SAN DIEGO–Today, the San Diego Superior Court upheld the Barrio Logan community plan update when it gave Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) permission to continue developing its lawsuit.
In late 2013 the Ship Repair Association filed a frivolous anti-SLAPP motion against Environmental Health Coalition to prevent the organization from proceeding with its lawsuit until the eve of the June election.
The anti-SLAPP motion, normally reserved to protect small organizations from the frivolous lawsuits of massive corporations, was filed by the Ship Repair Association, composed of billion-dollar corporations, claiming Environmental Health Coalition, a nonprofit fighting toxic pollution in communities of color, was inhibiting its Constitutional right to free speech. According to EHC, this served as a last resort to stall the Barrio Logan community plan update from moving forward after twice being approved by a majority of the San Diego City Council.
“The Ship Repair Association is exhausting every option they can in an effort to keep up their preposterous lies about the Barrio Logan community plan,” says Diane Takvorian, executive director of Environmental Health Coalition. “Clearly nothing is off limits when it comes to silencing the community voice.”
The Barrio Logan community plan update breaks a 35-year history of toxic land-use planning that allowed houses, parks and schools to intermingle with polluting industries. The new plan will finally separate industrial establishments and residential neighborhoods in the interest of breathable air, affordable community housing and support for the maritime workforce.
After today’s ruling, the community plan progresses to a hearing on April 4, where EHC can present evidence proving the Ship Repair Association intentionally mislead voters throughout San Diego into signing the referendum. Signature gatherers were caught on video numerous times using outrageously false claims to collect voter signatures.
“Best case scenario, the community plan update is removed from a citywide vote, which is how it should have been from the beginning,” says Georgette Gomez, associate director of Environmental Health Coalition. “The residents of Barrio Logan should be the ones who have a say in Barrio Logan’s land-use planning, just like residents in other communities such as La Jolla, Mission Valley and North Park should have the say for what happens in their neighborhoods.”