Industrial pollutions takes its toll on southeast Los Angeles

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

Residents of southeast Los Angeles cities like Maywood and Vernon live along one of the country’s busiest shipping and manufacturing corridors. The area is also highly polluted.
California Watch reporter Janet Wilson found one Maywood family who agreed to take medical tests to find out how that affected their health. She spoke to us about her reporting.

City of Maywood lays off all its employees

Many cities are making drastic budget cuts to deal with the recession.

But even in today’s economic climate, the city of Maywood took things a step further when it laid off nearly its entire staff, including its police force – it will instead contract with neighboring Bell for such services.

Maywood’s $10.1-million general fund budget has a deficit of at least $450,000, officials said.

As the LA Times reports:

[E]xperts who track California cities say Maywood is the only case they know of in which a city has dismissed all top positions except for the city manager, city attorney and elected officials. Under the plan adopted by the City Council on Monday night, council members would continue to be paid to set policy, but all services would be contracted out.  “Most cities would generally maintain a certain workforce,” said Sam Olivito, head of the California Contract Cities Assn.

Unlike other cities, Maywood couldn’t file for bankruptcy because their difficulties lay not just in a deficit, but in their inability to get funding for their troubled police department, which also served Cudahy.  The LA Sheriff’s Department will also pick up slack.