|From:||CPEO Moderator <email@example.com>|
|Date:||12 Apr 2001 18:29:24 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-BIF] Santa Ana School Districts Reject Tustin's Offer of Alleged Lethall|
CPEO apologizes for sending duplicate postings to both newsgroup. Press Release Santa Ana School Districts Reject Tustin's Offer of Alleged Lethally Toxic Land SANTA ANA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 12, 2001--Today the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) and the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) announced that the City of Tustin has tried to unload upon the children of Santa Ana, some of the most contaminated land at the former marine base. Based on preliminary studies conducted by Dr. Denise Clendening of Arcadis, Geraghty & Miller, the scientific expert evaluating the environmental analyses, the districts have concluded that the site is so polluted that cleanup activities will cost millions of dollars, take years to perform, and would likely never meet strict state standards for schools. Disheartened by the City of Tustin's bad-faith negotiations, the districts and the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF) today are filing a Title VI discrimination lawsuit in Federal Court against the City of Tustin for violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. Tustin's actions constitute unlawful discrimination against students. According to Dr. Al Mijares, superintendent of SAUSD: ``We have negotiated in good faith, never losing sight of our goal to provide the best learning environment for our students. At this time, the quality of the land for the learning environment becomes the primary issue over the issue of quantity. This is a turn of events we could not have anticipated. We continue to hope for a satisfactory agreement, but we will press on with the legislative and legal avenues open to us.'' Dr. Edward Hernandez, chancellor of RSCCD, originally conceived of the Learning Village concept, which was accepted by the Department of Education for the 100 acres within the SAUSD boundaries. ``From its earliest inception, this center was intended to offer education for all, from the very young to older adults,'' said Hernandez. ``The plan was to operate it collaboratively, offering sequenced programs to integrate K-12, adult education and community college curriculum.'' Background In 1994, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) granted the RSCCD, SAUSD, Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) and South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) 100 acres at the closing Marine Corps Air Station located in Tustin for an innovative learning environment known as the ``Learning Village.'' During subsequent planning, the City of Tustin, acting as the Local Reuse Authority, ignored the DOE grant. The entire 100 acres went to SOCCCD, though that district never indicated a need for all 100 acres, according to a Jan. 2, 2001 LA Times article (``High Tech Plans for Hangar''). This move ignored the fact that SAUSD, comprised of 98% ethnic minority students and RSCCD, with more than 50% ethnic minority students, face some of the worst overcrowding issues in the state. After several months of intense negotiations between the city and the two Santa Ana districts, Tustin abruptly ended negotiations, communicating through their Washington lawyer that they had done enough by offering a ``compromise'' of tainted land and $20 million as their final offer. The districts will now pursue legal, state and federal efforts to secure their original DOE grant. Land The Santa Ana districts include approximately 10% of the base within their district boundaries. This property, located near the intersection of Red Hill and Barranca, formerly was primarily agricultural land and does not pose the environmental hazards found elsewhere on the base. Within a 2-mile radius of the Red Hill/Barranca site are 7,000 students and within a 3-mile radius are 24,000 students belonging to SAUSD. A critical issue is the strict California standards for toxic substances at school sites. New schools face far stricter standards than residential development, while commercial development faces far less stringent standards. According to Clendening's report, one of the substances found on the site offered is Trichloroethene (TCE). ``TCE evaporates from surface water, so it is commonly found as a vapor in the air. TCE has been found to evaporate less easily from the soil, where it may absorb to particles and remain for a long time. Breathing large amounts of TCE may cause impaired heart function, coma and death. Breathing small amounts for short periods of time may cause headaches, lung irritation, dizziness, poor coordination and difficulty concentrating.'' By contrast, cleanup requirements for commercial development are not nearly as strict. The land Tustin is allocating for the schools could be cleaned to commercial development standards. ``We cannot fathom why the City of Tustin, knowing the toxic issues on the base, would develop a land use plan that allocates the cleanest property to the uses that require the least environmental cleanup and places Santa Ana's children and teachers at risk on highly toxic land,'' stated attorney Ed Connor. ``The only conclusion we can draw is that the City of Tustin does not want the largely Hispanic children from Santa Ana in their city.'' Contact: SAUSD Lucy Araujo-Cook, 714/558-5555 or 714/745-0963 or RSCCD Joan Barnes, 714/480-7500 or Waters & Faubel Meg Waters, 949/718-4977 or 949/584-4977 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To read CPEO's archived Brownfields messages visit http://www.cpeo.org/lists/brownfields If this email has been forwarded to you and you'd like to subscribe, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ==^================================================================ EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://igc.topica.com/u/?aVxieR.aVGyPL Or send an email To: email@example.com This email was sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org T O P I C A -- Learn More. Surf Less. Newsletters, Tips and Discussions on Topics You Choose. http://www.topica.com/partner/tag01 ==^================================================================
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