On October 12, 2011, in Lamont, California, Armando and Eladio Ramirez went into a composting drainage pipe, wearing only painters’ masks for protection – and breathed in fatal amounts of hydrogen sulfide. Armando, 16 years old, went in first to clean out the pipe, and died almost immediately; Eladio, 22, went in after his brother to help him, and was rendered brain dead, dying the next day.
These deaths happened at a green waste processing facility run by Crown Disposal Services – a prominent player in L.A.’s commercial waste and recycling market – and are being investigated by Cal-OSHA, the CA Department of Labor and the United States Department of Labor.
Several weeks after Armando’s and Eladio’s deaths, a group of recycling sorters, waste hauling drivers and helpers filed a formal complaint with Cal-OSHA, chronicling a litany of severe health and safety violations taking place at American Reclamation, a waste and recycling company in Atwater Village that also plays a significant role in L.A.’s commercial waste and recycling industry.
Two hundred and thirty six years ago, in January 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, the wildly popular pamphlet that made the case for American freedom and helped to spark a revolution.
This year, the Tea Party hopes to turn the 2012 elections into a fight for American freedom. Their first salvo — the electric light bulb. Last month, they threatened to shut down the government unless new energy efficiency standards for light bulbs were delayed. They didn’t delay the standards but they succeeded in delaying their implementation. The final budget deal prohibits the Department of Energy from spending any funds on the new rules.
In 2007, Congress passed The Energy Independence and Security Act that included a provision authored by Republican Congressman Fred Upton giving light bulb manufacturers until 2012 to produce light bulbs that used 25 percent less energy than old-fashioned, energy wasting incandescent bulbs.
In recent weeks the more poetically inclined of us at Frying Pan News have borrowed inspirations ranging from Doctor Seuss to Clement Clarke Moore to express their hopes for the environment and the economy. Now, Jessica Goodheart and Trebor Healey borrow a leaf from Bashō and squeeze green sentiments into a trio of haiku.
(Photo credits: Port of L.A., Brian Ferguson, Louise Rosskam)
My wife and I are bird nuts. Our weekends are spent hiking around the hills of Los Angeles with binoculars in hand. I have a somewhat louder jaunt and am sometimes given a scowl from Christine if I unintentionally flush a bird from its tree before either of us can get a good look. She’s a much better birder. She’s quiet and aware. She knows the calls, the chirps, trills and quacks.
“Listen to that goldfinch,” I’ll tell her.
“You think that’s a goldfinch?” she’ll smirk. We argue about the call until a scrub jay flutters out of the tree in front of us. As I say, she has a really good ear.
My fascination with birds started with the condor — the largest flying land bird in North America and one of the world’s most highly profiled endangered birds.
In the mid ’80s my Dad’s cattle ranch outside of Glennville,
(Editor’s Note: In the holiday spirit we present this enlightening poem — with a tip of the hat to Dr. Seuss. Please click on the link for the stanza layout.)
All the Las
Down in La-ville
Liked Christmas a lot…
But the Snitch,
Who lived just North of La-ville,
The Snitch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now please don’t ask why, ‘cause we all know the reason.
What made that old Snitch-man so mean and so sour
Was the way all the Las used up holiday power.
They used it on parties. They used it on shows.
They used it to light up a young reindeer’s nose.
But what made the old Snitch really put up a fight
Was the excess they used on their holiday light.
How he hated the blinking!