April 6, 2007

Editorial:

National City is going to have to decide what to do about the Westside

For the members of the National City City Council, it is like being between and rock and a hard place, or a better analogy would be “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” What we are referring to is the proposed ordinance put forward by the National City Council this past week that would prohibit the Momax Truck Driving School from driving their diesel trucks from within 50 feet of schools and homes.

The ordinance proposal came about due to the complaints from the residents, with particular concern about the close proximity of the truck driving school to Kimball Elementary School, on the Westside of National City. Kimball elementary is in a part of the town that is a mix of industry and residential. The city council responded to the residents concerns with this proposal, but the proposal, in reality, does not come close to addressing the real problems of the Westside.

The Westside, also known as Old Town National City, has historically been in constant conflict and is a balancing act between the health and quality of life of the long time residents of the area and the growth of the surrounding industries, many of them hazardous to the health of their neighbors.

The Mile of Cars is a primary source of income and pride for the city of National City. At the same time, this mile of cars is the engine that has spurred the growth of auxiliary businesses surrounding the area, primarily on the Westside. These industries include auto body shops, paint shops, engine repair shops, upholstery shops, a myriad of car related shops. And then there are other industries in close proximity of this core area surrounding Kimball Elementary School. Intermixed with all this industry are homes of some of the oldest residents of National City which the city has the responsibility of taking care of and insuring they are not being killed by pollutions and toxins that emanate from these industries.

Momax Truck Driving School has a very small office, which is situated on the lower portion of a building that has what looks like are two apartments, and is located across the street from the back of Kimball Elementary. The front door of the office says it is a truck and bus driving school. In the parking lot there was one very old school bus and one 18-wheel truck. At the same time several diesel spewing tow trucks keep driving around the area, going about their business, busses rolled by the front of the school, cars and trucks were speeding by on the freeway no more than 300 yards from the school. Down the street and around the corner, there was another bus business, and in their parking lot, it looked like there about 20-30 busses parked in their lot.

The point being that by keeping Momax 50 feet from practicing around schools and homes (the three times a week they take their seven students out on training runs) will have negligible impact on the air quality of the neighborhood.

We applaud the city council for listening to the residents of the area by proposing this ordinance, but there is going to come a time when the city council is going to have to make a decision on the Westside. They will have to choose between industry or residential. The two intermixed spells nothing but continued health issues for the residents and passing feel good ordinances, such as this proposed one, does little to fix the problem.

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