During the candidates night on 10/18, there was a question asked about the proximity of El Marino to the freeway, how this has become unlawful since 2003 due air pollution concerns and children’s health, and what the candidates thought about this. Mr Zeidman totally dismissed the issue referring to the fact that there are no plans to build a school near the freeway and that there are no plans to move El Marino. Ms Chardiet rubber stamped Zeidman’s response. Mr. Zirgulis acknowledged a concern with potential accidental hazardous spills on the freeway. Abrams proposed using air conditioning with air filtration to improve air quality in the classrooms. Goldberg recognized the poor outdoor air quality in El Marino, and mentioned how teachers often need to close windows and doors to reduce entry of polluted air into the classroom.
The insensitivity of Zeidman to this issue is disturbing. This is particularly inconsiderate of children who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems that are aggravated by poor outdoor air quality due to proximity to the freeway. These children suffer on a daily basis and often cannot participate in PE or outdoor recess activities. Chardiet’s approval of Zeidman’s insensitive response strongly contradicts her repeated statements about the highest priority she places on “children’s health and safety”.
I would like to hear more about the candidates’ views on this issue, particularly since the question may have been vague as presented by the moderator. There is mounting evidence of scientific studies from Europe and the United States that have found that children who attended schools near freeways and major roads have increased asthma symptoms and bronchitis. Scientists have found that motor-vehicle exhaust contains high concentrations of chemicals that can be harmful, including cancer-causing compounds and respiratory irritants. These high concentrations are found near freeways.
El Marino is right next to the 405, the busiest freeway in the nation. Many classrooms in El Marino are only 50-60 feet away from the freeway, in particular classrooms of the youngest among the El Marino student population.
1) How would the candidates suggest assessing the potential outdoor Air Quality problem in El Marino?
2) How would the candidates approach finding solutions to this problem?
Proud member of the El Marino elementary school community and the CCUSD community of schools,