(from zumatimes.com based on 100% community input.)
COMMUNITY CONCERNS ABOUT HOME DEPOT IN SUNLAND-TUJUNGA
Some folks from the area contacted me directly and conveyed the situation from a very empathetic "local community angle" -- and they tipped me to some things I haven't heard about before and even faxed over more pages of related documents (proof that backs up some of their concerns) and helped tie together the big picture in the mind of ZD (based on their tutelage).
So here is a re-cap of my notes based on these conversations and I will try and scan some of these documents they sent over.
First of all, the first thing that was mentioned is that the Home Depot they want to build in the old K-mart location is less than 500 feet from an LAUSD school (approx 450 ft). Home Depot and Latham & Watkins don't want you to know that. They tried to ignore that fact till the very end of the application process.
Also, consider the Home Depot site is on a liquefaction earthquake "fault zone". This means during an earthquake the land turns to quicksand.
So when you are storing pesticides, hazardous chemicals and other toxic stuff (as Home Depot does) -- you don't want that 450 feet away from a school.
Plus, all those Home Depot delivery trucks will bring a smog parade to the school area on a daily basis. (Move recess indoors, please!)
WHY HOME DEPOT/LATHAM & WATKINS DID NOT WANT IT TO BE A "PROJECT"
If the Home Depot permit calls the project a "project", suddenly LAUSD needs to sign off on it, entirely. In other words, the LAUSD school board could actually nix the Depot (project) and stop it dead in it's tracks.
So maybe that's why the mayor spent like crazy to make sure Tamar Galatzan was elected to the LAUSD school board in that district. Yeah, it's Tamar's district. Tamar's Husband is Brendon Huffman from VICA. Huffman and VICA were pushing the Home Depot project for the area. And of course, peoples' ears are ringing from the chatter of Galtzan for Wendy Greuel's Council seat. (And I have a feeling Tamar will vote on the Home Depot/Latham & Watkins side on this one.)
But before we get into why Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's relationship with Latham & Watkins will lead to a settlement where Home Depot gets to build the damn thing, no matter what anyone has to say in the community, here are some other environmental and other issues:
In the case of a school emergency, or local emergency in general (requiring evacuation), there is only one street in and out of the are on the evacuation route -- Foothill Blvd. One little spill at Home Depot, and the evacuation route is cut off, according to one local resident.
A LITTLE HOME DEPOT TOXIC SPEW IN YOUR WATER SUPPLY?
The Tujunga-Wash (dirt and rock area) provides 15% of the drinking water for the City of Los Angeles in the form of mountain run-off. (It's the ONLY uncontaminated source in L.A. "Home Depot chemical (spill/run-off) would put that water supply at risk", said a caller to Big ZD.
There is also an L.A. RIVER tributary (arm of L.A. River) that runs through the Home Depot property (at the far corner). If there is a liquid chemical spill, it will contaminate the LA RIVER!
GET A BUZZ FROM THE TOXIC AIR
Any decent meteorologist will tell you that the Home Depot location is a high wind velocity area. So if there is a chemical contamination spill (release) -- it could blow into the Valley like toxic halitosis.
WILDLIFE DOESN'T GET A PASS, EITHER
(Price Is Right loser sounder) Whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp...(deflated) whooooomp): Oh no...it's a "Wildlife Corridor", too. I am told you can see coyotes and other wildlife running along side the K-mart property.
ADD IT ALL UP...
The reason Home Depot/Latham & Watkins does not want this to maintain "project" status is because LAUSD becomes a decision maker, and guess what...
Zuma Dogg is looking at a faxed copy of the letter from LAUSD "Office of Environmental Health and Safety" expressing concerns with the proposed Home Depot development dated February 7, 2007. (Not that long ago!)
"The site is located about 450 feet north of Apperson Elementary School and school pedestrian routes along Woodward Avenue pass adjacent to the east side of the development. Since the project may have a significant impact on the environmental integrity of our school facility, we believe that all of the potential environmental impacts related to the project need to be fully evaluated to ensure the health and safety of all our students and staff."
YIKES! NO WONDER THEY DON'T WANT IT TO BE A PROJECT IF LAUSD GETS TO MAKE THE FINAL "YEAH/NEY"!!!
PLUS...as a "project", it would bring South Coast Air Quality Management (a state agency), and they are even stricter than CEQUA. They develop their own"air quality code" for each area. And it is stricter for school areas.
Now, in case you didn't know: Latham and Watkins was on the advisory board to help TIGHTEN air quality regulations around schools...
SO HOW COULD THEY PRETEND NOT TO KNOW A SCHOOL IS LESS THAN 500 FEET AWAY!?!? First of all, according to the City of Los Angeles/Department of City Planning, Parcel Profile Report (01/15/2007) -- Under "500 foot zone" question, it says, "NO"! (As in, "Oh no...") However, under "Environmentally Sensitive Area"...it says, "YES"!
So did someone not see the school? Because Latham & Watkins is suing the City over this -- and if they fought for tighter regulations around schools -- I HOPE they wouldn't be talking out of both sides of their ass and violating the safety of the parents, kids, teachers and staff on their own issue!?!?
And speaking of shadiness, Zuma Times was told the City had to throw out a FALSE traffic report submitted by Home Depot claiming there would be even less traffic when HD opens as there currently is with the closed K-Mart.
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has close relationships with Latham & Watkins (and they say L&W keeps Antonio's Mayoral re-election and Gubernatorial dreams alive. So look for the City Attorney's office to settle the lawsuit and grant the permits to Home Depot with a slightly scaled back plan. (For example, that location is not supposed to have the traditional outdoor displays you are so used to seeing at Home Depot. But I'm sure with some "mitigation" they will be able to even get around that.
Delgadilldo will claim he has to issue the project permit Depot is aksing for because the City didn't handle it correctly, and they have to cave in to avoid losing big in court. AND, due to Latham & Watkins work it does with the City of Los Angeles/so many conflicts of interest, Rocky's "butter finger factory" will have to hire outside counsel to handle the case. But don't worry, they will settle, because the City needs a Home Depot there, because they will be claiming Eminent Domain all over the area and will be developing the shiznit out of it. (So long quaint neighborhood! You're about to get jammed with mega-developments of thousands of new homes in the area, even though the area cannot accommodate the growth.) But that's why the City needs the Home Depot there. Even though the community residents want something to replace the types of amenities and everyday items they were getting at K-Mart.
Now, they have to drive to Burbank for things -- and so now people are shopping for other things in Burbank (as long as they are making the trip), and that's killing the local business in the area. (So F*CK YOU!)
So no wonder Wendy could be for it being a project. She knows they're gonna get what they want anyway. Cause I don't think Wendy would be very comfortable going against the Latham & Watkins agenda if she wants to be elected Shitty Controller. (Do any CM's husbands sit on any related boards? pushing the Home Depot project?)
According to the Parcel Profile reports from the City of Los Angeles Dept. of Planning and Dept. of Building and Safety;
1. The Home Depot will be located on a Liquefaction site, in a Fault Zone, in a High Wind Velocity, Hillside Grading, and Environmentally Sensitive Area.
2. Home Depot has only requested permits using the address on Foothill Blvd.
3. Home Depot has neglected to use the address 10355 Woodard Ave. which clearly shows Apperson Elementary School is within 500 ft.
4. All previous permits pulled by Kmart corporation used BOTH addresses.
5. The majority of the building sits in Parcel 3 (the Woodward address).
Environmental Quality Issues
1. The LAUSD has written a letter expressing concerns that they were not notified and requested evaluation of Environmental Impacts to ensure the health and safety of the students and staff.
Traffic Safety and Pedestrian issues are being ignored.
1. The LAUSD magnet school bus stop is at this intersection. (Hello trucks!)
2. Plus 2 MTA bus stops used by students. (Hello trucks!)
3. The streets at this intersection are very narrow.
4. Woodward is the north/south pedestrian route for four (4) local schools.
An email circulating that someone sent me says, "Why are large trucks being allowed to exit the construction area and head down Apperson Street past an elementary school on streets that are clearly too small and not constructed for these types of vehicles." And adds, "This contractor is blatantly and knowingly working around the building permit processes that are put in place to protect California residents. It seems that this contractor is being allowed to do this without challenge or recourse.
And the fact that they did floor and roof re-construction at the Kmart site already says to some people, including the area's CM Wendy Greuel means THAT makes it a project.
LET THE EIRs ROLL...NOT THE TRUCKS AND CHEMICALS DOWNHILL.
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