February 3, 2022

by Hanisha Harjani The CalEnviroScreen map is a pollution tracking tool developed to more clearly identify California communities with high environmental burdens and better focus where state and federal funding should go. However, when LaDonna Williams looks at this map, she notices the environmental hazards that the cartographers missed.

“Some of these communities have several exposures,” Williams says. Some are simultaneously situated next to raw sewage plants, refineries and highways. But when this data is translated through the CalEnviroScreen scoring system, these communities are not always flagged as vulnerable and miss out on much-needed funding. Williams, the program director of Richmond-based nonprofit All Positives Possible, has as much experience navigating the world of grant funding as physical geography. Her organization serves low-income communities of color across the Bay Area facing the health, economic and social impacts of pollution burdens in their communities.

One such community is at Pier 94, where the SF Port Commission created 120 COVID shelter beds for the City’s unhoused residents last spring. However, a recent NBC Bay Area investigation deemed these shelters to be the “worst place to live” due to the particulates in the air from gravel manufacturer Hanson Aggregates next door. The particulate matter is fine enough to penetrate through the shelters. The situation is so hazardous that residents are asked to wear masks even when indoors.

A source who wishes to remain anonymous describes what they witnessed when visiting a family member at the shelters. Folks living at the shelter complained about more frequent breakouts and skin problems. Some even noticed that their vehicles were being affected by the presence of the dust particles.

“They complain at me, but they’re too scared to complain to [the United Council of Human Services] because they will get put out,” says the source. This is a valid fear; when this source first started speaking out about the conditions at Pier 94, a family member who was living at the shelters at the time was pushed out.

Pier 94 sits at the top of Bayview, a largely Black San Francisco neighborhood with a population of about 38,000. On CalEnviroScreen, Pier 94 is noted to be “high pollution, low population” but it’s not even given a score; instead, it sits unmarked.

*** CalEnviroScreen (CES) has been lauded as a tool for environmental justice by the media and the government. Its mission — to provide a cumulative look at how pollution affects California communities — is quite revolutionary. However, it is not a perfect science.

In order to determine how vulnerable a community is, CES uses data from government agencies to identify the presence of environmental risk factors in an area. These risk factors fall into two categories: exposures and environmental effects.

Exposures include pollutants like PM2.5 and exhaust from diesel-powered vehicles, while environmental effects describe a community’s proximity to hazardous sites like waste facilities and groundwater threats. To calculate an area’s overall score, CES averages the scores of each of those categories and then multiplies them by the averaged score of the community’s population characteristics. However, environmental effects are only weighted at half, whereas exposures are weighted fully.

CalEPA — the agency in charge of creating this tool — said it calculated environmental effects at one-half because the agency doesn’t consider them to be immediate threats; these sites may be present and somewhat hazardous, but they’re not necessarily actively emitting hazardous material.

Emily Nelson is an alumnus from California State Polytechnic University with a master’s in regenerative studies who disagrees. “Suggesting it is less important than other indicators is irresponsible when there is overwhelming evidence that it can cause disease and death,” she writes in her 2018 thesis, ‘Analyzing Potential Biases of CalEnviroScreen 3.0.’

In this essay, Nelson references studies that look at the concentration of lead and organochlorine in the blood of residents living close to hazardous sites. The conclusions are all the same — the closer a community is to a hazardous site, the higher the levels of hazardous chemicals there are in their blood.

These hazardous chemicals can manifest as a myriad of illnesses in the communities they are present in. Often, like in the case of DDT, some of the effects are even passed on through generations.

Nelson adds that certain communities – like Pier 94 – are not represented because there’s, “a large amount of missing data from several census tracts.” Since CES multiplies a community’s pollution burden by their population data, communities with fewer residents – or missing census data – automatically score lower.

Both Nelson and Williams wonder: would it be more equitable if, for now, this data was left out?

A spokesperson from CalEPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) noted that their agency was aware of these criticisms and that was the reason behind the constant updates of CES. They also mentioned that communities like Pier 94 — that are currently unmarked on the map — are internally designated by the state as “disadvantaged” and receive dedicated funding through Senate Bill 535, a law that directs money from polluters’ fines directly to impacted communities.

However, there are many other funding opportunities that are not available to them; ones that they could especially benefit from. Last year, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District was accepting applications for the James Cary Smith Community Grant Program, which offered $750,000 to organizations serving disadvantaged communities. Like many similar grants, CES is used as a metric to determine where to allocate funds.

Though the residents of Pier 94 could greatly benefit from this funding, they – like others – will instead be left out.

Here's the link to the original article:

11 views0 comments

South Vallejo/Glen Cove Gazette Greetings Victory Gardens The high cost of food is draining our family budgets! We don’t know where our produce is grown and what pesticides are used in cultivation of the produce. Now seems to be the perfect time to plant a victory garden. Victory gardens were created during World War 1 and continued during World War 2 to prevent food shortages and to free up corps to feed the soldiers. During war time Victory Gardens were grown in every available space of land e.g. public lands, parks, private gardens and even churchyards. We truly need victory gardens today. They stretch our food budget, provide healthy exercise, produce chemical free fruits produce, help the environment, and allow a way for people to be self-sufficient. Often the gardens provide enough left over produce to donate or share. What is Grown in Victory Garden? Beets Beans Cabbage Kohlrabi Peas Kale Turnips Lettuce Spinach Garlic Swiss Chard Parsnips Carrots Onions Herbs You can also grow fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. If you don’t mind waiting, most fruit trees are ready to harvest in three or four years. For more information on How to grow a Victory Garden please visit: Solano County California Total cases 34,049 Total cases 3.82Million Deaths 268 Deaths 63,256 PLEASE BE TAKE PRECAUTIONS SERIOUSLY COVID VIRUS IS NOT OVER . In recent weeks, coronavirus cases have started to rise again as the highly infectious delta variant takes hold. Nationwide, cases have doubled in the past three weeks. California on Tuesday recorded more than 5,000 new daily cases — the first time that has happened since March. One key indicator is the rate of positive coronavirus tests, and it is rising sharply. As of Wednesday, the seven-day positive test rate in California was 3%, according to the California Department of Public Health, up from 2.7% on Tuesday and 1.9% on July 7. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert with UCSF, said these numbers are expected after the state fully reopened on June 15 and people move around more. Jessica Christian / The Chronicle Health information Symptoms Prevention Treatments Get vaccinated. Vaccines are widely available. COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: Fever or chills Cough Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Fatigue Muscle or body aches Headache New loss of taste or smell Sore throat Congestion or runny nose Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately: Trouble breathing Persistent pain or pressure in the chest New confusion Inability to wake or stay awake Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone Symptoms Prevention Treatments If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Learn how COVID-19 spreads and practice these actions to help prevent the spread of this illness. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others who don’t live with you. Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to you. Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces daily. If someone is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Monitor your health daily. Self-Care If you have possible or confirmed COVID-19: Stay home except to get medical care. Monitor your symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider immediately. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better. If you have a medical appointment, notify your healthcare provider ahead of time that you have or may have COVID-19. Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. If possible, use a separate bathroom. If you must be around others, wear a mask. Learn more on For informational purposes only. Consult your local medical authority for advice. Medical treatments Treatments used for COVID-19 should be prescribed by your healthcare provider. People have been seriously harmed and even died after taking products not approved for COVID-19, even products approved or prescribed for other uses. Your healthcare provider will decide on what approach to take for your treatment. Your healthcare provider also may recommend the following to relieve symptoms and support your body’s natural defenses. Taking medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to reduce fever. Drinking water or receiving intravenous fluids to stay hydrated. Getting plenty of rest to help the body fight the virus. If someone is showing emergency warning signs, get medical care immediately. Emergency warning signs include: Trouble breathing Persistent pain or pressure in the chest New confusion Inability to wake or stay awake Bluish lips or fac

8 views0 comments

Vallejo History

Sylvester Stewart was born the second of five children (Loretta, Sylvester, Freddie, Rose, and Vaetta, known as Vet) in Denton, Texas, on March 15, 1944. His devout African-American family was affiliated with the Church of God in Christ (COGC) and took their beliefs with them when they moved to Vallejo, California. Reared on church music, Sylvester was eight years old when he and three of his siblings (sans Loretta) recorded a 78-rpm gospel single for local release as the Stewart Four.

A musical visionary of the highest order, Sly Stone carved his way into our American cultural fabric and then, his work done, retreated. The music of Sly and the Family Stone, specifically the singles and LPs of that seminal seven-year period from 1968 to 1975, went on to influence generations that Sly could never have foretold.


Baked Pork Chop Recipe

This simple preparation is perfect for a weeknight -- just shake and bake!

Level: Easy

Total: 40 min

Active: 10 min

Yield: 4 servings

Share This Recipe


1 1/2 cups panko

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Four 3/4-inch bone-in pork chops (about 2 1/4 pounds)

Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the panko, oil, Parmesan, Italian seasoning and 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Put the pork chops in a large bowl and toss to coat with 1 tablespoon water. Place the pork chops in the bag and shake well to coat, pressing the breadcrumb mixture firmly into the meat.

Place the pork chops on a wire rack set on a baking sheet and top evenly with any breadcrumbs remaining in the bag. Bake until the breadcrumbs are dark golden and the internal temperature of the chop’s registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer (avoid touching bone), about 30 minutes. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, if using.


12 views0 comments