[imc-st.louis] WILL CITY DISCUSS LEAD PROBLEMS WITH CRITICS?
Fitzdon at aol.com
Fitzdon at aol.com
Mon Jan 2 16:05:03 PST 2006
Gateway Green Alliance
P.O. Box 8094, St. Louis MO 63156
314-727-8554 E-mail: fitzdon at aol.com www.gateway-greens.org
For immediate release: January 3, 2006
Contacts: Don Fitz, 314-727-8554; Erin O'Reilly, 314-249-4412; Willie
WILL CITY DISCUSS LEAD PROBLEMS WITH CRITICS?
January 3, 2006. St. Louis, Missouri. Several St. Louis community
organizations say that the City of St. Louis is rebuffing their invitations to discuss
problems with its lead programs. "The City says that it wants to discuss lead
with citizens; but it will not give us an answer," charges Barbara Chicherio,
Co-Coordinator of the Gateway Green Alliance. "We've sent Ron Smith an
invitation by mail; we invited him by e-mail; and he has not returned any of my
Ron Smith, Director of Operations for the City, heads its lead poisoning
prevention efforts. Groups that would like to discuss shortcomings with those
efforts include the Gateway Green Alliance (GGA), Universal African Peoples
Organization (UAPO), and Health & Environmental Justice (HEJ).
In October 2005, the advocacy group HEJ issued a "Report Card" on City of St.
Louis lead programs. The City received a "D" on "Maintenance of a lead safe
registry," a "C-" on "Enforcement of lead law violations," and an "Incomplete"
on "Lead hazard evaluations."
In November 2005 the GGA released a survey documenting that the City had made
no progress in removing lead from the block of 3300 Nebraska. Throughout
2005, the City had claimed 3300 Nebraska as a showcase block for removing lead to
prevent childhood poisoning. (See www.gateway-greens.org)
The first finding of the survey was that seven months after it began the 3300
Nebraska Project, the City still did not have an accurate list of residences
on the block. "There was a 32% error rate," reported Don Fitz, who directed
the survey. "The City listed homes that were not there, failed to list
residences that existed, and had the wrong number of residences at multiple-family
units. If they intended to make every home lead-safe, they should at least have
had an accurate list of homes on the block."
"Overall, we found that the City was making progress in educating people and
testing homes but that it never got to the point of the project, which was to
remove lead once you found it," Fitz notes. The GGA interpreted this as
evidence that the City is using education and testing programs for public
relations rather than as the first step in removing lead.
The UAPO sponsors the radio talk show, "The Power Hour." In its December 29,
2005 program, hosts, guests, and listeners raised concerns that the City is
slow to respond to lead poisoning in neighborhoods that are predominantly
African American and that this is evidence of environmental racism.
"Will the City only talk with organizations that promise not to raise
concerns with the Mayor's lead programs?" Barbara Chicherio would like to know.
"All of these groups are concerned that the City is still using children as lead
detectors. The City waits until after children are poisoned before it tests
for lead in homes. The City should be testing buildings and removing lead
before children are poisoned."
The forum to discuss lead poisoning prevention efforts is titled "Is St.
Louis Removing Lead from Homes?" It is at 7:00 pm, Wednesday, January 4, 2006 at
the Carpenter Branch Library, 3309 South Grand. Speakers include:
* Don Fitz, Gateway Green Alliance;
* Kathleen Logan-Smith, Health & Environmental Justice;
* Ron Smith, Director of Operations, City of St. Louis, has been invited; and,
* Zaki Baruti, Universal African Peoples Organization.
To ask Ron Smith if he will attend, contact him at SmithR at stlouiscity.com or
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