. In addition, the percentage of teens who get no physical activity at all is higher among those with no access to a safe park.138 b. Youth Development and Violence Prevention School children who regularly participate in physical activity, whether during or outside of school hours, do better academically.139 Regular physical activity breaks during the school day improve students’ cognitive performance and promote on-task classroom behavior in elementary school.140 In an era when shrinking school budgets and increased pressure to meet academic standards measured by standardized tests is leading to a decline in physical education classes and schoolsponsored athletic programs, research indicates that students who have sacrificed physical education for more time in the classroom do not perform better academically.141 Active recreation and team sports in parks can promote positive choices and help reduce youth violence, crime, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy. Sports and recreation can provide life-long lessons in teamwork, build character and improve academics. 142 Interscholastic sports lead to decreased drop out rates for both boys and girls.143 The bottom line is that physical activity is an important element of child development and parks provide a venue for children to engage in physical activity.
c. Stress, Depression, and Mental Functioning In the environments of modern cities, parks and open spaces provide needed reprieve from the everyday stressors that lead to mental fatigue. This improves the health of adults and children by reducing stress and depression and improving focus, attention span, productivity, and recovery from illness.144 Spending time in parks can reduce irritability and impulsivity and promote intellectual and physical development in children and teenagers by providing a safe and engaging environment to interact and develop social skills, language and reasoning abilities, as well as muscle strength and coordination. Researchers have found associations between contact with natural environment and improvements in the functioning of children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).145 Contact with natural environments, such as trees, has also been found to be associated with increases in the psychological resources of individuals living in public housing to make changes that will improve their lives and decreases in “mental fatigue” and finding problems insurmountable.146 For people who had recently experienced a stressful event in their life, the simple act of driving by parks and green spaces improved their rate of recovery.147 Parks provide a place for social support and an opportunity for self-determination, both important factors in reducing stress, lowering anxiety, and improving a person’s overall mood. This is true for children and adults.148 Social support is derived from the friendship or companionship that comes from the shared experience of participating in activities in a park with other people. The psychological benefits of self-determination come when a person voluntarily chooses to visit a park. By being in a recreational setting, that person is exercising the freedom to decide for himself or herself how they want to spend their time.149 People who do not have easy access to parks do not have the same opportunities for social support and self-determination as people who have parks close by. d. Recovery from Illness and Stress Parks and green space have direct healing effects. A classic study demonstrated that views of trees enhance the recovery of surgical patients and shortens the duration of hospitalizations.150 Living in greener environments reduces the number of health complaints.151 3. Social Cohesion – Bringing People Together Parks and recreation programs that serve the diverse needs of diverse users bring people together in the public commons for the public good. Numerous studies document how people attach different values to green space and use green space differently, both in urban and non-urban contexts.152 Greener parks satisfy needs for interaction by enticing residents into public spaces. Parks become a source of community pride and inspiration. Social interaction and neighborhood spaces have been identified as key facets of healthy communities supporting social networks, social support, and social integration.153 Sociability may contribute to a sense of belonging and community. In a study conducted at a large public housing development in Chicago, Illinois, vegetated areas were used by significantly more people and those individuals were more likely to be engaged in social activities than similar areas without vegetation.154 4. Economics, Green Jobs, and Wealth Creation Parks and recreation help to strengthen and stimulate California’s economy through recreation-
related sales of clothing, equipment, fees and services, the revenues generated from the tourism and hospitality industries, and increased property values.155 Infrastructure bonds can be used to create local green jobs and an even playing field for small business enterprises. Affordable housing and other forms of wealth creation can help stop gentrification and displacement when parks and schools revitalize communities. It is necessary to ensure that the economic benefits of parks and green space are distributed equitably.156 5. Climate Justice and Conservation Parks and natural open spaces promote conservation values including climate justice, clean air, water, and ground; and habitat protection. Green spaces in parks, schools, playing fields, and other public places allow people to interact with nature and to take value from being in a natural setting. These interactions take on additional importance as more and more people are living in urban settings. For many individuals, particularly in low-income urban areas, parks and open space represent their only opportunity to escape the built environment, play on grass, and experience a diversity of wildlife. Parks and open spaces have other important environmental benefits, as well. One service provided by green space is the absorption and natural filtration of storm water. This can help reduce flooding while also improving water quality. Developing flood control basins as parks and playing fields can yield the dual benefits of preventing floods and providing space for residents to recreate. Careful attention must be paid, however, to ensure the safety of all users of park space that has been developed in flood control basins. Other important environmental services provided by parks include reducing urban heat effects and helping to combat climate change. Asphalt, concrete, and other man-made building materials trap heat, making the local environment less comfortable for people. In turn, people are more likely to stay inside, less likely to walk or bicycle between destinations, and more likely to run air conditioners and keep lights on. The result is that people are less physically active and consume more fossil fuel-based energy that contributes to global warming.157 Green spaces, on the other hand, work to actively avoid urban heat effects while also promoting physical activity and reducing the need to consume fossil fuel energy. Another way parks help stop climate change is by occupying the space that would otherwise be used to construct and operate buildings that generate global warming-causing greenhouse gases. Open space allows a community to avoid having more buildings and the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases they emit.158 A third way parks help stop global warming is by actively taking greenhouse gases out of the air. Trees, grass, and other plants require carbon dioxide to grow and literally remove these gases from the air for their own use, therefore preventing those gases from contributing to climate change.159 The bottom line is that parks make cities more livable, and people in livable cities are more likely to live efficiently and thus reduce their impact on the environment. 160 Climate justice and global warming is fundamentally an issue of human rights that connects the local to the global. With rising temperatures, human lives—particularly in communities of color, low-income, and indigenous communities—are affected by compromised health, financial burdens, and social and cultural disruptions. Moreover, those who are most affected are least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions that cause the problem—both globally and within the United States. These communities are the least able to bear the burdens of correcting global warming absent appropriate conservation, economic, and equitable measures.161 6. Spiritual Values in Protecting the Earth and its People
Social justice and stewardship of the earth motivate spiritual leaders to support parks, green space and equal justice. The United Church of Christ has published the environmental justice studies on toxics in 1987 and 2007 discussed above.162 Cardinal Roger Mahony, and the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, have actively supported equal access to parks and natural space.163 Protecting the earth and its people bears a special meaning in the values of indigenous people around the world.164 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú has praised work to promote equal access to parks and recreation as a way of giving children hope and saying no to violence.165 In 2004, the Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to Kenyan woman Wangari Muta Maathai for planting trees and speaking out for women.166 The award is an explicit recognition that there is more at stake in caring for creation than mainstream environmental values. 7. Equal Justice and Democracy Fundamental principles of equal justice and democracy underlie each of the other values above. The maps and demographic analyses in this Policy Report document unfair disparities in access to natural public places. As a matter of simple justice, parks, school fields, and other natural public places are a public resource, and the benefits and burdens should be distributed equally.167 Those who lack adequate access to these resources are disproportionately at risk for health problems and face more challenges to enjoying the quality of life improvements associated with parks and open spaces. B. The Values at Stake Are Reflected in the Baldwin Hills Parklands The Baldwin Hills Conservancy is in place to develop the Baldwin Hills parklands as a result of legislation over the years. Thus, for example, Senate Bill No. 1048 (Murray, 1999) provides for the planning and expansion of the Baldwin Hills park and articulates diverse values at stake, including: “Increase active recreation opportunities for underserved communities,” and “Restore industrial lands to park and open-space purposes,” aesthetics, habitat protection, and water quality.168 This legislation assumes eventual conversion of the oil field into parkland. To advance that goal, the Baldwin Hills Conservancy was created as part of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy Act.169 The purpose of the Conservancy includes: “To acquire and manage public lands within the Baldwin Hills area, and to provide recreational, open-space, wildlife habitat restoration and protection, and lands for educational uses within the area.”170 The powers and duties of the Conservancy include developing and coordinating an integrated program of resource stewardship so that the entire Baldwin Hills area is managed for optimum recreational and natural resource values based upon the needs and desires of the surrounding community, establishing policies and priorities within the Baldwin Hills area, and conducting planning activities in accordance with the purposes set forth in the Baldwin Hills Conservancy Act. The Act defines the "Baldwin Hills area" to include the Baldwin Hills Oil Field.171 After at least eight public workshops involving more than 800 participants, the Conservancy adopted the Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan as required by Public Resources Code Section 32565.5(f). The County was an active participant in the development and adoption of the Plan, as were Stocker Resources (PXP's predecessor in interest) and multiple landowners of the oil field.172 The County in the EIR did not evaluate the oil drilling regulations for consistency with the 2002
Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan.173 Other laws and policies reflect the public policy to promote Environmental Justice, as discussed below. VII. Civil Rights and Environmental Justice Laws People of color in the Baldwin Hills area disproportionately bear the environmental burdens of the oil field operations, and are disproportionately denied environmental benefits such as parks. and economic benefits such as oil profits, as discussed above.174 The County recognizes the need to study and mitigate or avoid social, economic, and environmental justice effects when it concedes in the EIR that “[t]he potential future development could disproportionately impact minority and/or low-income populations.”175 The County nevertheless concludes: “No mitigation recommended.”176 The County has not adequately analyzed the facts or the law regarding social, economic, and Environmental Justice effects of the oil fields, in the EIR or anywhere else.177 These matters are analyzed in the briefs that petitioners have filed in the Baldwin Hills litigation.178 A. Civil Rights Standards Recipients of public funds including the County of Los Angeles are prohibited from engaging in practices that have the intent or the effect of discriminating based on race or ethnicity. Title VI of the Civil Rights of 1964 and its implementing regulations prohibit both (1) intentional discrimination based on race, color or national origin, and (2) unjustified discriminatory impacts for which there are less discriminatory alternatives, by recipients of federal financial assistance including the County.179 An important purpose of the statutory equal justice framework is to ensure that recipients of public funds do not maintain policies or practices that result in discrimination based on race, color or national origin.180 Stated in positive terms, recipients of federal funds under civil rights laws and principles must prepare an equity analysis and plan that includes the following elements: (1) a clear description of what is planned; (2) an analysis of the impact on all populations, including minority and low income populations; (3) an analysis of available alternatives; (4) the documented inclusion of minority and low income populations in the study and decision-making process; and (5) an implementation plan to address any concerns identified in the equity analysis. This is consistent with the equity analysis and plan that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has required the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) to conduct as a condition of receiving federal funds under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and its regulations.181 This equity plan and analysis is consistent with the requirements for federal funding imposed by then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo on the City of Los Angeles
for the site that is now the Los Angeles State Historic Park at the Cornfield. Secretary Cuomo withheld federal funds for a proposed warehouse project at the site unless there was a full environmental impact statement including an environmental justice analysis that considered the park alternative and the impact on people of color.182 The regulations that every federal agency has enacted pursuant to Title VI bar criteria or methods of administration by recipients of federal funds that have the effect of subjecting persons to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of a program with respect to individuals of a particular race, color, or national origin.183 These regulations embody the discriminatory impact standard. Intent to discriminate is not required under this standard. To receive federal funds, a recipient must certify that its programs and activities comply with Title VI and its regulations.184 In furtherance of this obligation, recipients such as the County must collect, maintain, and provide upon request timely, complete, and accurate compliance information.185 The Office of Management and Budget has circulated guidance specifying that recipients of federal funds including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) are to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as other equal opportunity laws and principles.186 The United States Department of Justice under President Obama has re-emphasized the need for federal agencies to enforce, and recipients of federal funds to proactively comply with, equal justice laws and principles including Title VI.187 The Ninth Circuit has recently condemned the United States Environmental Protection Agency for its pattern of failing to investigate Environmental Justice complaints.188 California law also prohibits both intentional discrimination and unjustified discriminatory impacts under Government Code section 11135 and its regulations, which are analogous to Title VI and its regulations.189 The regulations pursuant to 11135 bar criteria or methods of administration that have the purpose or effect of subjecting a person to discrimination on the basis of ethnic group identification or color. Intent to discriminate is not required under the discriminatory impact standard.190 In addition, California law defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” 191 The inquiry under the disparate impact standard is: (1) whether a practice has a disproportionate impact based on race, color or national origin; (2) if so, the recipient of public funds such as the County bears the burden of proving that such action is justified by business necessity; and (3) even if the action would otherwise be justified, the action is prohibited if there are less discriminatory alternatives to accomplish the same objective.192 The following is evidence of intentional discrimination: (1) the impact of the action and whether it bears more heavily on one group than another; (2) a history of discrimination; (3) departures from substantive norms; (4) departures from procedural norms in reaching a decision; (5) whether the decision maker knows of the harm its decision will cause; and (6) a pattern or practice of discrimination.193 The disproportionate impacts on people of color of the Baldwin Hills oil field and regulations are analyzed throughout this Policy Report. The history and pattern of discrimination against people of color in the Baldwin Hills are discussed above.194 The substantive and procedural irregularities
with the oil field regulations and EIR are discussed above and in Petitioners’ Briefs in the Baldwin Hills litigation.195 The County knew of the harm its decision to adopt the EIR and oil field regulations would cause because community allies raised these concerns throughout the planning process.196 B. Social and Economic Effects under CEQA Guidelines Under the CEQA Guidelines, social or economic effects caused by the oil field may be used to determine the significance of physical changes. Conversely, physical changes causing social or economic effects may constitute significant effects on the environment. The disproportionate impacts on people of color and low income people discussed throughout this Policy Report are social or economic effects caused by the oil field that the County must analyze to determine the significance of physical changes.197 “When there is evidence . . . that economic and social effects caused by a project . . . could result in a reasonably foreseeable indirect environmental impact, such as urban decay or deterioration, then the CEQA lead agency is obligated to assess this indirect environmental impact.”198 The EIR provides graphic textbook examples of urban decay and deterioration in the Baldwin Hills study area, as illustrated in the Appendix attached to this Policy Report. The EIR should have studied and mitigated or avoided disproportionate effects based on race, color or national origin, poverty and income discussed throughout this Policy Report, including: urban decay and deterioration; park access, recreation and quality of life; human health; obesity; air quality; air toxics/public health; risk of upset; noise; vibration; secondary impacts from mitigation measures; project alternatives; living, worshipping, learning and doing business in the natural environment in the study area, and cumulative impacts on quality of life in the Baldwin Hills.199 As the United State Supreme Court has observed, “Aesthetic and environmental wellbeing, like economic well-being, are important ingredients of the quality of life in our society.”200 The County did not follow best practice examples of how to analyze Environmental Justice in the EIR. The EIR recites a laundry list of laws and policies on Environmental Justice, but fails to analyze the significance of the facts under those standards.201 Thus, for example, the EIR mentions the Environmental Justice work of the Southern California Association of Governments and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but fails to analyze either. 202 The City Project and its allies provided public comments with an appropriate Environmental Justice framework during the planning process, which the County ignored in the EIR.203 The County failed to do the necessary work to educate itself about the methodology for doing a proper analysis of social, economic, and Environmental Justice impacts, and failed to make inquiries of agencies having expertise in the matter. The County has yet to develop and implement a proper equity analysis and plan – for example, as part of the Baldwin Hills health study, the study of the oil field regulations commissioned by the board of supervisors, or the implementation plan for the regulations. These equal justice matters are analyzed in the briefs that petitioners have filed in the Baldwin Hills litigation.204
Best practice examples of civil rights and Environmental Justice analyses under federal and state civil rights laws including Title VI and 11135 and their regulations include the analyses in the following documents: • Petitioners’ briefs in the Baldwin Hills litigation and this Policy Report; • The Environmental Justice analysis for plaintiffs and the class in the landmark Title VI class action Labor Community Strategy Center v. Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority; • The decision by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo withholding federal funds for a proposed warehouse project unless there was a full environmental impact statement including an environmental justice analysis in what is now the Los Angeles State Historic Park (Cornfield), and the related Administrative Complaint; • Public Comments by The City Project and United Coalition to Protect Panhe to stop the proposed toll road and save the Native American Sacred Site of Panhe and San Onofre State Beach; • The SCAG 2008 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) Environmental Justice Report; • The Los Angeles Unified School District implementation plan for enforcing physical education and civil rights requirements; and • The final EIR/EIS for the modernization of Los Angeles International Airport.205 C. Responses To Environmental Justice Counter-Arguments 1. The County claims:“CEQA does not require an analysis of social and economic impacts, and there is no CEQA requirement to evaluate environmental justice impacts. CEQA requires only an analysis of physical impacts to the environment.”206 The CEQA Guidelines provide that economic or social effects of a project may be used to determine the significance of physical changes caused by the project. The physical impacts of the oil field may cause Environmental Justice impacts that render the effects significant.207 Thus the California Court of Appeal has held: "When there is evidence . . . that economic and social effects caused by a project . . . could result in a reasonably foreseeable indirect environmental impact, such as urban decay or deterioration, then the CEQA lead agency is obligated to assess this indirect environmental impact."208 The EIR provides graphic textbook examples of urban decay and deterioration, as illustrated in the images and text describing the Baldwin Hills oil field in the attached Appendix.209 Economic or social effects caused by the physical impacts of the Baldwin Hills oil field disproportionately impact minority populations and low income populations are Environmental Justice impacts, and require analysis under CEQA for the same reasons. 2. The County argues: “The County chose to evaluate and disclose environmental justice impacts even though it is not required, but there is simply no legal basis for challenging the County’s analysis because it is not required in the first place.”210 The County is in fact required to analyze the Environmental Justice impacts correctly, having set out to evaluate those impacts, the County must do so correctly under environmental and civil rights laws and principles. The CEQA Guidelines require adequacy, completeness, and a good faith effort at full disclosure.211
3. The County argues: “The oil field regulations advance the cause of environmental justice; that is part of the reason that the County adopted it.” 212 Without a proper analysis, the County cannot determine whether the regulations advance or impede Environmental Justice, and the public can have no confidence in the actions of the County or the oil company. 4. The oil company argues: “Petitioners do not provide any examples of what disproportionate impacts by the Oil Field caused a significant impact to environmental justice.” 213 Petitioners’ briefs have thoroughly analyzed the impacts that disproportionately impact people of color and low income people, including the impacts on: urban decay and deterioration; lack of park access and recreation; increased human health concerns; obesity; air quality; air toxics/public health; risk of upset; noise; vibration; significant irreversible environmental changes; secondary impacts from mitigation measures; project alternatives; living, worshipping, learning and doing business in the natural environment in the study area, and cumulative impacts on quality of life.214 5. The County argues: “The oil field was there first,” before the people.215 PXP's lawyer argues, "People who live in surrounding communities knew the oil field was there when they decided to move in."216 The argument is specious and offensive on many levels. First, people come before oil company profits. The County has the obligation to regulate expansion and intensification of the oil field operations, regardless of existing oil field operations. The Court so held in the case of PXP v. Culver City, as discussed above. Second, the Baldwin Hills area in fact has a long and rich history of people living in the area centuries before oil operations started, dating back to Native Americans as well as Spaniards, Mexicans, Californios and others as discussed above. The fact that those people were there first apparently does not matter to the County or PXP.217 6. The oil company argues: The oil field operations or regulations “will not have a disproportionate impact on environmental justice issues or the surrounding population.”218 The people in the surrounding community are disproportionately of color, and east of the Baldwin Hills they are disproportionately low income too, as documented above. Baldwin Hills has been an epicenter of excellence for African Americans across the nation, and yet even this community is saddled with the impact of the oil field in their midst, an inadequate EIR and regulations, and a process that has denied them full and fair participation in the decision making process. 7. The oil company argues: “There is no evidence that the operations at the Oil Field were imposed with the intention or effect of causing discrimination.”219 The County argues: “The oil field is in its current location because there is oil there, not because people of color are nearby.”220 Federal and state civil rights laws and principles prohibit both intentional discrimination and unjustified discriminatory impacts for which there are less discriminatory impacts. There is evidence of intentional discrimination in the way the oil field regulations and EIR were adopted here. The oil field, regulations and EIR have unjustified discriminatory impacts, for the reasons discussed above.
8. The oil company argues: “The history of the Oil Field shows that it has the same proportional impact on whoever happens to be living next to it, regardless of race.” 221 The County seeks to increase dramatically the number of wells the oil company can drill using new technology for the next 20 years with no further discretionary review by the County. The County and the oil company have not studied or disclosed what impact the oil fields had historically, so any such argument is speculative. 9. The County argues: “The new regulations indirectly address environmental justice issues by reducing impacts on the surrounding community. . . . [W]ith the new regulations, the Inglewood oil field is the most heavily regulated in the state.”222 The Baldwin Hills regulations are not adequate to protect human health and the environment in this dense and diverse urban community, for the reasons discussed above. The fact that other regulations elsewhere are even worse is no answer. 10. The County argues: “Other active oil operations exist in and near wealthy neighborhoods with large white populations in the Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Huntington Beach, and Brea.”223 No other major American metropolis harbors a textbook example of urban decay and deterioration resulting from an oil field in the crown jewel of a park in its urbanized core. The County offers no evidence that oil in the cited communities is part of a continuing history, pattern and practice of environmental discrimination and degradation including the disproportionate siting of toxic sites, and the absence of environmental benefits including parks and recreation. According to the Los Angeles Times: As a rule, oil-pumping in the metropolitan area is done as discreetly as embalming. The hardware is kept out of sight. The extract flows into underground pipelines for processing elsewhere. How many people who frequent the Beverly Center are aware that just behind the high-toned shopping mall is a sizable drilling site where 39 active wells equipped with below-ground pumps suck crude from the San Vicente oil field? How many commuters rushing in and out of downtown L.A.'s central rail terminal realize they're traversing an oil patch where two active wells last year produced 1,600 barrels of oil from the Union Station field? The great exception to all this furtiveness is the Inglewood oil field, seven miles southwest of downtown. Motorists happening for the first time onto Stocker Road between La Brea Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard might think they've passed through a time warp and hyper-spaced into rural Oklahoma, circa 1920. Across 900 unincorporated acres of Baldwin Hills, a couple hundred rocking-arm pumps alternately raise and dip their heads like giant birds pecking contemplatively at the rumpled ground. No other major American metropolis harbors such a sight in its urbanized core.224
VIII. Conclusion Public officials should better protect human health, the environment, and equal justice in the Baldwin Hills community, park and oil field through various means, including: (1) An equity analysis and plan for the Baldwin Hills oil field operations and zoning regulations under federal and state laws, including civil rights laws; (2) The health survey of the Baldwin Hills by the County; (3) The implementation plan for the oil field regulations; (4) The study of the oil field regulations approved by the Board of Supervisors in August 2009; (5) A proper review in an environmental impact report under state and federal civil rights and Environmental Justice laws; (6) Compliance review by state officials to ensure the County as a recipient of state funds is complying with state and federal civil rights and Environmental Justice laws; (7) Compliance review by federal officials to ensure the County as a recipient of federal funds is complying with federal civil rights and Environmental Justice laws. Each study, plan or review needs to include the following elements: (1) A clear description of what is planned; (2) An analysis of the impact on all populations, including minority and low income populations; (3) An analysis of available alternatives; (4) The documented inclusion of minority and low income populations in the study and decision-making process; and (5) An implementation plan to address any concerns identified in the equity analysis. We look forward to working with the community, public officials and other stakeholders to achieve equal justice, democracy and livability for all in the Baldwin Hills and beyond.
Robert García is President and Counsel of The City Project, Elise Meerkatz is a Staff Attorney, and Seth Strongin is Policy and Research Manager. The City Project’s work on the Baldwin Hills community, park, and oil field is made possible in part by the generous support of the California Endowment, Gilbert Foundation, Impact Fund, Irvine Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Kresge Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, individual donors and others. The City Project would like to thank our co-counsel and allies in the Baldwin Hills including David Cranston, Gary Hanken, Sedina Banks and Jenna Gugenheim of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP; City Attorney Carol Schwab and Assistant City Attorney Heather Baker of the City of Culver City; Damon Nagami of NRDC, and Todd Cardiff. Extra special thanks to Ken Kutcher of Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP. We could not do this work without them. Thank you to Marc Brenman, social justice advocate, for helpful comments on an earlier draft. 2 See Letter from The City Project to the Los Angeles County Toxics Epidemiology Program and County of Los Angeles Department of Regional Planning, March 18, 2010 (re: Baldwin Hills Health Study); Letter from The City Project to the County of Los Angeles Department of Regional Planning, March 4, 2010 (re: Comments on Draft Implementation Guidelines for Baldwin Hills Community Standards District); Letter from The City Project to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, August 3, 2009 (re: Proposal for Amendments to the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District). 3 See pages 38-41 below. 4 Louis Sahagun, Culver City challenges new drilling in local oil field, L.A. Times, April 2, 2010, bit.ly/bt1PSN. 5 Case No. BS 122799 (L.A. Co. Superior Court decision filed March 26, 2010). The decision is available at www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/3863. See also Communities for a Better Environment v. South Coast Air Quality Mgmt. Dist., 48 Cal.4th 310 (2010) (even if a project proponent has a vested right that limits the mitigation an agency can impose with regard to a project, that fact does not excuse the agency from fully analyzing the project and its impacts under CEQA0; Communities for a Better Environment v. City of Richmond, 2010 WL 1645906 (Cal.App. First Dist. April 26, 2010) (EIR must analyze impacts from greenhouse gases and cannot delay mitigation by requiring adoption of measures one year later as part of a mitigation plan). 6 Data analysis and source: Ken Kutcher, Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP; DOGGR annual reports, bit.ly/c7I7qg. See generally FEIR at ES-5; 4.8-6, 4.8-7. References to FEIR are to the Final Environmental Impact Report adopted in October 2008. References with a BH prefix are to the administrative record in the Baldwin Hills litigation, which is available as a public record on DVD from the County. The complete administrative record is approximately 43,000 pages long. See Community Health Councils, Inc. et al. v. County of Los Angeles et al., No. BS118018 (Los Angeles Super. Ct. filed Nov. 25, Nov. 26 & Dec.1, 2008). 7 See generally John R. Kielbasa, Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County (1997), www.laokay.com/halac/RanchoLaCienega.htm; Surveyor-General of the State of California, Report of the SurveyorGeneral of the State of California from August 1, 1884 to August 1, 1886 at 14 (1886), tinyurl.com/35u2f5c. 8 The Baldwin Hills litigation seeks to protect human health, the environment and equal justice by improving the environmental impact report and the oil field regulations. See Community Health Councils, Inc. et al. v. County of Los Angeles et al., No. BS118018 (Los Angeles Super. Ct. filed Nov. 25, Nov. 26 & Dec.1, 2008). Trial is currently scheduled for June 3, 2010. The parties are engaged in settlement discussions, with the California Attorney General mediating the settlement discussions. 9 Robert G. Bea, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies offshore drilling, quoted in James C. McKinley & Leslie Kaufman, New Ways to Drill, Old Methods for Cleanup, N.Y. Times, May 10, 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/05/11/us/11prepare.html. 10 Campbell Robertson et al., Oil Hits Home, Spreading Arc of Frustration, N.Y. Times, May 25, 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/science/earth/25spill.html. 11 Baldwin Hills Community Standards District, Los Angeles County Code § 22.44.142 (A). 12 Petitioners’ Opening Brief (filed Dec. 1, 2009), Community Health Councils, Inc. et al. v. County of Los Angeles et al., No. BS118018 (Los Angeles Super. Ct. filed Nov. 25, Nov. 26 & Dec.1, 2008). Petitioners’ Opening Brief and Reply Brief (filed March 26, 2010) are available at www.greaterbaldwinhillsalliance.org and www.baldwinhillsoil.org. 13 Id. at 29-34. 14 Id. at 21-28. 15 Id. at 34-36. 16 Id. at 37-40. 17 Id. at 56-57. 18 Id. at 43-46. 19 Id. at 41-42. 20 Id. at 47-50. 21 Id. at 50-52.
Id. at 13-18. Id. at 53-57. 24 FEIR-00601. 25 FEIR-00667; BH000771, 772; BH007927-00063. 26 United States Census, GreenInfo Network, The City Project. 27 See Petitioners’ Opening Brief at 29-34; Building Blocks and Baseline Information for Assessing the Health Impact of Oil Drilling and Processing in the Inglewood/Baldwin Hills Oil Fields, Community Health Councils, 4-5; BH021238-39. 28 Id. at BH021237-58. 29 Id. at 11, BH021245. 30 Final EIR, Figure 4.16-1. See also Tables 4.16-1, “Study Area Race Characteristics – Count (percentage),” and 4.162, “Population of Hispanic Origin.” 31 Final EIR, Figure 4.16-2. See also Table 4.16-3, Poverty Status in Area. 32 Olmsted Brothers and Bartholomew and Associates, Parks, Playgrounds and Beaches for the Los Angeles Region (1930), p.1. 33 Maps illustrating the Olmsted vision are available on the web at www.cityprojectca.org/ourwork/olmsted.html. 34 The Master Plan is available at www.bhc.ca.gov/documents/Baldwin_Hills__Master_Plan_Final.pdf. See Public Resources Code § 32565.5(f), 32555; BH007927-00232. 35 BH007927-00133. 36 Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan at 32-33, 40 (May 2002). 37 Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan (May 2002) at 8. See also id. at 2-3. 38 FEIR-00579. 39 United States Census, GreenInfo Network, The City Project. 40 See Josh Sides, L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present at 21, 72, 101, 108 (2003) [hereinafter “L.A. City Limits"]; David Gonzalez, In Sugar Hill, a Street Nurtured Black Talent When the World Wouldn’t, N.Y. Times, Jan. 22, 2010. 41 For example, the original settlers in 1781 of El Pueblo de Los Angeles, Los Pobladores, included Blacks and mulattos. A Black man, Francisco Reyes, served as alcalde (mayor) of El Pueblo in 1793, almost two hundred years before Tom Bradley, the first Black man elected mayor under statehood. The last Mexican governor of California before statehood, Pío Pico, was born of African, Native American, and European ancestry under a Spanish flag. Jean Bruce Poole and Tevvy Ball, El Pueblo: the Historic Heart of Los Angeles, at 11, 30-31 (2002). Biddy Mason, a prominent citizen of early Los Angeles, was born a slave in Mississippi, gained her freedom in California, became a midwife and was one of the founders of the First AME Church. Dolores Hayden, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History, at 168-87 (1997). 42 See generally Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action Was White (2005). 43 Robert D. Bullard et al., Toxics Waste and Race at Twenty 1987-2007: A Report Prepared for the United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries at x, xi, 58, 61, 62, 74, 154 (2007), available at www.ucc.org/justice/pdfs/toxic20.pdf. 44 California Department of Parks and Recreation, Five Views: An Ethnic Sites Survey for California 68-69 (1988). 45 For example, the Federal Housing Administration Manual of 1938 states: “If a neighborhood is to retain stability, it is necessary that properties shall continue to be occupied by the same racial classes. A change in social or racial occupancy generally contributes to instability and a decline in values." See also Mike Davis, City of Quartz 160-64 (1990); Mike Davis, “How Eden Lost Its Garden," chapter in Ecology of Fear (2000). 46 Shelley v. Kramer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948). 47 Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249 (1953). 48 Sides, L.A. City Limits, supra, at 101. 49 Id. at 108. 50 387 U.S. 369 (1967). See generally Kenneth L. Karst and Harold W. Horowitz, Reitman v. Mulkey: A Telophase of Substantive Equal Protection, 1967 Supreme Court Review 39, 80 (1967); Robert A. Johnson and Charlene M. Riggins, A Different Shade of Orange (Center for Oral and Public History, California State University at Fullerton, 2008). 51 Five Views, supra. 52 James P. Allen and Eugene Turner, Changing Faces, Changing Places: Mapping Southern Californians 16-20 (2002). 53 Sides, L.A. City Limits, supra, at 101 (2003). 54 The Baldwin Hills area has also been the subject of landmark litigation and a consent decree to eliminate sewer odors and spills since 1998, the first time the Clean Water Act has been used to address sewer odors in the nation. See United States et al. v. City of Los Angeles, Civil Action No. 01-191-RSWL (consolidated), www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/4781. 55 See, e.g., City of Los Angeles Controller Laura Chick, Audit of Recreation and Parks Department (Nov. 2005 and Jan. 2006), available in three parts at www.cityprojectca.org/blog/wp23
content/fiscalmanagementCityParks11102005_01.pdf; www.cityprojectca.org/blog/wpcontent/RecreationandCommunityServicesAudit.pdf; and www.cityprojectca.org/blog/wpcontent/MaintanceAudit01092006.pdf. 56 Id. at 21. 57 Joe Mozingo, Activists Try to Turn Baldwin Hills Into a Park; Recreation: Proposed Open Space Would Be Bigger than San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, L.A. Times, July 30, 2000, at Part B, p.1. 58 John McKinney, Hiking; Bring your imagination to see the future of Baldwin Hills, L.A. Times, Nov. 24, 2002, at 15. 59 James Ricci, Park to open a panoramic window on L.A.; Mountains, downtown, the basin and the sea: Visitors will see it all from the Baldwin Hills scenic overlook, L.A. Times, Jan. 23, 2007. 60 Joe Mozingo, A Fight for Their Goal, Their Gains; Baldwin Hills: Residents of the upscale black neighborhood rejoice over a victory in battle to block power plant. Many feel choice of site reflected racial bias, L.A. Times, June 23, 2001, at Part 2, p.1. 61 Editorial, No Big Boxes in This Yard, L.A. Times, June 30, 2001. 62 Editorial, Powerful Reasons to Say No, L.A. Times, June 21, 2001. 63 Joe Mozingo, Energy Company Abandons Plans for Baldwin Hills Plant; Power: Homeowners and environmentalists rejoice at decision. The site is proposed as a 1,200-acre state park, L.A. Times, June 21, 2001, at Part 2, p.1. 64 [PXP] Officially Drops Plans for a Power Plant, L.A. Times, July 6, 2001. 65 Joe Mozingo, A Fight for Their Goal, Their Gains; Baldwin Hills: Residents of the upscale black neighborhood rejoice over a victory in battle to block power plant. Many feel choice of site reflected racial bias, L.A. Times, June 23, 2001, at Part 2, p.1. 66 Kevin Herrera, Residents Fight City’s Plan to Build Garbage Dump in Baldwin Hills: Homeowners Associations, Community Activists Say Plan Puts the Future of World-Class Park in Jeopardy, Los Angeles Sentinel, March 6-12, 2003, at A-1. 67 Id. 68 Lisa Richardson, Fighting This Conservancy Won't Be a Walk in the Park, L.A. Times, Oct. 22, 2004, at Part B, p.1. 69 Dennis Freeman, Governor Moves to Close Down Baldwin Hills Park, Los Angeles Sentinel, Sept. 9-15, 2004, A-1. 70 Id. 71 Mindy Farabee, After Oil: Baldwin Hills residents want to stop new oil wells and begin to transition the vast oilfields into a [park], Los Angeles City Beat, March 8, 2007. 72 Mark Baldasare, Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Survey: Special Survey on Californians and the Environment vi (June 2002). 73 Rethinking Urban Parks, supra, at X. 74 FEIR 4.10-3, citing Robert García &Aubrey White, Healthy Parks, Schools, and Communities: Mapping Green Access and Equity for the City of Los Angeles (The City Project Policy Report 2006). 75 The map and analyses are available on the web in The City Project’s flickr gallery at bit.ly/9mr2cX. See generally García and White, HPSC for Los Angeles. 76 Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology, Preventing Childhood Obesity: the need to create healthy places. A Cities and Communities Health Report. October 2007. 77 SCAG RTP Environmental Justice Report 11-14, 20 (2008). The SCAG Environmental Justice report is available at http://www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/750. 78 See Robert García and Aubrey White, Policy Report, Healthy Parks, Schools and Counties: Mapping Green Access and Equity for California (The City Project 2007) at pages 3-6, Map 1, and Tables 9A-9F. The Policy Report is available with complete maps and charts online at www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/362. 79 Jane Lawler Dye and Tailese Johnson, U.S. Census Bureau, A Child’s Day 2003: Selected Indicators of Child WellBeing, Table D29 (Jan. 2007) (“A Child’s Day”), available at www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/wellbeing.html. 80 33% of Hispanic children in suburban areas were kept inside because of perceived dangers, followed by 25% of Blacks and 15% of non-Hispanic Whites. The number of Asian respondents in metropolitan areas outside central cities was not statistically significant. Id. at 19-20. 81 Non-Hispanic White children were most likely to participate in sports – 45% of both 6- to 11- and 12- to 17-year-old children, compared to 26% and 42% of Asians; 24% and 35% of blacks; and 21% and 35% of Hispanics. Only 26% of 6- to 17-year-old children in poverty participated in after school sports, compared to 46% living at twice the federal poverty level or higher. Id. at 13-14. 82 Id. at 13, citing Joseph Mahoney, School Extracurricular Activity Participation as a Moderator in the Development of Antisocial Patterns, 71 Child Development 502-16 (2000), and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care and Youth Development Research Network (NICHD), Are Child Developmental Outcomes Related to Before- and After-School Care Arrangements? Results from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, 75 Child Development 284-95 (2004).
Richard J. Meehan and Douglas H. Hamilton, Ground Rupture in the Baldwin Hills at 334 (April 23, 1971), Science 172: 333-344, http://www.stanford.edu/~meehan/la/pubs/pubbaldw.pdf. 84 The YouTube video of the Baldwin Hills dam is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIeNM8cm6J8&feature=player_embedded#. 85 Richard J. Meehan and Douglas H. Hamilton, Ground Rupture in the Baldwin Hills at 334 (April 23, 1971), Science 172: 333-344, http://www.stanford.edu/~meehan/la/pubs/pubbaldw.pdf. 86 Bob Pool, Surroundings / Baldwin Hills; Where L.A. Looks Pretty as a Picture Postcard; After a cleansing rain, the city shines from the panoramic vantage point of the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, L.A. Times (Feb. 27, 2003). 87 FEIR-00125-26. See generally Howard Fine, There Will Be Oil, Los Angeles Business Journal, March 3, 2008. 88 FEIR-05710, 5731, 5966; BH009613-14. 89 FEIR-00123, 126. 90 Noaki Schwartz, AP Reporter, Regulators Accused of Lax Oversight at LA Oilfield, N.Y. Times, March 15, 2010. 91 Scott Gold, OUT THERE; Concern spills in Windsor Hills; The expansion plan of a nearby oil field has locals worried about decreased property value, noise, fumes, L.A. Times, July 4, 2008, at Part B, p.1. 92 Id. 93 FEIR at 4.4-11. 94 FEIR-00354, 359. 95 SCAQMD Air Quality Notification Report No. 121860, p.1, BH007927-00553. 96 Id. at p.2, BH007927-00554. 97 SCAQMD Air Quality Complaint Report Numbers 181850, 181853, 181944, 182039, 182049, 182069; SCAQMD Assignment Report No. 923163, BH007927-00529 to 007927-00532, 007927-00537 to 007927-00539, 007927-00551. 98 Email from Steve Rusch to Floyd Leeson, February 7, 2006, BH 025007. For more on the relationship between PXP and Mr. Leeson, see the following section on lax oversight. 99 SCAQMD Notice of Violation No. P37137, BH007927-00527 and 007927-00556. 100 See Part III(B) above. 101 Noaki Schwartz, AP Reporter, Regulators Accused of Lax Oversight at LA Oilfield, N.Y. Times, March 15, 2010. 102 Id. 103 Id. 104 Id. 105 Id. 106 FEIR-00675; BH009463-85. 107 Minutes of the Board of Supervisors, County of Los Angeles, June 27, 2006, at 1. BH 009278. 108 County Ordinance No. 2006-0064U, at 6. BH 009305. 109 BH009621; see also BH022168. 110 See page 8 above and authorities cited. 111 See generally Robert García et al., Economic Stimulus, Green Space and Equal Justice (Policy Report The City Project 2009), bit.ly/btteQJ; Robert García &Aubrey White, Healthy Parks, Schools, and Communities: Mapping Green Access and Equity for the City of Los Angeles (The City Project Policy Report 2006); Robert García & Erica Flores Baltodano, Free the Beach! Public Access, Equal Justice, and the California Coast, 2 Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 143 (2005). 112 Declaration of the Rights of the Child, Proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 1386 (XIV) of 20 November 1959, Principle 7; United Nations’ Convention on the Right of the Child, General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989, Article 31. 113 U.S. Declaration of Independence. See also Cal. Const., art. I, § 1. 114 Tara Parker-Pope, As Girls Become Women, Sports Pay Dividends, N.Y. Times, Feb. 15, 2010, nyti.ms/a7gWcp. 115 Id. 116 Betsey Stevenson, Beyond the Classroom: Using Title IX to Measure the Return to High School Sports, NBER Working Paper No. 15728 (Feb. 2010), bit.ly/a9kSC1. 117 Robert Kaestner & Xin Xu, Title IX, Girls’ Sports Participation and Adult Female Physical Activity and Weight, 34 Evaluation Review 52-78 (2010), bit.ly/9RKswO. 118 Andrew J. Mowen,Partks, Playgrounds and Active Living, Active Living Rsearch Synthesis (Feb. 2010), www.activelivingresearch.org/files/Synthesis_Mowen_Feb2010.pdf. 119 Ching-Hua Ho, Laura Payne, Elizabeth Orsega-Smith, and Geoffrey Godbey, Parks, recreation, and public health, 38 Parks and Recreation, 18, 26 (2003). 120 Trust for America’s Health, Prevention for a Healthier California: Investments in Disease Prevention Yield Significant Savings, Stronger Communities, (2008), http://healthyamericans.org/assets/files/CaliforniaROIReport1008.pdf. 121 S. Jay Olshansky, et al., A Potential Decline in Life Expectancy in the United States in the 21st Century, 352 New England Journal of Medicine 1138-45 (2005). 122 The California Endowment, Building Healthy Communities: The California Endowment Approach to Improving Food and Physical Activity Environments (2009).
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living Research, Designing for Active Living among Children. Fall 2007 Research Summary (2007). 124 Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America (2009), http://www.leadershipforhealthycommunities.org/images/stories/obesity2009report.pdf. 125 Centers for Disease Control and President’s Council on Fitness and Sports, Healthy People 2010, www.healthypeople.gov/Document/HTML/Volume2/22Physical.htm#_Toc490380803. 126 UCLA Center to Eliminate Health Disparities and Samuels & Associates, Failing Fitness: Physical Activity and Physical Education in Schools, Policy Brief funded by The California Endowment, (2007), www.calendow.org/uploadedFiles/failing_fitness.pdf 127 Susan H. Babey, Allison L. Diamant, E. Richard Brown, and Theresa Hart, California Adolescents Increasingly Inactive: Policy Brief, (2005), http://www.healthpolicy.ucla.edu/pubs/Publication.aspx?pubID=137 128 UCLA Center to Eliminate Health Disparities and Samuels & Associates, Failing Fitness: Physical Activity and Physical Education in Schools, Policy Brief funded by The California Endowment, (2007), www.calendow.org/uploadedFiles/failing_fitness.pdf 129 San Diego State University, Physical Education Matters for California Kids, Policy Brief funded by The California Endowment, (2007), www.calendow.org/uploadedFiles/physical_education_matters.pdf 130 See generally Neal Kaufman et al., Evidence-based Programs to Promote Physical Activity Among Youth (UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Sept. 9, 2005); U.S. Dep’t. of Health and Human Services, Physical Activity Fundamental to Preventing Disease 9 (June 20, 2002); U.S. Dept. Health & Human Services, The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity 9-10 (2001); U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education, Promoting Better Health for Young People Through Physical Activity and Sports, available online at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dash/presphysactrpt (Fall 2001); U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General 200 (1996); Policy Link, Regional Development and Physical Activity: Issues and Strategies for Promoting Health Equity 9-12 (Nov. 2002); Gangs, Crime and Violence in Los Angeles: Findings and Proposals from the District Attorney’s Office (1992). 131 California Center for Public Health Advocacy, The Economic Costs of Overweight, Obesity, and Physical Inactivity Among California Adults - 2006, (2009), http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org/costofobesity.html 132 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity, 9, 10 (2001). 133 California Center for Public Health Advocacy, An Epidemic: Overweight and Unfit Children in California Assembly Districts (Dec. 2002). 134 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Leadership for Healthy Communities, Action Strategies Toolkit, (2009), http://www.leadershipforhealthycommunities.org/images/stories/toolkit/lhc_action_strategies_toolkit_0900504final.pdf 135 Id. 136 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living Research, Designing for Active Living among Children. Fall 2007 Research Summary (2007). 137 Susan H. Babey et al., Teens Living in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Lack Access to Parks and Get Less Physical Activity (UCLA Center for Health Policy Research 2007). 138 Susan H. Babey et al., Access to Safe Parks Helps Increase Physical Activity Among Teenagers (UCLA Center for Health Policy Research 2006). 139 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living Research, Active Education: Physical Education, Physical Activity, and Academic Performance. Summer 2009 Research Summary (2009). 140 Id. 141 Id. 142 See generally Russell R. Pate et al., Sports Participation and Health-Related Behaviors among US Youth, Archives Pediatrics & Adolescent Med. (Sept. 2000); U.S. Dep’t. of Health and Human Services, Physical Activity Fundamental to Preventing Disease 9 (June 20, 2002); Ca. Dep’t of Ed., Press Release, Dec. 10, 2002; Gangs, Crime and Violence in Los Angeles: Findings and Proposals from the District Attorney’s Office (1992); Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris & Orit Stieglitz, Children in Los Angeles Parks: A Study of Equity, Quality, and Children Satisfaction with Neighborhood Parks, 73 (4) Town Planning Rev. 1-6 (2002); William G. Bowen & Sarah A. Levin, et al., Reclaiming the Game: College Sports and Educational Values (2003). 143 Zenong Yin and Justin B. Moore, Re-Examining the Role of Interscholastic Sport Participation in Education, Psychological Reports 94(3-2): 1447-1454 (2004). 144 C. Maller et al., Healthy Nature Healthy People:‘Contact With Nature’ as an Upstream Health Promotion Intervention for Populations, 21 Health Promotion Int'l 45-53 (2005). 145 A.F. Taylor et al., Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings, 33 Environment and Behavior 54-77 (2001). 146 F.E. Kuo, Coping with Poverty Impacts of Environment and Attention in the Inner City, 33 Environment and Behavior 5-34 (2001). 147 R. Parsons, L.G. Tassinary, R.S. Ulrich, M.R. Hebl, and M. Grossman-Alexander, 1998. The view from the road: Implications for stress recovery and immunization. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 18: 113-140.
Ching-Hua Ho, Laura Payne, Elizabeth Orsega-Smith, and Geoffrey Godbey, Parks, recreation, and public health, 38 Parks and Recreation, 18, 26 (2003). 149 Id. 150 R.S. Ulrich, View through a Window May Influence Recovery From Surgery, Science 421 (1984). 151 S. de Vries et al., Natural Environments - Healthy Environments? An Exploratory Analysis of the Relationship Between Green Space and Health, 35 Environment and Planning1717-31 (2003). 152 See, e.g., Alison H. Deming & Lauret E. Savoy, ed., The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (2002); Setha Low, Dana Taplin, & Suzanne Scheld, Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity 4043 (2005); M.K. Cronan et al., Physical Activity Patterns and Preferences among Latinos in Different Types of Public Parks, 5 Journal of Physical Activity and Health 894 (2008); Deborah J. Chavez, Adaptive Management in Outdoor Recreation: Serving Hispanics in Southern California, 17 (3) West. J. Applied Forestry 132 (July 2002); Patrick T. Tierney, et al., USDA, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Cultural Diversity of Los Angeles County Residents Using Undeveloped Natural Areas 5 (1998); Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Urban Form and Social Context: Cultural Differentiation in the Uses of Urban Parks, 14 J. Planning & Ed. & Research 89, 100-02 (1995); Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris & Orit Stieglitz, Children in Los Angeles Parks: A Study of Equity, Quality, and Children Satisfaction with Neighborhood Parks, 73 (4) Town Planning Rev. 1-6 (2002). 153 L.F. Berkmana et al., From Social Integration to Health: Durkheim in the New Millennium, 51 Social Science and Medicine 843-57 (2000). 154 W.C. Sullivan et al., The Fruit of Urban Nature: Vital Neighborhood Spaces, 36 Environment and Behavior 678700 (2004). 155 See Public Comments submitted by Ruth Coleman, Director, California Department of Parks and Recreation to California High Speed Rail Authority 11 (August 19, 2004). 156 See generally Robert García et al., Economic Stimulus, Green Space and Equal Justice (Policy Report The City Project 2009), bit.ly/btteQJ. 157 U.S. Green Building Council, Green Building and LEED Core Concepts, (U.S. Green Building Council 2009). 158 Id. 159 Id. 160 See generally Sustainable Cities Initiative, Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks (Draft 2008) (sustainable land practices will enable natural and built systems to work together to protect and enhance the ability of landscapes to provide services such as climate regulation, clean air and water, and improved quality of life), available at www.sustainablesites.org/report/SSI_Guidelines_Draft_2008.pdf. 161 See generally the recommendations of the World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, pwccc.wordpress.com; James Barret, Earth Day Network Conference for People of Color and Spiritual Leaders, Washington, D.C. April 17, 2007; Redefining Progress, Climate Justice, The Time Is Now, www.ejcc.org/; letter from the Alianza de los Pueblos del Río, May 31, 2007 re: Support AB 31, available at www.cityprojectca.org. 162 Robert D. Bullard et al., Toxics Waste and Race at Twenty 1987-2007: A Report Prepared for the United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries (2007), available at www.ucc.org/justice/pdfs/toxic20.pdf. 163 According to the United States Catholic Conference, for example, Catholics show their respect for the Creator through stewardship and care for the earth as a requirement of their faith. United States Catholic Conference, Inc., Washington D.C. (1999). The United Nations has published an interfaith book of reflection for action. See Libby Bassett, et al., Earth and Faith (2000). 164 See generally the recommendations of the World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and Global Warming, pwccc.wordpress.com. 165 See video of Ms. Menchu on The City Project's YouTube website at www.youtube.com/profile?user=CityProjectCA. 166 Patrick E. Tyler, Kenyan Environmentalist Wins Nobel Prize for Peace, N.Y. Times, Oct. 8, 2004. 167 See generally García and White, Healthy Parks, Schools, and Communities for the Los Angeles Region, supra, at 819, 21-24; Regina Austin, “Not Just for the Fun of It!: Governmental Restraints on Black Leisure, Social Inequality, and the Privatization of Public Space, 71 S. Cal. L. Rev. 667, 711-12 (1998). 168 SB 1048 Section 1(c). 169 Pub. Res. Code §§ 32550, et seq. 170 Pub. Res. Code § 32555(a). 171 Pub. Res. Code § 32553(a). 172 Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan (May 2002), Appendix C, pp. 84-85. 173 Petitioners’ Opening Brief at 56-57. 174 See pages 8-26. 175 FEIR-00671. 176 FEIR-00672. 177 See FEIR-00666-67, FEIR-06218. 178 See Petitioners’ Opening Brief at pages 4-5, 26-27, 31, 36, 41, 43-46, 56.
Title VI provides: “No person in the United States shall on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000d (2004). The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and parallel state law also prohibits intentional discrimination. Cal. Const., Art. I § 7. See also Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. The FEIR cites in passing but does not analyze Title VI and its regulations. FEIR 4.16-7, BH 000775. 180 Guardians Ass’n v. Civil Service Comm’n, 463 U.S. 582, 629 (1983) (Justice Marshall, concurring in part and dissenting in part). 181 See letters from FTA to MTC and BART dated January 15, 2010, and February 12, 2010, available on the web at www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/4468. 182 See Letter from Secretary Andrew Cuomo to City of Los Angeles re: Section 108 Application – Cornfields B-99MC-06-0523 (Sept. 25, 2000), and the related Administrative Complaint (Sept. 21, 2000), both available at www.cityprojectca.org/ourwork/urbanparks.html#cornfield. 183 See, e.g., 40 C.F.R. §7.30 (nondiscrimination statement for recipients of federal funds from the Environmental Protection Agency); 10 C.F.R. §1040.13 (nondiscrimination statement for recipients of federal funds from the Department of Energy); 43 C.F.R. §7.30 (nondiscrimination statement for recipients of federal funds from the Department of Interior). 184 Guardians Ass’n v. Civil Service Comm’n, 463 U.S. 582, 629 (1983) (Justice Marshall, concurring in part and dissenting in part). 185 Cf. Executive Order 12,898 on Environmental Justice (Feb. 11, 1994). 186 Peter R. Orszag, Director, Office of Management and Budget, Memorandum re: Updated Implementing Guidance for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, April 3, 2009, at page 2 and Guidance at page 6, available at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/memoranda_fy2009/m09-15.pdf. 187 See July 10, 2009, Memo from Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, to Federal Agency Civil Rights Directors and General Counsels, Strengthening of Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, available at www.justice.gov/crt/lep/titlevi_enforcement_memo.pdf; Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General Bill Lann Lee to Executive Agency Civil Rights Directors, Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in Block Grant-Type Programs (Jan. 28, 1999), available at www.justice.gov/crt/cor/Pubs/blkgrnt.php. 188 Rosemere Neighborhood Ass’n v. United States Envtl. Prot. Agency, 581 F.3d 1169, 1175 (9th Cir. 2009). As part of the settlement in the Rosemere case, EPA has released a 23 page spreadsheet listing more than 300 Environmental Justice complaints dating back to 1993 that it has not investigated. The spreadsheet in PDF format is available on The City Project’s web site at www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/4517. See generally Dawn Reeves, New EPA Data On Civil Rights Backlog May Help Reshape Equity Agenda, Water Policy Report, April 26, 2010, available at insideEPA.com. 189 See Cal. Gov. Code § 11135; 22 CCR § 98101(i) (2007). 190 See Darensburg v. Metropolitan Transp. Comm’n, No. C-05-01597 EDL, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63991 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 21, 2008) (standing to sue publicly funded agency for discriminatory impacts on quality of life for people of color under 11135 and its regulations). 191 Cal. Gov. Code § 65040.12. 192 See, e.g., Larry P. v. Riles, 793 F.2d 969, 981-83 (9th Cir. 1984). Agencies are obligated to comply with the Title VI regulations, even though the regulations are no longer privately enforceable in court. Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275, 293 (2001). The 11135 regulations are privately enforceable in court. See Darensburg v. Metropolitan Transp. Comm’n, No. C-05-01597 EDL, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63991 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 21, 2008) (standing to sue publicly funded agency for discriminatory impacts on quality of life for people of color under 11135 and its regulations). 193 See Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 265 (1977); Committee Concerning Cmty. Improvement v. City of Modesto, 583 F.3d 690 (9th Cir. 2009) (statistical disparities in providing municipal services evidence of intentional discrimination under Title VI and 11135; U.S. Dep’t Justice, Civil Rights Division, Title VI Legal Manual (2001), available at http://www.justice.gov/crt/cor/coord/vimanual.php. 194 See pages 14-26 above. 195 See Petitioners’ Opening Brief at pages 4-5, 26-27, 31, 36, 41, 43-46, 56. The Opening Brief and Reply Brief are available at www.greaterbaldwinhillsalliance.org and www.baldwinhillsoil.org. 196 See Public Comments on the Draft EIR by The City Project and others, August 19, 2008. 197 See Guidelines § 15131; Bakersfield Citizens for Local Control v. City of Bakersfield, 124 Cal.App.4th 1184 (2004); Christward Ministry v. Superior Court, 184 Cal.App.3d 180, 197 (1986) (waste management facility next to religious center required study whether physical impacts would disturb worship in natural environment). 198 Anderson First Coal. v. City of Anderson, 130 Cal.App.4th 1173 (2005); see BH002053. 199 These matters are analyzed in Petitioners’ Opening Brief at pages 4-5, 26-27, 31, 36, 41, 43-46, 56. The Opening Brief and Reply Brief are available at www.greaterbaldwinhillsalliance.org and www.baldwinhillsoil.org.
Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 734 (1972). Baldwin Hills residents testified about the impact of oil field expansion on quality of life, including health, safety, homes, property values and community during the planning process. BH003136, BH006767, BH020380; BH019003. 201 See, e.g., FEIR-00669-70; BH002648-2833. 202 See BH002648-2833. 203 FEIR-06218-31, 6239-46; BH004443-4461; BH007572. 204 See Petitioners’ Opening Brief at pages 4-5, 26-27, 31, 36, 41, 43-46, 56. The Opening Brief and Reply Brief are available at www.greaterbaldwinhillsalliance.org and www.baldwinhillsoil.org. 205 See generally Baldwin Hills Petitioners’ Opening Brief at pages 4-5, 26-27, 31, 36, 41, 43-46, 56, and Reply Brief, www.greaterbaldwinhillsalliance.org and www.baldwinhillsoil.org; Labor Community Strategy Center v. Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Plaintiffs’ Revised Statement of Contentions of Fact and Law (C.D. CA Case No. CV 94-5936 TJH (Mcx) (filed Oct. 24, 1996), www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archive/4618; Letter from Secretary Andrew Cuomo to City of Los Angeles re: Section 108 Application – Cornfields B-99-MC-06-0523 (Sept. 25, 2000), and the related Administrative Complaint (Sept. 21, 2000), both available at www.cityprojectca.org/ourwork/urbanparks.html#cornfield; Public Comments by The City Project and United Coalition to Protect Panhe re: Save Panhe and Save San Onofre State Beach (Oct. 2, 2008), www.cityprojectca.org/ourwork/documents/PublicCommentsUCPPCityProjectCommerce20081002.pdf and www.savepanhe.org; SCAG 2008 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) Environmental Justice Report, www.scag.ca.gov/environment/ej.htm; Los Angeles Unified School District, Physical Education Programs – Grades K-12 (Dec. 21, 2009) (implementation plan for enforcing physical education and civil rights requirements), www.cityprojectca.org/blog/archives/3341; Los Angeles World Airways Final EIR/EIS for modernization of Los Angeles International Airport at pp. 4-565 to 4-624, www.ourlax.org/pub_finalEIR.cfm. 206 County brief at 28. 207 See CEQA Guidelines § 15131(b). Accord, Bakersfield Citizens for Local Control v. City of Bakersfield, 124 Cal.App. 4th 1184 (2004) (same); Christward Ministry v. Superior Court, 184 CaI.App.3d 180, 197 (1986) (same; waste facility next to religious center required study whether physical impacts would disturb worship in natural environment). CEQA Guidelines § 15131(b) provides as follows: Economic or social effects of a project may be used to determine the significance of physical changes caused by the project. For example, if the construction of a new freeway or rail line divides an existing community, the construction would be the physical change, but the social effect on the community would be the basis for determining that the effect would be significant. As an additional example, if the construction of a road and the resulting increase in noise in an area disturbed existing religious practices in the area, the disturbance of the religious practices could be used to determine that the construction and use of the road and the resulting noise would be significant effects on the environment. The religious practices would need to be analyzed only to the extent to show that the increase in traffic and noise would conflict with the religious practices. Where an EIR uses economic or social effects to determine that a physical change is significant, the EIR shall explain the reason for determining that the effect is significant. 208
Anderson First Coal. v. City of Anderson, 130 Cal. App. 4th 1173 (2005). FEIR-00619-31. 210 County brief at 28-29. 211 See, e.g., Guidelines § 15151 (EIR must provide “adequacy, completeness, and a good faith effort at full disclosure”); Berkeley Keep Jets, 91 Cal.App.4th at 1370 (requiring “reasonably conscientious effort … either to collect additional data or to make further inquiries of environmental or regulatory agencies having expertise in the matter;” agency must “do the necessary work to educate itself about the different methodologies that are available”); Guidelines § 15121 (“An EIR is an informational document”). 212 County brief at 29. 213 Oil company brief at 43. 214 See generally Petitioners’ Opening Brief at pages 4-5, 26-27, 31, 36, 41, 43-46, 56. The Opening Brief and Reply Brief are available at www.greaterbaldwinhillsalliance.org and www.baldwinhillsoil.org. 215 County brief at 29. 216 Louis Sahagun, Culver City challenges new drilling in local oil field, L.A. Times, April 2, 2010, bit.ly/bt1PSN. 217 See generally John R. Kielbasa, Historic Adobes of Los Angeles County (1997), www.laokay.com/halac/RanchoLaCienega.htm; Richard J. Meehan and Douglas H. Hamilton, Ground Rupture in the Baldwin Hills, 172 Science 333, 335 (1971), www.stanford.edu/~meehan/la/pubs/pubbaldw.pdf; image of Sanchez Ranch Native American site, bit.ly/cEafj1. 218 Oil company brief at 43. 219 Id. at 42. 209
County brief at 29. Oil company brief at 42. 222 County brief at 28, 29. 223 Id. at 29. 224 James Ricci, Snapshots from the Center of the Universe; Metropolis: A Reminder that L.A. is Still in the Slick of Things, L.A. Times, Feb. 4, 2001. 221
APPENDIX Urban Decay, Deterioration and the Baldwin Hills Oil Field The EIR includes 22 images and text that provide a textbook example of urban decay and deterioration resulting from the physical impacts of the oil field on people, homes, schools, parks, and the environment in the Baldwin Hills.224 No oil field looks like this in a park in a disproportionately white and wealthy area like Beverly Hills. EIR Figure 4.13-2 Views of the Inglewood Oil Field from Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Image 2A: “The picnic area depicted is situated adjacent to (north of) the Kenneth Hahn Community Center building and adjacent to the [Kenneth Hall State Recreation Area’s (KHSRA)] common southwestern boundary with the Inglewood Oil Field property and Proposed Baldwin Hills CSD. Although screening shrubs and eucalyptus trees have been planted along the edge of the grassed picnic area, sights of the adjacent oil fields and sounds and odors emanating from it can be experienced in the picnic area.”224
Image 2B: “Functioning oil well pumps within the Proposed Baldwin Hills CSD can be seen and heard from distances of approximately 50 yards from within picnic areas situated along the southwestern boundary of the KHSRA.”224
Image 2C: “Views of producing oil wells, pressurized storage tanks, pipelines, and surface containment/ catchment ponds within the Proposed Baldwin Hills CSD are readily visible from along the edge of the above picnic area.”224 EIR Figure 4.13-3 Views of the Inglewood Oil Field from Culver City Park
Image 3C: “An enclave with producing oil wells is situated within Culver City Park adjacent to the Park’s primary interior road. Views of oil field equipment are commonplace both within the park and along its boundaries.”224
EIR Figure 4.13-5 Views of the Inglewood Oil Field from Ladera Sports Fields
Image 5C: “The view depicted shows functioning oil well pumps located in close proximity to the northern side of the Ladera Sports Fields.”224 EIR Figure 4.13-7 Views of the Inglewood Oil Field from Windsor Hills
Image 7B: “The westerly to northerly panoramic view depicted is taken from Brea Crest Drive. The view across a vacant lot, encompasses foreground views of active oil production sites situated close to La Brea Avenue and distant scarred hillsides west of La Cienega Boulevard. The view is typical of those available from private residences lining the western sides of Brea Crest, Secrest, and Archcrest Drives in Windsor Hills.”224
Photo from Howard Fine, There Will Be Oil, Los Angeles Business Journal, March 3, 2008, Los Angeles Business Journal, March 3, 2008.