Los Angeles: A Brief History

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By , more investment dollars were spent on the ports since World War II than any other in the nation, with the exception of New York. Yet, port authorities presented a paradigm that encouraged more expansions. Even previously dredged sections needed to be made deeper. While the port's expansions efforts are prolific, the impact to the community has been less announced.

The litany of "improvements" since the days of Banning have significant and permanent impacts to sea life and harbor residents, who essentially subsidize the ports with their health. If the boost to the economy is genuine, then so are the negative impacts.

For starters, the ports were once home to large scale fishing and packing industry, including Star-Kist Foods, the world's largest fish cannery. Port authorities were pleased with the millions in revenue the company earned, and residents were pleased with union paying jobs that went mostly to women of color. Thousands were employed by a hugely successful industry, until overfishing and port-related industrial pollution and expansion helped stifle aquatic life.

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Unions were also destroyed. Port expansions also lead to a significant loss of community acreage for parks, schools, and important community facilities. Although some of that has been replaced sometimes through lawsuit dollars , both ports equal some 10, acres, and plans continue for their expansion. Last year, POLB docked the world's largest container vessel, which can hold 12, containers and is as tall as the Empire State Building first generation tankers held a mere 1, With fear of the Panama Canal taking away local pay checks, expansion efforts have boiled into a "beat the canal" campaign that wants to expedite environmental reviews in an effort to expand harbor territory further.

For decades, the most talked-about impact of the ports to the community has been health risks, specifically diesel exhaust.

L.A.'s Changing Skyline: A Brief History of Skyscrapers in the City of Angels | KCET

Even though diesel was known to be harmful listed as a toxic air contaminant in , with over 40 chemicals known to cause cancer, somehow environmental records predicted no adverse effects from , truck movements. Other environmental reports had the same sunny outlook and as a whole read: decades of dramatic increases in container and diesel trucks would have no negative cumulative impacts on community health.

In fact, ongoing expansion of the ports became so profuse that multiple agencies had significant concerns. The precursor to the Air Quality Management District became involved in POLB's expansions, and used language to describe their environmental review process as "misleading," "inaccurate," and critiqued one updated environmental report as "hardly an improvement" over a previous draft. Caltrans and the California Air Resources Board were also critical of port expansions.



The ports are also home to a diverse collection of industrial sites. Oil refineries, recycling centers, and industrial warehousing also call the harbor home. POLA was also home to several chemical companies, including one company that registered 53, tons of chemicals and "discharged" 42, tons of chemicals during the fiscal year.

The ports have also been host to significant accidents that pose dangers to workers and community members. The explosion ignited local trucks, cars, and structures, killing about eleven persons. The explosion of the S. Markay enacted a force so powerful that the blast jolted buildings several miles away, damaging several buildings.

Brief History of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

An additional explosion of the Tanker Sansinena occurred in , killing nine. The dual ports not only service Southern California, but the entire country. They are important. So are the transportation corridors that service it, including the Long Beach Freeway, the subject of our next story.

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