As the publisher of this newspaper, I take pride in the outstanding investigative journalism of Dr. Harvey H. Liss regarding the dangerous location of the proposed $300 million Portola High School.
The fact that the School Board, the City Council (on a 3-2 vote), and the State Department of Toxic Substances Control approved and seemingly encouraged the placement of this school next to dangerous, hazardous chemicals is more than perplexing.
In the face of mounting evidence of risks to health and safety, the School Board has not only proceeded with construction (delayed for a period by the removal of 78 truckloads of previously unknown hazardous waste discovered in the initial construction), but has also tried to keep the findings secret from the public, as reported in Harvey Liss’s article.
The School Board’s attempt at secrecy just reflects its attitude toward the whole question of dangerous toxins at the proposed site. In a February 3, 2014 letter responding to questions concerning the toxic chemicals located in the nearby landfill, School Superintendent Terry Walker stated: “It should be noted that the landfills are not hazardous waste landfills as termed in your letter.” What kind of nonsense is that?
Why are these public officials proceeding with this clearly questionable site when other better-suited sites are surely available in Irvine? Who, besides the developers, benefits? These are questions that we hope to answer in future issues of this newspaper. Congratulations to Harvey Liss for his persistence on behalf of the future students, teachers and employees at Portola High.