Barrio Logan

Barrio Logan is a predominantly Mexican/Chicano, low income, working class community located south of Downtown San Diego, north of National City and west of the Interstate 5 freeway. It is home to the national treasure Chicano Park, which is the site of the largest collection of outdoor murals in the world. The people that make up the community of Barrio Logan have a long history of standing up and defending their culture and civil rights.

Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Oscar and Rosita Torres

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Oscar and Rosita Torres

by Maria Garcia 07.19.2014 Culture

By Maria Garcia

Oscar is now 80 years old and yet his memories of Neighborhood House are as clear as if they had happened yesterday. Like other boys in his age bracket, board games, baseball and basketball and the field trips stand out his memory. He also credits Neighborhood House for being the “baby sitter” for him and his brothers and sisters. Both of his parents worked and Neighborhood House provided a place to spend the day in a safe environment.

Most non-school days he played at Neighborhood House from 8:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night. They would go home and eat dinner and return to continue playing outside until Neighborhood House closed.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary and Helen Marston

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary and Helen Marston

by Maria Garcia 07.12.2014 Culture

The Marston family history is synonymous with the history of San Diego. Volumes have been written about their philanthropy and their contributions to the history of San Diego. For those of us that grew up in San Diego, we remember the Marston Department Store. My biggest memory of the department store is of the escalator and the smell of perfume.

I am sure we never bought one thing there. Despite her fear of escalators, my mother would take us there for the express purpose of riding the escalator. It was our simple version of the “E” ride at Disneyland. We would walk around the store, go up to the second floor and ride the escalator down with that beautiful smell greeting us at about the halfway point. In my mind the “Marston” name and “rich” are one and the same.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Joe Serrano

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Joe Serrano

by Maria Garcia 07.05.2014 Culture

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

From the moment Joe Serrano tasted bread for the first time he loved it. Until he attended kindergarten at Neighborhood House in the 1920′s Joe had never eaten bread. He remembers their snack of milk and bread coming from Mike Amador’s store, right across the street. I have surmised that there was some type of an arrangement between the Neighborhood House and Mr. Amador.

After kindergarten at Neighborhood House, Joe attended Burbank Elementary. His principal was Miss Barbara. If students did not behave, Miss Barbara would put her hands on your shoulders and dig her rather long fingernails right into your skin. Even today, almost 80 years later, Joe remembers when a black woman came to enroll her son at Burbank and was told by Miss Barbara that her son would have to have to go to “their” school–Logan Elementary, which was a mere three blocks away.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Dr. Armando Rodriguez and Bea Serrano Rodriguez

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Dr. Armando Rodriguez and Bea Serrano Rodriguez

by Maria Garcia 06.28.2014 Culture

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

Armando and Bea Rodriguez welcomed me into their home to look at old newspapers clippings about Neighborhood House that I had brought. Those clippings set off a conversation filled with memories and untold stories from the 1930’s and 1940’s. One of the pictures that received the most attention was taken at a party at the Marston House. The Marston family played a seminal role in providing both financial support to Neighborhood House and direction. Their garden parties were particularly memorable.

A group of dancers in traditional Mexican dress are all lined up together in one of the clippings. I had no idea who the dancers were other than boys and girls from the Neighborhood House. Much to my surprise, Bea states “Oh my God, that’s my sister and me.” Taking a closer look, the boy with a zarape over his shoulder and a fake mustache was indeed a girl. Bea and her sister Consuelo were the dance partners.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Bill Breitenstein, Athletics Director

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Bill Breitenstein, Athletics Director

by Maria Garcia 06.21.2014 Culture

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

This history of Neighborhood House has introduced readers to some of the programs and activities that placed this organization firmly at the center of life in the Logan Heights community in the 1920′s and 30′s. Past articles have referred to the popularity of formal sports training at Neighborhood House, particularly for baseball. Neighborhood athletes were coached, provided with the required equipment and could participate in tournaments. The team was a source of enthusiastic neighborhood pride.

The Neighborhood House baseball team provided children with tremendous opportunities while it also exposed them to discrimination, as the recent interview with Dr. Bareño revealed. Memories of Coach Bill Breitenstein are inextricably intertwined with the accounts of so many people I have interviewed for this series. Mr. Breitenstein died in 1928, but his influence was felt well into the 1930′s. This “shining star,” as Dr. Bareño called him, deserves a special place in the history of Neighborhood House.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights : John Bareño, 1930′s

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights : John Bareño, 1930′s

by Maria Garcia 06.14.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria E. Garcia

One conversation about Neighborhood House always leads to another. When I told Kiko I was working on a research paper about Neighborhood House he told me “You have to talk to John Bareño.” “Kiko” is Frank Peralta, one of the people who spearheaded the effort to construct a war memorial in Chicano Park. I took Kiko’s advice and on a Thursday in May I drove to Spring Valley to interview Dr. Bareño in his home.

I found a man with a wealth of information about Logan Heights, baseball, discrimination and Neighborhood House. Dr. Bareño was born in Loreto, Baja California. His father had been offered $500.00 to move the family to Mexicali. They were going to work picking cotton there.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: 1930′s, the Maids’ Story, Art Classes and More about Summer Camp

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: 1930′s, the Maids’ Story, Art Classes and More about Summer Camp

by Maria Garcia 06.07.2014 Columns

Part of the ongoing series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

The Maids’ Class

During the 1930’s a maids’ training program came to Neighborhood House. It was established under the Adult Education Department at San Diego State University. This portion of the paper was very difficult to write in the 1970′s when I was doing my first research on Neighborhood House. My first reaction was to jump up and feel anger that these women had been put in such a class. I have had to evaluate my biases and try to put myself in the place of young girls and women of the 1930’s who needed employment. I also reviewed pictures of their graduation to try and understand their point of view and sense of accomplishment.

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Thumbnail image for 2014 Primaries: It’s #Ididnotvote by a Landslide

2014 Primaries: It’s #Ididnotvote by a Landslide

by Doug Porter 06.04.2014 2014 June Primary

By Doug Porter

Yesterday San Diego non-voters elected a district attorney personally embroiled in a criminal case, a county clerk supported by anti-gay bigots and a supervisor known for using taxpayer dollars to support religious causes. Call it a resounding victory for apathy and a defeat for advocates of the two tier/jungle primary voting system as a near-record low number (I’m guessing 22%) of voters cast ballots.

Approximately 12% of the city’s registered voters agreed with a corporate campaign almost completely based on lies to overturn a five-year-long community planning process. Incumbents were triumphant everywhere.

There will be runoff elections in November for San Diego City Council District 6 between Carol Kim and Chris Cate, the 52nd Congressional District between Carl DeMaio and Scott Peters, along with Mary Salas versus Jerry Rindone vying for the Mayor in Chula Vista. A stealth campaign by teahadist Donna Woodrum for a seat on the San Diego Community College Board failed to unseat Maria Nieto Senour.

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Thumbnail image for Junco’s Jabs: San Diego’s Maritime Industry Feeding at the Electoral Trough

Junco’s Jabs: San Diego’s Maritime Industry Feeding at the Electoral Trough

by Junco Canché 06.03.2014 2014 June Primary
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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Angel Negrete, the 1930′s

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Angel Negrete, the 1930′s

by Maria Garcia 05.31.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria E. Garcia

Mr. and Mrs. Angel Negrete were kind enough to invite me to their home to discuss his memories of Neighborhood House. Most of Mr. Negrete’s memories are from the 1930’s. He asked me several times why I wanted to interview him. He is one of the most modest men I have had the privilege of interviewing.

Mr. Negrete learned wrestling at Neighborhood House. It was a skill that he took to San Diego High School, where he became Southern California Champion. Their team went to San Francisco for this event and he remembered it was “a big deal.” Later in the late 1940’s he would become a volunteer wrestling coach at Neighborhood House.

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Thumbnail image for “Yes” on B & C is the Way to Support the Barrio Logan Community

“Yes” on B & C is the Way to Support the Barrio Logan Community

by Ernie McCray 05.30.2014 2014 June Primary

By Ernie McCray

Here we go. Same old same old politics in San Diego. The “Big Boys” have to get their way. They want us to vote “No” in opposition to a plan that was created to make a community healthy and safe. And mayor, Kevin Faulconer, who has billed himself as an “independent” leader, has, as such, been going around talking about how when Propositions B & C are voted down, “it will be our opportunity to pass a plan that works to protect our families, to protect our economy.”

Hey, dude, we already have a plan to keep toxics, pollutants, carcinogens and flammable chemicals, a safe distance away from Barrio Logan schools, playgrounds, and homes. So what does your plan look like? Oh, you don’t have one? And a new plan can’t happen for at least a year?

The Barrio Logan community worked diligently for years to bring about reasonable land use and zoning changes and it happened. It’s on the books right now. There’s a five-block buffer zone that bans new residential and industrial suppliers, while allowing such existing uses to remain in place and expand by no more than 20 percent.

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Thumbnail image for One-Day Art Show Highlights Fight Against Toxic Pollution in Barrio Logan

One-Day Art Show Highlights Fight Against Toxic Pollution in Barrio Logan

by Source 05.29.2014 Activism

“Until Our Last Breath” features more than 20 barrio artists at Chicano Art Gallery

By Mia Bolton

Artists, residents and friends of Barrio Logan, with the help of Chicano Art Gallery, join forces this Saturday for a one-night-only art exhibit to tell the story of how corporate greed and pollution affect the health of Barrio Logan community members.

The exhibit, Until Our Last Breath: Barrio Artistas Contra San Diego’s Toxic Maritime Industry, features original paintings, drawings and sculpture from local artists and many Chicano Park muralists, such as Victor Ochoa, Mario Torero, Berenice Badillo, Armando Nuñez, Stephanie Cecilia Cervantes, Hector Villagas, Patricia Aguayo, Mario Chacon and Isaias Crow.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Construction of a Community Oven

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Construction of a Community Oven

by Maria Garcia 05.24.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria E. Garcia

In the 1930’s many of the homes around Neighborhood House did not have the facilities for the women to bake. Mr. Tijerina, an unemployed baker who lived at 4650 Cersa Street, volunteered his services. He reconstructed an oven in the yard at Neighborhood House. With the help of other men in the neighborhood, they dismantled an oven, which had been used in an old bake house near Neighborhood House. The bricks from the oven were donated by Mrs. P.J. Benbough. The only cost to Neighborhood House was twenty-five cents for a bar of angle iron that was used over the oven door.

The oven offered the women opportunity to bake and to once again gather and socialize and in today’s parlance, network.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan Residents Spoil Mayor’s Pro-Pollution Presser

Barrio Logan Residents Spoil Mayor’s Pro-Pollution Presser

by Brent E. Beltrán 05.22.2014 Activism

Desde la Logan columnist amongst “hecklers”

By Brent E. Beltrán

Oops, we did it again.

A handful of Barrio Logan residents, including artist Hector Villegas, my wife Olympia, my son Sandino and myself, gave Mayor Faulconer, ex-Mayor and current corporate shill Jerry Sanders and shipyard mouthpiece Len Hering a piece of our minds and vocal chords at a press conference against Propositions B and C and the Barrio Logan Community Plan.

The press conference took place outside City Hall and was attended by the same suits that have been speaking out against the plan for months. Except this time they didn’t bus in shipyard workers.

Having received a tip, from someone close to the No on B and C campaign, an hour before the presser Hector and my family decided to take action. Olympia made a couple of handmade signs for her and Dino to hold. I brought dust masks to wear as a symbol of Barrio Logan pollution and Hector brought the respirator that he uses while painting.

We got there a few minutes before the press conference started and saw the suits lingering around. When the Mayor showed up we knew it was about to start and we were ready.

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Thumbnail image for Junco’s Jabs: Jerry Sanders and Kevin Faulconer Share Their Disdain for Barrio Logan Residents

Junco’s Jabs: Jerry Sanders and Kevin Faulconer Share Their Disdain for Barrio Logan Residents

by Junco Canché 05.19.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

By Junco Canché

San Diego Free Press introduces our first editorial cartoonist: Junco Canché! Junco has lived in the San Diego/Tijuana border region his entire life and currently resides in the city of San Diego in the South Bay right next door to Imperial Beach. His cartoons have been featured prominently at Southwestern College’s The Sun newspaper and now shares his work here at San Diego Free Press. Please welcome him by posting your comments below.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Jane Addams and the 1930′s

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Jane Addams and the 1930′s

by Maria Garcia 05.17.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria E. Garcia

Jane Addams was born in 1860 to a prosperous Northern Illinois family. As a young child she had tuberculosis of the spine. This health problem would affect her the rest of her life. Her father was a founding member of the Republican Party. Her dream of becoming a doctor died after her first year of medical school due to health problems and a nervous breakdown. So why would this woman who wanted to be a doctor and came from a rather wealthy family have any role or influence in San Diego, California? Why would she have any roots in a settlement house in the middle of a Mexican Barrio?

In 1887 she read a magazine article about a settlement house. It became her dream to establish one. She and her close friend Ellen Gates opened Hull House in Chicago. Many women who came from wealthy families and were in the college in the 1920’s developed a similar interest and involvement. College had made them progressive in their thinking. They had a sincere interest in social issues as well as a desire to help immigrants and the less fortunate.

This social philosophy took root in San Diego among various educated, wealthy women who included Helen Marston.

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Thumbnail image for What’s at Stake With Propositions B and C?

What’s at Stake With Propositions B and C?

by Jim Miller 05.12.2014 2014 June Primary

“Everyone who wants to preserve community control over the planning process should be afraid because your community will be next!” –Georgette Gomez, Associate Director of the Environmental Health Coalition

By Jim Miller

As we head toward the June 3rd election, the same corporate interests who spent big money to fund a petition drive based on lies  to force a vote on the Barrio Logan Community Plan are now funding an equally dishonest campaign to defeat it.

The only thing that will stop a great injustice from happening in the case of the Barrio Logan Community Plan is if San Diegans stand up against this threat to their local democracy and vote yes on B and C. For that to happen, San Diegans need to be educated. The central organization doing this work in the service of the Yes on B and C Campaign is the Environmental Health Coalition (EHC).

This week, I interview Georgette Gomez, the Associate Director of the EHC to learn a little more about who the folks are who are fighting this good fight and what is at stake in this election.

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Thumbnail image for Street Tacos and Craft Beer Come to Barrio Logan

Street Tacos and Craft Beer Come to Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 05.11.2014 Culture

San Diego Taco Company and Border X Brewing Join Forces to Help the Barrio Renaissance

By Brent E. Beltrán

Barrio Logan, San Diego’s hub for Chicano art, culture and activism, is now a destination spot for taco connoisseurs and craft beer aficionados. La Logan has always had culinary and beer tradition with places like the ever busy Las Cuatro Milpas and the long closed down Aztec Brewery. So beer and tacos isn’t a new phenomenon to this working class barrio.

What is new is the decision of catering business San Diego Taco Company and Otay Mesa beer makers Border X Brewing to combine efforts and open a joint tasting room and taqueria on the corner of Logan Ave and Sampson St. in the historic section of Barrio Logan.

The combination of beer and tacos has been a part Mexican food culture ever since Germans brought their brewing techniques to Mexico. And Ernie Pio Becerra of San Diego Taco Company and David Favela of Border X Brewing are carrying on that tradition by serving fresh, handmade tacos and unique craft brews tailored to the tastes of mexicanos and those that appreciate our delicious flavors.

“It’s a great combination of not only the food but the beer and the art all in one place,” says artist and frequent patron Max Bojorquez.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: 1918-1929

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: 1918-1929

by Maria Garcia 05.10.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria E. Garcia

From its inception in 1914, Neighborhood House became the heart of the Latino, Mexican-American and Mexican community. The building was known throughout the barrio as Neighborhood House, the Neighbor or Big Neighbor. It was modeled after Hull House, a settlement house established in Chicago.

The local history of Neighborhood House is in many ways the history of prominent San Diegans. People in the community who had a sincere interest in helping others would donate time and money to assure that the settlement house located at 1809 National Avenue was serving the community.

One family that gave of their time as well as their money was the George Marston family. …

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Thumbnail image for He Wants Them to Leave Barrio Logan

He Wants Them to Leave Barrio Logan

by Source 05.05.2014 2014 June Primary

By Sara Kent /Sara’s Ramblings

Chris Wahl, spokesman for Shipyards industry executives, wants Barrio Logan residents to move away.

Under the new Barrio Logan Community Plan Update, the foreign-owned companies Wahl represents can expand up to 20% by right, then go through special permitting processes if they want to grow further.

Nobody is kicking them out, the zoning for the Shipyards remains untouched, and the Navy has unilaterally stated it will not leave San Diego because of the Barrio Logan Plan (if you heard that condos were being built at the Shipyards or that the Navy was leaving, it’s because Shipyards representatives like Wahl lied about it).

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Thumbnail image for Cyclists Take Over Barrio Logan for a Day

Cyclists Take Over Barrio Logan for a Day

by Brent E. Beltrán 05.04.2014 Desde la Logan

Photos from the 18th Annual Barrio Logan Grand Prix

By Brent E. Beltrán

On Saturday May 3 hundreds of cycling enthusiasts from throughout the region and beyond descended on San Diego’s most historic Mexican community for the 18th annual Barrio Logan Grand Prix.

This event, organized by the San Diego Bicycle Club to benefit the Logan Heights Family Health Center, has become one of the largest cycling events in southern California.

The Barrio Logan Grand Prix coincides each year with the Logan Heights Family Health Center Health Fair that offers free health screenings, free children’s vaccinations, free pregnancy testing, food, entertainment and prizes for those in attendance.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Logan Heights’ Neighborhood House: Becoming Maria

A History of Logan Heights’ Neighborhood House: Becoming Maria

by Maria Garcia 05.03.2014 Activism

An introduction to the SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From Inception to Occupation

By Maria E. Garcia

I was born in Yuma, Arizona and came to San Diego at the age of three. With the exception of one year, when my mother had TB and we returned to Yuma so my aunts could help care for us, my whole life has been in San Diego County. Our first apartment in San Diego was at 33rd and Imperial Avenue. My parents, thinking a Catholic education was of value, sacrificed to send me to Saint Jude School. That’s where I learned that there was something wrong with being Mexican, and my name was changed to Mary Helen Garcia.

St Jude was my first experience with racism, a concept a shy six-year-old girl had not experienced until she met the nuns. In fifth grade we moved to an old house in Encanto. I attended Encanto Elementary, O’Farrell Jr. High and Morse High School. The blessing with all three of those schools is that they were multi-ethnic and we all learned to play together.

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Thumbnail image for Balboa Park Conservancy Avoids Confrontation Over Transparency

Balboa Park Conservancy Avoids Confrontation Over Transparency

by Doug Porter 05.02.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Activist David Lundin and others were in attendance last night at the Balboa Park Committee Board meeting ready to ask serious questions about the Balboa Park Conservancy, the group now charged by the City of San Diego with trying to salvage the 2015 Centennial Celebration.

Responding to charges made earlier that the Conservancy was violating its own charter by failing to have two annual public meetings, the group claimed their reports made in meetings of the Balboa Park Committee fulfilled the requirement.

Alas, hopes for a window into the Conservancy’s inner working were dashed last night as, for the first time in more than seven years, the meeting was cancelled in its entirety because quorum of the Balboa Park Committee Board failed to appear.

After a 30 minute wait the Board chair announced the cancellation, saying it was “illegal to open the meeting, even for informational or no-action items.”  

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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Maritime Industry Calls the Cops on Peaceful Protestors

San Diego’s Maritime Industry Calls the Cops on Peaceful Protestors

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.25.2014 Activism

Five Barrio Logan residents and supporters stand their ground

By Brent E. Beltrán

I wasn’t planning on writing a column today but since maritime industry called the cops on my two year old son, his grandma, two others and myself, I changed my mind.

On Thursday morning I got up early. The day before, I found out that maritime industry was going to hold a press conference at 10:30am at R.E. Staite Engineering near the shipyards. This was only about 6 blocks or so away from my Barrio Logan apartment.

I’ve been itching to do a protest against maritime industry and their opposition to the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update. With them holding their presser within walking distance I knew I had to do something.

With the press conference taking place on a weekday morning, and less than a day’s notice to quietly get the word out (catching them off guard would be key), I knew there would not be a large turnout. Nonetheless, I had to do something, even if it was just my son Dino and myself.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Doctors, California’s Nurses Announce Support of Propositions B & C

San Diego Doctors, California’s Nurses Announce Support of Propositions B & C

by Source 04.24.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

June 3 ballot measure saves Barrio Logan’s community plan, improves community health

By Mia Bolton

Yesterday at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, a group of doctors, nurses and healthcare advocates announced their endorsement of the Yes on B & C campaign to protect children’s health in San Diego.

California Nurses Association members were there to support Yes on B & C that, if approved, will uphold the community and business supported, City Council approved Barrio Logan Community Plan Update.

In the first public media appearance by the campaign, the healthcare professionals reflected on Earth Day and the environmental health effects of polluting businesses next to schools, playgrounds and residences.

“Environmental health and justice in San Diego is being threatened,” said Georgette Gomez, of Environmental Health Coalition. “Kids in Barrio Logan have the same right to clean air and healthy neighborhoods as every other community in San Diego and the entire city should support Propositions B & C to protect all of our children’s health.”

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