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Wilmington's Woes

October 06, 1985

LAND-USE CONFLICTS Problem: Lack of planning has allowed a chaotic mishmash of land uses, resulting in schools and homes being located near factories and hazardous waste plants. Response: Los Angeles Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores said the ongoing revision of the area's community plan will likely include rezonings to ease the problem. AUTO SALVAGE YARDS. Problem: Wilmington's salvage yards--estimated by Flores' office to number 150 and by the Los Angeles Police Department, 200--collect and sell old metal and car parts. Residents say they are unsightly and deter high-quality private development. Flores said many yards are located in what is slated to become an industrial park and will disappear when the project--20% completed after 11 years--is finished. Response: Robert Steinback, a city inspector, said the city checks licensed salvage sites once a year to make sure they have fences and comply with other code requirements. Unlicensed sites often are not discovered for lack of staff, he said. TOXIC-WASTE FACILITIES. Problem: With six hazardous waste facilities and another major operation proposed, Wilmington has more than its share, many residents say. They also complain that they didn't even know where many of the plants were located until a Times story last December said which Wilmington industries were authorized to handle hazardous waste. Response: Flores said the facilities are probably located in Wilmington because a lot of hazardous waste is generated by industries in the community. She said the city also was unaware until recently which plants handled such wastes. Flores said she has sponsored legislation that would provide the community with inspectors to monitor the facilities and has supported proposals to require new operators to obtain city permits. LACK OF POLICE PROTECTION Problem: The city has assigned two police cars per shift to Wilmington, which many residents consider inadequate for a community of 40,000. Response: Harbor Division Police Cmdr. Robert A. McVey says Wilmington is not in want of police protection, but he acknowledged that on some nights as many as 20 calls to his division--which also includes San Pedro, Harbor City and Harbor Gateway--are backed up and awaiting response. LACK OF ADEQUATE SCHOOL FACILITIES Problem: For more than 10 years parents have sought a cafeteria for Wilmington Park Elementary School. They also say the school needs a paint job, window replacements, a math laboratory, a reading laboratory, more restrooms, security and teaching aides. In addition, many residents complain that all of Wilmington's public grammar schools are overcrowded.

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