On December 9, 2016, Mayor Daryl Hofmeyer met with the SCAQMD Governing Board regarding the investigation and here are his comments pertaining to the issue:
Good morning, Chairman Burke and governing board members. My name is Daryl Hofmeyer and I am the mayor of the City of Paramount.
Pardon me for reading this statement, but I have a lot to say and I don’t want to miss any points.
I want to start by thanking Mr. Nastri and his team for working more closely with our city staff over the past few weeks on this issue, which we seem to learn more about with each passing hour.
Mr. Nastri has personally contacted our city manager daily with updates on your agency’s efforts and the latest findings from the monitors in our city.
Paramount was incorporated in 1957. The area was once a hay and dairy center, but eventually became home to a large manufacturing sector.
We inherited the land-use decisions made by the county of Los Angeles prior to cityhood, and to this day there are still residents living in or very near industrial zones, which include dozens of metal-related operations.
As you probably know, in 2013 the AQMD began investigating the operations at Carlton Forge Works after receiving complaints about a burning metal smell.
Carlton voluntarily upgraded its facility and submitted a health risk assessment in 2014, which was approved by the AQMD earlier this year. We are told that they reduced emissions by over 95%.
However, your monitors recently detected elevated hex chromium levels at other locations within the city’s industrial area.
We were not aware of these findings until contacted by a reporter, and we expressed our concerns to Mr. Nastri and to Board Member Mitchell regarding a press release and a hastily-scheduled community meeting held on November 9.
We believe that this meeting only served to flame community concerns because your staff did not seem to have enough information at that time to provide answers to the many questions our residents had and still have.
As I mentioned, over the past few weeks our city manager, John Moreno, and his staff have worked closely with Mr. Nastri and your personnel to gain a greater understanding of the data being collected, the risks to our residents and the potential avenues to resolving this issue of critical importance to our community.
I want to thank Board Member Mitchell for her assistance and leadership, both here at the AQMD and at the air resources board level.
Going forward, we need answers. Our residents need answers.
We were relieved to learn this week that your staff is moving forward with enforcement actions against two companies that you believe have been consistently exceeding standards.
However, we need you to maintain and enhance your efforts to identify every source of these emissions and tell our constituents what is being done to immediately correct the situation.
We need to know the full depth of the potential risks to the health of all Paramount residents.
We need to be able to share information with our community in layman’s terms, so they can understand the situation and the efforts being taken to address the issue.
The City of Paramount is doing everything we can to cooperate with your agency and we are being proactive in our efforts.
To completely understand and be on top of the monitoring results, we hired a consultant months ago who specializes in air quality. This consultant uncovered information on your web site that Mr. Moreno will share more about.
We are planning to adopt a moratorium on new metal companies in Paramount.We are looking to buy a number of air monitors that the city can own, with an agreement with the AQMD to collect and analyze the data.
We created a new subcommittee made up of two council members, two planning commissioners and our senior staff to be able to respond quickly and decisively to any and all issues.
The AQMD has the expertise, resources and legal jurisdiction in this matter. While the city has been, and will continue to be, ready to assist in any way possible, we are counting on this board and your staff to fulfill their legal authority and do everything in your power to protect the health and well-being of those who live and work in Paramount.
I’m going to conclude my remarks and ask Mr. Moreno to fill you in a bit more on the specifics of our efforts and what we’re hoping to achieve.