- Created on Thursday, 01 May 2014 23:05
- Hits: 126
Three oil company drill sites in the West Adams section of South Los Angeles, operating more than 100 underground wells, have been the center of recent citizen protests, ramped up government inspections, a City Attorney lawsuit, and complaints that the city's Zoning Administration has violated municipal code and possibly state law in fast-tracking oil company expansion plans. These events have raised broader questions as to the competence of the city's oversight of an industry that deals in toxic, explosive, and flammable materials but has been allowed, from the days in the late nineteenth century when there were few zoning rules, to establish thousands of wells in residential neighborhoods throughout the city. Since the early 1960s most of these have been slant drilled underground, with scores of pipes emanating in all directions from anonymous compounds hidden behind high walls.
The recent West Adams complaints first arose in 2010-11 around Allenco Energy's drill site at 814 W. 23rd Street in the University Park neighborhood north of USC, adjacent to Mount St. Mary's College. Allenco purchased the operation in 2009 and boosted production 400%. Soon, neighbors began experiencing chronic nosebleeds, respiratory problems, headaches, and nausea. By late 2013 the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) had received 251 complaints. Community protest meetings drew several hundred people. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent inspectors, who were made ill and determined that leaks of petroleum fumes from badly maintained equipment were the cause. Allenco voluntarily shut down on November 22, under pressure from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. On January 7, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit to prevent Allenco from reopening until they comply with all applicable health and safety regulations.
Subsequently, two drill sites acquired last year by the giant Freeport-McMoRan Oil and Gas company became the subject of community complaints.
- Created on Saturday, 01 February 2014 16:49
- Hits: 356
Leslie Evans, in consultation with Michael Salman
My neighborhood is the West Adams section of Los Angeles, just south and west of Downtown. Its miles of historic, century-old Craftsman homes, interspersed with sixties-vintage apartments, house a mixture of recent Latino immigrants, older African Americans, and a minority of whites and Asians. We've been in the newspapers a lot recently in disputes with two oil companies over three of their urban drill sites. At one of them, run by the Allenco Energy company, children have been getting sick. Nosebleeds, respiratory problems, headaches, and nausea have been chronic, leading finally to protest meetings, one attended by some two hundred residents, intervention by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the County Health Department, and a lawsuit by the Los Angeles City Attorney.
At the other two sites, owned by Freeport-McMoRan Oil and Gas, concerns began over ill-kept property, or fears that plans for new drilling would generate noise and pollution. As news reports of the health problems at Allenco spread, neighbors near the Freeport sites heard about a gas leak at one of the well sites and a few accounts of people who may have been sickened by fumes in the past. One public meeting drew more than 300 residents. City officials responded by temporarily closing the Allenco site entirely, while at the Freeport sites routine pumping continues but scheduled new drilling has been put on hold.
- Created on Sunday, 16 June 2013 16:23
- Hits: 448
We are deeply grieved to learn that our long-time friend and neighborhood activist Maggi Fajnor has died. Maggi was a founding member in 2003 of our local neighborhood council, the Empowerment Congress North Area Neighborhood Development Council, where she served for several years. For a long time she sent out weekly emails to a large list of community members about all kinds of issues that affected our neighborhood, from zoning and planning to crime and gang problems. She was a founder of PlanCheckNC (http://www.plancheckncla.com ), an ongoing alliance of neighborhood councils focused on land use matters. Warm hearted and always involved in the life of her community, she will be sorely missed. We offer our condolences to her husband Craig Fajnor. Below is the obituary that appeared in the June 16 Los Angeles Times.
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Maggi Fajnor, a devoted advocate for the North University Park and West Adams communities, and a founder of the community stakeholder participation organization PlanCheckNC, lost her courageous battle with cancer on June 5, 2013. Born the oldest of five children, Maggi grew up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In the late 1960's, she moved to Los Angeles with her first husband, where she subsequently earned her Bachelor's degree from UCLA, and Master's degree in urban planning from USC, all while raising their young daughter, Rebecca. For many years, Maggi worked for various planning firms on several high profile projects, including the inception of Los Angeles' first Metro Rail line, Staples Center and Hollywood & Highland.
After retiring from professional urban planning, Maggi devoted herself to empowering neighborhoods Citywide to engage with City government through community-based planning. She was an early and active participant in the grassroots Empowerment Congress established by then-Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas and was an original elected member of her local Neighborhood Council. She founded PlanCheckNC to help educate and empower neighborhood stakeholders and promote participation in neighborhood planning and land use issues throughout the City. She was named the 2006 Pioneer Woman awardee for Council District 8 by Councilmember Bernard C. Parks and was a long-time member of the North University Park Design Review Board. Maggi is survived by her husband Craig, daughter Rebecca (Hugues) Marchand; sister Mimi Duffy; brothers Harold (Linda) Hofsommer, Ken (Mary Carla) Hofsommer, and Bill Hofsommer; in-laws John and Carolyn Fajnor; sister-in-law Lisa Fajnor, and many wonderful nieces and nephews. A family service was held on June 8th at the historic Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery. A celebration of Maggi's life will take place at a later date. Donations may be made in Maggi's memory to the American Brain Tumor Association at http://www.abta.org/.
- Created on Sunday, 05 May 2013 18:49
- Hits: 459
Our neighbors David Valentine and Jacqueline Hamilton decided to get rid of their thirsty front lawn. They invited in L.A. Green Grounds, a group of volunteers that specialize in converting front yards in South Los Angeles to edible space. Some thirty volunteers turned out on Saturday, May 5, 2013. They had the City deliver a mountain of mulch. They dug up the whole of the front lawn and the parking strip, then planted a wide variety of herbs (thyme, sage, etc.) and vegetables (eggplant, cauliflower). It was an all-day job. Our photos in the slide show below show the yard before, the volunteers working. Break time, with host Jacqueline Hamilton at left serving refreshments, and some shots of the new front-yard mini-farm.