aug-support
help-us-raise
donate-buttonOlimometer 2.47

    Stretch

    Statement: “(Propositions B&C) increases pollution and health hazards in Barrio Logan,” a campaign mailer against Barrio Logan’s new community plan said.

    Determination: A Stretch

    Analysis: Many San Diego voters last week received a campaign mailer urging them to vote against Propositions B and C, two citywide measures that, if approved, would uphold the Barrio Logan community plan passed by the City Council last year.


    Help Us Raise $50,000 by Aug 28

     Learn more about member benefits

    City planners wrote the plan to end a problem that’s plagued Barrio Logan for decades: Residents and industrial businesses can be next-door neighbors.

    In other neighborhoods, homes and industrial businesses are largely separated to protect residents’ health and to safeguard the businesses’ long-term prospects. It’s a rare case where planning jargon — “incompatible uses” — describes the issue clearly.

    Barrio Logan’s new community plan seeks to separate the incompatible uses.

    It also creates a “buffer zone” between shipyards — home to heavy industrial activity —and an area in the northern part of the community that planners wanted to limit to residential use only. Most of the political battles before the plan was approved boiled down to how big the buffer zone should be, and what sort of businesses could operate there.

    The plan was meant to make Barrio Logan a more environmentally friendly place, with cleaner air for its residents, who tend to visit the emergency room with asthma incidents more than almost anywhere else in California.

    That’s why many residents were surprised to see a mailer claiming the new plan actually increased pollution in the community. We received a number of requests to look into the claim.

    As evidence, the mailer cites the “Air Quality and Health Risk Technical Analyses” conducted as part of the state-mandated environmental impact report for the new plan.

    The idea was to get a sense of how either of the plans on the table at the time might affect air quality.

    One plan was favored by residents and certain local nonprofits, the other was championed by shipbuilders and affiliated businesses. The plan that ultimately passed the City Council included some compromises, but it closely resembled the resident-backed plan that was studied for the report.

    The analysis offers a pretty direct conclusion: “certain criteria pollutant emissions of concern under the proposed (new community plans) are greater than those anticipated to occur under the adopted community plan.”

    That is: There will be more bad air pollutants in Barrio Logan under either new plan compared with the status quo.

    Cancer risk in the area would go up also, the analysis says.

    The reason, according to the study: Both plans called for new development in Barrio Logan.

    In addition to separating homes and industrial businesses, the plan also dramatically increases the number of residential homes that can be built in Barrio Logan.

    Those pollution increases the analysis found come from all the new development the plan would allow.

    With new homes come things like increased use of natural gas and electricity. And even though the study shows total car trips will actually go down under the new plan, there’s still an overall increase in total pollution.

    On top of adding to gas and electricity consumption, many of the new homes would inevitably be near a freeway. That’s because Barrio Logan is a narrow community, so you’re never far from a freeway or the shipyards.

    “Both alternatives represent a significant adverse impact when compared to existing conditions,” the analysis says.

    “The point that we made, and the only point we are trying to make, is that the plan adopted by the city increases cancer rates and health risks in Barrio Logan,” said Chris Wahl, a lobbyist for the campaign to overturn Barrio Logan’s new plan. “The (consultant’s analyses) clearly states that it’s because they’re adding more housing by the freeway.”

    No one believes putting housing near freeways is ideal, but building more homes makes the community plan consistent with the city’s general plan, which says population growth should be accommodated with dense clusters of homes near jobs centers – like the shipyards.

    But there’s a big piece missing from the environmental analysis, said Georgette Gomez, associate director of the Environmental Health Coalition, an environmental justice nonprofit that’s one of the most vocal backers of the plan: It focused entirely on the impact of all that new development. Nowhere does it analyze the piece of the plan that was pushed through specifically to improve residents’ health: separating housing and industrial businesses.

    “The plan is adding residential, and that’s the comparison,” she said. “But the fact that we are, by not having more industrial where people are living, that didn’t get analyzed.”

    She’s saying the plan’s emphasis on separating incompatible uses doesn’t really figure into the analysis’ conclusion on what effect it has on pollution.

    “The whole purpose is to not have industrial where people are living,” Gomez said. “This takes away that threat.”

    It’s true that the air quality study doesn’t address the separation of incompatible uses. Wahl acknowledged that reality, but said it doesn’t change anything.

    “The question isn’t the separation of uses, but of whether it’s a good idea to put homes near a highway,” he said. “Doesn’t the Barrio Logan community and city residents deserve to know all of the information?”

    Wahl is right when he says city voters deserve to know the study concludes that increasing residential development means increased pollution and harmful health effects in Barrio Logan, due to its proximity to the freeway.

    But he’s wrong when he says separating uses isn’t part of the question. In fact, up until now, it’s been the whole ballgame.

    Since the analysis didn’t assess what effect separating incompatible uses would have on pollution and air quality for local residents, the study alone isn’t enough to answer the question.

    Our definition of “A Stretch” is that there’s an element of truth, but critical context is missing that could significantly alter the impression it leaves.

    The mailer accurately represents the study’s conclusion on air quality and health effects.

    But without knowing that the study didn’t address the effect of separating residential and industrial uses, a reader would come away with an incomplete impression of what the plan would do. That’s critical context.

    If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

      This article relates to: Barrio Logan, Business, Community Plans, Fact Check, Land Use, News, Share

      Written by Andrew Keatts

      I'm Andrew Keatts, a reporter for Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0529.

      51 comments
      Sharon Gehl
      Sharon Gehl subscribermember

      I would argue that it is not a stretch to say that “(Propositions B&C) increases pollution and health hazards in Barrio Logan,” because the environmental study did in essence compare the effect of separating residential and industrial uses when it reported the expected net outcomes of the three plans.

      The study compared the current plan, that doesn’t separate residential and industrial uses, with the two proposed new plans that would. It found that by increasing the number of people living next to the freeway, the more serious pollution source, the new plan would actually increase the total number of people who are exposed to pollution and health hazards; even with a new buffer zone separating residential and industrial uses.

      If more people would be exposed to pollution with either of the new plans, we would expect more people to visit the emergency room with asthma incidents with either of the new plans. Health problems in Barrio Logan would therefore be worse, not better with Propositions B&C.

      If the freeway produces more pollution in Barrio Logan than local industry, why isn’t the City proposing a buffer zone between residents and the freeway?

      danwroy
      danwroy subscriber

      Why don't we let the people who live and work in Barrio Logan have the biggest say in how they can improve their situation? It's not just the pollution, it's the insult of living next door to ship repair shops, a condition no other community in San Diego has to deal with. They themselves have said this is the first step towards making their neighborhood more livable.

      Sharon Gehl
      Sharon Gehl subscribermember

      @danwroy 

      Yes we should let the over 50,000 people who work in the local maritime industry have a say in how to improve Barrio Logan, even if they don’t live there. They do have a major stake in what happens in the community.

      We can’t move the shipyards to Ramona, but we can find places for people to live in San Diego that aren’t next to ship repair yards. Why do we want to insult people by saying that that’s the only place we’ll allow poor people to live in this City?


      danwroy
      danwroy subscriber

      @Sharon Gehl Congratulations on not choking on a statement like "places we allow poor people to live". Barrio Logan is not skid row, it's an community with a history. But that's besides the point because the community plan is not about kicking out the shipyards. It's about the people who live and work in Barrio Logan having a reasonable amount of control over their neighborhood. As another poster pointed out, there's plenty of people in San Diego who live along flight paths. But that doesn't mean the airport can do whatever it wants because "you can't rebuild an airport".

      lbh1066
      lbh1066 subscriber

      The entire San Diego region needs its shipbuilding industry in Barrio Logan.  The current residents should welcome an opportunity to move up the hill to Logan Heights, where they could have clean air, views of the water, and access to transportation.  Why can't the Planning Department get on board and create the appropriate zoning?

      danwroy
      danwroy subscriber

      "You people need to move"

      rcardulla@aol.com
      rcardulla@aol.com subscriber

      Buffer zones are about as effective as where the smoking and non smoking zones were on airplanes.  Bario Logan should be all industrial and higher density should be allowed along the trolley line that runs through Logan Heights.  Instead the city planners, in their new proposed zoning plan HAVE ACTUALLY DOWNZONED. Incompetence IS THE WORST  form of corruption.

      SaintDiago
      SaintDiago subscriber

      I'm leaning toward supporting the plan, but it feels almost futile despite adding a buffer zone. Maybe less noise pollution will result but, BL has a freeway to the east and a ship yard to its west...air pollution wise, its screwed unless you eliminate the 5 fwy, the yard, or the residents...and none of the 3 will happen. I support the right for the residents to have a say in their local development but I would simply not choose to live next to a dump and complain about the smell/flies...but then again, cost of living in SD may prevent folks from leaving. End result: crappy situation either way.

      Chris Brewster
      Chris Brewster subscribermember

      What residential area would not prefer a buffer between itself and heavy industry? In just about any other San Diego community this would be a slam dunk for the residents' wishes, but because Barrio Logan is viewed by some as populated by poor people deserving of their fate, there seems to be a mood among some that they should bow to the purported needs of a hegemonic industry group. Never mind that those same voices would cry out in anger were their own community's wishes subordinated in this manner.

      Richard Ross
      Richard Ross subscribermember

      Dresden la Logan you have to remind Jim Jones of the Grand Havana Cigar place downtown that condemned by the then redevelopment agency to be replaced by a hotel. Well they tore down the cigar place but the hotel was never built. Finally the city was sued by the prior owner for close to a million dollars and won his law suit. So much for J. J.'s "land being taken to build something better."

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      But what can be built is determined by the community plan and a stadium is not compatible with it.

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      And the shipyards are getting subsidies as well. I don't see you complaining about that.

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      There is nobody calling to get rid of industry. Nobody is calling for that...yet. But if the plan fails June 3 I'll be the first to tell them to leave. No developers are pushing for the plan. Any body that says differently is lying.

      spoonman
      spoonman subscriber

      @Chris Brewster I disagree with most of what Mark Giffin says, but he is right. This is not about poor people, or people at all. This is one of the few areas in the city where these jobs and industries can operate, and this industrial zone should be protected. A few residences can be relocated inland. Shipbuilding cannot.

      SaintDiago
      SaintDiago subscriber

      @Desde la Logan  So if we build more "affordable housing" in BL, it will just place more people in toxic air...kinda supports an Enviro Racism claim...


      shipyards will go nowhere, 5 fwy will go no where...BL will just continue to have the air pollution problems it has...the only factor will be how many blocks will buffer between heavy industry and a person's living room...


      It is what it is...

      Mark Giffin
      Mark Giffin subscribermember

      @Chris Brewster  

      The bay is a regional asset Chris. That is why the region will weigh in on it.

      It is an industrial area. That is the issue.... It is not about Barrio Logan being viewed by some as populated by poor people deserving of their fate.

      That is B.S.

      Chris Brewster
      Chris Brewster subscribermember

      Mr. Giffin: There is an economic reason that the less affluent often live in areas bordered by industry or in other less desirable locations. Many here on the VOSD comment boards have referred to those making minimum wage, for example, as deserving of their fate. For similar reasons I think some voters will be much less caring about the impacts of industry on Barrio Logan because it’s … Barrio Logan (and not Clairemont, Point Loma, or La Jolla). They may argue that they are endeavoring primarily to protect an important industry, but I think economic snobbery is a very real aspect of this debate.

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      You want us to move because you believe the lies maritime industry shills are telling you? Read the plan and you'll realize the shipyards are going nowhere. We residents will stay until our last breath and fight these polluters at every step.

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      Don't tread on me, Jim Jones. Apparently that slogan doesn't apply to Barrio Logan.

      Mark Giffin
      Mark Giffin subscribermember

      @Desde la Logan  

      No one is asking you to leave.

      I was down at mini truck the other day. Guy down there said they were being told to move.

      They have been there a long time also. Told me they were being moved because of the new ball park?

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      Actually, we are being told to leave. By maritime industry and internet trolls. Corporate polluter shills like Chris Wahl and Jerry Sanders have repeatedly said we should move. They don't want us here.

      I live 2 blocks from Mini Trucks. Them being asked to leave because of a stadium that won't be built doesn't have anything to do with the plan. If they own the land they don't have to move. If they rent/lease the landlord can tell them to go. A stadium for the Chargers would be an incompatible use in the new plan and not allowed in Barrio Logan.

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @Jim Jones "If the area really gets redeveloped it will become gentrified and all the poor will be forced out."


      That never happens without density limits.

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      As usual the leader of the Peoples Temple is wrong.

      The plan specifically states that there can not be new residential developments on the waterfront. So there won't be condos where the shipyards are. Also, any new developments in the area where they are allowed will more than likely be affordable housing developments (like where I live). There has been one, small, market rate development in Barrio Logan built here in the last 40+ years while there have been at least seven affordable housing complex's built.

      Nobody is going to pay $400,000+ to buy a condo with shipyard views and toxic pollution nearby.

      And poor people have lived here prior to the shipyards being built and we'll be here until they march us out at gunpoint.

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @Jim Jones If you dig a little deeper, I suspect you'll find that the Florida condos were forced to build off-street parking. Which, of course, limits density.


      Can you find a real example of gentrification without density limits causing a net exodus of the poor?

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      Barrio Logan has been a dumping ground for things other communities wouldn't tolerate: pollution, industry, emergency homeless shelter, metal plating shops, car repair shops, gas storage facilities, etc. The plan would help mitigate this over time since all businesses within the confines of the plan are grandfathered in. Residents have been here before the shipyards and we ain't going anywhere.

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      It's ironic when people in a free country want the government to decide where they are allowed to live.

      Mark Giffin
      Mark Giffin subscribermember

      Andrew.

      Any polling data on this you are aware of?

      My guess they are trailing in the polls but can't find any data

      Andrew Keatts
      Andrew Keatts author

      @Mark Giffin  There's no public polling that I'm aware of. I'd be curious to see polling not just on for/against, but of general awareness of the issue and its presence on the ballot. I imagine it's not something many people know about in the first place.

      Voice of San Diego
      Voice of San Diego

      We have supporters and donors across the political spectrum throughout the community, and their interests don't guide our coverage. Our CEO Scott Lewis would be happy to address any specific concerns you have: scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org

      Logan Wolvie
      Logan Wolvie

      Lincoln club, SDG&E, developers, Qualcomm/Jacobs.

      Joshua Brant
      Joshua Brant subscriber

      I'm disappointed that the fact check on Asthma in Barrio Logan was linked in this article. That was a very weak fact check. There are a few things wrong with it, including the fact that 92113 is equated to Barrio Logan, when Barrio Logan makes up less than half of the 92113 zip code. VOSD's own graph in the article shows that 92114 had higher rates of asthma ER visits than 92113. The two reasons that the person that was fact checked speculated as the cause of 92113's high asthma ER visits rates were  industrial activity, and the freeway that bisects the zip code, of which 92114 has neither despite their higher rates.

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      Chris Wahl is a shill for the industry that refuses to acknowledge that they are polluting my fellow residents. He's been lying throughout the entire process. His company, Southwest Strategies, hired the signature gatherers that were told, by him, to lie to get registered voters to sign the petition (as covered by Scott Lewis here at VofSD). SS is also the company that gathered sigs on behalf of Wal-Mart and then blackmailed the city council to withdraw their big box ordinance. Wahl and his SS are the shadiest lobbyists in town.

      Please help my fellow Barrio Logan residents (and, in turn, other SD communities that may have to fight corporations that don't like their community plans) and vote YES on Props B and C. It's the right thing to do.

      Richard Ross
      Richard Ross subscribermember

      With all due respect bill I disagree... Their council representative Alvarez negotiated the the plan and I support him and the plan....so I guess our votes canceled each other out.

      SaintDiago
      SaintDiago subscriber

      @Desde la Logan 

      But you're potentially building new homes next to the freeway...which is still unhealthful. Right? 

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      The 1978 plan already allows that and nothing is dropping developers as is. Other than them not wanting to build here. The plan the shipyards pushed (Alternative 2) allowed for that as well. So for them to say this is a bad plan is false. The main difference between what were competing plans is the buffer zone and the conditional use permits that will be required if existing businesses within the zone want to expand by more than 20%.

      It is disingenuous of maritime industry to claim more residents will be polluted if new housing is created when their plan also called for new housing and the existing plan allows for it as well.

      David Cohen
      David Cohen subscriber

      My wife and I did that on our mail-in ballots.

      Bill Bradshaw
      Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

      @Desde la Logan Chris Wall notwithstanding and despite your heartfelt plea, I voted “no” for several reasons:

      1.  The scheme adds housing to a location that will be a continuing health problem regardless of which plan is adopted.  I don’t think that makes sense.

      2.  If this plan is adopted it will put a lot of pressure on businesses that support the shipbuilders, and some will close or move.

      2.  Our shipbuilding industry, the last remaining in California, is an important source of jobs and helps ensure we will remain a “Navy” town.  We need a diversified economic base, and I want to support that.

      Barrio Logan is not the only area in the city where residents have a less than ideal environment and appear to be stuck with it.  Check, e.g., Loma Portal and Ocean Beach as the airliners roar overhead 16 hours a day. 


      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      1. Yet you are ok with housing right next door to industrial businesses? THAT doesn't make sense.

      2. There is no pressure for them to move. All businesses there are grandfathered in and they can expand up to 20% without a conditional use permit.

      3) The shipyards are going nowhere. The Navy is going nowhere. The plan keeps the shipyards where they are with no changes to their operations. Housing will not be built by or next to them. New housing can only be built in the area north of Cesar Chavez which is blocks from the shipyards. Not next door like the liars are claiming.

      You bought their lies like they knew people like you would. Shame on you for allowing that to happen.

      Richard Ross
      Richard Ross subscribermember

      Mark you must be thinking of the Union-Tribune not VOSD.

      Desde la Logan
      Desde la Logan subscriber

      I suspect more Democrats and independents support VoSD than Republicans. But that's just a hunch.

      Mark Giffin
      Mark Giffin subscribermember

      I always suspected that VOSD was nothing more than a slave to their republican handlers.