Campaign calls for public-private partnerships

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A group of City Council members sought Friday to create environmental “green zones” in communities with a concentration of industrial facilities.

Councilmembers Jose Huizar, Richard Alarcon, Janice Hahn and Tony Cardenas said their “Clean Up, Green Up” campaign aims to eliminate such “toxic hotspots” by encouraging the growth of environmentally-friendly businesses in those areas and by prompting existing businesses to reduce pollution.

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KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports city analysts will weigh in over the next three months on strategies for developing green zones.

“The Clean Up, Green Up campaign represents a new generation of environmental justice where we work hand-in-hand with local businesses to improve the health of our communities,” Huizar said.

“Our vision involves public-private partnerships, familiar planning tools and focused economic investment to green up existing businesses and attract new ones.”

Said Councilwoman Janice Hahn: “This is what we need to clean up our neighborhoods and create good paying green jobs where they are desperately needed.”

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About 100 people gathered at Breed Street Elementary School in Boyle Heights today to express support for the proposed green zones.

“The people of Boyle Heights, Pacoima and Wilmington deserve healthy and livable communities, especially those who are most vulnerable to the high levels of pollution in toxic hotspot neighborhoods — children, the elderly and chronically ill,” said Union de Vecinos co-director Leonardo Vilchis.

Alarcon agreed, saying “For too long, our low-income communities have been burdened by pollution, waste and dirty industry, and our community plans have done nothing to ensure these communities transition into cleaner and safer neighborhoods.”

Alarcon said he wants to make changes to the community plans “so we can leverage our land-use policies to ensure that all communities have access to cleaner green jobs and a healthier environment.”

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